A not-so-surprising Heisman Trophy first in NFC Championship Game

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The NFL’s conference championship weekend is set with another bout between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in the AFC and the top two teams in the NFC, Arizona and Carolina, going toe-to-toe for the NFC championship. While there will be plenty of attention given to yet another meeting between Manning and Brady, the NFC Championship Game is making some history with a college football twist. With Cam Newton of the Panthers and Carson Palmer of the Cardinals set to start in the NFC Championship Game, we will see the first NFL postseason meeting between two Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks.

At first glance, that comes across as a surprising factoid to consume, but it should not come across as a major shock. Given the track record of Heisman Trophy winner sin the NFL, we already know the Heisman Trophy is far from a guarantee for sustained NFL success. This is especially true for quarterbacks, although the jury is still out on a number of the more recent Heisman-winning QBs (Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota offer some good promise, and who knows if there is still time to save Robert Griffin III, for example). Also keep in mind that for the majority of the history of the Heisman Trophy, running backs were the dominant position before the turn of the 21st century gave way to quarterbacks taking control of the award more often than not.

Take a look through Heisman history and look at the quarterbacks who have won the stiff-arm trophy over the years. Just two quarterbacks won the award in the 1960s, Navy’s Roger Staubach and Notre Dame’s John Huarte. Staubach went on to have a stellar career. Huarte? Not so much. Two quarterbacks won the Heisman in the 1970s, and once again the careers of Jim Plunkett of Stanford and Pat Sullivan of Auburn took drastically different paths. Of the three quarterbacks to win the Heisman Trophy in the 1980s (Doug Flutie, Andre Ware, Vinny Testaverde), only Miami’s Testaverde proved to have a sustained NFL career, which included a couple of solid runs here and there, but he almost never faced another Heisman-winning QB during his lengthy career.

The 1990s saw four quarterbacks win the Heisman Trophy. Ty Detmer was essentially a career backup. Gino Torretta‘s run in the NFL was brief. Danny Wuerffel did not fare too much better. And Charlie Ward went on to play in the NBA instead of the NFL. Ward may have been the best NFL QB out of that bunch had he focused on the NFL instead.

Even the quarterbacks to win the Heisman Trophy since 2000 have been farther from competing for an NFL conference championship more often than not. This weekend, 2002 Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer just won his first postseason game as a starting quarterback since blowing out Iowa in the 2003 Orange Bowl. 2000 Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke has an NFC Championship ring, but that came as a backup. 2001 winner Eric Crouch played four years in the NFL with three teams and ended his playing career in the short-lived UFL with the Omaha Nighthawks. 2003 winner Jason White was not even drafted and stepped away due to bad knees. 2004 winner Matt Leinart never lived up to his perceived potential in Arizona and moved on to Houston, Oakland and Buffalo before getting into TV. 2006 winner Troy Smith was a career back-up, for the most part, behind Steve McNair and Joe Flacco in Baltimore. Sam Bradford has been plagued by injuries and Robert Griffin III is looking to rejuvenate his career in a new situation in 2016. And I’m even going to spare you the talk about Tim Tebow and Johnny Manziel.

One more piece of information to keep in mind was the AFC and NFC Championship Game structure was not utilized until 1970 when the NFL merged with the AFL. For an award that was first handed out in 1935, that cuts out a number of quarterbacks from even having the possibility to play in an NFL conference championship game (Davey O’BrienAngelo Bertelli, Lee Horvath, Johnny Lujack, Paul Hornung, Terry Baker).

So yes, it is surprising we have not seen a matchup of Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks in an NFL postseason game before, but it is not at all shocking given the history of the Heisman Trophy. And no, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady never won the Heisman Trophy either.

Oklahoma State LB Amen Ogbongbemiga tweets he tested positive for COVID-19 after attending Tulsa protest

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Oklahoma State has joined Marshall in returning football players testing positive for the coronavirus.  This one, though, comes with a twist.

On his personal Twitter account, Amen Ogbongbemiga revealed that he has been confirmed as having COVID-19.  The Oklahoma State football player added that he tested positive after attending a protest and taking safety measures.

“After attending a protest in Tulsa AND being well protective of myself, I have tested positive for COVID-19,” the linebacker revealed. “Please, if you are going to protest, take care of yourself and stay safe.”

It should be noted that, at this point, it’s unclear when Ogbongbemiga attended a protest.  And if that’s where he contracted the virus.

Ironically enough, the announcement came the same day OSU released its steps for the return of football players to Stillwater.  In fact, the first group returned Monday.  As with other programs, the Cowboys will take a phased approach to their players returning.

As of this posting, the Oklahoma State football program has not reacted publicly to Ogbongbemiga’s revelation.  But, per the university’s protocol, Ogbongbemiga would be placed in isolation upon his return to campus.  Among other steps, of course.

  • If a student-athlete, coach or support staff member tests positive for COVID-19, they will enter the quarantine protocol per medical, local/state health department and university guidelines and will begin to receive the appropriate monitoring and treatment from the team physician, athletic training staff and any other medical consultants.
  • The positive student-athlete will be moved to separate housing designated by OSU for quarantine purposes.
  • Appropriate contact tracing as per local/state health department and university guidelines will begin and all that have been in contact will be instructed to quarantine and have symptoms monitored for a period determined by health and medical officials. Contact tracing will begin with the student-athlete’s cohort/workout group.

