The College Football Oscars go to…

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Oh, you thought awards season was over for college football? Well, yeah, it is, but that does not mean we cannot have a little more fun during what is typically a slow time, right?

In honor of the Academy Awards tonight, here are some selections for College Football Academy Awards. Feel free to share your own College Football Oscar winners or additional nominations in the comments section below.

Best Picture: The College Football Playoff

It is not all that often the year’s biggest box office winner takes home the golden statue. In this case, the College Football Playoff did just that with massive TV ratings, the biggest story of the season and dramatic flair on the field with a stellar cast, team of directors, production team, original score and more. Simply put, it was the complete package. Just for good measure, it created its own gold trophy too.

Best Directing: Urban Meyer, Ohio State

The 2014 season has already been regarded by many as his best coaching performance of his career. After losing a potential Heisman candidate quarterback in Braxton Miller before the season started, Urban Meyer managed to put together a championship season few saw coming midway through September.

Honorable mentions: Gary Patterson, Art Briles, Dan Mullen

Best Screenplay: Ole Miss and Mississippi State

Not all great stories end with a happy ending. Ole Miss and Mississippi State each had their moments in the spotlight this season and captivated the college football world in the process. The Bulldogs climbed to No. 1 in the polls and Ole Miss upset Alabama in one of the best seasons of college football in the state of Mississippi in a long time. You really could not script a story like it.

Honorable mention: TCU

Best Drama: Florida State

No team delivered drama the way Florida State did in 2014. The Seminoles entered the season as defending national champions and gave fans reason to live on the edge of their seats from start to finish. No matter the situation, Florida State managed to come up with a win until running into Oregon in the Rose Bowl.

Best Comedy: This Frank Beamer Moment

Virginia Tech beat eventual national champion Ohio State in 2014, but this moment from Frank Beamer may have been the funniest of the season.

Frank Beamer 0-0

Best Performance in a Foreign Feature: Sam Ficken, Penn State

Penn State opened the 2014 season abroad with a contest against defending American Athletic Conference champion UCF in Ireland. Kicker Sam Ficken gave the Nittany Lions a last-second victory with a 36-yard field goal as time expired for a 26-24 win. Ficken was four-for-four on field goal attempts (and two-for-two on extra point attempts) in the season-opening win across the Atlantic Ocean.

Best Documentary: “Brian And The Boz”

ESPN added a couple of new documentaries to its 30 for 30 series that would be of interest to college football fans. The feature on former Oklahoma Sooners standout Brian Bosworth was a good one, but you could not go worn with “Rand University,” which profiled the early days of Randy Moss.

Best Original Score: “The Victors,” Michigan

Michigan may not have had much to celebrate in 2014, but “The Victors” remains among the best of the best when it comes to college foght songs. Why some Michigan students feel a need for a new fight song is beyond me.

Best Original Song: Anything but “Centuries”

You heard it all season long during commercials and in-game promos and possibly more. Fall Out Boy’s “Centuries” was dumped on you the viewer from start to finish last season by ESPN to tie into the College Football Playoff. Here’s to a new season, when another song will undoubtedly be crammed down our ears all season long.

Best Costume Design: Nike and Oregon

Oregon v Oregon State
Oregon v Oregon State

Sure, I may be more of a traditionalist when it comes to uniforms, but you have to hand it to Oregon and Nike. The pair continues to set the standard for modern day uniform design that many attempt to emulate. The combo of Nike and Oregon has been named the top uniform by many outlets including USA Today and Bleacher Report.

Best Visual Effects: Army-Navy Game Pregame Card Stunt

The pageantry surrounding the traditional Army-Navy Game is unrivaled in college football even by the bets of rivalries, but the pregame card stunt is often one of the more stunning visuals seen during the college football season and pictures can only do so much justice.

Helmet stickers to The Academy: Reddit, Twitter

Clemson transfer Xavier Kelly tweets commitment to Arkansas

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Another Clemson football transfer has found a new college football home.

In mid-January, Xavier Kelly took the first step in leaving the Clemson football program by announcing that he had entered the NCAA transfer database.  Later that month, it was reported that the defensive lineman would be taking a visit to Arkansas as he looked to move on from the Clemson football team.

Late Monday night, Kelly made his future-home decision.  On Twitter, the lineman confirmed that he “will be finishing out my college career at the University of Arkansas.”

Kelly left the Clemson football program as a graduate transfer, making him eligible to play immediately in 2020. The upcoming season will serve as his final year of eligibility.

A four-star member of the Tigers’ 2016 recruiting class, Kelly was rated as the No. 1 player regardless of position in the state of Kansas. The Wichita product was also rated as the No. 8 weakside defensive end in the country. He took a redshirt for his true freshman season.

The 6-4, 305-pound lineman went on to play in 28 games the past three seasons. For his career, Kelly has been credited with 26 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

Kelly would become the fourth graduate transfer added by Arkansas since mid-January.

  • Arkansas State defensive back Jerry Jacobs (HERE).
  • Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks (HERE).
  • Oklahoma linebacker Levi Draper (HERE).
  • Duke kicker AJ Reed (HERE).

Son of ex-Old Dominion head coach Bobby Wilder to stay, play sixth season with Monarchs

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A potentially awkward situation for Old Dominion football and one of its players has turned into anything but.  To the credit, it should be noted, of both sides.

