Matt Pearce
NFP Fresh Voices

College football is arguably the most chaotic sport around. With upsets and crazy games each week, you never know what is coming next. This week, there was full blown chaos and that has nothing to do with major upsets.

Over the span of the last few days the following has occurred: three head coaches fired, one head coach retired, one athletic director resigned and one starting quarterback for a nationally ranked team was suspended for the season. Just your normal weekend in college football, right?

Let’s start at the beginning, when a report came out that the University of Maryland was going to fire head coach Randy Edsall after their game against Ohio State.

With a 22-34 career record for the Terrapins, he never found much success with the team, but the timing was strange nonetheless. Edsall was left hanging by the administration and coached what was a lame duck game against the number one team in the nation (Ohio State). The game was tied at 21 early in the third quarter before the Buckeyes pulled away, ending Edsall’s tenure.

What would have happening if he had pulled off the upset though, would he still have been fired? The timing was very strange in this case.

The second head coach to be fired this past weekend suffered a cruel fate as well. Dan McCarney’s North Texas squad was demolished 66-7 at home against Portland State, an FCS school, dropping them to 0-5.

If the loss wasn’t embarrassing enough, consider that the Mean Green paid the Vikings $425,000 to play the game. The North Texas athletic director was so embarrassed by the team’s performance that he fired McCarney right after the game was over in a press conference that occurred instead of normal postgame interviews with the team.

North Texas isn’t a team that is on the national radar and this isn’t what it wants to be in the news for.

Of course, the firing everyone knows about was Steve Sarkisian’s departure from Southern California.

After initially taking a leave of absence from the team, USC decided to fire their second-year head coach just one day later, as they further investigate the extent of his drinking habits. It has been reported that he was drunk on the sideline for the Arizona State game (USC still won 42-14) and had showed up to meetings not sober.

At this point, we can only hope that Sarkisian, who has entered rehab, is able to get the help he needs.

The head coach at USC is one of the most high-profile coaching jobs in the nation and has had its fair share of controversy over recent years, but nothing quite compares to this.

A team that has absolutely stunk it up so far this season is Central Florida, who sit at an ugly 0-6, just two years after winning the Fiesta Bowl. A record doesn’t always give justice to a team’s performance, but the Knights record does.

Feeling the pressure to win, head coach George O’Leary resigned from his position as interim athletic director to focus on his role as the head coach of the Knights.

Was his role as interim athletic director affecting O’Leary’s job as a head coach? Who knows. What we do know is that the Central Florida football team looks like a shell of its former shelf.

Staying in Florida, the state’s highest-ranked team suffered a major loss.

The University of Florida’s turnaround into a top-tier football program again is one of the best stories in college football so far and the team looked to have a clear path through the SEC East. However, they are going to have to finish the season––and start 2016––without starting quarterback Will Grier, who was suspended one year for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs.

Grier’s play under center is one of the main reasons the Gators have been playing so well.

No crazy college football talk would be complete without a suspension, right?

The craziest news of the past few days actually broke while I was already writing this article. South Carolina’s head coach Steve Spurrier, the Head Ball Coach himself, announced his retirement, effective immediately.

South Carolina is coming off a down 2014 season (7-6 record) and was on the same path this year (2-4 record), with three top-10 teams left on the schedule.

There had been talk that Spurrier might eventually step down due to the Gamecocks struggles and his age (70), but this move appeared suddenly.

The Head Ball Coach no doubt left his mark on the game. He retires with the 13th-most victories in college football history (228), but he will forever be known for his quirkiness that would have made him a legend even without him being an excellent coach.

I think I speak for everyone when I say there will never be another coach like Steve Spurrier.

Spurrier’s retirement is the perfect cap to an absolutely crazy weekend in college football that will almost certainly never be seen again.

Welcome to college football and don’t forget to embrace the craziness.

Matt Pearce is a graduate of National Football Post’s Introduction to Scouting and Scouting Boot Camp and is a journalism student at the University of Nebraska. Follow him on Twitter@Matt_Pearce13

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Greg Gabriel
The Director's Report


Five weeks into the NFL season and six weeks into the college season and we know one thing for sure, things aren’t going to be the way we thought they were. There are a number of different story lines that dominate college and NFL football and that’s what makes this season so interesting.

