On Monday night, Oregon and Ohio State will play in the first College Football Playoff National Championship Game in Arlington, Texas. It will be the first time since the 1968 season a team from the Big Ten and the Pac-12 (or the Pac-8 in this case) battled for college football’s top honor.
Somehow, the Big Ten and Pac-10/Pac-12 missed each other during the BCS Era. The Big Ten and Pac-10 combined for six BCS championship game appearances (SEC fans laugh at that stat, probably), including a string of four straight years at one point, but the two never overlapped on the biggest of stages. Until now.
In 1968, the Rose Bowl just happened to have a dream match-up in Pasadena with No. 1 Ohio State representing the Big Ten against No. 2 USC from the Pac-8. Woody Hayes and his Buckeyes pulled away with Ohio State quarterback Rex Kern winning game MVP honors following the 27-16 victory over John McKay and his Trojans, with 1968 Heisman Trophy winner O.J. Simpson (that Heisman Trophy was just recovered following a 20-year search).
The 1969 Rose Bowl between Ohio State and USC was the second Rose Bowl to be played between top two teams. No. 1 USC defeated No. 2 Wisconsin in the 1963 Rose Bowl in the other. The 1980 Rose Bowl featured No. 1 Ohio State losing to No. 3 USC, which gave Alabama the national title as a result. USC also claimed the national title after defeating No. 3 Ohio State in the 1973 Rose Bowl, with the Trojans ranked No. 1 going in. So championships have been on the line, but very rarely were they the definitive national championship game between the two power conferences.
There have also been other seasons in which one of the top two teams in the country played in the Rose Bowl Game with a hope to win a share of the national championship. USC laid claim to a split of the 2003 season’s national title with a win over Michigan in the 2004 Rose Bowl. Michigan earned a share of the 1997 national championship, but Penn State was left with nothing to show for a 12-0 season ending with a victory in Pasadena against Oregon in the 1995 Rose Bowl.
Still, considering the traditional strength of each conference, it is amazing to think it has taken this long for both conferences to be represented in a no-questions-asked national championship game.
Maybe it will be worth the wait.
Just a couple of months into his tenure as the Ole Miss football head coach, Lane Kiffin is already leaving his recruiting mark.
In November of last year, Marc Britt committed to play his college football at Florida. The Early Signing Period came and went without the four-star 2020 prospect signing with the Gators. On National Signing Day earlier this month, Britt didn’t put his Herbie Hancock on a National Letter of Intent with UF either.
A little over two weeks later, at a signing ceremony at his Miami high school, though, Britt confirmed that he had flipped his commitment to Ole Miss football.
Ole Miss football has not yet confirmed Britt’s signing. Kiffin, though, has been retweeting reports of Britt’s flip on his personal Twitter account as well as the recruit’s own tweets.
Britt is a four-star 2020 recruit. Coming out of high school in Miami, he’s rated as the No. 44 player regardless of position in the state of Florida. 247Sports.com’s composite has him listed as the No. 9 athlete in the country. Only two signees in the Rebels’ class this year are rated higher than Britt.
At this point, it’s unclear whether Britt will start his collegiate career as a wide receiver or a defensive back.
Ole Miss football currently has the No. 34 recruiting class in the country. That would also be 12th in the 14-team SEC.
We don’t know yet who will be the next Colorado football head coach. We do know (again), though, who it won’t be.
When Mel Tucker left for the Michigan State head job earlier this month, it triggered an unexpected coaching search at Colorado. Current Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator and former Colorado football Eric Bieniemy was immediately considered the front-runner, although speculation of late had him staying in the NFL.
Overnight, Mike Klis of the NBC affiliate in Denver reported that Bieniemy “notified his alma mater Wednesday night he would no longer seek the job.” ESPN‘s Adam Schefter subsequently confirmed that Bieniemy has withdrawn his name from consideration.
Klis wrote that, “[a]lthough Bieniemy never formally interviewed for the CU head job, he and school officials stayed in contact either personally or through his agent, even while he and his family kept a long-scheduled, 5-day vacation.”
The 50-year-old Bieniemy was a running back with the Buffaloes in the late eighties, finishing third in the Heisman Trophy voting his senior season. He began his coaching career at his alma mater as running backs coach in 2001-02. He returned to Colorado football in 2011-12 as offensive coordinator.
Since 2013, Bieniemy has been a member of the Chiefs coaching staff.
So, to where does Colorado football now turn? Air Force’s Troy Calhoun has seemingly taken the front-runner mantle in some corners — he interviewed for the CU job this week — while former Arkansas and Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema is in the mix as well. Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian also interviewed for the job this week. Like Bieniemy, the former USC and Washington head coach has opted to remain in his current job.
Since being rebuffed by both Sarkisian and Bieniemy, it’s believed that Colorado has decided to expand its search for the next head football coach. That, of course, would mean the search could drag on into next week.
Brady Hoke‘s second first coaching staff with the San Diego State football program will have a familial feeling to it.
Thursday, San Diego State announced that Kyle Hoke has been hired as a defensive assistant for the Aztecs. Specifically, Kyle Hoke will coach SDSU’s safeties.
The newest assistant is the nephew of the first-year San Diego State football head coach. This will mark the younger Hoke’s second on-field job at the FBS level.
Kyle Hoke spent the 2019 season as the safeties coach at FCS Indiana State. The year before that, he manned the same position at Texas State.
In 2017, Hoke was the defensive coordinator at Div. III John Carroll. From 2015-16, Hoke was a graduate assistant at South Carolina. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Western Michigan (2012-13).
Kyle Hoke played his college football at Ball State. His head coach his true freshman season? His uncle, who then left for his first stint as the San Diego State football head coach.
In early January, Rocky Long stepped down as SDSU’s head coach. Hoke, the defensive line coach for the Aztecs in 2019, was immediately named as Long’s replacement.
During his first go-round at the Mountain West Conference school, Hoke posted a 13-12 record before leaving for the Michigan job.
San Diego State has won at least 10 games in four of the past five seasons, including 10 in 2019. Prior to that strecth, the Aztecs won double-digit games in a season just four times total in the program’s FBS history.
If you had Wake Forest football in the “Next FBS Team to be the Subject of a Portal Post,” pat yourself on the back. Or give yourself a cookie. Or both.
According to 247Sports.com, Mike Edwards is now listed in the NCAA transfer database. A Wake Forest football official subsequently confirmed the offensive lineman’s positioning in the portal.
The move shouldn’t come as a surprise as Edwards was medically disqualified late last year from playing again for Wake Forest football.
“If Edwards is unable to find a spot where he can be cleared to play, he’s welcome to continue his academic work at Wake Forest where he would be kept on scholarship,” the same website wrote. Should the rising redshirt sophomore lineman remain on scholarship at Wake, he wouldn’t count against the program’s 85-man limit.
Edwards was a three-star member of the Wake Forest football Class of 2018. The North Carolina native was the No. 18 recruit regardless of position in his home state. He was also the highest-rated signee in the Demon Deacons’ class that year.
As a true freshman, Edwards took a redshirt. Because of unspecified injuries, he didn’t play at all this past season.
Edwards is at least the third Wake Forest player to enter the portal since very late last year, including quarterback Jamie Newman. The school has also brought in a transfer from a Power Five school.
Wake is coming off an 8-5 record in its sixth season under Dave Clawson. The Demon Deacons’ 30 wins the past four is the program’s best four-year stretch since they won 33 games from 2006-09.