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Scott Frost questions Nick Saban’s handling of Tua Tagovailoa

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This might cause a bit of a stir. Or kerfluffle, if you will.

Prior to Monday night’s College Football Playoff championship game, Tua Tagovailoa had seen as much meaningful action this season as I had — none. Then, with Alabama trailing Georgia 13-0 at halftime, Nick Saban yanked starter Jalen Hurts in favor of Tagovailoa and the rest is history, with the true freshman quarterback leading a second-half comeback that culminated in an overtime win punctuated by Tagovailoa’s walk-off, title-winning touchdown pass.

Tagovailoa’s beyond-his-years play was a stunning revelation for most of the country, already leading to speculation that the job is the freshman’s moving forward and Hurts, 26-2 as the starter, could be headed out of Tuscaloosa as a transfer. One who was not stunned by Tagovailoa’s primetime revelation was Scott Frost; so much so, in fact, that the Nebraska head coach — and former head coach of the “other” 2017 national champions — took a swipe Saban and his coaching staff for failing to realize earlier in the season that Tagovailoa was the better option at quarterback.

“It was a decision I don’t know I would have been courageous enough to make. That’s the answer you want to hear,” Frost told ESPN.com prior to winning the Bear Bryant Award Wednesday night.
“The other answer is that [Tagovailoa] was pretty obviously better and they had 12 games to figure that out and didn’t. Coach Saban is above criticism with everything he’s accomplished, so I don’t mean it that way, but I recruited Tua out of high school and knew what he could do and it doesn’t surprise me that he did what he did. Jalen’s a great player, too. That was a very bold and courageous move and I’m surprised it didn’t happen earlier [in the season].”

Damn with faint praise much?

Frost, as he noted, has a connection to Tagovailoa, one that could cause some to question the coach’s own judgment and evaluation skills when it comes to the phenom.

Tagovailoa grew up idolizing fellow Hawaiian Marcus Mariota and desperately wanted to follow in the Heisman Trophy winner’s footsteps at Oregon. During Tagovailoa’s recruitment as a high school a freshman and then sophomore in 2013/2014, Frost, as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, was part of Mark Helfrich‘s staff at Oregon that failed to offer the prospect a scholarship despite said prospect practically begging for one.

“It wasn’t until approximately 18 months later — after Oregon secured and then lost the commitment of four-star quarterback Ryan Kelley and Tagovailoa committed to Alabama — that Frost and Oregon coach Mark Helfrich deemed Tagovailoa worthy of a scholarship,” the Oregonian wrote, adding, “12-game season vs. 18 months? Saban has Frost beat by a full calendar year in the ‘recognizing Tagovailoa’s talent’ game.”

[Insert Kelso burn GIF here]

It should be noted that Frost left UO on Dec. 1 of 2015 to take the head-coaching job at UCF; the Ducks finally offered Tagovailoa on June 11, 2016, one month after he had committed to the Crimson Tide.  Alabama had offered Tagovailoa a scholarship in March of 2016.

And Helfrich?  He was fired a little over five months after offering Tagovailoa and less than a year after Saban won his fifth national championship.  Saban, of course, won his record-tying sixth title earlier this week, thanks in large part to Tagovailoa ‘s heroics.

Previously ruled out, Trey Woods could play for Wyoming in 2018

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Hold the phone on at least one purported personnel loss for Wyoming.

In late May, it was reported that Cowboys running back Trey Woods would miss the entire 2018 season because of an unspecified shoulder injury. A little over three weeks later, the prognosis from Craig Bohl has gotten significantly more optimistic.

“There’s an opportunity he may be back,” the head coach told the Casper Star-Tribune. “Initially, we thought that he for sure would be out for the year, and he may be back. …

“He has had surgery, and so we’re just waiting on his recovery. He’s a little bit ahead of where we thought he’d be. He certainly won’t be ready the first game, but as the season goes along, we feel like he’ll be ready to go.”

Wyoming kicks off the 2018 season at New Mexico State Aug. 25, then follows that opener up by hosting Washington State (Sept. 1) and Wofford (Sept. 15) in between a trip to Missouri (Sept. 8). Coming off a bye, Wyoming will then open up Mountain West Conference play Sept. 29 with a home game against defending conference champion Boise State.

