North Texas is going to a bowl game for the first time in nine seasons and everyone associated with the program is giddy about it.
The Mean Green earned their sixth victory of the season with a late defensive stand to beat Rice 28-16 on Halloween night at Apogee Stadium. But the win didn't just clinch bowl eligibility. It also put the program in legitimate contention for the Conference USA West Division title and hopeful someone can knock off frontrunning Tulane.
How excited are they Denton, Texas? The game story from the official North Texas athletic department website used a rather large Victory-in-Europe kind of headline after the game making sure we all know the Mean Green can now be selected to play in one of the 35 bowls on the slate this year.
The last time the Mean Green played in a bowl it was in the Sun Belt Conference and lost to Southern Miss from Conference USA in the 2004 New Orleans Bowl. This season North Texas can count a conference win over Southern Miss among the victories that led to achieving bowl eligibility.
Iowa State will be without forward Melvin Ejim for at least the first month of the season after he suffered a hyperextended left knee and bone bruise during Wednesday's practice.
It's a huge loss for the Cyclones and will make getting off to a fast start much tougher for coach Fred Hoiberg. Ejim is a preseason All-Big 12 selection after leading the Big 12 in rebounding (9.3 per game) and double-doubles (15) last season.
The Cyclones play only five games in November, but two of them against BYU and Michigan would be a challenge even with Ejim on the floor. The 6-foot-6 senior is one of two returning starters with 93 starts under his belt.
UCLA could be woefully thin in the frontcourt to start the season after the school announced Monday that Travis Wear was being treated for appendicitis at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. It's unknown how much time Wear will miss.
With the start of the season just 10 days away, the Bruins have two healthy big men in David Wear and Tony Parker. Freshman Wanaah Bail is still recovering from knee surgery in late June to repair torn cartilage.
Travis Wear, a 6-foot-10 senior, was the Bruins third leading scorer (10.9 ppg) and second leading rebounder (5.2 rpg) last season. UCLA has two exhibition games scheduled over the next six days, which should give coach Steve Alford an opportunity to get a feel for how to deal with Wear's absence when the season begins Nov. 8.
The Bruins start the season with three home games over 10 days against Drexel, Oakland and Sacramento State.
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Senior forward Tarik Black and sophomore guard Andrew White III spent some time in the gym at Kansas recently attempting some trick shots. White decided to film Black trying a blind, one-handed, half-court attempt, and, of course, he drained it.
White was kind enough to post it on his Instagram account and share it with the world.
Creighton senior Doug McDermott already has accomplished a rarity before the college basketball season has started.
He was named Preseason Player of the Year by Big East Conference coaches. Few players throughout the years can boast of earning that honor in two different conferences in their careers. McDermott twice earned that designation while Creighton competed in the Missouri Valley.
McDermott, a two-time first-team All-American, decided to return for his senior season and the Blue Jays are predicted to finish third in the conference behind Marquette and Georgetown. Creighton even received one first-place vote in the coaches' poll.
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Oregon State coach Mike Riley is well ahead of some of his peers when it comes to using social media to communicate with recruits and fans.
It's no surprise really to anyone who has ever talked with the man. He's a communicator. The latest example came Tuesday morning when he used his Twitter account to invite recruits to tweet links to their film to OSU coaches using the hashtag #GoBeavs.
Riley promised to review film of 10 recruits each Tuesday, but he didn't get into specifics of how he and his assistants and recruiting staffers will select the 10 recruits to evaluate each week.
Undoubtedly, there will be some stories that come out of this of clever recruits finding ways to get Riley's attention, and you know a few years down the road Riley will have unearthed some gem with this approach.
It's a smart idea. Even with 10-man coaching staffs augmented by recruiting and player development staffers, coaches just simply don't have the ability to see everyone and worthy players get overlooked every year. But like every good idea in recruiting, before you know it, everyone else will be doing it.
Football officials probably don't get enough credit for managing to stay the heck out of the way the vast majority of the time while doing their jobs each week.
Referee Jeff Maconaghy joined the ranks of those unlucky few who do get caught up in the play Saturday while working Duke's 35-7 win over Navy.
And Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds showed no mercy, giving Maconaghy a stiff arm as he scrambled during one play in the first half. Maconaghy clearly has work to do on that backpedal. He lost his hat and took a tumble but dusted himself off.
University of Colorado fans still can't believe former coach Dan Hawkins overlooked Kenny Bell in the recruiting process, allowing him to escape to Nebraska where he's been killing Big Ten defenses for three years now.
Late in the third quarter against Illinois on Saturday, Bell provided a play-of-the-day kind of catch that will only have them fuming again back in Boulder, his hometown.
Bell went up high and stabbed a pass with one hand, split four defenders and galloped into the end zone where he was promptly flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct because of his celebration.
After making the sensational catch, which caused a member of the ESPN TV crew announcing the game to say 'Are you kidding me?', it might be hard for even Bo Pelini to get upset about a celebration penalty.
- Kyle Ringo at Dr. Saturday2 mths ago
Midway through the third quarter Saturday night with his team trailing by 10, BYU called on running back Jamaal Williams to pick up a fourth-and-1 in Utah territory.
Williams earned the first down but appeared to suffer a head or neck injury in the process while driving head first for the yardage he needed. The sophomore from Fontana, Calif., appeared to move his legs and body just as team athletic trainers came to his aid.
He was stabilized and immobilized before being taken from the field on a stretcher. The ESPN crew covering the game reported that Williams' mother reported her son was able to move all of his extremities and was being taken to a nearby hospital as a precaution.
BYU sophomore running back Jamaal Williams is being evaluated for spine & left shoulder injuries at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center.
— BYU Game Notes (@BYUGameNotes) September 22, 2013
- Kyle Ringo at Dr. Saturday2 mths ago
UCLA returned to the Rose Bowl on Saturday night against New Mexico State for the first time since wide receiver Nick Pasquale was hit by a car and killed on Sept 8. The Bruins lined up in a 10-man formation on their first offensive play to honor their fallen teammate.
UCLA players came to the game wearing T-shirts with Pasquale's No. 36 on them and the school provided fans with 40,000 blue towels with his jersey number on them.
The school also paid tribute to Pasquale with a moment of silence and byinviting his parents on to the field between the first and second quarters to be acknowledged by the Rose Bowl crowd and given a framed No. 36 jersey. Pasquale's jersey also will be painted on the field for the remainder of the season.