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January 2014 College Football Archives

January 31: USC quarterback Max Wittek has informed the Trojans brass that he will graduate at the end of the semester and then transfer to a new school. He will be able to play immediately with his new school. Wittek was in the running to be the Trojans starter even as the season began, but he eventually assumed the backup role, playing behind Cody Kessler. A law firm’s investigation has concluded that former Rutgers cornerback Jevon Tyree was in fact not bullied or singled out by then-defensive coordinator Dave Cohen. While Cohen used inappropriate language, he was appropriately admonished by head coach Kyle Flood. Cohen was fired after the season and is now the D-line coach at Wake Forest. Virginia head coach Mike London has brought on longtime coach Mike Archer in as an assistant defensive coach. Archer was the LSU head coach for four seasons.

January 30: The University of Notre Dame is planning a $400 million project for their stadium. The stadium will now be flanked by two large buildings and have 4000 new premium seats. The buildings will be research centers. Word is that former Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen will resurface after a 3-year coaching hiatus to become the new offensive coordinator at Rutgers. He would replace Ron Prince who left to become an assistant coach with the Detroit Lions. Friedgen was 75-50 in 10 years as Terrapins coach. TCU defensive end Devonte Fields has refused to press charges after a robbery at his off-campus residence. In the melee, Fields struggled with a gunman and the firearm discharged a round, though no one was hurt. The stoic Fields was attending class and workouts merely hours after the scary incident.

January 29: In a bizarre and sad story, a police officer has been charged with voluntary manslaughter in the death of Florida A&M safety Jonathan Farrell. the 24-year old Farrell was looking for assistance following a car accident. Farrell knocked on a door for help and police were called. 12 shots were later fired at an unarmed Ferrell. Northwestern QB Kain Colter has apparently made steps to begin a union for Northwestern players. Petitions have been filed and the process has begun, which should meet with some resistance from the NCAA. Tony Buzbee, a Texas A&M regent and attorney bought space on a billboard pleading for the Houston Texans to “Keep Johnny Football in Texas.” The Houston Texans have the number-one pick, but there is no word whether or not they will select Johnny Manziel.

January 28: In a sordid story, Nebraska’s promising defensive end Avery Moss has been banned from campus for one year. The sanction stems from an indecency offense where Moss apparently exposed himself to an on-campus convenience store worker in 2012. Top recruit Saeed Blacknall, who had committed to Rutgers, will now apparently enroll at Penn State. The wide receiver gives the Nittany Lions even more options at that position. Former University of Arizona athletic director and basketball coach Dave Strack passed away at the age of 90. Strack’s achievements are too numerous to name, but he was the first AD to hire a black basketball coach in all of NCAA Division I.

January 27: Former Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr continues to impress, following a good showing in the Senior Bowl. Other senior quarterbacks, however, haven’t been so fortunate. Among them is Jordan Lynch and Tajh Boyd. The most-coveted senior won’t be Carr, though he is up there, but more likely Notre Dame offensive lineman Zack Martin. Also high on the chart is Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald--rounding out the top senior class in the draft. Recent reports indicate there may have been some acrimony that led to coach Bill O’Brien’s departure from Penn state after two seasons. The now-Houston Texans head coach apparently had a problem with athletic Dave Joyner, who is not well-liked in the program. Unfavorable conditions at Penn state only hastened O’Brien’s choice to go to the NFL.

January 26: In Saturday’s Senior Bowl, some NFL prospects took a step forward. Quarterbacks David Fales and Derek Carr each threw touchdowns to lead the South over the North for a 20-10 win. Auburn defensive end Dee Ford registered a pair of sacks. With a pair of sacks also in the BCS Championship Game, Ford’s stock has risen in the past month. Top recruit QB Ricky Town has de-committed from Alabama and will apparently enroll at USC following his senior season in 2014. Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen had his contract extended another year and is now signed up through the 2018 season. Heisman winner and BCS Champion quarterback Jameis Winston will now gear up for the college baseball season. Winston throws a 95 mph fastball and had a 3.00 E.R.A. last season with the Seminoles in 27 innings pitched.

