2012 College Football: A Comprehensive Offseason in Review
The 2012 offseason has been fraught with news. Some of it was good, but the vast majority of the information has been awful.
For those fans who may have missed a piece of information or two over the summer, here are 50 things that happened during the offseason that mattered the most.
Are you wondering why so-and-so isn't wearing your colors anymore? Are you wondering where your head coach is? Are you wondering why your star kick returner is nowhere to be found?
Presented in chronological order, here are your answers.
Urban Meyer Goes to Ohio State
The Buckeyes are ready for an era similar to the Tebow era of the Florida Gators. Though they'll have to wait until the 2013 season for bowl eligibility, that era could be right around the corner.
Mike Leach Returns to the Gridiron
Dec. 1, 2011: Mike Leach returns to college football as the head coach of the Washington State Cougars.
Leach will be ecstatic to have a spot on the sideline again, and he could have done a lot worse than Washington State.
Charlie Weis Moves to Kansas
Matt Barkley Announces Return to USC for Senior Season
Dec. 22, 2011: USC's Matt Barkley ensures that the Trojans' get a little press during bowl season in spite of being sanctioned out of a BCS bowl. Barkley returns to USC to "attend to unfinished business."
More than half the country will be rooting for the Trojans should they make it to the BCS title game. Not because they're the Trojans, but because they may be the only non-SEC team in the BCS era to take down an SEC team in the title game.
Bill O'Brien to Succeed JoePa
Jan. 6, 2012: Bill O'Brien is hired to succeed Joe Paterno as head coach of the downtrodden Penn State Nittany Lions.
O'Brien has his work cut out for him. If he isn't in it for the long haul, Penn State will disappear for much longer than 10 years.
Sal Sunseri Leaves the Crimson Tide for Archrival Tennessee
Jan. 13, 2012: Sal Sunseri is hired as Tennessee's defensive coordinator.
Sunseri got the opportunity to further his career, and he jumped on it. Alabama fans will wish him the best...except on the third Saturday in October.
Doug Nussmeier Named the New Offensive Coordinator at Alabama
Jan. 18, 2012: Doug Nussmeier replaces Jim McElwain as the offensive coordinator of the Crimson Tide. McElwain left Tuscaloosa to be the head coach at Colorado State.
Nussmeier brings a west coast attitude to the Crimson Tide. He won't be running trick plays and airing out the football all the time, but his experience with potent offenses should translate to higher points-per-game averages in the near future.
Joe Paterno Passes Away
Greg Schiano Moves to the NFL
Jan. 27, 2012: Greg Schiano makes the move from head coach at Rutgers University to head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The ultimate move for a college football coach is the move to the NFL. Some stay, and others come back. Best of luck to Mr. Schiano.
National Signing Day
Feb. 1, 2012: National Signing Day comes and goes. The Top 25 recruiting classes of 2012 are as follows:
4) Ohio State
6) Florida State
9) Miami (OH)
15) Texas A&M
19) South Carolina
20) Notre Dame
22) Virginia Tech
Casey Pachall Fails Drug Test (Nobody Knows)
Feb. 1, 2012: TCU quarterback Casey Pachall fails a drug test.
TCU's first year in the Big 12 is already going to be rough, and Pachall's absence from under center will be noticed in 2012. The transition from the Pachall era to the future is key for the Horned Frogs. If they can gel offensively, a high finish in their division is not an unreasonable expectation.
Four TCU Players Busted in Drug Sting
Feb. 15, 2012: Four TCU football players are among 17 drug dealers arrested.
D.J. Yendry, Tanner Brock, Tyler Horn and Devin Johnson (the four players arrested) are no longer listed on the roster.
Now it looks like TCU will have a rough time during their inaugural Big 12 year. The Horned Frogs can still pull off a few meaningful upsets that will carry them into the postseason, though, and bust some other teams' hopes in the process.
NCAA Hands Sanctions Down to UNC
March 3, 2012: North Carolina is banned from the postseason for the 2012 season and loses 15 scholarships over the next three years.
UNC isn't exactly a powerhouse on the football field, so at least the school will still have its perennial March Madness appearance.
Bobby Petrino Wrecks Motorcycle
April 1, 2012: Bobby Petrino and a young blonde are in a motorcycle accident. Investigation begins.
Bobby Petrino Fired
April 10, 2012: The investigation into Bobby Petrino reveals that the blonde with him was his mistress. Petrino is fired from Arkansas.
Louisville Head Coach Kicks Media out of Practice
April 10, 2012: Louisville's Charlie Strong kicks the media out of football practice due to a lack of media coverage. It is worth mentioning that, at the time, Louisville's basketball team had made it to the Final Four in the NCAA Tournament.
Charlie Strong is a little mistaken about what "March Madness" really means. His version is funnier, though.
Houston Cougars Get New Artwork
April 10, 2012: Houston unveils new logo to go with new-found success.
