No. 16 Tennessee has given coach Jeremy Pruitt a raise and a contract extension through 2025 after two seasons on the job. Tennessee announced the two-year extension Thursday that also will increase Pruitt's pay $400,000 from this season to $4.2 million in 2021. Athletic director Phillip Fulmer said he was excited for an extension that allows Pruitt to build on the momentum the program has after last season.
When Cincinnati lost three games from its nonconference schedule, the Bearcats looked around for someone to give them a good test before American Athletic Conference play begins. Army and its daunting triple-option offense were available. Neither side realized what stakes would be involved when they play a quickly scheduled game at Nippert Stadium on Saturday.
Losing two of the most prolific receivers in program history left Texas with a problem: Where would senior quarterback Sam Ehlinger throw the ball in 2020? The transfer market and a receiver who sat out 2019 while suspended quickly answered that question for the No. 8 Longhorns. Joshua Moore scored on the first play of the season against UTEP, graduate transfers Brenden Schooler and Tarik Black both scored, and even walk-on Kai Money found the end zone as Ehlinger tossed five touchdown passes in the first half.
No. 10 Texas A&M took two big hits when top receiver Jhamon Ausbon and starting linebacker Anthony Hines opted out of the season before Saturday's opener against Vanderbilt. The Aggies are certainly disappointed to be without two of their top players in this coronavirus-impacted season. Fisher has been impressed with how the senior has handled the choices of his teammates.
Will Sanders' right foot injury, which caused him to leave the Cowboys' season-opening 16-7 victory over Tulsa last week late in the first quarter, be healed enough for him to play? Will coach Mike Gundy start true freshman Shane Illingworth, who completed 4-of-5 passes for 74 yards to help lead the comeback victory in the fourth quarter? Or will Ethan Bullock, a junior college transfer from the City College of San Francisco, get the start for Oklahoma State (1-0, 0-0 Big 12) after completing 8-of-13 passes for just 41 yards and an interception in about two quarters?
Alabama coach Nick Saban had nothing but praise for Eli Drinkwitz when discussing his Missouri counterpart this week. Hard to find much fault when Drinkwitz has only lost one game as a head coach. Of course, the up-and-coming boss of the Tigers also only has one season under his belt.
A nearly month-long postponement to the start of college football in the Southeastern Conference may feel different, but it won't look much different. Arkansas, has it has been for much of the last few years, is predicted to finish near the bottom. The Bulldogs are No. 4 in the nation.
Kentucky quarterback Terry Wilson has waited for football's return even longer than most of his Southeastern Conference brethren. The signal-caller for the No. 23 Wildcats will take the field again Saturday at No. 8 Auburn, returning from a knee injury that cost him almost all of last season. Kentucky coach Mark Stoops expects an older, wiser Wilson after the additional practice repetitions.
Virginia Tech finally begins a season of high expectations as the No. 20 Hokies face North Carolina State in a battle of teams that each had to postpone a game after COVID-19 outbreaks. Hokies coach Justin Fuente, however, still has many questions about his team.
Taye Barber and his TCU teammates have been together on campus for more than three months, and now jump right into Big 12 play after having their only non-conference game wiped out because of the pandemic. Iowa State (0-1) certainly feels the same way, though it has only been two weeks between games for the Cyclones, and not 10 months like for TCU. The Cyclones were in the Top 25 before a 31-14 home loss to Louisiana Lafayette, one of the three Sun Belt Conference teams with road wins over the Big 12 in season openers.
The warm-up portion of No. 21 Pittsburgh's schedule is over and coach Pat Narduzzi knows it. The evidence jumped off his television screen while Narduzzi watched No. 24 Louisville's loss to No. 12 Miami a week ago, a game that was more track meet than slugfest. The Cardinals rolled up more than 500 yards, moving the ball with the kind of ease that's become the program's signature under second-year coach Scott Satterfield.
BYU's bye week unexpectedly turned into multiple weeks following a COVID-19 outbreak. Since a 55-3 rout of Navy on Labor Day, the 18th-ranked Cougars (1-0) have postponed a visit to Army due to the virus, looked into living arrangements for players who may have been exposed, practiced in small groups, socially distanced in the weight room and finalized contingency plans, just in case it surfaces again. Next assignment: Carry momentum from a well-orchestrated win that seems ages ago into their home opener against Troy on Saturday night.
Virginia is finally set to open its season after three scheduled openers were scrapped because of the coronavirus pandemic. Coach Bronco Mendenhall said the Cavaliers are ready. ''We're anxious to play football,'' Mendenhall said this week, noting that by his calculations, his team has been back on campus for 12 weeks.
Some things to watch Saturday in the Big 12, when conference play starts in the league's 25th season. It will be the season openers for TCU and Baylor, who weren't able to play their scheduled non-conference games because of COVID-19:
Missing from this year's Florida State-Miami game will be a lot of fans and one head coach. The Hurricanes (2-0) are making their latest bid to regain some of the swagger that typified their glory years. A win last week at No. 18 Louisville vaulted them to 12th in the rankings, the highest they've been going into a game against the Seminoles since 2016.
The Knights are coming off a 28-point road win at power-conference foe Georgia Tech, a strong start for the preseason AAC title favorite. ''From the whole COVID thing, I've realized you can only control what you can control,'' Gabriel said.
Tennessee linebacker Henry To'o To'o is convinced the team's run back to Southeastern Conference prominence wasn't a late-season fluke - and it can continue when the 16th-ranked Vols open the season at South Carolina on Saturday. The enthusiasm is high on Rocky Top, largely because of Tennessee's fast finish of six straight wins in their 8-5 season. To'o To'o, who was the Southeastern Conference's second leading tackler among freshman last season, is as excited as anyone about what Tennessee can achieve going forward.
Dan Mullen should hope this trip to Ole Miss goes as well his first - or his last. The Florida coach has three wins in Oxford, Mississippi, with the two most memorable visits coming in 2007 with the Gators and nine years later with Mississippi State. This one could top both given it's Florida opening game of its most anticipated season in a decade and comes against new Rebels coach Lane Kiffin.
Football is sewn into the fabric of the campuses and surrounding areas of the state's two Division I schools, the University of Montana in Missoula and Montana State University in Bozeman, and the action has gone silent since athletics were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Raucous crowds and deafening sounds on game day at Montana's Washington Grizzly Stadium and Montana State's Bobcat Stadium belie the serenity that is so often accustomed with the state. "I think whether it's our team, the students at the university, the faculty and staff, our coaches or the people of Montana, I think are somewhat depressed that we don't have football games," Montana coach Bobby Hauck said.
To the delight of fans young and old, an English bulldog named Uga has been stationed on the sideline at all but one Georgia home football game since 1956. Charles Seiler, whose family has bred and cared for each of the Ugas all these years, said lots of people have told him they enjoy seeing the dog, adorned in his jersey with the big ''G'' on front, as much as the games themselves. ''He's so approachable,'' Seiler said.
It's the only Top 25 matchup in the SEC this week, and both teams would love to establish themselves as potential division challengers. Both teams are pinning hopes on their quarterbacks improving. Kentucky's Terry Wilson returns from a knee injury that cost him most of last season.
The Houston Cougars are again without an opponent and still waiting to play their season opener as COVID-19 issues wiped out three more major college football games Wednesday.