PostHeaderIcon OHIO STATE OFFENSE ROLLS TO RECORD DAY, WHILE MICHIGAN.....

Most days during the football season are great days to wake up as a Buckeye.

Sunday was one of those days.

Not only did Ohio State tack 710 yards and a school-record 45 first downs on Cincinnati, extending its in-state dominance to 40 consecutive games dating to 1921 in a 50-28 rout.

But things in Ann Arbor ….well, let’s just say things are a bit miserable for TSUN.

The lowly Wolverines can’t get out of their own way offensively, losing to a mediocre Minnesota team 30-14 – their ninth loss in the past 13 games. The fans are howling, their stadium is less than full and their head coach, who loves to poke fun at a university he chooses to call “Ohio,” is firmly on the chopping block.

Yes, these are good times in the Buckeye State, despite that two-touchdown loss to Virginia Tech Sept. 6 and the leaky pass defense that is yet to be fixed.

Not only has Ohio State beaten TSUN in 11 of the past 13 meetings, but the Nov. 29 matchup now appears to be a certain blowout in which third-year coach Urban Meyer could name his score.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

First, Michigan…

The Wolverines (2-3) were out-gained 373 to 171 Saturday, and near the end, UM students booed Hoke, chanting its request to fire both him and athletic director Dave Brandon. This is the first time Michigan has recorded three losses by the end of September in its 135-year football history.

(Of course, the school’s sports information department probably is researching the record books today to come up with another national title sometime before 1920 just to make up for it).

But I digress…

Unless there is a shocking turnaround and UM upsets Michigan State and Ohio State, Hoke is as good as gone. And his dismissal come early December would surely affect recruiting. Michigan has 11 commitments for February’s signing day, including several players that Ohio State had offered.

But with two quarterbacks who appear lost and a poor offensive line, there are no signs the Wolverines will pull out of this, starting with a game at Rutgers Saturday.

And yet, Hoke, who said he didn’t hear the boos even though he is well-known as one of the few head coaches who does not wear a headset, well, you just got to admire his optimism….

“I think this team can still win a championship,” he said Saturday. “I really do, but we've got to play much better and we have to support each other as we do it.”

You keep your chin up and keep thinking that way, Brady.

The Buckeyes have not scored 50 points or more on TSUN since the national title team did it in 1968, a span of 46 years.

You hate to kick a man when he’s down (unless he wears yellow and blue), but I have a feeling this year’s game at Ohio Stadium may break that streak.

 

 

PostHeaderIcon MICHIGAN WILL BE LOOKING FOR COACH IN DECEMBER AND THIS TIME MILES MAY LEAVE LSU

It’s very clear now: Unless Michigan suddenly discovers an offense, and that is as likely as authorities finding Jimmy Hoffa’s body, Brady Hoke’s days are numbered as the Wolverines’ head coach.

His team laid another giant egg Saturday, getting clobbered 26-10 at home by Utah. At kickoff, there were plenty of empty seats in the upper reaches of the end zones. Then a thunderstorm suspended the game with more than seven minutes remaining, and by the time the game resumed, only about 2,000 fans – all dressed in Ute red – remained in 100,000-plus seat Michigan Stadium.

Amazingly, the Wolverines’ offense has scored touchdowns against only Appalachian State and Miami of Ohio, even failing to reach the red zone against Notre Dame (a 31-0 loss) and against Utah (the lone UM touchdown was on an interception thrown by the Utes' backup quarterback).

Now Hoke, whose team has lost eight of its last 12 games and has a grumbling fan base that is failing to fill Michigan Stadium, has a full-blown quarterback controversy. Turnover-prone quarterback Devin Gardner seems to have regressed. Left-hander Shane Morris plays like the inexperienced quarterback he is, but it’s a good bet he will start Saturday at home against Minnesota in its Big Ten opener.

“I’m concerned about everything that we’re doing,” Hoke said. “Do we want to be better offensively? Yeah, no question. Do we want to score points? That’s part of the game. … Am I concerned? We need to play better. We need to make sure we execute better.”

The scary thing for Michigan (2-2) is that none of the remaining eight games appear to be easily winnable, given how inept the Wolverines’ offense is. The Wolverines have problems blocking, throwing and catching. They also must play rivals Michigan State and Ohio State on the road.

So say that Michigan, 7-6 a year ago, wins no more than five of the remaining eight to finish 7-5, Hoke is as good as gone. And that’s being optimistic on the Wolverines’ behalf -- I expect them to win no more than four more and perhaps even finish with a sub .500 record.

And here’s some Cajun food for thought: I think this time, after flirting with each other in 2007 and again in 2011, Les Miles ends up making the trip from Baton Rouge to Ann Arbor.

The fact is, the school is running out of “Michigan men” to hire. Jim Harbaugh likely wouldn’t leave the NFL’s 49ers to take the job if he didn’t want it when it was offered three years ago, although most of the early speculation will center on him. And Miles is one of the last coaches remaining with the resume and Michigan background to satisfy everyone involved in the search.

Since Rich Rodriguez was hired and then fired three years later, leading the way for Hoke to be hired from San Diego State in 2010, details of Miles’ courtings have been revealed. Apparently, the two sides had a solid verbal agreement in December of 2007 when Lloyd Carr retired. Miles told Michigan officials, “I could never say no to Michigan.”

He just wanted two weeks to make it official, as he was preparing his LSU team for the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta. Meanwhile, Carr, no fan of Miles for some reason, called RichRod in West Virginia and told him to consider the job. Carr then talked Michigan Athletic Director Bill Martin into changing his mind and RichRod was hired while Miles had no choice but to sign an extension and stay in Baton Rouge. Miles’ Tigers went on to win the SEC title and defeated Ohio State 38-24 in the BCS Championship Game in New Orleans.

Whether those past flirtings and the subsequent fallouts would prevent Miles, a guard on Bo Schembechler’s teams in 1974 and ’75, from being offered the job, and even accepting it, this time around …. well, perhaps only he and UM athletic director Dave Brandon know. Of course, he is 60 and his age may work against him, too.

I would think Tiger Stadium emptying out in the third quarter once LSU fell behind 31-10 to Mississippi State Saturday night would rub Miles the wrong way. After all, LSU’s fan base is much like an NFL fan base. LSU fans can turn on a coach and a team quickly and would never be called “die-hard” by any means, as Saturday night’s game illustrated. LSU rallied with three fourth-quarter touchdowns and attempted a Hail Mary into the end zone on the final play to win the game. But it fell incomplete and the Tigers lost 34-29.

“I am not questioning the people who left early,” Miles said Monday. “That’s certainly a personal decision. But there would have been an eruption at the end if we had maybe two more feet on that pass for a completion. But it would have been a quiet eruption.”

Writers covering the game estimated about 7,500 LSU fans remained at the end of the game in the newly-expanded Tiger Stadium, with a capacity of 102,000.

For the record, Miles has a 98-25 record in his nine-plus seasons at LSU, since arriving from Oklahoma State.

RICHROD HITS A HAIL MARY

Speaking of the former Michigan coach, “three-and-out” Rich Rodriguez and his Arizona Wildcats have started the season 4-0, thanks to the comeback of all comebacks, capped by a Hail Mary on the final play.

Arizona trailed a much-improved Cal team 28-6 at the half and 45-30 with five minutes left in the game. But the Wildcats scored three touchdowns in the final five minutes, capped by a 47-yard Hail Mary on the final play to win 49-45.

Arizona scored 36 points in the fourth quarter.

BIG TEN HAS BIG DAY

The beleaguered conference rebounded somewhat with a 12-1 day against non-conference competition Saturday, with only the hapless Wolverines on the losing side. (Ohio State was off over the weekend).

The biggest win was Indiana’s 31-27 shocker at No. 18 Missouri and Iowa also rebounded from a tough loss against Iowa State by winning 24-20 at Pittsburgh. Nebraska’s 41-31 win over Miami also helped. Otherwise, the other nine conference teams which won were heavy favorites in each of the other games, mostly against cupcakes.

Still, there are no marquee non-conference games left for the conference until bowl season, so the Buckeyes’ loss to Virginia Tech and Michigan State’s loss at Oregon will remain as the lasting images the nation remembers as the season progresses.

BUCKEYES’ IN-STATE WINNING STREAK ON LINE

Cincinnati poses the toughest remaining non-conference test for any Big Ten team, as they travel to Columbus for Saturday’s 6 p.m. game.

Remember that Ohio State has not lost to an in-state opponent since 1921, and that was a 7-6 heartbreaker to Oberlin a year before Ohio Stadium was completed.

From 1933-91, the Buckeyes never faced off with an Ohio team. Woody Hayes was adamant that he never wanted to play an in-state team, so Ohio State complied while the legend roamed the sidelines from 1951-78. Earle Bruce’s teams never faced one, either.

But when John Cooper arrived in 1988, he had no problem with the concept, so the school’s administration changed its policy and the Buckeyes started facing Ohio teams for the first time in the modern era, beginning in 1992.

So far, the Buckeyes are a perfect 39-0 in these games. Most have been predictable one-sided affairs, with three notable scares.

The worst scare came in Cincinnati in the fourth game of the 2002 national championship season. After the sixth-ranked Buckeyes scored nine fourth-quarter points to take a 23-19 lead, the Bearcats drove to Ohio State’s 15-yard line and threw three incomplete passes into the end zone. Two passes that would have been game-winners were dropped. On fourth down, Will Allen’s interception in the end zone avoided the upset.

It was a season of cliff-hangers as the Buckeyes won all 14 games to win their first national title in 34 years.

But can you imagine, if that lone game – to an instate team of all opponents – would have prevented the Buckeyes from that dream season? It would have been a nightmare, which is probably why Cooper always said, “I’ll play any team from Ohio that wants to schedule us – as long as it’s played right here in Columbus.”

Then there was Ohio University, leading the third-ranked Buckeyes 14-12 in the fourth quarter of a 2008 game at Ohio Stadium. The Buckeyes ultimately prevailed 26-14, but got crushed 35-3 at No. 1 USC the following week. During Luke Fickell’s interim season as head coach in 2011, Toledo trailed 27-22 and reached the Buckeyes’ 17-yard line in the final seconds before the Ohio State defense stopped the Rockets on downs. By the way, the 22 points was the most scored against an Ohio State team by any in-state school since 1906. Again, the Buckeyes lost the following week – 24-6 at Miami.

I have always maintained it is a big mistake to schedule in-state teams. Not only is Ohio State paying other state schools (Cincinnati will pocket $890,000 Saturday) big money, which can be used to improve their facilities and resources and thereby steal a recruit every now and then (Ohio State has lost head-to-head recruiting battles with the Bearcats), but what would happen should they lose?

It would be a disaster that would be recounted for years, unlike, say a loss to a lower echelon team from the Pac-10, Big 12, SEC, Conference USA, etc. There really is nothing to gain and everything to lose from these in-state games.

Fortunately, there will be fewer games against in-state schools in the future, because of the Big Ten’s recent expansion.

As it stands, there are only two more in-state games currently scheduled -- Bowling Green in 2016 and Cincinnati again in 2019 -- both in Ohio Stadium. But athletic director Gene Smith said there will be more in the future, beginning in the 2020s.

FLORIDA STATE’S CIRCUS CONTINUES

Florida State University is known as having the only university-operated, on-campus circus in the country.

And it has nothing on the escapades of Jameis Winston and how the football staff handles, or mishandles, him.

After the FSU administration upgraded his suspension against Clemson from a half game to a full-game, Winston entered the locker room, fully dressed in pads and uniform and took the field for pre-game warm-ups. ESPN’s cameras caught Jimbo Fisher with a look of amazement on his face, as he told Winston to go change into street clothes.

"That was a miscommunication between us and the [equipment staff] because, with the late-night suspension, he was scheduled to dress and the stuff was put out in the locker room when he went in to dress,” Fisher said Monday. “He assumed he was going to dress for warm-ups and went out, and I never saw it. It got mis-communicated.

“(The equipment staff) probably should have never had it in the locker, and that's exactly what happened. We saw it, corrected it. He was great about it, went in and came back out and did what he was asked to do. That was our fault internally. We were making adjustments, moving around, and that was one part that slipped through the cracks.”

It slipped through the cracks much like Winston’s discipline has since he arrived on campus.

Fisher’s excuse is a lame one, for sure. It was an 8 p.m. kickoff. The suspension was upgraded at 11 p.m. on Friday night. So in the interim 21 hours, nobody at Florida State communicated to the star quarterback that he shouldn’t dress for the game?

The fact is, he shouldn’t have been at Doak Campbell Stadium to begin with. TV cameras followed his every move, in between plays, proving that Winston will be center of attention no matter what the team on the field does.

