The Ohio State Buckeyes are reportedly stepping up their efforts to get star defensive lineman Chase Young reinstated by the NCAA.
According to Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports, the school is expected to submit a written report this week requesting the immediate reinstatement of Young. The Buckeyes are holding Young out of games after he admitted to receiving a loan from a family friend to fly his girlfriend to the Rose Bowl last year, which he repaid.
No determination has been made by the NCAA over how many games Young will miss. The school must prove that Young and his family friend had a “preexisting relationship” that was not related to Young’s athletic ability. They are also expected to be asked why Young waited so long to admit to receiving the loan. The fact that Young repaid the loan, however, is expected to work in his favor.
Regardless of how the process goes, Young is viewed as unlikely to play against Rutgers this weekend. The Buckeyes are unlikely to need him to win that game but will want him back on the field for major showdowns with Penn State and Michigan, if possible.
Initial reporting that Young is likely to be suspended four games appears to be inaccurate, at least for now, though that is the maximum suspension he could face if the loan was for more than $800. No determination has been made yet, but there appear to be some factors working in Young’s favor.
For a slate of games that didn’t provide for a single ranked-versus-ranked matchup, college football Week 3 delivered a ton of drama.
Huge upsets highlighted the action on Saturday, and rivalry games led to some interesting circumstances. We also saw one of the most incredible highlights of the young season that unfortunately didn’t do anything positive for the player who made it.
Every winner has a corresponding loser. These were the most glaring from college football Week 3.
The end of the North Carolina vs. Wake Forest game
Wake Forest dominated the first half of action against North Carolina Friday night, but for the third consecutive game it appeared Mack Brown’s Tar Heels were angling for a comeback win. They went down 21-0 then scored 18 unanswered points thanks to some heroics by Sam Howell. Then, with 69 seconds remaining on the clock following a Wake Forest field goal, they had a chance to win it.
That’s when things went sideways, and fast. Howell and the Tar Heels horribly botched the time-management aspect of the two-minute drill. On top of that, the officials botched their role in the final moments (the ACC confirmed afterward), calling game when North Carolina should have had one more second left on the clock for a desperation play to win.
The fourth quarter was thrilling. The final moments were utterly disappointing.
Virginia Tech narrowly averts disaster at home against Furman
Oh, to have been a bug on the wall inside Virginia Tech’s locker room at halftime. Head coach Justin Fuente must have been livid.
The Hokies put together an incredibly inept first-half performance and went into the locker room down 14-3 at the half. Turnovers by Tre Turner and Ryan Willis led to short fields and touchdowns for the Paladins. The Hokies were booed off the field by their hometown fans, many of whom left the stadium afterward.
Virginia Tech woke up in the third quarter and salvaged a bit of pride. But this is a team that was favored to win by 21 points and paid Furman a king’s ransom to come visit. In the end, it’s a team that was lucky to escape with a win.
Peyton Ramsey gave Indiana no chance
If the Hoosiers were going to have any chance at all of upsetting Ohio State Saturday, they needed a huge game from quarterback Peyton Ramsey. There was some hope that he might come through after a nearly flawless performance in Week 2 against Eastern Illinois. But that hope was squashed.
Ramsey was under pressure often as Ohio State’s defensive front attacked the quarterback relentlessly. However, he struggled with accuracy even when he did have time, completing 19-of-33 passes for just 162 yards. Even worse, Ramsey doomed what had been a promising drive in the fourth quarter, throwing an inexcusable 96-yard pick-six that buried the Hoosiers for good.
Josh Jackson implodes as Maryland upset by Temple
Maryland quarterback Josh Jackson had the Terps flying high with the top-scoring offense in college football heading into Week 3. On Saturday as Maryland took on Temple on the road, Jackson fell apart.
The Virginia Tech transfer completed just 15-of-36 passes (41.66%) for 183 yards, averaging just over five yards per attempt. He also threw an interception on the first drive of the game, which ended up turning into a touchdown for Temple.
Jackson wasn’t 100% to blame for No. 21 Maryland getting embarrassed Saturday. But his lackluster play was a huge part of why the Terps will enter Week 4 outside the top 25.
What were you thinking, Pat Narduzzi?
The Pittsburgh Panthers gave Penn State a heck of a battle in Happy Valley Saturday and had a chance to pull off an epic upset. Down by a touchdown with under five minutes to go, Pitt faced a fourth-and-goal from Penn State’s 1-yard line.
