|Gerald Herbert/Associated Press|
|South Carolina's Steve Spurrier found his way into the news quite frequently in the past week.|
Smell that? That's the scent of football in the fall. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, college football is almost here.
As training camps get underway across the country, College Football 24/7 is taking a look at some winners and losers from the past week in the sport.
Ed O'Bannon, et. al.After five long years, the O'Bannon vs. NCAA case was finally decided as U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilkin ruled on Friday that the association does violate antitrust rules in a landmark case for college athletics. O'Bannon and his legal team won most of their claims against the NCAA, with the judge issuing some particularly harsh language about the NCAA's definition of amateurism.
The NCAA quickly announced it would appeal the case but either way, O'Bannon and his fellow plaintiffs had their day in court and came out victorious.
UCF head coach George O'Leary seems to at least be giving some consideration to retirement, and the big beneficiary of his departure would be UCF assistant Brent Key. A long time O'Leary assistant and key part of the offensive staff that oversaw a BCS bowl win and Blake Bortles' rise, Key has long been considered the likely next guy up in Orlando, and this week seemed to confirm things.
It might not be the former Georgia Tech player's turn to lead the program just yet, but it sure sounds as though the job will be his in the not-too-distant future.
The "Power Five"
The NCAA Board of Directors voted Thursday to grant autonomy to the five major FBS conferences in a big set of reforms for the organization. The move, pending an override vote by all Division I schools, will give more legislative power to the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC.
This should allow for rules that will benefit football players and other student-athletes to be passed more quickly and no doubt caused a few high-fives among the power brokers from those conferences.
The SEC Network
The SEC-ESPN joint venture was bound to be a runaway success both financially and in terms of the television product, but the yet-to-launch network scored a major victory this week when it was announced that it would be carried by DirecTV at launch. While coaches might not be thrilled at every aspect of the SEC Network, they will no doubt enjoy the fact that their bonuses or new facilities will come a tad quicker with all that extra revenue.
Also a big winner when it comes to the SEC Network? NASA's satellite package.
The Ol' Ball Coach is a one-liner machine and was in rare form this week. A sampling:
"Playing East Carolina is probably tougher than playing one of those bottom tier Big Ten Teams."
"We all thought O'Bannon was going to win didn't we? He had a good case.
"You know what (the SEC Network) means don't you fellas? That means more money, but no more for you. No more for the players. All for somebody else."
Top college pass rushers to watchTake a look ahead to the 2014 college football season with the best pass rushers to follow this fall.
Perhaps the injury bug that bit Florida last season has found a new home in Lincoln, Neb. Either way, the Cornhuskers are in trouble after a rash of bad news on defense. First, sophomore safety LeRoy Alexander was suspended for the season. Then junior corner Charles Jackson suffered a season-ending injury. Things didn't stop there, as linebacker Michael Rose said he tore his ACL and would also miss the 2014 campaign.
Losing three potential starters in the span of a week does not bode well for Bo Pelini, but something tells us he will just keep on trucking.
The Devonte Fields saga has had more twists and turns the past month than anybody could have predicted. The preseason pick for Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, Fields was involved in an off-campus incident in which he was accused of threatening and punching his ex-girlfriend. He was arrested on a misdemeanor assault warrant and booted from TCU -- both the school and the football team. He appeared to be on his way to nearby FCS program Stephen F. Austin. However, as we found out this week, Fields' next football stop is still not known.
There was plenty of hope heading into the 2014 season that Fields would be able to turn things around on and off the field after a disastrous 2013 campaign, but it hasn't gone that way. The next time we hear his name could be when the 2015 NFL Draft rolls around, and no one will be surprised if teams shy away from the talented defensive end due to character concerns.
LSU's defensive line
The Tigers are trying to replace a number of players from last year's defensive line and things are not going as well as planned for coach Les Miles and defensive coordinator John Chavis. News came this week that likely defensive tackle starter Quentin Thomas will likely miss the season with a torn biceps. The loss of Thomas leaves LSU with only one other player at tackle who has seen action in a college game.
Yes, Miles has recruited a ton of talent to Baton Rouge and knows how to navigate early NFL draft entrees and season-ending injuries, but it seems pretty clear that LSU will be young and inexperienced in the trenches this season.
Air Force football
The Falcons, already coming off a terrible season, suffered more bad news as a troubling story surfaced from the Colorado Springs Gazette, which found allegations that cadets violated the school's honor code by committing everything from sexual assaults to cheating on tests. The story is particularly bad when you consider the Academy is not just home to a football team but future officers in the U.S. Air Force. It's not a good look, to say the least, and quite concerning for fans of any team.
Florida CB Vernon Hargreaves
Hargreaves was reportedly trying to break up a fight between teammates as a practice drill got a little heated on Thursday. And what did the Gators' star defensive player end up with for his actions? A bone bruise and a day-to-day diagnosis after he withered in pain and had to be carted off the field.
The loss of Hargreaves, even for a few practices, is not a great start to training camp for a Florida team looking to bounce back after a rough 2013 season. Still, things weren't all bad for the star corner -- he was selected as one of the top 20 players in college football by CFB 24/7.
You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.