GAMES OF THE WEEK: Ohio State 44, Cincinnati 31 – Buckeyes have to out-score a potent Bearcats’ offense; Georgia 45, Tennessee 28 – Vols put up a fight in Athens; South Carolina 33, Missouri 30 -- Close one.

UPSET OF THE WEEK: Maryland (+4) at Indiana -- The Hoosiers come back down to earth after shocking Mizzou.

BLOWOUT OF THE WEEK: LSU 64, New Mexico State 10 – The Tigers are angry.

BEST BETS: Texas A&M (-8) over Arkansas; Cal (-11) over Colorado; Ole Miss (-18) over Memphis. Virginia (-21) over Kent State.

Last Updated (Wednesday, 24 September 2014 12:28)

 

PostHeaderIcon FLORIDA STATE CHOKES ON REACTING TO WINSTON'S STUPIDITY -- SO WHAT'S NEW?

This is getting so old.

Jameis Winston screws up again, acting like a fool, probably because he is a fool. And then Florida State bumbles its reaction when it comes to discipline, or lack thereof.

If you haven’t heard by now, Winston stood on a table at the Florida State student union and screamed an obscenity over and over again, to the amazement of dozens of students watching. Apparently, the obscene and vulgar phrase is an internet meme. Whatever.

Then the Seminoles’ brass decided to sit Winston for the first half – and only the first half – for Saturday night’s showdown against Clemson in Tallahassee.

“I am not a mean person, but in that situation it was a selfish act,” Winston said at a press conference Wednesday. “You have to overcome adversity and one thing at Florida State we do, we overcome adversity. I want to be out there on the field, know what I am saying?”

Yes, we know what you are saying Jameis – “I really didn’t do anything wrong, but they are suspending me for just expressing my thoughts and now they are making me make this apology.”

And the “adversity” is self-inflicted, which Winston doesn’t seem to understand.

Given Winston’s shady past – a BB gun incident which resulted in broken windows on campus, stealing soda from a Burger King, stealing crab legs from a Publix and especially the most serious case: a rape investigation in which he was not charged – there is only one explanation for Winston standing up in the middle of campus and chanting what he said …

He just doesn’t get it.

I really wonder, given his repeated stupidity, how he reads defenses. He shows a kindergarten mentality off the field and an all-pro’s mental capacity on it. I am not as disgusted with Winston’s actions – just write it off to a terribly immature, pampered, spoiled kid who hasn’t grown up yet, if he ever does – then I am with Florida State’s reaction.

Maybe the Seminoles’ administration and coaching staff is so insulated they don’t realize how bad they look from the outside.

“Their coach is being very, very lenient,” said ESPN’s Herm Edwards, who has a long career as an NFL head coach and player. “If I was coaching him, he would be wearing a baseball hat for the entire game.”

Remember that after the Publix incident, where the surveillance made it clear he knew what he was doing and it was no accident, the Seminoles suspended him – from the baseball team. But he is a scholarship football player. So since he played a spring sport, he actually avoided a more important football suspension, which was deserved.

The great thing is that Heisman voters and NFL execs are watching this closely and finally, that's where there will be ramifications. No way Winston matches Archie Griffin with a second Heisman Trophy, no matter what he does on the field. And as far as the NFL goes, a high character quarterback such as Oregon’s Marcus Mariota is a better choice as a franchise quarterback than a guy with Winston’s track record of self-inflicted stupidity wounds.

Here's betting Winston will do something stupid again. That’s just who he is. What we have no idea is if Florida State will react properly, or continue to slap his wrist with their patented wet noodle.

 

Last Updated (Wednesday, 17 September 2014 19:02)

 

PostHeaderIcon DESPITE 3-OT WIN OVER KENTUCKY, GATORS AND MUSCHAMP IN FOR ANOTHER LONG SEASON

The Florida Gators won a football game last Saturday, but that may be the most deceiving result of the weekend.

The fact is, the Gators and Will Muschamp are in big trouble.

Florida survived a scare from Kentucky, winning 37-30 in three overtimes at Florida Field. But the game revealed two programs headed in opposite directions. Kentucky entered as a 17-point underdog and having not beaten the Gators in 28 years, but it became apparent that Mark Stoops has the Wildcats headed in the right direction. Kentucky appeared faster than Florida at times and quarterback Patrick Towles passed for 369 yards.

