Posted on: February 25, 2011 2:45 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Every Friday we catch up on four stories you might have missed during the week ... and add a few extra links to help take you into the weekend.
FOUR LINKS ...
1. Future scheduling is very much in the news today, with discussions about moving the new Big 12's biggest in-state rivalry games to Dec. 3 and the Big East finally releasing its 2011 slate. But maybe nowhere is it more in the news than at Nevada, which is desperately trying to work its way out of a brutal road stretch (at Oregon, at Texas Tech, at Boise State, all back-to-back-to-back) ... but still found the time to tentatively schedule a home-and-home series with Oregon State for 2017 and 2018. (Is there a way to schedule them for that far ahead that wouldn't be tentative?)
2. Yes, Virginia, when you would have already been the clearcut No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft, you need some kind of insurance policy when you decide to go back to school. Andrew Luck's is worth $5 million already and could wind up being worth even more , depending on the new NFL collective bargaining agreement.
3. Your weekly Friday Four Links position coaching update: former Minnesota assistant John Butler is South Carolina's new special teams coordinator ; Louisville defensive line coach Clint Hurtt will not be accepting Auburn's offer of the same position following Tracy Rocker's departure; which means former Butler colleague with the Gophers Tim Cross is, by process of elimination , the likely front-runner on the Plains; and well-traveled assistant Danny Barrett is the new running backs coach at UCF.
4. Despite saying the scandal that erupted around Cam Newton "kind of stained almost everybody" involved with it -- including himself, we presume -- Dan Mullen also said he had "no regrets" about his Mississippi State program's recruitment of Newton or its handling of the situation. No regrets aside from the part where Newton chose Auburn and went on to win the Heisman and a national championship, it's safe to assume.
AND A CLOUD ...
Tennessee junior cornerback Art Evans spoke publicly for the first time since being reinstated following a three-month suspension; Evans missed the last six games of 2010 after falling behind on his car payments ... In addition to his infamous call to the Paul Finebaum radio show, accused Toomer's Corner oak poisoner Harvey Updyke may have also bragged about committing the crime on an Alabama fan site ... More buzz is buzzing about Oklahoma countering Texas's "Longhorn Network" with one of their own ... Remember former Florida and Ole Miss defensive back Jamar Hornsby? If you do, it won't surpise you to learn he's currently in jail ... Without Nebraska, does the Big 12 have enough quality games for its television obligations?
Tags: Andrew Luck, Art Evans, Big 12, Big East, Boise State, Cam Newton, Clint Hurtt, Dan Mullen, Danny Barrett, Florida, Friday Four Links, Harvey Updyke, Jamar Hornsby, John Butler, Longhorn Network, Louisville, Minnesota, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Nevada, Nfl Draft, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Oregon, Oregon State, Paul Finebaum, South Carolina, Stanford, Texas, Texas Tech, Tim Cross, Toomer's Corner, Tracy Rocker, UCF
Posted on: February 18, 2011 12:11 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
A quick comparison of two recent coaching raises, one at Illinois, the other at Boise State:
This is Ron Zook. His resume:
This is Chris Petersen. His resume:
BONUS data point on what above resume is not worth: Unanimous support from the Idaho Board of Education to receive said $35,000 bonus (emphasis added):
The state Board of Education on Thursday voted 5-2 to give Petersen a $50,000 bonus and a $35,000 bump in annual salary after the Broncos compiled a 12-1 record and ended the season in the Top 10 again.Conclusion of comparison: By every account, Petersen's not looking to move on from Boise anytime soon. But if he ever does, you'll know why.
Posted on: February 8, 2011 4:59 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
No one -- well, not many people -- would blame a head football coach for taking a little personal time following Signing Day. After the long grind of fall camp bleeding into the season followed immediately by the sprint to the recruiting finish line, it's a rare human being who wouldn't have his batteries almost totally drained.
But that blameslessness assumes the coach wasn't leaving important unfinished business behind him when he went on vacation. And for an unstable-looking program coming off of a 4-8 disaster of a season, multiple vacancies on the coaching staff most definitely qualify as "unfinished business." But according to a candidate for one of those vacancies at UCLA, that hasn't stopped Rick Neuheisel from jetting off to warmer climes:
Nevada running backs coach Jim Mastro interviewed for and was offered a position on the UCLA football staff Friday, but said he won't make a decision on whether he's leaving the Wolf Pack for at least a week.Remember that "running game coordinator," the position for which Mastro is interviewing, isn't the only or even the most important open position on the Bruins staff; that would be defensive coordinator, the job for which Neuheisel had reportedly already hired former USC assistant Rocky Seto before Seto's premature Facebook announcement (and according to many , fan-related protests based on Seto's Trojan past) led to his dismissal.