The Atlanta Falcons

Who would have thought that after five games, the Falcons would have a perfect 5-0 record. New Head Coach Dan Quinn has brought new life to the Falcons and they are playing with an enthusiasm that we haven’t seen in years.

The Atlanta resurgence has been led by quarterback Matt Ryan, wide receiver Julio Jones and running back Devonta Freeman. All are off to tremendous starts.

Three of the Falcons next four games are on the road but all four games are against teams with losing records. As well as the Falcons are playing, it’s possible they are 9-0 before they play another quality team.

The Detroit Lions

Many felt the Lions would challenge the Green Bay Packers for the NFC North title. That won’t happen, at least not in 2015. The Lions have yet to win a game. What has been troublesome is the offense. In the last four games the Lions have averaged just over 13 points a game. This is with a quarterback who is supposed to be one of the NFL’s elite according to many “experts”. That quarterback is Matthew Stafford and he got benched Sunday for his poor play. If his poor play continues, it remains to be seen if backup Dan Orlovsky will take over.

CBS Sports Adam Schein tweeted Sunday “The Detroit Lions…rebuilding since 1957…”. If the Lions don’t make some top to bottom changes soon, they may still be rebuilding in 2027.

The Cincinnati Bengals

Right now the Bengals are the class of the AFC North with a perfect 5-0. This includes an outstanding come from behind victory over last year’s NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.

Quarterback Andy Dalton is off to his best start ever, passing for over 1500 yards and 11 touchdowns in the five victories. Another player off to an outstanding start is third year tight end Tyler Eifert. Eifert was bothered by injuries in each of his first two seasons, but to date this season he has 24 receptions for 312 yards and five touchdowns.

Dalton has taken a lot of heat in the past because he hasn’t performed in the playoffs, but if he continues to play the way he has this season he will be looked upon as one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL.

Jay Cutler

Over the past few years, Jay Cutler has taken a lot of abuse from fans and analysts nationwide. Some has been deserved, some underserved. In 2015 we have seen a “new” Jay Cutler emerge. Gone is the moody player who wore his emotions on his shoulder. What we have seen this year is a much more relaxed player who has also taken on a new leadership role. He has also played his best football since becoming a Chicago Bear in 2009.

In the last two weeks, playing without his top receivers, he has led the Bears to two straight victories and this is while playing with a severely pulled hamstring. His stats over the last two games are 54 completions in 88 attempts for 533 yards, four touchdowns and only one interception.

For those who thought that Jay Cutler was going to be one-and-done under new Head Coach John Fox, you can forget about that. Cutler will be in Chicago for a while. Fox and Cutler have built a strong relationship and that is the reason for Cutlers improved play.

Tom Brady

If the original “deflategate” suspension was upheld, Tom Brady would not have played in New England’s first four games and it’s highly likely that the Pats wouldn’t be 4-0.

When the suspension was overturned, Brady went on a mission to prove he may be one of the best quarterbacks of all time. In his first four games this year, Brady has thrown for 1387 yards and 11 touchdowns with no interceptions. His quarterback rating is a whopping 121.5.

Next up for the Pats is a game against the “deflategate” whistle blower Indianapolis Colts. If Brady keeps playing the way he has, this game could be the best game of his 16 year NFL career. Payback’s a bitch!


USC was supposed to be one of the favorites to win the PAC 12 this season. Instead they are off to a disappointing 3-2 start with both losses coming in conference play. Sunday, Head Coach Steve Sarkisian was placed on leave due to off field issues related to alcohol. Late Monday afternoon, USC fired Sarkisian and a search for a permanent replacement will begin shortly.

Following reports in both Los Angeles and Seattle papers, Athletic Director Pat Haden could also be in trouble. The papers brought up several instances of high alcohol consumption by Sarkisian documented with receipts. With receipts in hand, many are now questioning Haden’s vetting process when he hired Sarkisian.

This could get ugly before it’s over but one thing is clear and that is the reputation of one of the great football programs if all time is in serious danger.

Jared Goff

About 10 days ago, I wrote my early scouting report on Cal junior quarterback Jared Goff. I pointed out that while Goff is talented, he isn’t ready to make the jump to the NFL. He needs another year of college football.

Of course I was bombarded by Goff and Cal fans as well as by some of the draft media who disagreed with my opinion. Saturday night in front of a national television audience Goff bombed in a loss at Utah. Goff completed 25 of 47 throws for 340 yards, two touchdowns and five interceptions. In the second half he lost his composure and his accuracy especially on longer throws, he was way off.

