Michigan State's Mark Dantonio announced Tuesday that he's stepping down from his role as the Spartans' head coach.
Dantonio coached Michigan State for 13 seasons, leading the program to three Big Ten championships, a Rose Bowl victory and a College Football Playoff berth. He won more games than any coach in program history. His last few years have been marked by controversy.
"After much reflection and discussion with my family, I feel that it is now time for a change as we enter into a new decade of Michigan State Football," Dantonio said in a statement. "...I will miss it all but feel the sacrifices that I have made away from my family must now become my priority at this time in my life."
Dantonio -- along with Michigan State's athletic director and university president -- said he expected to stay with the team at the conclusion of the 2019 football season. He collected a $4.3 million retention bonus in the middle of January.
Defensive coordinator Mike Tressel has been named the Spartans' acting head coach as the school searches for a permanent replacement.
Dantonio's retirement announcement came one day after his former recruiting director, Curtis Blackwell, filed claims that Dantonio committed NCAA recruiting violations as part of an ongoing lawsuit. The new filing alleges that Dantonio helped arrange employment for the parents of two high-profile recruits. Blackwell also says that Dantonio took him on recruiting trips to a high-profile recruit's home, which is an NCAA violation.
Blackwell claimed in earlier filings for the same lawsuit that Dantonio ignored warning signs from his assistants in order to bring another recruit with a history of sexual violence to campus. That player, former defensive end Auston Robertson, was charged with sexually assaulting a teammate's girlfriend less than a year after he arrived on campus and is serving time in state prison.
Robertson was one of four members from Dantonio's 2016 recruiting class who was kicked off the team following charges of sexual assault. Three others -- Donnie Corley, Josh King and Demetric Vance -- pleaded to lesser charges after prosecutors said they assaulted a woman at a party in January 2017.
Dantonio has declined to answer any questions about the vetting process that let Robertson come to campus.
Dantonio said in his announcement Tuesday that he plans to continue to work with the athletic department at Michigan State in a "special projects" role that will help incoming and current players transition to their next challenges.
Former Penn State football player Isaiah Humphries filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against the university, coach James Franklin and former teammate Damion Barber.
The suit alleges that Humphries was subject to hazing brought on by Barber, linebacker Micah Parsons, defensive lineman Yetur Gross-Matos and linebacker Jesse Luketa and that the coaching staff was aware of the hazing and did not protect Humphries.
The allegations include instances when the named players collectively orchestrated, directed and facilitated a campaign to harass and haze underclassmen on the Penn State football team. The hazing alleged in the suit includes the participants stating that they intended to make the underclassmen "their b---- because this is a prison."
The participants allegedly referenced former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky -- who is serving a 30- to 60-year prison term for sexually abusing children -- by saying, "I am going to Sandusky you."
The actions included wrestling underclassmen to the ground while maintaining restraint, simulating a "humping" action; wrestling underclassmen to the ground while another participant placed his genitals on the face of underclassmen; and instances of the participants placing their genitals on the buttocks of the alleged victims and stroking their genitalia.
Penn State released a statement later Tuesday, making note of its own investigation into the matter and emphasizing that charges were not filed.
"The university has established processes in place for responding to claims of potential misconduct. In accordance with our processes, the Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response and the Office of Student Conduct carried out investigations of the plaintiff's claims independent from Intercollegiate Athletics," the school said. "In addition, Penn State police investigated related allegations and forwarded the results of that investigation to the Office of the Centre County District Attorney. The DA reviewed the case and decided that no charges would be pursued."
Humphries is being represented by Philadelphia attorney Steven Marino, who says the incident is not isolated to just his client.
"Isaiah attended the school during the calendar year of 2018. He leaves Penn State to another school where he's offered a scholarship in December 2018," Marino said. "The events that arise to an investigation conducted by Penn State's office of sexual misconduct and response, that doesn't arise until May 2019. That investigation was triggered by an anonymous tip and the source of that tip was not my client."
The results of the investigation were then submitted to the Penn State University office of student conduct, according to the lawsuit, and the office of student conduct prosecuted charges lodged against Barber. It is not clear, however, what specific student conduct rule violation he was charged with.
