Posted on: February 15, 2012 3:40 pm
 

VIDEO: Oliver Luck talks WVU move to Big 12

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's officially official: not only is West Virginia the newest member of the Big 12, the Mountaineers will play a full Big 12 schedule this coming fall and avoid an awkward lame-duck final season in the Big East. (Sorry, Pitt and Syracuse. The 'Eers will send you a postcard.)

Their freedom from the Big East hasn't come cheap, of course, but it nonetheless remains a major feather in the cap of Mountaineer athletic director Oliver Luck. Luck stopped by the CBS Sports Network's Tim Brando Show to talk about the process of making the jump, the "blue-sky opportunity" of competing in their new conference digs, and even an Archie Manning-starring anecdote on raising a famous quarterback. Watch below:

 
Posted on: February 15, 2012 2:40 pm
Edited on: February 15, 2012 7:05 pm
 

Boise looks to "cover expenses" for Big East leap

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It wasn't even two weeks ago that no less an authority than Boise State president Bob Kustra said it was "too late" for the Broncos to consider moving to the Big East for the 2012 season. But with West Virginia now officially out the Big East door, Broncos officials admitted Wednesday that the school is in active talks with the league about joining this fall after all--and actively searching for the money that would make it happen.

Bronco athletic director Mark Coyle told the Idaho Statesman that though the final amount to get Boise out of the Mountain West and into the Big East -- and the WAC, where the Broncos' Olympic sports teams are headed -- "changes by the minute," there is "a sense of urgency" for the school to reach a decision soon.

“With the departure of West Virginia, it’s created this talk about somebody jumping to the Big East. We have had those conversations, but it’s not a simple black and white answer,” Coyle said. “Yes, we want to make sure that football has a solid home, but we have to have a solid home for our 18 other sports ...  Before we make any move, we need to make sure we cover all our expenses."

Those expenses are estimated to be between $7.5 and $9 million in exit fees due the Mountain West, and possibly an entry fee due the WAC to accommodate the Olympic teams on short notice. But just as West Virginia's exit has created a hole in the Big East schedule that the Broncos could fill, so the Broncos' future league could re-route the $10 million the Mountaineers are paying in their own exit fees -- or the potential $9 million in revenues the league plans on withholding from WVU -- to the MWC or WAC to help grease the skids for Boise's arrival.

Despite the potential hiccups, with Boise interested in speeding up their arrival, the Big East desperate to avoid a season with only seven football teams (just ask Syracuse and Rutgersand the necessary cash hypothetically available, it will now be a surprise if the Broncos don't make the leap this offseason. One potential monkey wrench, however: the Mountain West-Conference USA merger, which could in turn destabilize the reeling WAC and leave the Bronco Olympic sports high and dry. Coyle called the merger a "new twist in the conversation."

But as the expansion experience of the Mountaineers (as well as schools like Missouri) have shown, where there's a will to expedite the conference-jumping process, there's usually a way. That the Broncos now publicly have the former and a game-plan for the latter, it's not hard to imagine them going from "too late" to "already there" in a matter of weeks.

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Posted on: February 15, 2012 1:25 pm
 

Gary Patterson's statement on TCU arrests

Posted by Tom Fornelli

While the news of a major drug bust at TCU on Wednesday came as a surprise to all, perhaps nobody was more surprised than TCU head coach Gary Patterson, who released a statement to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Wednesday.

"There are days people want to be a head football coach, but today is not one of those days," Patterson said. "As I heard the news this morning, I was first shocked, then hurt and now I’m mad.

"Under my watch, drugs and drug use by TCU’s student-athletes will not be tolerated by me or any member of my coaching staff. Period. Our program is respected nationally for its strong ethics and for that reason the players arrested today were separated from TCU by the University. I believe strongly that young people’s lives are more important than wins or losses.

"This situation isn’t unique to TCU -- it is a global issue that we all have to address. This isn’t just about bad decisions made by a small percentage of my team. It is about a bigger issue across this country and world.

"As a coach, I do the best I can to educate members of my team. We have programs in place that teach student-athletes about what they should and shouldn’t do and how to be successful in life. I talk to them about how to be students and upstanding men that uphold the TCU name and its traditions.

"At the end of the day, though, sometimes young people make poor choices. The Horned Frogs are bigger and stronger than those involved." 

Patterson said he was mad at the beginning of the statement, and you could tell he meant it while reading the rest of it.

Four TCU players were arrested as part of the sting. Those four players were linebacker Tanner Brock, defensive tackle D.J. Yendrey, safety Devin Johnson and offensive tackle Ty Horn.

