NCAA Football News: November 26, 2018
Outside of the Army-Navy game and a few makeup games next week, the college football regular season is officially over. It’s safe to say the season went out with a bang! Let’s check out the top headlines as we close out the regular season and look ahead to the conference championship games and bowl season.
If you went to bed a little early Saturday night, you missed a classic game between LSU and Texas A&M. The Tigers actually celebrated a win late in the 4th quarter (Gatorade bath for Ed Orgeron and all), only to a game-sealing interception overturned because the quarterback was ruled down. That allowed the Aggies to tie the game with a last-second touchdown. From there, all that happened was the two teams going to seven overtimes, tying the all-time record for an FBS game. When all was said and done, Texas A&M won 74-72.
Ain’t Got No Alibi
We know Michigan has had trouble beating Ohio State in recent years, but that was just ugly. What was arguably the best defensive team in the country gave up 62 points to the Buckeyes on Saturday. Not only was the defeat humiliating, but it cost the Wolverines a spot in the College Football Playoff, virtually negating the 10 straight wins they had rattled off since starting the season with a loss to Notre Dame.
Unfortunately for some coaches, the end of the regular season means the coaching carousel gets kicked into high gear. Let’s run down the coaches who have been let go following the end of the season.
Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury was one of the first to get the boot. The Red Raiders started the season 5-2, as Kingsbury appeared to have turned in his sixth season. However, Texas Tech lost their last five, to finish 5-7 and miss a bowl game for the third time in those six seasons.
Not surprisingly, North Carolina’s Larry Fedora was also fired on Sunday. In 2015, Fedora led the Tar Heels to an 11-3 record and an appearance in the ACC Championship Game. However, the Heels went 5-24 over the last two seasons, held back by injuries and a youthful team. Fedora got a tough deal in the end, but it’s tough to argue against 5-24.
In MAC land, Central Michigan’s John Bonamego was also fired over the weekend. He took the Chippewas to a bowl game in his first three seasons but going 1-11 and 0-8 in conference play this year turned out to be enough for him to lose his job.
Two seasons is all Mike Sanford Jr. got at Western Kentucky. The former Boise State and Notre Dame offensive coordinator was fired after the Hilltoppers went 3-9.
On a more positive note, a couple of coaches on the hot seat are being given more time. Despite USC missing a bowl game following Saturday’s loss to Notre Dame, the school announced that head coach Clay Helton would return for the 2019 season. Meanwhile, Illinois offered Lovie Smith an extension through the 2023 season. After this year’s 4-8 campaign, Smith is 9-27 in his three seasons at Illinois. But the school saw enough positives to let Smith stick around a few more years.
All Over But the Crying
After 36 straight years of going to a bowl game, the Florida State Seminoles will officially be staying home this bowl season. The Seminoles needed one more win to become bowl eligible heading into the final weekend but lost in lopsided fashion to in-state rival Florida 41-14. Under new coach Willie Taggart, FSU finished 5-7 and 3-5 in ACC play against a difficult schedule.
Meanwhile, the longest active bowl streak now belongs to Virginia Tech, who is also in danger of seeing their postseason run come to an end. The Hokies managed an overtime win against rival Virginia on Friday to get them to 5-6. They will now host Marshall this week in a game that they also need to win in order to keep their bowl streak alive.
Tough As Nails
We’ll close with Central Florida quarterback McKenzie Milton, who suffered a terrible injury during Friday’s win over South Florida. His family didn’t disclose the exact injury, only calling it “traumatic” and adding that there were “internal issues.” However, Milton did undergo successful surgery over the weekend. Needless to say, he won’t play in this week’s AAC Championship Game against Memphis. Darriel Mack will get the start as Central Florida tries to complete a second consecutive undefeated season.