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

RB who transferred from UTEP to Georgia Southern this offseason reverses course, returns to Miners

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Who says you can’t go home again, even in the same offseason?

Joshua Fields left UTEP earlier this offseason and, in June of this year, enrolled in classes at Georgia Southern as he was set to continue his collegiate playing career with the Eagles. It was also reported that the running back would seek a waiver from the NCAA that would grant him immediate eligibility at the Sun Belt Conference school.

Fast-forward two months, though, and it’s now being reported that Fields has decided to reverse course and return to the Miners. That development came a couple of days after the Eagles confirmed in a statement that Fields was no longer a part of the program.

Joshua left the team early in camp. We wish him the best of luck moving forward.

According to the El Paso Times, Fields initially left the Miners because of a family member’s health issue, “but those circumstances changed and now he is back with his family in El Paso.” The Times also reports that Fields should be eligible to play for UTEP this season, presumably because he never attended classes at GSU despite enrolling at the university.

Clarification on his status could come as early as Thursday.

In 2017, Fields’ 362 yards rushing (on 89 carries) were tops on the Miners. According to the school at the time, Fields was the first true freshman to lead the team in rushing since 2013.

This past season, however, Fields’ production dipped to 57 yards on 31 attempts, which works out to just 1.8 yards per carry. That yards-per-attempt figure was the lowest among all FBS running backs with at least 30 carries last year.

Braden White named prestigious 12th Man at Texas A&M

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The 12th Man is a big, big deal at Texas A&M. In fact, it’s pretty much the brand of not just the football program, but the entire athletics department. Case in point, A&M’s athletics department website is 12thman.com.

For the uninitiated, in 1922 the Aggies found themselves short of players in a football game against Center College, the No. 1 team in the country at the time, after multiple players sustained injuries over the course of the game. Down to just 11 players, A&M student E. King Gill volunteered to suit up and stand on the sidelines in case the team needed him. Gill now has a statue outside of Kyle Field, and A&M’s student section is collectively referred to as the 12th Man.

As such, it’s a tremendous honor for an active Aggie player to be awarded the No. 12 and, after fullback Cullen Gillaspia donned the jersey for a record-tying 39 games, it’s time to hand it off to a new player.

On Tuesday, Jimbo Fisher awarded the No. 12 jersey to Braden White, a walk-on linebacker from Florence, Ala.

“I’m honored just to be able to represent this great university and everything about it,” White said. “It’s a true blessing.”

White is a redshirt junior who has checked all the boxes of a player who checks all the 12th Man boxes. He was named Defensive Scout Team MVP during his redshirt year of 2016 and was honored as the Top Conditioned Athlete at the Aggies’ 2018 team banquet. He has appeared in 18 career games, recording 16 career tackles playing primarily as a special teams contributor.

White will wear No. 12 for the first time next when Texas A&M — ranked, ironically, No. 12 in the preseason AP poll — hosts Texas State next Thursday night (8:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network).

UConn begins building out independent schedules with BC home-and-home

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Until they tell us otherwise, Connecticut is going to try to make it as an FBS independent. This upcoming season will be the Huskies’ final one as a member of the American Athletic Conference, as the Huskies’ Olympic sports will return to the Big East and the football team will go it alone.

This will require lots (and lots and lots) of scheduling work, and quickly. As of now, the Huskies have four games on the schedule for a season that begins 12 months from now.

While it does nothing to help the 2020 slate, UConn began chipping away at the mountain in front of it on Wednesday by announcing a home-and-home with Boston College. The first game will be Oct. 29, 2022 in Storrs, with the return game going down Oct. 28, 2023 in Chestnut Hill.

The two programs have met 14 times previously; BC leads the series 12-0-2. The Eagles took the most recent meeting 39-16 in 2017.

Additionally, BC announced a 2023-28 home-and-home with Army and a Sept. 9, 2023 home game with Holy Cross.

Safety graduate transfers from Penn State to Pitt

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Penn State safety Johnny Petrishen has left State College for Pittsburgh, where he is now a Panther.

Petrishen announced the transfer on Tuesday evening, and Pitt confirmed his addition on Wednesday morning.

Petrishen has two years of eligibility remaining thanks — if you want to use that term — to two medical redshirts.

A Lower Burrell, Pa., native, Petrishen appeared in 17 career games as a Nittany Lion, including all 13 last season. Primarily a special teams player, he posted eight career tackles and one TFL in State College.