All but Horn were starters for the Horned Frogs

Obviously, this isn't good news for anybody involved, including the rest of Patterson's football team. Losing three of your starters on defense this way heading into the Big 12 won't do the Horned Frogs any favors on the field, and to make matters worse, this may just be the beginning.

There's no telling where this story is going to end just yet.

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Posted on: February 15, 2012 1:10 pm
Edited on: February 15, 2012 1:14 pm
 

Leach inspires Friday Night Lights film script

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Having a thinly veiled version of himself play a key role in the movie version of The Blind Side has only seemed to boost the career of Hugh Freeze, the new Ole Miss head man and the only FBS coach we can think of to have the details of his life turned into elements of a major motion picture. So maybe the folks at Washington State should be happy to hear the details revealed Tuesday regarding the planned Friday Night Lights movie.

FNL executive producer and director of the original Friday Night Lights film Peter Berg told MTV that the saga surrounding Mike Leach's controversial departure from Texas Tech would become the inspiration for one of the new movie's principal storylines. According to Berg: 

"[Screenwriter Jason Katims] has come up with a really great storyline that parallels what happened to Mike Leach, one of my heroes, a coach at Texas Tech who was unjustly fired and unjustly accused of mistreating a player with a concussion, which was proven to not have been the case. He's now at Washington State getting ready for what I think will be a great redemption story," Berg explained ... "The idea is to really revolve it around the coach."

While Leach's account of his treatment of Adam James and subsequent dismissal from Lubbock has not yet been "proven" in the legal sense, the drama over his battles with James (and ESPN analyst/senatorial candidate father Craig James) and the Texas Tech brass could provide fodder enough for an entire movie trilogy.

Of course, Berg may be fortunate just the get the one Leach-inspired movie made; while saying "We're not done with Friday Night Lights," he also admits that corralling all of his principal actors together for the film wouldn't be easy. (And star Taylor Kitsch sounded less than gung-ho about reprising his role as Tim Riggins, saying he'd "maybe do a cameo or something.")

So we wouldn't advise the Cougar public relations staff in Pullman to start work on their "Mike Leach: movie hero inspiration" promotional campaign just yet. But just ask Freeze: if Berg does get his Leach-centric script into production, it surely won't hurt Leach's already formidable reputation as one of the most fascinating characters in college football.

HT: Grantland 

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Posted on: February 15, 2012 11:19 am
Edited on: February 16, 2012 11:33 am
 

Four TCU players arrested in campus drug sweep



Posted by Chip Patterson and Tom Fornelli

Seventeen TCU students have been arrested as a result of a six-month investigation into drug related activity on campus on Wednesday. According to police and school officials, four of those students are Horned Frog football players.

The four TCU players to be arrested as part of the sting were senior linebacker Tanner Brock, senior defensive tackle D.J. Yendrey, offensive tackle Ty Horn, and senior safety Devin Johnson.

Sources confirmed to CBSSports.com's Bruce Feldman that all four players had been dismissed from the team. All but Horn were expected to start for TCU in 2012.

TCU head coach Gary Patterson released a statement through the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Wednesday.

"There are days people want to be a head football coach, but today is not one of those days," said Patterson. "As I heard the news this morning, I was first shocked, then hurt and now I’m mad.

"Under my watch, drugs and drug use by TCU’s student-athletes will not be tolerated by me or any member of my coaching staff. Period. Our program is respected nationally for its strong ethics and for that reason the players arrested today were separated from TCU by the University. I believe strongly that young people’s lives are more important than wins or losses.

"This situation isn’t unique to TCU -- it is a global issue that we all have to address. This isn’t just about bad decisions made by a small percentage of my team. It is about a bigger issue across this country and world.

"As a coach, I do the best I can to educate members of my team. We have programs in place that teach student-athletes about what they should and shouldn’t do and how to be successful in life. I talk to them about how to be students and upstanding men that uphold the TCU name and its traditions.

"At the end of the day, though, sometimes young people make poor choices. The Horned Frogs are bigger and stronger than those involved."

According to TCU Chancellor Victor J. Boschini Jr., there has never been "a magnitude of student arrests such as this" and all of those found guilty will face immediate expulsion. The chancellor issued an official statement on TCU's website.

"While this news is certainly shocking and disappointing, it is important to remember that TCU has clear expectations for its students: that they behave in an ethical manner, abide by campus policies and adhere to state and federal law," Boschini wrote.

"These students are charged with acting in a manner that is incompatible with TCU values and against the law. That is simply unacceptable and such reported behavior is not tolerated at this University."

