We are two weeks into what promises to be an especially wild college football season - not for what’s going on the field, so much, as for the craziness off of it. This week’s Beyond the Fort has plenty of storylines that you might have missed the first time around, but that you’ll be glad to know about now.
Lynn Swann has stepped down at USC, does that further open the door for an Urban Meyer return?
Shortly after crushing Stanford on their home field, the Trojans of USC got surprising news when Athletic Director Lynn Swann resigned rather suddenly. Swann had been under scrutiny for some time - really, you could argue, since he first got the job three years ago - and has presided over a period that USC Football fans would rather forget (highlighted by the first losing season in 19 years last fall). In addition to trouble on the gridiron, the Trojan community has had plenty of off-the-field issues, most notably the college admissions scandal that rocked it, and several other, high profile universities. Swann is one of the biggest fish, but not the last shoe to drop, in this story.
Newly-minted president Carol Folt will be looking for a big name to replace the SC legend - and could follow suit with a big name coach to replace Helton, especially in Saturday’s win proves to be more mirage than medicinal.
Alabama is crying over an 11am kick-off against (checks notes)... Southern Miss?
It must be so hard to be a fan of the Crimson Tide. I mean, it’s been a whole... two years... since this cursed fan base has won a national championship. And now, adding insult to injury, Bama is being told to play a game against a (terrible) opponent and the god-forsaken time of 11:00am on a Saturday.
Why. I. Never.
A tersely-worded statement from AD Greg Byrne reeks of supremacy, as Bama is being asked to do something that literally every other program in the country does - play a garbage team at a garbage time in September. Sure, it’s hot in Alabama in September. Guess what? It’s hot in Texas, too. But that doesn’t stop the network powers that be from scheduling 11:00am kick-offs for TCU pretty much every year since the Horned Frogs joined the Power Five. In fact, TCU has played conference games four times in the first five weeks of the season at 11:00, including matchups with Kansas (twice), Iowa State, and TEXAS.
And if you’re so worried about fan support at that hour, trying losing a little. Maybe that will get your students to stop taking success for granted and to start being a little more invested in game day.
Our good friends Cal beat Washington in Seattle at approximately 3:00am.
This game had everything.
Apparently, weird football is in the Bears’ DNA, as Cal went into Washington, survived a power outage, a three hour delay, and a home field advantage that had helped the Huskies lose just one game in the better part of the last four seasons to eke out a 20-19 win and effectively knock the Pac 12 out of the playoffs - again.
Mack Brown’s “Crush the Coordinator” redemption tour is going swell.
In two weeks back at the helm of a college football program, the coach that the University of Texas put out to pasture in 2013, has matched UNC’s win total from a season ago and beat a pair of Power Five teams coached by former coordinators on his staff - Will Muschamp at the University of South Carolina and Manny Diaz at Miami. Mack has the mojo back in Raleigh, and seems to have quickly returned to the form that launched him from UNC to UT more than two decades ago.
He also did this:
This can only end one way, right?
With Texas and the Tar Heels meeting up in Orlando at The Camping World Bowl.
I sure hope so.
Charlie’s not so Strong in South Florida.
The man who took over for Mack in Austin as struggled since leaving Louisville; noted good guy Charlie Strong has lost eight straight at the helm of USF and is just eight of 15 in the last two seasons after starting his career with the Bulls 10-2. Strong went 37-15 in five seasons with the Cardinals, earning a shot to head the Longhorns. But after three consecutive losing seasons, he was exiled to South Florida, where he has struggled to replicate his first year luck.
Strong is a guy that no coaches or former players seem to ever have anything bad to say about, but he will need to find a way to get back to his winning ways if he wants that to remain true going forward.