CATCHING UP

Del Olaleye: This week in college football

Ed Oliver is 80-1 to win the Heisman. Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

A look at some of the happenings this week in college football:

The Status of Virginia Tech starting QB Josh Jackson

This has not been a good offseason for the Hokies. Justin Fuente’s squad lost three underclassmen to the NFL Draft including Terrell and Tremaine Edmunds. The brother combo are the first ever to be drafted in the first round in the same draft. Tim Settle, the third of the underclassmen to leave early was drafted in the fifth round by the Washington Redskins. That is a lot of talent that could have been part of a stingy Hokies defense in 2018. The attrition didn’t end there. Two cornerbacks who were expected to be on the roster will not be part of the Hokies program as well. That is five contributors off the depth chart from one side of the ball.

The latest news concerns the status of Hokies QB Josh Jackson. A report suggested that he would be suspended indefinitely. That report was disputed by Jackson’s father along with multiple outlets. The redshirt sophomore to be is coming off a season where he started all 13 games and the Hokies finished 9-4. A season opening game against Florida State exacerbates the situation. The Hokies depth chart behind Jackson is light on experience and facing a energized Seminoles roster led by new coach Willie Taggart isn’t the best way to be baptized into major college football for one of Jackson’s understudies.

Bronco Mendenhall will say what he wants

The University of Virginia head coach said something damning of this team this week. He told the Daily Progress,  “I believe we have 27 ACC-caliber football players on our roster today.” Twenty seven players capable of playing in your conference would be outstanding for the baseball team. It is atrocious for your football team. Mendenhall is entering his third year at Virginia after a successful 11-year run at BYU.  A bowl appearance in 2017 followed a two-win 2016 in Charlottesville. Mendenhall appears to have UVA going in the direction. Through recruiting and development he expects to have 85 ACC-caliber players by 2020. Shoutout to the two-thirds of the current Cavaliers roster that isn’t fit enough to play in the ACC. I see Bronco working. How do you sell recruits there is playing time available? Tell them that over 50 guys taking up spots don’t belong on the roster.

The Heisman is just a quarterback and running back Award

New odds are out for the Heisman from the Westgate Sportsbook and only quarterbacks and running backs are listed as having realistic shots. The last non-RB or QB to win the Heisman was the great Charles Woodson twenty-one years ago. He had to do it all to win the award. Play cornerback, wide receiver and return kicks to hold off Peyton Manning. The last offensive player to win the award that didn’t play quarterback or running back was Michigan's wide receiver Desmond Howard in 1991. The Wolverine wide receiver returned kicks just like Woodson did. Running backs head the list this year. Stanford’s Bryce Love is 5 to 1 win the the award and Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor is next in line at 7 to 1. Houston’s star defensive tackle Ed Oliver is the first player who doesn’t play running back or quarterback to be listed. His odds are 80 to 1. You can make a lot of money if you’re an elite corner or defensive tackle. They are premiums positions in the NFL. You just can’t win the Heisman.







 

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome