Posted on: November 28, 2011 9:09 am
Edited on: November 28, 2011 11:46 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
UPDATE: CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd confirms that Urban Meyer will be the next football coach at Ohio State, ending weeks of speculation about his future and the Buckeyes' coaching position.
The Columbus Dispatch is reporting that a football-related news conference is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. ET.
Weeks of speculation and denial have reportedly come to an end, and Urban Meyer officially will be the next coach at Ohio State.
Meyer's agent reportedly confirmed to ESPN on Monday morning the former Florida Gators coach had accepted the Ohio State coaching job, the first official confirmation after reports from local throughout last week were vehemently denied.
CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd confirmed that was no official deal in place as of last Wednesday. It makes sense that Ohio State would not move forward crossing "t's" and dotting "i's" until the Buckeyes wrapped up their regular season. Ohio State fell to Michigan 40-34 on Saturday in the Big House, their first loss in the last seven years of the rivalry.
The Cleveland Plain-Dealer reports that interim head coach Luke Fickell will have the opportunity to remain on staff, but the former defensive coordinator may choose to pursue other opportunities. Assistance coach Stan Drayton, a former Meyer colleague, is also expected to have the opportunity to stay in Columbus.
This is Meyer's second return from retirement. The former Gators coach retired then immediately returned in 2009, before retiring for good in 2010. Citing health and family reasons, Meyer decided to take some time away from coaching and has spent the last year serving as an analyst for ESPN. Ohio State is bowl eligible, though the Buckeyes will not be officially extended an invitation until after the Big Ten Championship Game on Saturday.
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Posted on: November 23, 2011 12:37 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
After weeks of rumors and speculation, the Columbus Dispatch is reporting the inevitable: former Florida head coach Urban Meyer will be Ohio State's next head coach. According to the report, Meyer's agreement is in principle, as contract details have not been arranged, but those are often not finalized until after a head coach has been officially hired.
Meyer had been a head coach with Bowling Green and Utah for two years apiece before assuming the lead role at Florida in 2005. He led the Gators to two national championships (2006, 2008) before resigning due to health concerns after the 2010 season. Meyer made a similar resignation in 2009, vowing in December to coach the team's bowl game and leave aftwards, but he soon backed off that plan and coached the Gators as usual the next year.
Meyer is still only 47 (48 at the beginning of the 2012 football season), so youth would appear to be on his side. And yet, the health concerns that have dogged him at Florida have primarily been stress-related, so unless he takes a markedly different approach to coaching at Ohio State, it stands to reason that health may be a concern again. Of course, it also stands to reason that Ohio State is acutely aware of this fact and will adjust its expectations of Meyer accordingly. If both parties have agreed to an arrangement, the issue would almost certainly have to be resolved.
This report seems to refute Meyer's statement made Wednesday morning through ESPN, which read in full: "I have not been offered any job nor is there a deal in place. I plan on spending Thanksgiving with my family and will not comment on this any further." While it is generally agreed upon that there has been no formal offer of a job, to describe the situation as reported by the Dispatch as "no deal in place" strains the limits of linguistic semantics.
Posted on: November 23, 2011 11:55 am
Edited on: November 23, 2011 11:55 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
After correctly picking Baylor and Virginia last week, Dennis Dodd is back on the CBSSports.com College Football Podcast with Adam Aizer to preview the Arkansas-LSU game and look at the major stories around the nation. Rich Rodriguez to Arizona, Urban Meyer closing in on the Ohio State job, Miami and Ohio State taking different approaches to Bowl Season and much more. Was Boise State penalized too severely for its loss against TCU? Will Dodd be watching Texas-Texas A&M or 49ers-Ravens Thursday night?
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Posted on: November 20, 2011 2:32 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
But neither the Tigers nor the Razorbacks are as happy this weekend as is Alabama. Thanks to Oklahoma State's pratfall in Ames, Oregon's loss to USC, and Oklahoma's defeat in Waco, the Tide has now seen every conceivable obstacle between themselves and a hypothetical BCS rematch against the Tigers fall by the wayside. Win next week against Auburn, and the Tide are all but guaranteed to head to New Orleans ... one way or another.
LOSER: The other three quarters of the SEC. No one who's watched the SEC week-in and week-out would argue this is a vintage year for the league's depth, but the conference reached a new 2011 low on Saturday morning. With three SEC teams taking on three representatives from the FCS Southern Conference, the combined score of the three games midway through the collective second quarter was a tight 42-34 ... in favor of the SoCon.
