Posted on: March 5, 2012 2:27 pm
Edited on: March 5, 2012 2:33 pm

Pinkel: "No changes" to approach as SEC beckons

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

We learned recently that Missouri has plenty of changes in store for their move to the SEC--higher ticket prices, new uniforms and helmets, even fielding a national No. 1 recruit. But in terms of their practical philosophy, both on the field and on the recruiting trail, Gary Pinkel says the Tigers are going to look the same way they have since his arrival in 2001.

"What we're going to do is do what we do and recruit the same players we recruit," Pinkel said in an extensive Q&A published Sunday in the Columbia Daily-Tribune. "Our recruiting evaluation is no different than what we did in the Big 12. We have our offensive and defensive schemes, and we'll do what we do there. For us, there's really no changes there."

Pinkel did say that the team's recruiting "areas" and "infrastructure" have "changed a little bit," but he added that despite the Dorial Green-Beckham breakthrough, the Tigers are pursuing the same kinds of players they've always pursued.

"You know, Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska and those people were pretty good teams. They've just got more of them (in the SEC)," he said. "It's still about blocking and tackling. And the good news is our program is still the same. We just do what we do."

Pinkel saved his most extensive remarks, however, for the switch on Missouri's helmet from the more traditional block M to the newer Missouri Tiger head--a move he said he's personally "gotten some emails" about in opposition to the switch. But Pinkel said it was a necessary move from a branding standpoint.

The truth is this — and it's all marketing Nike has done — but we have facts for the University of Missouri and not just football, but our brand is Mizzou and that Tiger head. When people see that Tiger head they know there's only one like that in the world. And it's ours. And there's only one Mizzou in the world. 

That being said, on ESPN you can have Oklahoma's helmet up there and our M helmet and when you flash by it, a lot of people won't know who that is. Most people if they glanced at it probably thinks it's Michigan. Even though Michigan doesn't have an M on their helmets, that's what they'd think.
The Wolverines are flattered, Gary. Of course, shifting to an emphasis on the Tiger just as you enter a league with two other sets of Tigers already might create some of the same issues. But who are we to argue with Nike's army of professional marketers?

(Seriously, we aren't going to on this one. That new helmet is an improvement and we don't doubt Pinkel at all that casual fans might mistake the Mizzou M for a Michigan one. Not every tradition has to be maintained, especially when it "only" dates to 1971. Carry on, Gary.)

For more Mizzou football, follow Dave Matter's CBSSports.com Missouri RapidReports. 

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Posted on: February 21, 2012 5:17 pm

Mizzou increases ticket prices for SEC move

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The biggest change for Missouri's athletics programs and its football team can be summed simply: they're moving from the Big 12 to the SEC. But there's a ton of other smaller changes that go along with that big change, and Tiger fans and boosters are going to feel several of them in the wallet.

That's the takeaway from this open letter from Missouri athletic director Mike Alden to "Tiger Nation" addressing the "5 basic areas on which we see those challenges" arising in the SEC. Among those are "Facilities," "Operational Costs," and other areas which will require an increase in the athletic budget.

Towards that end, Alden announced that the Tigers would implement "an increase in ticket prices in football across the board," faculty and students excepted. Those prices will fall in the "middle of the pack" for the SEC.

Missouri will also add seating to their south end zone -- including moving the band into the "southeast corner of the student section" -- and increasing the level of "minimum donations" to the Tiger Scholarship Fund. Season ticket holders grandfathered in from before required donations will also now have to make some level of donation to keep those tickets, beginning in 2013.

In short: SEC membership doesn't come with a free bumper sticker, but if it did, it would be "Expensive but worth it."

The financial effort might be the most immediate fallout from the SEC decision, but Alden's letter also announced several more:

  • The Tigers will debut their "re-branding" of their Nike-produced uniforms, which will "focus much more on our [Tiger] logo than the 'block M.'" We are both excited and afraid.
  • Faurot Field will undergo some major changes, including a new artificial turf surface (at a cost of $1.5 million) and a shift from "Missouri" to "Mizzou" in each end zone. And of course, the SEC logo will adorn the field as well.
  • Tickets allotted for visiting fans will be increased from approximately 3,800 to 6,000, because, well, to put it simply, Georgia is going to want more than 3,800 tickets.
HT: TeamSpeedKills.

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Posted on: January 23, 2012 2:59 am
Edited on: January 23, 2012 1:52 pm

Chip Kelly jumps from Oregon to the NFL and back

Posted by Bryan Fischer

UPDATE: Oregon released an official statement from Chip Kelly on Monday, confirming both Kelly's contact with the Tampa Bay Buccanneers and his plans to remain as the Ducks' head coach.

