Oh, you thought the coaching carousel had come to a full and complete stop. Well, guess again! We’re back and open for business on the annual coaching carousel with news out of San Antonio on Tuesday afternoon.
Larry Coker, the first and only head coach in UTSA program history, will no longer be the head coach of the Road Runners according to CFT contributor Zach Barnett over on Football Scoop. The timing of the coaching change is peculiar, but the result is not exactly shocking. Coker had long been thought to be on his last legs with the program after initially helping to establish the program years before playing a single game.
What makes the timing of the coaching change odd is it feels late in the game for a coaching change. With national signing day now just a month away and many of the coaching vacancies already filled around college football, and the carousel focus shifting to the NFL as college assistant jobs, UTSA going on the market opens up an interesting position. Odds are probably pretty good UTSA will not fill the head coaching vacancy with an existing head coach from another FBS program, but a younger assistant on the rise looking for an opportunity to get a chance to be the head coach of a program. The future of the UTSA program has some potential to build a contending program in Conference USA based on its location, although the Texas football soil is as competitive as they can be.
Coker was 22-26 at UTSA from 2012 through the end of the 2015 season, but the win totals decreased each season under Coker’s watch as the scheduling difficulty increased each season. But remember that this was a brand new college football program, so losses were to be expected, especially when the program made the jump to the FBS perhaps earlier than initially scheduled due to conference realignment leaving the WAC (and later Conference USA) in need of filling spots to keep a conference together. UTSA and Texas State each made the jump up in competition at the same time, although the two have gone separate ways since making the transition.
Coker won a national championship at Miami in 2001, his first season as a head coach after taking over for Butch Davis. Miami played for the national championship the following season, only to lose to Ohio State. Coker won two more bowl games at Miami before being let go at the end of the 2006 season.
This college football season has been a bit different from most thanks to a combination of two factors that have very little to do with the play on the field: a new rule allowing players to redshirt despite playing in four games and the NCAA transfer portal.
Amid a flurry of player movement as a result of those two, on top of unique situations like Houston’s D’Eriq King deciding to take a redshirt in what amounts to a lost year for the Cougars, it seems the powers at be are already eyeing tweaking the current status quo. West Virgnia AD Shane Lyons chairs the NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee and remarked on a local radio show that adjustments to the current set of rules are likely to be discussed during meetings at the NCAA convention in January.
“I don’t think it’s a good optic for college sports,” Lyons said, according to the West Virginia MetroNews. “The way it looks, a student-athlete is potentially quitting on his team.
“It’s something the committee will look at in their January meeting to make any adjustments as necessary.”
Despite the redshirt rule originating from coaches themselves, in practice it has proven to be problematic for many because players have either removed themselves from action in order to save up a season and play elsewhere or simply entered the transfer portal. Such roster management concerns have led to plenty of criticism about the unintended consequences of the changes and now it appears the adults in the room are getting together to come up with a few changes to defeat the reasoning behind both rules.
We’ll see what happens between now and the January meetings but the days of going four-and-out for some might be coming to an end with the 2019 season.
At least based on the sportsbooks, you shouldn’t expect much drama on championship weekend — which means we should all brace for absolute and utter hell breaking loose, of course.
Friday night and on into Saturday, the 10 FBS conferences will hold their respective league championship games, the results of which will not only shape the College Football Playoff but the New Year’s Six Bowls and all the way down to the lower-tier bowls. As of this posting, and by way of the BetMGM Sportsbook, nearly half of those 10 title games feature double-digit odds:
- ACC — No. 23 Virginia vs. No. 3 Clemson (-28½)
- Big Ten — No. 1 Ohio State (-15½) vs. No. 8 Wisconsin
- Mountain West — Hawaii vs. No. 19 Boise State (-13½)
- AAC — No. 20 Cincinnati vs. No. 17 Memphis (-10½)
A fifth, the Big 12 championship game, is nearly double-digits as No. 6 Oklahoma is a 9½-point favorite over No. 7 Baylor.
The other five matchups have hovered around seven points or so, including the SEC title game featuring 6½-point favorite and second-ranked LSU clashing with No. 4 Georgia, since the matchups were decided last weekend:
- Pac-12 (Friday night) — No. 5 Utah (-6½) vs. No. 13 Oregon
- Sun Belt — Louisiana vs. No. 21 Appalachian State (-6½)
- MAC — Miami (OH) vs. Central Michigan (-6½)
- Conference USA — UAB vs. Florida Atlantic (-7½)
Some history was made overnight that involves both sides of The Game.
Wednesday night, sixth-ranked Ohio State took seventh-ranked North Carolina to the woodshed in a 74-49 win, handing the Tar Heels the basketball program’s worst-ever home loss at the Dean Dome under Roy Williams. Four days earlier, second-ranked Ohio State took 10th-ranked Michigan to the woodshed in a 56-27 win, handing the Wolverines their eighth straight loss — and 15th in 16 meetings — in the rivalry.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, this marks the first time in nearly three decades and just the second time ever that one school had scored wins in Associated Press Top-10 matchups in football and basketball in a span of four days or fewer. The only other school to pull off that feat? Michigan, in 1992-93.
I have no clue what it actually all means, but it sounds pretty impressive. And fairly hilarious that it involves both sides of the greatest rivalry in all of sports.
Ahead of Saturday’s Big 12 championship game, the status of a key rotational piece of one of the participant’s defensive line is decidedly up in the air.
Jalen Redmond didn’t travel with the rest of his No. 6 Oklahoma teammates to last Saturday’s Bedlam win over No. 25 Oklahoma State because of an unspecified issue. With a date against Baylor on tap for Saturday, it remains unclear whether the redshirt freshman defensive lineman will be available for the conference title game.
“He has progressed this week,” Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley said when asked about Redmond’s availability. “We don’t have a complete decision right now, but he’s certainly better at this point than he was last week.”
In July of last year, Riley confirmed that, because of blood clots, Redmond would not play at all in 2018. However, the then-true freshman defied the initial medical odds and ultimately returned in October to play in three games before a recurrence of the clots in mid-November sidelined Redmond for the remainder of the year.
This season, Redmond had played in the first 11 games, starting two of those contests, before missing the Week 14 win. Redmond is currently third on the Sooners in tackles for loss with seven and second in sacks with four.