Yes, Auburn eventually pulled away from Samford, Florida from Furman, and South Carolina from the Citadel. But when the conference's de facto No. 5/6/7 (in some order) teams have those kinds of struggles with FCS competition, "down year" doesn't totally cover it. And team No. 4 -- Georgia -- may have won the East, but anything similar to their sloppy, flat, lackluster performance against Kentucky will get them annihilated in Atlanta in two weeks.
WINNERS: Tauren Poole and Da'Rick Rogers. Even as Tennessee collapsed to a 0-6 SEC record, a handful of Vols continued to shine amongst the wreckage, and Poole and Rogers were two of the brightest spots. With a chance to salvage a bowl berth at home against a Vanderbilt team that some would argue had surpassed the Vols -- in the coaching department, on the recruiting trails, and on the field -- Poole and Rogers put the team on their back. Poole ran 19 times for 107 big yards and added 21 more in the receiving game. Rogers was even bigger--10 catches, 116 yards and two touchdowns, including a sensational one-handed grab to tie the game at 21 in the fourth quarter. The two late interceptions of Jordan Rodgers -- the game-winner obviously included -- were the Vols' biggest plays. But with Tyler Bray rusty, Poole and Rogers were their biggest players.
LOSERS: The officials at Tennessee-Vanderbilt. We want to be kind to college football officials, who have a thankless job we would never, ever volunteer for ourselves. But kindness only extends so far, and it doesn't extend past the phenomenal botch-job in the first overtime of 'Dores-Vols. If you missed it: Rodgers threw an interception to Eric Gordon, who returned it for an apparent game-winning touchdown. But Gordon was whistled down by the line judge, even with replay showing he wasn't close to having his knee down. Unfortunately for the Vols, that play isn't reviewable ... except that the officials reviewed it anyway under the pretense of checking if the whistle blew. And even though it did, the call was overturned anyway. It's not just us saying this either--the official SEC response confirms that the call was butchered six ways from Sunday.
To be fair, the officials eventually arrived at the right call; Tennessee won the game fair-and-square on Gordon's play. But that it took two dreadful wrongs to get there was an embarrassment.
WINNER: Blair Walsh. Sure, the longest of his four field goals vs. Kentucky was just 39 yards. But Walsh has been so erratic this season -- just 13-of-23 coming into this game --that Georgia will take four routine makes in a heartbeat. The Dawgs won't feel better about their chances of winning the SEC after their outing today, but a Walsh with his head screwed on correctly will be a big positive nonetheless.
LOSER: Will Muschamp's defensive reputation. The transition from Urban Meyer's spread looks to Charlie Weis's pro-style schemes was always going to be a problem for the Gators. But with the bevy of athletes at their disposal in the front seven, Muschamp's coaching acumen, and a defense that ranked ninth in the country in total defense a year ago, the Florida defense shouldn't have taken that much of step back, right? Statistically, they haven't; entering this week, the Gators were still 11th in the FBS. But Muschamp's and coordinator Dan Quinn's defense has had a few notable lapses this season, maybe none bigger than somehow allowing Furman 446 yards and 32 points. Motivation couldn't have been easy to come by, but that's simply not the sort of defensive numbers put up by a top-notch SEC defense.
Tags: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Blair Walsh, Charlie Weis, Da'Rick Rogers, Dan Quinn, Eric Gordon, Florida, Furman, Georgia, Jordan Rodgers, Kentucky, LSU, Oklahoma, Oregon, Samford, SEC, SEC Winners and Losers, South Carolina, Tauren Poole, Tennessee, the Citadel, Tyler Bray, Urban Meyer, USC, Vanderbilt, Will Muschamp, Winners and Losers
Posted on: November 15, 2011 6:09 pm
Edited on: November 15, 2011 7:42 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Credit Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne for aiming high in his search to replace the fired Mike Stoops. But one of his first swings has reportedly been a miss.
According to a Tuesday report from the New York Times, Byrne and Urban Meyer met in Miami "early last week" to gauge Meyer's potential interest in the Wildcats' head coaching position. The meeting ended with Meyer reportedly "intrigued" by the potential offer.
Apparently that interest didn't last long; Meyer then telephoned Byrne Monday to tell him he "was not going to pursue the job," the Times reported.
The report will only pour fuel on the speculative fire that Meyer is holding out for one of the two high-profile Big Ten jobs assumed to be open at the end of the season, with neither Luke Fickell at Ohio State nor Tom Bradley at under-siege Penn State expected (by most) to return at their respective teams' helms in 2012. Meyer, of course, has spent most of his coaching career in the Midwest and served two years as an assistant at Ohio State itself.
With Meyer out of the picture, Byrne will likely look to one of the other names mentioned as possible Wildcat candidates: the omnipresent Mike Leach, CBS Sports analyst Rich Rodriguez, former Oregon coach Mike Belotti, or current Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen, whom Byrne hired while serving as AD in Starkville.
