The storyline that has garnered more attention, had words written about it and been the focus of more talk radio segments in college football this offseason is an easy one to pick out: UCF’s dubious claim to be national champions after an undefeated 2017 season.
As it turns out though, even the Knights’ former head coach wouldn’t have been on board with the campaign had he remained in Orlando.
“All I’ll say is if we had stayed there, I would have had a hard time getting behind it,” now-Nebraska head coach Scott Frost told USA Today at AAC spring meetings. “I think it was smart by them, because it has kept UCF in the media and in the conversation. But you know, like our rings, I kind of wish my ring just said ‘Undefeated Season’ and ‘Peach Bowl Champion.’”
UCF commissioned a study that said the entire undefeated season was worth some $200+ million for the school in terms of exposure and the national title claims led to everything from a trip to nearby Disney World to even the local police getting in on the branding party. However, the claims have rankled many in college football, most notably those from the actual national champion, Alabama.
Frost joining the chorus downplaying UCF’s marketing this offseason probably hurts the feelings of a few fans in Orlando but won’t change their outlook on a special season in Orlando. Hopefully, more than anything, the coach’s comments allow everybody to move on from 2017 and start to turn their focus to the upcoming 2018 season that promises to be just as fun for everybody involved.
The Heisman Trophy campaign for Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard is officially on, and it already has the support of The Great One. Hall of Fame hockey icon Wayne Gretzky was featured in a video shared by the Edmonton Oilers lending his support for Canada’s own Hubbard.
“I just want to pass on our congratulations from everyone in Edmonton,” Gretzky said in a short video clip shared by the Edmonton Oilers. “We’re all really proud of you. Keep going.”
Hubbard, a native of Edmonton, was appreciative of the message and words of encouragement from an Edmonton sports hero.
Hubbard is a native of Edmonton. Hubbard rushed for 6,880 yards and 82 touchdowns in high school. Hubbard currently leads the nation in rushing with 182.33 yards per game. As of today, Hubbard is the only running back with 1,000 rushing yards midway through the season. The next closest to Hubbard in rushing yards is Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins (826 yards) and Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor (825 yards).
Hubbard is hoping to become the second Heisman Trophy winner in Oklahoma State program history. Barry Sanders won the Heisman Trophy in 1988.
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).