Tag:Pitt
Posted on: February 18, 2012 5:20 pm
 

Buckeyes' Sheridan leaves to become Buc DC

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Paul Chryst and the Pitt Panthers aren't the only team looking for a new assistant coach thanks to Greg Schiano's raid on the college ranks to fill out his Tampa Bay Buccaneers staff, as Ohio State defensive assistant Bill Sheridan has been tabbed as the new Buc defensive coordinator.

Sheridan's tenure with Urban Meyer's new Buckeye staff lasted just 19 days after he was hired to a non-specific defensive coaching position January 30. An Ohio State spokesperson confirmed to OSU student newspaper The Lantern (which first reported the story) that as of Friday Sheridan was no longer a member of the Buckeye staff.

Though Sheridan has a long track record of assistant coaching at schools across the Midwest, he had also spent the previous seven seasons working in the NFL, first with the New York Giants and then the Miami Dolphins. Sheridan was promoted to the Giants' defensive coordinator post in 2009 before being fired at the end of the season.

That being the case, it's hard to fault Sheridan for his decision, even given the short turnaround from his Ohio State stint--for an NFL coach given a second chance at coordinating an NFL defense, Schiano's offer had to have been far, far more appealing (and likely more lucrative) than coaching, say, safeties for the Buckeyes.

Still, Meyer will no doubt be less than thrilled to have to start searching for another new defensive assistant this close to spring practice.

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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 7, 2012 2:34 pm
 

Report: ACC expansion to net bump in TV deal

Posted by Jerry Hinnen



The ACC's decision to expand with Pitt and Syracuse has reportedly paid off with a substantial addition to their television contract's bottom line--though if the addition was substantial enough to justify the drawbacks of that expansion may be debatable.

The Sports Business Journal reported Monday that in the wake of the addition of the Panthers and Orangethe ACC has been able to "reopen" its recently signed contract with ESPN and negotiate a $1 million to $2 million annual increase for each of its now 14 member schools. Under the revised contract, each ACC member "can expect at least $14 million to $15 million a year," an increase from the current $13 million. The overall value of the contract is expected to increase from $155 million per season to north of $200 million.

The increase would bring the ACC nearly on par in annual distribution revenue with the Big 12, which the SBJ estimates currently averages $15 million per school, with the SEC at $17 million and the Big Ten and Pac-12 at $21 million.

But those figures illustrate why the ACC's expansion may not have provided enough buck for its bang. All four of those leagues should see their TV revenues increase in the near future, the Big 12 and SEC through their own expansion-induced negotiations and the Big Ten and Pac-12 through growing profits from their in-house networks. When the dust from the current round of expansion settles, the ACC is likely to still trail four of the five other BCS conferences (though they may have pulled closer to the Big 12, depending on how that league's negotiations go).

There's other downsides to the expansion, too. For one, the revised contract reportedly won't kick in until Syracuse and Pitt become active members of the league, which may not take place until 2014-2015 and certainly won't be in 2012-2013. In exchange for the boost to the contract, ESPN is also expected to exact a not-insignificant price: a three-year extension of what was already a 12-year deal, meaning the ACC won't be able to enter a full contract negotiation until 2026. (If the Big Ten and Pac-12 networks continue at their expected rates of growth, how wide will the gap be between those conferences and the ACC 14 years from now?) 

And though a potential $2 million per season is certainly nothing to sneeze at, shuttling not just the football team but volleyball, baseball, tennis (etc.) teams to West Pennsylvania and upstate New York on an annual basis will add to the travel budget. Then there's the fewer games between traditional ACC rivals in both football and basketball (though the nine-game gridiron schedule will help) and increased difficulty for any individual team to earn a championship ... all for a financial windfall that at Clemson equals not much more than a single assistant coach.

Is it worth it? Given that the ACC couldn't really stand pat as those other four BCS leagues pushed the financial gap even wider, John Swofford and Co. probably didn't have any choice. But the first time we watch Georgia Tech play at Heinz Field instead of Death Valley or the Orange disrupt what would have been a Duke-North Carolina ACC Tournament final, we're going to wonder.

