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Scott Frost: ‘Alabama probably has one or two championships they claim that weren’t necessarily recognized by everybody’

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Reminder: the 2018 college football season kicks off exactly 100 days from today.

In honor of that seems-so-far-away milestone, there’s been yet another development in the run-it-into-the-ground storyline of the 2018 college football offseason.  In summation, Alabama won the real 2017 national championshipundefeated UCF claiming a mythical 2017 national championship… Alabama players flaunted their “real championship rings“… UCF’s former head coach stated he would have had a hard time getting behind” his former school’s national championship claims had he remained with the football program… and Alabama’s current head coach took a shot at UCF’s title claims by stating “self-proclaimed is not the same as actually earning it.”

In stating he’d have a hard time getting behind the mythical claims, Scott Frost, the former head coach at UCF who left for the same job at Nebraska in early December, did allow that “[i]f you look at the history of college football, there’s a lot of cases where multiple teams have claimed national championships.”  During an interview with KETV in Omaha this week, Frost doubled-down on the latter comment by getting specific when it comes to schools who may have played fast and loose with their title claims.

“Alabama’s probably got one or two [national] championships they claim that weren’t necessarily recognized by everybody,” Frost told the television station, likely a direct response to Nick Saban‘s “there’s probably a significant number of people who don’t respect people who make self-proclaimed sort of accolades for themselves” shot aimed squarely at Frost’s former school.

On this, Frost very much has a point.

Including the one from 2017, Alabama has now claimed 17 national championships in football.  The NCAA, however, only recognizes 15.  The two not recognized by the NCAA but claimed by the school?  1934 and 1941, which The Association recognizes as being owned by Minnesota; even the Associated Press tapped the Gophers as the latter season’s lone champion.  ‘Bama, meanwhile, used something called the Houlgate System for its 1941 title claim.

Even a couple of Alabama’s titles recognized by the NCAA are somewhat in dispute.

The AP and United Press International awarded Alabama the 1964 championship after the regular season, only to see UA go out and lose to Texas in the Rose Bowl to finish 10-1.  Arkansas, which beat Texas, won its bowl game to finish that season at 11-0; the NCAA recognizes the Razorbacks and Crimson Tide as shared national champs.

The 1973 title is likely the most infamous claim as Notre Dame beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, yet the Crimson Tide is still recognized as co-champions along with the Fighting Irish by the NCAA.  The UPI was the only major media outlet to vote ‘Bama No. 1, although, again, their voting took place prior to the bowl game being played.  The Golden Domers, meanwhile, were the top-ranked team according to the AP — they had the Crimson Tide fourth in their final poll — Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation.

That 1973 season was also the year that Michigan, Ohio State and Oklahoma all finished 10-0-1.  Oklahoma’s tie came against USC, ranked No. 1 at the time before finishing the year No. 8 at 9-2-1, in their second game of the year, while Michigan and Ohio State played to their iconic 10-10 tie to close out the regular season.

Again, 100 days folks.  100 days.

Iowa State forced to swap Incarnate Word for Drake as make-up opponent

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Most college football schedule is done years, if not decades in advance. Not for Iowa State AD Jamie Pollard. He’s had to line up two separate make-up game opponents within the same season.

The Cyclones were supposed to open this season with South Dakota State but, like Nebraska, the game had to be cancelled due to heavy thunderstorms in the Midwest. Whereas Nebraska was able to line up and play Bethune-Cookman on Oct. 27, Iowa State was not able to schedule a make-up game until Dec. 1, against Incarnate Word. Delaying the game so far into the calendar opened up the possibility it could be cancelled due to either Iowa State making the Big 12 Championship or UIW making the FCS playoffs. Remote as they seemed at the time, those possibilities floated out there in the distance.

Well, Iowa State (6-4, 5-3 Big 12) will not play for the Big 12 title, thanks to last Saturday’s loss to Texas. But Incarnate Word, 2-9 a year ago and playing under first-year head coach Eric Morris, managed to make the FCS playoffs. The 6-4 Cardinals, co-champions of the Southland Conference, snared an at-large bid and will open their first playoff run at Montana State on Saturday.

Given that their make-up opponent may not be available, Iowa State had to line up a make-up to the make-up opponent and found one in another FCS school — Drake.

“We’re most grateful to Drake Athletics Director Brian Hardin, Coach Rick Fox and the Bulldog leadership team for working with us through a very fluid situation,” Pollard said. “Coach (Matt) Campbell wants to play a 12th game and I believe our fans would welcome another chance to see this bowl-bound team play. I know the Bulldogs will enjoy the chance to play at Jack Trice Stadium and compete against a Power 5 opponent.”

Drake is located in Des Moines, just a 40 minute drive directly south on Interstate 35 from Ames, while Incarnate Word is located in San Antonio.