January 25: The North Carolina Tar Heels suspended LB Travis Hughes following a run-in with campus patrol. Allegedly, Hughes assaulted the officer as he was citing Hughes for a parking violation. He was arrested by police shortly after. Louisville coach Bobby Petrino will be without one of the Cardinals’ best assistants, as defensive line coach Clint Hurtt will take a coaching position with the Chicago Bears. Stanford capped off an impressive recruiting campaign as they landed one of the top offensive lineman in Casey Tucker. The top recruit had originally committed to USC. In more Cardinal news, Stanford named outside linebackers coach Lance Anderson the new defensive coordinator. Armstrong replaces Derek Mason, who took the head coaching job with Vanderbilt last week.

January 24: Alabama, who will be looking for a new quarterback with the departure of AJ McCarron, may be getting Jacob Coker, who is transferring from Florida State. Coker was in the running to win the starting gig at FSU until eventual Heisman-winner assumed the starting role. Coker is expected to compete for the Tide’s starting quarterback job--a gig with a handful of candidates vying for the job. Speaking of the Seminoles, they promoted linebackers coach Charles Kelly to defensive coordinator, replacing Jeremy Pruitt who is off to Georgia. In unfortunate news, one of the best corners in this year’s draft, Oklahoma’s Aaron Colvin, tore his ACL at Senior Bowl practice on Tuesday.

January 23: In the richest deal in collegiate sports shoe and apparel history, Under Armour has signed a 10-year $90 million deal with Notre Dame. Indiana offensive coordinator Seth Littrell has left to school to take the same position with the North Carolina Tar Heels. Littrell replaces former UNC offensive coordinator Blake Anderson, who left to become the new head coach for Arkansas State. It caps off a busy week for the Hoosiers, who also hired new defensive coordinator Brian Knorr earlier this week. UAB hired a new head coach when they signed Jacksonville State head coach Bill Clark. In 2013, UAB was 2-10, giving up over 43 points a game. Ex-Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, who was canned after two games in 2013, has been hired as the new DC for Louisiana Tech. Northwestern running back Venric Mark was granted a 5th year of eligibility. After a huge 2012 season, Mark battled with injuries for most of the 2013 season.

January 22: This year has seen a record-breaking of underclassmen declaring for the NFL draft. Among the more illustrious ones are DE Jadeveon Clowney, QB Teddy Bridgewater, QB Johnny Manziel, G David Yankey, RB James Wilder, Jr., WR Sammy Watkins, RB De’Anthony Thomas, DB Vinnie Sunseri, S Dion Bailey, WR Odell Beckham, WR Jarvis Landry, WR Martavis Bryant, WR Kelvin Benjamin, RB Alfred Blue, QB Blake Bortles, RB Ka’Deem Carey, WR Brandin Cooks, S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, DE Scott Crichton, WR Mike Evans, DT Ego Ferguson, RB Devonta Freeman, WR Marqise Lee, RB Tre Mason, RB Adam Muema, DT Louis Nix III, RB Bishop Sankey, RB Lache Seastrunk, and TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, among others. This draft has an over-abundance of young talent and teams will make their selections from May 8-10.

January 21: Indiana, who finished last in the Big Ten in defense last season, has hired former Wake Forest defensive coordinator Brian Knorr as their new defensive coordinator. Knorr received some accolades for getting the Demon Deacons “D” in shape last season. Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter has signed an extension that will keep him as Bulldogs’ head coach through 2018. In two seasons, DeRuyter is 20-6 and was 11-2 in 2013. DeRuyter’s first order of business is to find a replacement for record-breaking QB Derek Carr, who is NFL-bound. Five-star recruit CB Tony Brown, who just joined Alabama, was arrested for resisting arrest after a party became unruly in Tuscaloosa. Promising Miami running back Duke Johnson, who busted his ankle in a November game against Florida State, is expected to miss spring practice as he continues to rehab his ankle.