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Posted on: February 3, 2012 7:20 pm
 

Boise State: 'too late' for 2012 move to Big East

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Boise State announced last December that its impending move to the Big East wouldn't take place until 2013. But with West Virginia still caught in limbo between its old league and its leap to the Big 12, the San Jose Mercury-News'Jon Wilner reported this week that the Broncos might still be considering an offer to step directly into the Mountaineers' scheduling shoes should WVU extricate itself in time for the 2012 season.

Boise president Bob Kustra told the Idaho Statesman Friday that he had "heard those rumors." But he stated firmly that any move for this coming season is already off the table.

"It's too late. I can't imagine how anyone can pull that off," he said. "We would never want to pull it off in a fashion that dealt shabbily with our existing partners in the Mountain West. I don't think that could ever work."

If the Mountaineers succeeded in joining the Big 12 by this fall -- and with a 10-team schedule already released to the conference's television partners, the expectation both in the Big 12 offices and Morgantown is that they will -- the Big East will be set to play out the 2012 season with just seven members: Cincinnati, South Florida, UConn, Rutgers, Louisville, Syracuse and Pitt. (The Orange and Panthers have both announced their intentions to join the ACC and are scheduled to leave in 2014, but both could look to leave next year if the Mountaineers are successful in their attempt to bolt early.)

Once 2013 hits, the Big East will receive a substantial boost in the form of five new members, the Broncos included. But for 2012, facing the ugly prospect of just six conference games and a matter of weeks in which to find a nonconference replacement for the Mountaineers, it's understandable if John Marinatto would like to see BSU make a last-gasp switch. Unfortunately for him, it seems like Kustra and the Broncos aren't in quite such a hurry.

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Posted on: January 13, 2012 1:45 pm
 

Kansas hires Dave Campo as defensive coordinator

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Charlie Weis has found his defensive coordinator.

Kansas announced in a press release on Friday that Dave Campo has been brought on to run the defense in Lawrence. The 64-year old Campo has plenty of coaching experience on both the collegiate and professional levels. He began his coaching career at Central Connecticut State in 1971 and made stops at schools like Pitt, Washington State, Boise State, Oregon State, Iowa State and Syracuse.

Campo was a secondary coach under Jimmy Johnson at Miami from 1987 to 1988 before moving on to the NFL with Johnson to the Dallas Cowboys.

He's been in the NFL ever since, and was even the head coach of the Cowboys for three years from 2000 to 2002. After losing his job there he moved on to the Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars before returning to Dallas to coach the secondary the last four years.

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Posted on: January 12, 2012 2:07 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2012 2:10 pm
 

ASU president on Todd Graham: "It was not normal"

Posted by Bryan Fischer

INDIANAPOLIS -- To say the departure of head coach Todd Graham from Pittsburgh was messy might be understating things a little. Not only was it a surprising hire by Arizona State, but the reaction from Panthers players elevated to the point of vitriol.

Nearly a month after Graham was formally introduced in Tempe, Arizona State president Michael Crow, speaking on a panel at the NCAA convention, said that the reason there was such a fuss about him leaving was due in large part because of the Pitt administration.

"We made one offer and had one answer. It was a simple process," Crow said. "He caught a lot of flak because he was unable to talk to his team. We requested permission to speak to him and (Pitt) said no. For him to speak to us, he had to resign and then he could no longer speak to his players. We don't set those rules, we asked for an opportunity and didn't get it."

Graham is one of several new hires in the Pac-12 known primarily for fast-paced offense, which is interesting when you consider he was defensive coordinator at West Virginia and Tulsa. Still, outside of last season at Pitt, where the Panthers ranked 88th in the country in total offense and struggled with turnovers, Graham had the background that fit with exactly what Arizona State was looking for.

"What we set out to do was hire a head coach who had experience in playing football the way we wanted to - no huddle offense," Crow said. "We wanted the environment of a teach as opposed to the model of a professional coach. It's just a different model. We happen to think that in our environment, that's the model that we need. When we looked around the country, there were a few individuals on the list and Coach Graham was one of them."

The school was aware that Graham's father-in-law lives in Arizona and that he and his wife were already looking at houses in the Phoenix area before the ASU job even opened up. Because of a long interview process, Crow was one of several administrators who didn't seem to have a problem with the fact that their new head coach would have two "one-and-done" coaching stops on his resume and was firmly committed to building the program into a conference title contender.