In my report I stated that in the early season Goff had not played a top defense and that we would see what his real talent is in games versus Utah, UCLA, USC and Stanford. With the Utah game behind us, Goff has the other three games to redeem himself in the eyes of NFL evaluators. As for me, I will stick to my original opinion. He needs another year of college and he will be much better off if he uses that year. His college playing experience will be invaluable to him when it comes time to make the jump to the NFL.

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Dave Miller
College Football Report

Steve Spurrier is hanging up his visor.

The Head Ball Coach is walking away from South Carolina, according to a report from Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated. Co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Shawn Elliott is expected to be named interim head coach on Tuesday.

The 70-year-old Spurrier is in midst of his 11th season with the Gamecocks. After a brief stint in the NFL, Spurrier returned to college football and built South Carolina into an SEC contender, culminating in three straight 11-win seasons from 2011 to 2013. But the team won just seven games last season and sits at 2-4 this fall, with all four losses coming against SEC foes. Spurrier has never had a losing season as South Carolina’s leader, and the team was bowl-eligible in his first 10 seasons.

Spurrier won the 1996 national championship and six SEC titles at Florida, where he coached for 12 seasons. The former quarterback played his college football in Gainesville from 1963 to 1966 and won the Heisman Trophy for his play in his final season.

He began his coaching career with the Gators in 1978 as the quarterbacks coach and served in the same role at Georgia Tech the next year before becoming Duke’s offensive coordinator in 1980. After becoming the youngest coach in professional football when he took over the USFL’s Tampa Bay Bandits, he came back to Duke for his first head-coaching job in college football in 1987. He was named the ACC coach of the year twice while in Durham, and he left the school with a 20-13-1 mark. After a 122-27-1 record with the Gators, Spurrier resigned and took the head gig with the Washington Redskins.

Spurrier has a combined record of 228-89-2 at Duke, Florida and South Carolina. He is the Gamecocks’ all-time winningest coach with 86 victories.

It’s safe to say that college football won’t be the same without Spurrier.

Dave Miller, the college football editor for the National Football Post, is on Twitter @Miller_Dave.

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Dave Miller
College Football Report

USC has fired head coach Steve Sarkisian.

One day after placing him on an indefinite leave of absence, athletic director Pat Haden terminated the contract of the head coach effective immediately. Clay Helton will continue as the interim head coach.

The following is a statement from Haden:

“After careful consideration of what is in the best interest of the university and our student-athletes, I have made the decision to terminate Steve Sarkisian, effective immediately.

“I want to thank Clay Helton for stepping into the interim head coach role, and I want to add how proud I am of our coaching staff and players and the way they are responding to this difficult situation.

“Through all of this we remain concerned for Steve and hope that it will give him the opportunity to focus on his personal well being.”

Sarkisian went 12-6 in less than two seasons as head coach. The Trojans went 9-4 last season and started 3-2 this year.

The question now is whether or not Haden will be around to pick the next permanent head man at ‘SC.

Dave Miller, the college football editor for the National Football Post, is on Twitter @Miller_Dave.

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Dave Miller
College Football Report

Florida quarterback Will Grier has been suspended for the rest of the season for violating NCAA rules.

The Gator tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. The positive test has an automatic suspension of one calendar year from the NCAA, which would mean he would not be eligible to return until Florida’s seventh game of the 2016 season. The test was the result of something the signal-caller took over the counter that he did not get approved by Florida trainers, according to Grier at Monday’s news conference. The school plans to appeal the suspension.

The Davidson, N.C., native has thrown for 1,204 yards and 10 touchdowns against just three interceptions this fall. Florida travels to LSU for a showdown of unbeatens on Saturday.

Grier became the first Florida quarterback since Tim Tebow in 2009 to pass for more than 200 yards in three consecutive games, and his completion percentage (65.8) ranks first in the SEC.

With Grier out, sophomore Treon Harris will likely start for head coach Jim McElwain’s team. He started the season opener before giving way to Grier, but he was also suspended earlier this season for an undisclosed violation of team rules. Harris has appeared in two games this season and thrown for 269 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.

Dave Miller, the college football editor for the National Football Post, is on Twitter @Miller_Dave.

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