Jim Delany “disappointed”, not discouraged, following Big Ten’s dismal Saturday


Among the emerging story lines across the college football landscape following Saturday’s Week 2 action were Oregon and Marcus Mariota re-establishing themselves as major players on the national title chase, Everett Golson returning better than ever to Notre Dame, and a perfect day for the ACC capped by Virginia Tech’s best regular-season road win in a decade. Each of those came at the expense of the Big Ten.

No. 7 Michigan State built a 27-18 lead at No. 3 Oregon, and then saw it evaporate into a 46-27 loss. Michigan was never in the game against No. 16 Notre Dame, taking a 31-0 blanking in the series’ final scheduled game. To cap it all off, No. 8 Ohio State fell behind unranked Virginia Tech 21-7, tied the game at 21-21, and then allowed the Hokies to score the game’s final two touchdowns in a 35-21 loss.

The beginning of the day wasn’t any better. In fact, it was worse.

No. 19 Nebraska appeared like it was headed to overtime with McNeese State until Ameer Abdullah provided the best individual effort of the season in a game-winning 58-yard catch-and-run touchdown. Penn State and Akron were locked in a 7-3 tussle before the Nittany Lions pulled away for a 21-3 win. Iowa trailed Ball State 13-3 in the second half before rallying for a 17-13 victory. Illinois trailed Western Kentucky in the second half before coming back for a 42-27 win. Maryland trailed South Florida in the second half before gutting out a 24-17 win. Northwestern lost to Northern Illinois. Purdue was blown out by Central Michigan.

It was an all around terrible day for Jim Delany’s conference, from top to rock bottom.

The Big Ten commissioner, though, took it all in stride. Delany told Ralph Russo of the Associated Press that he was “disappointed” in Saturday’s events, saying, “the narrative is still developing for each team and each of the conferences. It will develop into a full narrative by December 7, not September 7.” Delany also noted that Auburn was not on anyone’s national championship radar through two weeks of the 2013 season. Of course, Auburn had five Top 25 wins and three victories against Top 10 foes to its credit in its improbable run through the SEC. As things stand today, the Big Ten has just three ranked teams in the AP Top 25, and only one among the nation’s top 15.

“You don’t play your way into contention after two weeks. You play your way into contention after 13 weeks,” Delany told Adam Rittenberg of ESPN.com. “You want to make sure the narrative and the facts are aligned at the end,” he said. “It’s too early for any narrative for the narrative to be fully developed. We had some opportunities we didn’t cash in on. I realize that they’re disproportionately impactful but they’re not dispositive. If they were, we’d cut the line here.

“We’ll get back to work and get better and see what the full narrative looks like on December 7.”

How’s this for a narrative? Among the Power Five conferences, the Big Ten has the longest drought between national championship appearances (six seasons) and a national title winner (11). Without flawless play by a league contender and chaos elsewhere, those twin streaks are certain to continue.

Iowa lands Division II graduate transfer

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The graduate transfer has become a great vehicle for Group of 5 and FCS players who over-perform at their level to shoot their shot at a Power 5 program. But Iowa this weekend added an extremely rare Division II-to-Power 5 graduate transfer.

Zach VanValkenburg on Saturday pledged his commitment to Iowa after being pursued by multiple Big Ten programs.

“So thankful for all the people who have gotten me to this point; my parents, my coaches in high school, and my coaches at Hillsdale,” VanValkenburg in an iPhone note posted to his Twitter account. “Leaving Hillsdale is bittersweet but I have reached the end of the road here educationally and my goals are uncompromising. I will always cherish the experiences I had here and the friendships I have made. With that said, I’m very proud to announce that I will be continuing both my academic and football careers at the University of Iowa this fall! Go Hawkeyes!”

Playing at Hillsdale College, a private college in an eponymous Michigan town, the 6-foot-4, 266-pound defensive end collected 70 tackles with 14.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks and three forced fumbles in 2018.

He will be expected to add depth along Iowa’s defensive line after losing all four starters from last year’s team.

VanValkenburg will have two seasons to compete for the Hawkeyes.

Idaho WR diagnosed with kidney cancer

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Idaho wide receiver Collin Sather is battling advanced renal cancer, the program has announced. Renal cancer attacks the kidneys and most commonly attacks older men.

According to the Idaho Statesman, Sather began experiencing stomach pains on Jan. 17, and by Jan. 21 the pains had progressed to the point where he had to be hospitalized. He is currently undergoing dialysis and chemotherapy at Deaconess Hospital in Spokane, and once he is stabilized will be transferred to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

“We are with Collin every day during this fight,” Idaho head coach Paul Petrino said in a statement. “He is a great young man and the model of a great teammate. Everyone in our program cares a lot about him, and he will always be a valued member of this team.

“We keep Collin and his family in our thoughts and prayers each day. We are here to help him keep fighting, and we will be here to welcome him back when he wins his battle.”

A Spokane, Wash., native, Sather was an all-conference player in football and basketball at West Valley High School before signing with Idaho in 2018. He redshirted last fall.

Mark Dantonio approved for rolling 1-year extension

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Mark Dantonio signed a 6-year contract in 2016 that was essentially an indefinite contract. Under the provisions of the deal, MSU’s Board of Trustees each February have the option to tack another year onto the contract, making it essentially a rolling 6-year contract, and for the second straight year they have done just that, according to the Lansing State Journal‘s R.J. Wolcott.

Though he is 2-for-2 on automatic rollovers (the deal would remain a 5-year contract if MSU’s trustees for some reason did not approve the rollover), both extensions have come amid a fair level of turmoil around the program.

In 2017, Dantonio successfully rebounded from Sparty’s 3-9 2016 campaign to go 10-3 with a No. 15 finish in the AP poll, but he was dogged by accusations that he mishandled sexual assault allegations against a handful of Spartan players — amid a complete mishandling (to put it lightly) of sexual assault allegations elsewhere in the athletics department, against gymnastics trainer Larry Nassar.

In 2018, Dantonio watched Michigan State’s record slink to 7-6 and, instead of making changes on the offensive staff, he opted to retain his entire roster of offensive coaches, though in different spots.

Still, Dantonio secured his extension. The 2025 season would take Dantonio to his 19th season at Michigan State and past his 69th birthday.

He is 107-51 with three Big Ten championships, two AP top-5 finishes and one College Football Playoff appearance in a dozen seasons as the head Spartan.

Georgia State pulling new offensive coordinator from FCS ranks

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After losing Travis Trickett to his old country roads of West Virginia, Georgia State’s new offensive coordinator is a name unfamiliar to most fans, but not to Panthers head coach Shawn Elliott.

Georgia State will hire Brad Glenn as its new offensive coordinator, a source confirmed to CFT.

Glenn is currently the associate head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Western Carolina. Prior to that, he spent seven years on staff at Appalachian State, at times coaching the Mountaineers’ slot receivers, tight ends and quarterbacks. Elliott was App State’s offensive line coach from 2001-09.

Georgia State ranked No. 76 nationally in yards per play (5.57) and No. 104 in scoring (23.9 points per game) en route to a 2-10 season in 2018.