Is this the beginning of the end of the Urban Meyer era in Columbus?
Earlier today, a damning report surfaced in which it’s alleged that Meyer knew of domestic abuse allegations levied against his now-former wide receivers coach Zach Smith in 2015 despite Meyer’s vehement denials late last month. Given the fact that the wildly-successful OSU head coach continued to employ an assistant who he seemingly knew was, at bare minimum, accused of being a serial spousal abuser, and then appeared to cover up that knowledge by bending the truth to the point of breaking it, there has been a growing chorus wondering whether Meyer will be able to survive and hold on to his job.
The silence on the part of Meyer and the football program and the university since the story broke has only added to the chatter.
While there have not been any statements released by those involved, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing going on behind the scenes as Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports writes that “Urban and athletic director Gene Smith were meeting as of early Wednesday afternoon.” What’s unclear is whether that meeting involves exactly how to spin this disturbing situation and control the damage already created or, as some have suggested, determining whether or not Meyer will continue on as the Buckeyes’ head coach.
University officials have continued to decline comment on the day’s developments, or even if the school will be addressing the situation in a statement or statements today.
Meyer has spent the past six seasons in his “dream job,” compiling a 73-8 record overall and a 47-3 mark in Big Ten play. The Buckeyes have won two conference titles and one national championship under the Ohio native.
In April of this year, Ohio State announced that a Board of Trustees committee had approved a two-year contract extension for their head football coach that would push his 2018 salary to $7.6 million, making him the second-highest paid coach in college football. The 54-year-old Meyer is now signed through the 2022 season.
A matchup of undefeated Mountain West Conference teams has been everything it was supposed to be. Air Force is giving Boise State a good battle on the strength of their running game. The two teams are tied 10-10 at the break.
After a scoreless first quarter, Air Force and Boise State exchanged touchdown drives in the second quarter. The Falcons opened the scoring with Donald Hammond III running eight yards for a score. Boise State answered with Hank Bachmeier tossing a 36-yard pass to CT Thomas for a score.
After forcing Air Force to punt on the ensuing possession, the Broncos took their first lead of the game minutes later. Eric Sachse booted a 40-yard field goal to give the home team a 10-7 lead.
As expected, Air Force has thrived by chewing up yards on the ground, but a pass completion from Hammond III to Ben Peterson late in the second quarter moved the football to the Boise State 13-yard line and a first down. That late drive ended with a field goal by Jake Koehnke to send the teams to the locker rooms all squared up.
We should have a good finish coming up on the blue turf in the second half.
USC quarterback Kedon Slovis started Friday night’s game against Utah, but he may have been knocked out of the game after just two plays. Matt Fink has replaced Slovis, at least for now, after Slovis headed to the USC locker room early in the first quarter. According to a sideline report on the telecast, Slovis was being treated for a possible head injury.
Utah defensive tackle Leki Fatu came charging at Slovis on a 2nd-and-1 play on the second snap of the game. After Fink got the ball away, Fatu finished off a clean play in the college game (FS1 analyst Brock Huard correctly noted the follow-through to take the quarterback to the ground would be flagged in the NFL). Slovis struggled to get back on his feet as he attempted to get off the ground.
Fink, USC’s third-string quarterback behind Slovis and J.T. Daniels (who was injured and out for the year after the season opener), got right to work to finish off the opening drive. Fink missed on his first throw but then connected on his next three attempts, including a 29-yard pass to Tyler Vaughns for the early lead. Utah cruised down the field on the ensuing possession to tie it up.
This post will be updated with more information on Slovis once it becomes available.
Feel free to update your planner accordingly, because the ACC and Big 12 championship games now have confirmed start times.
The Big 12 Championship Game will kick off Championship Saturday on Dec. 7 with a noon eastern kickoff. The game will be televised on ABC and will share a time slot with the MAC Championship Game (on ESPN or ESPN2).
The ACC Championship Game will once again be played in primetime with a 7:30 p.m. eastern start time scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 7 on ABC. It will once again go opposite the Big Ten Championship Game on FOX, although the ACC will get a half-hour jump on the Big Ten title game.
With the ACC and Big 12 now on the schedule, here is the updated look at the conference championship game schedule:
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 6
- Pac-12: 8:00 p.m. ET, ABC (Santa Clara, CA)
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 7
- Big 12: 12:00 p.m. ET, ABC (Arlington, TX)
- MAC: 12:00 p.m. ET, ESPN or ESPN 2 (Detroit, MI)
- Sun Belt: 12:00 p.m. ET, ESPN or ESPN2 (TBD*)
- Conference USA: 1:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network (TBD*)
- American: 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC (TBD*)
- Mountain West: 4:00 p.m. ET, ESPN (TBD*)
- SEC: 4:00 p.m. ET, CBS (Atlanta, GA)
- ACC: 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC (Charlotte, NC)
- Big Ten: 8:00 p.m. ET, FOX (Indianapolis, IN)
* = The highest-seeded team in the conference hosts the conference championship game
A day after an alarming story accused Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio of recruiting a player he was warned could be a potential problem, Dantonio has responded alongside his lawyer. Dantonio defended himself against the claims of former assistant Curtis Blackwell and re-directed to previous comments Dantonio made regarding the player in question.
“The fact that Mr. Blackwell’s contract was not renewed has nothing to do with Auston Robertson,” Dantonio said in a statement on Friday. “Two years ago, I spoke at length about Auston Robertson when he was dismissed from the team in 2017. Rather than engage in a public argument with a former staffer, I refer you to those previous statements. Further, there have been multiple investigations into the program’s handling of sexual assaults, including Jones Day in 2017 and the NCAA in 2018, and they concluded that the program and myself committed no violations.”
Blackwell, a former Michigan State recruiting director, claimed he and multiple coaches asked Dantonio not to continue recruiting Robertson, who was guilty of misdemeanor battery in high school and later was arrested and charged with assault to his girlfriend just after his freshman season in East Lansing. Robertson was later removed from the program.
Dantonio concluded his statement by saying he will have no further comment due to ongoing litigation.
“Mr. Blackwell’s lawsuit concerns his allegations that his contract was not renewed because he refused to co-operate with investigations being conducted by the MSUPD and a law firm hired to evaluate the MSU football program’s compliance with sexual assault reporting policies,” Dantonio’s lawyer, Tom Kienbaum, said in a separate statement. “The lawsuit has nothing to do with the recruitment or actions of any student athletes, including Auston Robertson.”