Ryan Day

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Who will be the next first-time college football national championship coach?

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On Monday night, Virginia and Texas Tech will battle for the men’s basketball national championship. A victory will clinch the first national championship as a head coach for either Virginia head coach Tony Bennett or Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard. But if you want college basketball coverage, our friends over at College Basketball Talk have you taken care of. Here, we’ll take the football angle and try to determine what college football coach will be the next to win his first national championship.

First, a refresher of the recent history of championship head coaches. Unless you’ve been sleeping under Howard’s Rock, you know the last four national titles have been split evenly by Nick Saban of Alabama and Dabo Swinney of Clemson. Swinney is the most recent coach to win his first national championship, having done so three seasons ago with a victory over Saban’s Crimson Tide in the 2016 season. Before Swinney, the most recent coach to win his first national title was Jimbo Fisher, then at Florida State, in the 2013 season in the final BCS Championship Game before the College Football Playoff took over. Since the 2010 season, the only other coach to win his first national title was Gene Chizik at Auburn, doing so in the 2010 season with Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton topping the Oregon Ducks in the BCS Championship Game.

There are certainly some obvious candidates to be the next coach to win his first national title. The conversation likely has to begin with Lincoln Riley of Oklahoma. In his first two seasons as head coach of the Sooners, Riley has taken two Big 12 championship teams into the College Football Playoff with a Heisman Trophy quarterback, although the Sooners have yet to win a playoff game. Each time, Oklahoma was eliminated by the national title runner-up. It doesn’t look as though Oklahoma is going to be slowing down any time soon, although the competition just in the conference may improve and make a playoff run a tad more difficult. Tom Herman at Texas could be the most likely coach out of the Big 12 not named Riley to win his first national title.

There are still some coaches to watch in the SEC as well. Kirby Smart has already taken Georgia to the national title game, where they lost in overtime against Alabama two seasons ago. He will certainly be in the mix to win his first national title. He’s even taken out Riley and Oklahoma! Dan Mullen at Florida could be a coach in the running as well, although there may still be some work to do in Gainesville before Florida can crack the four-team playoff field. Or will the football gods align the fates just right for Ed Orgeron to take LSU the distance?

The ACC is tough to find a coach you can feel has a great shot to be the next coach to win his first national title, especially with Clemson continuing to roll for the foreseeable future. The Pac-12 looks like a difficult spot too considering the quality of play in the conference recently. The thought of Mike Leach being the next to win his first national title is fun to dream about though.

But what about the Big Ten? Ryan Day is taking over as head coach of a playoff-worthy candidate at Ohio State this season. Jim Harbaugh should have another strong Big Ten contender to work with this upcoming season. James Franklin and Penn State have a couple hurdles they need to prove they can clear again before making their case, but all three coaches would certainly be on the radar.

Or, if you dare to do so, do you think there is a Group of Five coach out there ready to make the jump to a power conference program and guide them to a national title in the next few years while Saban and Swinney go another couple of championship rounds? Call your shot in the comment section or on Twitter.

QB Justin Fields granted immediate eligibility at Ohio State

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Ohio State has its quarterback for the 2019 season. It will be Justin Fields.

Fields, who transferred from Georgia to Ohio State last month has been granted immediate eligibility from the NCAA, allowing him to bypass the typical one-year waiting period before being eligible to play again following a transfer.

“I am happy for Justin and his family,” Ohio State head coach Ryan Day said in a released statement. “I also want to express my appreciation to the NCAA for its assistance in getting this matter resolved efficiently and with such a positive outcome for Justin.”

According to previous reports, the basis for the waiver filed by Fields was a racist slur hurled at him at Georgia by a baseball player (who has since been dismissed at Georgia) along with adjusted transfer rules focusing on transfers due to “mitigating circumstances” out of a player’s control.

This is a major victory for Day and Ohio State, as Fields will likely step right into the starting job after the departure to the NFL by Dwayne Haskins. Fields was previously a top recruit of the Georgia Bulldogs, and he brings tremendous potential as a quarterback. He will also have three years of eligibility as he gets started at Ohio State, which will go to use right away this fall. If Fields was not granted eligibility right away, the Buckeyes could have had a much more questionable quarterback situation this fall. That will no longer be the case.

What remains to be seen now is whether or not the NCAA will grant a former Ohio State quarterback a similar outcome. Tate Martell, who transferred to Miami shortly after Fields made his transfer to Columbus official, also applied for a waiver to be granted immediate eligibility with the Hurricanes. A decision for Martell is still pending.