“I am flattered by the interest of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ organization," Kelly explained.  "I enjoyed meeting with the Glazer family and General Manager Mark Dominik but after numerous discussions, I concluded that I have some unfinished business to complete at the University of Oregon.”

“The Tampa Bay Buccaneers asked for permission to engage in conversation with Coach Kelly, which was granted,” Oregon Athletics Director Rob Mullens said. “The University of Oregon is one of the nation's preeminent college football programs and, as such, it comes as no surprise the NFL is interested in our personnel. We are pleased with Coach Kelly’s decision to remain as our head coach. Coach Kelly has provided great leadership and remains committed to building on our position among the elite college football programs in the country.”

Two sources with direct knowledge of the talks told CBSSports.com that Oregon head coach Chip Kelly had agreed in principle to take the same position with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and was in the process of finalizing details of a multi-year contract but has changed is mind and will stay at Oregon. The Register-Guard first reported the news of Kelly's departure and that he would be staying in Eugene Sunday night.

"I don't know what to say... he changed his mind," one source said via text message.

News of the possible departure first surfaced during the middle of Sunday's NFC Championship Game with a report from Portland TV station KGW sports reporter Michael Berk. Tampa Bay fired head coach Raheem Morris in January after 10 straight losses to cap a 17-31 mark over three seasons.

Kelly, 48, is coming off the most successful three-year stretch in Oregon history, capped off with the program's first Rose Bowl victory in 95 years at the beginning of this year. The Ducks are 34-6 in three seasons with Kelly as head coach, including three straight BCS bowls and an appearance in the national championship game in 2011. He came to Eugene as offensive coordinator in 2007 after spending eight seasons at New Hampshire and promptly set a host of school and conference records on the offensive side of the ball.

Numerous questions surround the timing of the move to Tampa Bay, beginning with Oregon's still-open NCAA investigation into recruiting violations surrounding supposed scout Willie Lyles. Kelly is believed to be at the center of the probe regarding, among other things, a $25,000 payment to Lyles for scouting services and any improprieties surrounding former Ducks running back Lache Seastrunk. The school has retained attorney Michael Glazier, a partner in the firm Bond, Schoeneck & King with the nickname 'The Cleaner' for his expertise in dealing with NCAA cases. Oregon received a notice of inquiry in September.

There is also the issue as to whether Kelly's fast-paced spread option offense can translate to the NFL. The Ducks have finished in the top 12 in the country in scoring offense since he took over the reigns and he's terrorized Pac-12 defensive coordinators with an explosive run game and quick passing game. Kelly has zero NFL experience but has not exactly been shy about jumping up a level, telling multiple people that he's wanted to coach in the league at some point in his career. According to The Oregonian he was making around $2.8 million per year under a recently re-worked contract with a buyout in the neighborhood of $3.5 million.

Multiple reports said Kelly was pulled off the road and did not make scheduled in-home visits on Sunday as his contract was being negotiated with the Bucs.

Posted on: December 27, 2011 9:45 am
Edited on: December 27, 2011 9:48 am

Oregon's Rose Bowl uniforms released

Posted by Bryan Fischer

There's nothing quite like Nike's Pro Combat Uniforms and Oregon's football team. Together, they're in a whole new category when it comes to uniforms.

The former unveiled the latter's uniforms Tuesday morning as the Ducks prepare to take on Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. The technology behind the uniforms debuted last season in Oregon's uniforms in the national championship game and will make their way to the school's threads in their third consecutive BCS game on January 2nd. Pretty sharp (at least as far as Ducks uniform standards go) if you ask me.

“Nike’s relationship with the University of Oregon represents a forward-thinking approach to innovation and design. Our goal is to help build better athletes by providing them with state-of-the-art-innovation combined with a deep knowledge and understanding of their heritage” said Todd Van Horne, Nike’s Creative Director for Football. The latest Nike Pro Combat system of dress uniform delivers more on-field performance benefits than ever before while pushing the limits on creativity and design. The Oregon Ducks truly represent Nike's approach in developing athletes from the inside-out.”

Oregon won the program's only Rose Bowl in 1917 and lost the last time they were in Pasadena to Ohio State. They - and uber-booster and Nike boss Phil Knight - are hoping 2012 results in a not only new uniforms, but a win as well.

“Oregon represents the gold-standard when it comes to merging science and innovation with athletic performance and we are excited to continue our partnership with Nike by unveiling the next iteration in uniform innovation for the Rose Bowl” said Chip Kelly. “Nike always starts by listening to the voice of the athlete as they continue to bring the most intuitive technology to the game.”

You can view full resolution photos of the uniforms and more information on Nike's website and Facebook page. While you're at it, you can like the Eye on College Football on Facebook or follow the blog on Twitter. You can also keep up with the latest college football news from around the country in the CBSSports.com daily newsletter.

