It’s been an awkward few weeks for the College Football Playoff Selection Committee.
As has been established by their play on the field, No. 6 Oregon is firmly in the mix for the Playoff this season. That presents a conundrum for committee chairman Rob Mullens, the Ducks’ athletic director who is recused from the room when his team is discussed… leaving to more than a handful of instances where he has to be told what the broader committee talked about when relaying points to the media every Tuesday.
Such a gray area has led to plenty of speculation over the committee’s reason for keeping Alabama at No. 5 or holding back Oklahoma at No. 8. It’s also led to more than a few conspiracy theories as well. Now even the talking heads are getting in on that too, with SEC Network and ESPN talking head Paul Finebaum weighing in that Mullen’s position makes him untrustworthy and dishonest when talking about the CFP and their rationale behind the rankings.
“I frankly don’t know if I trust this guy being in charge,” Finebaum said during his show on Thursday, as noted by The Oregonian. “I don’t trust him because he’s not honest, and I just think he has an influence on that committee. Maybe I should save my powder if Oregon gets in, but then it’s going to be too late.”
Finebaum, as many know, isn’t exactly a regular viewer of Pac-12 football nor a frequent visitor to the Pacific Northwest. The fact that he labeled one of the most prominent figures in the sport of college football right now as essentially a liar and a cheat probably won’t make him welcome out West any more either.
Oregon and the CFP declined to issue responses to The Oregonian about the matter but eventually someone will have a comment about what the noted sports talk show host decided to stir up. The Pac-12 and Mullens himself can’t be too happy to have his integrity questioned at this stage and something says that ESPN bosses will be receiving a phone call or two about the matter shortly as efforts to smooth the waters begin ahead of this weekend’s action.
One thing seems certain though, the CFP process itself is already the subject of a litany of conspiracy theories and appears to have just had gasoline thrown on one of them courtesy of a prominent Southern-based talked head.
Finally, one of the top defensive players in the nation has been recognized with a significant hardware win.
Sunday night, it was announced that Auburn’s Derrick Brown has been named as the winner of the 2019 Lott IMPACT Trophy. This award, named for one of the game’s all-time greats, highlights a player’s performance on the field as well as off of it.
Not only does this award honor defensive excellence on the field but the player who most represents the qualities of the honor’s namesake, former USC All-American Ronnie Lott, off of it — Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.
Brown is the first-ever player from Auburn to win the award. The defensive tackle is also the second-straight player from the SEC to claim it, with Kentucky’s Josh Allen serving as the 2018 winner.
In addition to Brown, the other finalists for this year’s Lott IMPACT Trophy were Ohio State safety Jordan Fuller, Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons and Cal linebacker Evan Weaver.
After a run on bringing in assistants from Boone, Eli Drinkwitz has gotten about the business of retention in Columbia.
In a press release, Missouri confirmed that Drinkwitz has decided to retain Brick Haley as part of his first coaching staff with the football program. Haley wil continue on as the Tigers’ defensive line coach, and will carry the title of assistant head coach as well.
“In my short time of being around Brick I know him to be a man of high character who gets the most out of his players,” said Drinkwitz in a statement. “His wealth of knowledge with the defensive line is exactly what we’re looking for to motivate young men.”
Haley has spent the past three seasons with the Tigers. Prior to that, he was the line coach at Texas (2015-16), LSU (2009-14) and Mississippi State (2004-06) at the collegiate level.
From 2007-08, Haley was the line coach for the NFL’s Chicago Bears.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue at Mizzou and I’m excited to work with Coach Drink and his staff,” said Haley. “Our family loves Mizzou and being part of the Columbia community, so we’re thrilled to keep stakes in the ground here and I’m looking forward to getting to work on doing great things.”
It seems Alex Hornibrook‘s college career is complete.
Florida State interim head coach Odell Haggins said on Saturday that Hornibrook is no longer with the Seminoles as the club prepares for the Sun Bowl
He will join (former) teammate Cam Akers in that regard.
A graduate transfer from Wisconsin, Hornibrook appeared in five games this season. His peak as a Seminole came on Sept. 28, when he completed 29-of-40 passes for 316 yards with three touchdowns and no picks. For the year, Hornibrook hit 84-of-122 throws for 986 yards with seven scores versus two picks.
In three years at Wisconsin, Hornibrook threw for 5,438 yards and 47 touchdowns.
SMU wide receiver Reggie Roberson, Jr., will return for his senior season in 2020, he announced earlier this week.
Roberson did so through a statement that at first read as if he would leave the Hilltop. “In the past couple of weeks, it has come to my attention that I am able to forgo my senior year and enter the NFL draft. I want to thank Coach Dykes for giving me the opportunity to come to SMU, and play the game I love in my hometown in front of my family and friends,” it began.
However, like a a classic Roberson open field move, he quickly changed directions and sprinted toward opportunity. “I have decided to come back and play my senior year at SMU. There is a lot of unfinished business that I left on the field that I need to take care of next season.”
A native of DeSoto, Texas, just south of Dallas, Roberson was one of SMU’s top players before he was lost to a foot injury in October. He caught 11 passes for 180 yards in the Ponies’ opening week win over Arkansas State and hauled in eight passes for 250 yards and three touchdowns in a 45-21 drubbing of Temple on Oct. 19.
For the year, Roberson caught 43 passes for 803 yards and six touchdowns over seven-plus games. Spread over a 13-game season, he was on pace to end the year in the neighborhood of 80 receptions for 1,500 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Roberson originally signed with West Virginia out of high school.