A field goal was useless at this point, because the Panthers were still going to need a touchdown to win. Yet that’s what Narduzzi called, and it came back to bite him in a huge way.
Kicker Alex Kessman absolutely shanked his 19-yard attempt, which clanked off the left upright. The Panthers did get another chance to tie the game before the final seconds ticked off the clock, but it was too little, too late.
On the road against an in-state rival, Narduzzi went ultra conservative instead of playing to win. Just an inexcusable mistake that cost his team a chance to make a statement on national television.
South Carolina’s special-teams mistakes
The Gamecocks had an excellent game plan for the Alabama game, and thanks to outstanding play by Ryan Hilinski they really had a shot to hang with the No. 2 team in the nation. Unfortunately, some huge mistakes on special teams in the first half hurt them and gave Alabama all the wiggle room it needed to pull ahead — for good.
It started in the first quarter when a holding penalty negated what should have been a touchdown on a fake field goal. Head coach Will Muschamp, realizing what a debacle that mistake was, absolutely lost it on the sideline. But that was only the first of a few key errors by his special-teams unit.
A bit later in the second quarter, an illegal motion penalty negated a gorgeous punt that pinned Alabama’s offense inside its own 2-yard line. The penalty ended up costing the Gamecocks well over 30 yards in field position, and Alabama scored on their next drive.
A third special-teams mistake cost South Carolina dearly in the second quarter when Shi Smith attempted to run for a first down on fourth-and-5. The trick play failed miserably, and it not for a missed field goal by Will Reichard it would have cost the Gamecocks even more points.
USC upset by BYU, and it probably cost Clay Helton his job
It’s easy to point to the three interceptions thrown by freshman Kedon Slovis and say that’s why USC lost to BYU in overtime. Especially because the final pick occurred in overtime and sealed the loss to take the Trojans to 2-1 on the season.
But it would be wrong to say the loss is on Slovis, though he did struggle. The Trojans were also atrocious on defense, allowing 430 yards and 30 points as Zach Wilson pulled out his best Johnny Manziel impression with huge, clutch plays when it mattered most.
But most of all, we have to blame Clay Helton, who has proved inadequate for the past couple of years. Now, with games against Utah, Washington and Notre Dame coming up, we’re likely seeing the end of the Cley Helton era at USC.
MSU with the “Sparty No!” finish against ASU
Michigan State is typically good for at least one game every year that has fans screaming “Sparty no!” Mike Dantonio’s team got it out of the way early in 2019 with an incredible failure against Arizona State.
Playing at home in front of their loyal fans, the Spartans struggled all game long. But after letting Arizona State go up by three in the fourth quarter, they came charging back with a six-play drive that went 46 yards and set them up with a 42-yard game-tying field goal.
Kicker Matt Coughlin, who had missed two previous kicks, drilled it through the uprights for the game-tying score. Only, there was a review, and afterward it was determined that Michigan State had 12 men on the field.
After moving him back five yards, Coughlin utterly shanked the next kick, and Sparty Nation wept.
Purdue’s offense stalls without Elijah Sindelar
There was some hope that Sindelar would play Saturday against TCU. Ultimately, he was held out as concussion symptoms persisted, and Jack Plummer got his first career start instead.
Purdue fans have gotten to see some incredible play from Sindelar and receiver Rondale Moore this year. Plummer was unable to replicate it, and the results were not pretty. He completed just 7-of-15 passes for 67 yards in the first half, and Moore was almost completely shut out with two catches for 12 yards.
Things got no better in the second half, either. Plummer ended up leading an offensive attack that gained just 204 total yards and didn’t score a touchdown until late in the fourth quarter. Even more stunning is the fact that Moore — one of the best playmakers in the nation today — was held to just 25 yards of offense.
Many players are still looking to find their rhythm in the second week of the college football season, but some are already in midseason form. Week 1 was a great introduction to what some of these stars could do, but Week 2 is where they showed what they could do consistently.
While one candidate from last week’s watchlist had a down game, others continued their hot starts to the season. And yet another player emerged from the crowded field with an unreal performance under the prime-time lights with most of the nation’s eyes on him.
Here are the players who helped their Heisman cases the most this past week.
Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
One may be the loneliest number, but it isn’t so bad when you’re the only running back on this Heisman watchlist. Clemson’s Travis Etienne couldn’t sustain his Week 1 production when he played against Texas A&M this past weekend, while the Badgers’ Jonathan Taylor had no trouble dominating Central Michigan to the tune of 102 yards on 19 rushing attempts and three touchdowns.
