A coach who had a lengthy period of administrative absence has been fired following a brief reinstatement. Another prominent coach has opened up about a health issue affecting him for the last 20 years. And the playoff ranking has been released for the first time this season. Those are just a few news and notes happening right now in college football.
Maryland Fires D.J. Durkin
The University of Maryland fired head coach D.J. Durkin yesterday, just one day after his reinstatement. Durkin had previously been on administrative leave since August 11th, stemming from an offseason incident where one of his players, 19-year-old Jordan McNair, suffered a heatstroke during a workout on May 29th and died on June 13th.
Durkin’s reinstatement was met with very public backlash. Fans, students, faculty, as well as several players and Maryland politicians, voiced their concerns regarding Durkin’s reinstatement.
School President Wallace D. Loh, in a statement, said the following:
“Since returning to campus after yesterday’s press conference, I have met with the leadership of the Student Government Association speaking on behalf of numerous student organizations; the Senate Executive Committee; Deans; department chairs; and campus leadership. The overwhelming majority of stakeholders expressed serious concerns about Coach DJ Durkin returning to the campus.
The chair of the Board of Regents has publicly acknowledged that I had previously raised serious concerns about Coach Durkin’s return. This is not at all a reflection of my opinion of Coach Durkin as a person. However, a departure is in the best interest of the University, and this afternoon Coach Durkin was informed that the University will part ways.”
The team will continue with Matt Canada as the interim coach. Maryland is currently 5-3 heading into a Saturday home game against Michigan State.
Urban Meyer Opens Up On Health Issue
Speaking to reporters earlier this week, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer revealed that he has a cyst in his brain, first diagnosed back in 1998. The cyst causes severe headaches, among other things.
Meyer mentioned how the arachnoid cyst has caused some issues the past two years. Earlier last month in a game against Indiana, the cyst caused severe pain to the left side of Meyer’s head, forcing him to drop to his knees on the sideline.
While Meyer was transparent about the cyst and how it has affected him, he says the pain has been manageable and he wants to continue to coach.
Meyer, 54, said, “I am fully committed to Ohio State, the football program, as long as I can.”
Playoff Ranking Released
The first College Football Playoff ranking is out, with no surprises at the top. Alabama opened up at No. 1, the third time in the ranking’s five-year history that an SEC team sits atop the first ranking of the season.
Clemson sits just behind the Crimson Tide at No. 2. LSU has been placed at No. 3, while Notre Dame rounds out the group at No. 4. Alabama and LSU will go against each other this Saturday in Baton Rouge.
The first two teams out of the playoffs are No. 5 Michigan and No. 6 Georgia. Georgia lost to LSU two weeks ago but bounced back with a win against No. 11 Florida last week. Oklahoma, Washington State, Kentucky, and Ohio State round out the top 10.
UCF, who along with Alabama, Clemson, and Notre Dame is undefeated, is just behind Florida at No. 12, the same place they finished at in the final ranking last year.
Speaking of UCF, they will look to go 8-0 when Temple comes into town for a game tonight. Then Saturday will be a huge day of college football action, highlighted of course by No. 1 Alabama at No. 3 LSU. Other big games include No. 6 Georgia at No. 9 Kentucky, No. 13 West Virginia at No. 17 Texas, and No. 14 Penn State at No. 5 Michigan.