AP Top 25 Podcast: Sarkisian's road from rehab to Texas
Sarkisian is the new head football coach at the University of Texas. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt, File)Steve Sarkisian was out of college football five years ago, having lost a dream job because of his struggles with alcoholism. Now Sarkisian is a head coach again, landing the job at Texas after helping Alabama win a national championship as offensive coordinator. Plus, Urban Meyer's first misstep as an NFL coach and Gus Malzahn lands at UCF. Ad___Follow Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at https://westwoodonepodcasts.com/pods/ap-top-25-college-football-podcast/___More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
UCF hires former Auburn coach Gus Malzahn to lead Knights
FILE - Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn argues a call during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Alabama in Auburn, Ala., in this Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019, file photo. Central Florida hired Gus Malzahn as its football coach Monday, Feb. 15, 2021, a little more than two months after he was fired by Auburn. “I truly believe that this is a program of the future in college football,” Malzahn said. Arkansas State won a conference title that season before Malzahn returned to Auburn as head coach. Ad“This is one of the top 25 coaching jobs in all of college football,” Malzahn said.
Ramsey leads No. 15 Northwestern past Auburn in Citrus Bowl
Peyton Ramsey threw three touchdown passes and ran for a score, and the 15th-ranked Wildcats clamped down defensively to beat Auburn 35-19 in the Citrus Bowl on Friday. Ramsey, a graduate transfer, totaled 291 yards passing and 50 yards rushing for Northwestern (7-2), which won its fourth straight bowl game. Ramsey put Northwestern ahead 14-0 on first-quarter TD passes of 35 yards to Chiaokhiao-Brown and 6 yards to Raine. COACHES OLD AND NEWFitzgerald and several Northwestern players were visibly emotional while celebrating with Hankwitz after the game. Northwestern: Fitzgerald has established the Wildcats as a consistent contender in the Big Ten and the future should be bright.
Auburn hires Boise State's Harsin to lead football program
25 San Jose State will face perennial conference powerhouse Boise State in the Mountain West championship on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020 in Las Vegas. “I’m incredibly excited and humbled for the opportunity to be at a place like Auburn University,” Harsin said in a statement. Malzahn led Auburn to the Southeastern Conference championship and into the national championship game in his first season, 2013. Harsin has a proven track record as a head coach, more so than any Auburn coach in recent memory. Boise State won at least nine games in each of his first six seasons.
Auburn fires football coach Gus Malzahn after 8 seasons
Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn listens to an official's call during the second half of the team's NCAA college football game against Mississippi State, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020, in Starkville, Miss. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)Auburn fired football coach Gus Malzahn, ending an eight-year run that began with a trip to the national championship game. The Tigers also were upset by a struggling South Carolina, which wound up firing coach Will Muschamp during the season. “After evaluating the state of the Auburn football program, we’ve decided that it was time to make a change in leadership," Greene said in a statement. Auburn will owe Malzahn a $21.45 million buyout for the remaining four years of a seven-year, $49 million deal.
SEC threatens fines, suspensions for breaking mask protocols
A Sept. 30 memo after the opening weekend of the SEC season included a reminder to coaches to be mindful of masking up and following other sideline protocols. According to the latest memo, going forward SEC schools will be “assessed a $100,000 reduction in Conference revenue” for failure to adhere to requirements. Repeat offenders will face an increase in lost revenue by $100,000 per offense and even suspensions, the memo said. The NFL has fined several coaches $100,000 for improper use of face coverings and docked their teams $250,000. Georgia coach Kirby Smart acknowledged this week he had been talked to by the commissioner and others about keeping his mask on.
Stetson Bennett, No. 4 Georgia romp past No. 7 Auburn 27-6
Stetson Bennett threw for 240 yards and a touchdown, solidifying his hold on the quarterback job as No. Postal Service cap in an effort to get noticed, Bennett was never viewed as a starting candidate for the Bulldogs. No matter the time of year, Georgia kept the upper hand with a fourth straight victory over Auburn. Georgia star Richard LeCounte got the boot in the second period for a helmet-to-helmet collision with Auburn receiver Shedrick Jackson. His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/paulnewberry___More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
Week 5 Preview: Top-25 matchups in SEC; ACC title rematch
including the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry, highlights the fifth week of the college football season. 4 Georgia on Saturday night as the second month of the season starts, but only the second week of SEC play. The first of three games that decide the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy might have sneaked up on college football fans. The Falcons will play six conference games to go along with Navy and Army. ___Follow Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at http://www.westwoodonepodcasts.com/pods/ap-top-25-college-football-podcast/___More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
Nix, No. 8 Auburn pull away from No. 23 Kentucky, 29-13
Nix threw for 233 yards and three second-half touchdowns, including a pair to Williams, and No. 8 Auburn scored twice in the fourth quarter to pull away from No. 23 Kentucky for a 29-13 victory Saturday in the season opener. “Bo made a couple of really good throws for touchdowns,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. Auburn: Has to get better on third-down defense, giving up eight first downs on 10 Wildcats attempts in the first half.