As a true freshman last season, Woods, a two-star 2017 signee, led the Cowboys in rushing with 474 yards. he ran for a career-high 135 yards in a late-September win over Hawaii.

Oklahoma first school to have Top-10 picks in NFL, MLB, NBA drafts in same year since… Texas in 2006

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It’s déjà vu all over again for the Big 12.

In late April, Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield was selected first-overall in the 2018 NFL draft. In early June, Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray was taken with the No. 9 pick of the 2018 Major League Baseball draft. Thursday night, Oklahoma basketball quarterback Trae Young — some people call his position in that sport a point guard, but whatever — was selected by the Dallas Mavericks with the No. 5 pick of the 2018 NBA draft.

All of that draft action over the last two months gives the Sooners three Top-10 picks in those three sports in the same calendar year, the first time that’s happened since… OU’s Red River Shootout rivals pulled off the exact same draft trifecta more than a decade ago.

Young was the third player taken by the Tennessee Titans in that year’s draft, while Huff was grabbed at No. 7 overall by the Oakland Raiders. Stubbs, meanwhile, was the No. 8 pick of the Cincinnati Reds while the Chicago Bulls used the No. 2 overall pick on Aldridge.

So there’s that do-it-again for the Big 12, which is nice.

Lane Kiffin’s new 10-year deal doesn’t contain amended buyout number

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Even as Florida Atlantic has made a significant commitment to Lane Kiffin — and vice versa — it still won’t cost Power Five programs a sizable amount of money to pry him away from the Conference USA school.

It was confirmed in December of last year that Kiffin and FAU had reached an agreement in principle on a new 10-year contract, although very few, if any, particulars were made available. Fast-forward six months, and fauowlaccess.com is reporting that not only is the deal now official, but there are also some specifics contained in the revamped contract that can now be revealed.

Most notably, given the fact that most expect Kiffin to bolt for a bigger job at some point after the 2018 season ends — of course, those same observers thought the same after the 2017 season ended — is the buyout language contained in the new contract. Specifically, it remains the same language contained in the old five-year deal the new 10-year pact replaced.

From the website’s report:

FAU elected not to alter the buyout clause in Kiffin’s contract. Leaving between now and January of 2019 would cost Kiffin $2 million. The buyout drops $500,000 per year through 2021.

A $2 million buyout, of course, would not prevent most Power Five schools from pursuing Kiffin if they’re looking for a head coach as the 2018 regular season winds down.

As for pay, Kiffin’s annual base salary of $950,000 remains unchanged from the terms of his previous deal, fauowlsaccess.com is also reporting. That $950,000 is also what he was paid in 2017, a number that was third in the conference behind UT-San Antonio’s Frank Wilson ($1.137 million) and North Texas’ Seth Littrell ($991,000).

Taking over a program that was coming off of back-to-back-back 3-9 seasons, Kiffin led the Owls to an 11-win campaign in 2017 that included a 10-game winning streak that they’ll carry into 2018. The wins set a school record and the football program also claimed its first-ever conference championship.

Report: CMU RB Berkley Edwards, brother of Braylon, heading to Michigan

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Berkley Edwards, the younger brother of former Michigan standout Braylon Edwards, is apparently following in his brother’s footsteps. According to a report from The Michigan Insider, Berkley Edwards is planning on transferring from Central Michigan to walk on with the Wolverines.

Edwards will be using a sixth year of eligibility granted by the NCAA to play his final season for the same program his brother and father Stan Edwards once did.

Edwards began his college career at Minnesota in 2013. He spent one year as a redshirt and later sat out the 2016 season as a transfer to Central Michigan. Edwards was a part of the Central Michigan special teams unit last season and has previously handled rushing duties at Minnesota. At Michigan, Edwards will likely fill a spot on the depth chart at running back and special teams, although his role is expected to be as a reserve option for each as he gets started with the Wolverines.

Edwards will be eligible to play for Michigan this season. Michigan has not formally announced the addition of Edwards to the football program at this time.