AP Photo

NCAA passes significant transfer reforms, redshirt rule

5 Comments

When we look back down the road, June 13 could be one of the bigger dates in the history of college football when you get into the weeds of byzantine NCAA rules.

In a news release posted Wednesday afternoon, the NCAA confirmed a slate of hugely significant rules changes to how players transfers and the highly debated ‘redshirt rule’ that would allow players an easier path to maintaining an extra season of eligibility.

Perhaps the bigger overarching rule that was adopted by the NCAA Division I Council earlier in the week was a new “notification-of-transfer” model. This essentially takes the school’s power out of the decisions of where a player can and can’t go by allowing a player to simply inform the program of a desire to transfer. In turn, the player’s name will be added to a national “transfer database” which allows coaches from other programs to contact that player without restrictions.

“The membership showed today that it supports this significant change in transfer rules,” said Justin Sell in a release, the chair of the Division I Transfer Working Group and South Dakota State AD. “I’m proud of the effort the Transfer Working Group put forth to make this happen for student-athletes, coaches and schools.”

This proposal has been working its way through the process for nearly a year and goes into effect on Oct. 15. There’s still more work left to be done as there are a handful of other proposals on the table for Power Five conferences to vote on in the coming weeks that affect things like scholarships and financial aid.

Also big? A so-called ‘redshirt rule’ that would allow players to play in any four games during a season and still maintain a full season eligibility (they would still have five years to play four seasons).

“This change promotes not only fairness for college athletes, but also their health and well-being. Redshirt football student-athletes are more likely to remain engaged with the team, and starters will be less likely to feel pressure to play through injuries,” Miami AD Blake James said. “Coaches will appreciate the additional flexibility and ability to give younger players an opportunity to participate in limited competition.”

This will be effective for the upcoming 2018 season and allows players to play in, say, the first two games of the year and then the regular season finale and bowl game and yet still be counted as a redshirt for eligibility purposes. As you can guess, coaches have been pushing for this for a while now and this is a pretty big victory for them and for players, who will all be able to see action on the field as freshman and not have it take a year away from them.

Sadly, the rule is not retroactive to players who may have taken a few snaps here or there in the past few years.

It will be interesting to see how all these changes play out down the road but the bottom line is it was a big, big day for players across the country with these rules proposals getting passed.

Iowa and Wisconsin staging an old fashioned B1G slobberknocker

Associated Press
Leave a comment

Through one half in Iowa City, Iowa and No. 18 Wisconsin are knotted in a 7-7 tie.

In a game without many scoring opportunities, Kirk Ferentz made a very un-Ferentz like decision and it immediately came back to bite him.

After forcing a Wisconsin punt to open the game, Iowa marched from its own 15 to the Wisconsin 12 when Nate Stanley hit running back Ivory Kelly-Martin for a 7-yard completion on 3rd-and-8, taking the ball to the Badgers’ 5, setting up a 4th-and-1. The Iowa offense hurried to the line, but a pair of false starts by Iowa’s guards were wiped out when the replay official stopped play to review the spot. Given the chance to think it over, Ferentz chose to go for it again, and Stanley’s sneak was stuffed.

Wisconsin immediately took advantage, moving 95 yards in 11 plays, scoring on a 6-yard Alex Hornibrook pass to Jake Ferguson at the 14:31 mark of the second quarter.

The teams traded punts on their next possessions and Iowa seemed primed to punt again when Stanley loaded up to throw on a 3rd-and-9 from his own 34, but his rainbow found T.J. Hockenson for a 46-yard gain, which he hauled in despite defensive pass interference on the play. Stanley put Iowa on the board with a 20-yard scoring strike to Noah Fant on the next play, evening the game at the 5:15 mark of the first half.

Iowa forced another Wisconsin punt on the ensuing possession, but the Hawkeyes’ momentum was wiped out when Kyle Groeneweg‘s 23-yard punt return to midfield ended in a fumble forced and recovered by Wisconsin’s D’Cota Dixon.

Still, Iowa’s defense forced another punt, and the Hawkeyes expired the final minute to send the game to the half.

QB Justin Herbert, No. 20 Oregon sharp in jumping out to halftime lead against No. 7 Stanford

Getty Images
Leave a comment

After playing three lackluster opponents to open the season, just about everybody in the country was wondering just how good undefeated and No. 20 Oregon was this season. Turns out, pretty good.

The Ducks struck early and never looked back in their huge Pac-12 showdown against No. 7 Stanford, taking a 24-7 lead into the halftime break and looking every bit like the better team on both sides of the ball so far at Autzen Stadium.