According to TCU police, the drugs being sold included marijuana, cocaine, acid, ecstasy, and prescription drugs. Fort Worth police said the investigation is ongoing and that more students could be arrested in the campus wide crackdown.

Arrest warrant affadavits released by police included statements from Brock and Johnson made to undercover officers that indicated widespread drug use on the Horned Frogs team. Regarding a surprise February 1 drug test (reportedly demanded by Patterson after a recruit had told him he would not come to TCU over drug use concerns), Brock estimated "about 60 people" would be "screwed" while Johnson told officers "82 people failed it."

Both TCU officials and (via Twitter) other Horned Frog players vigorously denied Brock's and Johnson's statements.

Check out a video of TCU police chief Steve McGee addressing the arrests in the video below, courtesy of The Fort-Worth Star-Telegram.



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Posted on: February 15, 2012 10:58 am
Edited on: February 15, 2012 2:39 pm
 

Report: Utah St, others candidates for new league



Posted by Bryan Fischer

If you follow along the timeline the past few days, it's pretty clear we're headed toward some sort of consolidation in college football.

No sooner than CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy reported that Conference USA and the Mountain West were both dissolving in order for remaining schools to start a new league for the 2013-2014 academic year, Dennis Dodd followed that up with a report that WAC commissioner Karl Benson would be taking the same position with the Sun Belt. With no commissioner and a league on its last legs, nobody should be surprised that the Salt Lake Tribune reported Tuesday night that Utah State and several other schools are candidates to join the new superconference spanning the country from the East Coast to Hawaii.

“At this point, we are sitting tight,” Utah State athletics director Scott Barnes told the paper. “We obviously feel we are a strong candidate should [the new conference] decide to expand. The good news from our perspective is that there is clarity in the sense that expansion is likely.”

Temple, Florida International, San Jose State and Louisiana Tech are among the schools who are also mentioned for the unnamed league. With the departures of Boise State to the Mountain West in 2011 and Fresno State, Nevada and Hawaii in 2012, the WAC will have just seven football members this upcoming season and any further defections would probably result in the conference folding.

The new league being formed is expected to consist of Southern Miss, Marshall, East Carolina, UAB, Tulsa, Rice, UTEP and Tulane from Conference USA and Wyoming, Air Force, Colorado State, UNLV, New Mexico, Fresno State, Nevada and Hawaii (football-only) from the Mountain West. If you add in aforementioned candidates then the conference would be right at 21 schools, right in the middle of the targeted 18-24 that are expected to be part of a true coast-to-coast endeavor.

By the way, you can vote on possible names (and suggest your own) for this massive, superleague on our Facebook page.

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Posted on: February 15, 2012 10:46 am
Edited on: February 15, 2012 10:52 am
 

What's next for former Maryland QB Danny O'Brien?

Posted by Chip Patterson

When Maryland announced that quarterback Danny O'Brien would be among the latest group to leave the football program, head coach Randy Edsall said he was "disappointed" in the decision. On Tuesday, O'Brien released a statement to the media regarding his decision to transfer.

After careful thought, contemplation, prayer, and consultation with my family, we have come to a consensus that it is in my best interest to continue my educational and athletic endeavors elsewhere.  This was a very difficult decision, one which I did not take lightly. I will forever cherish the friendships of teammates, academic and athletic support staff, fellow students, professors, and of course Terp fans.

Playing at Byrd Stadium and experiencing college life in College Park will remain as unforgettable experiences for the rest of my life. I certainly wish nothing but the best to the team next season and for years to come.  I look forward to completing one of my established goals of graduating from the University of Maryland this spring and becoming a proud alumnus of this great institution.

Danny O’Brien

O'Brien's transfer release excludes all upcoming ACC opponents, upcoming non-conference opponents West Virginia and Temple, as well as Vanderbilt. Current Commodores' head coach James Franklin was offensive coordinator at Maryland during O'Brien's 2010 ACC Rookie of the Year campaign, and there is speculation the two have remained close while the quarterback pondered his future.

Franklin declined to comment Monday when asked if Danny O'Brien would transfer to Vanderbilt.

It is possible that O'Brien could appeal the Vanderbilt stipulation to the NCAA, though there has been no indication that will be the plan of action. The Washington Post reports that Mississippi, Arizona, South Florida, and East Carolina have all shown significant interest in O'Brien since the release was made official on Monday.

O'Brien's ideal system fit is likely a pro-style or West Coast offense. In addition to Vanderbilt, the Baltimore Sun listed Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Stanford as possible landing spots for the Kernersville, N.C. native.

