Getty Images

No. 5 Oklahoma exacts its revenge, embarrasses overmatched No. 2 Ohio State

17 Comments

Revenge is a dish best served cold.  And, for Oklahoma, it’s best served in Columbus — and in a heaping helping for good measure.

Last season in Week 3, Ohio State went into Norman and dominated Oklahoma in a 45-24 win.  In Week 2 a year later, the No. 5 Sooners returned the favor, outplaying, overmatching and overwhelming the No. 2 Buckeyes in every facet of the game in a 31-16 win.

The first half had the feel of a blowout, with the Sooners outgaining the Buckeyes 222-92; the scoreboard, however, read just 3-3 after two quarters.  The second half began with a seven-play drive that ended with a six-yard rushing touchdown by true freshman running back J.K. Dobbins that gave OSU a 10-3 lead.  From that point on, it was all OU, on the stat sheet and, most importantly, on the scoreboard.

On the strength of Baker Mayfield‘s right arm and unmatched leadership, the Sooners scored 21 straight points on a trio of touchdowns to take a 31-13 lead in the middle of the fourth quarter that essentially put the game out of reach, with the 2016 Heisman Trophy finalist accounting for two of those scores with a pair of touchdown passes.  For the game, the fifth-year senior passed 386 yards and three touchdowns in a 27-of-35 passing performance that will likely vault Mayfield to near the top of the very short list of legitimate 2017 Heisman contenders.

At the opposite end of the signal-calling spectrum was J.T. Barrett, who continued to regress before the eyes of nearly anyone with a lick of sense.  The ninth-year senior went 19-of-35 for 183 yards, no touchdowns and an interception, with a chunk of the positive stats coming in garbage time when the game was completely out of reach.

The win marked the biggest victory of Lincoln Riley‘s nascent head-coaching career. The 34-year-old Riley, whose birthday was earlier this week, took over for Bob Stoops after the longtime OU head coach abruptly retired this summer.

Riley’s former boss was in attendance in Columbus; suffice to say, he was excited over the developments.

So, what does the future hold for both teams?

For Oklahoma, they have a very clear path to the College Football Playoff.  With the win over No.2 on its resume, the Sooners, the overwhelming preseason favorite in the Big 12, needs to merely run the table (including the renewal of the Big 12 title game) and they will earn one of the four playoff spots.  The road win also seemingly gives OU a cushion in the minds of the CFP committee should they stumble at some point during the regular season.

For Ohio State?  They could run the table as well, including the Big Ten championship game, and feel relatively comfortable with its playoff positioning as such a run would include wins over Penn State, Michigan and whoever comes out of the West.  Can they do that with Barrett at quarterback?  That’s the question that Urban Meyer and his offensive coaching staff will need to look deep into in the next couple of weeks and figure out before OSU’s title hopes evaporate in a sea of incompletions and defenses daring the Buckeyes to beat them with the pass.

ACC endorses free one-time transfer for all student-athletes

Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Leave a comment

The ACC is now on-board with the idea of allowing student-athletes in all sports a chance to have a free one-time transfer without having to sit out a season. The conference released a brief statement on Monday afternoon confirming the ACC supports a one-time transfer opportunity.

“During the league’s annual winter meetings (February 12-14), the ACC discussed the transfer environment and unanimously concluded that as a matter of principle we support a one-time transfer opportunity for all student-athletes, regardless of sport,” the statement from the ACC said. “As a conference, we look forward to continuing the discussion nationally.”

It is important to understand this does not mean players in the ACC will now be given a free transfer. This is merely a step in the direction toward allowing the free one-time transfer and shows the ACC would support any potential adjustment to the NCAA transfer rule. As the transfer rule currently stands, any player transferring from one school to another at the same level of competition (FBS to FBS, for example), is required to sit out one full season before being ruled eligible again. This takes away a year of eligibility or burns a redshirt season, barring any potential exemptions granted by way of a waiver. Graduate transfers are generally the only transferring players allowed to play immediately at a new school.

The Big Ten quietly proposed just such legislation last year, but no movement was made on the proposal. The NCAA instead opted to have a committee spend additional time reviewing the current policies regarding transfers with the intent of continuing the discussion this year as rule changes begin to be reviewed.

