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College Football amidst Coronavirus Pandemic: On this day in CFT history, including Joey Bosa, three other Buckeyes suspended for Ohio State’s 2015 opener AND Carlos Hyde suspended for at least the first three games of the 2013 season

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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 30, 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?)


THE HEADLINE: Nation’s top 2017 recruit officially admitted to Miami
THE SYNOPSIS: Jaelan Phillips transferred to The U from UCLA the previous February.  The defensive end didn’t see the field at all in 2019 due to NCAA transfer bylaws.


THE HEADLINE: Nation’s No. 1 recruit visits Florida A&M
THE SYNOPSIS: “Every student-athlete needs to visit [an] HBCU,” Kayvon Thibodeaux tweeted.  Visiting is one thing.  Committing is another matter entirely.  In December of 2018, Thibodeaux committed to Oregon.  That same month, the defensive end signed with the Ducks.  Following the 2019 regular season, Thibodeaux was named the Pac-12’s Defensive Freshman of the Year.


THE HEADLINE: Allegations of inappropriate behavior emerge against Hugh Freeze
THE SYNOPSIS: The allegations, dating back to his time at a Memphis high school, were levied against him by females.  Freeze had “resigned” 10 days earlier as the Ole Miss head coach.


THE HEADLINE: Four key Buckeyes, including Joey Bosa, suspended for opener
THE SYNOPSIS: Also suspended were H-back Jalin Marshall, wide receiver Corey Smith and H-back Dontre Wilson.  It was subsequently reported that the suspensions centered on “marijuana and academics.”  OSU, of course, went on to exact revenge on Virginia Tech in the opener.


THE HEADLINE: CFP won’t force Notre Dame, other independents to join a conference
THE SYNOPSIS: Interestingly, just last week it was reported that the Fighting Irish could join the ACC… for one season only.  Because of the pandemic and its effect on the college football schedule, of course.


THE HEADLINE: Auburn, Clemson schedule 2016-17 home-and-home
THE SYNOPSIS: The ACC Tigers beat the SEC Tigers in both games.  By just 14 points, combined, though.


THE HEADLINE: Carlos Hyde suspended for at least first three games of the season
THE SYNOPSIS: The suspension stemmed from an alleged assault for which the star Ohio State running back wasn’t charged.


THE HEADLINE: First player officially bolts from Penn State
THE SYNOPSIS: Safety Tim Buckley had the honor of being the first Nittany Lion to transfer in the wake of historic NCAA sanctions.


THE HEADLINE: Nebraska QB Bubba Starling facing $7.5 million decision — at least
THE SYNOPSIS: Starling was drafted by the Kansas City Royals as the fifth overall pick back in June.  Two weeks later, Starling opted for baseball over college football.  Seven seasons later, the outfielder made his Major League debut.


THE HEADLINE: Matt Barkley guarantees USC win over crosstown rival
THE SYNOPSIS: The quarterback proved correct as the Trojans dropped the Bruins 28-14.  Despite Barkley’s two interceptions.

Northwestern adds 2023 game versus New Mexico State

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Northwestern still isn’t certain the 2020 football season will be played.  That doesn’t mean, though, that work on future schedules won’t continue.

Monday, New Mexico State announced that it has reached an agreement on a future one-off game versus the Northwestern football team. The game will be played Oct. 28, 2023, at Ryan Field in Evanston, Ill.

That 2023 contest will mark the first-ever between the two schools.

New Mexico State will be embarking on its third season as a football independent in 2020.  After a combined five wins in those first two seasons without a conference affiliation, NMSU opted to retain head coach Doug Martin.  Martin also survived a parent-triggered investigation earlier this offseason.

In seven seasons with the Aggies, Martin has posted a 22-63 record.  Overall, including seven seasons at Kent State, Martin is 51-116 as a head coach.

Northwestern, meanwhile, is coming off a 3-9 2019 campaign.  That was the program’s worst since posting the same record way back in 2002.  Prior to that tailspin, the Wildcats had won at least nine games three times in four years.  In two of those seasons,  NU won 10 games.

