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Nick Saban takes jab at UCF’s “self-proclaimed” national title, but Gus Malzahn stays out of it

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Alabama head coach Nick Saban added another national title to his ever-growing list of achievements last January when the Crimson Tide rallied from behind to stun Georgia in overtime of the College Football Playoff national championship game. At the same time, UCF was busy celebrating their claim to a national title even if critics shrugged it aside. Although Saban offered some praise for what UCF accomplished last season, including beating an Auburn team that Saba’s Tide could not, Saban suggested that UCF’s claim to a national title carries little weight.

“I guess anybody has the prerogative to claim anything,” Saban said to USA Today, commenting on UCF’s claim to a national championship for the 2017 season. “But self-proclaimed is not the same as actually earning it. And there’s probably a significant number of people who don’t respect people who make self-proclaimed sort of accolades for themselves.”

Saban has a legitimate point, of course. Alabama may not have won their own division but they were selected by the College Football Playoff selection committee to participate in the four-team playoff to determine a true national champion. And to Alabama’s credit, they took advantage of that opportunity by dominating ACC champion Clemson in the national semifinal and then coming from behind to upset SEC champion Georgia. UCF may have gone undefeated last season, with wins against USF, Memphis and Auburn to close out their undefeated campaign, but years from now it will be widely accepted that Alabama was the national champion while UCF is still free to claim their national title as well. College football is loaded with claimed national titles, including some by Alabama of course, so what UCF is doing is nothing out of the ordinary for the history of the sport.

Of course, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn isn’t about to get caught up in the drama despite playing a key role into the Alabama-UCF national title debate.

“They played extremely well that day (in the Peach Bowl),” Malzahn said at a golf tournament, according to Al.com. “We didn’t play our best, but give those guys credit. They played extremely well and got after us.”

Realizing Malzahn didn’t exactly answer the question regarding the national championship claim by UCF, Malzahn stood his ground when asked again.

“They played real well that day,” Malzahn said, “and we didn’t play that well.”

It must be a tough spot for Malzahn seeing as Alabama is his top rival and the other team claiming a national title is using his Auburn team to help support the argument.

Former UCF head coach and current Nebraska head coach Scott Frost has no regrets over his comments about likely not standing behind UCF’s national title claim the way the school has gone about it.

Ex-A&M coach R.C. Slocum one of three named to playoff committee

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When the College Football Playoff committee convenes again, the group will have a decidedly different look.

Thursday morning, the CFP announced three new members have been added to its Management Committee — Terry Mohajir, General Ray Odierno and R.C. Slocum.  Mohair is the current athletic director at Arkansas State, while Slocum is the former head coach at Texas A&M.  Odierno, who played college football at Army West Point, is a career military man who served as the Army Chief of Staff from 2011-15.

That trio will replace former head coaches Jeff Bower, Herb Deromedi and Bobby Johnson, whose terms have all expired.

In addition to the three, ummm, additions, it was also announced that Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens will remain as chairperson of the selection committee.  Mullens just completed his first season in that role.

Mullens’ new term will run through February of 2020.

“Terry, Ray and R.C. each bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the committee,” CFP executive director Bill Hancock said in a statement. “All three have built esteemed careers based on character and diligence, which will continue the CFP tradition of committee members who are football experts and also people of high integrity.

“We are also delighted that Rob will return as chair of the selection committee,” Hancock added. “He is thoughtful, considerate and detailed in leading the committee’s discussions each week during the season, and he is a tremendous representative of the CFP with the media and public.”

The selection committee consists of a total of 13 members.  below are the other nine, along with when their respective terms expire:

  • Former Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer (February 2020)
  • Former sportswriter Paola Boivin (February 2021)
  • Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione (February 2021)
  • Former head coach Ken Hatfield (February 2021)
  • Robert Morris University president Christopher Howard (February 2020)
  • College Football Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott (February 2021)
  • Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith (February 2020)
  • Georgia Tech athletic director Todd Stansbury (February 2021)
  • Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin (February 2021)

Lawyer up! Tate Martell to seek waiver for immediate eligibility

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If Tate Martell is sidelined for the upcoming season, it won’t be because he didn’t try to force his way onto the field.

Very early Wednesday morning, Martell took to Twitter to announce that he had decided to transfer from Ohio State to Miami.  It was thought that, because of NCAA transfer rules, Martell would have to sit out the 2019 season.

While that may ultimately end up being the case, 247Sports.com is reporting that the quarterback has “lawyered up” and will seek a waiver from the NCAA that would give him immediate eligibility.  And what case will Martell and his lawyer make? “Early indications are that Martell will try to use Ohio State’s sudden coaching change, from Urban Meyer to Ryan Day, as grounds to be immediately eligible,” the website wrote.

Meyer announced his retirement, effective after the Rose Bowl game, on Dec. 4, with the reins handed over to Day, who served as Martell’s position coach for both of his seasons in Columbus and was the Buckeyes’ offensive coordinator/co-offensive coordinator in that span as well.  Why such a situation, when OSU stayed in-house for its new head football coach, would lead the NCAA to grant a waiver is unclear, although 247Sports.com‘s sources stated that Martell has “a better shot than you think” for a successful appeal.

It’s not clear who will be representing Martell as he makes his case in front of the NCAA.  What is clear is that it won’t be Tom Mars, the go-to attorney for such appeals who is representing Justin Fields, the quarterback who transferred from Georgia to Ohio State and triggered Martell’s departure from the Buckeyes.

From a week ago:

If the redshirt freshman Martell wins a waiver, he would eligible to play in 2019 and would compete with N’Kosi Perry, the returning favorite, and Jarren Williams, among others, for the starting job.  If he loses the appeal, he would have two years of eligibility beginning in 2020 that he can use.

FCS school new home for 2017 four-star Texas RB Toneil Carter

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Nearly a month to the day that he announced he was leaving at an FBS program, Toneil Carter announced he’d landed at one at the FCS level.

On Twitter Tuesday, Carter confirmed that he will be continuing his collegiate playing career at Sam Houston State.  On Dec. 14, the running back confirmed on the same social media service that he had decided to transfer from Texas.

Carter was a four-star member of the Longhorns’ 2017 recruiting class, rated as the No. 10 back in the country and the No. 26 player at any position in the state of Texas.  After rushing for 252 yards and three touchdowns on 53 carries as a true freshman, Carter didn’t record a stat in 2018.

As the Bearkats play at the FCS level, Carter will be eligible to play in 2019.  Including this coming season, he’ll have three years of eligibility at his disposal.

K-State transfer QB who committed to UTEP now headed to TCU

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In the end, never mind.  Nothing to see here, at least when it comes to El Paso.

In late December, departing Kansas State quarterback Alex Delton announced via Twitter that he would be transferring to UTEP, whose head coach, Dana Dimel, is a former K-State offensive coordinator.  Tuesday night, however, Delton announced a “change of plans,” confirming via Twitter once again that he has instead decided to continue his collegiate playing career at TCU.

It’s unclear what led to Delton’s about-face on the Miners and decision to move on to the Horned Frogs, who have been considered a potential landing spot for Alabama transfer quarterback Jalen Hurts.

As Delton will join Gary Patterson’s program as a graduate transfer, he’ll be eligible to play immediately for the Horned Frogs in 2019.  The upcoming season will be the dual-threat quarterback’s final year of eligibility.

In four years at K-State, Delton, the MVP of the 2017 Cactus Bowl, started six of the 20 games in which he played.  The Kansas native passed for 1,202 yards and ran for another 734 during his time in Little Manhattan.  He’s also accounted for 16 touchdowns — five passing, 11 rushing.