Tennessee is still in search of its next athletics director, which has become a point of contention lately — and especially over the past 24 hours.
Alabama hired Greg Byrne away from Arizona without ever letting the job hit the open market, which begs the question, just what the heck are they doing in Knoxville? Outgoing AD Dave Hart has been outgoing since before football season started. Getting outmaneuvered by their rivals to the south — their immensely more successful rivals to the south, at least in the sport that matters in Tennessee — has created turmoil for an athletics department that majors in it.
As an apparent slice of red meet to the fans, the Vols let it be known Monday Phillip Fulmer is a serious candidate for their AD job.
“Fulmer has grown close to Tennessee President Joe DiPietro and a group of influential boosters have been working behind the scenes to help install him as Dave Hart’s replacement, according to people close to the situation,” Wolken writes.
Fulmer has exactly zero athletics director experience, but he is a harken back to the glory days of yonder for the Volunteers. He went 152-52 in 17 seasons with six top-10 finishes, three SEC titles, six SEC East crowns and a national championship in 1998.
In fact, even the “bad” Fulmer seasons — a .531 SEC winning percentage with one top-15 finish and one SEC East championship from 2005-08 — compare favorably with the marks of his three successors. Lane Kiffin, Derek Dooley and Butch Jones have collectively posted a .349 SEC winning percentage with zero top-15 finishes and zero SEC East championships in the eight seasons since Fulmer’s dumping.
It’s not clear what Fulmer brings to the department beyond a familiar face and a living, breathing link to the glory days, but perhaps those attributes are good enough at Tennessee.
Next up in the latest installment of “You Know You’re Getting Old”: Jerry Rice.
Or, more to the point, the son of the former San Francisco 49er great and NFL Hall of Famer, with Brenden Rice announcing Tuesday evening on Twitter that he has verbally committed to play his college football at Colorado. The wide receiver chose Mel Tucker‘s program over three other finalists in Arizona State, Michigan and Oregon.
At one point in the recruiting process, it appeared Rice was ticketed for Oregon; Arizona State then became the front-runner over the summer. Official visits to Michigan and Colorado further clarified the process, with the trip to the latter, for CU’s come-from-behind win over Nebraska, seemingly sealing the deal.
“Coach Tucker’s enthusiasm really stood out,” Rice told 247Sports.com. “He is only loud when he needs to be and it was great to be able to see him in the locker room at that game against Nebraska. It was just different and it gave me goosebumps. I think I could run through a brick wall for that guy and it definitely makes me feel like that vision is something special.”
The 6-2, 204-pound Rice is a three-star 2020 prospect, rated as the No. 70 receiver in the country and the No. 12 player at any position in the state of Arizona.
Suffice to say, VanDarius Cowan‘s second season in Morgantown after leaving Tuscaloosa hasn’t gone as planned.
In late August, it was confirmed that Cowan would have to sit out the first four games of the 2019 season because of unspecified eligibility issues. After serving that suspension, Cowan made his WVU debut in the Oct. 5 loss to Texas; a week later, the linebacker suffered a knee injury in the loss to Iowa State.
Tuesday, first-year head coach Neal Brown announced that Cowan underwent surgery and will be sidelined for the remainder of the season. The specific nature of the injury wasn’t divulged.
Cowan was originally a four-star member of Alabama’s 2017 recruiting class. In July of last year, he was dismissed by the Crimson Tide after being charged with misdemeanor assault. A month later, he landed at West Virginia.
The Florida native sat out the 2018 season to satisfy NCAA transfer bylaws.
In less than two full games this season, Cowan was credited with six tackles and a sack.
UPDATED 1:21 PM ET: Due to the weather-forced change in schedule for Game 4 of the American League Championship Series between the Houston Astros and New York Yankees, Friday night’s Ohio State-Northwestern game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.
The game had originally been scheduled to air on FS1.
Kickoff time for the Big Ten clash is still set for 8:30 p.m. ET.
This isn’t exactly optimal.
Due to the forecast of inclement weather, Major League Baseball announced that Game 4 of the American League Championship Series Wednesday night between the Houston Astros and New York Yankees has been moved to Thursday night. That means Game 5 of the ALCS, originally scheduled for Thursday night, has been pushed to Friday night and will be televised on FS1, with first pitch set for 7:08 p.m. ET.
So, why is news on the postseason of a stick-and-ball sport appearing on a college football website?
Ohio State is scheduled to travel to Evanston to square off with Northwestern Friday. On FS1. With kickoff set for 8:30 p.m. ET.
The ALCS is airing on FS1 because FOX is televising its newly-acquired WWE Friday Night Smackdown franchise, so a network broadcast won’t be possible for the Big Ten matchup. More than likely, the game will air on either the Big Ten Network or FOX business.
As of this posting, neither the conference nor FOX has offered up exactly where the game will air.
Regardless of how it ultimately plays out, this will be a huge black eye for a league that shouldn’t be hijacking high school football’s night in the first place, regardless of how few games there are on Fridays (for now).
The defense wasn’t the only side of the ball that ran into injury issues during Wake Forest’s first loss of the 2019 campaign.
An injury to his left (non-throwing) shoulder knocked Jamie Newman out of the Week 7 loss to Louisville. An on-site X-ray, as well as other further testing, showed no significant structural damage to the joint.
As Wake looks to bounce back from that loss against Florida State Saturday, though, the sophomore’s status is officially to be determined.
“He’s kind of day-to-day,” head coach Dave Clawson said. “He got hurt at the end of the second quarter. We had X-Rays to try and eliminate the worst thing that could have happened to him and that was eliminated. He was able to return. He’s sore and we’ll just take it day-by-day and see how he feels later in the week. It’s been one practice and we’ll have a better feel later in the week.”
“And we won’t share that when we know it. I don’t have to,” Clawson added, presumably in a middle-school-boy-at-recess voice.
This season, Newman leads the ACC in passing yards (1,772), passing touchdowns (17) and passer rating (160.7). He’s ninth, tied for sixth and 17th nationally in those respective categories.
Should Newman be unable to go against the Seminoles, Sam Hartman would get the nod. In relief of Newman this past weekend, the sophomore threw two touchdown passes and ran for another as the Demon Deacons nearly pulled off a stunning comeback on the Cardinals.
Last season as a true freshman, Hartman started the first nine games before going down with an injury, opening the door for Newman to take over the job.