Jim Harbaugh just couldn’t help himself after a relatively quiet offseason.
The out-spoken Michigan head coach has kept pretty much to himself and not followed through with some of the antics he has typically saved up to keep the Wolverines in the headlines in recent years. There’s been no shirtless strolls through summer camps or celebrating commitments in pools.
But right as Big Ten Media Days kickoff in Chicago this week, the coach is back in the news for comments he’s made about an opponent. Appearing on Bay Area journalist Tim Kawakami’s podcast that was released on Thursday, Harbaugh waded into choppy waters when asked about a former coach he never seemed to beat at a rival Big Ten university.
“Urban Meyer’s had a winning record, really a phenomenal record everywhere he’s been,” said Harbaugh. “But also, controversy follows him everywhere he’s been.”
He’s not wrong, to be fair, given incidents at Ohio State and Florida over the years. But given the animosity between the two programs and the two men themselves on and off the field, it’s not hard to see the remarks as a bit of a shot at the out-going rival who is now in the interesting position of commentating on Michigan games for Fox’s new pre-game show.
Harbaugh was at least realistic about how he’s being judged by that 0-4 record against Meyer and the Buckeyes, especially in light of last year’s disastrous 62-39 outing in Columbus and the pressure to not only beat Ohio State, but win the Big Ten and make the College Football Playoff like many predicted when he was hired.
“We welcome the accountability,” Harbaugh added. “You’re judged on your record. What your record is overall, what it is in the conference and what it is head-to-head against other teams. I think Ohio State is the only team that has a better record overall, a better conference record than us and head-to-head matchup against us.”
It was already going to be must-see TV when UM and OSU got together on the last Saturday in November but something says these comments will make the pre-game show for that game even more interesting.
This isn’t exactly optimal.
Due to the forecast of inclement weather, Major League Baseball announced that Game 4 of the American League Championship Series Wednesday night between the Houston Astros and New York Yankees has been moved to Thursday night. That means Game 5 of the ALCS, originally scheduled for Thursday night, has been pushed to Friday night and will be televised on FS1, with first pitch set for 7:08 p.m. ET.
So, why is news on the postseason of a stick-and-ball sport appearing on a college football website?
Ohio State is scheduled to travel to Evanston to square off with Northwestern Friday. On FS1. With kickoff set for 8:30 p.m. ET.
The ALCS is airing on FS1 because FOX is televising its newly-acquired WWE Friday Night Smackdown franchise, so a network broadcast won’t be possible for the Big Ten matchup. More than likely, the game will air on either the Big Ten Network or FOX business.
As of this posting, neither the conference nor FOX has offered up exactly where the game will air.
Regardless of how it ultimately plays out, this will be a huge black eye for a league that shouldn’t be hijacking high school football’s night in the first place, regardless of how few games there are on Fridays (for now).
The defense wasn’t the only side of the ball that ran into injury issues during Wake Forest’s first loss of the 2019 campaign.
An injury to his left (non-throwing) shoulder knocked Jamie Newman out of the Week 7 loss to Louisville. An on-site X-ray, as well as other further testing, showed no significant structural damage to the joint.
As Wake looks to bounce back from that loss against Florida State Saturday, though, the sophomore’s status is officially to be determined.
“He’s kind of day-to-day,” head coach Dave Clawson said. “He got hurt at the end of the second quarter. We had X-Rays to try and eliminate the worst thing that could have happened to him and that was eliminated. He was able to return. He’s sore and we’ll just take it day-by-day and see how he feels later in the week. It’s been one practice and we’ll have a better feel later in the week.”
“And we won’t share that when we know it. I don’t have to,” Clawson added, presumably in a middle-school-boy-at-recess voice.
This season, Newman leads the ACC in passing yards (1,772), passing touchdowns (17) and passer rating (160.7). He’s ninth, tied for sixth and 17th nationally in those respective categories.
Should Newman be unable to go against the Seminoles, Sam Hartman would get the nod. In relief of Newman this past weekend, the sophomore threw two touchdown passes and ran for another as the Demon Deacons nearly pulled off a stunning comeback on the Cardinals.
Last season as a true freshman, Hartman started the first nine games before going down with an injury, opening the door for Newman to take over the job.
An officiating error involving what was ruled an illegal snap but shouldn’t have been during the first possession in the first overtime of Saturday’s Texas Tech-Baylor game could very well have cost the Red Raiders a win. In a statement Sunday night, Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt revealed that the university had “been in constant communication with the Big 12 Conference office from the immediate end of the game and throughout Sunday regarding the illegal snap call in the first overtime” and that it had “been confirmed that the ruling on the field of an illegal snap was incorrect.”
Instead of an illegal snap, it should’ve been ruled a fumble that was recovered by Tech, which would’ve given the Red Raiders possession of the ball and a golden opportunity to win the game during their first drive in the initial overtime.
Also, instead of allowing the blunder to die right there, the Big 12 has kept the officiating boner in the headlines by announcing Wednesday morning that the conference has, in accordance with the league’s sportsmanship policies, fined Hocutt $25,000. Additionally, the AD was issued a public reprimand.
For publicly acknowledging that the conference had privately admitted its officials were wrong.
Commissioner Bob Bowlsby addressed the development in a statement.
The Big 12 Conference members have developed policies governing the officiating of our contests. It is vital that senior administration officials, especially the Directors of Athletics, adhere explicitly to these policies. It is very difficult to balance support for an institution’s teams while fully complying with the imperative created by schools acting together to manage athletics competition. On this occasion, the required discipline was not exercised. Kirby Hocutt is one of the very best athletics administrators in the nation, and I am grateful for his assistance and support in resolving this matter.
It should be noted that, in an email obtained by RedRaiderSports.com, Big 12 executive associate commissioner Ed Stewart reminds Hocutt that, “[c]onsistent with past practice, we typically do not publicly address judgment issues.”
Well, as long as there was a valid reason.
Earlier this week, a freshman student at the University of Alabama, Connor Bruce Croll, 19, was accused of phoning in a bomb threat on Tiger Stadium during last Saturday’s Florida-LSU football game. It was reported at the time that Croll “was booked into jail early Sunday, where records listed him as a ‘fugitive from justice.’” Croll, who remains jailed in Tuscaloosa without bond, could be facing a felony charge, at least initially, when the case moves to the state of Louisiana.
While no details were available initially, and based on a police affidavit, WBRZ-TV in Baton Rouge has now reported that Croll, a native of Virginia, admitted to police that he phoned in the bomb threat because “his friend was on the verge of losing a large bet.”
Subsequent to that, LSU issued a statement that sheds some light on university’s and law enforcement’s actions in the aftermath of the threat being phoned in.
While LSU cannot discuss specific security measures, it is important for the general public to know that LSU Police and officials, along with federal and local law enforcement agencies on location, have protocol in place to respond immediately and appropriately to real and perceived threats at Tiger Stadium and all campus facilities. In this case, protocol was followed efficiently and effectively to quickly ascertain the source of the threat. That protocol including an immediate sweep of the stadium and a multi-agency investigation, which led to the suspect being identified within minutes and arrested soon thereafter. LSU appreciates the cooperation of all agencies and the University of Alabama and UAPD in this very serious matter. There is nothing more important than the safety and wellbeing of the public on campus.