USC fires rogue student manager, Michigan agrees to series with BYU

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National Notebook

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly leads his team onto the field for their spring game in South Bend, Ind. Kelly, in his third-year as a head coach, has the unbeaten Fighting Irish in the national championship discussion with their best start in a decade at 7-0.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

As the regular season inches towards completion, a handful of teams are still in contention for the championship. Let’s take a look at some of the national notes heading into the weekend.

• Kentucky announced Sunday that head coach Joker Phillips would not be returning next season after a 12-23 stint with the Wildcats. Rumors are spreading around college football that former Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino has interest in filling the vacancy. Petrino has coached in Kentucky before, leading Louisville to an Orange Bowl victory over Wake Forest in 2006.

• A student manager at USC was fired after having been found to deflate five footballs used during the Trojans’ game versus Oregon last weekend. USC was also fined by the Pac-12 for the incident.

• Staying in Los Angeles, UCLA head coach Jim Mora stated he thought the creator of a fake Twitter account for cornerback Randall Goforth should be jailed. The Twitter fraud, “trash-tweeted” USC receivers Marquis Lee and Robert Woods, both of whom responded to the fake account. Since his statement, Mora has admitted he overreacted. 

• Tennessee State freshman defensive back William Wayne Jones III died after collapsing in practice Wednesday. The redshirt freshman was returning a ball to a coach after a noncontact drill when he fell. Jones III had no preexisting conditions the team was aware of.

• Wisconsin fifth-year senior quarterback Curt Phillips will start versus Indiana this weekend, his first career start. Maryland-transfer Danny O’Brien is listed as co-starter. This comes after redshirt freshman Joel Stave broke his collarbone two weeks ago against Michigan State. The Badgers have had a quarterback carousel throughout the season after O’Brien didn’t live up to his billing after transferring.

• BYU will begin a home-and-home series with Michigan in 2015. The Wolverines are replacing Notre Dame with the Cougars on their schedule. BYU also has scheduled a series with Virginia that will begin next season in Charlottesville. BYU has recently become an Independent in football.

• History doesn’t favor Oregon winning the BCS Championship after the Ducks gave up 51 points to USC last Saturday. No team has won the BCS Title after having given up more than 50 points during the regular season. Nebraska allowed 61 points to Colorado in 2001 before losing the title game to Miami, 37-14 at the Rose Bowl.

• Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly admitted he voted Notre Dame second in the Coaches Poll behind Alabama, with Oregon, Kansas State and Georgia following in order. Kelly said of the Crimson Tide, “I think [Alabama] started there and you have to take the belt from the champ. I think they deserve to be there until somebody beats them.”

• Alabama fans got their hands on LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger’s cell phone number prior to the game in Death Valley last Saturday. After scoring a go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter, Mettenberger made a cell phone gesture and held it to his ear, taunting the Tide fans. Call Zach, maybe?