Sunday afternoon UCF Head Coach Gus Malzhan named Ole Miss transfer John Rhys Plumlee his starting quarterback. Plumlee gets the nod over Mikey Keene, who started the final ten games of the 2021 season.
Plumlee is one of the fastest players on the team and that speed gives Malzahn a dimension he is familiar with from days at Auburn of having a signal caller who is a weapon to run as well as pass.
Malzahn talked throughout UCF's fall camp about how close the battle was between the two. Whoever is playing the position for UCF benefits from a lot of talent around them. The Knights have a veteran offensive line with three returning starters and two newcomers who have been starters on their previous team. UCF has one of the deepest running back rooms in the country led by Isaiah Bowser and Johnny Richardson along with several additional options who can run the ball. Ryan O'Keefe is back at wide receiver with newcomers Kobe Hudson(Auburn) and Javon Baker(Alabama) give UCF a solid top three and tight ends Alec Holler and Kemore Gamble(Florida) add to the pass catchers.
Malzahn believes his defense can be really good for the schedule UCF plays and don't be surprised if you see an emphasis on the run early in the season. Malzahn's best offenses dominated in the run and relied on great defenses to deflate teams. He is focused on the 2022 season but he is also building a more physical team and program as it moves into the Big XII in 2023.
The pieces are in place for UCF to have a very good season. The quarterback position in college is so important and it is at UCF as well but Malzahn's built an offense with weapons to help whoever is taking snaps...
Florida State President Richard McCollough spoke to the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce and spoke regarding conference affiliation. McCollough said "it's something I'm spending a lot of time on and we're getting a lot of help. We're trying to do anything we can to think about how we remain competitive. Florida State is expected to win. We're going to be very aggressive."
Many are trying to reach into his comments and determine that FSU might be studying its options of how to get out of the ACC's Grant of Rights which binds the school to the ACC until 2036.
Slow down here. McCollough is a smart guy and knows the room he is talking to. If someone asks him about FSU can keep up financially with Florida and those in the SEC and Big Ten you don't answer with "well, there's nothing we really can do. We just have to accept that we will be in a league making at least half of what they make."
Instead you speak, as he did, in vague generalities. I don't doubt that most of the schools in the ACC have asked attorneys and media consultants about the Grant of Rights issue and they are likely getting a variety of answers. But here's something to also consider; if available, is McCollough so sure the SEC or the Big Ten would want to add Florida State ahead of a number of other candidates? That is not a knock on FSU, a program that has won multiple national titles. It's a sign of the times of a program that has slipped a bit in recent years and it's also about the metrics that matter when it comes to realignment.
An FSU fan will tell you that their program delivers "the Florida market" with fans stretched across the state. Yes, FSU has fans all over Florida. But they don't add any TV homes that the SEC already doesn't have. Every cable system in Florida already carries the SEC Network, even those in Tallahassee. And all those SEC games airing on the ESPN channels, already air all over the state. The same story applies when Miami fans tell the same thing about what they bring.
I am not saying adding FSU and Miami to the SEC is a bad idea. I am just saying they are not as big of a TV value to the SEC as you think before the Florida Gators guarantee all those homes with cable already have the SEC Network.
You want to know two media areas where the SEC does not have a team and full cable clearance? North Carolina and.....wait for it.....Virginia. First, North Carolina has a larger fan base than most people think. Yes, a lot of that is basketball rich, but the Tar Heel brand stretches far and wide and offers the Charlotte and Raleigh/Durham markets, which continue to grow.
People chuckle when you mention the appeal of Virginia but do you remember why the Big Ten went after Maryland? They would deliver milion of cable homes in the desired DC/Maryland and Northern Virginia area for the Big Ten Network which meant millions of dollars because whether fans watched the Big Ten Network or not, their cable systems put it on and they ended up paying for it anyway. By adding Virginia the SEC gets further up the northeast corridor and into plenty of homes and their pockets whether they watch the SEC Network or not.
Again, I have no idea if or when the SEC or Big Ten will add more to their current lineup of 16 schools. And President McCollough is right to work behind the scenes and publicly regarding his school's conference affiliation. It's his job and his AD's job to make the most money for FSU. One thing that could help, but doesn't guarantee anything is not going 5-7. FSU has not had a winning season since 2017...
Bucs' coach Todd Bowles says Tom Brady should be back at camp this week. That's the good news for the Bucs. But Brady is coming back to a team with an offensive line that makes the season a bigger question mark. The team lost right guard Aaron Stinnie to a torn ACL this past weekend. Stinnie was trying to secure the starting spot but now is done for the season. The Bucs may turn to a rookie or another lineman who started once last season to play that spot. The left guard spot was open because Ali Marpet surprised many by retiring. Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen is expected to miss significant time after he suffered a knee injury in camp. Brady has made and won Super Bowl with average wide receivers and running backs. But now, at age 45, he may have a much bigger challenge with a revamped line. Brady was sacked 22 and 21 times the last two seasons and is a master at getting rid of the ball and avoiding the sack. But the Bucs season may come down to how Brady can perform his magic with a line that can't and won't be as good as it has been the last two seasons...
Nuggets: Do I believe Dana White's story about how he almost brokered the Brady to Raiders deal? Yes. Brady in Vegas makes total sense to me. Jon Gruden may have a different view of the story but I can see it...Scott Frost can't lose Saturday against Northwestern in Ireland, can he?...Fans posted videos of a fight that broke out in the stands of Jags and Steelers fans in Jacksonville. We have fans who are walking production companies by getting their iPhone in position to tape the fight. We had a woman use her aluminum beer bottle as a weapon and then we had the supposed security team slowly walk towards the incident hoping it would be diffused before they got there and I get it. Most of those workers want no part of breaking up a fight because they don't want to get hurt and have no weapon to break anything up. The video is more than two minutes long and not a single cop was anywhere near to get involved...Finally, I drove past a retail store front for a psychic. It had a flashing "OPEN" sign. Does that truly have an impact on a potential customer? Does one drive by and see the flashing sign and think "yup, time to make the U-turn and get a reading". Also, the sign on the front window offered a special $20 reading. If the rate is cut, is the psychic still going all in or any chance of holding back the good stuff?...
Final note: Bananas and tomatoes rank 1-2 in most popular fruits in the world. Yes, a tomato is a fruit