Urban Meyer to retire as Ohio State’s head coach

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And the biggest domino of the 2018-18 college coaching carousel has fallen.

Late last month, it was reported that Urban Meyer would address his coaching future following the Big Ten championship game.  While that report suggested Meyer would coach the 2019 season before stepping down, that won’t be the case as Ohio State confirmed Tuesday morning that the 54-year-old Meyer will retire from coaching following the Buckeyes’ appearance in this season’s Rose Bowl game New Year’s Day.

Additionally, the football program announced that Ryan Day, who served as acting head coach for the first three games of the 2018 season while Meyer was suspended, will be named as OSU’s next head football coach.

Meyer, Day and athletic director Gene Smith will conduct a 2 p.m. press conference Tuesday afternoon to discuss the developments.

It had been reported in late October that there was “friction” between Meyer/the football staff “and athletics leadership as well as within the program itself”; the head coach subsequently attempted to knock down that report, for what it’s worth. CFT had caught wind of speculation that it wouldn’t be surprising at all if Meyer were not the Buckeyes’ head coach next season, whispers that grew a little louder given the embarrassing loss in West Lafayette this and what some have described as Meyer’s “anguished… emotional… erratic” sideline demeanor.  And then there is the arachnoid cyst that puts pressure on the coach’s brain and sometimes causes the kind of headaches that dropped him to one knee on the sidelines during the Indiana game earlier this season.

Add all of that to the battering Meyer’s reputation took nationally over the Zach Smith situation and the coach’s response to allegations of domestic abuse, and a growing number of observers wondered aloud how much longer Meyer will remain as The Head Coach at The Ohio State.

It has been previously reported that OSU was discussing making the 39-year-old Day, who drew near-universal praise for his handling of the Buckeyes during Meyer’s suspension, a de facto head coach-in-waiting; Smith subsequently addressed the situation without really addressing it.

In nearly seven full seasons as the head coach of the Buckeyes, Meyer has gone 82-9, winning 10 or more games in each of his first six seasons; the Buckeyes are 9-1 with Meyer as the head coach in 2018 and can get a 10th win by beating Washington in the Granddaddy of Them All next month.  OSU has won outright or shared seven division titles, three Big Ten championships and one national championship.  And, of course, Meyer beat hated rival Michigan all seven times he faced them, including the last three with Jim Harbaugh as head coach.

An Ohio native who played his college football at Cincinnati, Meyer’s first coaching job at the collegiate level came as a graduate assistant on Earle Bruce‘s OSU staff in 1986-87.  He was the wide receivers coach at Notre Dame from 1996-2000 before moving on to his first head-coaching job, directing Bowling Green from 2001-02 before leaving for the same post at Utah.

After two years with the Utes, Meyer moved on to Florida for the next six seasons.  After winning a pair of national championships in Gainesville, Meyer informed his family in December of 2009 that he was stepping down as the head coach of the Florida Gators; less than 24 hours later, he had stepped back up as the head coach of the Florida Gators.  A year after that flurry of events, and amidst health concerns, Meyer stepped down for good, citing a desire to spend more time with his family.

In late November of 2011, after spending that season as a college football analyst at ESPN, Meyer was officially announced as the 24th head coach in Ohio State history.

Assuming he actually is through with coaching this time around, Meyer’s Hall of Fame career will end with a 186-32 record.  His .853 winning percentage is the highest all-time for coaches with at least 200 games on their résumé; only a pair of Notre Dame head coaches — Knute Rockne (105-12-5, .881) and Frank Leahy (107-13-9, .864) — had a higher winning percentage after coaching 100-plus games.

Illinois dismisses suspended DT Lere Oladipo

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The Champaign soap opera that is Lere Oladipo has taken yet another twist.

In a statement Tuesday evening, Illinois announced that Oladipo has been dismissed from the Fighting Illini football program for violating unspecified team rules.  In mid-September of this year, the redshirt sophomore defensive tackle was indefinitely suspended from the team, a suspension that had remained in place right up until his dismissal.

In late October of last year, Oladipo was arrested in connection to a domestic incident and charged with one count of domestic battery/bodily harm and two counts of domestic battery/physical contact.  As Oladipo, who pleaded not guilty to all counts, was set to go trial, the three charges he was facing were dismissed.  The state’s attorney’s office dropped the charges after the alleged victim and a witness called the police and changed their stories.