While Drake will not have to make a long trip to play this hastily-scheduled make-up game, it is still a significant undertaking for the Bulldogs. Drake competes in the Pioneer Football League, which does not offer scholarships. The Bulldogs went 7-3 overall and 6-2 in PFL play, completing their scheduled season with 43-6 win over Morehead State last Saturday.

They’ll have one more opponent to face this fall, and it’s a significant step up from their regular competition.

The game will kickoff at noon ET.

South Florida handing out free tickets to rivalry game vs. No. 11 UCF

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The War on I-4 was one of the very best games of 2017. With the AAC East championship on the line, 10-0 UCF hosted 9-1 South Florida before a national television audience and a packed Spectrum Stadium crowd. It was a game the visiting Bulls led 34-28 entering the fourth quarter, UCF rocketed forward to take a 42-34 lead with 2:21 to play, South Florida tied with 1:41 remaining on an 83-yard touchdown pass and a 2-point conversion, and then UCF immediately wrestled the lead back with game-winning 95-yard kickoff return.

Regardless of classification, conference, what have you, it was one of the most intense and entertaining games of the entire season.

Fast forward a year with the scene shifting to Tampa and it’s safe to say the atmosphere will not be the. UCF is controls its fate to win the American, but South Florida does not. The Bulls are 7-4 overall and 3-4 in conference play.

With their rivals traveling southeast on Interstate 4 (hence the rivalry’s name) South Florida’s powers-that-be were apparently nervous about black-and-gold taking over the green-and-old in their own stadium, so they decided to give out some free tickets.

It’s not exactly fair to say USF has worse fans than UCF. USF shares its home with a pro team while UCF does not. Thus, USF has to fill a larger stadium (65,890) than UCF (45,031). Knights fans also get to root for a better team than Bulls fans, at least over those past two seasons.

Even given those caveats, it still may be more embarrassing to give out free tickets to your rivalry game rather than just selling them to your rivals.

South Florida hosts No. 11 UCF at 4:15 p.m. ET on ESPN on Friday.

Broyles Award for top assistant narrows field to 15 semifinalists

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The most prestigious award a college football assistant can claim has significantly narrowed its list of potential winners.

Tuesday, the Broyles Award unveiled its 15 semifinalists for the 2018 version of its hardware.  Four of the semifinalists come from the SEC, while two each hail from the Big 12, Pac-12 and football independents.  The ACC has two of the 15 and the Big Ten has one.

Group of Five conferences account for three of the semifinalists as UAB, UCF and Utah State are all represented.  Army also accounts for one of the semifinalists.

Of the 15 semifinalists, seven are defensive coordinators and seven are offensive coordinators.  Just one position coach made the cut — UCF offensive line coach Glen Elarbee.

Clemson co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott was the 2017 winner of the Broyles Award; the Tigers’ other offensive coordinator, Jeff Scott, is a semifinalist this year.

Alabama – Mike Locksley, Offensive Coordinator
Army – Jay Bateman, Defensive Coordinator
Cal – Tim DeRuyter, Defensive Coordinator/Outside Linebackers
Clemson – Jeff Scott, Co-Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers
Georgia – Sam Pittman, Offensive Line
LSU – Dave Aranda, Defensive Coordinator
Michigan – Don Brown, Defensive Coordinator
Mississippi State – Bob Shoop, Defensive Coordinator/Safeties
Notre Dame – Chip Long, Offensive Coordinator
Oklahoma – Bill Bedenbaugh, Co-Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line
UAB – David Reeves, Defensive Coordinator
UCF – Glen Elarbee, Offensive Line
Utah State – David Yost, Offensive Coordinator/QBs
Washington State – Tracy Claeys, Defensive Coordinator
West Virginia – Jake Spavital, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks

Miami Hurricanes down to one healthy tight end, a walk-on

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To say that injuries at the tight end position have been an issue for Miami this season would be a significant understatement.

In early August, Michael Irvin II suffered an MCL injury in his right knee and will be out for up to four months.  In mid-September, the Hurricanes were down to two healthy scholarship tight ends when Brian Polendey suffered a season-ending injury.

Unbelievably, both of the remaining scholarship tight ends, Brevin Jordan (pictured) and Will Mallory, who are both true freshmen, were injured in last Saturday’s win over Virginia Tech.  Both Jordan, who is second on the team in receptions with 30, and Mallory will be sidelined for the regular-season finale against Pitt this weekend.

The good news is that, per head coach Mark Richt, the two tight ends should be healthy enough to return for a bowl game.  The bad news?  According to the Sun-Sentinel, the Hurricanes are now down to just one healthy tight end, and he’s a walk-on — Nicholas Ducheine.

The redshirt freshman Ducheine has appeared in two games this season — Week 2 vs. Savannah State, Week 12 vs. Tech — and is still looking for his first career reception.