We're about seven weeks from kickoff! BracketCat updated the football roster countdown in celebration: #50 walk-on defensive end Jordan Kupersmith.
Dante Barnett would be a rich man today if all his preseason accolades could be ascribed monetary value. He picked up another honor yesterday when he became one of 50 football players named to the 2015 Walter Camp Player of the Year Award watch list. Barnett is one of only 13 defensive players named to the list and the sixth Wildcat in the last four years. Collin Klein was a finalist in 2012, and Tyler Lockett, Arthur Brown, Nigel Malone, and John Hubert have all been candidates in the past. Barnett is a team captain for 2015 and will be joining Bill Snyder for Big 12 Media Days along with the other team captains.Speaking of highly feted Wildcats, in this week's Football Friday feature, Kelly McHugh chats with the one and only Michael Bishop, who will be joining Jordy Nelson, Darren Sproles and Clarence Scott on the Kansas State Ring of Honor this year.
There is not a lot of real football news at this point, so allow me to editorialize a bit on the big stories of the past week.
We begin with the SEC, where the much-talked about media days may have fallen a bit flat. (Edward Aschoff, ESPN). First, the event lacked its usual swagger and hubris, suggesting that the conference has either been knocked down a peg by the crash-and-burn of the bowl/playoff season, or that (much like the Big 12), the SEC is overreacting to the outcome of the inaugural playoffs. Then again, it is possible the SEC's long run of success was just a house of cards built on self-aggrandizing rhetoric and a fawning media contingent that was complicit in that success. It's just a shame there is no handy German word for the joy the rest of college football derives from the SEC's misfortune.
Second, there is apparently no excuse Nick Saban will not make. Last year, after a resounding defeat by Oklahoma, he suggested his team played poorly because they were disappointed. This year, with a berth in the championship game on the line, Saban claimed his players were distracted by attention from the NFL. (Chip Towers, Atlanta Journal-Constitution (via NCAA.com)). All criticisms of Saban (including those leveled by former Saban player Plaxico Burress) are a posteriori valid.
Speaking of criticism, Florida State's Jimbo Fisher has come in for his fair share of (generally justified) negative feedback. Fisher has since "clearly understood the gravity of the situation," according to university president John Thrasher. Florida State players will be required to take a course in social responsibility with an eye to teaching the players the hard lesson: to consider the consequences of their action (Jim Henry, Tallahassee Democrat). Effectively, they will be asked to take a class on "how to adult." Take from that what you will.
In the Big Ten, aside from the usual grousing about Jim Harbaugh, the big news is this: Penn State will return to tradition and remove the names of players from football jerseys (Josh Moyer, ESPN). Fans are overjoyed, recognizing the decision as the door finally closing on the sanctions era, but the response from players has been lukewarm at best.
What's going on in the Pac-12? Well, nobody really cares about the Pac-12.
The men's and women's track and field teams received multiple All-Academic team honors from the USTFCCCA. Ten Wildcats earned individual academic honors, including Sarah Kolmer (pre-med), Tia' Gamble (economics), Dani Winters (communications) and Erica Twiss (elementary education) on the women's side and Miles Bearden (agricultural business), Thilina Karunaratne (business administration), and Carlos Rodriguez (counseling & student development) on the men's side.