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.
The third edition of the College Football Playoff rankings were unveiled Tuesday night and the top ten remained exactly the same from a week ago. Such a holding pattern was expected after the entire top 10 won a week ago.
It is the first time in the history of the CFP rankings the top 10 has remained the same from one week to the next.
Most notably, Oklahoma did not fall from No. 6 after being pushed to the limit by 5-4 Oklahoma State at home.
Kentucky was the highest-ranked team to lose, a 24-7 loss at Tennessee, and the Cats fell from No. 11 to No. 17.
UCF moved up to No. 11 and Syracuse to No. 12 ahead of their showdown with the Irish. UCF’s No. 11 ranking is the highest a Group of 5 team has ever appeared in 28 sets of CFP rankings.
Mississippi State remained the highest-ranked 4-loss team, edging out Northwestern at No. 21. Utah State, Cincinnati and Boise State joined the rankings in the final three spots.
3. Notre Dame
8. Washington State
9. West Virginia
10. Ohio State
14. Penn State
16. Iowa State
20. Boston College
21. Mississippi State
23. Utah State
25. Boise State
The two major rule changes in college football over the past decade have combined into one on the Oregon wide receiver depth chart.
Oregon wide receiver Tabari Hines, who arrived in Eugene by way of a graduate transfer out of Wake Forest, has announced he will take this season as a redshirt year and pursue a second graduate transfer elsewhere.
“Tabari Hines is not on roster right now,” Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal told The Oregonian. “He is on the transfer portal. He will use this year to redshirt and transfer out.”
A native of Florence, S.C., Hines signed with Wake Forest as an early enrollee and caught 32 passes for 366 yards, a school record for a true freshman. Hines’s production increased from there, catching 38 balls as a sophomore and 53 as a junior — the most on the team.
However, Hines decided to try his luck elsewhere and left for Oregon, but has caught only three passes for 32 yards and one touchdown, all of them in a 62-14 win over Portland State in September. He has appeared in three games, none since Pac-12 play began.
Given that, Hines will use the new redshirt rule to take a mulligan and now find a third school to play for — or perhaps he realizes the grass wasn’t really greener and returns to Wake Forest.
Virginia Tech’s embattled defense has taken yet another hit.
Justin Fuente confirmed Monday Houshun Gaines will miss the remainder of Virginia Tech’s 2018 season because of a knee injury. Defensive coordinator Bud Foster had previously stated that the defensive end had suffered a torn ACL.
Gaines suffered the injury in Saturday’s blowout loss to Pitt.
“House plays extremely hard and will be missed, but he’ll be very quickly on the road to recovery and we look forward to having him out there next year,” the head coach said by way of the Roanoke Times.
The redshirt junior currently leads the Hokies in sacks with 4½, while his five tackles for loss are tied for fourth.
Last September, Kasim Hill‘s season came to a premature end thanks to a torn ACL in his right knee. During Saturday’s loss to Indiana, Hill suffered what appeared to be a significant injury to his other knee.
In fact, in an Instagram post Monday, the Maryland starting quarterback intimated that it was yet another torn ACL as he alluded to “attacking the process all over again.”
Tuesday, acting head coach Matt Canada confirmed that Hill had indeed suffered another torn ACL. Obviously, the sophomore’s season has come to an end.
Hill had started all 10 games under center for the Terrapins this season. He completed under 50 percent of his 170 passes for nine touchdowns and four interceptions. His passing efficiency rating of 115.7 is 10th in the Big Ten and 100th nationally.
Sophomore Tyrrell Pigrome is expected to take over for Hill as the Terps’ starting quarterback.