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College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history, including Johnny Manziel leaving Manning Passing Academy and denying his illness was a hangover

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The sports world, including college football, had essentially screeched to a halt in the spring as countries around the world battled the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there was a dearth of college football news as the sport went into a COVID-induced hibernation.  Slowly, though, the game is coming back to life.  Hopefully.

That being said, 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 July 14, 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 down-time, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: Conference USA athletic directors have reportedly discussed trading schools with other leagues
THE SYNOPSIS: Most notably, this would’ve involved a realignment that included the Sun Belt Conference.  In the midst of the pandemic, chatter over some sort realignment between the two Group of Fives is still bubbling.

2017

THE HEADLINE: Oregon dismisses star WR Darren Carrington two weeks after DUII arrest
THE SYNOPSIS: This was a significant blow to the Ducks offense.  The year before, Carrington’s 606 yards receiving last year were tops on the team, while his five receiving touchdowns were tied for first.  His 43 catches were second on the team. Carrington subsequently moved on to Utah. After one season with the Utes, Carrington went undrafted.  He signed with Dallas in August of 2018.

2016

THE HEADLINE: Reports of Tom Herman meeting with Baylor labeled ‘completely ridiculous and absolutely false’
THE SYNOPSIS: Then the head coach at Houston, Herman was mentioned as a possible replacement for the disgraced Art Briles.  The Bears job, though, ultimately went to Matt Rhule.  Herman, meanwhile, took the head job at Texas four months later.

2014

THE HEADLINE: CFP unveils new title trophy
THE SYNOPSIS: The College Football Playoff replaced the BCS starting with the 2014 campaign.

2014

THE HEADLINE: Will Muschamp faces hot-seat talk head-on
THE SYNOPSIS: With a 6-5 record at the time, Muschamp was fired by Florida with a game left in the 2014 regular season. A little over a year later, South Carolina hired the Auburn defensive coordinator as its head coach.

2013

THE HEADLINE: Johnny Manziel leaves Manning Academy early; camp denies report of hangover
THE SYNOPSIS: Johnny Football, y’all!

2011

THE HEADLINE: Georgia Tech to vacate ’09 ACC title, placed on four years probation
THE SYNOPSIS: The sanctions revolved around college football players receiving impermissible benefits.

2010

THE HEADLINE: Vandy’s Bobby Johnson retires from coaching; Robbie Caldwell named interim coach
THE SYNOPSIS: That move opened the door for “turkey inseminating crew” to enter the college football lexicon.

2009

THE HEADLINE: Arkansas St. CB Shot, Booted From Team
THE SYNOPSIS: Get shot AND dismissed?  That’s a rough day.  Of course, Paul Stephens was shot while allegedly burglarizing a residence, so there’s that.

ACC, Pitt headline Bednarik Award preseason watch list

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The Bednarik Award is the first major honor to release its watch list for the upcoming season.  But it certainly won’t be the last.  Far from it, actually.

In a release Monday, the Bednarik Award announced a 90-player strong watch list that represents every FBS conference in the country.  The Bednarik Award has been presented annually since 1996 to the nation’s top player on the defensive side of the ball.

The ACC leads all conferences with 18 watch listers, with the Pac- 12 (13), SEC (11) and Big 12 (10) the only others in double digits.  The Big Ten, the remaining Power Five, placed nine players.

Wit eight, Conference USA led all Group of Five leagues.  Next up was the AAC’s six, followed by the Mountain West Conference and Sun Belt Conference with five each and four for the MAC.

School-wise, reigning national champion LSU, Pitt and USC placed three players apiece.  A handful of other schools put two players each on the watch list:

  • Alabama
  • Appalachian State
  • Cal
  • Duke
  • Florida State
  • Georgia
  • Miami
  • Michigan
  • Notre Dame
  • Oregon
  • San Diego State
  • TCU
  • Texas
  • UAB
  • Virginia
  • Virginia Tech
  • Washington

No finalists from a year ago remain as both the winner (Ohio State’s Chase Young) and the two runners-up (Auburn’s Derrick Brown, Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons) have since moved on to the NFL.  There are, though, three semifinalists for last year’s award that are back this season — Penn State’s Micah Parson, LSU’s Derek Stingley and Florida State’s Marvin Wilson.

For the complete Bednarik Award watch list, click HERE.

Middle Tennessee losing WR Zack Dobson to transfer portal

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Over the past month, Middle Tennessee has been on both sides of the football transfer portal.

In mid-May, the Conference USA school brought in Purdue transfer cornerback Kenneth Major.  A week later, quarterback Randall Johnson took the first step in leaving Middle Tennessee football by entering the NCAA transfer database.