Barber was suspended for the first game of the season, against Idaho, for what was termed at the time of the suspension as a violation of team rules, but he played in the second game, against Buffalo.
Marino says the father of his client, Leonard Humphries, notified the Penn State coaches of the hazing and that no action was taken at the time of those complaints. Leonard Humphries is a former Penn State football player and was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in 1992.
"This is a family with a football pedigree," Marino said. "The father knows the coaches and told them what was happening to his son as it was reported to him by his son. No affirmative action was taken to protect this student-athlete at that time."
The lawsuit goes on to allege that the coaching staff knew about the hazing and on multiple occasions "observed the harassment and hazing which the plaintiff and other lower classmen were being subjected to in the football locker room."
Humphries is alleging that the coaching staff overly and unfairly scrutinized his athletic performance after he reported the harassment and that he was scorned and punished by the staff.
Humphries left Penn State in 2018 and enrolled at Cal, where he is now a part of the Bears football program.
We are finally here. Next week Monday marks the end of the college football season. Led by their Heisman trophy winning QB, Joe Burrows, the LSU Tigers have looked like the team of destiny, steamrolling their way through an extremely difficult schedule, including absolutely destroying Oklahoma in the CFP Semi-Finals.
Meanwhile, their opponents, the Clemson Tigers, haven't lost a single football game since January 1, 2018, when they lost to Alabama in the CFP Semi-Finals. Their QB, Trevor Lawrence, has never lost a college football game. Clemson has been accused of playing a weak schedule...and it's a fair complaint. Clemson's regular season didn't challenge them at all, except for one hiccup against North Carolina. However, Clemson came through when it mattered, beating the team that I thought was the best team in the country, the Ohio State Buckeyes, in their Semi-Final game.
LSU has played 2nd fiddle to Alabama in the SEC West for years, and finally slew the crimson beast. Clemson is playing in its 5 consecutive CFP, and its 4th CFP Championship game, having won 2 of their first 3...
From ESPN ~
Ohio State coach Ryan Day did not blame several controversial replay calls that went against his team in a 29-23 loss to Clemson on Saturday in the College Football Playoff semifinals at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl.
But he was not happy about those decisions, either.
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith was clearly upset, but he declined to comment on specific calls when asked by ESPN.
Two notable calls stood out: a targeting call on cornerback Shaun Wade that was made in the replay booth in the first half, and an Ohio State scoop-and-score fumble that was overturned in the booth in the third quarter.
"We played hard, we played bold, but certainly were a lot of plays in that game that didn't go our way and [are] very hard to swallow right now," Day said. "Gonna have to really take a look at the film and figure out what really happened on some of those plays. Because in a game like this, where the margin of error is so tiny, one play can alter the game, and didn't seem like we got any of those plays."
On the targeting play, Wade appeared to lower his helmet and hit Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence with the crown of the helmet in the second quarter. The officials didn't call targeting on the field, but the replay booth decided to review the play and determined that targeting had occurred. Wade was ejected from the game.
Referee Kevin Williamson stood behind the call, telling a pool reporter, "This was a crown-of-the-helmet targeting foul. Initial contact was with the crown of the helmet. Then he wrapped up for the tackle. So at that point, targeting was properly called."
But the play happened on third down, when Clemson would have been forced to punt. Instead, Ohio State was penalized 15 yards and Clemson got a first down. Two plays later, Lawrence threw deep for Justyn Ross and Ohio State cornerback Amir Riep was flagged for a pass interference. Clemson scored three plays later to close the gap to 16-7.
Wade was not made available for comment after the game.
"It's tough," Ohio State safety Jordan Fuller said. "Especially because it was on third down and we were about to get off the field, and they get a first down off that and they get a PI right after. Just completely shifted momentum at that point."
Clemson went on to score 21 straight points after the targeting call to take its first lead of the game. Then in the third quarter, with the Buckeyes down 21-16, momentum appeared to shift back to Ohio State. Lawrence threw for Ross, and Jeff Okudah appeared to force a fumble. Fuller scooped it up and scored a touchdown. But replay officials overturned the call, taking the touchdown off the board.
An SEC officiating crew worked the game.
