It appears you can remove one name from the coaching hot seat.
Coming off a season in which Auburn beat rival Alabama, won the SEC West and reached double-digits in wins, Gus Malzahn was rewarded with a new seven-year, $49 million contract early on in the offseason. Midway through the 2018 season, however, three losses in SEC play with two remaining combined with a new athletic director had some opining that Malzahn’s seat was getting warm.
Whether that was the case or not, the first-year athletic director has publicly proclaimed that Malzahn will be the Tigers’ head football coach in 2019.
“He’ll be the coach next year and I’m confident — he’s already proven we can get through adversity,” Allen Greene said by way of 247Sports.com. “Every team has it and I’m looking forward to working with him for a long time.”
It should be noted that, for all of the hot-seat talk, Malzahn’s new deal calls for a nearly $32 million buyout should the coach be fired at this point in time.
In his sixth season on The Plains, Malzahn has posted a 51-25 record overall and 28-18 in SEC play. This season, the record stands at 6-3 and 3-3 with a home date with Liberty sandwiched between road trips to No. 6 Georgia and No. 1 Alabama remaining.
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.
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
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.
With the curtain about to fall on the 2018 regular season, there’s some news on the next regular season on which to note.
Houston had already been scheduled to open the 2019 season against Washington State on Saturday, Sept. 14. Tuesday, however, it was announced that that matchup has been selected as the 2019 AdvoCare Texas Kickoff Game.
The game will now be played Friday, Sept. 13, at NRG Stadium in Houston.
“We are excited to face a quality program such as the Houston Cougars next year in the AdvoCare Texas Kickoff Game at NRG Stadium,” said Washington State athletic director Pat Chun in a statement. “It provides our fan base the opportunity to see a tremendous nonconference opponent in a great part of the country, while giving our student-athletes the chance to play in a world-class stadium.”
“We are honored to receive the invitation to participate in the AdvoCare Texas Kickoff,” Chun’s counterpart, Chris Pezman, said in his statement. “We have fond memories from our last action in the event and look forward to creating more in front of our hometown fans in a primetime nationally-televised game.”
Houston has played in the Kickoff Classic one time previously, a 33-23 win over Oklahoma in 2016. This will mark Wazzu’s first appearance in the game.
The two football teams have met three times previously, the first coming in 1959 and the most recent in the 1988 Aloha Bowl. The Pac-12 Cougars own a 2-1 edge in the miniseries.