We still have no real clue where the Group of Five contenders rank against each other in the eyes of the College Football Playoff selection committee. We do know for sure East Carolina once did enough to impress the committee enough to appear in the first ranking released by the committee just weeks ago. After losing on the road at Temple, is East Carolina cooked or is there a chance for redemption on the field? Whatever the case is, East Carolina must win Thursday night’s game against Cincinnati for the Pirates to even have an argument for consideration to receive the selection committee’s reserved spot in the New Years Six bowl line-up.
“We’re ready to fight back. Like we always say, we have to get our face back,” ECU linebacker Zeek Bigger said, per The Charlotte Observer. “This is a game that we have to play and we have to be ready to play and we will be ready to play.”
There will be one spot in the New Years Six bowl line-up reserved for the highest-ranked conference champion from the American Athletic Conference, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West Conference or Sun Belt Conference. Right now, Marshall is the only undefeated team in the Group of Five, although it is unknown if they would be the favorite or not for the lucrative bowl spot. Boise State, Colorado State and Utah State in the Mountain West Conference could have decent arguments, and Northern Illinois is still lurking after a Tuesday night victory against Toledo. Georgia Southern is making some noise out of the Sun Belt for now, but would need a waiver approved just to play in a bowl game. Then there is the AAC.
Memphis currently sits alone in first place in the AAC, although a win Thursday night will send East Carolina or Cincinnati into a tie for first-place. Defending conference champion UCF is also in the running with one conference loss so far. The perceived problem is every team in the conference has at least two losses, so it is hard to say the conference champion out of the AAC would be a lock to finish ahead of a 13-0 Marshall with a Conference USA championship.
There could still be a big bowl awaiting East Carolina, but winning on the road at Cincinnati is hardly a given. The Pirates may be sending quarterback Shane Carden and wide receiver Justin Hardy to the Senior Bowl, but any hope of playing in the Peach Bowl will be dependant on avoiding another slip-up in conference play. The talent is on the roster, but ECU has to get back to starting strong.
We’re at the dawn of a new season in college football but for a lot of folks, the upcoming campaign is a lot more about the ending than the beginning. We’re talking of course about the thing that dominates the debate in the sport for much of the fall: the College Football Playoff.
Though it seems like we’re stuck at four teams in the postseason event for the foreseeable future, expansion of the playoff is a topic that seems like a never ending well. Most want it, but few in power seem to be pushing for it.
That point was reiterated this week by Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick. The leader of a program who made last year’s edition of the final four and one of the more powerful people in college athletics recently told the South Bend Tribune that he doesn’t see a move to six or eight teams in the event anytime soon.
“I don’t want to speculate on that. I don’t sense a lot of momentum,” Swarbrick said. “But again, this is a group of individuals who cares about college football and think about it all the time. And so that’s all you want, a process where people are always talking about how to make the game better. But I don’t sense any particular momentum for change right now.”
If anybody would have some insight into the thought process regarding expansion, it’s bound to be Swarbrick — who sits on the CFP Management Committee and has his school president on the overarching CFP Board of Managers.
Perhaps something will change by 2025 when the postseason contract comes up with ESPN but until then, get used to four teams.
At some point in the distant future, Missouri fans, coaches, players and administrators will forget about the sanctions that the NCAA handed out to their football program.
That day is not today however.
Hot on the heels of Friday’s decision by the NCAA to slap the wrist of Mississippi State over a somewhat similar academic fraud case, Tigers AD Jim Sterk is telling anybody who will listen just how wronged his school was in the wake of what happened at his SEC rival.
“We believe that the penalties imposed in the recently decided and factually similar case (at Mississippi State) further illustrate that the penalties imposed on Mizzou were excessive and inconsistent with previous case precedent,” Sterk told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. We have never wavered from our stance or the merits of our appeal and remain hopeful it will be successful.”
The Tigers are hopeful that an appeal will be decided in the fairly near future and, obviously, that it will be a favorable ruling.
There are a handful of differences between Mizzou’s and the Bulldogs’ cases and enough to make comparing them apples to oranges despite being under the broad umbrella of academic fraud. We’ll see what ultimately ends up happening but something says that short of a complete reversal, Tigers fans and others sporting the gold and black won’t be happy with the NCAA for a long, long time.
The latest completely unsurprising quarterback decision? Step right up Wisconsin!
As has long been expected, the Badgers confirmed via their Week 1 depth chart release on Sunday that junior Jack Coan would be the Badgers starting quarterback for the upcoming season:
Coan was an obvious choice for Paul Chryst given his experience at the position and one wonders what took the program so long in naming him the guy given his five starts last season, including leading a blowout of a Miami in the Pinstripe Bowl. He threw for 515 yards and five touchdowns (against three interceptions) last year and replaced a rather ineffective Alex Hornibrook down the stretch.
With Hornibrook transferring to Florida State in the offseason and both Graham Mertz and Chase Wolf being freshmen, picking Coan to lead the team under center was an expected end result.
Perhaps the far more interesting name on the Wisconsin depth chart is that of wide receiver Quintez Cephus as the backup behind Kendric Pryor. While the former’s talent undoubtedly makes him one of the top options in the passing game, it’s still notable to see his name pop up given that he was so recently reinstated to the team following his acquittal of sexual assault charges earlier in the month.
Cephus has been practicing with the team but he did miss all of last season while dealing with the legal issues and will have less than two weeks of practices under his belt before the opener at USF on Aug. 30.
Either way, we at least know where he stands in the pecking order for the Badgers and who will be throwing him passes this season as UW gets set to make another run at the Big Ten title.
The SEC East sure is having itself a weekend. And only a handful of teams can say that’s a good thing.
Hot on the heals of Tennessee DB Bryce Thompson getting arrested, Georgia is now dealing with an arrest of their own. While the charges are not quite as serious as those in Knoxville, they are still enough to make Kirby Smart blow a gasket or two.
As per DawgNation, Bulldogs freshman defensive lineman Bill Norton was booked on a number of alcohol-related charges early Sunday morning and eventually released on bond. Record show he was cited for driving under the influence, failure to maintain lane/improper driving and minor in possession of alcohol.
A court date does not appear to have been set just yet in the matter.
While there seemed to be little chance that Norton saw action in the opener against Vanderbilt on Saturday night, his arrest probably ended any slim hope of seeing the field or traveling with the team to Nashville.
A four-star prospect coming out of high school in Tennessee, Norton picked Georgia over fellow SEC rivals Alabama, Ole Miss, Tennessee and others.