The first month of college football is in the books and we know this about the Boise State Broncos; Boise State’s heyday is behind it. Just a couple of years ago you never would have expected the Broncos to be dominated on the road in conference play and lose a neutral site game against a power conference opponent.
Boise State opened the season with a loss to Ole Miss in Atlanta. The Rebels played a rough game on that Thursday night, the kind Boise State used to take advantage of. The Broncos scored a nice conference victory with a win over Colorado State, but last night the Broncos were grounded by Air Force, 28-14. The game was not as close as that score would suggest. Boise State turned the football over seven times, including four interceptions thrown by Grant Hedrick. That has opened the door for head coach Bryan Harsin‘s first quarterback controversy. The problem for the first-year Boise State coach is there is no Kellen Moore to be found on the roster.
Ryan Finley replaced Hedrick in the game and led the offense to two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Harsin will now face questions and pressure regarding the quarterback situation heading into Boise State’s next game, next week on the road against Nevada. Next week’s contest with Nevada is a difficult one and Boise State still has to play Fresno State and Utah State (and BYU in non-conference play).
If nothing else, we are witnessing just how special Boise State’s run as a BCS Cinderella was under head coach Chris Petersen. What the Broncos managed to do in those seasons is difficult to do, and is not common. The pieces fell together for the Broncos under the BCS format. The new College Football Playoff is one that leaves a door open just a bit wider for a program like Boise State to play in a big bowl game. Right now East Carolina appears to be first in line for that prized invitation.
Boise State does not have that far to go to get back to that lofty status among its Group of Five peers, but the Broncos need to find a quarterback that can be trusted with the offense. They have a running back that fits just fine with Jay Ajayi and the defense is good enough, but the Broncos need to improve at quarterback. Under the structure in place, a quarterback can make a huge difference for Boise State. Finding one may be tougher than it used to be though, because Boise State is not in a power conference, which means they do not benefit from the perks that come with autonomy. The overall impact this has on Boise State and other Group of Five schools remains to be seen, but there are plenty of quarterbacks out there.
Boise State’s uphill battle is based on recruiting. Petersen was able to recruit. We will have to see if Harsin can do the same as head coach. But recruiting trends are stacked against Boise State. When playing in California or Texas or anywhere south is a viable option for a player, how many will choose to play in Idaho? It is not a new problem for Boise State, but the sales pitch is easier to sell when Boise State has established itself as a team capable and worthy of being on the same field as power conference opponents. So ultimately it all comes down to winning games.
Boise State has lost its edge as a non-power conference program. Has it been lost for good?
Iowa is the latest football program caught up in the maelstrom of needed, necessary change.
Saturday, Iowa announced that longtime strength & conditioning coach Chris Doyle has been placed on administrative leave. Additionally, an independent review will be conducted into allegations that Doyle directly contributed to “racial disparities in the Iowa football program.”
The development came after former Hawkeye football players took to social media en masse in the past couple of days to accuse Doyle of creating a hostile environment. Specifically, as it pertained to black Iowa football players. One former player spoke of Doyle mocking black football players that “made you walk around the football facility on eggshells … and caused anxiety that could be unbearable at times with your dreams and career on the line.”
“There are too many racial disparities in the Iowa football program,” former starting offensive lineman James Daniels wrote in a tweet. “Black players have been treated unfairly for far too long.”
In a video statement, Kirk Ferentz described the past 24 or so hours as “a defining moment” for his program.
“I appreciate the former players’ candor and have been reaching out to many of them individually to hear more about their experiences in our program,” the longtime coach stated. “I am planning on talking to all of them in the coming days. This is a process that will take some time, but change begins by listening first.
“Many of the discussions have centered around our Strength and Conditioning program and Coach Chris Doyle. I have spoken with him about the allegations posted on social media. They are troubling and have created a lasting impact on those players. Therefore, Coach Doyle has been placed on administrative leave immediately while there is an independent review. He and I agree that all parties will have their voices heard and then a decision about how to move forward will be made.”
