College Football News June 13: Jim Harbaugh Piques Nation’s Interest


Michigan football has not had the kind of positive buzz emanating from it that head coach Jim Harbaugh is generating since the week leading up to the “Game of the Century” with Ohio State in 2006.

Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News writes that Jim Harbaugh is “The Most Interesting Man in College Football,” listing off the coach’s appeal in a style borrowed from the Dos Equis ad campaign. The difference between Jim Harbaugh and the beer-hocking spokeslegend, however: Everything Wilner cites about Jim Harbaugh is true, or at least rooted in some reality.

Harbaugh’s debut at Michigan is arguably the most anticipated in recent memory, at the least rivaling Urban Meyer’s 2012 start with Ohio State or Nick Saban taking over Alabama in 2007. But Jim Harbaugh’s willingness to, if not outright insistence on rocking the boat has taken his first year to another level.

Early Signing Period for College Football Close to Reality

Ralph D. Russo, Associated Press

Ralph D. Russo of the Associated Press reports that an early signing period for college football might finally be enacted soon. Right now, the first Wednesday of February marks the first opportunity for recruits to sign a national letter of intent.

With the recruiting process starting earlier and earlier into prospects’ “careers” — I invoke the derisive quotations because labeling the high school and sometimes middle school exploits of teens as careers is asinine — an early signing period seems logical.

Mid-American Conference Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher told Russo:

“Quite frankly, given the two-year look-in that’s part of the proposal, I would just as soon say, ‘Let’s either move forward or not move forward,'” he said. “Let’s get off of being in limbo, which is where we have been for a long time.”

For proponents, an early signing period might quell the offers programs sometimes make without anything legitimate behind them. For opponents — and the SEC is the only conference to oppose, Russo writes — the early signing period limits prospects’ options. In other words, teenagers making snap judgments might be more likely to have buyers’ remorse.

Should the rule come to pass, it will be interesting to see if college football encounters more situations with recruits seeking release from their NLI.

Conference Realignment’s Empty Promises

Allen Kenney, The Student Section

On the five-year anniversary of conference realignment — a brief albeit tumultuous era that gave rise to rumor-mongers and outright liars — various columnists have pontificated on what followed. A widely circulated “Winners & Losers” column from Fox Sports’ Stewart Mandel made the rounds and was given the requisite kudos, but The Student Section’s Allen Kenney rightly points out that such designation is purely subjective — and fails to take into consideration what conference realignment sacrificed.

Embrace the Absurdity of the Civil Conflict

Zach Rastall, AAC Football Fever

Of the damage conference realignment caused, delaying, diminishing or outright killing certain rivalries is near the top. Rivalry plays such an integral role in the game’s popularity, Zach Rastall of AACFootballFever.com points out, which is why he suggests we embrace the absurd “Civil Conflict.”

For those in need of a refresher, the Civil Conflict is the “rivalry” UConn head coach Bob Diaco started with American Athletic Conference counterpart UCF — unbeknownst to anyone at UCF.

Diaco has aggressively defended UConn’s commissioning of a trophy, telling the Associated Press: “They don’t get to say whether they’re our rival or not. We might not be their rival, but they don’t get to say whether they’re our rival. That’s for us to decide.”

Well, if UConn’s committed to making this a thing, we might as well embrace it. Every rivalry has to start somewhere, right?

UConn Transfer Jefferson Ashiru Lands with Randy Edsall at Maryland
Daniel Martin, CSNBaltimore.com

Jeffersno Ashiru, a former UConn linebacker originally recruited by Randy Edsall, is joining Edsall at Maryland. Ashiru announced his decision Friday, CSN Baltimore’s Daniel Martin reports, giving the Terrapins an immediately eligible addition to the defense for the 2015 campaign.

Ashiru was dismissed late last season, leaving the program shortly after contributing an interception in the upset win over UCF that ostensibly launched the “rivalry.” Bob Diaco was the third UConn coach with whom Ashiru had association, remaining committed in 2011 despite the transition from Edsall to Paul Pasqualoni.