As he mentioned in his statement, O'Brien is set to earn his undergraduate degree this spring from Maryland. That would make him eligible to play immediately if he enrolls in a graduate program not offered in College Park - the same rule allowing Russell Wilson to compete immediately for Wisconsin in 2011. With two years of eligibility remaining, O'Brien has become the latest college football free agent.

It is still too early in the process to predict O'Brien's destination, but he will have the opportunity to make an immediate impact wherever he lands.

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Posted on: February 14, 2012 5:14 pm
 

Roundtable: College football valentines

Posted by Eye on College Football



Occasionally the Eye on CFB team convenes Voltron-style to answer a pressing question in the world of college football. Today's query:

It's Valentine's Day, so pick someone or something from college football--person, team, conference, whatever. Who should they be sending a valentine to today, and what does that valentine say?

Bryan FischerI think the athletic directors at Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA, Washington and Washington State should be sending a Valentine to Larry Scott this year. The Pac-12 commissioner unveiled his Pac-12 Network studios just yesterday, and that's appropriate considering the media deals he negotiated were the biggest reason those schools were able to off the sweetheart deals that landed their new coaches. Do you think the Bruins or Huskies could have afforded the assistant salaries before that money started flowing? Or that Wazzu was able to land a coach like Mike Leach? I don't think they do.

I'm guessing their valentine says something to the affect of, "Thank$ Larry for everything, hope you'll be our Valentine for several more years."

Tom Fornelli:  I'm going to say TCU and West Virginia owe Missouri and Texas A&M a valentine this year, one with some expensively-licensed cartoon character saying "Thanks for the sloppy seconds!" If not for those two leaving the Big 12 for the SEC, then both TCU and WVU are stuck in the Big East for 2012 at least--a Big East that's without a clear future at the moment, and seems en route to becoming Conference USA version 2.0.

Instead the Frogs and Mountaineers have joined the Big 12, which is in much better shape than the Big East and will provide far more money for both schools in the long run.

Jerry Hinnen: If I'm Mike Slive, I'm sending out a valentine to Dana Holgorsen -- or maybe Gus Malzahn, or Mike Leach, or Todd Monken -- saying "WILL YOU BE MINE?" festooned with as many hearts (and dollar signs) as it takes to convince them to try their hand (again, in Malzahn's case) in the SEC. There's no doubting the SEC's dominance on the defensive side of the ball or its overall array of talent, but the 2011 season also showed a league in dire need of an infusion of offensive ingenuity, preferably (for variety's sake) out of the spread school. Alabama's yawn-inducing strangulation of LSU in the BCS title game is Exhibit A for the conference's current cloud-of-dust tendencies, but the overall statistical picture is even more damning: six different SEC teams finished in the bottom 25 in the FBS in total offense, with zero finishing in the FBS top 25. (Arkansas ranked highest at 29th.) 

Some of that is good defense; an awful lot of it is terrible offense, too. And it may get worse before it gets better--look at the likes of former offensive juggernauts Florida and Auburn, currently undergoing dramatic offensive regime changes after regressing badly in 2011.

Defense may win championships, but offense often wins TV ratings, as the BCS championship Nielsens will tell you. The SEC's current regular season ratings are fine, of course, but Slive is about to go back to the negotiating table to try and keep his TV contract up with the Joneses of the Big Ten and Pac-12, a table to which he'll want to bring every single positive for his league he can gets his hands on. The SEC will be a-OK with or without the Big 12's reputation for high-flying offensive theatrics, but that doesn't mean Slive -- and a league full of fans likely tiring of watching Tennessee and South Carolina combine for 17 points and barely more than 500 yards in nationally televised prime-time -- wouldn't welcome someone who could shake up the conference's burgeoning reputation for Slugfest-with-a-capital-S football. Kevin Sumlin gets first crack, but we're guessing Slive would prefer he had some high-profile help sooner rather than later.

Chip Patterson: If I'm Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith, I'm sending roses, candy, banners, and thankful notes to new head coach Urban Meyer.  Even with an ill-timed bowl ban from the NCAA Committee on Infractions, Meyer has cooled much of the heat on Smith after the fallout surrounding Jim Tressel's departure.  Winning cures all, but hiring a two-time national champion to supposedly guide your program out of the darkness will certainly hold the Buckeye fans over until the bowl ban is lifted.  Meyer hit the recruiting trail hard after his hire, pulling in a top-5 recruiting class despite the sanctions from the NCAA.  

If Smith had whiffed on his hire to replace Tressel, he would find himself under further scrutiny with the additional sanctions.  Meyer is exactly the home run hire Ohio State -- and Gene Smith -- needed.  In fact, a valentine might not be enough.  Maybe Smith should get a tattoo. 

What? Too soon? 

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