Doyle has been the strength coach at Iowa since 1999. Last year, he was the highest-paid at his position in the country.
For the second time in a week, Troy has added a Power Five opponent to its future football slates.
Late last month, it was Iowa added to the 2024 schedule. This week, Troy announced a future football game against Missouri. That one-off matchup will take place Nov. 21, 2026.
Obviously, the game will take place at Missouri’s Memorial Stadium.
Troy and Mizzou have played four times previously, the first in 2002 and the most recent this past season. Mizzou won three of those matchups, with the Trojans knocking off a 14th-ranked Tigers squad in 2004 at Troy. All three of the Missouri wins came in Columbia.
The game against Missouri will actually be the second in 2026 for Troy football against an SEC school. Troy had previously announced a home-and-home series with Mississippi State that starts that season. In 2027, the Bulldogs will travel to the Trojans.
Since becoming an FBS program in 2001, Troy has played 25 games against members of the SEC. The Trojans are 3-22 in those matchups. The other two wins came against Mississippi State in 2001 and LSU in 2017.
After winning 10-plus games in three straight seasons from 2016-18, Troy tumbled to a 5-7 record in 2019. That was the Trojans’ first season under Chip Lindsey. Lindsey replaced Neal Brown, who left to take the head job at West Virginia.
For the first time in a couple of a few months, an Ole Miss football player has hit the transfer portal.
In February, it was cornerback Deantre Prince hitting the transfer database. Four months later, former Ole Miss football teammate Charles Wiley has done the same. The Jackson Clarion Ledger was the first to report the move.
Wiley will be leaving the SEC as a graduate transfer. That will allow the linebacker/edge rusher to play immediately in 2020. The upcoming season will serve as his final year of eligibility.
Now, for what’s seemingly becoming a daily disclaimer when it comes to transfers.
As we’ve stated myriad times in the past, a player can remove his name from the portal and remain at the same school. At this point, though, other programs are permitted to contact a player without receiving permission from his current football program.
NCAA bylaws also permit schools to pull a portal entrant’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered it.
Wiley was a four-star member of the Ole Miss football Class of 2016. The Stockbridge, Ga., native was the No. 23 player regardless of position in the Peach State. He was also the No. 17 weakside defensive end in the country.
Wiley took a redshirt as a true freshman. The next three seasons, he played in a combined 33 games. The 6-2, 244-pound defender started three of those contests, with all three coming in 2018.
All told, Wiley has been credited with 57 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and 5½ sacks. He set career-highs in tackles for loss (six) in 2018 and sacks (three) this past season.
A touted member of a Duke football recruiting class a couple of years ago has found a new home. And at a lower rung on the collegiate ladder.
In May, it was confirmed that Tahj Rice took the first step in leaving Duke football by entering the NCAA transfer database. On Twitter this past week, Rice announced that he has committed to Eastern Kentucky. And he’s changing his surname for good measure.
“Thank you Duke for the moments and memories it won’t be forgotten,” the defensive tackle wrote. “I’m excited to say I’ve transferred to @ekusports and I’ve decided to change my last name to Mcclung because it’s LONG [overdue].”
According to his official Duke bio, Rice is the son of Iana and Marcus McClung.
As Eastern Kentucky plays at the FCS level, Rice/McClung will be eligible to play immediately in 2020. He’ll have another seaosn he can use in 2021 as well.
Rice was a four-star member of the Duke football Class of 2018. The Louisville product was rated as the No. 15 strongside defensive end in the country. He was also the No. 3 recruit regardless of position in the state of Kentucky.
Most notably, Rice was the highest-rated signee in the Blue Devils’ class that year. In fact, he was the only four-star signee for Duke that cycle.
Rice played in 24 games the past two seasons. He would’ve played in a 25th, but an appendectomy cost him an appearance in the 2018 Independence Bowl.
During his time with the Blue Devils, he was credited with 16 tackles, 2½ tackles for loss and 1½ sacks.
Rice is one of at least five Duke football players ( the others are HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE) who have left the Blue Devils since the calendar flipped from 2019 to 2020.