Suspended after the initial arrest, Oladipo was reinstated and participated in both spring practice and summer camp earlier this year.  He played in the first two games this season before his second suspension; it’s unclear if the second issue is/was related to the first.

Oladipo was a three-star 2017 signee.  He played in four games as a redshirt freshman before the off-field issues sidelined him.

QB Austin Kirksey to transfer from Nevada, walk-on at Georgia

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It appears Georgia’s quarterback room will have a new addition, courtesy of a Group of Five program.

According to Nevada Sports Net‘s Chris Murray, Austin Kirksey has decided to leave the Nevada football team.  The reason given for the true freshman’s departure was a personal family issue.

As for the quarterback’s future, Murray reports that the Marietta, Ga., native plans to walk-on at Georgia after finishing out the semester at Nevada.

“He’s going to move back to Georgia to be close to his family,” head coach Jay Norvell said. “Really sad to see him go. What a great kid. He’s like a straight-A student, an awesome young man and very close to his family. A great family. We’re sad to see him go, but I certainly understand him wanting to be closer to his family.”

A three-star member of the Wolf Pack’s 2019 recruiting class, Kirksey was rated as the No. 59 pro-style quarterback in the country and the No. 170 player at any position in the state of Georgia.  Only three players in Norvell’s class this past cycle were rated higher than Kirksey.

Kirksey hadn’t seen the field this season prior to his decision to leave the program.

Frank Solich becomes MAC’s winningest coach in Ohio’s rout of Bowling Green

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Amidst negotiations on yet another contract extension, Frank Solich has added yet another notch to his résumé.

Thanks in part to Nathan Rourke‘s four total touchdowns (three passing, one rushing), Ohio took Bowling Green State to the woodshed in a 66-24 road rout Tuesday night.  The Bobcats averaged 8.6 yards per carry in rushing for 342 yards, led by O’Shaan Allison‘s career-high 175 yards on the ground.  Allison also ran for three touchdowns after coming into the game with just two in his career.

The win is the 111th for Solich during his time at Athens, making him the all-time winningest head coach in MAC history.  The 75-year-old Solich surpassed Herb Deromedi, who won 110 games at Central Michigan from 1978-93.

“It seemed like it stalled itself out a little bit for a while, but we’re interested in winning football games, and this record goes with it,” Solich, in the midst of his 15th season with the football program, said in quotes distributed by the school. “I feel really good about it, but a lot of people were involved in this. A lot of great players over the years that have come through Ohio that have set the tradition to where we were able to recruit well and win football games.

“There have been tremendous athletes and tremendous coaches. If you have that combination, you’re going to have a few wins. A lot of people have been involved in winning some football games, so I appreciate everything that people have been done during my time at Ohio. I will say this, it is as good as I could ever hope for in a coaching business in terms of those 15 years and how it all worked.”

With the win, Ohio also moved to 5-6 and within one more win of becoming bowl-eligible.  With a win over winless Akron next Tuesday, Ohio would qualify for the postseason for the fifth straight season and 11th time overall under Solich.

Top seven remains the same in latest CFP rankings

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The third edition of the 2019 College Football Playoff rankings were released Tuesday, and the top seven teams remained the same from last week’s rankings. This means, as expected, Alabama remained No. 5 following the devastating loss of Tua Tagovailoa.

Minnesota remained in striking distance following their loss to Iowa (now at No. 17) at No. 10, with No. 12 Wisconsin and No. 2 Ohio State (potentially) still on their schedule. Oklahoma and Penn State moved one spot apiece, keeping the Top 10 stagnant.

Auburn fell three spots to No. 15, one spot behind No. 14 Baylor, who will spend the week wondering how high they would’ve climbed if the rankings were taken at halftime on Saturday night.

Memphis swapped spots with Cincinnati as the highest-rated Group of 5 team at No. 18; the Tigers and Bearcats SMU rejoined the rankings after falling out last week. They were joined by Iowa State at No. 22, who replaced then-No. 19 Texas, and USC at No. 23.

The full rankings:

1. LSU
2. Ohio State
3. Clemson
4. Georgia
5. Alabama
6. Oregon
7. Utah
8. Penn State
9. Oklahoma
10. Minnesota
11. Florida
12. Wisconsin
13. Michigan
14. Baylor
15. Auburn
16. Notre Dame
17. Iowa
18. Memphis
19. Cincinnati
20. Boise State
21. Oklahoma State
22. Iowa State
23. USC
24. Appalachian State
25. SMU