Ryan Day’s first staff decision removes interim tag for Brian Hartline

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Ryan Day may have to wait for one more game to really be Ohio State’s head coach, but the successor to soon-to-be-retired Urban Meyer is already working to put together his coaching staff in Columbus. On Saturday, Day’s first official staff decision was made with the removing of an interim tag for wide receivers coach Brian Hartline. Hartline was officially elevated to being the permanent wide receivers coach for Ohio State moving forward.

“Brian is a terrific young coach and mentor to our players and I am thrilled he is on our staff permanently now,” Day said in a released statement. “Brian was displaying outstanding leadership qualities when he was a quality control coach, and his efforts coaching the wide receivers this season are a huge reason we are Big Ten champions and headed to the Rose Bowl.”

Hartline joined the Ohio State coaching staff in 2017 as a quality control coach with the wide receivers. He was named interim wide receivers coach following the dismissal of former receivers coach Zach Smith this summer.

Ohio State wide receivers played a huge role for the Buckeyes this season en route to a Big Ten championship run that will take the team out west to play in the Rose Bowl next month. Ohio State receivers caught 291 passes for 4,211 yards and 43 touchdowns, fueling a run to being a Heisman Trophy finalist for quarterback Dwayne Haskins. All are new school records for receivers, which were led by Parris Campbell, Johnnie Dixon, Terry McLaurin and K.J. Hill. Freshman Chris Olave proved ready to step up in a big spot too with a breakout performance in the regular season finale against Michigan to clinch the Big Ten East Division.

Time will tell if Day feels a need to make any further staff changes once the season is complete and the Buckeyes officially move into the post-Meyer era under Day’s leadership.

Ryan Day sticks with Dwayne Haskins as Ohio State starting QB

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Dwayne Haskins has long been slated as the top quarterback at Ohio State for the 2018 season, but today interim head coach Ryan Day made it officially official. Haskins will be the starting quarterback for the Buckeyes when they open the 2018 season at home against Oregon State on Saturday.

Not that there was much of a chance Haskins wasn’t going to be the head coach, but Day did note there will be a plan to get quarterback Tate Martell some playing time.

Haskins had previously been suggested the top quarterback at Ohio State by head coach Urban Meyer in May and again in June before the start of training camp in Columbus. Meyer may be serving a three-game suspension to begin the season, but there was no reason to change things up in his absence as Day takes on the gameday coaching responsibilities for Ohio State to begin the season.

Haskins played in eight games as a freshman for Ohio State last year as the top backup to J.T. Barrett. In his eight appearances, Haskins completed 70.2 percent of his passes for 565 yards and four touchdowns with one interception. Haskins also took off running 24 times for a gain of 86 yards and showed glimpses of being a good fit in the Ohio State offense that will likely be led with the running duo of J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber.

The only question worth asking that won’t be given any official answer until we see it in person might be how short the leash will be for Haskins. If Haskins and Ohio State do run into a couple of rough spots and Martell is given a chance to change the pace of things, how ready might Martell be to being given his own chance to start. For now, there is no reason to suspect Haskins will have a small window to prove he deserves the starting job. And by the time Meyer returns from his suspension from the university, Haskins will have shown what he can do.

Ryan Day releases detailed practice update to remind you Ohio State is still practicing

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The larger focus in Columbus may be on the ongoing story revolving around head coach Urban Meyer, but the Buckeyes still have work to do in camp at Ohio State. On Friday, interim head coach Ryan Day released a full rundown of each position group to update the media and fans on the current status of the team, with no mention of Meyer or the investigation expected to come to a close in the coming days.

Day shared his detailed practice update on Twitter.

If nothing else, Day’s first chance addressing the current status of the Buckeyes is a reminder that no matter what is happening off the field, there is still work to be done by the coaching staff and players as the new college football season quickly approaches. Meyer may not be able to have contact with the team, but Day’s job is to continue having the program move forward for as long as necessary. In the meantime, Ohio State has shut off media access to the program, including coaches and players, with the exception of brief glimpses at practices as training camp has been going on. Ohio State will allow more availability to watch practices this weekend as Ohio State brings training camp to a close for the summer. Regular practice schedules are scheduled to begin next week as Ohio State opens classes for the fall semester.

Day was named the interim head coach at Ohio State at the time Meyer was placed on administrative leave. Meyer remains out of action while the university conducts an investigation into the allegations connected to him from a report related to former wide receivers coach Zach Smith. Smith reportedly spent hours interviewing with officials leading the Ohio State investigation earlier this week. Day has admitted to leaving Meyer in the dark regarding a previous OVI but has sided with Meyer in acknowledging that athletics director Gene Smith was aware of the allegations of domestic abuse connected to Smith that ignited much of this current situation.

With Ohio State’s 14-day timeline for this investigation coming near the expiration date, we may find out much more about the immediate future of Ohio State football and Meyer fairly soon.