Florida, on the other hand, played much like the team that finished 4-8 last season.

In fact, the Gators were down to their last play, a fourth-and-goal at the end of the first overtime, trailing 27-20, and it appeared they did not get the snap off to beat the 25-second clock. Stoops stormed the field as Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel calmly completed the game-tying touchdown pass. For some reason, the play was never reviewed by replay and the touchdown stood.

The SEC released a statement Sunday, saying, “At the request of the University of Kentucky, consistent with SEC protocol, the conference office reviewed the fourth down play in the first overtime of the Kentucky-Florida game and has determined the officials applied the proper mechanics and guidelines that are in place to determine when a flag should be thrown for delay of game. The back judge is responsible for delay of game calls. The procedure for the back judge is for his eyes to stay on the clock when it nears zero. When the clock hits zero, he immediately looks from the clock to the ball. If the ball is moving, there is no delay of game. If the ball is stationary, a delay of game penalty is called.”

In other words, you can snap the ball from the time it takes the clock to hit zero to when the back judge switches his eyes to the snap, which is exactly what happened. I always thought once the play clock hit double donuts, that was it – delay of game – but I guess not in the SEC.

Asked if he was relieved after the win, Muschamp stated, "I really don't feel relief after games. I go to work to see what we need to fix and try to get better."

Anyway, the Gators (2-0) trudge to Tuscaloosa Saturday and this one could get ugly. If the Crimson Tide rolls Florida, as expected, look for Muschamp to be squarely back on the hot seat.

I firmly believe UF athletic director Jeremy Foley, one of the best in the business, already realizes Muschamp is not his man to return the Gators to glory, but he must await two consecutive sub-par seasons to pull the firing trigger. And this should be it, with Tennessee, LSU, Missouri, Georgia and South Carolina ahead – before Florida State – I see the Gators struggling to finish 6-6.

Muschamp hasn’t helped his cause off the field, being combative with the media as well as with critical fans. Much like Ron Zook when he arrived at Florida, Muschamp is even more hot-headed and without the personality to build championship teams or even win consistently over the long haul.

But for right now, he's the head coach of an undefeated football team with the biggest game of his life just days away.

Which leads us to…

THE SEC’s POWER?

Much has been made of the SEC’s dominance this week, having seven of the top 14 teams in the Associated Press poll. That’s a first.

But if you examine it more closely, nothing has happened in non-conference play to warrant it. Much of it is based on past reputation and on one very impressive win inside the conference – Texas A&M’s thrashing of South Carolina. Perhaps the Gamecocks’ defense is just not that good, allowing 51 to the now No. 6 Aggies and 35 to Georgia and yet they are ranked 14th – a spot behind the Bulldogs whom they just beat Saturday.

Besides A&M, the only team in this group that has been surprisingly impressive is No. 10 Ole Miss, which has clobbered three hapless opponents.

Hugh Freeze has been recruiting with the best of them in the past three years and now it is showing on the field. The Rebs may be the real deal by the time November rolls around.

As for No. 5 Auburn, a tough road game at Kansas State awaits Saturday. If the Tigers win that one impressively, then there’s a good chance the Iron Bowl will have every bit of meaning as it did a year ago.

Meanwhile, No. 8 LSU’s defense appears to be very LSU-like, recording two consecutive shutouts.

 

WHAT’s NEXT FOR SMU?

You may not have noticed but SMU Coach June Jones resigned after just two games, lopsided losses to Baylor and North Texas as the Mustangs were outscored 88-6.

Jones arrived in Dallas from Hawaii in 2008 and led SMU to four bowl games, but apparently became frustrated with the state of the program, its relationship to SMU’s academic side, budget issues and not being in a top-five power conference. His comments in April are very revealing now when he hinted “the have-nots” of college football – any team not in one of the power five conferences – should play football in the spring. “Just like the USFL did,” he said.

Whether the NCAA intended to or not, the only time the governing body ever laid down the “death penalty,” shutting down SMU’s program in 1986, the ramifications are still being felt today. One of my newspaper assignments in 1989 was to travel to Highland Park, Texas in 1989 and chronicle the rebirth of the program, led by Pro Football Hall of Famer Forrest Gregg, called by Vince Lombardi “the finest player I ever coached.”

