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Ex-Oklahoma coach John Blake, 59, dies of a heart attack

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The extended Oklahoma football family is mourning the death of one of its own.

Barry Switzer confirmed to KWTV sports director Dean Blevins that John Blake has died at the age of 59.  According to the former Oklahoma head football coach, Blake suffered a heart attack while he was out walking. “[H]e’d lost a lot of weight and was doing well,” Switzer told Blevins.

Blake was a defensive lineman for Oklahoma football from 1979-82.  The Illinois native was also an assistant coach for the Sooners from 1989-92 before joining Switzer’s Dallas Cowboys coaching staff as defensive line coach.  After his stint in the NFL ended in controversy, he was named as the OU head coach in 1996.

“I recruited him out of Sand Springs,” Switzer told Tulsa World. “He played for me and captained for me. He coached for me.

“I was close to John.”

As the head coach in Norman, Blake posted a 12-22 record overall.  The Sooners were 7-17 in Big 12 play during Blake’s tenure.  Several of his recruits, though, claimed the 2000 national championship under Bob Stoops, who replaced Blake as the Oklahoma head football coach.

After his first and only head job, Blake served as the defensive line coach at Mississippi State (2003) and Nebraska (2004-06).  His last job at the collegiate level, as the line coach at North Carolina from 2007-10, ended in controversy as well.

Blake’s first coaching position was as the tight ends and wide receivers coach at Tulsa from 1987-88.

Ray Lewis, Bob Stoops among 85 individuals on 2021 College Football Hall of Fame ballot

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It’s mid-June, which means it’s time for the College Football Hall of Fame to do its annual thing.

Late Tuesday morning, the National Football Foundation unveiled the 85 individuals who are on the 2021 ballot for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.  Of those 85, 78 are on the ballot as former players.  Which means, if my math is correct, the other seven are former college football head coaches.

Headlining the latter is Bob Stoops.  The former Oklahoma Sooners coach abruptly retired from the Sooners in June of 2017.  On the players side, Ray Lewis is arguably the biggest name.  Lewis was a first-team All-American in 1995 and two-time first-team All-Big East selection.  In 2018, Lewis was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame.

Once again though, the legendary Howard Schnellenberger has been snubbed.  Why?  Because of NFF criteria for the College Football Hall of Fame that absolutely needs changed.

  • First and foremost, a player must have received First-Team All-America recognition by a selector that is recognized by the NCAA and utilized to comprise its consensus All-America teams.
  • A player becomes eligible for consideration by the Foundation’s Honors Courts 10 full seasons after his final year of intercollegiate football played.
  • While each nominee’s football achievements in college are of prime consideration, his post-football record as a citizen is also weighed. He must have proven himself worthy as a citizen, carrying the ideals of football forward into his relations with his community. Consideration may also be given for academic honors and whether the candidate earned a college degree.
  • Players must have played their last year of intercollegiate football within the last 50 years.* For example, to be eligible for the 2021 ballot, the player must have played his last year in 1971 or thereafter. In addition, players who are playing professionally and coaches who are coaching on the professional level are not eligible until after they retire.
  • A coach becomes eligible three full seasons after retirement or immediately following retirement provided he is at least 70 years of age. Active coaches become eligible at 75 years of age. He must have been a head football coach for a minimum of 10 years and coached at least 100 games with a .600 winning percentage.
  • Nominations may only be submitted by the current athletics director, head coach or sports information director (SID) of a potential candidate’s collegiate institution. Nominations may also be submitted by the president/executive director of a dues-paying chapter of the National Football Foundation.

Schnellenberger is more than three years removed from retirement and is decidedly above the age floor.  He qualifies on the number of years as a head coach (he coached 28 seasons).  He qualifies on number of games coached (he is at 312).  Where he lags is winning percentage, coming in at .508.

The coach took over a Louisville program that won a combined five games in the two years prior to his arrival.  Five years after taking over a Miami program that finished above .500 just twice in a decade before his arrival, Schnellenberger guided the Hurricanes to a national title.  At Florida Atlantic, Schnellenberger literally built an FCS program from the ground up and turned it into one that moved to the FBS level.

Right now, Schnellenberger is easily the biggest College Football Hall of Fame snub.  It needs to be rectified.  Before the 86-year-old coach shuffles off this mortal coil.

As for the past players and coaches who did make this year’s ballot?  Click HERE for the full list.

College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history, including Bob Stoops stating ‘It’s not my intention to coach again. We’ll see what comes.’

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The sports world, including college football, has essentially screeched to a halt as countries around the world battle the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there’s a dearth of college football news as spring practices have all but been canceled at every level of the sport. And there’s even some concern that the health issue could have an impact on the 2020 college football campaign.

In that vein, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives that stretch back to 2009 and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on June 9, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this college football hiatus, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: Aaron Hernandez teammate Tony Joiner becomes second member of 2007 Florida team charged with murder
THE SYNOPSIS: Joiner was accused of murdering his girlfriend three years before. The victim, Heyzel Obando, was a 26-year-old mother of two girls.

