Alabama won the national championship last college football season with an unbelievable second-half effort from freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa leading a rally and eventually lifting the Crimson Tide to a dramatic victory over SEC champion Georgia in overtime. But ask anyone who sports the black and gold of UCF and they will tell you there was another national champion last season as well. How much legitimacy you want to place on UCF’s claim at a national title is up to you, but Tagovailoa and UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton apparently have not shied away from joking about the national championship debate this offseason.
In an interview with Orlando sportswriter and radio host Mike Bianchi, Milton said he is friends with the Alabama quarterback. Both were born in Hawaii and played on the same Pop Warner team in their younger days. And as friends do, they have some fun at each other’s expense.
“We’ll joke around about the national championship stuff, but it’s all in good fun,” Milton said. “He’s goodhearted and doesn’t take it personally. He’ll be the first one to give us praise about going unbeaten and he’ll say things like, ‘You guys were the only ones to go undefeated and beat the team that beat us.’ He’s such a humble guy. He doesn’t bash UCF like some of the other Alabama guys.”
UCF defeated Auburn in the Peach Bowl to complete the only undefeated season in the FBS last season. Auburn defeated Alabama in the Iron Bowl to close out the regular season to clinch a spot in the SEC Championship Game as the SEC West champion. Alabama still was selected to play in the College Football Playoff and the rest is history.
Going into the 2018 season, both McKenzie and Tagovailoa are being discussed as potential Heisman Trophy candidates.
Maybe the two quarterbacks won’t face off on the field, but there could be a chance they sit side-by-side in New York City when the Heisman Trophy is awarded.
And there you have it.
A couple of days after learning he had lost his job to a true freshman, and after missing two straight days of practice that led to intensified speculation about his future, Kelly Bryant has confirmed to the Greenville News that he has decided to transfer from Clemson. Because the senior has played in only four games this season, he will be able to take advantage of the new NCAA transfer rule and play at another FBS program next year as a graduate transfer.
“I feel like it’s what’s best for me and my future,” Bryant said in an exclusive interview with The News. “I was just going to control what I could control and try to make the most of my opportunity, but at the end of the day, I just don’t feel like I’ve gotten a fair shot.”
Bryant was informed by his position coach Sunday of the Tigers’ decision to go with Trevor Lawrence as the starting quarterback, then had a lengthy conversation with head coach Dabo Swinney Monday in which they discussed, among other things, the possibility of a transfer. The move to Lawrence came after Bryant had started the last 18 games under center for Clemson, with the Tigers winning 16 of those.
“To me, it was kind of a slap in the face,” Bryant said about his demotion.
Bryant’s decision to transfer leaves the Tigers with just two recruited scholarship quarterbacks, 247Sports.com noted. Redshirt freshman Chase Brice will serve as Lawrence’s backup for the balance of the season.
Since Lawrence signed with Clemson in December of last year as part of the first Early Signing Period, four quarterbacks have transferred from the Tigers — Bryant, Zerrick Cooper (HERE), Tucker Israel (HERE) and Hunter Johnson (HERE). The football program also added FCS graduate transfer quarterback Patrick McClure in late July as a preferred walk-on.
Randy Edsall wanted no part in heading down the road one media member at least attempted to get him to travel.
Following a subpar start to the 2018 season on that side of the ball, Wake Forest earlier this week announced that they had decided to part ways with defensive coordinator Jay Sawvel. On a related note — you’ll see in a minute — UConn is currently dead last among the 130 FBS programs in total defense (a staggering 664 yards per game; next closest is Ohio at 540.3) and scoring defense (54.4 points per game; next closest is Bowling Green at 44).
At his weekly press conference Tuesday, Edsall was asked about the Wake situation and his philosophy on such an in-season move. Suffice to say, the head coach wasn’t particularly fond of the media member’s line of questioning.
From the Hartford Courant:
Reporter: “Wake Forest just fired their defensive coordinator. I’m just curious about your philosophy on that.”
Edsall: “What does that have to do with us? I’m done. I can see where this is going. I’m not — I’m done.
Edsall’s defensive coordinator is Billy Crocker, who is in his second year with the football program. In Crocker’s first season, the Huskies were 122nd in scoring defense (37.9 ppg), 127th in total defense (519 ypg) and 130th (dead last) in pass defense (339 ypg).
Prior to his time at UConn, Crocker was on the coaching staff at Villanova for 12 seasons, the last five of which he spent coordinating the FCS team’s defense. In his last season with the Wildcats, they had the nation’s No. 1 scoring defense at that level.
Michigan State could again be without one of the top returning running backs in the Big Ten.
In the third quarter of the Week 2 loss to Arizona State, LJ Scott went down with an ankle injury and did not return to the game. The injury also sidelined him for the conference opener, a 14-point win over Illinois, in Week 4.
With its non-conference finale against Central Michigan set for this Saturday, it appears the senior back will be essentially a game-time decision. At least, I think that’s what his head coach was getting at.
“Probably a little of both,” Mark Dantonio said when asked if Scott was day-to-day or will play against CMU. “I expect him to play. Maybe day-to-day.
“He may be out there today or he may not be. Probably the best answer I can give you.”
Despite missing nearly a game and a half, Scott’s 103 rushing yards are still tops on the Spartans. Scott has led Michigan State in rushing each of the past three seasons — 898 yards in 2017, 994 in 2016 and 699 in 2015.
Following MSU’s Holiday Bowl win last December, Scott confirmed that he would be eschewing early entry into the 2018 NFL draft and would be returning to East Lansing for a fourth season.
Once again, a player has utilized social media to make a rather significant announcement.
On his Instagram account earlier this week, Nevada defensive back EJ Muhammad announced that he will miss the remainder of the 2018 season after undergoing surgery. Just what the medical procedure he underwent is unclear at the moment.
The football program, for what it’s worth, has not addressed Muhammad’s status moving forward.
Muhammad appeared in nine games as a redshirt sophomore last season, starting three of those contests. He had started the first two games of the 2018 season as well before missing the last two because of the injury that ultimately will sideline him for the remainder of the year.