Posted on: October 30, 2011 3:35 pm
A handy recap of who really won and who really lost that you won't find in the box score.
WINNER: Beavis and Burkhead - It's impossible to discuss either Taylor Martinez or Rex Burkhead without mentioning the effect they've had on each other and Nebraska's success. They're like a buddy comedy, bringing out the best in each other while highlighting their differences; Martinez is often erratic through the air but almost always hits Burkhead in stride, while the slower Burkhead can be an effective decoy on options to spring Martinez for big gains on keepers. They work in tandem, and it would be jarring to see either of them try to replicate their success this year alone.
LOSER: Michigan State's rushing game, again - Coming into Saturday's action, Michigan State was ranked dead last in the Big Ten in rushing yardage per game. Now, afterwards, nothing has changed. Facing a middling Nebraska defense that continues to miss All-American DT Jared Crick, the Spartans as a team managed only 101 yards on 30 carries. The passing game was even worse (11-27, 86 yards), but still: this was supposed to be a rushing attack that could take over games -- or at the very least reliably keep the chains moving. Instead, thanks to some lackluster blocking, these guys aren't even able to solve a defense with seven men in the box. If this serial failure to rush the ball effectively continues, MSU's not going to hold onto its claim for the division title.
WINNER: Braxton Miller - Yes, Ohio State is running the ball almost exclusively. But that offensive approach isn't possible if Joe Bauserman is the starter, because a diet of nothing but rushes is easy for a defense to figure out if there's only one potential ball-carrier in the backfield. That's not the case with Braxton Miller running the show, though; if Miller drops back in the pocket, he's got the opportunity to look for rushing lanes as well as open receivers. That's extremely stressful for defenders who have to decide whether to stay in coverage or crash the line once Miller takes off. That's what got Devin Smith so wide open for the game-winning score on Saturday, and it's exactly how other mobile quarterbacks like Terrelle Pryor and Denard Robinson find guys free in the secondary so often.
LOSER: The Big Ten bandwagon - Anyone still feel like Wisconsin is a Rose Bowl-quality team? Anyone? With Wisconsin on a two-game slide and the defense looking like a liability (which it always was, it just didn't matter when the Badgers were scoring at will), the Big Ten now looks like it has zero elite teams, not one. Whoever goes to the Rose Bowl -- probably Michigan State, Michigan, or Penn State -- is due for a shellacking at the hands of whoever the Pac-12 puts forth (Stanford and Oregon being the key contenders here).
WINNER: Whoever's starting at quarterback against Iowa - Consider the list of Indiana's Tre Roberson, Iowa State's Steele Jantz, Minnesota's MarQueis Gray, Northwestern's Dan Persa, and Penn State's Matt McGloin. What do they all have in common? They've all spent extensive time this season not being their team's starting quarterback, usually splitting time if not outright benched for poor play. They've all also lit the Iowa defense up, combining for a 149.95 passer rating and a 69.3% completion rate, numbers far higher than each QB's season rates. These are quarterbacks that a good defense feasts on; instead, Iowa lets them run wild.
The news gets worse for the Hawkeyes, as Kirk Cousins and Denard Robinson are both looming in the upcoming schedule. If Iowa can make the since-benched Steele Jantz look like a one-week Heisman candidate, imagine the devastation Robinson will rain down upon the Hawkeye defense.
LOSER: The 3:30 slate of games and anyone unlucky enough to witness them - In the strongest evidence yet that close games are not automatically good games, Illinois-Penn State and Iowa-Minnesota were decided by a grand total of four points, featured lead changes in the last three minutes, and were enough to set college football back decades. Illinois-PSU was scoreless through the first 41 minutes of play, and featured as many punts as points (17) -- a stat made even more horrifying when combined with the seven turnovers the game also featured.
Meanwhile, in Iowa's 22-21 loss, the Hawkeyes drove into Minnesota territory on their first four possessions and got a grand total of zero points on those drives; they would add a lost fumble inside Minnesota's 30 in the third quarter. Minnesota, meanwhile, was incinerated by Marcus Coker on the ground, giving up over 250 yards and eight yards a pop to the Iowa sophomore -- and Minnesota won. It was just a bad, shoddily-executed game all around, and nobody needs to see that unless they've got a vested rooting interest.
WINNER: Quietly, Michigan's title hopes - During the Michigan State-Nebraska game, ESPN erroneously showed a graphic of Iowa at 6-1 (2-1) on the year, presupposing that the Hawkeyes' 44-41 loss to Iowa State didn't happen. This gaffe went unnoticed in the booth, as Urban Meyer twice made mention of Iowa being a "quiet 6-1" and a challenger for the Legends Division crown.