He also continued to be a threat in the passing game where he caught three balls for 17 yards and a score. In two games this season, Taylor has already notched eight touchdowns — half of his production in that category from last year.
The junior running back continues to be a workhorse from first through third down. That kind of volume will put him in a great position to build his Heisman résumé.
Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
It was another average day of excellence for the Crimson Tide’s star quarterback, who had no trouble carving up New Mexico State like a chainsaw crafting an ice sculpture. Tagovailoa ended his day halfway through the third quarter but not before he threw for 227 yards and three touchdowns.
While the Hawaiian native is known for his sweet passing touch, many forget he has some wheels too. Tagovailoa showed that with a 25-yard scamper for a score.
Few opponents will be as easy as the Aggies were on Saturday, but the junior quarterback has a great chance be one of the last men standing with games like this.
Justin Fields, Ohio State
With every passing week, Fields’ decision to go to Columbus looks better and better. It took a quarter for them to get going, but the Buckeyes shut out the Cincinnati Wildcats with the help of their transfer quarterback.
Fields had no trouble finding the open man, completing 20 of his 25 passing attempts. He ended the game with 224 yards through the air and 42 yards on the ground, adding four total scores to continue his fast start with Ohio State.
The former Georgia quarterback is moving forward, and the outlook is bright.
Joe Burrow, LSU
Under the hot air of Austin and with all eyes on him, Joe Burrow came up huge for LSU in the biggest game of Week 2. A lot of quarterbacks may fold under the spotlight of a prime-time game, but the sophomore signal-caller thrived.
With his family at Texas Memorial Stadium, Burrow lit up the Austin sky with one of the best performances of the week, completing 31 of his 39 pass attempts for 471 yards. The loud Longhorn crowd bore down on him for 48 minutes, but he led the Tigers with four touchdown passes, giving Texas fans the pageant wave as he left the state with a big win to start the season.
It’s been a while since LSU had an offense to brag about, but Burrow may be the man to get the people talking again.
Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma
The South Dakota Coyotes may not strike fear in a lot of Division I teams, but Jalen Hurts definitely should. The Sooners made quick work of the Coyotes, and Hurts ended their misery quickly.
Hurts played less than three quarters, but he still had 259 passing yards while completing 14 of his 18 passing attempts. He threw for three scores and added 47 rushing yards. He continues to be accurate at every level, and that’s a bad thing for any opponent in front of the Sooners.
Oklahoma has UCLA before starting its Big 12 schedule, and Hurts looks like he can roll through anyone who comes through Norman.
It was an interesting first full week of the college football season with no major surprises within The Associated Press Top 25. Will that change in Week 2?
Perhaps, so let’s get ready for it. Here’s a preview of this week’s games featuring Top 25 teams and a few other intriguing matchups throughout the country to keep an eye on.
All times Eastern.
1 of 25
Marshall (1-0) at No. 24 Boise State (1-0), Friday, 9 p.m., ESPN2
Remember the name Hank Bachmeier, the freshman quarterback who overcame a rough start at Florida State last weekend to throw for 407 yards and help Boise State score 23 unanswered points to stun the Seminoles with a 36-31 victory. Bachmeier and the Broncos are back on the blue turf to face a solid Marshall team but one that is 0-16 against Top 25 teams since winning at then-No. 6 Kansas State in September 2003.
Prediction: Boise State 35, Marshall 21
2 of 25
Rutgers (1-0) at No. 20 Iowa (1-0), Saturday, Noon, FS1
The Hawkeyes took some time to get going against Miami (Ohio) last weekend, but 28 second-half points made up for that. It can be argued that Iowa could have an easier time in its Big Ten opener. Rutgers has dropped 12 consecutive Big Ten games since beating Maryland on Nov. 4, 2017. That was also the last season the Scarlet Knights won their most recent road contest within the league.
Prediction: Iowa 33, Rutgers 9
3 of 25
No. 21 Syracuse (1-0) at Maryland (1-0), Saturday, Noon, ESPN
This has the potential to be a fun one. Syracuse is the ranked team and allowed 234 yards while pitching a shutout at Liberty. However, the Terrapins are an entirely different animal. The hosts, who have become the betting favorite in this contest, pummeled Howard, 79-0. While the Orange pose a greater challenge, they should be on high alert.