And as Bruin fans already irritated by the Seto fiasco are bitterly pointing out , while Neuheisel enjoys the Cabo sunshine, other schools are in the process of potentially hiring one of the precious few brand-name coordinators still on the market.
If his team hadn't gone 2-7 in its conference, if the Bruins' recruiting class hadn't been the program's weakest in years, if he had all his staff's i's dotted and t's crossed, then no one would begrudge Neuheisel a little time off. But given the state of affairs in which he has left his team, it's hard not to imagine him playing a fiddle on that Mexico beach as his program burns a hole to the bottom of the Pac-12 .
Posted on: January 26, 2011 5:43 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
It's never too early to start thinking about the next college football season, and that means it's never too early to ask the inevitable first question of any team going forward: How many starters do they have returning?
Fortunately, preview magazine maven Phil Steele has worked to provide a convenient answer to that query, releasing today a chart ranking all 120 FBS teams according to their offensive, defensive, and specialist starters returning.
There's plenty of time to delve far more deeply into college football's 2011 outlook, but a few immediate impressions after looking over the Steele chart:
Posted on: January 20, 2011 3:51 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
College football fans love to chatter about which of the 11 FBS conferences is best. They get much less excited to discuss which of them is worst, though for the few who do, this past bowl season provided some quality fodder when the two leagues generally considered the FBS's weakest -- the MAC and Sun Belt -- squared off in three different bowl games. The Sun Belt came out ahead 2-1, with Troy dominating Ohio and FIU winning a 34-32 barnburner over Toledo. (MAC champion Miami (Ohio) did cruise past Middle Tennessee State for the Midwestern league's victory in the MAC-SBC "Challenge.") Case closed?
Not even close. This week the College Football Blog reviewed all 22 (or 21, if you don't count Dana Holgorsen at West Virginia) new head coaching hires in our Headset Reset series , and that review turned up something interesting about the Sun Belt and the MAC: namely, that the MAC is making much stronger coaching hires.
First, look at the MAC's new coaches : two of them are coordinators from two of the 2010 Big Ten co-champions; one was the offensive coordinator and highest-ranking assistant for Urban Meyer's national-title winning program at Florida ; one was a longtime position coach and ace recruiter for Ohio State; and the "weakest" of the hires on paper, Ball State's Pete Lembo, is a 40-year-old coach with 10 years of successful head coaching experience on the FCS level already under his belt.
Contrast that with the Sun Belt's three choices: one a promotion from within the Arkansas State staff, one a potentially past-his-prime Florida position coach, the other the Mississippi State wide receivers coach.
All three of those hires could prove to be shrewd (it's not as if Dan McCarney and Mark Hudspeth don't have quality head coaching experience to draw on, and Hugh Freeze has been knocking on the door of his own head coaching gig for years). But if the MAC is to the Big Ten as the Sun Belt is to the SEC, then you'd have seen the SBC hiring the SEC equivalents of Don Treadwell or Dave Doeren (pictured at right), well-regarded college-first coordinators like Manny Diaz or John Chavis or Mike Bobo. That's not happening. In fact, the only 2010 SEC coordinator to take a head coaching job this offseason went to ... Temple.
(As an aside, this might also be an indication of the relative strength of the Big Ten and SEC; where SEC schools are willing to pay top dollar to retain their best assistants and keep them out of the clutches of smaller schools, the Big Ten watches the likes of Treadwell and Doeren walk away.)
The Sun Belt's bowl performance was nice. But until they show they can land the same caliber of coaching talent as their Midwestern counterparts (or, more easily, the WAC says its official goodbyes to Nevada, Fresno State and Hawaii) they should continue to be regarded at the bottom of the FBS conference barrel.
