Officially the result of the Fiesta Bowl will go down as a significant upset, but UCF left no doubt who the better team was in the Fiesta Bowl. The Knights pulled away in a shootout with Big 12 champion Baylor as quarterback Blake Bortles passed for 301 yards three touchdown passes and running back Storm Johnson rushed for 124 yards and three more in a 52-42 victory. It is UCF’s first BCS bowl appearance and victory, and it puts the cherry on top of the first year for the American Athletic Conference’s existence.
The scary part is UCF may just be getting started.
UCF is currently set up very well for long term success in the American Athletic Conference. With Louisville leaving the conference to join the ACC in 2014 and Rutgers leaving to join the Big Ten, the level of competition in the conference figures to be swinging more and more in favor of UCF given the resources and location for the program. Cincinnati should be a perennial contender as well, but UCF right now has all of the momentum in the conference as some new members will join the fray next season.
Now the question will be whether or not Bortles returns to the program for more in 2014. Bortles is being hyped as a rising quarterback prospect by NFL scouts and those who break down the NFL Draft, although he is officially waiting for the results of an official evaluation and review from the NFL before making any decision final. Against Baylor Bortles completed 20 of 31 passes for 301 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Two of those touchdown passes went to receiver Rannell Hall, the first a fine 50-yard pass in the first half.
Baylor opened the second half by tying the game at 28-28 with a Bryce Petty touchdown run. Petty rushed for three touchdowns in the game and passed for one more, but the high-scoring Baylor offense was unable to keep up with UCF in this one.UCF went on a 28-14 run to close out the game following that game-tying touchdown. The Knights put up 558 yards of offense in a game that saw the teams combine for over 1,000 yards.
UCF will open the 2014 season across the Atlantic Ocean against Penn State in the Croke Park Classic in Ireland. In addition to that opening game, UCF will also play on the road at Missouri, who played for the SEC championship this season. UCF also hosts BYU in October. Are they set up for a run for another impressive season and perhaps sneak in to the new four-team playoff?
Baylor will enter next season as the defending Big 12 champions and expect to have Petty back. As long as the program keeps head coach Art Briles in Waco, instead of leaving for Austin or the NFL, the Bears should offer more of the same sort of offensive production. Defense, as usual, will be what keeps Baylor from being a true national title contender.
This latest wagering line will come as no surprise to those who have been paying any attention at all.
In the immediate aftermath of Louisville’s decision to fire Bobby Petrino over the weekend, Jeff Brohm was one of the first, and most prominent, names to be mentioned as a potential replacement. Brohm, currently in his second season as the head coach at Purdue, is a natural fit as he was born in the city of Louisville and played his college football for the Cardinals.
With that as a backdrop, Bovada.lv released its first set of odds on Petrino’s replacement Tuesday and (surprise surprise surprise) Brohm is a heavy favorite at 1/10.
Troy head coach Neal Brown is next at 4/1, with Ohio State offensive coordinator Ryan Day, who could be in line for the OSU job when Urban Meyer steps down, right behind at 9/2. Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables, always a popular name on the coaching carousel even as he’s in the midst of his seventh season with the Tigers, is next at 9/1.
Others receiving odds from the sportsbook are Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell (11/1), Syracuse head coach Dino Babers (12/1), Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell (12/1), Toledo head coach Jason Candle (16/1) and Appalachian State head coach Scott Satterfield (16/1).
Curtis Blackwell may be gone but, thanks to a recent development, he won’t soon be forgotten in East Lansing.
In May of last year, Michigan State confirmed that the university had “parted ways” with Blackwell after opting not to renew the staffer’s contract. Blackwell, whose official title with the football program was director of college advancement and performance, was suspended with pay February 9, the same day three unidentified Spartan football players were suspended in connection to sexual assault allegations. While Blackwell was a part of the police investigations into the allegations, he was not accused of participating in the alleged sexual assault but rather failing to disclose information he knew about the incident.
Monday, the Associated Press reported, Blackwell filed a lawsuit in U.S. District court alleging that his employment contract was violated when it wasn’t renewed. Head football coach Mark Dantonio is named in the suit, as are former MSU athletic director Mark Hollis and other MSU officials. The AP wrote “[t]he suit alleges that the defendants did not honor Blackwell’s employment agreement, which the suit says required that he be allowed to speak with the athletic director before any discipline was imposed.”
A university spokesperson declined to comment on the development.
Also named in the lawsuit are two university police officers who arrested Blackwell for obstruction of justice. Blackwell, who was never formally charged, claims that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated by the officers.
According to mlive.com, Blackwell is seeking at least $150,000 in damages, plus attorneys fees and punitive damages.
Levi Jones‘ forced sabbatical has turned into a permanent one.
The linebacker was suspended from USC’s loss to Cal this past Saturday because of unspecified violations of team rules. Following practice Tuesday night, Clay Helton announced that Jones has been dismissed from the Trojans football program and is no longer on the roster.
No specific reason for the dismissal was given by the head coach.
Multiple media outlets have reported that Jones was arrested on a charge of public intoxication in early July of this year. It’s unclear whether that off-field issue played a role in his forced departure four months later.
Jones was a four-star member of the Trojans’ 2017 recruiting class, rated as the No. 6 outside linebacker in the country; the No. 13 player at any position in the state of Texas; and the No. 93 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board. The Austin product was the highest-rated linebacker signee in USC’s class that year.
After playing in 10 games as a true freshman, Jones had played in eight games this year prior to his dismissal.
This is quite the turn of events.
In December of 2017, Davis signed on as an early piece of Alabama’s 2018 recruiting class. Expected to enroll at the university early, Jordan Davis instead enrolled at a junior college, Copiah-Lincoln (Miss.) Community College, in mid-July as he failed to qualify academically at UA. In October of this year, the defensive lineman took to Twitter to announce that he was recommitting to the Crimson Tide and head coach Nick Saban.
A month later? Never mind as Davis confirmed on the same social media site that he has verbally committed to Tennessee and former Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt.
In an interview with 247Sports.com not long after that announcement, the Tennessee native expounded on his decision.
“It’s just somewhere I wanted to truly go, somewhere I feel that I can really make a difference,” Davis told the recruiting website. “I just want to do something different. I want to do something big. I want to do something big for my hometown and my state.
“I mean, I shocked the world with that one.”
Davis was a consensus four-star 2018 signee, rated by 247Sports.com as the No. 6 weakside defensive end in the country; the No. 2 player at any position in the state of Tennessee; and the No. 108 player overall on that recruiting website’s composite board. Only two defensive linemen in the Tide’s class this year — Eyabi Anoma and Stephon Wynn — were rated higher than Davis.
Whether Davis follows through on his latest commitment a month from now remains to be seen.