This week, Zack Dobson confirmed that he has joined Johnson in the portal.  The wide receiver made his decision known to the public on Twitter.

“I want to thank all of the coaches at MTSU for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the team,” the receiver wrote. “They have taught me so much about the sport and how to be a great student-athlete.  I also want to thank all of the players at MTSU.  We have built a brotherhood and I am excited to see where each of our journeys take us.

“While I am grateful for my time at Middle Tennessee State University, I know that I have to make decisions that best serve myself and my family.  Thus, my recruitment is now open.  I am excited to see where my next 2 years will take me.”

Dobson will be exiting the Middle Tennessee football program as a graduate transfer.  As noted, he’ll have two years of eligibility remaining.

Now, for what’s seemingly becoming a daily disclaimer when it comes to transfers.

As we’ve stated myriad times in the past, a player can remove his name from the portal and remain at the same school. At this point, though, other programs are permitted to contact a player without receiving permission from his current football program.

NCAA bylaws also permit schools to pull a portal entrant’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered it.

The Knoxville native was a three-star member of the Tennessee football Class of 2017.  After redshirting as a true freshman, the 5-8, 164-pound Dobson played in 17 games.  He started seven of those appearances.

During his time with the Blue Raiders, Dobson totaled 413 yards and seven touchdowns on 31 receptions.  He added another 327 yards and a touchdown on the ground.

Middle Tennessee State is coming off a 4-8 2019 football campaign.  That was the program’s worst record since going 2-10 in 2011.  MTSU also saw its school-record streak of bowl appearances end at four in a row.

NCAA Council formally approves six-week preseason model for football, which will begin July 13 for teams that start season Sept. 5

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The NCAA is proceeding with a significant step toward prepping for the 2020 college football season.

Earlier this month, it was confirmed that the NCAA Div. I Oversight Committee was crafting a plan that would shape the path college football programs would take to prepare for the upcoming season.  Last week, the NCAA announced that it has finalized its proposal for a preseason model for the sport.  However, the plan still needed the approval of the NCAA Division I Council.

Thursday, that expected thumbs-up came to fruition as the council has approved what will essentially be a six-week preseason for college football.  The NCAA writes that, “[a]ssuming a first game on Sept. 5, the model begins summer access activities July 13 and adds meetings and walk-throughs July 24.  Preseason practice begins Aug. 7.” Schools that open the seasoning Week 0 (Aug. 29), all of the dates would get seven days subtracted from them.  It’s unclear if teams whose first games are Sept. 3 will follow the Sept. 5 model or not.

The activities mentioned do not include the ongoing voluntary on-campus workouts.

As for the particulars?  The NCAA referred to its previous release as a guideline:

… student-athletes may be required to participate in up to eight hours of weight training, conditioning and film review per week (not more than two hours of film review per week) from July 13-23.

Then, from July 24 through Aug. 6, student-athletes may be required to participate in up to 20 hours of countable athletically related activities per week (not more than four hours per day) as follows:

— Up to eight hours per week for weight training and conditioning.
— Up to six hours per week for walk-throughs, which may include the use of a football.
— Up to six hours per week for meetings, which may include film review, team meetings, position meetings, one-on-one meetings, etc.
— During this 14-day period, student-athletes are required to get at least two days off.

The model does not make any adjustments to the legislated 29-day preseason practice period. In the previous example, the school’s preseason practice period would begin Aug. 7 with a five-day acclimatization period, followed by the opportunity for up to 25 on-field practices.

Middle Tennessee mourns death of former Blue Raider DE Alexandro Antoine

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Sadly, Middle Tennessee is the latest football team to mourn the loss of a former player far too soon.

Wednesday, the Middle Tennessee football program tweeted on its official Twitter account that “[w]e are saddened to hear about the loss of former Blue Raider Alexandro Antoine.” Antoine was just 27 years old.

It’s unclear at this point exactly when or how Antoine, who played for the Blue Raiders from 2011-15, passed away.

Antoine was a two-star member of the Middle Tennessee football Class of 2011.  The Antioch, Tenn., native was the No. 41 player regardless of position in the Volunteer State.  He took a redshirt as a true freshman.

In the 2013 and 2014 seasons, Antoine was essentially a starting defensive end for the Conference USA school.  In that span, Antoine started 19 of the 22 games in which he played.  All told, Antoine played in 46 games during his time in Murfreesboro.

Antoine finished his time at the school with 70 tackles, 6½ tackles for loss and 2½ sacks.

Antoine saw his time at MTSU end early as he did accompany the team to its 2015 bowl game because of unspecified violations of team rules.  Following the end of his collegiate playing career, Antoine ran into a legal issue in his college hometown as well.

Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to all of those impacted by Antoine’s passing.