Williams also stood behind the overturned fumble, saying, "After the video, instant replay in the stadium as well as back at the video center, they both looked at it slow and fast and they determined when he moved, the ball was becoming loose in his hands and he did not complete the process of the catch."
That was little consolation to Day.
"I'm probably too emotional to really talk about those, but we'll have to look at the film and see what that was," Day said. "I know there were some plays that were called on the field and were overturned, and when they overturn it, there has to be indisputable evidence if that's what they deemed it was. It's going to be something we're gonna have to take a look at.
"The thing about those plays are, certainly the catch that was returned for a touchdown was such a huge play in the game. ... Not crying about it, but at the same time those were big plays that didn't go our way, and [there are] a range of emotions about that."
Fuller said he looked up at the video board during the replay review and thought Ross fumbled.
"I'm not paid to be a ref, but it looked like he caught it to me, but I'm not paid to do that, I'm not even paid to play yet," Fuller said.
Asked whether he was surprised the play got overturned, Fuller said no.
"I wasn't really stunned. Just the way the game was going, it felt like momentum," Fuller said.
Despite what Ohio State perceived to be questionable calls, the Buckeyes had one final chance to win, driving to the Clemson 23 with 43 seconds remaining. Justin Fields threw into the end zone, but a miscommunication with receiver Chris Olave led to Nolan Turner's game-sealing interception.
"It was my fault," Olave said. "I was supposed to run a post, but I thought he was scrambling, so I tried to work the second part of the route, but it ended up he wasn't scrambling. He trusted me to run that post, and I didn't, so it's a mistake on me.
"It's the worst feeling in the world. Being the target on the last play and having it being a pick is tough. I feel like I let the seniors down and my team down."
There were plenty of other missed opportunities, too. In three trips to the red zone in the first half, Ohio State settled for three field goals. J.K. Dobbins dropped a pass that would almost certainly have led to a touchdown. Ohio State was called for roughing the kicker on a punt, leading to another Clemson score. On one of the red zone trips that ended with a field goal, Ohio State had a Dobbins touchdown catch called on the field overturned by replay, which showed he trapped the ball on the ground.
"I just know when two great teams get together, it comes down to a few plays," Day said. "It did again tonight. This was a very strange game. I thought our guys played really well. They have a really good team, and they're the defending national champs. But I'm very, very disappointed we weren't able to win this game."
Did ESPN get it right? Any changes you would make to either the 1st team or 2nd team?
Legendary Iowa Head Coach Hayden Fry has passed away at age 90. He spent 20 years coaching the Hawkeyes, and guided them to 14 bowl appearances, 10 AP top 10 finishes, 3 Rose Bowls and 3 B1G titles.
Hayden Fry also created one of the most significant coaching trees you will ever see.
Obviously, there is Kirk Ferentz, who took over for Fry in 1998 after being a long time assistant to him, but other members of that coaching tree include all three Stoops brothers (Bob, Mike and Mark), Barry Alvarez, Bill Snyder, Bret Bielema and Bo Pelini.
When it comes to B1G coaches, the names that usually come up first are Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler...but Hayden Fry built his own B1G legacy in the cornfields, and his impact on college football was huge.
As you may have heard, LSU QB Joe Burrows won the Heisman this weekend. What you may not have seen, was just how big of a blowout it was. Joe Burrows received a total of 2,608 votes, between 1st, 2nd and 3rd. By comparison, the 2nd place finisher, Jalen Hurts, only received 762 total votes. Chase Young got 747, and 4th place finisher, Justin Fields, got 643. Now, for those of you who math, Joe Burrows received 456 more votes than the other three candidates...combined.
The other major college award winners:
The Division II Playoff saw a major upset happen this saturday, as last year's runner up, and current #1 ranked and unbeaten Ferris State Bulldogs were defeated at home, by the University of West Florida. Well, check that. West Florida didn't have much to do with it, Ferris State channeled their inner Detroit Lions, and somehow found a way snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory. Ferris State had control of this game midway through the 3rd quarter, and then all hell broke loose. 4 of their final 5 drives in the game ended with a lost fumble, and the Ferris State Bulldogs committed 6 turnovers total.
