This weekend was the final chance to leave an impression before the College Football Playoff Selection Committee releases their first set of rankings and No. 7 Oregon wound up making quite the statement on Saturday night. The Ducks used touchdowns in all three phases to overcome a slow start and pull away from what had been a division-leading USC team, scoring a 56-24 win at the L.A. Coliseum that left no doubt as to who is the Pac-12’s best hope of crashing the postseason’s final four.
Mario Cristobal had to be happy with the complete effort his team put forward after falling in an early 10-0 hole, taking the lead over an eight minute stretch of the second quarter that included just one offensive drive but three touchdowns via a pass, a pick-six and a 100-yard kickoff return. That helped take pressure off an offense that took awhile to get going before eventually opening up the floodgates. QB Justin Herbert tossed an early interception but bounced-back to throw for an efficient 225 yards and three scores (rushing for another) attempts. His strong arm helped make up for a ground game that was surprisingly ineffective after rushing for over two bills last week, with Travis Dye posting the high-water mark of 75 yards on the ground.
All told it was a 56-14 run for the Ducks over the final three quarters of the game, emptying out a rather sparse Coliseum to begin with for a Trojans squad that had been undefeated at home this season. Freshman QB Kedon Slovis had to pretty much carry the offense and finished with 264 yards and three touchdown passes on a whopping school-record 57 attempts, solid numbers were it not for a fumble in the red zone and three interceptions (all of which wound up as points the other way). That put the USC defense behind the ball most of the night and they simply weren’t up to the task against one of the more balanced units in the conference.
As a result, Clay Helton’s team finally found themselves knocked out of first place in the Pac-12 South when combined with No. 9 Utah’s earlier win over Washington up in Seattle. The final score may also have been the final nail in the coffin for their embattled head coach, who will wake up at some point next week with the school officially naming a new athletic director and rumors of Urban Meyer lurking in the weeks continuing to swirl.
Those are concerns that Oregon AD Rob Mullens won’t have to focus on as he catches a plane to Dallas on Sunday morning to begin his duties as the chair of the Selection Committee. Though he won’t be able to make his case for his team as part of the recusal process, it’s not like he’ll need to after the kind of performance on Saturday night that the Ducks put forward just as the chase for the final four heats up across the country.
Concern over his long-term health has prompted one Baylor football player to step away from the sport. Permanently.
On his personal Twitter account Tuesday, Bralen Taylor announced in a statement that he is “medically retiring from the game I love.” The wide receiver-turned-tight-end-turned-defensive end stated that he has “suffered from a number of concussions while playing” football. Taylor didn’t specify when and at what level those concussions occurred.
“This is the game that I grew up playing and loving. [T]his game has [given] me everything I have ever asked for and more,” Taylor wrote. “The brain is nothing to mess around with. [W]hile some won’t understand, [God] has already made a plan.”
Taylor was a three-star member of the Baylor football Class of 2018. He was rated as the No. 90 player regardless of position in the state of Texas.
During his brief time in Waco, Taylor played in six games. Four of those appearances came this past season. In that limited action, he was credited with three tackles and one-half of a sack.
Baylor football has gone from 1-11 in Matt Rhule‘s first season with the Bears in 2017 to 11-3 this past season. The 2019 campaign included a berth in both the Big 12 championship game and the Sugar Bowl.
Unfortunately for BU, Rhule left to take the head job with the NFL’s Carolina Panthers.
The massive renovation of Clay Helton’s USC football coaching staff has taken another official step.
Last week, it was reported that USC was expected to poach Vic So’oto from Virginia. As Clint Sintim‘s hiring as So’oto’s replacement was announced a few days later, the latter’s move to the Trojans was a mere formality.
Tuesday, USC football confirmed So’oto’s addition to Clay Helton’s staff. As he did with the ‘Hoos, So’oto will serve as the Trojans’ defensive line coach.
The 32-year-old So’oto was the line coach at Virginia for the past three seasons. Prior to that, he was a defensive graduate assistant at the ACC program.
So’oto played his college football at BYU, ending his four-year career in 2010. After his NFL career ended, So’oto began his collegiate coaching career as a football intern at his alma mater.
For those unaware, So’oto is the second cousin of USC football legend Junior Seau.
LSU football has officially replaced one of the hottest young coaches in the sport.
Not long after LSU football claimed the 2019 national championship, Joe Brady left to take over as the offensive coordinator for the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. Earlier this month, it was reported that Scott Linehan was expected to be hired as Brady’s successor.
Tuesday, LSU confirmed that Linehan has indeed been named by Ed Orgeron as the Tigers’ new passing-game coordinator. The 56-year-old Linehan has spent the past 17 seasons he’s been a coach at the NFL level.
Linehan was out of coaching this past season.
“Scott brings a wealth of knowledge to our offense,” the LSU football head coach said in a statement. “We wanted to bring in someone who will expand our passing game and with Scott’s experience as an NFL head coach and offensive coordinator we feel this is the best move for our offense. After talking to numerous people with NFL experience and interviewing Scott we knew he was the right fit for the LSU Tigers.”
In 13 of those seasons in the NFL, Linehan served as an offensive coordinator.
- Dallas Cowboys, 2015-18
- Detroit Lions, 2009-13
- Miami Dolphins, 2005
- Minnesota Vikings, 2002-04
In the other four NFL seasons in which he wasn’t a coordinator, Linehan was the head coach of the St. Louis Rams (2006-08) and passing-game coordinator for the Cowboys (2014).
Linehan’s last job at the collegiate level came as the offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach at Louisville (1999-2001). From 1996-98, he was the coordinator at Washington.
The American Athletic Conference will again play football in 2020, the conference confirmed on Tuesday.
The American revealed its 2020 conference schedule, a 44-game slate that completes the 88 total games AAC teams will play in 2020. As a reminder, UConn is no longer an American member, meaning the conference will have 11 football-playing members for the foreseeable future. All 11 teams will still play an 8-game league schedule, and the conference will still hold a title game.
The 2020 season will also be the conference’s first under the new rights agreement it struck with ESPN in March. As such, at least 40 American home games will be shown on the ESPN family of networks, and at least half of those will be on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2. The conference will play a total of 12 games on Thursday or Friday nights.
“We are excited to announce our 2020 schedule as we enter the next phase of our longstanding relationship with ESPN,” said commissioner Mike Aresco. “With the continued success our schools have had, I have no doubt that we will once again provide our fans, and ESPN, with compelling matchups throughout the season in both conference and nonconference play. We look forward to another outstanding season of American Athletic Conference football.”
The season will begin on Saturday, Aug. 29 when Navy “hosts” Notre Dame at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland. That game will be shown on ESPN with College GameDay in tow as part of the network’s season kick-off effort. While the full schedule can be viewed here, highlights include:
- North Carolina at UCF, Sept. 4 (Friday)
- South Florida at Texas, Sept. 5
- Temple at Miami, Sept. 5
- Houston at Washington State, Sept. 12
- Cincinnati at Nebraska, Sept. 26
- TCU at SMU, Sept. 26
- Memphis at SMU, Oct. 1 (Thursday)
- UCF at Memphis, Oct. 16 (Friday)
- Memphis at Cincinnati, Oct. 31
- Memphis at Navy, Nov. 14
- Cincinnati at UCF, Nov. 21
- UCF at South Florida, Nov. 27 (Friday)
The 2020 American season will conclude with the sixth annual American Championship on Saturday, Dec. 5.