Prediction: Maryland 31, Syracuse 17
4 of 25
Army (1-0) at No. 7 Michigan (1-0), Saturday, Noon, FOX
This figured to be one of the more intriguing early matchups of the 2019 season, but Army needed a rather late fourth-quarter touchdown to beat Rice, 14-7, at home last week. Michigan, meanwhile, could have ailing key contributors left tackle Jon Runyan Jr. and receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones back for this matchup. After spotting Middle Tennessee a 7-0 lead in the opener, the Wolverines woke up and took care of business. Things might follow the same path in this one.
Prediction: Michigan 30, Army 13
5 of 25
Cincinnati (1-0) at No. 5 Ohio State (1-0), Saturday, Noon, ABC
Justin Fields made quite the impression in his Ohio State debut, at least early on. The versatile Fields and his Buckeyes should face a stiffer test from Luke Fickell’s Bearcats in his return to Columbus. On paper, this should be an Ohio State win in the schools’ first meeting since a 50-28 2014 rout courtesy of the guys in scarlet and gray, but emotion can be a funny thing, and this might be closer than one would think.
Prediction: Ohio State 30, Cincinnati 20
While the Utes offense still needs some fine-tuning, their defense seems poised to be one of the best in the country after holding BYU to 300 yards. A year ago, Utah went into DeKalb and limited Northern Illinois to 228 yards. The Huskies are the reigning Mid-American Conference champs with a solid defense, but their offense still looks suspect even under new coach Thomas Hammock.
This game was close a year ago in College Station, won 28-26 by Clemson. The Aggies are a better team than they were last year, but going to Death Valley trying to pull off this grand of an upset might be too much to ask. Texas A&M has been pretty brash about actually getting the job done this weekend, but we have to go back to November 2012 for the last time the Tigers lost a non-conference game at home.
Prediction: Clemson 27, Texas A&M 17
8 of 25
No. 25 Nebraska (1-0) at Colorado (1-0), Saturday, 3:30 p.m., FOX
This was a wild affair a year ago, won 33-28 by Colorado at Lincoln. It was a coming-out party of sorts for Buffaloes receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. (10 receptions, 177 yards) too. The Cornhuskers didn’t exactly cruise against South Alabama at home (amassing just 276 total yards in the 35-21 win) last weekend, and they might not be fully capable of dealing with the hype bestowed upon them this season.
What offseason? At least, that’s got to be the mentality of our list of coaches facing the most pressure this year. Some are recent, high-profile hires for whom anything less than instant success will be considered a failure. Some have had time to develop their programs but have fallen short of expectations. Across the board, a lot of eyeballs — and not all friendly — will be on this group when it’s time to take the gridiron this fall.
This December, after a 5-7 finish to the season, Trojan fans and college football pundits alike were mystified when USC athletic director Lynn Swann hitched his wagon to Helton for another season. It was the worst finish for the Trojans since 2000 (the year before Pete Carroll went to Los Angeles) and one of only four seasons with fewer than six wins since 1961. In three full seasons as USC’s head coach, Helton has taken the Trojans to a Rose Bowl and a Cotton Bowl. For almost any other program, that would be considered coaching success, but USC is a program accustomed to being in the national title conversation every year. Anything short of a playoff berth in 2019 will be viewed as an abject failure (especially in light of the Kliff Kingsbury debacle that kicked off the Trojans offseason).
Chris Ash, Rutgers
The prospects for Rutgers couldn’t be more different than those at USC, and yet Ash hasn’t lived up to the comparatively meager expectations. The Big Ten is a tough conference — one which the Scarlet Knights joined fewer than five years ago — and to be sure, it can take a while for football programs with lesser pedigrees to catch up. But under Ash, Rutgers has looked like it barely belongs in the FBS, let alone the Power Five. Coming off a 1-11 season in 2018 and with just five FBS wins in his three years as head coach, Ash is in dire need of an uptick. This is a case where a multimillion-dollar buyout is likely keeping the coach in place for the time being, but if Ash doesn’t make great strides in turning the program around in Year 4, Rutgers will surely cuts its losses.
