Oregon in danger of joining Texas in not-so-flattering company


This is what it has come to for the once-mighty Oregon Ducks. A season after having the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback and an undefeated run fall one win shy of the first national championship in school history, Oregon was reduced to having to tie lowly Washington State in double overtime just for a chance to move into a third overtime on its home field. The final play was picked off and Oregon slumped to 3-3. Things may not get much easier for Oregon either, and the Ducks all of a sudden could join some rather unfortunate company as a result.

Since the dawn of the BCS Championship Game, the Texas Longhorns are the only school to have played for a national championship one season and completely miss the postseason the next. Texas played Alabama at the end of the 2009 season in the Rose Bowl for the BCS national championship and then missed the postseason in 2010 with a 5-7 record. Right now, Oregon is staring down a similar fate even with an expanded national championship and postseason playing field. No, head coach Mark Helfrich is not on any sort of hot seat, and this is hardly a suggestion that Oregon has lost a seat at the grown-ups table. This is merely a down year, as even the best college football programs are known to have from time to time.

Here’s the situation for Oregon. The Ducks need to win three more games just to become bowl eligible. Sounds simple enough, right? Well actually…

Considering how Oregon has been playing, are there three games in there you expect Oregon to win? Arizona State is known to come up small in a big game at home (UCLA last year, USC this year), but going to Tempe can be tricky. Cal, despite sloppy play at Utah, has shown to be a dangerous team. Stanford may be the best team in the Pac-12 right now and has a history of flexing some muscle against the Ducks. USC may be a toss-up game because Steve Sarkisian cannot win a big game, and you never know what to expect in The Civil War and Oregon State is due for a win (last win was in 2007).

Oregon has not missed the postseason since 2004 and has gone to a bowl game all but that one season since 1997. If Oregon does not get things fixed on defense, these Ducks could be staying home for the winter.

Michigan to visit South Africa later this year

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After visiting Italy and France over the past two springs, Michigan is taking a break from Europe and hitting South Africa in 2019. Wolverines director of football operations Mark Taurisani made the announcement through his Twitter account on Tuesday.

Jim Harbaugh started the field trips (which are funded by Michigan donors) as part of an educational experience for Wolverines players. The 2017 Italy trip was incorporated with Michigan’s spring practice, but the Wolverines did not practice in France last year and will not practice in South Africa this year, either.

Specific dates and tour sites have not been announced. The Wolverines will leave after the completion of the spring semester, which concludes after Michigan’s April 13 spring game.

Michigan lands All-MAC graduate transfer from Central Michigan

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As a Detroit native, Mike Danna has probably spent his entire life hoping and wishing and believing he could play at Michigan. While playing at Warren De La Salle Collegiate High School, he probably thought it. Throughout the recruiting process, when Michigan didn’t offer him and he signed at Central Michigan, he probably thought it.

Now he’ll get a chance to prove it.

Danna on Tuesday announced he was leaving CMU to spend his final college season with the big boys in Ann Arbor.

The 6-foot-2, 257-pound defensive end won the Herb Deromedi Award as CMU’s most valuable player after collecting 66 tackles, a team-high 15 TFLs and 9.5 sacks. He was named a First Team All-MAC honoree and a Pro Football Focus First Team All-American as well.

In three seasons as a Chippewa, Danna posted 151 tackles, 28 TFLs, 15 sacks and four forced fumbles.

While he may or may not start, Danna will be a significant contributor for the Wolverines in 2019. Michigan loses starting ends Chase Winovich (graduation) and Rashan Gary (draft), so Danna will team with senior Josh Uche (who led the team with eight sacks last season) and sophomore Aidan Hutchinson.

Miami to reportedly play Miami in 2023

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College football is notoriously hard to predict, but go ahead and mark this prediction down in ink: in the 2023 season, Miami will beat Miami.

Miami (Florida) will host Miami (Ohio) in 2023, according to FBSchedules. Neither school has announced the game as of this writing. The game will be played Sept. 2, 2023 at Hard Rock Stadium in Coral Gables, Fla.

In what has been previously dubbed the Confusion Bowl, the two Miamis have played three times previously, with the Hurricanes winning each time. All three games were in Miami, Fla., and green-and-orange Miami won by scores of 27-13 in 1945, 20-17 in 1946 and, most recently, 54-3 in 1987.

Miami (Ohio) will net $1.5 million for the trip, according to FBSchedules.

Miami (Fla.) has a home game with Texas A&M and a visit to Temple lined up elsewhere for 2023, while Miami (Ohio) will visit Cincinnati and host Liberty.

Brian VanGorder replaces Carl Pelini as Bowling Green DC

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After a little over two months on the job, one of the most glorious mustaches in all of college football has earned a promotion.

Tuesday, Bowling Green announced that Brian VanGorder has been named as first-year head coach Scot Loeffler‘s defensive coordinator.  In mid-December, the MAC school announced VanGorder’s hiring as linebackers coach and associate head coach.

VanGorder replaces Carl Pelini, who left last month to pursue another coaching opportunity.

VanGorder has served as a coordinator for a significant portion of the last decade, including stops at Louisville (2018), Notre Dame (2015-16), Auburn (2012) and the Atlanta Falcons (2008-11).  Prior to his one-year stint at Louisville, VanGorder served as a defensive analyst at both Georgia (2016, after he was fired by Notre Dame) and Oklahoma State (2017).

Interestingly, Bowling Green will travel to South Bend Oct. 5 this year to take on Notre Dame.

With VanGorder’s promotion, the Falcons also announced that Jim Herrmann has been hired to replace the new defensive coordinator as linebackers coach.  Herrmann will also carry the title of associate head coach.

Herrmann has spent the past baker’s dozen seasons as linebackers coach at the NFL level, with stops with the Indianapolis Colts (2016-18), New York Giants (2009-15) and New York Jets (2006-08) dotting his résumé.  His last college job at this level came during a lengthy stint at his alma mater Michigan (1985-2005).  The last nine years of his time in Ann Arbor, Herrmann worked as the Wolverines’ defensive coordinator.