"When you sit and spend hours with someone and talk to references about them, you get a better sense of the character of the person," he said. "You go from Tulsa to Rice and then back to Tulsa in one year, what's the reason? You talk to the people at Rice and you find out yes, there was a reason. You go to Pittsburgh and ask why you go to Pittsburgh, why don't you like Pittsburgh, what's going on? There's an explanation, coaches can have explanations like 'My family doesn't like it here, we'd really like to be somewhere else.'

"I'm not worried about that as an element of his character. His body of work as an assistant coach, as a high school coach, at Rice, why he moved from Rice back to Tulsa where he'd been an assistant (is good). The Pittsburgh thing I saw as an aberration. It was not his normal behavior."

We're guessing a few people in the Northeast disagree however.


Posted on: January 12, 2012 1:29 am
Edited on: February 3, 2012 12:22 pm
 

1-to-35: Ranking the 2011 bowl games



Posted by Jerry Hinnen


Each December, there's plenty of rankings out there as to how good each bowl should be. But if that's the "before," what about the "after"? Here's the Eye on CFB's (highly subjective) ranking of all 35 bowls from the 2011-2012 college football postseason, best game to worst.

1. Rose. Unlike certain other bowls we could name (who happen to rhyme with "Schmalamo"), the Rose's outburst of offense came despite the presence of legitimate championship-level defenses--making the punch and counter-punch between Russell Wilson and Montee Ball on one side and LaMichael James and De'Anthony Thomas on the other like haymakers in a heavyweight prizefight. Add in college football's greatest venue, a down-to-the-wire ending, and even the aesthetic battle between the Badgers' understated uniforms and the Ducks' glitter factory helmets, and you've got the best bowl-watching experience of the year.

2. Fiesta. Andrew Luck vs. Justin Blackmon at the top of their powers -- at the top of the powers of anyone at their positions in college football -- would be worth a top-five placement alone. Luck vs. Blackmon and 79 points and overtime drama? That's worth top-two.

3. Alamo Bowl. To call the defenses in this game abominably porous would be an insult to pores (and abominations). But the Alamo is a random weeknight bowl game--just as no one wants to watch an Oscar-baiting 17th-century literary adaptation on their Guys' Night Out, so no one tuned into the Alamo for rugged defense and awesome punting. Thankfully, what Baylor and Washington gave us was the college football equivalent of four hours of Jason Statham shooting explosions.

4. Outback. Come for Kirk Cousins leading the most unlikely comeback this side of the whooping crane, stay for Mark Richt nominating himself for the (dis)honor of "World's Fraidiest-Cat Football Coach." Oh, and triple overtime.

5. New Orleans. We'd ask if you could remember this thriller between Louisiana-Lafayette and San Diego State from the bowl season's opening night, but we don't think anyone who watched could forget Ragin' Cajun kicker Brett Baer deliriously celebrating his last-second game-winner if they tried.

6. Military. One word: #MACtion. And two numbers: 42-41. And, all right, eight more words to help do this game justice: last-minute do-or-die failed fake extra point holder-kicker option.

7. Sun. We're suckers for any game featuring the triple-option (see the Air Force game ranked one spot above), and Utah's 4th-and-14 touchdown conversion to send the game into OT was one of the more dramatic single plays of the entire bowl season. That 3-0 anti-classic between Pitt and Oregon State was a particularly distant memory in El Paso this year.

8. Belk. A matchup of Utterly Average ACC team vs. Utterly Average Big East team -- in a bowl sponsored by a department store that thinks Macy's is way too wild and edgy -- should have been one of the snoozers of the year. Instead, Mike Glennon caught fire, Louisville mounted a spirited comeback, and this wound up one of the better games of the postseason.

9. Little Caesars. The quality of play in this game at times was like ... well, have you ever actually eaten the pizza of the sponsor? But Western Michigan receiver Jordan White put on a spectacular show (13 catches, 249 yards), the teams combined for 69 points, and the Boilers special teams pulled off two onsides kicks and a kick return for TD. Tasty!

10. Famous Idaho Potato. OK, OK: we're giving this game (which was less-than-must-see-viewing for much of the first 55 minutes) a slight bonus for its killer logo. But we're giving it a much bigger bonus for the pulse-pounding final drive from quarterback Tyler Tettleton and the Bobcats for the first bowl win in program history.