Posted on: November 13, 2011 11:59 pm

Pac-12 Winners and Losers: Week 11

Posted by Bryan Fischer

A handy recap of who really won and who really lost that you won't find in the box score.

WINNER: Phil Knight

Before Saturday's Oregon-Stanford game, commissioner Larry Scott presented the Pac-12 Championship Trophy, fitting considering the game to be played a few minutes afterward would pretty much decide who will be raising it for the first time ever. Right as Scott was concluding his presentation however, Nike boss and Oregon uber-booster Phil Knight strolled in, walked right by the trophy and into his box with just a slight glance at the regular season's ultimate prize. He looked to be in a good mood and it's hard to blame him; not only is he filthy rich, he has degrees from both Stanford and Oregon so he couldn't really go home a loser. But thanks to the result on the field, his beloved Ducks will likely be raising that trophy he walked by after winning their 19th straight conference win.

LOSER: Andrew Luck's supporting cast

Drop. Drop. Sack. Pressure. Missed field goal.

It was not a pretty outing for the Cardinal Saturday night and especially not for the presumed Heisman Trophy front-runner that lead them to a spotless record, Andrew Luck. The defense had plenty of issues keeping up with Oregon's speed and allowed too many big plays, forcing the offense to play from behind the whole game. Luck's normally reliable tight ends dropped several passes, including a few easy ones on third downs, and the lack of speed at the wide receiver position was evident when there was nobody to stretch the field and nobody could create separation. As badly as the previously impeccable quarterback played in building up the nation's longest winning streak, he failed to live up to expectations against the Ducks - 271 yards, three touchdowns but two interceptions - in large part because it looked like he was the only good player on the field wearing red.

WINNER: Parkas

There was something in the air on the West Coast Saturday and whatever it was, you need a heavy coat to protect you from it. The weather at most of the Pac-12's games outside of the one in Palo Alto was not good to say the least. There were sustained winds of 45 miles per hour (and gusts all the way to 70!) in Colorado, Washington brought Seattle's weather down to Los Angeles, it was rainy and snowy in Pullman with temps in the 30's and UCLA played Utah in a snow game. It wasn't the greatest weekend to head out to a game but coat sales went through the roof in just about every campus bookstore.

LOSER: Coaches' sense of security.

Just a few weeks ago, people were talking about how Dennis Erickson had won his way off of the hot seat and maybe even into a contract extension. Thanks in large part to beating Erickson, many thought Rick Neuheisel had bought himself some time. Tim Kish destroyed Neuheisel on national television had some buzzing. It's the bottom of the Pac-12 circle of life and it's cost each of the three any sense of security about their job status. Even Paul Wulff, who pulled off maybe his biggest win since taking over in Pullman, is no sure thing to return next season. You could end up seeing as many as five schools change coaches in the offseason, a notable contrast to the relative stability the conference has had.

WINNER: The Quack Attack

In the battle of speed versus size, it's safe to say that in the Pac-12 speed always trumps size. Oregon's fast-paced attack with speedy running backs and receivers in space have been unstoppable in conference play, winning 19 straight games (only three by less than double digits). Chip Kelly is also aggressive, going for it on fourth down a few times and calling a few risky screen plays after Darron Thomas made about 15 bad decisions on the first one he called. It's not just that they have home run threats, the Ducks force other teams to game plan much differently than any other team in the country. If you happened to see DeAnthony Thomas racing up the sidelines in sixth gear while everyone in Cardinal looked like they were in first, that's just the Quack Attack at work.

LOSER: The Pac-12 South

With USC ineligible for the South title, the race to represent the division in the Pac-12's first ever title game is quickly becoming a race to the bottom, not the top. Arizona State was thought to have control and seemed destined to beat the Oregon/Stanford winner in early December. Then they lost to UCLA late at the Rose Bowl, putting a lot more scenarios on the table. Both lost Saturday, keeping the Bruins - somehow - in control of their destiny. Even Utah isn't out of the race as it looks like three teams could end the season at 5-4 in the division with the Trojans actually sitting atop the standings. A mess? Yes, and one reason why the Ducks are a shoe in for another Pac-12 title.

WINNERS: Coug'n it

Washington State had lost five in a row before hosting Arizona State team and thanks to some wet, snowy conditions pulled off a big upset that had to give some hopes for every Cougars fan out there. Freshman quarterback Connor Halliday ran the offense well against a solid Sun Devils defense, passing for 494 yards and four touchdowns despite the conditions to set a freshman school record. The defense made a few late stops in the 4th quarter and you could see signs of life - despite a rash of injuries - up in the Palouse. It still looks like a long shot to get bowl eligible but stranger things have happened. Still, the losing streak is over, it's unlikely they'll finish as the conference bottom-dweller and Paul Wulff might have earned himself another season with the signs of progress.