Tags: Arkansas State, Ball State, Big Ten, Dan McCarney, Dana Holgorsen, Dave Doeren, Don Treadwell, FIU, Florida, Fresno State, Hawaii, Headset Reset, Hugh Freeze, John Chavis, MAC, Manny Diaz, Mark Hudspeth, Miami (Ohio), Middle Tennessee State, Mike Bobo, Mississippi State, Nevada, Ohio, Ohio State, Pete Lembo, SEC, Steve Addazio, Temple, Toledo, Troy, Urban Meyer, WAC, West Virginia
Posted on: January 20, 2011 11:22 am
Edited on: January 20, 2011 12:20 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
It seems as though nobody wants to play TCU these days. The school is in a bit of a bind with its 2011 schedule as both BYU and Utah will be leaving the Mountain West, leaving two open dates, and Boise State is trying to get its date with the Horned Frogs moved from Fort Worth to Boise. Then there's Texas Tech. Texas Tech was scheduled to play TCU in 2010, but when ESPN decided it wanted to air Tech's game with Texas on the same day, the Red Raiders dropped the game. ESPN then helped set up TCU's game against Oregon State.
Well, Texas Tech's decided it enjoyed not playing TCU so much in 2010, it's going to do the same thing in 2011, as the Raiders have once again dropped TCU from the schedule. News that TCU AD Chris Del Conte doesn't sound all that thrilled to hear.
"It's a done deal for sure," Del Conte told the Star-Telegram. "Nothing has been determined for the future; we're negotiating that right now."
"To me it was a little late in the game [to change the schedule]. They knew Nebraska was going to the Big Ten eight months ago. We would have had more time [to find a new opponent] if they had told us earlier. It's disappointing we couldn't make the game work. I did everything possible."
The reason Texas Tech backed out of the game is because the new Big 12, the one with ten teams, will be playing a round robin conference schedule in 2011. Which means the amount of conference games increases from eight to nine, and that eliminates one non-conference game. So when looking at its slate of non-conference games next season, Tech saw TCU, New Mexico and Nevada and decided to say sayonara to TCU.
Texas Tech says it hopes to reschedule the game sometime in the future. No doubt it's hoping that TCU is a bit weaker by then.
Posted on: January 19, 2011 12:19 pm
Edited on: January 19, 2011 12:48 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Who knew that an entire conference could disappear right before our eyes? That seems to be exactly what's happening to the WAC. The conference has already lost Boise State, Fresno State, Nevada and Hawaii to the Mountain West -- which has been hemorrhaging teams of its own -- and now it seems like the conference could be about to lose another school.
According to a report in the San Jose Mercury News, talks have begun within the Mountain West about extending San Jose State an invitation.
San Jose State has emerged as a potential expansion target of the Mountain West Conference, according to sources familiar with discussions between SJSU officials and their counterparts in the MWC.
A longtime member of the Western Athletic Conference, San Jose State is one of several schools that could be invited to join the more prestigious MWC if the 10-team league expands by two in order to stage a football championship game.
The Mountain West’s board of directors is scheduled to meet Monday in Las Vegas. Expansion is on the agenda, but the league isn’t expected to issue invitations.The other teams reportedly in consideration are another WAC school in Utah State, and three C-USA schools in UTEP, Houston and SMU. Though, according to the source in the story, it's unlikely either Houston or SMU would leave C-USA. Which makes San Jose State an attractive option to the Mountain West in the same way that the lone girl at the bar looks more attractive because she's the only girl there.
Though the Mountain West will tell you it's because of the television market that San Jose State brings for the Mountain West's television network, as well as the fact it'd be joining fellow California schools Fresno State and San Diego State in the conference.
Posted on: January 10, 2011 3:48 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Nevada shut down an anemic Boston College offense en route to a 20-13 win.