11. Armed Forces. If you're going to be a sorta-dull game between two sorta-unmemorable teams, better come up with a memorable play and/or a big finish. Riley Nelson's game-winning fake spike touchdown to become college football's answer to Dan Marino just about did the trick.

12. Sugar. Another for the "ugly game, fascinating ending" file, but this was Michigan doing their damnedest to be Michigan again and Virginia Tech doing their damnedest to avoid the rabbit's feet and horseshoes and four-leaf clovers falling out of the Wolverines' pockets -- Danny Coale most especially -- and it was in New Orleans. You didn't quit watching, did you?

13. Poinsettia. Not a classic, but three-and-a-half back-and-forth hours with a feisty Louisiana Tech team and an underrated TCU squad most definitely qualified as "serviceable." Think of this year's Poinsettia as the quality burger-and-fries plate from the local joint down the street--not mind-blowing, but spend a few weeks in Peru, where they don't have burgers or college football, and you'll crave a Poinsettia Bowl so badly you could scream.

14. Orange. In the space of about an hour, Dana Holgorsen's evisceration of Clemson went from thrilling to discomfiting to boring to morbidly fascinating to -- once we all realized the Mountaineers weren't going to hit triple digits -- back to boring again. Not every game that hits 100 points is one for the DVD vaults, as it turns out.

15. Liberty. Give me Cincinnati defeating Vanderbilt in surprisingly convincing, mildly entertaining fashion or give me death! (Actually, we've got that first thing already, so no need to worry about providing the second, thanks.)

16. Chick-Fil-A. For 2.5 quarters, this was a delightful shootout with all the requisite trickery you'd hope for from a game involving Gus Malzahn. Then Virginia remembered that it was not only Virginia, but proud ACC member Virginia, and the fun was over.

17. Meineke Car Care. Seriously, Texas A&M, we didn't tune in to see you only flirt with blowing a huge lead against a team that hasn't won a bowl game since approximately the Grover Cleveland administration.

18. Capital One. This game featured an abundance of must-watch plays -- Alshon Jeffery catching a  bomb, Alshon Jeffery hauling in a half-ending Hail Mary, Alshon Jeffery getting ejected for fighting -- but aside from, well, Alshon Jeffery, there wasn't much to it.

19. Cotton Bowl. The 15 seconds of Joe Adams' punt return, the 10 seconds of Jarius Wright's touchdown, and the 5 minutes when it looked like Kansas State might mount yet another smashing comeback were riveting stuff. The other 54:35? Not so much.

20. BCS National Championship. A great game, if you're the sort of fan who enjoys watching nature shows where a pride of lions tear a wildebeest to pieces because the wildebeest can't complete a downfield pass to save its life.

21. TicketCity. If he'd stuggled, he'd have been called a fraud; because he ripped Penn State's D into tiny shreds, no one paid attention. Which is why we're working on a sitcom pilot right now called Case Keenum Can't Win.

22. Gator. When one team's special teams scores just one fewer touchdown than the two offenses combined (as Florida's did), it's safe to say you're not watching a classic.

23. GoDaddy.com. Thanks to a 31-0 run from Northern Illinois, what was expected to be a nailbiting shootout ended up the biggest disappointment since that "unrated web content" we checked out.

24. Champs Sports. It wasn't pretty, but at least the Seminoles and Irish were trying their best ... to make us wish they'd just aired a repeat of the 1993 meeting instead.

25. Las Vegas. College football produces a lot of emotions, but from the neutral perspective, it's rare that one of them is outright legitimate anger. Seeing Kellen Moore forced to end his career slumming it against an Arizona State team that checked out in early November sure turned the trick, though.

26. Independence. The Tar Heels came out so flat, and were finished off so quickly, that we're pretty sure the only lovely parting gift they walked away with was "Independence Bowl: the Board Game."

27. Music City. Mississippi State turned the ball over four times, and Wake Forest averaged 2.9 yards per-play. If Hank Williams or some other old-time country artist had come to Nashville to write a sad song about a sad bowl game, this is the game they'd use for inspiration.

