Each week during the off-season we will be doing this feature that is simply 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 are also mid-way through our Pre-Season Previews and we currently have 60 FBS previews up on the site. This week we previewed Indiana, Iowa, Ole Miss, Rutgers, and Washington . Next week we will have Iowa State, Kentucky, Nevada, Northern Illinois, Tennessee and UConn among the teams that we will preview. Last week in this column we discussed Russell Wilson, UCF and Oregon. This week was just as busy so let’s talk some college football:
NCAA Accepts West Virginia’s Self-Sanctions
The NCAA announced on Friday that they have accepted the self-sanctions that West Virginia had imposed for violations that occurred under the watch of Rich Rodriguez and Bill Stewart. The probation includes a loss of a total of three scholarships (a lot of schools are seeing that type of attrition every off-season anyway), staff reductions and recruiting restrictions. It’s been a rocky off-season in West Virginia so far this year and I’m sure they are ready to get going under Dana Holgerson and put it behind them. I think this looks worse for Rich Rodriguez than it does for West Virginia because this is the second straight school that RichRod has left in a bind with the NCAA. Earlier this summer I speculated that RichRod would be the man who would step in at Clemson if Dabo Swinney was unable to fulfill his duties but it’s looking more and more like it would be a tough sell to the University with his recent track record despite Clemson fans still seeing him in a positive light because of his run as OC at the school.
Ohio State Self
This week the Ohio State University announced their response to the NCAA violations to which they’ve been accused. What it seems to amount to is that Ohio State will vacate all of their wins from last season (which means absolutely nothing in my opinion) and place themselves on two-year probation. In the originial article from the Columbus Dispatch it doesn’t list what the probation entails. What it does do is point to Jim Tressel as the lone gunman. Personally, I think this is a long way from over for the Buckeyes. Yes, they got rid of Tressel but it was pretty much only after they had to part with him. The other scapegoat, Terrelle Pryor, is gone as well. I hate to single out Ohio State because I’m pretty sure stuff like this (maybe not in this degree) is happening at many other schools but I think the problem is deeper than just one coach or one player. Ohio State has outlined steps it will take to improve compliance and I’m sure that will help in the short-term. While I do believe that the NCAA will add to these “self” penalties I don’t necessarily think that Ohio State had to throw themselves under the bus and they certaintely didn’t with these penalties. I think it’s a good decision to give yourself light penalties and then wait for the NCAA to make a decision on the tougher ones. Look for more out of this, maybe some scholarship reductions and a season or two bowl ban. Personally, I think Ohio State needs to clean house in the Athletic Department but that’s just me.
Janzen Jackson Is Back
Finally we get to some “good” news instead of talking about NCAA violations. Earlier this off-season we discussed Janzen Jackson withdrawing from Tennessee. On Wed, he enrolled in the second session of summer classes and looks like he will be ready to go for the season. This is great news for Tennessee because he is without a doubt their best defensive player and possibly their best player on the team. This doesn’t push Tennessee up into the top three of the SEC East just yet but it is a major relief for the Vols and a source of heart-burn for some of their SEC foes.
Dee Hart Suffers ACL Injury
The rumors started to hit on Twitter on Tuesday evening that incoming Alabama Freshman (an early enrollee this spring) RB Dee Hart injured his knee on 7 on 7 drills. Unfortunately, this was confirmed and Hart has since had surgery on the knee. It looks like that will definitely put Hart on the red-shirt list this year as his recovery is listed between seven and ten months. Bama has a strong one-two punch in Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy but outside of those two the Tide is looking very thin at the RB position. Hart was pushing for playing time and had already passed more veteran players on the roster. Another possible issue for Bama is with incoming freshman Brent Calloway. Calloway is having some issues because of a summer class that he took and he is having to take another class in it’s place. He says he will be ready by August.
-Twenty-two year old Purdue RB Brian Matti was found dead in Lake Freeman on Tuesday morning after going missing on Sunday night. We send our best wishes to the Matti and Purdue families.
-Last Sunday morning the mother of Auburn recruit Quan Bray was shot and killed by his father Jeff Jones, whom Tonja Bray had an 18 year relationship with. We hope the best for Quan as this is just a horrible, horrible situation.
– Oklahoma’s Jamell Fleming has been reinstated to the Sooners football team. He was a first-team AP All-Big 12 selection and was 3rd team on Phil Steele’s Post-season Big 12 team. Regardless of where you had him finishing last year this is a big return for OU.
– The latest chapter of the Tate Forcier saga has him visiting Hawaii. Tate has named Hawaii, San Jose State and Nevada as his finalists. “Hawaii will be my first official visit. It might be my last” is what Tate told the Honolulu Star Advertiser. Sounds like he might be leaning towards the islands, doesn’t it?