New artwork for a new era. Sounds great!
Arkansas Replaces Bobby Petrino
April 24, 2012: John L. Smith is hired (a one-year deal) to coach the Arkansas Razorbacks.
For his sake, this had better turn into something bigger than a one-year deal. After ditching his alma mater in less than five months, his credibility is shot. He'd have a hard time landing another job after this one—unless he runs the table and brings home the crystal football.
NFL Draft Weekend
April 29, 2012: NFL Draft Weekend is over. The top ten colleges (by number of draftees) are as follows:
1) Alabama (Eight)
T2) Oklahoma (Seven)
T2) Georgia (Seven)
T4) South Carolina (Six)
T4) Boise State (Six)
T4) Wisconsin (Six)
T4) Iowa (Six)
T4) California (Six)
T4) Michigan State (Six)
T4) Miami, FL (Six)
*LSU, NC State and Baylor all tied for 11th with five players selected.
Alabama Loses Backup Quarterback
Notre Dame Quarterback Arrested
May 3, 2012: Tommy Rees is arrested for "using his right knee to hit Officer Stec in the lower chest area, knocking the wind out of him, making it difficult to breathe," according to the affidavit. (Source: The Huffington Post)
Rees will not be the starting quarterback for the Fighting Irish in 2012, at least not for the first game. Beyond that, it will still be extremely difficult for him to win it back.
Arkansas Players Arrested and Suspended
The total arrest count for Arkansas players is six during this offseason. Arkansas needs to stop the bleeding in this department if they're going to seriously contend for the SEC championship anytime soon.
Big 12 and SEC Join Forces
May 19, 2012: Heading into college football playoff debates, the Pac-12 and Big Ten had a trump card. The Rose Bowl was a huge bargaining chip for the two conferences.
The SEC and Big 12 decided to make the playing field a little more even by creating the Champions Bowl, which will pit the Big 12 and SEC champions against each other—provided that neither team is involved in the national championship picture.
Jerry Sandusky Convicted
June 22, 2012: Jerry Sandusky is convicted on 45 of 48 counts of various charges related to the sexual assault of several young victims. Sandusky used his standing with Penn State and the Second Mile to facilitate the offenses. In some cases, he even used Penn State's facilities.
College Football Gets a Playoff
June 27, 2012: College football powers agree to a four-team playoff proposal that will pit the elite of the country against each other to determine who is the best team in the nation.
The debates will still rage, but the cold hard truth is that the champion is among the top four teams. The regular season weeds out the rest...with rare exception.
Georgia Joins "Arrested Development: SEC Edition"
June 29, 2012: Isaiah Crowell is arrested for various reasons, all stemming from possession of an illegal firearm. The firearm in question had an altered serial number, and the officer said Crowell smelled like marijuana which prompted the search that uncovered the piece.
*Crowell later signed with Alabama State to attempt to salvage his sketchy-looking football career.
July 1, 2012: Missouri and Texas A&M officially join the juggernaut that is the SEC. Missouri enters the East Division in order to preserve the Alabama-Auburn rivalry game.
Missouri and Texas A&M can both finish in the top half of their respective divisions. It won't be easy, but these guys have the talent to find success early. In two or three years, either one of these teams could be heading toward Atlanta in December.
Big 12 Covers Losses (to the SEC)
July 1, 2012: The Big 12 officially accepts TCU and West Virginia as members. This temporarily controls the bleeding the conference has seen recently.
No one should be surprised to see teams leaving the Big 12. Until Texas either dissolves the Longhorn Network or decides to profit-share the network's gains with the rest of the conference, there is money gained in the long run for every team that leaves—even if the team had to pay a multimillion-dollar fine to get out.
Boise State Leaves Non-AQ Conference
July 3, 2012: Boise State meets the deadline to leave the Mountain West Conference to join the Big East in 2013. Boise will join the Big East in football only.
Departures from the Big East—West Virginia already bolted for the Big 12—threaten to make this a lateral move for the Broncos.
Utah Suspends Rivalry
July 10, 2012: Utah announces that the "Holy War" between the Utes and BYU is suspended until scheduling issues can be ironed out.
This is one of the more difficult games that Utah can actually win. This game should return after the minor suspension.
Penn State Voluntary Third-Party Investigation Complete
July 12, 2012: The Freeh Report is released at the end of a 13-month investigation, placing guilt at the highest levels of Penn State administration for the cover-up of Jerry Sandusky's crimes.
The NCAA will use this report when determining what sanctions to bring down on Penn State.
Auburn Flips a Huge Rival
Pac-12 Doesn't Like the Looks of Big Ten
July 13, 2012: After the Big Ten failed to assert its dominance in the playoff discussions, the Pac-12 coincidentally backed out of its potential scheduling agreement with the conference.