All told under Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern has won 10 games on three different occasions.  In the other 125 seasons, the Wildcats hit that number a total of two times.

Fitzgerald’s 96 career wins are easily the most for a Northwestern head football coach.  No. 2 on that list?  Pappy Waldorf and his 49 wins.

Governor asks New Mexico, New Mexico State to postpone start of 2020 football season

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If it’s up to the governor of New Mexico, the start of college football in her state will be delayed.

In the state, COVID-19 positives for people between the ages of 20 and 39 are on the rise.  Earlier this month, that group made up more than 25% of all new cases.  As such, the Albuquerque Journal is reporting, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham sent a letter to the regents and leadership at both New Mexico and New Mexico State requesting that the start of fall contact sports, including football, be suspended.  The regents, it should be noted, are appointed by the governor.

At the moment, it’s just a request, not an order.

“I know what I am asking you to contemplate is difficult and unprecedented, but these are difficult and unprecedented times,” the governor wrote, in part. “Fighting COVID-19 is a team sport. I am asking each of you to join me and take it upon yourselves to do everything you can to fight COVID-19. Together we can protect all New Mexicans, and if we are successful, we can resume contact sports and re-engage in the camaraderie and joy they bring all of us in a safe manner as soon as we can.”

Both UNM…

The health and well-being of our student-athletes and our Lobo community is, first and foremost, our top consideration in how we approach our fall athletic programs. Equally important is ensuring student academic success. We have been in regular communication with the Governor’s office over the past several months, and we sincerely appreciate the guidance her office has provided as we have worked on our plans for fall sports. We expect discussions with the NCAA and the Mountain West Conference to continue over the next couple of weeks as plans for the fall are finalized.


We are actively monitoring this ever-changing landscape with regard to intercollegiate athletics and following the decisions being made by the NCAA, the conferences, and other associated bodies,” wrote a university spokesman in an email. “We are also in continuous conversation with health experts in the state and on our campus. While we have not yet made any decisions with regard to altering our fall schedule, our commitment is to do what’s best for our student-athletes and our programs.

… responded with their own respective statements.

New Mexico, a member of the Mountain West Conference, is scheduled to open the 2020 college football season Aug. 29 against Idaho State.  Thus far, there has been no public comment from the MWC on the governor’s request.

New Mexico State, meanwhile, plays as a football independent after leaving the Sun Belt following the 2017 season.  NMSU will (possibly) travel to UAB Sept. 3 to open up its season.

Arizona gains three-year DL starter after losing three-year LB starter to the portal

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Earlier this offseason, Arizona football lost a three-year starter at linebacker.  This weekend, the Wildcats gained a three-year starter along the defensive line.

In the middle of last week, Tony Fields took the first step in leaving Arizona football by entering the NCAA transfer database.  Over the weekend, UA confirmed that Roy Lopez has been signed and will continue his collegiate career with the Wildcats.

That same day, the former New Mexico State Aggie took to Twitter to announce his move to the Arizona football team.

“Thank you to all of the schools that reached out to me during these crazy times,” the defensive lineman wrote. “I am so humbled and grateful to announce I am coming back home to my home state! God Bless & Bear Down.”

This move is a homecoming for Lopez as he played his high school football in Tempe.

His first three years at New Mexico State, from 2016-18, Lopez started 32 of the 36 games in which he played.  Included in that stretch was a streak of 30 straight starts.  Lopez actually extended that streak to 31 in a row in the 2019 opener before an ankle injury sidelined him for most of the rest of the season.  Because of that injury, though, Lopez was able to take a redshirt, which will allow him to play in 2020 as a graduate transfer.

During his time with the Aggies, Lopez was credited with 137 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, eight sacks, four passes defensed, three fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.  In 2017, Lopez earned honorable All-Sun Belt Conference accord.

NMSU, incidentally, is now a football independent.

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.