Three-Point Stance: Aggies opt out, fizzled hires, All-Disrespected team

Rivals National Columnist Mike Farrell is here with his thoughts on Texas A&M giving up its bowling alley, a look at some must-see hires that went missing, and a breakdown of offensive players who didn’t get the respect they deserved in 2021.

Come on, Aggies. This is not cool. Wake Forest had a great season by its standards to earn a spot in the Gator Bowl. Texas A&M, meanwhile, was a disappointment with a score of 8-4. And the disappointment continued Wednesday with news that the Aggies would be withdrawing from the Gator Bowl due to a combination of COVID-19 protocols, opt-outs and end-of-season injuries that left them extremely understaffed. Now are the Demon Deacons left to sway in the breeze? This is not cool.

Texas A&M sporting director Ross Bjork says the Aggies had dropped to 38 players with available scholarships. Although this number seems very low to me, I do not question it. However, I’m going to wonder why the Aggies don’t play as extras and keep trying. Mike Leach and Mississippi State gave Georgia a game last season with just 40 scholarship players, and LSU beat Florida away last year with under 50. Had it been a 10-2 season and a bowl more important or a semifinal of the CFB playoffs, Texas would A&M be singing a different tune?

Players who give up protecting their future in the NFL are one thing, but an entire bailout program because it would likely get punched seems like a bad precedent to set.

Last week I evaluated the new Power Five coach hires and gave very high marks to Brian Kelly at LSU, Lincoln Riley to USC e Mario cristobal in Miami. But it got me thinking: What recent must-see hires have actually been missing? Here are five huge hires that either failed badly or are still trying to live up to the hype.

Charlie Strong, Texas – Strong is considered one of the all-time good guys in college football. Unfortunately, being a good guy doesn’t mean you’ll be successful. When he was hired in Texas in 2014, he was coming out of a strong four-year run in Louisville that saw him go 37-15, with placements in the top 15 in a row in the country. But it didn’t quite fit UT perfectly and struggled with high expectations. He hasn’t had a winning season in three years in Austin and was fired for the next manager on the list.

Tom Herman, Texas – Herman was one of the manager’s hottest names in 2017, after two strong seasons in Houston (including a 13-1 season in 2015 when he led the Cougars to a Peach Bowl win), as well as the afterglow of the leading Ohio State offense in 2014 to the inaugural CFP title. But even in Texas he never got along well, and the marriage went stale after four seasons. This was even stranger than Strong as Herman had at least strong recruiting ties to Texas.

Scott Frost, Nebraska – Bringing back a famous pupil to coach a team is always a double-edged sword. Quarterback of the 1997 Cornhuskers national team, Frost was poised to become the conquering hero after an outstanding run at UCF, where he led the Golden Knights to an unbeaten season in 2017. But he’s been an absolute disaster ever since he’s returned to Lincoln – in four seasons, he hasn’t even played a game of bowls yet and is 15 games under 0.500 in conference play. It’s a small miracle that he didn’t get fired after this season.

Dan Mullen, Florida – It was considered a coup for the Gators when they convinced Mullen to return to Florida after nine strong seasons in the state of Mississippi, where he led the Bulldogs to eight consecutive bowl games. He had been the offensive coordinator for two national title teams, and it was expected that he would be able to bring the Gators back to national prominence. But he has shown a distinct lack of concern about recruiting and the wheels have completely collapsed this season, ending with an abysmal 2-6 in conference play. Now the Gainesville brass has turned to Billy Napier to pick up the pieces.

Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M – When Texas A&M gave him one of the biggest contracts in college football history in 2017, the Aggies expected him to propel them into the elite class of college football. After all, he was able to win a national title in the state of Florida. Four years later, he’s finished no higher than second in the SEC West and has at least four losses each year in addition to the odd 2020 season. Yes, the Aggies beat Alabama this year, but they also lost to Arkansas, Mississippi State. , Ole Miss and that LSU team. Fisher is introducing exceptional recruiting classes, but this has not yet manifested consistently in the field.

Finally, we always hear about the big names in Power Five college football, but what about those who don’t get the respect they deserve. Here’s my first team attack from Rodney Dangerfield (I’m getting old too).

QB: Brennan Armstrong, Virginia – Armstrong has largely gone under the radar this season due to Kenny Pickett and Sam Hartman’s outstanding play within his own conference and the hype around Sam Howell. But Armstrong came up with some staggering numbers. He finished third in the nation with 4,444 past yards and 31 touchdowns in the air, adding nine more to the ground. The junior quarterback will have a chance to be in Heisman’s discussion next season.

RB: Tyler Badie, Missouri – Badie finished the season in second place among the Power Five in 1,604 yard runs, just 32 yards behind Kenneth Walker, and added 14 touchdowns. He was the engine of a Mizzou team that had ups and downs throughout the season.

RB: Sean Tucker, Syracuse – Tucker was one of the quietest actors of all season, running nearly 1,500 yards and 12 touchdowns for a Syracuse team that nearly had a game of bowls. It is one of the main reasons why Dino Babers still has a job.

WR: David Bell, Purdue – Bell alone destroyed Iowa when the Hawkeyes finished second in the country, making 11 tricks and 240 yards. He finished the season in ninth place in the national team for receptions (93) and yards (1.286), leading the Big Ten in both categories.

WR: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State – While Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave get most of the hype, it was actually Smith-Njigba who led the team into yards with 1,259. With both of those guys going to the NFL next season, he’ll be number one.

WR: Josh Downs, North Carolina – Tar Heels have not lived up to expectations this season, but it is not Downs’ fault, who has been among the best receivers in the country this season. His 98 catches amounted to third place in the country, and he finished with 1,273 yards, second in the ACC behind Biletnikoff winner Jordan Addison.

TE: Greg Dulcich, UCLA – When people talk about the Bruins attack, they start and end with the rush attack, but forget the big tight end that was instrumental in bringing UCLA back beyond .500 for the first time in half a decade. The junior had 42 receptions for 725 yards and five touchdowns, and was the safety blanket for Dorian Thompson-Robinson.

OT: Cooper Beebe, Kansas State – Beebe was arguably the best tackle in the Big 12 this season, not allowing a single sack all season and only nine total presses.

AT: Braeden Daniels, Utah – Daniels is a veritable mauler for the Utes, paving the way for their onslaught, no matter who he is receiving. He finished in sixth place among all Power Five offensive linemen in the running blocking rank and getting a nod at all first team conferences.

E: Caleb Chandler, Louisville – He doesn’t get the publicity of some of his conference mates, but finished third among all Power Five guards in PFF’s rating system, allowing for only one QB hit and six total presses on 416 snaps blocking the passage.

OG: Andrew Vorhees, USC – The Trojans haven’t had a banner season by any stretch of the imagination, but Vorhees had a fantastic year inside, ranking as PFF’s top guard among Power Five players. He was the only player in the country to score more than 90 in both passing and blocking the run, allowing only one sack out of 544 block snaps.

C: Joe Tippmann, Wisconsin – While Tyler Linderbaum gets all the accolades for the Big Ten linemen (and rightfully so), the first-year starter on the Badgers offensive line was exceptional from start to finish.

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