That gives us two power conferences that appear to be ready to embrace the one-time transfer rule. Don’t be shocked if more join the party, and expect the transfer rule to be altered soon enough. Maybe even as early as this upcoming year.

The NCAA modified the redshirt rule two years ago. The transfer rule appears the next most likely rule to be altered regarding a player’s eligibility.

Indiana completes coaching staff with Tulane DL coach Kevin Peoples

Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Leave a comment

After being left at the altar by a Michigan State assistant coach, Indiana had found a way to plug its hole at defensive line coach. Kevin Peoples is reportedly leaving Tulane to join the Hoosiers, multiple reports said on Monday. News of the coaching hire in Bloomington was first shared by Football Scoop.

Peoples will be taking on the job on the Indiana coaching staff previously set to be filled by Michigan State assistant Ron Burton. Burton decided to remain in East Lansing with the Spartans and new head coach Mel Tucker over the weekend before officially making his way from one Big Ten school to another. With the addition of Peoples to the coaching staff, the Hoosiers will now have a full coaching staff barring any potential adjustments before spring football begins.

With Peoples in charge of the defensive line, Tulane was not among the conference leaders in sacks and tackles for loss in the American Athletic Conference in 2019, but Tulane did have the conference’s fourth-best rushing defense; Tulane allowed 156.31 rushing yards per game in 2019, an averages that is inflated slightly from playing Navy in conference play (allowed 385 yards to the triple-option Midshipmen) and Army in non-conference play as well as a road game against Auburn. Tulane allowed just 58 rushing yards in its bowl victory over Southern Mississippi.

Peoples is filling the role previously held by Mark Hagen. Hagen left Indiana to accept a coaching position with Texas this offs

Utah, LSU to play home-and-home in early ’30s

Getty Images
1 Comment

The SEC and Pac-12 are in a bit of a love affair right now. Actually, scratch that. They’re full-on obsessed with one another.

More than 30 SEC v. Pac-12 games are on the docket for future years, and two more were added to the ledger on Monday when LSU and Utah inked a home-and-home.

Utah will host LSU on Sept. 6, 2031, and LSU will return the favor on Sept. 11, 2032.

“Our aspirations to continue to grow and elevate our football program make opportunities like this especially important,” Utah AD Mark Harlan said. “For our student-athletes it is an incredible opportunity to play a high-profile opponent in two fantastic environments. It also is incredibly attractive to our fans to host a team like LSU at Rice-Eccles Stadium and to go on the road to Baton Rouge and cheer on their Utes.”

Utah has two more home-and-homes against SEC schools coming, against Florida in 2022-23 and Arkansas in 2026 and ’28. LSU has home-and-homes with UCLA (2021, ’24) and Arizona State (2029-30) on its docket.

The schools have met twice previously, with LSU winning in Baton Rouge both time, 35-10 in 1974 and 35-7 in ’76.

Bret Bielema reportedly interviewing for Colorado job

Getty Images
1 Comment

Bret Bielema is interviewing for the Colorado head coaching position, according to reports Monday from NFL Network and ESPN.

Bielema tried to get in on the Michigan State job that, obviously, went to Mel Tucker, so now he’s in the running for the job Tucker left.

The former Wisconsin and Arkansas head coach joined Bill Belichick‘s witness protection program after his 2017 Arkansas firing, working for a year as “consultant to the head coach” in New England. He was promoted to defensive line coach and reportedly told friends he was in the running to become the defensive coordinator after Greg Schiano stepped down, but Belichick wound up giving that job to himself.

He wound up following Joe Judge from Foxboro to the New York Giants, but now has apparently decided he’d rather be back in college than work as a position coach at the NFL level.

Bielema went 68-24 at Wisconsin before his 29-34 flameout at Arkansas. His teams famously stuck to a ground-and-pound philosophy that worked like peanut butter and jelly in Madison but peanut butter and salsa in Fayetteville. So, should Colorado be as interested in Bielema as he apparently is in them, his offensive philosophy would figure to be question one in the interview.