Ohio State athletics director Gene Smith has plenty of reasons to offer praise for the new College Football Playoff. His football program wiggled into the four-team playoff last season after nudging past and pulling away from Big 12 contenders Baylor and TCU, and then the Buckeyes took advantage of the opportunity by defeating SEC champion Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and Pac-12 champion Oregon in the first College Football Playoff national championship game. Naturally, Smith thinks the playoff worked out well, and he would prefer to keep it as it is moving forward.
Smith’s primary concern about potential expansion to the College Football Playoff appears to be the health of the players. A championship contender is already set to play 14 to 15 games in a single season (12 regular season games, conference championship game if applicable, one semifinal game and national championship game), and expanding to the length of an NFL season at this level is not something Smith feels would be a good idea.
“Could they (play one)? Sure,” Smith said Tuesday at the Big Ten spring meetings (He also said he expects Braxton Miller to stay at Ohio State in 2015). “Would we have had significant injuries? No doubt. We had a nice gap between the Big Ten championship game and the Sugar Bowl. But we still had guys recovering from playing the gauntlet of the regular season.”
The health and safety of the players has been a big topic in recent years, so it comes as no surprise there might be some hesitation to expand the postseason by at least one more round because of it. Remember, the players are not paid to play (beyond the value of a scholarship), and schools are preparing to offer more in total cost of attendance packages and more through the age of autonomy.
The College Football Playoff cooked up some massive TV numbers and the revenue generated from it was nice as well. You would think there would be some financial incentive to expand the playoff field by one more round, and the calls for expansion are already firing up (they were growing before the completion of one year of the new system), but the company line coming from the College Football Playoff is it remains committed to a four-team format for the duration of the current contract (so 11 more years of four-team playoffs).
The playoff is very likely to expand at one point. It is more a question of “When,” not “If.”
If the “Days Without An Arrest” ticker was still a thing, it’d be a Tulsa football player responsible for setting it back to double zeroes.
According to Tulsa World, Cristian Williams was arrested this past weekend on one count of driving under the influence. Details of what led up to the arrest and charge have not yet been released.
As a result of the arrest, the Tulsa football program has indefinitely suspended the safety.
The off-field incident has cast somewhat of a shadow on what was a feel-good story for the 2019 season.
Williams returned to the playing field last August after missing most of the 2018 season with what was thought to be a career-ending health issue. The defensive back had been diagnosed with an “Arnold Chiari Type 1 malformation (a fluid-filled cyst commonly known as a syrinx)” in September and moved over to become a student assistant as he dealt with the issue.
In his return to the field, Williams started all 12 games for the Golden Hurricane in 2019. He has been awarded a sixth season of eligibility, which he’ll be permitted to use in 2020. Provided there is a season, of course.
During his time with Tulsa football, Williams has started 16 of the 39 games in which he played.
Tulsa is coming off a 4-8 football campaign. That marked the third straight losing season for the Golden Hurricane since they won 10 games in 2016. In bringing back Montgomery for a sixth season, though, the program made it clear that it’s a bowl game or bust in 2020. Whether the pandemic alters that mindset remains to be seen.
Jason Shelley may have left Utah but, thanks to Utah State, he won’t be leaving the Beehive State to continue his football career.
Way back in early February, Shelley took the first step in leaving the Utes by entering the NCAA transfer database. More than five months later, Utah State has officially confirmed the quarterback’s addition to the football roster.
As a graduate transfer, Shelley is eligible to play immediately for the Aggies in 2020. Additionally, the school noted, Shelley will have another year of eligibility to use in 2021 as well.
Shelley was a three-star member of the Utes’ 2017 recruiting class. The 247Sports.com competitive had the Texas product rated as the No. 17 dual-threat quarterback in the country.
In 19 career games with the Pac-12 program, Shelley started five of those contests. In that action, Shelley completed 104-of-179 passes for 1,205 yards, six touchdowns and six interceptions. He also ran for 223 yards and another four scores.
The Aggies are coming off a 7-6 record in their second first season under Gary Andersen. Anderson also served as the USU head coach from 2009-12. In his final season in Logan, Andersen led Utah State to a school-record 11 wins. That mark was matched six years later by Matt Wells. That season helped Wells land the Texas Tech job. And led Andersen back to USU.
Hawaii football has been busy on the portal front. Especially when it comes to the receiving corps.
In mid-June, Hawaii confirmed the addition of North Texas wide receiver transfer Rico Bussey Jr. to its football roster. Roughly a month later, Aaron Cephus made his commitment to Hawaii football over the weekend. The receiver, who began his collegiate career at Rice, made the announcement on his personal Twitter account.
As will be the case with Bussey, Cephus is coming to the Rainbow Warriors as a graduate transfer. This coming season will serve as his final year of eligibility.
Coming out of high school in Texas, Cephus was a two-star member of the Class of 2016 for the Owls. His first season at the Conference USA school, Cephus took a redshirt. The next two, though, the receiver put up impressive numbers.
In 2017, Cephus earned third-team All-Conference USA honors after setting a school record for freshmen with 622 yards. The following season he led the Owls with five touchdown receptions. He was also second on the team with 565 yards and third with 40 receptions despite missing the final two games with an injury.
A suspension, however, cost Cephus the entire 2019 season.
All told, Cephus has totaled 1,187 yards and 10 touchdowns on 65 receptions. The 6-4, 200-pound also averaged 18.3 yards per catch.
Hawaii football is coming off its best season since 2010. Included in a 10-win season was the program’s first appearance in the Mountain West Conference championship game. Of course, that appearance ended in a loss to Boise State.
After a brief hiccup, Ohio State is back to prepping for whatever the 2020 college football season will hold.
July 8, Ohio State announced that it was putting a halt to all voluntary on-campus workouts that had commenced the month before. The pause was due to “the results of its most recent COVID-19 testing of student-athletes.”
Tuesday, however, Ohio State announced that its student-athletes, including football players, are now permitted to resume the workouts. The school noted in its release that “[a]ll student-athletes from the seven sports that returned last month to voluntary workouts were tested Monday, and the results were received today. The last round of testing was July 7 resulting in the suspension July 8.”
The school did not give the specifics of the tests that were most recently taken, citing the individual medical privacy of the athletes.
“Our Buckeyes are excited to be headed into a new school year and were disappointed last week when we had to temporarily suspend training,” OSU athletic director Gene Smith said in a statement. “These young people come from across the nation and the world to be part of our Ohio State family, and we do everything we can to create a safe, healthy environment so that they have a chance to study and compete. Our medical team will continue to evaluate, and we will share our decisions as we move forward.”
Ohio State had been scheduled to open the 2020 season at home against Bowling Green Sept. 5. However, the Big Ten announced this month that its league members will be going to a conference-only schedule for fall sports.