Offense: Rishard Matthews had two first-quarter scores, but the Nevada offense was uncharacteristically subdued today, largely due to three turnovers -- two interceptions and a lost fumble. Still, Nevada had to punt seven times (Nevada typically punts fewer than three times a game), and scored less than half its usual amount of points. Vai Taua was held in check, with 76 yards on 22 carries, and Colin Kaepernick had a positively pedestrian performance in this, his last game as a Wolf. 20-33 for under 200 yards and only one score usually won't cut it; Nevada was fortunate to be facing Boston College. Grade: C-
Defense: Nevada typically isn't thought of as a defensive powerhouse, but it's actually not that bad. From a total yardage standpoint, Nevada's pretty middle of the road, but the Wolf Pack only gives up about 22 points a game -- second only to Boise State in the pinball-scoreboard WAC. Tonight, Nevada was all over Boston College's rushing attack, giving up 30 yards on one rush and 34 yards on the other 24 rushes combined. The Wolf Pack secondary forced two interceptions from Chase Rettig and could have had three or four more; Rettig's passes were frequently deflected or otherwise found a defender's hands. Boston College had one drive of over 30 yards all day long. That's more than you can ask from a defense -- dropped interceptions aside. Grade: A-
Coaching: It's not exactly an indictment of Chris Ault if his players weren't amped up for today's game. BC was 7-5 in a very unimpressive ACC this season, and didn't look like a worthy opponent for the champion of a conference that boasted 10-win teams Nevada, Boise State, and Hawaii among its members. Moreover, the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl came 36 days after Nevada's last game, so there's always going to be some rust with that long of a layoff -- as was evident during this game. But Nevada looked pretty well-prepared, and Ault's play calls were fine. They were conservative, sure, but conservative wins games when leading against an inferior opponent. Really, this game wasn't nearly as close as the seven-point margin would indicate; only the turnovers kept the game "in doubt," and last we checked, Ault wasn't the one giving the ball up. Play calling is more than "you should throw a touchdown here and not an interception," after all. Grade: B
Offense: Chase Rettig tries hard, and he tried hard for all four quarters today. Now, whenever it's necessary to mention that a player "plays hard," it's a safe assumption he just had a terrible game, and that's what happened here. Rettig's final stats were 14-34 for 121 yards and two interceptions, good for a 59.3 passer rating. Worse yet, he spent most of the game with a lower rating, and it wasn't until the fourth quarter that he stayed above three yards per pass attempt. And again, it could have been worse; Nevada should have had somewhere between three and five interceptions on the day. It didn't help that Andre Williams contributed a 30-yard rushing score and basically little else, of course, nor that the Eagle offense was painfully predictable (oh, we're getting to that). Still, this was a painfully bad offensive performance, to the point that head coach Frank Spaziani himself called it "anemic" during his halftime interview, and considering what gifts Nevada gave BC with its turnovers (an interception returned to the Nevada 6-yard line resulted in a field goal, for crying out loud), the Eagles really had no business scoring only 13 points. Grade: F
Defense: Aside from Boise State, Boston College might have the best front seven Nevada faced all year, and it was immediately evident. Nevada rushed for 114 yards, including 76 for Taua and 22 for Kaepernick. If it hadn't been for a 51-yard performance by Taua against Eastern Washington in a warmup at the beginning of the year, all three of those numbers would be season lows. All-American LB Luke Kuechly had an interception and a boatload of tackles for the Eagles, and BC frequently and reliably moved the point of attack backwards on defense when Nevada tried rushing the ball. The secondary struggled at times, though, especially on throws to the sideline. Grade: B
Coaching: Eagles fans were understandably upset with their team's play-calling, and rightfully so; it's infuriating to watch a straight-laced, run-run-third-and-long offense when the other team has a quarterback like Kaepernick and a fun system like Ault's pistol offense. The fact is, though, that Spaziani really doesn't have much talent on offense (especially with dynamic starting tailback Montel Harris still out with injury), and his defensive planning and second-half adjustments were praise-worthy. Boston College needs players on offense, plain and simple. Grade: C-
This practice of scheduling minor bowl games for January dates -- historically the province of only high-profile bowls -- could end today, and no college football fan would be upset. This bowl game was laughably bad, particularly when Boston College was on offense, and the fact that it comes on the eve of the national championship seems like cruel and unusual punishment. During the game, when the Kraft commercial featuring the dulcet-toned former homeless man Ted Williams finally aired, the prevailing sentiment on Twitter was that it was the unquestioned highlight of the game. It was that bad. At the very least, Boston College's defense helped get the game back to a one-possession contest, but this was the most lopsided seven-point game in recent memory. Thankfully, it's over, and real January football can be played. Grade: D- and only because it was close
Tags: ACC, Andre Williams, Boise State, Boston College, Bowl Grades, Chase Rettig, Chris Ault, Colin Kaepernick, Eastern Washington, Fight Hunger Bowl, Fight Hunger Bowl Grades, Fight Hunger Bowl Recap, Frank Spaziani, Hawaii, Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, Luke Kuechly, Montel Harris, Nevada, Rishard Matthews, Ted Williams, Ted Williams Commercial, Ted Williams Kraft, Vai Taua, WAC