The Ohio State Buckeyes have been hit with a double-whammy.
First came news of a disheartening No. 6 spot in the College Football Rankings, leaving them shy of the final four.
Then came news of Urban Meyer’s impending retirement.
Neither should come as a surprise, although the latter leaves a large hole in the fabric of NCAA football.
Like him or not, Meyer, 54, is a success story on the field, with an 82-9 record with the Buckeyes for the best winning percentage (90.1%) in school history.
All told during an FBS tour as head coach of, first, the Bowling Green State Falcons, second, the Utah Utes, then, the Florida Gators and, finally, the Buckeyes, he was 186-32 with three national championship crowns and seven conference titles.
An all-time great, to be sure, even though off-field controversy and health issues have affected him over the years.
In his place comes 39-year-old Ryan Day, a first-time NCAA head coach with three interim wins (against zero losses) under his belt when he filled in for a suspended Meyer to start this season.
Will he be another Lincoln Riley, who took over for Bob Stoops with the Oklahoma Sooners and has led them to consecutive final-four appearances?
Or will Day be a dud like many first-time sideline bosses?
With a stacked program like Ohio State, don’t bet on the latter.
The other recent head coaching hires are: Mel Tucker (Colorado Buffaloes), Georgia defensive co-ordinator; Mike Locksley (Maryland Terrapins), Alabama offensive co-ordinator; Will Healy (Charlotte 49ers), Austin Peay head coach; Scott Satterfield (Louisville Cardinals), Appalachian State head coach; Walt Bell (Massachusetts Minutemen) Florida State OC; Mike Houston (East Carolina Pirates), James Madison head coach; Jim McElwain (Central Michigan), former Florida head coach; Matt Wells (Texas Tech Red Raiders), Utah State head coach; Jake Spavital (Texas State Bobcats), West Virginia OC; Scot Loeffler (Bowling Green) Boston College OC; Mack Brown (North Carolina Tar Heels), former Texas head coach; Tyson Helton (Western Kentucky Hilltoppers), Tennessee OC; and Les Miles (Kansas Jayhawks), former LSU head coach.
Outside of Austin Peay, App State, James Madison and Utah State needing to replace those sideline bosses who left for supposed greener pastures, four programs currently have head coach vacancies: Kansas State after the legendary Bill Snyder, 79, retired; Akron (Terry Bowden, fired); Georgia Tech (Paul Johnson, retired); and Liberty (Turner Gill, retired).
Reason No. 7 to love NCAA football — the annual Army-Navy clash, which always stands proud on this particular Saturday not only as the only game on the schedule but because of the pomp and circumstance surrounding the heralded classic. It’s mighty emotional, to be sure. This year’s game between the service academy programs goes in Philadelphia (3 p.m. ET, CBS) … With a victory, Army (9-2) will post its second straight 10-win season, a first for the academy since 1946. A win over Navy (3-9) also gives Army a second consecutive Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy, the hardware up for grabs in head-to-head meetings between the two programs and the other service academy squad, Air Force … That all said, what happens if one of Army or Navy ever enter this weekend unbeaten? While current strength of schedule makes this a moot point — as has been the case with undefeated UCF these past two seasons — if the CFP selection committee’s ever in a position to include them in the playoff, would it have to postpone its annual selection show for a week? We would hope that wouldn’t be beneath the committee … Army will sport special ‘Big Red One’ uniforms for the classic. The black silks with red highlights are a nod to the First Infantry Division of the First World War and feature a few unique salutes on the cleats, jersey collars and helmet. That’s one classy outfit.
As expected, the three finalists for the Heisman Trophy are Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray and Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins, meaning a quarterback will capture the NCAA’s most outstanding player honour for the 16th time in the last 19 years … If Murray wins the Heisman, then Oklahoma becomes only the fourth school to have different back-to-back winners following Yale (Larry Kelley, 1936, and Clint Frank, ’37), Army (Doc Blanchard, ’45 and Glenn Davis, ’46) and USC (Matt Leinart, 2004, and Reggie Bush, ’05 (since vacated so it’s like it never happened?! Yeah, right.)). Ohio State’s legendary running back Archie Griffin also won it consecutive seasons (1974 and ’75), still the only man to complete that feat … Compare the stats, and we here at College Football Frenzy think Murray (4,053 passing yards, 892 rushing yards, 51 touchdowns and seven interceptions) totally deserves to win it over Tagovailoa (3,353 passing yards, 190 rushing yards, 42 TDs and four INTs) and Haskins (4,580 passing yards, 122 rushing yards, 51 TDs and eight INTs) … Murray did win the AP Player of the Year honour Thursday, soooooo … The Heisman announcement is Saturday (8 p.m. ET).
QB Drew Lock is graduating from Missouri, so QB Kelly Bryant is moving in to replace him. Remember, Bryant was last year’s starter for championship finalist Clemson and battled with star freshman Trevor Lawrence for the reins this season until he was named the backup in Week 5 before leaving the program. That makes Mizzou an instant contender, at least in the SEC East … Bowl season begins next Friday with the Division III Football Championship. One day later is the Division III finale and five FBS games beginning with the AutoNation Cure Bowl (1:30 p.m. ET) … A total of 40 tilts make up the FBS bowl season culminating with the College Football Playoff National Championship Game on Monday, Jan. 8 in Santa Clara, Calif. (8 p.m. ET).
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF RANKINGS
Rank (last week) Record
1. Alabama (1) 13-0
2. Clemson (2) 13-0
3. Notre Dame (3) 13-0
4. Oklahoma (5) 12-1
5. Georgia (4) 11-2
6. Ohio State (6) 12-1
7. UCF (8) 12-0
8. Michigan (7) 10-2
9. Washington (11) 10-3
10. Florida (9) 9-3
11. LSU (10) 9-3
12. Washington State (13) 10-2
13. Penn State (12) 9-3
14. Texas (14) 9-4
15. West Virginia (16) 8-3
16. Kentucky (15) 9-3
17. Syracuse (20) 9-3
18. Mississippi State (18) 8-4
19. Fresno State (25) 11-2
20. Utah (17) 9-4
21. Texas A&M (19) 8-4
22. Army (NR) 9-2
23. Boise State (22) 10-3
24. Missouri (25) 8-4
25. Iowa State (24) 8-4
NR — not ranked
GAME OF THE WEEK
(-7) ARMY vs. NAVY
Saturday, 3 p.m. ET, CBS, in Philadelphia
Game has been decided by seven points or less six of the last seven years. That’s all you need to know.
AGAINST THE SPREAD
Last week: 6-4; Season: 34-25-3 (.548)
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