Each week during the off-season we will be doing this feature that will simply be called "This Week In College Football". We will cover the biggest news and stories of the past week and give some opinions and analysis. In addition to covering the weekly happenings we also have started our Pre-Season Previews and we have several up already.
The five three most read so far are Central Michigan, Troy, Houston, Wyoming and FAU. There was a lot going on this week so let's go ahead and get right to what happened this week in college football:
ANOTHER UNTIMELY DEATH ROCKS THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL WORLD
It was just two weeks ago when the Alabama Crimson Tide and the sports world lost OL Aaron Douglas. Now it's the Oklahoma Sooners and the college football world that are mourning the loss of rising senior Austin Box. Box was a young man who was the starting MLB at Oklahoma, had just graduated and seemed to have his whole life in front of him. An autopsy is still to be done but an overdose on pain pills is what most are pointing to as the cause. This is a horrible tragedy. The only thing I will add is that college football coaches need to get their players together and have a serious discussion about the use of drugs (legal and illegal) and how they can affect them. This is a very serious issue and it is the coaches and administrators responsibility to step in and help to educate these young men before we see more of this happening.
BOBBY PETRINO KICKS PLAYERS TO THE CURB AND SIGNS A CONTRACT EXTENSION
Alright Arkansas fans, it's time to talk Petrino. In case you don't remember I'm an Atlanta Falcons fan that for some reason still believes that Petrino left the Falcons the wrong way (you know the whole tell your owner you are in it for the long run then bolt town during the season in the middle of the night without telling your players or coaches you are taking another job). It was a big week for Petrino. Petrino is an open-proponent of over-signing, which as you should know is signing more players than you have room for. Petrino gets his class down to the NCAA limits by using spring evaluations to decide who gets their scholarships renewed and who gets to look for a new home to play college football.
Recently WR Lance Ray, K Eddie Camara, LB Austin Moss, TE Ryan Calendar, and OL Cam Feldt have all been "granted their release" from the Arkansas program. Petrino says that oversigning is fine as long as coaches are forth-right about it. Hmmmm...Bobby Petrino being forth-right about something. I'd peg that at about 50%. In his defense he says "I don't see it as a bad thing unless you're being dishonest or waiting until the last minute, which eliminates their visit opportunities with other schools." The main question I have is when are the players told about the evaluations? Is it during the initial recruiting practice before they are on campus or after they get on campus and have been in the program? That's a huge difference to me. If Petrino is going to run his program like this then he must be up front with the recruits before he brings them in. Another point is that if all coaches ran their programs like Petrino and oversigned then their wouldn't be anywhere for them to go after they were released. Petrino is taking advantage of a flawed system and that needs to be fixed by the NCAA.
To be fair and equal about Petrino, since I know I will get some love mail from the razorback faithful, here is another view of the razorbacks "oversigning" from a pro-Arkansas source.
Petrino was also in the news this week for signing a seven year contract extension. While I don't agree with the way that Petrino left the Falcons I do agree that it was the right decision. I just feel like he should have been a man about it and told the owner, coaches and players to their faces the decision he was making and why it was the right decision for him and for everybody else instead of slithering off in the middle of the night like a thief fleeing town. Petrino has been successful so far in Arkansas and I don't see why that should not continue in the near future. The terms of the new contract are very interesting. There is a very large buy-out that works both ways. If the Razorbacks were to fire Petrino or if he were to leave the buy-out is over $10 million from 2011 to 2015. It lowers in the final two years of his contract. Arkansas knew what they were getting when they went after Petrino. They got a really good college football coach that likes to change jobs every couple of years. But I actually think this was probably called for more by Petrino. It seems like Petrino has found a home with the hogs and this is more of a PR move to tell folks that he is not going anywhere. Regardless of whose decision it was Arkansas looks like they will be a player in the SEC West for some time under Petrino.
UNC'S QUINTON COPLES UNDER INVESTIGATION
What is that saying, those that don't study history are doomed to repeat it? Looks like that could be a problem for UNC this year. UNC was decimated, and when I say decimated, I mean absolutely destroyed by NCAA suspensions last year due to violations. So what happens this year? Quinton Coples is under investigation for doing something very similar to what happened to some of his teammates last year. This is frustrating for me as non-UNC fan so it's got to be incredibly frustrating for the UNC staff and fans. While I don't agree with every rule that the NCAA has the players have to be smarter about following the rules that they absolutely know will get them in hot water. Coples apparentlly attended the draft party of Marvin Austin and Robert Quinn and photos showed up on Facebook and EliteDCMag.com. Additionally, a known "runner" showed up in a picture. The NCAA know wants to know if Coples received any freebies on this trip. Coples is critical to the UNC DL this year. Let's hope he didn't take any freebies cause they really need him on the football field.
AUBURN WITH MORE OFF-FIELD ISSUES
Auburn continues it's quest to follow up an on-field National Title with an off-field Fulmer Cup. The latest victim this week was RB Onterio McCalebb as he was arrested last week in Atlanta. He was driving an unregistered vehicle with no license plate or registration tag. He also didn't have his drivers license. Not exactly armed robbery but with all of the suspicision around the Auburn program what is he doing driving a car that has no tags, plate or registration? Makes you go hmmmm.....
Former Missouri QB Tyler Gabbert is actively looking for a landing spot. His first visit was to Louisville but apparently he has a lot of others slotted for the near future. This should be an interesting watch.
Speaking of transfers how about the sudden transfer of Storm Johnson from the Miami program? The Miami backfield is pretty crowded but this was definitely an unexpected move. Apparently he wants to be closer to home (which is in Georgia). Should be interesting to see where he lands.
Georgia and Clemson will renew their rivalry. Georgia will host Clemson to open the season in 2013 and Clemson will return the favor in 2014. This series is good for college football and hopefully they will play more than just twice in the next ten years.
Big Ten officials are discussing a plan that would pay players additional living expenses on top of their scholarships. Yes, please!
The man who hired Ron Zook at Illinois, AD Ron Guenther will be retiring at the end of June. Could this be the end of the Zooker run at Illinois? Just win baby.
Ole Miss dismissed Delvin Jones and Clarence Jackson from the team after they were arrested for public intoxication. Jackson was a sophomore who was listed as a starting LB after spring practice, while Jones was a 4th teamer. Has Nutt lost the team?
Former Florida Gators WR Chris Dunkley has decided to transfer to South Florida. He's a former five-star recruit who red-shirted last year and he'll have to sit out again this year due to his transfer.