Random Thoughts – Volume IX – January 27, 2019

Buff Trivia Question of the Week … On which side of the ball does CU return the most starters – on offense or on defense?

NCAA rule changes for targeting and overtime …

The NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee is looking into changes to both the targeting rule and overtime in college football, committee chairman Shane Lyons said this week.

As to targeting, the Oversight Committee is looking into a model supported by the American Football Coaches Association. The AFCA unanimously supports a model that puts targeting fouls into two separate categories: targeting 1 for hits without malicious intent, and targeting 2 for more egregious hits. Targeting 1 would carry a 15-yard penalty and no ejection or suspension; targeting 2 would result in automatic ejection and possible suspension.

The change to the rule should be – pardon the pun – a no-brainer. Taking out a star defensive player for the remainder of the game because of a judgment call gives too much weight to the penalty.

That being said, there is no guarantee that the targeting rule will be amended.

“We would consider changes of how it’s done from the officiating aspect of it, from the ejection aspect of it, but we think it needs more study,” committee chair Shane Lyons said. “It was a lengthy discussion. One of the biggest concerns is we don’t want to go back and look like we’re doing something that’s not in the well-being, health and safety of the student-athlete, so if you back off the penalty, is it sending the message that this is OK and this is not?”

Stay tuned …

As to updating the overtime rule, there are tweaks which may be coming to help keep teams from going seven overtimes, like LSU and Texas A&M did this past fall.

“The question is: Are there things we can tweak in the overtime that could possibly shorten the length?” Lyons said. “Do you leave it the same? Do you automatically have to go for two even after your first touchdown for both teams? What are some things to potentially lessen the overtime?”

One easy solution which could have an immediate impact: Move the starting position for each team back to the 35- or 40-yard line. Putting the ball at the 25 already puts teams in field goal position, whereas a start at the 35- or 40-yard line would require a team to produce on offense, regardless of what the other team did during their possession.

NCAA Transfer Portal …

Perhaps its because no Colorado players entered the “Transfer Portal” in the first year of its existence, but I haven’t been paying much attention to the new rule.

A short primer … This fall, the NCAA instituted a new rule allowing Division I athletes to add their names to a “transfer portal” without permission from the program.

Entering the NCAA transfer portal is a necessary first step for any athlete who wishes to transfer to another institution. Once an athlete decides to transfer and is added to the database, any coach can contact the athlete. The process is now in the hands of athletes–past situations where universities blocked talented players from leaving are no longer permissible. However, schools are now allowed to cancel the scholarships of players at the end of the semester in which they expressed their intent to transfer.

Other than graduate senior transfers, the transfer rules still require players to sit out for a full academic year before they can begin playing, but athletes can file for waivers on the basis of any number of possible exceptions.

While CU has benefited from graduate transfers (Virginia Tech running back Travon McMillan last year; defensive lineman Jauntavius Johnson from Auburn this year), CU hasn’t picked up a true “transfer portal” player … but hasn’t lost any, either.

Which is fairly remarkable, if you think about it.

Attrition is expected each off-season for every team, and is certainly anticipated with a coaching change. And yet Colorado, the only team in the Pac-12 with a new coach this season, is the only team in the conference other than Stanford not to have at least one player enter the “Portal”.

247 Sports has compiled a list of hundreds of player nationwide who have entered the NCAA Transfer Portal. Out of curiosity, I put together a list of the Pac-12 players who have entered the Portal.

While players who enter the Portal can still return to their teams, a number of Pac-12 players have already transferred.

Notable:

— Oregon State continues to run an underground railroad from Nebraska. The Beavers have picked up five transfers this off-season (four being former four-star prospects), with three coming from Lincoln;

— The exodus from Westwood continues. In Year Two of the Chip Kelly era, eight players have entered the Portal, including a five-star linebacker (Jaelen Phillips) and three other four-star recruits. Kelly is known for wanting to create a lineup of “his guys”, but this is a great deal of attrition in Year Two;

— The Clay Helton era is about to come to an end. Many were surprised when Helton held onto his job after the Trojans finished 5-7 this past year, but athletic director Lynn Swann gave him a vote of confidence. Helton has rewarded his boss by hiring – and losing – Kliff Kingsbury, and having his No. 1 recruit, five-star linebackr Bru McCoy, transfer to Texas two weeks after enrolling for classes at USC. Overall, USC has five players in the Portal, including two five-star and two four-star defensive players;

— Colorado State picked up a wide receiver to keep an eye on, former four-star wide receiver Nate Craig-Myers from Auburn (although, like CU’s Auburn transfer Jauntavius Johnson, Craig-Myers didn’t produce much for the Tigers. He played in only one game last September before deciding to use the four-game exception and pull the plug on his 2018 campaign);

— Nebraska, like UCLA, is active in the Transfer Portal in the second year of its new coaching staff. Heading into Year Two under Scott Frost, the Cornhuskers has six players in the Portal (with three, as mentioned above, transferring to Oregon State).

Stan-furd …

Colorado basketball had a great opportunity to get out of a funk this week. Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams played well against teams from Stanford … for a half.

The CU women’s team, winless in Pac-12 play, were without star Kennedy Leonard. Up against No. 6 Stanford, the Buffs defied the odds, taking a ten-point first half lead, closing the half with a 36-28 advantage.

Then the second half came along.

The Buffs were steam-rolled in the third quarter, 32-12, on their way to an 80-69 defeat.

The CU men’s team, down to nine scholarship players, led Stanford on the road, 37-31, and even bumped that advantage to nine points, at 42-33, early in the second half.

Then the rest of the second half was played.

The Buffs were steam-rolled the remainder of the game, out-scored by the Cardinal, 41-20, on their way to a 75-62 defeat.

“I don’t understand how you can execute so well defensively in one half and so poorly the next 20 minutes,” Tad Boyle said. “It’s all a result of our inefficiencies on offense affecting our mood, our toughness, our body language — that’s the adversity I’m talking about. We’re not tough enough. We don’t handle adversity.”

Colorado basketball teams are now a collective 2-12 in Pac-12 conference play.

Perhaps postponing the start of spring practice to the middle of March wasn’t such a great idea after all …

A tip of the CU at the Game hat this week goes to … The University of Colorado track and field programs.

Both the men and women’s teams are in the top-25 of the United State Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association rankings. The men have the top spot between the two CU teams, ranked 18th in the nation after opening 15th in the preseason poll.

On the other side of the polls, the women are ranked 23rd after beginning the preseason ranked 24th.

Buff Trivia Question of the Week – Answers … On which side of the ball does CU return the most starters – on offense or on defense?

On offense, CU returns eight starters (players with at least six starts in 2018): QB Steven Montez: WR K.D. Nixon; WR Tony Brown; WR Laviska Shenault; OL Tim Lynott; OL Colby Pursell; OL Will Sherman; OL Brett Tonz

On defense, CU returns six starters: DL Mustafa Johnson; LB Nate Landman; LB Davion Taylor; LB Carson Wells; DB Delrick Abrams; DB Dante Wigley.

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