In early December, Bobby Wilder stepped down as the head coach of the Old Dominion football team after 11 seasons.  Wilder was the only head coach in the history of the Monarchs program.

Wilder’s son, ODU defensive end Derek Wilder, was “hurt and angry” over what some considered the forced resignation of his father.  In December, after the coaching upheaval, the younger Wilder was granted a sixth season of eligibility he could use in 2020.  Whether that additional year of eligibility would be as a part of Old Dominion football program or another remained up in the air.

A call from Wilder’s replacement, Ricky Rahne, to the man he replaced helped set the wheels in motion for the lineman to return to Monarchs this coming season.  From the school’s official website:

He called me to ask me some questions about the program and the players and that was the first conversation that Ricky and I had about my son,” Wilder said. “He indicated that he wanted Derek to come back.

“I shared that with Derek and he met with Ricky his first week here. Derek really enjoyed talking to him and decided at that point he was coming back.

“He thinks a lot of Ricky and is excited about next season.”

Rahne said he told Derek that “I wanted him back, that I thought he could be a good leader for us.

“Obviously, he’s experienced a lot. He’s had to grow a lot throughout this process. I felt like this would be an opportunity for Derek to go out and play a little bit freer.

“I was excited when he got his sixth year and I am excited that he is coming back.

Because of injury, Wilder the player missed 21 of 24 games in the 2016-17 seasons.  That made the decision by the NCAA to give him another season of eligibility a relative slamdunk.

In 2018, Wilder played in 10 games at linebacker.  This past season, he moved up to the line and played in all 12 games for the first time in his career.  Wilder started 10 of the contests at defensive end, and will be expected to keep that starting job heading into the 2020 campaign.

More signs connecting Charlie Strong to analyst role at Alabama

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At this point, it would seemingly be an upset if Charlie Strong doesn’t land at Alabama football.

In early December of last year, Strong was let go as the head coach at South Florida.  Over the past two-plus months, the 59-year-old Strong has remained on the outside of the coaching profession looking in.  There has been speculation, though, that Strong could be returning to Florida and joining Dan Mullens‘ extended staff as a defensive analyst.

Late last week, however, it was reported that Charlie Strong was in Tuscaloosa visiting with the Alabama football coaching staff.  A few days later, it’s now being reported that Strong is expected back in T-Town this week.  Perhaps as early as tomorrow, according to Matt Zenitz of al.com.

Nick Saban doesn’t have an opening on his 10-man on-field coaching staff.  However, Charlie Strong could conceivably join the Alabama football program as some type of an analyst, ala Butch Jones and myriad others.

Strong has spent the past decade as a head coach.  After going 37-15 in four seasons (2010-13) at Louisville, Strong left to take the head job at Texas.  Three seasons (2014-16) in Austin ended with his dismissal following a 16-21 record.  Strong’s tenure at USF ended after three seasons (2017-19) as well and a 4-8 2019 campaign.

In the last six years of his head-coaching career, Strong posted a 37-37 record.

Prior to that, Strong spent seven years (2003-09) as the defensive coordinator at Florida.  During that time with the Gators, he also coached defensive ends and linebackers.  For four of those seasons, Mullen was UF’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach before leaving to take the Mississippi State job.

That was actually Strong’s fourth stint with the Gators.  From 1991-94, he coached defensive tackles (1994) and defensive ends (1991-93).  He also served as outside linebackers coach from 1988-89.  Strong began his collegiate coaching career as a graduate assistant at UF in 1983-84.

Strong was also the defensive coordinator at South Carolina for four years (1999-2002) before moving on to Gainesville that fourth time.  In between the third Gainesville stint and his time in Columbia, Strong was the defensive line coach at Notre Dame from 1995-98.

Kentucky’s Vince Marrow will likely be highest-paid non-coordinator in college football this year

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For Vince Marrow of Kentucky, it paid to be wooed by Michigan State.

After an initial denial, Mel Tucker reversed course and left Colorado to become the Michigan State head coach. Not only will Tucker be doubling his salary in East Lansing, but his salary pool for assistant coaches will be nearly double what he had to work with in Boulder as well.

Marrow was one of the assistants Tucker had hoped to bring to Michigan State, wooing the longtime Kentucky coach and close friend into his new fold. Instead, he opted to eschew the chance to move to Michigan State and remain at Kentucky.

In a non-coincidental move, UK Monday released the details of a new contract agreement signed last Thursday by Marrow. Per that new deal, Marrow, who is tight ends coach while also serving as recruiting coordinator and associate head coach, will be paid $900,000 annually as part of the three-year contract. This past season, Marrow was paid $600,000 in guaranteed compensation.

With Mike Yurcich ($950,000) taking over as Texas’ offensive coordinator after spending 2019 as Ohio State’s quarterbacks coach and Sam Pittman ($900,000) leaving as Georgia’s offensive line to take the head job at Arkansas, Marrow is currently the highest-paid non-coordinator in college football. That statement is based on the USA Today coaches salary database.

Marrow will also have a salary on par with UK offensive coordinator Eddie Gran and slightly above the $875,000 set for defensive coordinator Brad White.

The 51-year-old Marrow has spent the past eight seasons at Kentucky.  He was retained when Mark Stoops took over the Wildcats in November of 2012.