This is a great time of year around the sports world. Not only are spring football camps opening up and ongoing around the country, giving a fans a breath of fresh air and a preview of what is to come in the fall, but basketball is marching toward a national championship. You know, if you’re in to that sport with the round ball on the hard court. There is room for both sports of course, but please refrain from attempting to draw comparisons between the two.
One of the popular things football writers like to do this time of year is defend the sport of college football as the supreme sport over its basketball counterpart. This is unnecessary of course, as most of the targeted audiences for the sports tend to overlap enough to satisfy both cravings. Another gimmick is to come up with a field of 64 football teams and determine who would win a gridiron edition of the tournament. Heck, maybe that is someone out there chooses their winners in the office pool every year.
Wichita State completed a rare undefeated season on Sunday, assuring an unblemished record when they play their NCAA Tournament opener next week and essentially locking up a number one seed. Inspired by the remarkable feat, Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated wonders if a mid-major in college football could possibly qualify for the new College Football Playoff about to kick off in the upcoming season. The answer is rather simple: yes.
It certainly will not be easy, but the formula may not stray too far from what the traditional path to busting the BCS has been made up of in recent years. Go undefeated, win the conference championship and maybe score a notable victory or two along the way to open some eyes. With four spots open at the mercy of the selection committee, there will come a year when one of the schools not from a major conference could have that type of resume that is just too hard to ignore. It will not likely happen often, but it is certainly possible.
But why do we bother drawing comparisons between college basketball and college football when discussing the postseason? What is the point? Both college basketball and college football operate differently from top to bottom. This year football will finally operate a postseason under a somewhat similar philosophy with the four-team college football playoff, but basketball has 64 (68) spots open and every conference champion gets in no matter what. Every conference champion will get a spot in the basketball tournament. There is a hypothetic possibility only one conference champion could get a spot in the college football playoff. Until football has an expanded playoff structure with similar access to the basketball variety, there is no comparison between the two sports.
Comparing college football and college basketball is essentially along the lines of comparing apples to oranges.
One of the top players in the Class of 2016 is on the move.
On his personal Twitter account Thursday afternoon, Demetris Robertson announced that he has “decided not to continue my education and football career at UC Berkeley.” The Cal wide receiver said he made his decision to leave the football program because of unspecified personal matters.
Robertson will have to sit out the 2018 season if/when he transfers to another FBS program. He would then have two years of eligibility at his disposal beginning with the 2019 season.
A five-star member of the Golden Bears’ 2016 recruiting class, Robertson was rated as the No. 1 receiver in the country; the No. 3 player at any position in the state of Georgia; and the No. 13 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board. Robertson’s initial recruitment was an unusual one as he didn’t sign until May 1, nearly three months after National Signing Day, and then stunned the college football recruiting world by picking Cal over Notre Dame and home-state Georgia.
Given the fact that he’s from the state and described “personal matters” as his reason for leaving the Golden Bears, the Bulldogs will likely be viewed as the initial favorite to land one of the fastest players in college football.
At Cal, Robertson, at least initially, lived up to the recruiting hype as he was second on the team as a true freshman with 50 receptions for 767 yards and seven touchdowns. His 15.3 yards per catch were tops on the team. After catching seven passes for 70 yards the first two games of the 2017 season, however, he was sidelined for the remainder of the year by what turned out to be a season-ending lower-body injury.
College football, y’all.
Suffice to say, Lane Kiffin‘s departure from Rocky Top after one season as head coach at Tennessee for the same job at USC left a bad taste in the mouth of many members of Vols Nation. How bad of a taste? From ESPN.com in January of 2010:
But the real trick for Kiffin was figuring out a way to leave the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center late Tuesday night in one piece.
Groups of angry students and fans began surrounding the football complex after the news leaked that Kiffin had taken the USC job. Eventually, it evolved into a mob-like scene, with police moving in and barricading Johnny Majors Drive in front of the football complex.
Every time a car moved anywhere in the vicinity of the complex, the mob ran in that direction, shouting and chanting, “F— you Kiffin!
Fast-forward nearly five years, and Kiffin made his return — a triumphant, winning return as it turned out — to Neyland Stadium as the offensive coordinator at rival Alabama in October of 2014. Ahead of that return, security was fearful for Kiffin’s life. So fearful, in fact, that they wanted the former Volunteers head coach to wear a bulletproof vest into the famed stadium.
At least that’s what the current Florida Atlantic head coach claimed on Marty Smith‘s podcast, by way of 247Sports.com:
It’s crazy. They were literally talking about like — from the bus in — a bulletproof vest. I’m like, ‘Come on, guys. This is football.’ They said, ‘No, really.’ They had security with me the whole way, even walking on the field and stuff like that,” Kiffin said. “I’m just like ‘I’m not wearing a vest, guys. All right?’ That’s a little bit over the top. It was all in fun. There was a lot of mean words said — four-letter words. That speaks of Tennessee’s fans, just how passionate they are. I think Phillip Fulmer said it the other day, ‘We have the most passionate fans in the country.
Of course, all that angst and anger had waned by the time UT’s next search for a head coach kicked off as a small but very vocal portion of the fanbase actually wanted the one-time Knoxville pariah to replace Butch Jones late last year. Hell, it was even reported that, in the midst of what was a circus of a search, “Lane is definitely on board if Tennessee gives him a call” about returning as head coach.
Ah, what could’ve been…
In mid-April, Patrick O’Brien took to social media to announce his decision to transfer from Nebraska. Earlier this month, the quarterback announced his new college football home. Wednesday, said new college football home confirmed O’Brien’s addition.
In a press release, Colorado State acknowledged that O’Brien has indeed joined Mike Bobo‘s football program. Because of NCAA transfer rules, the 6-4, 230-pound O’Brien will be forced to sit out the 2018 season.
However, beginning with the 2019 season, he will have two years of eligibility that he can use moving forward.
A four-star member of the Cornhuskers’ 2016 recruiting class, O’Brien was rated as the No. 10 pro-style quarterback that year. It’s that pro-style of play that led him to transfer away from Scott Frost and Nebraska after the new regime’s first spring practice came to an end earlier this offseason.
As the primary backup to Tanner Lee last season, and after redshirting his true freshman season, O’Brien completed 18-of-30 passes for 192 yards and an interception. He also ran for four yards on 14 carries.
An arrest has been made in connection to the death of a former Oregon football player, the Eugene Register-Guard and The Oregonian are reporting.
Ex-Ducks linebacker Fotu Leiato was found dead early Friday morning as the result of what was described as a single-car accident. Pedro Chavarin Jr. was the driver of a vehicle that rolled over and crashed in Eugene; at the time, the 22-year-old UO student told police that he was the only occupant of the vehicle.
While Chavarin was initially charged with DUII, one count of first-degree manslaughter has since been added as Leiato’s body was found hours after the crash. According to police, the 21-year-old Leiato had been a passenger in Chavarin’s Kia sedan at the time of the wreck.
According to The Oregonian, Chavarin faces a minimum of 10 years in prison if convicted of first-degree manslaughter.
Leiato played in 37 games the past three seasons for the Ducks. He was dismissed from the football program in April after the second of his two arrests this offseason.
“We are saddened to learn of the passing of Fotu, and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time,” a statement from the university at the time of Leiato’s passing began. “He will be remembered and missed by all who knew him.”