January 20: Former Alabama quarterback Luke Del Rio, son of Jack, has transferred to Oregon State. A redshirt freshman in 2013, Del Rio will have to sit out a season and will then have 3 years of eligibility. South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney, long projected as as being a top pick, will participate in all NFL combines. Injuries and perhaps some complacency led to a less-than-ideal season for Clowney, but he will be attempting to woo prospective suitors with his workouts. Cal, coming off a 1-11 season, will lose another non-senior, as Brendan Bigelow has opted to enter the NFL Draft. With 98 underclassmen declaring for the draft, a new record has been set. Many of the top picks will be underclassmen, with Clowney and Teddy Bridgewater expected to go early.

January 19: Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney signed a new longterm deal, an 8-year deal worth $27 million that runs through 2021. The Tigers have won 10 games in 3 consecutive seasons and won the Orange Bowl last season against Ohio State. Vanderbilt has hired former Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason as their new head coach, replacing James Franklin who left to coach Penn State. Jahvid Best, the former Cal standout whose NFL career was cut short due to concussions, will join his alma mater as a student assistant as he finishes his degree.

January 18: Having already interviewed St. Louis Rams’ offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer,, Vanderbilt has apparently offered the job to Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason, 44. Minnesota quarterback Phillip Nelson, who started 16 games for the Gophers, will transfer from the school to seek a more pass-happy offense. Another quarterback leaving his school is Indiana’s Cam Coffman. The starter in 2012 was buried on the depth chart in 2013 and wants more playing time. Baylor QB Bryce Petty won the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose award, an honor that goes to the best college players with Texas ties. Petty led Baylor to an 11-2 record in 2014.

January 17: Clemson defensive end Vic Beasley will return for his senior season. Wednesday was the last day to declare for the NFL Draft. In 2014, Beasley led the ACC with 13 sacks. Ex-Bama QB AJ McCarron will skip the Senior bowl and just focus on the NFL Draft. The South Carolina board of trustees have approved a raise and extension for coach Steve Spurrier, as the 68-year old will get a million-dollar raise to $4 million and a year and is now signed through the 2015 season. In a tragic piece of news, Arkansas State defensive lineman Markel Owens was one of two men killed in a shooting in Jackson, Tennessee. Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn was named the Bear Bryant Coach of the Year on the heels of an amazing turnaround that saw Malzahn take the Tigers from 3-9 to the BCS Championship Game.

January 16: Alabama quarterback Luke Del Rio, son of Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, will transfer from Alabama. Reports have him going to Oregon State. Beavers’ coach Mike Riley is close friends with papa Jack. Vanderbilt is looking for a new coach after losing James Franklin to Penn State. On Wednesday, they will be interviewing St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. Texas Tech lost their second quarterback to transfer, as Michael Brewer will be leaving. The Red Raiders just lost starter Baker Mayfield and the quarterbacking duties will now fall squarely on the shoulders of Davis Webb, who played well when Mayfield went down to injury last season, including a 403-yard performance in the Holiday Bowl in an upset over Arizona State. In sad news, Iowa State defensive line coach Curtis Bray passed away at the tender age of 43 from an undisclosed illness. Bray was a standout linebacker for Pittsburgh, where he also spent 7 seasons coaching.

January 15th: Longtime Oregon Ducks assistant Don Pellum, who has been the linebacking coach for 14 seasons, has been promoted to defensive coordinator following the retirement of Nick Aliotti. Pellum will also retain his linebacker coaching duties. After winning the championship as defensive coordinator for Florida State, Jeremy Pruitt will now become the defensive coordinator for Georgia. The Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator, Todd Grantham, is now with Bobby Petrino’s staff at Louisville. Defensive line coach Bo Davis, just announced last week as USC’s new DL coach, has accepted the same position with Alabama and has worked with Tide coach Nick Saban with Alabama, the Dolphins, and LSU before. Memphis leading rusher Brandon Hayes has been granted a 6th year of eligibility by the NCAA. Mike Denbrock has been hired as the Notre Dame offensive coordinator, promoted from receivers coach. Brian Kelly will continue to call plays in 2014. Florida quarterback Tyler Murphy has enrolled as Boston College and intends to resume his football career. Murphy saw significant time this year for the Gators, starting 6 games in the absence of Jeff Driskel, who broke a bone in his right leg last season. Driskel is apparently coming along well enough so that he will be able to participate in spring practice this season. The Gators were 4-8 last season.

