December 21, 2009
Making the morning rounds.
• Buffalo has filled its coaching vacancy with Cincinnati offensive coordinator Jeff Quinn, who was Brian Kelly's right-hand man for more than two decades at Grand Valley State, Central Michigan and most recently Cincinnati, where Quinn took over as interim coach after Kelly left for Notre Dame earlier this month. Quinn will stay on as the Bearcats' boss through their Sugar Bowl date with Florida before yielding the reins to Butch Jones in Cincy and packing his bags for one of the nation's more thankless jobs in Buffalo. [Associated Press]
And now, with semester grades coming due, for your complete bowl eligibility update ...
• Florida defensive end Carlos Dunlap, a key absence from the Gators' SEC Championship loss to Alabama following a DUI arrest earlier that week, is no longer suspended and is expected to play against Cincinnati in the Sugar Bowl. Minus its best pass rusher, Florida only had one sack against 'Bama after averaging three sacks in SEC games during the regular season. [Orlando Sentinel]
• On the heels of the USC's investigation into running back Joe McKnight's vehicle, two more Trojans, athletic tight end Anthony McCoy and defensive tackle Averell Spicer, are awaiting word on their status for Saturday's Emerald Bowl against Boston College; both are potential academic casualties and should know their fate by Tuesday at the latest. [L.A. Daily News]
Meanwhile, McKnight does plan to travel with the team to San Francisco, though there are no new developments re: his eligibility to play, which will not necessarily be settled by kickoff. [L.A. Times]
• At Ohio State, oft-troubled seniors Ray Small and Rob Rose look like they'll end their Buckeye careers as they spent them: In Jim Tressel's doghouse. The once highly-touted pair is apparently suspended from the Rose Bowl for the ubiquitous "violation of team rules," according to "sources close to the program," though OSU hasn't issued an official statement. If they are out, Small and Rose will join sophomore Bo DeLande and freshman Duron Carter, an academic casualty, on the Buckeyes' no-fly list. [Columbus Dispatch]
• Nevada running back Vai Taua, most prolific member of the first backfield in NCAA history to produce three different 1,000-yard rushers in the same season, is academically ineligible for the Hawaii Bowl. The Wolf Pack go to Honolulu as two-touchdown favorites over SMU, but also now without both of their top running backs: Prior to Taua's exit from the lineup, Luke Lippincott was ruled out with a toe injury, leaving quarterback Colin Kaepernick as the only member of the Pack's 1,000-yard club still standing against the Mustangs. [Reno Gazette-Journal]
• In non-eligibility news: The charges that South Florida coach Jim Leavitt grabbed and slapped a player during halftime of a game last month rapidly lost steam last week after the player in question, Joel Miller, more or less exonerated Leavitt in an interview with ESPN. But Miller's high school coach -- one of the original sources for the story, based on what Miller told him after the game -- insisted Sunday the initial accusations against Leavitt were "100 percent accurate" as relayed to him, and that Miller may have been pressured to change his story. That's a very small boost to reporter Brett McMurphy -- a former USF beat reporter who broke and has driven the charges of abuse from his gig at AOL FanHouse, and whose relationship with Leavitt may not have been the most cordial in the first place -- with the dominoes still aligned against his initial report. [AOL FanHouse]
Quickly ... Miami offensive lineman Jason Fox, a four-year starter, will miss his final game in the Champs Sports Bowl due to surgery on "a lower extremity." ... Alabama teammates speculate on Mark Ingram's chances of winning another Heisman. ... And Oregon State deals with the temptations of bowl week in Las Vegas.