In his first big impression for Heisman voters this year, Oregon QB Justin Herbert was nearly perfect through the air with 170 yards, a touchdown and just a single incompletion. He hit several big plays between the hashes and also chipped in by showing off his mobility with 42 yards on the ground as well. Dillon Mitchell hauled in a 53-yard pass on his way to triple figures (126) receiving while tight end Jacob Breeland found the end zone on one of his two catches. CJ Verdell chipped in with 75 yards and a score running the ball too.

The Cardinal offense was not nearly as explosive in the first half. Tailback Bryce Love was mostly held in check with just 41 yards rushing while K.J. Costello powered offense down the field with several big throws on his way to 114 yards. He also tossed a touchdown pass which came, not surprisingly, on a jump ball in the end zone to JJ Arcega-Whiteside from 13 yards out.

We’ll see how this one will play out but the two Pac-12 North rivals have staged some incredible second half battles over the years and that could be the case once again. Defensive adjustments for Stanford will prove key to making things interesting because the Ducks are certainly proving to be better than advertised just two quarters into their season actually getting underway.

Colorado State becomes FBS’ seventh FCS victim in 2018

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Don’t worry, Colorado State.  You certainly have some company.

Colorado State came into Saturday’s game in Fort Collins as anywhere from a four- to a six-point favorite over FCS No. 16 Illinois State.  After 60 minutes of play, the Rams exited with an embarrassing 35-19 loss at the hands of the Redbirds.  It was actually even worse than the final score indicated as the Rams scored a garbage-time touchdown with less than two minutes remaining in the fourth to slice into what was a 22-point deficit.

CSU simply had no answer defensively as ISU put up 538 yards of total offense — 271 passing, 267 rushing.  Most notably, they allowed ISU to run for 6.4 yards per carry.

With the loss, CSU becomes the seventh FBS team to lose to an FCS team this season.  The others?

  • UC Davis 44, San Jose State 38 (August 30)
  • No. 19 Villanova 19, Temple 17 (September 1)
  • Northern Arizona 30, UTEP 10 (September 1)
  • No. 18 Nicholls State 26, Kansas 23 in overtime (September 1)
  • No. 14 North Carolina A&T 28, East Carolina 23 (September 2)
  • No. 22 Maine 31, Western Kentucky 28 (September 8)

This is actually a “down” year for the FCS (thus far) as last season there were nine such FBS losses, the same number as in 2015.  In 2016, the FBS lost 10 games to lower-level teams.  The single-season record for FCS wins over FBS teams is 16, set in 2013.

Exactly 10 years ago, there were two FCS upsets — Cal Poly over San Diego State and New Hampshire over Army.

The last time there was an FCS upset past September was 2015, when Georgia State and North Texas lost in October.  South Carolina dropped one in November of that year as well.

And the first-ever FCS upset of an FBS team, since the 1978 split to I-A and I-AA? Lamar lost to Stephen F. Austin Sept. 23, 1978.  A little over three years later, the Cardinals dropped down to the FCS level, where they have remained ever since.

That same year, by the way, Boston College lost to UMass 27-0 in late November in the midst of a 0-11 season.  UMass, of course, now plays at the FBS level.

Florida taking advantage of Tennessee mistakes

Associated Press
1 Comment

Tennessee isn’t going to be good in Jeremy Pruitt‘s first year of his effort to excavate the program from the rubble of all of Butch Jones‘s bricks, but one has to wonder how good the Vols might be if they could just get out of their own way.

A chorus of miscues have staked Florida to a 26-3 halftime lead in Knoxville.

The mistakes started immediately for Tennessee. On the Vols’ first drive of the game, Jarrett Guarantano was sacked and fumbled, which Florida’s David Reese II recovered and returned to the UT 21. Felepie Franks put the Gators up 7-0 four plays later when he hit R.J. Raymond for a 1-yard toss.

On Tennessee’s next possession, Guarantano was intercepted by Luke Ancrum at his own 12, which he returned to the 7. Franks rushed in from one yard out two plays later, handing Florida a 14-0 lead.

Dear reader, this was just the beginning.

A safety handed Florida a 16-3 and, after the free kick, Franks found Freddie Swan for a 65-yard score, effectively ending the game at 23-3 with 10:42 to play in the second quarter.

Tennessee appeared to be in position to pull back within two scores when, on a 4th-and-1 from their own 45, Guarantano found a wide open tight end Austin Pope for a 51-yard connection. But as Pope leaped to avoid a tackle near the goal line, he lost control of the ball, which then rolled out of the end zone, turning a 1st-and-goal into a touchback.

Florida punted on the ensuing possession and Tennessee again moved into scoring territory, facing a 3rd-and-11 at the Florida 23, but a botched shotgun snap ended a second straight promising drive in a fumble.

Florida drove 66 yards at the close of the half to add a 25-yard Evan McPherson field goal to close the first half with a 26-3 lead.