We bring that up not to nitpick ESPN, but to point out that if even Iowa was getting division title mention as of Saturday morning (NOTE: all that talk is obviously done now), then Michigan's gone straight past "darkhorse" and into "invisihorse" territory, even though the Wolverines are still a one-loss team. Yes, MSU still holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over Michigan, but if all it takes is another loss out of the team that just got worked by Nebraska for Michigan to be in the driver's seat here, that's not exactly asking much.
LOSER: For once, not Ron Zook - No, we're clearly not declaring Ron Zook a winner this week, not when his players just dropped their third straight game and are on the brink of pure freefall after a 6-0 start. No no, he is no winner. But at the very least, this week, Illinois did not look outcoached -- just outplayed. Gone were the howlers of game management and terrible playcalls, although that's scant consolation when the alternative is four turnovers and two missed field goals. At the very least, though, those are execution problems (it's not as if Zook called "the fumble play"), and even with those problems Illinois wins this game if it weren't for PSU's 80-yard touchdown drive on its last possession of the game. So chins up, Illinois fans: your coach didn't blow this one.
Tags: Adam Jacobi, Big Ten, Braxton Miller, Dan Persa, Denard Robinson, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Joe Bauserman, Kirk Cousins, Marcus Coker, MarQueis Gray, Matt McGloin, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Rex Burkhead, Ron Zook, Taylor Martinez, Terrelle Pryor, Tre Roberson, Urban Meyer, Winners and Losers, Wisconsin
Posted on: October 26, 2011 12:02 pm
Edited on: October 26, 2011 12:03 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
A Florida roster that has thinned considerably since the arrival of first-year head coach Will Muschamp has just gotten that much thinner.
Sophomores Gerald Christian and Robert Clark announced Tuesday that each would be transferring out of the Gator program due to concerns over playing time. Christian, a tight end, and Clark, a wide receiver, were teammates at Dwyer High School (Palm Beach, Fla.) before signing with Florida under Urban Meyer in the spring of 2010.
"Both of these players have expressed a desire for more playing time and felt that it would be in their best interests," Muschamp said. "We wish them both the best of luck."
Both players had seen limited action in their season-and-a-half in Gainesville. Christian did not have a reception in his freshman campaign, and ranked ninth on the team in 2011 with four catches for 72 yards and score. Clark had seven receptions for 69 yards and a touchdown in 2010, but had yet to make a catch this season.
Looking at their relative lack of impact, it's easy to say the Gators won't be too stung by Clark's and Christian's departures. But the numbers that might really matter where their absence is concerned are these: their decisions bring the total of players who have left the Gator program since Muschamp's arrival to 9, and reduce the number of scholarship players on Muschamp's roster to 72--13 below the NCAA limit of 85, and several fewer than even probation-addled USC.
Those kinds of depth issues aren't easy to simply paper over (as the Gators' 1-3 SEC record attests), and makes a solid 2012 recruiting class absolutely essential. Once you've lost as many players as Florida has, every additional loss -- whether a starter, backup, or third-stringer -- is an important one.
Posted on: October 23, 2011 4:55 pm
Edited on: October 23, 2011 5:11 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Tim Tebow might have been playing against the Miami Dolphins today in Miami, but as you can see from the crowd shot above, he wasn't exactly lacking for fan support.
Part of that is because he is -- almost without question -- the most popular athlete in Florida Gator history, and while Miami isn't the state's biggest stronghold of Gator fans, they're there. And if you missed this in the run-up, the Dolphins ironically helped ensure that as many of them would be on hand to cheer for the opponent's starting quarterback by naming today "Gator Day" at Sun Life Stadium.
Tebow's first start was, obviously, the main event. But Gator Day also included a celebration of the 2008 Florida national title team, with Urban Meyer and Gator All-American Mike Pouncey in the stadium. Ticket packages sold through Gator alumni clubs included "a Post Game Photo Opportunity with current and former Gator Alumni players from both teams."
Not surprisingly, the Dolphin organization's efforts to pack the stands with fans there to root against the Phins hasn't gone over well with Dolphins diehards, and that bitterness is only going to harden after Tebow threw for two touchdowns, ran for 65 yards, and led the Broncos to an 18-15 win. (We're guessing Hurricanes fans aren't thrilled about the local professional franchise throwing a party for a college fooball team 337 miles to the north, either.)
The show of support may not have been the deciding factor in Tebow's victorious performance Sunday, but it surely didn't hurt--and that's all that will matter to the bevy of Gator fans in the stands, Gator players on hand to offer their support, and the irritated Dolphin fans having to deal with both.