LOSER: Steve Sarkisian

Returning to his old stomping grounds at the Coliseum, Sarkisian ended up being the one getting stomped on. It wasn't pretty, a 40-17 loss, and it was made even worse by the fact that the offense was held to just 265 yards, had a safety and gave up six sacks. Sarkisian is close friends with USC head coach Lane Kiffin and the two talked afterward but still had pain Sark that he not only lost but was routed. The Huskies are bowl eligible for the second season in a row but need to turn things around after back-to-back losses.

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Posted on: August 25, 2011 11:35 am
Edited on: August 25, 2011 11:57 am

Exclusive: New Oregon Nike Pro Combat uniforms

Posted by Will Brinson

Nike's Pro Combat uniform series has become not just an annual tradition, but a reminder that football is here, you guys.

CBSSports.com was given an exclusive first look at the uniforms for both the Oregon Ducks and the Boise St. Broncos (view Boise's uniforms here) and we're happy to share them with you, our dear readers.

As you can see above, the 2011 Oregon football jerseys sport the similar "winged" look as the 2010 -- the jerseys are built out of Nike Flywire technology (which is the same stuff in the sides of most of your new Nike shoes), and includes ultra-strong Kevlar (bulletproof!) stitching in the collar as well.

But that doesn't mean it's heavy -- per Nike, "cooling zones in the lightweight jersey work in concert with base layer ventilation for optimal thermoregulation." No, I'm not entirely sure what that means, but I'm pretty sure it's something along the lines of "the jersey has breathable sections throughout the torso to make sure that athletes don't become overheated." (This is how my golf shirts work, so I'm guessing, but still.)

As far as the cleats go, well, they're smooth, and they contrast nicely with the full-on black that Oregon's rocking when wearing the Pro Combat unis.

Oregon's colorways are always controversial, because they're combinations of funky greens and yellows. But the "highlight" color on the cleats and gloves are pretty dope, especially paired against the silver of the toe ... and heel.

Nike's worked up some special training shoes for Oregon as well:

Speaking as someone who has a pair of "highlighted" air bubbles (I rock the LunarGlide 3 when I run), they're spicy to wear around and they get you noticed, but it's been rare when someone's ever said something that wasn't complimentary. And I don't look like a football player either. As you can see above, there's significant breathability and surprisingly limited FlyWire across the supporting areas of the shoe.

And, of course, the helmets:

Oh yeah, we also got our hands on an exclusive clip of the uniforms:

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Posted on: August 20, 2011 11:12 am

Georgia's new Nike uniforms are ... something

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

If you follow the Eye on CFB on Twitter -- and if you don't, why on earth not? -- you saw a Tweet Thursday from a former Georgia volleyball player that described the Bulldogs' new Nike-designed uniforms as "red jersey and pants, black belt, silver helmet."

That seemed awfully unorthodox for a Bulldogs program that's been burned fooling around with uniform tweaks before, but never doubt the Swoosh's ability to amaze, we guess. Because the Bulldogs' "Pro Combat" uniforms were officially released today, and they're every bit that unorthodox and then some:

Yes, Virginia, that is a silver helmet (as opposed to the Dawgs' traditional silver pants). And odd black panels on the shoulders. And a freaking gigantic red stripe on the helmet. And nothing but that one sliver of belt on the front to break up the sea of red from the collar to the knee. We'll make our official reactions short: yeeeeeesh.

Mark Richt said the uniforms do "a great job of trying to capture a lot of the tradition of Georgia football." We're not sure what tradition that is -- unless Nike foresees a loss to Boise State, fulfilling the Bulldogs' tradition of defeats in new uniforms -- but we don't doubt Richt when he also says the players like them.

But unless the Dawgs get the season off to a winning start in the new duds, we're guessing the Georgia faithful are going to be much, much less pleased.

Posted on: July 28, 2011 11:50 am
Edited on: July 28, 2011 11:52 am

Behold! Oklahoma State's new uniforms

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It's been known that Oklahoma State was having some new uniforms made for the 2011 season for a while, but now, courtesy of Pistols Firing, we have our first glimpse at what they look like.  They were designed by Nike, and much like the Oregon uniforms Nike has always made, the new look gives the Cowboys a whole lot of different combinations to choose from.

Here's a look at a couple of different combos that Oklahoma State can employ.


You can see the rest of the combinations over at Pistols Firing.

As for how they look, I don't hate them at all. Whenever Nike is getting its hands on some uniforms and redesigning them I generally expect the worst, but these aren't bad at all. 

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com