Why isn’t every coach on a coach of the year award watch list?

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In the latest piece of evidence that confirms we do in fact have a watch list for everything and anything, the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation released a watch list of college football coaches for their 2015 award. Among the 25 coaches  deemed worthy of such a preseason honor are past winners Paul Johnson, Gary Patterson, Nick Saban, Bill Snyder, Bob Stoops and Dabo Swinney. Three-time national championship coach Urban Meyer is also on the list. So are the other two coaches from last season’s College Football Playoff, Jimbo Fisher and Mark Helfrich.

My question is simple. If we have watch lists naming almost every center on one award watch list, shouldn’t every coach of an FBS program be listed on a watch list for a coach of the year award? While it is nice to get an idea of some of the top position players in college football with the help of some watch lists for various awards, coaches should be evaluated on a different scale. We know who the top coaches at the top programs are, watch list or no watch list. Having a preseason watch list for this award defeats the purpose of the award’s ultimate goal.

Everybody has their opinions on what should make a coach of the year. Is it assembling and coaching the best team possible during the course of a season? If so, then these would appear to be worthy names to consider, as are the rest of the names on the watch list. Or is the intent of a coach of the year award more to honor a coach who defied expectations or battled through the most adversity to lead his team to victories few saw coming? If so, then there is no possible way to predict which coach will be worthy of mentioning in the conversation when the season is nearing an end.

Of course, watch lists are all about preseason publicity. You may have spent a summer day thinking about which player might win the Heisman Trophy in December. Have you ever gone through a summer and given one thought to who might win the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award? No? Well, now you might, thanks to the release of this watch list that has absolutely no business seeing the light of day (and the media types that fall for the stunt to let you know about it; guilty as charged).

2015 Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award Watch List

Art Briles, Baylor
Mark Dantonio, Michigan State
Jimbo Fisher, Florida State
Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss
Bryan Harsin, Boise State
Mark Helfrich, Oregon
Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech
Brian Kelly, Notre Dame
Gus Malzahn, Auburn
Urban Meyer, Ohio State
Jim Mora, UCLA
Dan Mullen, Mississippi State
Gary Patterson, TCU
Gary Pinkel, Missouri
Mark Richt, Georgia
Rich Rodriguez, Arizona
Nick Saban, Alabama
Bill Snyder, Kansas State
Steve Spurrier, South Carolina
Bob Stoops, Oklahoma
Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M
Dabo Swinney, Clemson
Kyle Whittingham, Utah

UMass adds Florida State, Pitt, Auburn and others to future schedules beyond 2021

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It’s apparently a big week on the schedule front for FBS independents.

While UConn and Maryland announced a new home-and-home series in what is always going to be known as the Randy Edsall bowl, fellow New England independent UMass had a number of dates added to their calendar this week too.

According to the school, the Minutemen have confirmed several dates and games against Power Five opponents as well as a host of other smaller programs being added to the team’s future docket including:

  • at Pitt on Sept. 4, 2021
  • at Florida State on Oct. 23, 2021
  • at Auburn on Sept. 2, 2023

In addition, FCS foes like Merrimack (Nov. 4, 2023) and Wagner (Sept. 21, 2024) were scheduled. Two other contests were moved as well, including a game against Boston College from Sept. 2022 to Sept. 6, 2025. A game against New Mexico State was shifted up into Week 0 and is now set for Aug. 26, 2023 as well.

The moves give UMass five of their 12 games for 2021-2024 while there’s even more work left to be done beyond that.

“We’ve been hard at work over the last nine months building competitive future schedules that will allow our Independent program to grow and be challenged,” AD Ryan Bamford said in a release. “We are pleased with our scheduling progress and ability to secure agreements with a mix of Power Five, Group of Five and regional FCS opponents.”

The Minutemen host Coastal Carolina on Saturday and have notable games coming up against Army, Northwestern and BYU down the stretch in 2019.

Designs released for UAB’s future stadium in downtown Birmingham

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It’s truly been remarkable how far UAB has come since the program was shuttered just a few years ago but the next major step in the rebirth of the Blazers came on Wednesday as the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex unveiled the latest plans for the upcoming $175 million football stadium that the CUSA program will soon call home.