SEC football opens minus big crowds, tailgating, some stars
Gone, too, are some of the league’s best players, including LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase and much-anticipated new Georgia quarterback Jamie Newman. In the season of COVID-19, SEC teams finally open their 10-game league only schedule on Saturday. Even SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said Wednesday: "I still am in the hold my breath moment a bit.”So are coaches. Most SEC coaches are playing it close to the vest in identifying players who will miss the game because of COVID-19, if they have any. Vandy center Grant Miller said it's not altogether new, comparing losing those players to teammates suddenly going down with injuries.
SEC remains loaded in season when little else is normal
In a precarious season when almost nothing feels normal, the SEC does feel like, well, the SEC even without its most prominent passers. And the league opted to continue working toward a season that will include just 10 SEC games with a Sept. 26 start. Alabama coach Nick Saban said that schedule under the circumstances will be good for the fans and players alike. NEW FACESLane Kiffin, head coach, Mississippi; Mike Leach, head coach, Mississippi State: The hiring of these two big-name coaches with impressive offensive pedigrees brought some excitement to the Magnolia State. Derek Mason, Vanderbilt: Mason has had his successes with the Commodores, but has also won just 10 SEC games in six seasons.
COVID-19, not championships, hot topic at SEC practices
Quarterback battles seem fairly inconsequential with COVID-19 threatening the season and teams' depth charts. The SEC, winner of 10 football national championships since 2006, is just hoping to have a season and play out the league-only schedule starting Sept. 26. SEC coaches and officials have sounded the alarm in efforts to save the season. But those are the challenges SEC teams face with it becoming harder for players to remain in their virtual protective bubble. I know for a fact that everybody here on our team wants to have a season and play this fall, Stokes said.
SEC, Big 12 to allow football workouts on campus next month
There are 130 major college football teams, spread across 41 states and competing in 10 conferences, save for a handful of independents. The Friday announcements are the latest signs that a college football season will be launched in some form this fall. The NCAA updated that ruling Friday by saying voluntary activities would be allowed in all sports starting June 1. Greg Abbott said Friday he thinks college football will return on schedule with at least some spectators. Once we get to college football season, our goal right now is to have college football season start as planned, with fans in stands, Abbott said in an interview with Austin television station KXAN.
Malzahn: Auburn backup QB Joey Gatewood is transferring
Quarterback Joey Gatewood of Auburn scores a touchdown during the fourth quarter of their game against Kent State. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)AUBURN, Ala. - AUBURN, Ala. (AP) - Auburn backup quarterback Joey Gatewood, a former Bartram Trail High School star, has left the team and plans to transfer. Tigers coach Gus Malzahn said Wednesday Gatewood opted to enter the NCAA's transfer portal to give himself more time to find a school to compete for a starting job. Malzahn says Gatewood informed him of his decision before Tuesday's practice. The 6-foot-5, 233-pound redshirt freshman lost a battle for the starting job to freshman Bo Nix.
UF coach Dan Mullen lands on Dodd Trophy watch list
Getty ImagesJACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Floridas Dan Mullen was one of 23 coaches named to the preseason watch list for the Dodd Trophy on Thursday. Mullen is one of five coaches from the SEC to be named to the watch list, joining Texas A&Ms Jimbo Fisher, Auburns Gus Malzahn, Alabamas Nick Saban and Georgias Kirby Smart. Mullen went 10-3 in his first season with Florida, leading the Gators to a 41-15 blowout of Michigan in the Peach Bowl. The Dodd Trophy is presented to the coach of a team which enjoys a successful football season, while also stressing the importance of academic excellence and character.The list will be refreshed in midseason, either narrowed or added to. The Dodd Trophy, named after former Georgia Tech coach Bobby Dodd.