The Pac-12 is going to do what it needs to do to keep its elite profile. Tying itself down to the Big Ten is a bad idea. Leaving itself open to scheduling teams like Michigan, Ohio State and Wisconsin is a good idea. Taking on Iowa in the deal is not going to help the Pac-12 stay relevant.
Tennessee's Quarterback Works on Accuracy
July 20, 2012: Tyler Bray and his roommate throw bottles and golf balls at a parked car. Charges are not filed against them since they own up to the act and agree to take care of the damages.
Bottle-throwing is not an exercise in Derek Dooley's system. Bray may want to take note of that in the future.
More Penn State Consequences
July 22, 2012: Joe Paterno's statue is removed from Penn State grounds. The Paterno name will stay on the library.
NCAA Weighs in on the Penn State Situation
July 23, 2012: Penn State gets the book thrown at it by the NCAA. Four year suspension of postseason play, scholarship reductions and a $60M-dollar fine are all levied against the institution. Joe Paterno loses a total of 112 wins from his record.
NCAA's Final Word on the Penn State Situation
July 24, 2012: The NCAA clarifies the rules regarding Penn State transfers. Essentially, players can transfer out with no consequences. This includes the fact schools accepting transfers out of Penn State will be allowed extra scholarships in order to accommodate the new recruits.
Bobby Bowden Inherits Throne
July 24, 2012: Joe Paterno's 112 vacated wins cause the second-place Bobby Bowden to be crowned king of FBS football. With true class, Bowden speaks on the lack of happiness in his household when the announcement was heard. No human could truly enjoy anything that came as a result of the Sandusky situation. Truly, there are no winners.
Ralph the WonderLiar
July 25, 2012: Ralph Cindrich (headline nickname altered from Ralph the Wonderllama of Monty Python fame) accuses Nick Saban of cheating and claims that he has proof. When asked to show the proof, he claims he is being harassed by fans.
Note: He's probably being harassed now, since he didn't produce the "proof."
Lineman Benches Ridiculous Weight
July 26, 2012: Jesse Williams of Alabama hits the 600-lb mark on the bench in the weight room in Tuscaloosa.
Michael Dyer Is at It Again
July 30, 2012: Michael Dyer—famous from the 2010 Auburn squad—is kicked off Arkansas State for "violating team rules."
If he can even make it onto another football field, he'd better clean up his act.
The Exodus Begins?
July 31, 2012: Silas Redd becomes the first Penn State transfer in the wake of the Sandusky scandal. Redd will be adding fuel to the already-formidable USC Trojans.
Wisconsin Legend Is Blindsided
Aug. 1, 2012: Montee Ball is attacked and gets treated in the hospital. He's expected to fully recover. That's welcome news, not only to Ball, but to the thousands of Badger fans that were elated by his decision to stay for his senior year.
The scene above will be all-too-familiar for Big Ten fans in 2012. Ball is a big reason Wisconsin could take the conference championship this season.
Special Teams Star Dismissed
Aug. 1, 2012: Greg Reid is dismissed from Florida State for violating team rules. A star in the return game and a valuable asset on the field as a corner, Reid will be greatly missed by the Seminoles. His antics, however, will not.
Florida State might take the ACC this year. Clemson, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech will have something to say about it, but what they have to say may just not matter to the Seminoles.
USA Today Coaches' Poll Released
Aug. 2, 2012: USA Today releases it's preseason coaches' poll to the masses. The top 10 is as follows:
7) Florida State
9) South Carolina
Clemson Loses Starter
Aug. 3, 2012: Sammy Watkins will not be available for the first two games of the season. This could prove troubling for the Tigers. The Clemson opener is against Auburn again, and Watkins could have been the difference-maker. If so, Clemson could start 0-2.
Oklahoma Loses Lineman
Aug. 7, 2012: Oklahoma's Tyler Evans tears his ACL in practice and will be out for the 2012 season. Oklahoma's national title hopes aren't looking too good right now, but a BCS bowl is a real possibility.
LSU Loses Game-Changer
Aug. 10, 2012: LSU dismisses Tyrann Mathieu for violating team policies.
LSU's strength may actually improve after the loss of Mathieu. While he was a great returner, he wasn't the best defender. He can be replaced, and the LSU team can actually get stronger on the whole. The return game, however, will be severely limited compared to 2011.
Alabama Loses Hyped Second-String Corner
Aug. 10, 2012: Travell Dixon (backup to Dee Milliner) leaves the Crimson Tide for personal reasons. Alabama has talent all over the field, but the depth is getting to be a potential issue.
Travell Dixon and Phillip Sims could have been called upon in emergencies. Now there is no contingency plan that looks good enough to defend a national title. The Tide will need Plan "A" all year if there is hope for a repeat.
Another Preseason Poll
Aug. 12, 2012: Bleacher Report releases its top 25 poll. The top 10 are as follows:
7) Florida State
9) South Carolina