January 14th: New Texas Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong’s deal is for 5 years and worth $25 million. Among players leaving early for the NFL draft are G David Yankey of Stanford. Yankey is considered one of, if not the top guard in the college ranks. Also forgoing eligibility is LSU running back Jeremy Hill, who ran for over 1400 yards and 16 touchdowns last season. Unfortunately for the Tigers, they now have most of their big-name stars in the Draft this season. A guy who a lot of people think may be the best of the lot, Arizona’s RB Ka’Deem Carey, will also be entering the NFL Draft. Carey’s stats in 2013 were 349-1885-19 and is the school’s leading rusher with 4232 career yards. Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham will be joining Bobby Petrino’s coaching staff at Louisville in the same capacity. Georgia Tech quarterback Vad Leemade an interesting move, transferring to James Madison in the FCS. Longtime college coach Norm Parker, 72, passed away on Monday. His last job was as Iowa’s defensive coordinator from 1999-2011.

January 13th: Penn State introduced new head coach James Franklin, the former Vanderbilt head coach. Franklin replaced Bill O’Brien, who is back in the NFL as the coach of the Texans. One of the top wide receivers in the nation Dorial Green-Beckham was arrested on suspicion of drug activity on Saturday. The former top high school prospect in the nation led Missouri in receptions this season and was key in Missouri’s games against Auburn in the SEC title game, as well as their Cotton Bowl win over Oklahoma State. 6’5” receiver Kelvin Benjamin, a redshirt sophomore who caught the go-ahead touchdown in Florida State’s BCS Championship win over Auburn, has decided to enter the NFL Draft. With his size, Benjamin is a potential matchup nightmare even in the NFL and should go in the first round. Lane Kiffin, a midseason casualty last season after he was let go as the head coach of USC, will now be the Alabama offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. An appeal was denied in the case of former Texas Tech and current Sooner QB Baker Mayfield, meaning he will have to sit out a year, as the rules dictate when a player transfers within the same conference. Mayfield may now pursue other transfer opportunities to avoid sitting out a season. With Bobby Petrino going back to Louisville, Western Kentucky promoted offensive coordinator Jeff Brohm to head coach.

BCS National Championship Game Preview and Prediction: It's a rarity that many agree that the right two teams are in the big game. Often times, there's at least a team or two that we all believe should be there that is not. In this case, Auburn beat Bama fair and square so they earned their trip. Florida State has been blowing opponents out of the water all season and have given us all a firm belief that they're the real deal. Auburn Tigers vs. Florida State Seminoles Pick (8:30PM EST) - 1/6

Discover Orange Bowl Preview: This should be one of the more enjoyable games to view this bowl season. Two of the better QB's in the nation meet up in a game where "he who has the ball last" may be the winner in this game. Clemson Tigers vs. Ohio State Buckeyes Pick. (8:30PM EST) - 1/3

Allstate Sugar Bowl Preview: In most cases, I'd be thinking potential letdown here as one has to question how much motivation Bama will bring into this matchup after being denied a shot at playing for the national title. I don't think that angle will apply to particular game though. Oklahoma Sooners vs. Alabama Crimson Tide Pick (8:30PM EST) - 1/2

Rose Bowl Preview and Bet Recommendation: Smashmouth comes to mind when I envision these two teams going at it on New Year's Day. This is football at it's best and enough to sizzle off your New Year's Eve hangover! The pace may be slow but the "Grand Daddy of em all" should be one of the more interesting games to watch on this season's bowl game schedule. Michigan State Spartans vs. Stanford Cardinal Pick. (5PM EST) - 1/1

Florida Citrus Bowl Preview: It's rare to see a game listed at a pick'em and actually have completely balanced public action receiving wagers on each side. The Badger's are good, but didn't play the same level of competition during the 2013 season and I believe this is a disadvantage to them as they play a South Carolina team that is battle tested. Wisconsin Badgers vs. South Carolina Gamecocks Pick. (1PM EST) - 1/1

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