2018

THE HEADLINE: Latest Heisman odds have Stanford’s Bryce Love, Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor out front
THE SYNOPSIS: Love was at 5/1, Taylor at 7/1.  The latter finished ninth in the voting, the former wasn’t even in the Top 10. In fairness to Love, his 2018 campaign was an injury-plagued one. As for that year’s Heisman winner?  Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray‘s odds were 20/1.

2017

THE HEADLINE: Bob Stoops: ‘It’s not my intention to coach again. We’ll see what comes’
THE SYNOPSIS: Stoops did return to coaching — in the now-defunct XFL. He was also rumored to be interested in the Florida State job.  Obviously, nothing came out of that situation.

2016

THE HEADLINE: Florida names Ben Hill Griffin Stadium field after Steve Spurrier
THE SYNOPSIS: Certainly, The OBC was well-deserving such an honor in The Swamp.

2014

THE HEADLINE: Mississippi State assistant coach’s house the scene of heroin (and live chicken) bust
THE SYNOPSIS: Offseason headlines, y’all!  It should be noted that the then-assistant, Deshea Townsend, merely owned the house as a rental property.

2013

THE HEADLINE: Parole Tide: Harvey Updyke to be released from jail Monday
THE SYNOPSIS: I was damn-proud of that headline.  And rightly so.  Don’t @ me.

2011

THE HEADLINE: Pryor’s attorney hints at legal action, makes NCAA-slavery connection
THE SYNOPSIS: You think that one caused a bit of a dustup in the comments?  And on Twitter?

College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history, including Bob Stoops retiring as the head coach at Oklahoma

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The sports world, including college football, has essentially screeched to a halt as countries around the world battle the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there’s a dearth of college football news as spring practices have all but been canceled at every level of the sport. And there’s even some concern that the health issue could have an impact on the 2020 college football campaign.

In that vein, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives that stretch back to 2009 and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on June 7, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this college football hiatus, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: Argument over tacos leads to Texas A&M DB Derrick Tucker’s arrest
THE SYNOPSIS: Don’t you just love offseason headlines?  Especially when it involves a taco beef?  Or, beef taco as the case may be.

2019

THE HEADLINE: Latest sign you are old: Frank Gore Jr. commits to Lane Kiffin and FAU
THE SYNOPSIS: The younger Gore, though, ultimately flipped to Southern Miss. The best part of this? Frank Gore Sr. will play his 16th season in the NFL in 2020.  Gore Jr., meanwhile, will play his first at the collegiate level in 2020.  Father and son.  Playing the same season at the NFL and FBS levels. Awesome.

2017

THE HEADLINE: Bob Stoops retiring as head coach at Oklahoma, effective immediately
THE SYNOPSIS: This was stunning.  To say the least.  As for a refresher on his résumé in Norman?

The 56-year-old Stoops was set to enter his 19th season heading the program prior to the stunning development.  In his 18 seasons with the program, he guided the Sooners to a 190-48 record.  After a 7-5 first season, OU won 10-plus games in 14 of the next 17 seasons.  The Sooners won 11 games six times — including what turned out to be the last two seasons of Stoops’ tenure — 12 games five times and 13 games once.

Stoops won 10 Big 12 championships, including nine outright, during his time in Norman.  His 2000 squad won the lone national title of his tenure, going unbeaten in 13 games and capping the championship season with a 13-2 win over Florida State in the Orange Bowl.  That was the Sooners’ first since 1985.

2011

THE HEADLINE: Terrelle Pryor’s career at Ohio State over
THE SYNOPSIS: This was a shame.  And a sham.  The talented college quarterback was ultimately selected in the third round of the NFL’s 2011 supplemental draft.

2010

THE HEADLINE: Report: Pac-10 to issue invites this week
THE SYNOPSIS: It’s still odd going through the archives, seeing “Pac-10.” Ultimately, Colorado (Big 12) and Utah (Mountain West) came in to form the Pac-12 we know and love today.

XFL bankruptcy leaves Houston out more than a quarter million dollars

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The XFL filed for bankruptcy on Monday, the latest in God’s campaign to end spring football in the United States.

As part of that bankruptcy, the league published its list of creditors, and the Houston athletics department was among them.

The XFL’s Houston Roughnecks used U of H’s TDECU Stadium as its stadium, the only XFL team to use a college venue as its home base. According to the filing, the league owes Houston just under $295,000.

Unfortunately for the Coogs, they’ll have to take a number and get in line. The XFL had 18 creditors ahead of them, among them former Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops (owed nearly $1.1 million) and former Hawaii and SMU head coach June Jones ($583,333).

The Roughnecks were the league’s only undefeated team at the time of cancellation, carrying a 5-0 record with them into oblivion. The club was slated to borrow TDECU Stadium for unfulfilled games against the DC Defenders on March 22 and the Dallas Renegades on April 2, plus possible playoff games that would have been held this coming weekend and next.