Jim Harbaugh, Michigan
After a season in which his team only narrowly missed a playoff berth, Harbaugh may not quite be on the proverbial hot seat…but the noise from the rafters is getting harder and harder to tune out. In 2019, Harbaugh will have to prove he can “win the big game,” a task that has often eluded the head coach since he led the Stanford Cardinal to an Orange Bowl win to end the 2010 season. Specifically, the Wolverines need to beat rival Ohio State for the first time in Harbaugh’s tenure. A 41-15 shellacking in the Peach Bowl, courtesy of Florida, left a stench that will carry over into next season unless Harbaugh can finally prove that he’s more than just a fixer — that he has what it takes to guide a team to a championship finish. Nothing less than a playoff spot will do in Ann Arbor.
Jeremy Pruitt, Tennessee
The stink of the Greg Schiano debacle, in which Tennessee fans railed so hard against his hire that Vols administration was forced to renege on the deal, still lingers in Knoxville. When Jeremy Pruitt got the gig a few weeks later, the same fans were supportive and seem to remain so despite a disappointing 5-7 finish in Pruitt’s first year. That will all evaporate quickly if the ex-Alabama defensive coordinator doesn’t produce a winning season in 2019, especially because the pieces are in the place. The Volunteers lost only a couple of seniors, return key performers at a multitude of positions and had an impressive signing day — so expectations will be high. Fair or not, SEC fan bases can turn on a dime, with the Volunteers’ among the most passionate.
Scott Frost, Nebraska
Frost is another second-year coach with something to prove. The Cornhuskers’ 0-6 start in 2018, which was the worst in program history, had some fans calling for Frost’s head despite the fact the ink on his contract had hardly dried. Considering the dismal inauguration to the Frost era, the fact that Nebraska finished 4-8 left a sense of optimism for the year ahead. The 2019 schedule is much more favorable — the Huskers will get their two toughest opponents, Ohio State and Wisconsin, at home. But this is a program with a proud tradition, big expectations and a definite sense of impatience in the wake of Mike Riley’s tenure. Should Nebraska suffer another slow start, or fail to show up for the midlevel Big Ten opponents, Frost’s favor will dry up in a hurry.
Gus Malzahn, Auburn
When Malzahn guided the Tigers to a BCS Championship berth in his first season, hype for the coach reached a fever pitch. Unfortunately it appears Auburn’s skipper may have peaked early. Subsequently, the Tigers have been, well, just OK. Sure, they’ve played in two New Year’s Six bowl games and won the SEC West in 2017. They’re also 2-6 in the postseason under Malzahn and followed up that stellar 2017 campaign with a dud this past year. After 2017, Auburn signed Malzahn to a reported seven-year, $49 million contract extension — a number that all but precludes a buyout. But this is the SEC. Stranger things have happened than an expensive coach getting the boot following a winning season. Malzahn should be ready for a 2019 in which his every move, every play call and every final score will be scrutinized.
Mack Brown, North Carolina
But, you say, Brown is a living legend who’s already proved he can win in Chapel Hill! That, of course, is exactly why Brown is under a fair amount of pressure before he’s even donned the Tar Heel colors for his second stint. Since Brown departed for Texas in 1998, after leading one of the most successful eras in North Carolina football history, the Tar Heels have struggled to stay relevant in the increasingly competitive ACC. Brown’s hiring isn’t just about the X’s and O’s — it’s a sentimental one as well. North Carolina’s fans and administrators alike are hungry to recapture the magic of Mack Brown, Part 1. There are plenty of hurdles to overcome. Brown hasn’t coached since 2013, and his final years at Texas weren’t successful ones. Additionally, this a full-blown rebuild: The Tar Heels have won a total of five games over the last two seasons. No one is predicting an overnight turnaround, but this was easily one of the most high-profile hires of the offseason, so a lot of eyeballs will be on Brown.
1. Arizona Cardinals: Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
Still the consensus top player on the board, Bosa would make quite the bookend opposite Chandler Jones in Arizona. More likely, the Cardinals will trade down to a quarterback-needy team, and Bosa’s draft spot will fall as a result.
2. San Francisco 49ers: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
The 49ers are hoping to finish developing a dominant defensive line with former first-round picks DeForest Buckner and Solomon Thomas, and Williams could be the final piece. The youthful defensive tackle has jumped up draft boards after finishing with eight sacks and 71 tackles in his sophomore season at Alabama.
3. New York Jets: Josh Allen, OLB, Kentucky
The Jets are encouraged by Sam Darnold’s rookie development, but the value in this spot is on defense. Allen put himself in the conversation as the top pick in the draft after recording 17 sacks in his final season with the Wildcats.