Word around Ann Arbor is that unlike the past few years, Michigan is expecting to field a complete team against Alabama in the Citrus Bowl. That is, as of now, no Michigan players have expressed an intent to sit out the bowl game to start preparing for the draft. Stud Alabama WR Jerry Jeudy, who is likely going to be the #1 WR taken in the draft, has also announced his intention to play in the bowl game.
Also, as a reminder: Bowl games officially start this Friday, and the first two bowl games featuring at least 1 top 25 team are this saturday night, with #19 Boise State taking on the Washington Huskies in the Camellia Bowl, and #20 Appalachian State taking on the University of Alabama-Birmingham in the Las Vegas Bowl.
The Heisman Trophy Presentation Ceremony is this Saturday night. The four finalists are LSU QB Joe Burrows, Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts, Ohio State QB Justin Fields and Ohio State DE Chase Young. (Kinda surprised OU QB Jalen Hurts wasn't a finalist, but that's neither here nor there to this discussion). It is widely expected that Joe Burrows will walk away with the trophy, although, in my opinion, a strong case could be made for the other candidates too.
And that brings me to the real topic of this post: What was the single most OBVIOUS choice the Heisman committee has ever had to make, and what was the single biggest screw-up, where they clearly voted for the wrong player?
This topic has NOTHING to do with their NFL career. Whether a Heisman winner went on to become an NFL Hall of Fame player or a complete bust is irrelevant, this is based solely on their collegiate careers...
EASIEST HEISMAN VOTE EVER:
Barry Sanders, 1988. I am not going to go into the details, you know them. Barry's Junior year at Oklahoma State is already the stuff of legend, it's generally considered the single greatest individual performance in the history of the game...No offense to Rodney Peete (USC) Troy Aikman (UCLA) or Steve Walsh (The U), but you guys knew when you flew to New York that you were just there as window dressing.
WORST HEISMAN EVER.
I am still bewildered by this. I have sometimes complained about Drew Brees losing the Heisman to Chris Weinke in 2000, but the truth is, for as much as I think the voters got that wrong, they really outdid themselves the following year. The 2001 Heisman Trophy was won by arguably the single least deserving player ever, Nebraska QB Eric Crouch.
What makes him such a terrible choice? Let's have a look at his stats, compared to one of the other Heisman finalists that year. because Crouch is a dual threat/option type QB, I went with the total yards from scrimmage, so that his rushing and passing stats would be counted equally. Since the QBs listed are completely different styles, I thought it best to compare their TOTAL offensive contribution, not just from one category.
From Scrimmage: 2,688 total Yds, 26 TDs, 10 INTs.
From Scrimmage: 4,906 total Yds, 51 TDs, 9 INTs.
So, David Carr produced 2,218 more yards of offense, 25 more TDs, and less INTs than Crouch, and Crouch won the Heisman over him? WHAT THE HELL.
Those are my choices, what are yours?
1 LSU 13-0
2 Ohio State 13-0
3 Clemson 13-0
4 Oklahoma 12-1
5 Georgia 11-2
6 Oregon 11-2
7 Baylor 11-2
8 Wisconsin 10-3
9 Florida 10-2
10 Penn State 10-2
11 Utah 11-2
12 Auburn 9-3
13 Alabama 10-2
14 Michigan 9-3
15 Notre Dame 10-2
16 Iowa 9-3
17 Memphis 12-1
18 Minnesota 10-2
19 Boise State 12-1
20 Appalachian State 12-1
21 Cincinnati 10-3
22 USC 8-4
23 Navy 9-2
24 Virginia 9-4
25 Oklahoma State 8-4
Honestly? What the hell is Alabama doing ranked all the way down at #13? At a neutral site, would ANY of the following teams ranked above them be favored to win, Tua or not?
Utah, Penn State, Florida, Wisconsin, Baylor, Oregon, Georgia
I could understand the argument that most of those teams were at least in their conference championship games...but Penn State wasn't. Florida wasn't. Would you bet on either 10-2 Florida or Penn State over Alabama? We have made fun of Alabama's schedule, and I am sure that had something to do with their ranking...but ask yourself: Do you REALLY believe they are only the 13th best team in college football?