I’ll never forget seeing the Mustangs’ poor facilities. To say they were “high school like” would not be accurate. I covered high school football in Texas 1982-84 and most of those schools had much better facilities than SMU. Playing with 15 scholarships and 80 walk-ons, Gregg’s team won three games in its first two seasons. In 1990, Houston beat SMU 95-21 when the Cougars threw nine touchdown passes. Gregg was so furious with formal NFL rival Jack Pardee, then the coach of Houston, he refused to shake his hand following the game.

The following year, he moved on to become athletic director at SMU.

Today, 25 years later, the program remains second-tier with no signs of improving.

Eric Dickerson, the finest player the school ever produced, even suggested this week that the school should drop the sport.

 

EXTRA POINTS…

Charlie Strong’s first season has not gotten off to a sparkling start, by any measures. But when your captain messes up the coin toss, you know things are working against you. UCLA won the coin toss and chose “to defer” before Saturday’s game. Texas’ captain Tank Jackson then chose to “kickoff” instead of receive the football. Since Texas had the choice, no matter what that choice is, the Longhorns had to automatically kick off for the second half, too. The Longhorns ended up kicking off to start both halves and UCLA took the second-half kickoff and drove for the game-tying touchdown at 10-10 on its way to a 20-17 win. It was the first time I can ever recall a head coach ranting and raving on the sideline before the game ever started … And speaking of UCLA, if the arm injury to Brett Hundley is serious, the Bruins could be finding themselves in the same place Ohio State was a month ago – trying to navigate the season without their Heisman Trophy candidate at quarterback….The Big Ten’s demise isn’t just obvious when watching Michigan State, Michigan and Ohio State all losing big non-conference matchups two weeks ago, it’s watching Penn State and Rutgers slosh around in a game in which neither team has any speed or skilled players. Still, the Nittany Lions (3-0), trailing 10-0 for much of the night, gutted out a 13-10 ugly win on the road. With the naked eye, the level of play in the game was similar to Conference USA or the MAC.

GAME OF THE WEEK: Alabama 34, Florida 13 – The Tide rolls and Muschamp’s struggle to keep critics at bay begins;

UPSETS OF THE WEEK: Utah (+5.5) over Michigan – The Utes may win by two touchdowns or more in Ann Arbor; and Kansas State (+8) over Auburn – Yes, the Tigers go down in a hostile environment.

BLOWOUT OF THE WEEK: Michigan State 70, Eastern Michigan 6 – Eastern continues trading bruises for money.

 

BEST BETS: UMass (+26.5) at Penn State; Texas A&M (-31.5) at SMU; Missouri (-14) over Indiana; Northern Illinois (+14) at Arkansas.

Last Updated (Tuesday, 16 September 2014 14:41)

 

PostHeaderIcon PENN STATE BOWL BAN, NOW LIFTED, SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN IN PLACE

I could say that the NCAA got it right by lifting Penn State’s bowl ban, effective this season.

But the fact is, the Nittany Lions never should have been hit with NCAA probation in the first place. At least not with the penalties as severe as they were – scholarship reductions and an original four-year bowl ban.

I have said all along: The Jerry Sandusky affair was a criminal matter (of the worst kind) – not an NCAA issue dealing with cheating or having an unfair advantage over competitive schools.

The people involved should have been punished criminally and they were. Sandusky was tried and judged and will never be free again; Joe Paterno died before the investigation played out; and Penn State’s athletic director, who was supposed to be providing leadership, was fired.

To penalize new coach Bill O’Brien, and now James Franklin, and most importantly, the Penn State players and fans, for the past two seasons was completely unnecessary. It was simply the NCAA overreacting to big-city media types who constantly beat the drum to do something severe.

For example, if an assistant coach of a major football program would commit murder, would the NCAA have the right to put the school on probation? If the assistant coach raped a woman and then a third-party told the head coach it may have happened, would the NCAA have the right to impose a bowl ban?

The point is this: These were crimes punishable by our judicial system. They had nothing to do with recruiting, extra benefits or gaining a competitive advantage.

NCAA President Mark Emmert, who has constantly bungled things over the past few years (Miami investigation), completely relied on the Louis Freeh report, felt he must act swiftly because of public pressure, then knee-jerked and got it wrong without a proper investigation.

