Talk about highs and lows. Southern Mississippi went from 12-2 in 2011 under Larry Fedora to 0-12 in 2012 under Ellis Johnson. One disastrous season was all Johnson got. He was fired and Todd Monken was brought in. He was offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State, the same position held by Fedora before he came to Hattiesburg in 2008.
P.J. Fleck is only 32 and entering his first season as Western Michigan's coach. To say he's off to a curious start is an understatement.
First there is the team's slogan — "Row Your Boat." Fleck is featured in the team's poster holding an oar with the slogan, but that's just a start. He has wooden, boat-shaped business cards. He has helmet stickers of oars for his players. He created a “Row the Boat” dance.
On Tuesday night, he posted a photo on his twitter account that suggested his staff was about to walk barefoot across a bed of hot coals. Of course the last time someone tried that stunt it didn't end well. Perhaps Fleck has been to one too many Tony Robbins' motivational events.
Tim Beckman's first season at Illinois was a disappointment. The Fighting Illini finished 2-10, with only one of the losses coming by less than 14 points. This fall is not looking much better because of the team's overwhelming youth. Nonetheless, Illinois won't have to stray far from home. Seven games are at Champaign and an eighth (against Washington) is at Chicago's Soldier Field.
We begin our 2013 tour of poster schedules by welcoming the Georgia State Panthers, the newest member of Division I-A (or Football Bowl Subdivision as the NCAA calls it).
The program is entering its fourth season, having started in Division I-AA in 2010. Bill Curry was coach for the first three seasons, but he retired last November and was replaced by Trent Miles, who comes to Atlanta by way of Indiana State. Miles gets top billing in the first of two posters produced by the team.
Once again, we are asking reader's to vote on each team's posters. The poll will be at the bottom of each post.
New Yorker staff writer Malcolm Gladwell made a recent appearance on CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS" and was asked if it's time to stop playing the sport of football. Gladwell, a football fan, says the sport is no different than dog fighting. It's a stance Gladwell took shortly after charges of dog fighting were brought against NFL quarterback Michael Vick in 2007.
Rich Rodriguez has donned many a chapeau during his career, but the Arizona coach tried on a new one for two promotional videos shot recently in Old Tucson. The cigar-chomping Rodriguez is the lead character in "Hard Edge" and "Hard Edge II", which feature cameos from Wildcat assistant coaches and players.
Granted, Rodriguez is no James Arness (how about a little five o'clock shadow to roughen things up?) and yes, wifey Rita Rodriguez produced the videos, but we give the effort a thumbs up on creativity alone.