AP Photo/Lee Luther Jr.

Mount Union gets No. 1 seed in D3 playoff; defending D2 champ Texas A&M-Commerce makes D2 playoff

Leave a comment

On Sunday, the playoff fields for Division 2 and Division 3 were revealed, officially getting the postseason fun started around college football this week. Both defending national champions from the D2 and D3 levels are back in the field, including Division 3 powerhouse Mount Union, the No. 1 team in D3 going into the postseason.

The Purple Raiders clinched their spot in the Division 3 playoff field by going 10-0 and clinching the Ohio Athletic Conference, Doing so awarded Mount Union one of 26 automatic berths in the playoffs. Mount Union has won 13 of 20 national championship games since 1993 in the Division 3 playoffs, and the Purple Raiders will bring a postseason record of 99-16 into this year’s tournament. This will be Mount Union’s 27th consecutive playoff appearance.

The Division 3 field is highlighted by some familiar national title contenders at the D3 level. Other top seeds in the field include Mary Hardin-Baylor, last year’s runner-up to Mount Union and the 2016 national champion, and Wisconsin-Whitewater, the program previously coached by current Buffalo head coach Lance Leipold. Wisconsin-Whitewater is looking to make their first national championship game appearance since Leipold left for Buffalo, which he did after winning three of the previous four Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowls for the national title against Mount Union.

Defending D2 national champion Texas A&M-Commerce is in the D2 field, although they will have a bit of an uphill climb as the No. 6 seed in their region. They also have a tough draw out of the gate with Minnesota-Duluth (11-0) in the opening round. Last year’s runner-up, West Florida, failed to make the playoff field this season. Longtime D2 giants Grand Valley State and Northwest Missouri State will clash in the opening round with a possible matchup with another longtime power, Ferris State, in the second round. Valdosta State, Minnesota State, Ouachita Baptist and Notre Dame (Ohio) all received top seeds in their respective regions.

Division 2 Playoff Bracket | Division 3 Playoff Bracket

The FCS Playoffs begin Nov. 24. The selection show for the FCS playoff field is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 18 because the FCS season is still ongoing this week with a handful of FCS teams playing FBS programs.

One Buckeye declares, but two more remain undecided

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Ohio State held a pre-Rose Bowl press availability on Wednesday, which turned into a will-you-or-won’t-you referendum on the draft-eligible Buckeyes.

First off, defensive lineman Dre’Mont Jones announced he will enter the 2019 draft, but will play in the Rose Bowl. (As is a standard postscript for all early entrants these days.) A redshirt junior, Jones was pretty much a mainstay on Ohio State’s vaunted defensive line from the moment he hit the field. He started 12 games as a redshirt freshman, becoming just the third Buckeye to start at least 10 games along the defensive line as a freshman.

This season, Jones led the defensive line with 40 tackles, ranked second on the team with 13 TFLs, tied Chase Young for the team lead with 8.5 sacks, and broke the TCU game open with a 28-yard pick six.

On the offense, two major figures are still deciding whether or not they want to enter the draft as quarterback Dwayne Haskins and running back Mike Weber have yet to declare one way or the other.

The bronze medalist in the Heisman Trophy race, Haskins broke the Big Ten record for total yards and touchdowns in a single season, throwing for 4,580 yards and 47 touchdowns while rushing for 122 yards and four more touchdowns. With one game still to play, Haskins has a chance to become the first Big Ten quarterback to ever throw 50 touchdown passes in a single season.

He is expected to enter the 2019 NFL Draft, and like Jones could be a possible first-round pick.

Weber’s season has been, to boil it down to one word, odd. He began the year with a 22-carry, 186-yard, 3-touchdown game against Oregon State, then did not carry the ball 20 times again until Michigan State, where he rushed 22 times for 104 yards and a touchdown. Weber then missed the next week’s game against Maryland due to a quad bruise, while JK Dobbins racked up 37 carries in the 52-51 win.

Weber returned in the wins over Michigan and Northwestern with a combined 30 carries, and finished the regular season second on the team with 157 carries for 858 yards and five touchdowns.

 

 

Dino Babers signs ‘long-term’ extension at Syracuse

Getty Images
1 Comment

Dino Babers has inked a contract extension that will keep him at Syracuse “well into the future.”

“A little over three years ago, I arrived at Syracuse University inspired by the great opportunity to coach at an institution with such a rich football legacy, hungry student-athletes, good facilities and a storied tradition of academic distinction,” Babers said in a statement. “It was a true honor to have accepted the head coach position then and I consider it a privilege today to be able to extend my time coaching at Syracuse. I am grateful to have the support, faith and trust of University leaders, the Orange community, our student-athletes and our fans. I am excited about what the future holds for Syracuse Football and look forward to our continued improvement and growth.”

