by Jack Kerwin | firstname.lastname@example.org
Not a fan.
It’s one thing to scare the bejeebers out of communities up and down the East Coast, causing mass evacuation in the Carolinas and their neighboring states, but to play havoc with my college football schedule?
That’s an outrage.
Just get lost, Hurricane Florence.
Kidding aside, the Category 4 storm that is bound for landfall sometime late Thursday/early Friday is nothing to snicker about, and you can’t really blame officials at university’s likely in its path for opting to be safe now rather than sorry later when it comes to their student-athletes, coaches, fans and anyone else potentially associated with sporting events slated this week.
So, kudos on the calls that canceled the West Virginia-N.C. State, East Carolina-Virginia Tech and Central Florida-North Carolina games that had been scheduled for Saturday.
Which means we won’t be witnessing two of the better quarterbacks in the country playing this weekend — WVU’s Will Grier and UCF’s McKenzie Milton — or an upset or two, as all three games appeared ripe for a surprise.
For those hoping to see some monsoon action, check out Boston College at Wake Forest on Thursday evening. Though having moved up the start time two hours to 5:30 p.m., those involved are still rolling the dice.
KEEP AN EYE ON ...
Perusing the schedules before the season, took note of this week’s nonconference tilt between my one alma mater, Illinois, and South Florida. USF, routinely one of the better non-Power 5 schools in the county, if only on talent, seemed to be a safe bet — you know, if that’s your thing — to emerge victorious. Comfortably even.
But, two games in now, you have to wonder. Both the Illini and Bulls are 2-0. But here is the caution flag with giving the “automatic W” to USF before kickoff even happens Saturday at Soldier Field in Chicago: the ground game.
As in the Illini’s rush offense vs. the Bulls’ rush defense. Yeah, USF just faced Georgia Tech, the best running team outside of Navy every year, so the numbers may be skewed. But it also got rolled in that regard by Elon the week before.
As of now, USF ranks 113th in the country in allowing 305.5 rushing yards per game. Illinois, which spreads it around pretty good among several backs (sophomore Mike Epstein averages 8.6 per carry), ranks 27th in the country in posting 258.5 yards per game — a remarkable number considering it never racked up more than 230 in a single game last season.
This could get interesting.
Like the guy, even from his quarterbacking days way back when at Louisville. But, gotta say, the red flags already were up last season for me when all the experts started going cuckoo for Jeff Brohm as he led Purdue to its first bowl game in five years and its first winning record in seven during his first season at the Boilermakers’ helm.
All good stuff, but it masked what the team’s real problem was, and had been: lack of talent. Brohm’s predecessor, Darrell Hazell, may be a good guy and did a nice job at Kent State, but he was out of his element in West Lafayette, posting a 9-39 record in four forgettable seasons and left a pretty barren cupboard for Brohm.
So, this back-to-Earth reality check being witnessed in a 0-2 start for the Boilers in 2018 is not exactly the biggest surprise. Until the second-year coach rights the ship for the long, let’s chill on the human-interest pieces on his car and the silly boasts about benching players for picking up penalties.
CHIP OFF THE OL' BLOCK?
Interesting to note that Penn State got a commitment from the son of former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker and current assistant coach Joey Porter on Tuesday. The younger Porter, also named Joey, is smaller than his father was during his playing days (187 pounds to 250), mans a different position (safety) and, if the listed 4.69 40-yard dash number is correct, slower than “pops,” too.
What really pops out, though, is that Junior is the top-rated prospect in Pennsylvania (he’s a senior at North Allegheny High in Wexford), but that only gets him four-star status and the No. 300 spot in the country.
In-state “rivals” Pitt and Temple both offered scholarships as well, as did dad’s alma mater, Colorado State.