Now the NCAA is back-tracking a bit, lifting the bowl ban, claiming the school complied with more than 100 requirements.

I say it is two years too late to come their senses. In addition to getting the bowl ban lifted, Penn State also will be allowed to have the full complement of football scholarships in 2015.

“It will have an impact on this class,” Franklin said of recruiting. “I don't know if it will be as big an impact as some people think.”

No doubt this is great news for Franklin and Penn State, but not good news for his Big Ten competitors who recruit the same players as the Nittany Lions, such as Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Rutgers and Maryland. Franklin already has those schools’ attention because he has been very successful securing commitments from many sought-after four-and five-star players in the region.

Currently, Penn State has the seventh best class for 2015, with 19 verbal commitments, according to Scout.com. By contrast, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin rank 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st so far. Signing day is in February.

MICHIGAN’s HOKE No. 1…

…Just not where he wants to be.

That is his ranking on the updated hot seat list, replacing Florida’s Will Muschamp.

Yes, the wolves are circling and Brady’s Bunch is a mess after the 31-0 whipping Michigan took from Notre Dame Saturday in the last meeting between the teams. It ended the NCAA-record 365 straight games without being shut out, dating to 1984 when the Wolverines lost six games.

One Detroit columnist already called for his firing, unless the Wolverines upset rivals Michigan State and Ohio State. Both games are on the road, where Hoke has a 7-12 record as UM head coach. Following his initial 11-2 season, the Wolverines are 16-12 in the past three seasons under Hoke.

Asked about the growing discontent from the fan base, Hoke said, "If they’re truly fans, they’ll believe in these kids and what they’ve done and the hard work they’ve put in. If they’re not, they won’t. Our goal is still there. Our goal, we’ve stated a thousand times, is to win the Big Ten championship, so that’s out there. Now, do we have to get better and work hard? Yeah, we do.”

Hoke is 20-2 at Michigan Stadium, where the Wolverines host hapless and winless Miami of Ohio Saturday.

FISHER RESPONDS IN STYLE

Florida State Coach Jimbo Fisher couldn’t have been more classy in the way he responded to losing three defensive linemen to The Citadel’s system of cut blocking. The Citadel suspended one offensive lineman after the Seminoles’ 37-12 win for comments on social media that he “was trying to take their knees out.”

"That's how that offense blocks. We cut people, too. That offense cuts," Fisher said. "I don't think they were deliberately trying to do stuff. There are always questionable blocks when you play a team like that. A lot of our guys who got injured, people fell into them. They weren't all cut blocks, things like that. There were a couple that were questionable, but that's always in every game. I don't think they're coached that way and I don't think their players are that way. I don't buy all that.

"I've talked to their coach, and we had a great conversation. They don't teach that, and I don't think that's indicative of them. They have a great program and things happen and kids do things. If you hold a whole program hostage to what one young man says all the time, then it's like if you have 10 brothers and sisters and one guy's a knucklehead, he does something or says something, your whole family is tainted. That's not how they're coached."

For the record, this is an age-old argument between coaches. Georgia Tech, which runs the same type of system, as does Navy, has been the target of opposing coaches’ wrath after games in the past.

EXTRA POINTS…

Cincinnati is the last major college team to open its season, Friday at home against Toledo. The Bearcats play at Ohio State in two weeks… Charlie Strong received a strong indication of how thin Texas’ talent is in a 41-7 whipping the Longhorns received from BYU in Austin. It was the second consecutive year the Cougars routed Texas. “It was embarrassing,” Strong admitted…. Speaking of which, two Cougars will tangle Thursday in BYU and Houston… Steve Spurrier, after a wait a week longer than expected, got his 200th SEC win Saturday as the Gamecocks beat East Carolina 33-23.

GAME OF THE WEEK: Georgia 30, South Carolina 20 – The Bulldogs may be on to something big this season.

UPSET OF THE WEEK: Fresno State (+10) over Nebraska – The Big Ten is bad and Cornhuskers just aren’t that good.

BLOWOUT OF THE WEEK: Oregon 77, Wyoming 10 – The Ducks roll on.

 

BEST BETS: Oklahoma (-20) vs. Tennessee; UCLA (-8) vs. Texas; BYU (-17) vs. Houston;

Last Updated (Thursday, 11 September 2014 12:52)

 
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