28. Insight. Sadly, the only "insight" we got from this game was that Vegas oddsmakers -- who had the Sooners installed as the biggest favorite of the entire bowl season -- know what they're talking about. And who didn't know that already?

29. Holiday. It wasn't that long ago when Jeff Tedford's Cal and Mack Brown's Texas squaring off would have been appointment television. This game was, too, though in the sense that it was the sort of game you made an appointment somewhere else to avoid viewing.

30. Hawaii. Nevada and Southern Mississippi were collectively as sharp as your average butter knife, but let's see you spend a week chilling in Hawaii and then play a quality football game. The best players the NFL has to offer try it every single year and haven't succeeded yet.

31. Pinstripe. The only thing we remember from this game was our wish to travel back to, say, 1998, and explain to a random college football fan that in 2011, Rutgers would win a bowl game in Yankee Stadium that would give them the nation's longest postseason winning streak. (We're still not sure it's actually happening.)

32. Beef 'O' Brady's. Newton's Second Law of Bowl Aesthetics: Whensoever a Game Produces Fewer Offensive Touchdowns Than the Game Has Apostrophes in its Title, That Game Shall Be, Verily, Entirely Terrible.

33. New Mexico. We'd waited so long to be able to sit down and watch a college bowl game, and by halftime we were sort of wishing we'd gotten to wait a little bit longer.

34. BBVA Compass. For two straight years, Pitt has been forced to play in Legion Field on a January weekday afternoon in front of no one under an interim coach against a nondescript opponent. Vs. SMU the Panthers looked like they'd much rather be off somewhere doing something much more fun, like peeling potatoes with their teeth--and we don't blame them a bit.

35. Kraft Fight Hunger. Comedian Patton Oswalt once called a certain famous KFC product a "failure pile in a sadness bowl." Capitalize that B, and we can't think of a better way to describe 2011 Illinois "battling" 2011 UCLA.

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Posted on: January 10, 2012 2:18 pm
 

Bielema staying busy at coaches convention

Posted by Bryan Fischer

SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Normally the coaches convention is a time where head coaches can let lose the top button, smooze a little bit and pick up a new wrinkle or two in terms of X's and O's. Legendary former Florida State defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews told several younger assistant coaches that the one thing you had to do every convention is just learn one thing.

For Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema, he would love to be able to relax a little bit and pick up just one thing from the nearly 1,000 coaches in town. Instead of going to clinics or chatting up others however, he's one of the busiest around. With the departure of Badgers offensive coordinator Paul Chryst to become head coach at Pittsburgh, Bielema has a rather big hire to make in the next week or two and with Signing Day approaching, things have been even more hectic than usual for the seventh year head coach.

"This is a fun time," Bielema said. "We got done with the bowl the game on Monday, flew back on Tuesday. I interviewed an OC on Tuesday and Wednesday, had a recruiting visit Wednesday night, went to San Francisco Thursday, Seattle on Friday then took a red-eye back to Madison. I got in at 9 a.m. and flew here at 4:30."

In addition to finding a replacement for Chryst, Bielema also is looking to replace run game coordinator Bob Bostad and tight ends coach Joe Rudolph and linebackers coach Dave Huxtable. While it may seem like a lot, it's nothing for Bielema.

"My first year, I came out here and interviewed almost 25 guys, he said. "In three days, I talked to 22. I just held up in my room and talked and talked and basically ended up making three of my nine hires from down here."

Staff continuity has been something few coaches have had but generally Wisconsin has been about average when it comes to losing coaches. The opening this year are just part of the process that top programs have to go through after the season is over.

"Last year I hired three new guys," Bielema said. "When I hire these guys out, it will be my 21st hire in six years. We have had continuity and the ability to keep some guys there but mainly it's being able to get the right kind of guys because we've been so successful."

When hiring an offensive coordinator at some point in the next week or two, the fiery Badgers head coach also has a pretty good bargaining chip that others hiring do not with running back and Heisman finalist Montee Ball returning for another year and another run for the roses.

"That's huge," Bielema said. "A, he's a great kid. B, I think it's the right thing for him. He clearly made a big jump this year and has a chance to grow and continue to move forward. I know he's got a great relationship with coach (Tom) Hammock so that's something that is going to be working moving forward."

Just as Bielema has to do this week with his staff.

 
 
 
 
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