4. Oakland Raiders: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
The Raiders are in a position to take the best player available, and that very well could be Oliver. His stock has dropped slightly after missing time last season with a knee injury, but he still has dominant pass-rushing potential after recording 13.5 sacks and 53 tackles for loss in three seasons for the Cougars.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Devin White, LB, LSU
Bruce Arians has been hired to fix Jameis Winston, and wide receiver could be a path if DeSean Jackson isn’t back for 2019. However, the value here is better on defense, and White could potentially replace Kwon Alexander, who suffered a torn ACL last season and is set for free agency.
6. New York Giants: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
Haskins still looks like the top quarterback on the board, but he probably won’t fall this far if recent history of teams trading up for signal-callers in the draft is any indication. If the Giants see Haskins as Eli Manning’s replacement, there are plenty of trade-up possibilities.
Jaguars could be in the market for a quarterback, but more likely they’ll be looking at the available veterans (Nick Foles, Joe Flacco) with a roster just one year removed from an AFC championship appearance. If that does happen, protecting the investment will be the priority, and Williams could join former Alabama teammate Cam Robinson to give Jacksonville two solid, young tackles in Jacksonville.
8. Detroit Lions: Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan
It looks like the Lions could be a full rebuild with the way they’ve been trending under head coach Matt Patricia over the last year. Detroit acquired Damon Harrison last year, and Gary would further shore up Patricia’s defense after recording 9.5 sacks in 22 games over the last two seasons.
9. Buffalo Bills: Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
The retirement of Kyle Williams leaves big shoes to fill in Buffalo. Simmons has the skills to fit well next to run-stuffer Star Lotulelei in the 4-3, with seven sacks and 30 tackles for loss over the last two seasons.
10. Denver Broncos: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
Denver has been connected so much to Lock that it’s almost creepy, and at this point they could be required to use significant draft capital to trade up for him, with the possibility that another team could trade up in the top 10 to get him. Lock made nice progress at Mizzou last season, but his accuracy on short throws is still a question mark.
The college football season is officially over. But that won’t stop some of us from watching Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney’s post-national championship press conference on repeat while listening to “Sweet Home Alabama” and gorging ourselves on South Carolina BBQ.
It was a wild ride with an ending that absolutely no one expected, and you are kidding yourself if you didn’t love every moment of it. From the upsets, to the underwhelming performances, to the GIF’s for the ages — the 2018 college football season will forever be trapped in a glass case of emotion.
Here are 10 things we learned from it all:
1) You will never love anything as much as Swinney loves football. And his faith. The newly minted national champion Clemson head coach isn’t afraid to let people know that the Tigers final victory was due in large part to God working through them. “Only God could do this,” exclaimed Swinney in the postgame press conference. “A Hollywood movie Steve Spielberg or whoever one of them producer people are, they couldn’t write this script. They really couldn’t. Only God can do this.” Surely a higher power is at work, as the Tigers are the first 15-0 champion in 121 years.
2) Texas is back. I know. We have said this a few times over the course of this tumultuous season, but this time it’s for real. The Longhorns capped their first double-digit winning season this decade with a 28-21 Sugar Bowl win over Georgia. Quarterback Sam Ehlinger, who ran for three touchdowns and threw for 169 yards, had a message for Longhorn Nation after the game:
3) But Jim Harbaugh isn’t. I mean physically he is; he vehemently denied rumors yet again that he would be leaving for the NFL. Fans were less than thrilled this time around with the news that Harbaugh intended to stay. Might it be because that 11th win continues to elude the Wolverines? Or was it the 41-15 smackdown they received at the hands of Florida in this year’s Peach Bowl? One thing is for sure: That 62-39 loss to Ohio State is harder to explain now. Harbaugh is struggling to change Michigan’s ability to perform well on a big stage. Luckily, there’s always next year.
4) The Playoff format is fine. Dabo said it, so therefore it’s undeniably true. But I agree with him, mostly because as it turned out we didn’t need a bigger field — all the best teams were exactly where they were supposed to be. Swinney spoke out about how expanding the Playoff could diminish the value of non-Playoff bowl games. He also said that expanding the Playoff would put less meaning on the regular season, and to some degree he’s right. There are those who would argue that because he is on the inside looking out, his words don’t carry as much weight — or that Playoff expansion is really about the fans. But this year was proof that the fans got exactly what they deserved.