This past season, Ogbongbemiga earned second-team All-Big 12 honors.  His 15½ tackles for loss and five sacks led the Cowboys. His 100 tackles were second on the team.

College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history, including the price tag for Nebraska dumping Bo Pelini revealed

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The sports world, including college football, has essentially screeched to a halt as countries around the world battle the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there’s a dearth of college football news as spring practices have all but been canceled at every level of the sport. And there’s even some concern that the health issue could have an impact on the 2020 college football campaign.

In that vein, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives that stretch back to 2009 and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on June 3, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this college football hiatus, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: Via email, Clemson fans pitch athletics department officials on conspiracy to inject Tigers players with banned substance
THE SYNOPSIS: College football fans, y’all!

2017

THE HEADLINE: Lane Kiffin invites Kim Kardashian, Kanye West to FAU game
THE SYNOPSIS: Because, Lane Kiffin of course.  Kiffin left FAU two years later for the Ole Miss job.

2016

THE HEADLINE: Price tag for Nebraska dumping Bo Pelini, staff? Nearly $8.5 million
THE SYNOPSIS: Nebraska, in seven seasons under Pelini: 67-27 record.  At least nine wins in all seven seasons.  Nebraska, in five seasons since Pelini was fired: 28-34 record.  At least nine wins in one of five seasons.  Also, the first time since the early sixties the Cornhuskers finished below .500 in three consecutive seasons.  Nice move, NU.

2013

THE HEADLINE: Ruffin McNeill lands extension, raise from ECU
THE SYNOPSIS: From 2012-14, East Carolina won 26 games under McNeill.  That matched the best three-year stretch in program history.  Then, coming off a five-win 2015 campaign, ECU inexplicably fired the head coach.  In the four years since, the Pirates have won 13 games.  Combined.  Maybe the AAC school consulted Nebraska prior to firing McNeill?

2011

THE HEADLINE: Raise your glass: WVU allows beer sales at football games
THE SYNOPSIS: Couches all across the God’s Country peed themselves a little.

Georgia Tech DE Kelton Dawson makes his way into the transfer portal

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For at least the fifth time this year, Georgia Tech has seen a player enter the football transfer portal.

According to Rivals.com, Kelton Dawson has taken the first step in leaving the Georgia Tech football team by entering the NCAA transfer database.  A Georgia Tech football official subsequently confirmed the portal move.

The defensive end has thus far declined to address his impending departure on Twitter.

Now, for what’s seemingly becoming a daily disclaimer when it comes to transfers.

As we’ve stated myriad times in the past, a player can remove his name from the portal and remain at the same school. At this point, though, other programs are permitted to contact a player without receiving permission from his current football program.

NCAA bylaws also permit schools to pull a portal entrant’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered it.

Dawson was a three-star member of the Georgia Tech football Class of 2017.  At this point, it’s unclear if he will be leaving the Yellow Jackets as a graduate transfer.  Should he follow through, of course.

The lineman took a redshirt as a true freshman.  Dawson then appeared in one game in 2018, recording his first career tackle.  A season ago, he started seven of 11 games.  In that action, he was credited with 26 tackles, three tackles for loss and a forced fumble.

As for the other four Tech football player who entered the portal in 2020?

Johnson, incidentally, transferred to San Diego State last month.

Clemson assistant football coach accused of using the N-word years ago issues statement

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Clemson football was the subject throughout Tuesday of an incident a couple of years in the making.  And, not surprisingly, they have addressed it.  But first, the back story.

On Twitter this morning, former Clemson walk-on football player Kanyton Tuttle laid a damning claim on Dabo Swinney.  Specifically, that the Clemson head football coach had allowed one of his assistants “to call a player the N-word during practice with no repercussions.”

In a subsequent interview with The State, former Clemson tight end D.J. Greenlee acknowledged that the assistant, who he identified as current special teams coordinator and tight ends coach Danny Pearman (pictured), had indeed used the N-word.  However, Greenlee, who played for the Tigers from 2013-17, explained that Pearman did not call any player the N-word.  Instead…

“It was just a heated argument during practice, basically,” Greenlee told the newspaper. “Me and the coach got into it and I was speaking with one of my teammates. He heard me use the n-word basically, and basically tried to correct me by saying the n-word back.

“He wasn’t saying that I was a n-word. It was, using the tone, in a word like, ‘OK … I was talking to my teammate and you came over here.'”

In the end, Clemson football did the expected.  And released a statement attributed to Pearman.

Three years ago on the practice field, I made a grave mistake involving D.J. Greenlee. I repeated a racial slur I overheard when trying to stop the word from being used on the practice field. What I overheard, I had no right to repeat.

While I did not direct the term at any player, I know there is no excuse for me using the language in any circumstance. I never should have repeated the phrase. It was wrong when I said it, and it is wrong today.

I apologized to D.J. at the conclusion of practice, who then appropriately raised his concern to Coach Swinney. Coach and I met to discuss the incident, and he reiterated that my language was unacceptable. I later apologized again as well as expressed my sincere regret to our position group the following day.

I love the young men who choose to come to our university, and I would never do anything to intentionally hurt them. I sincerely apologize to D.J., his family, our team and our staff.