You can check out the latest renderings here.

The 45,000 seat venue is designed to host a number of different events once completed in 2021 but the primary purpose each fall will be UAB home games. As you would expect, all the modern design elements for a stadium nowadays are incorporated, such as suites, open concourses, a large press box and a hefty number of restrooms (including nearly double the number for women than men).

The price tag for everything is set at right around $175 million for the project, with bids going out sometime later this fall and an estimated date of completion prior to the 2021 season starting in late August.

The biggest question left about the stadium now might be not whether it will actually get built but what the Blazers will be playing on in terms of the surface. The school has reportedly expressed interest in having turf but the area trying to attract major soccer matchups could mean the venue has a grass field instead.

Either way, UAB remarkable turnaround on the gridiron took another big step this week and is poised to make a giant leap come 2021.

QB Artur Sitkowski to start for Rutgers against Boston College with McLane Carter not cleared from concussion

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Boston College’s bid to avoid losing to both Kansas and Rutgers in the same season may have received a slight boost thanks to the quarterback situation this week with the Scarlet Knights.

Speaking to the media on Thursday after practice, Rutgers head coach Chris Ash confirmed that starting signal-caller Carter McLane remains in the school’s concussion protocol and will not play on Saturday against the Eagles. That means the job falls on last year’s starter in Artur Sitkowski for the Scarlet Knights.

“(Carter) is still day-to-day (and) hasn’t practiced so he won’t be cleared to play,” Ash said according to NJ.com. “I’ve got nothing but 100 percent confidence and belief in Art. We talked all through training camp about the battle between the two. There wasn’t a whole lot of difference. The biggest one was just at the moment McLane was a fifth-year player and had a little bit more experience. But Art had a tremendous training camp, and the players, the coaches, everybody has nothing but 100 percent faith and trust in him to go out and lead the team. And we’re excited for him to do that.”

Carter, a grad transfer from Texas Tech, started the opener against UMass but was knocked out of last week’s shutout loss to Iowa after a hard hit in the first half. Sitkowski replaced him the rest of the way and will now make his first start of 2019.

A former four-star out of IMG Academy, Sitkowski was handed the reigns of the team as a true freshman last season and made 11 starts at Rutgers… with things not exactly going well under center considering he threw for just over 1,100 yards with four touchdowns against 18 interceptions. He’ll have a chance for redemption on Saturday against Boston College, which leads the ACC in interceptions but did give up a number of big passing plays in their shocking loss to Kansas last week.

Interestingly enough, the move to elevate Sitkowski in the wake of McLane’s concussion means that former Eagles quarterback Johnny Langan will now be the No. 2 QB for Rutgers in the game against his old team.

Lane Kiffin thinks UCF should be in top 10: ‘They looked just like an ACC or SEC team’

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Lane Kiffin is a believer… in a newsworthy in-state rival.

Speaking to Yahoo! Sports, the always talkative Florida Atlantic head coach threw his weight behind UCF being a top 10 team this season and even a College Football Playoff contender had they been starting veteran QB McKenzie Milton. 

“They looked just like an ACC or SEC team,” said Kiffin. “Not Alabama or Clemson, but one of the top teams in both of those conferences. They’ve done an unbelievable job recruiting. They have skill. Normally in the Group of Five they have skill players but not the [size on] the lines, well UCF has long and good-looking linemen.”

Kiffin would know having seen the Knights up close each of the past two seasons, including a 48-14 blowout by the defending AAC champions down in Boca Raton earlier in September. A former offensive coordinator in the SEC, he also got a good look at one of this season’s elite programs too considering FAU opened the year with a 45-21 loss to Ohio State in Columbus.

Though Kiffin doesn’t have a vote in the weekly Coaches Poll, he did add he’d rank UCF as high as No. 5 but certainly in the top 10, blaming the name on the front of the Knights’ jersey as much as anything for why they’re not being taken seriously nationally.