5) The Pac-12 wheel of death will never stop turning over. The Conference of Champions went a dismal 3-4 in this year’s bowl season, which is a far cry from last year’s 1-8 record but is still not impressive enough to win anybody over. Oregon defeated Michigan State with ONE fourth-quarter touchdown, Stanford beat Pittsburgh with an end-zone fumble and Washington State put down Iowa State in the Alamo Bowl with three touchdowns and nearly 300 yards from quarterback Gardner Minshew. The conference is a mess, top to bottom. From the Larry Scott issues to the cannibalistic tendencies of the teams, it is clear that some major changes need to be made:
6.) People just need to stop trying to make Notre Dame happen. It’s not going to happen. Not in the capacity that everyone thinks, at least. Yes the Fighting Irish made the College Football Playoff field, but after one quarter against Clemson it was clear that Brian Kelly’s squad left a lot to be desired. In fact, the Tigers went 27-0 in the remaining three quarters against Notre Dame. Quarterback Ian Book was off rhythm, and the Clemson pass rush proved too much. So next time you want to say Notre Dame is ready for a national title, just don’t.
7.) Mascot Fights are the new Twitter feuds. And yes, I’m talking about Bevo charging Uga prior to the Texas vs. Georgia Sugar Bowl. The 1,600-pound longhorn bull went after Uga X during what was supposed to be a friendly photo opp. This exchange sparked PETA to revive its argument against universities using live mascots. But at the end of the day, live mascots are part of the rich tradition woven into the college football tapestry and the animals are well taken care of. Uga has his own air-conditioned doghouse at Sanford Stadium for goodness sake:
Long-rumored to be heading back to Oregon for the 2019 season, Justin Herbert confirmed (via Twitter) he will do so on Wednesday.
Perhaps the top quarterback prospect who could have been part of April’s draft, Herbert will instead stay with the Ducks and then be part of the 2020 class. This further depletes the quarterback talent pool in the 2019 draft. Herbert almost certainly would have been a top-10 pick.
NFL teams in need of a quarterback have scouted Herbert this season, including the Broncos and Giants. The Dolphins, too, were high on the junior Ducks passer. Instead, Herbert will be part of what is, as of now viewed as a stronger quarterback crop in 2020. Georgia’s Jake Fromm and Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa are eligible to enter that draft. Herbert’s decision could have key ramifications for teams this year.
The respective values of other passing prospects, such as Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins (who has yet to declare himself but is expected to do so after receiving a first-round grade) and Missouri’s Drew Lock, will be inflated because of Herbert’s choice. Although, Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller categorizes West Virginia’s Will Grier and Duke junior Daniel Jones — who also has not declared yet — as the top non-Haskins passers who could be available (Twitter link).
Prospective free agent passers Teddy Bridgewater and Tyrod Taylor might be more popular commodities in March as a result of this as well. Joe Flacco is now going to be available via trade. Herbert not being available will take a key option off the board for teams lacking a long-term answer.
Herbert’s decision coincides with younger brother Patrick Herbert’s Oregon signing. The class of 2019 tight end will join the Ducks next season. This year, Justin Herbert has thrown for 2,985 yards, 28 touchdowns and eight interceptions. While his completion percentage dropped to 59.6 percent, down from 67.5 percent in 2017, the 20-year-old quarterback intrigued teams in a way the other 2019 QBs have yet to do.
Barry Switzer is not happy about the “Horns Down” penalty policy that will be in place for the Big 12 Championship Game on Saturday.
Oklahoma was informed that players will be penalized for doing the “Horns Down” gesture in their revenge game against Texas. “Horns Up” is the hand signal given by Texas fans to mimic the look of a steer. Adversaries will flip their hands downward as a sign of their opposing feeling towards Texas.
Switzer, who coached Oklahoma from 1973-88, says the penalty is “bulls—.”
“That’s bulls—,” Switzer told The Athletic’s Jason Kersey of the rule. “‘Horns down’ is part of the history of the game. It’s a natural reaction. It’s like someone gives you the finger. You give them the finger back, right? Well, if someone does a ‘Horns up,’ you do a ‘Horns down’ back at them.”
We agree with Switzer, but the Big 12 feels otherwise. Unfortunately, they are taking some of the fun out of the game with such a penalty.
West Virginia wide receiver David Sills was penalized for doing a “Horns Down” when playing Texas this season, and that was bad enough. It’s unfortunate to see a gesture that is so innocuous become a penalty.