Who is the best punter in the land? According to the Ray Guy Award, there are now 10 players left in the running for that title in the 2019 season.
This year’s semi-finalists for the Ray Guy Award are Oscar Bradburn (Virginia Tech), Joseph Charlton (South Carolina), Max Duffy (Kentucky), Tyson Dyer (New Mexico), Sterling Hofrichter (Syracuse), Adam Korsak (Rutgers), Dane Roy (Houston), Tommy Townsend (Florida), Michael Turk (Arizona State), Owen White (Navy).
Somehow, last year’s winner, Texas A&M’s Braden Mann, didn’t make the cut. Mann is third in the nation in punting average (48.21 yards per punt). Not exactly sure how that happened, but there will be a new Ray Guy Award winner this season as a result of this slip form the award’s committee.
New Mexico is the latest college football program to be hit with a devastating tragedy.
While details are extremely scant, reports surfaced overnight that Lobos football player Nahje Flowers had died unexpectedly. Very late Tuesday morning, head coach Bob Davie confirmed in a statement that the redshirt junior defensive lineman has passed away.
No cause of death has been revealed.
Earlier this morning we were made aware of the tragic loss of Nahje Flowers.
Our entire football team and everyone who knew Nahje are devastated by this loss. Nahje was a wonderful person and great teammate.
Our entire Lobo Football family mourns his passing and our prayers go out to his family.
The 6-3, 278-pound Flowers has started 15 games the past two seasons, including four this year. Hr is listed as the Lobos’ starting nose tackle on the most recent depth chart.
Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to anyone impacted by Flowers’ way-too-soon passing.
What was your favorite memory of the DreamHouse New Mexico Bowl? Perhaps that it existed at all?
Just three weeks after a deal was announced for the aptly named game to be sponsored by a local production company, ESPN has pulled the plug on the sponsorship according to the Albuquerque Journal. Why would the broadcaster-turned-bowl operator do such a thing? Well as it turns out, that original deal was with a company that wasn’t really much of a company locally.
“We notified DreamHouse today that we have terminated its title sponsorship agreement with the New Mexico Bowl,” ESPN spokeswoman Anna Negron said in an email to the Journal. “We remain focused on ensuring a quality experience for fans.”
The move to sever ties comes following an expose of the company by the Journal that revealed that DreamHouse had not gotten a business license with the city and that its CEO was facing several legal issues related to unpaid debts. Just as bizarre, the company was supposed to have a huge film studio in Albuquerque but was actually based out of a local residence instead.
While it’s not known just how much the bowl was going to be paid as part of the deal, such sponsorships typically run in the six-figures.
The game, which is owned and operated by ESPN Events, typically is one of the first postseason games of the year in mid-December and pits a Conference USA side against a Mountain West team. It has been played annually since 2006 at the University of New Mexico’s Dreamstyle Stadium in Albuquerque.
Even for a lenient head football coach, this’ll normally net you some type of suspension.
Tuesday, Bob Davie announced that Sheriron Jones had been indefinitely suspended from his New Mexico football program. The head coach declined to give a reason for the suspension, stating only that it “has absolutely nothing to do with his conduct as far as football or game-related.”
Wednesday, however, reports surfaced that explained the suspension, with multiple media outlets in the area reporting that the quarterback was arrested Oct. 18 after being accused of exposing himself to a woman.
From KOB-TV in Albuquerque:
The woman told police that Jones drove past her several times while she was in the Cornell Parking Structure. A criminal complaint states that the woman asked the driver, “are you good?” and he replied, “no, can you give me 10 seconds.”
The woman said she approached the vehicle and noticed the man masturbating.
She reported the incident to UNM Police. She told them that she recognized Jones from social medial posts.
Police said the license plate, which was seen on surveillance video, matched the vehicle belonging to Jones.
Jones began his collegiate playing career at Tennessee as a touted four-star signee in 2015, but ultimately left Rocky Top (twice) and ended up at the junior-college level before moving on to New Mexico. After starting seven games last season, Jones had started three in 2019 even as he lost out on the job in summer camp.
TV revenues have skyrocketed for those schools in the Power Five and now it’s time for a few leagues in the Group of Five to get their turn at the table. Following large deals from the MAC and AAC in recent years, the Mountain West is the next man up and it appears as though a deal could be wrapped up soon.
Speaking to reporters at the conference’s basketball media day on Tuesday, commissioner Craig Thompson said he expects something to be announced at some point in the next 30 days or so on the media rights front. One sticking point for both the league and member schools? The number of late night kickoffs (often pushing past 7 or 8 p.m. local) involved in the deal, which is expected to carry a higher price-tag precisely because MWC schools can kickoff that late to fill such time slots on the TV schedule.
“Let me just say this, there will be 8 o’clock tipoffs and kickoffs,” Thompson said, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. “I know that’s a concern for everybody – for fans, administrators. If we can possibly get the number 7 in there it would be a real bonus.”
Late night kickoffs have been an issue for Pac-12 schools as well in recent years and their Group of Five neighbor understands just as much the tough calculus to make between a game starting at a reasonable hour and the bigger paycheck that awaits when filling a time slot too late for most.
Thompson declined to get into much in terms of what kind of dollars the conference is expecting but it would be a surprise if it’s not a hefty raise over their current deals with ESPN and CBS Sports. Interestingly the commissioner noted that for as successful as the MWC has been this year, the kind of on-field performance that comes with knocking off several of their Power Five brethren isn’t really a factor in negotiations.
While there are a lot of unknowns as a result with the upcoming TV deal in terms of years, money and partners, it was already revealed earlier this year that Boise State’s sweetheart carve-out that pays the Broncos extra money will remain once the new contracts are signed. That carve-out dates back to when the school briefly left for the Big East but decided to remain in the MWC during one of the many rounds of conference realignment.
Industry observers and conference fans are anxiously awaiting details given how long the process has played out but it seems everybody won’t have to wait much longer before things become official out West.