As a private school, Syracuse is not obligated to share the terms of the contract — or, more importantly, the buyout.

Babers made $2.4 million in 2018 according to the USA Today coaching salary database, which ranked 55th nationally.

After going 4-8 in each of his two seasons, Babers bounced upward to 9-3 in 2018. The No. 20 Orange will face No. 16 West Virginia in the Camping World Bowl on Dec. 28. A win there gives Syracuse its first 10-win season since 2001.

In seven seasons as a head coach, Babers carries an overall record of 54-35. He went 19-7 in two seasons at Eastern Illinois and 18-9 in two seasons at Bowling Green. ‘

“Dino has led an exhilarating resurgence of the football tradition at Syracuse University,” AD John Wildhack said. “On the field and off the field, Dino has demonstrated his deep commitment to our football program, our student-athletes, our communities and our fans. Not only is he an incredible leader, coach and mentor with great integrity and heart, he is also a tremendous ambassador for Syracuse University and the broader Central New York community.”

Ohio State fires back at Michigan DE Chase Winovich for calling 62-39 loss a ‘mirage’

Getty Images
6 Comments

If Chase Winovich and Breckyn Hager happen to run into each other at any point during the 2019 NFL Draft process, the two will have a lot to talk about. Both players are defensive ends. Both are known for the long blond locks that flow out of the backs of their helmets. Both are not afraid to run their mouths, and because of those last two items, both are players their rivals love to hate.

Hager, who famously refused to cut his hair until Texas won a Big 12 championship, famously proclaimed that Oklahoma “sucks” and “has no defense” before being forced to apologize by the Big 12. Squaring off against Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game with a chance to cut his hair in the face of a bitter rival, Hager recorded one solo tackle in a 39-27 loss. He since deleted his Twitter account.

That brings us to Winovich.

The Michigan defensive end famously proclaimed the Wolverines were on a revenge tour and called Michigan State “little brother” after the maize and blue beat the green and white for the third time in 11 years in October.

Heading into the ultimate game on Michigan’s revenge tour, the Wolverines… flopped. Ohio State rolled up 567 yards on Michigan’s top-ranked defense in a 62-39 blowout.

Winovich’s response to that loss? Rather than follow the lead of his doppleganger, he went in the other direction.

“I would say to any recruit or any potential guy who sees what happened in the Ohio State game and is persuaded against coming to Michigan because of that, I would say that alone is a mirage,” Winovich said following Michigan’s team awards ceremony on Sunday, via the Detroit Free Press. “And you should not be fooled. What we’ve built here and what we’ll continue to build is a powerhouse. That’s the Michigan I’m leaving. A Michigan that’s competitive in its trajectory.

“The sky’s the limit.”

Much like Hager, Winovich believes in himself and his team, sometimes too much. Like when he gives Ohio State the fodder to create this.

Aren’t rivalries healthy and constructive?

Report: Manny Diaz in line to be Temple head coach

Getty Images
3 Comments

The four men that revived and then carried Temple football through this decade have all been first-time head coaches. It seems like we’re close to making it five-for-five.

Yahoo‘s Pete Thamel reported on Tuesday that Miami defensive coordinator Manny Diaz is close to becoming the next head coach with Temple. His report was since followed with confirmations from a number of other outlets.

In his third season with the Hurricanes, Diaz has successfully revived his stock after he was fired mid-season at Texas in 2013. Amid a disappointing 7-5 season that began with a top-10 ranking, Diaz’s defense ranks No. 2 nationally in total defense and in or around the top 15 in every major statistical category. Prior to this season, Diaz’s defense led the way as Miami won its first 10 games and rose to No. 2 in the College Football Playoff poll in November.

In addition to Miami and Texas, the 44-year-old has also coordinated defenses for Mississippi State, Middle Tennessee and Louisiana Tech.

The Temple job has become an attractive one for coaches, as first-timers have proven they can go to Philadelphia, win for a couple years and then move on to a Power 5 job. That’s what Al Golden did (to Miami). And Steve Addazio (Boston College), Matt Rhule (Baylor) and Geoff Collins, who got the Georgia Tech job after going 15-10 in two seasons.

In fact, one has to wonder if the Machiavellian play for Diaz, a Miami native and the son of a former Miami mayor of the same name, is to take the Temple job, watch the Mark Richt regime implode from afar without him around to run the defense, and then return as head coach in 2020 or 2021.