Posted on: December 4, 2011 1:28 am
Edited on: December 9, 2011 7:16 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
If a report from Ole Miss Rivals affiliate RebelGrove.com is accurate, the Rebels could have their new head coach in hand within the next 24 hours.
According to the site's Neal McCready and Chase Parham, Arkansas State head coach Hugh Freeze is due to meet with Ole Miss officials Sunday, at which point (their sources claim) Freeze will be offered the job. Barring a stunning change of heart, he'll then accept and return to the school where he served as an assistant under Ed Orgeron.
The report claims that the job had already been offered to Southern Miss's Larry Fedora, but that Fedora had declined in order to pursue other opportunities.
Freeze joined Arkansas State as offensive coordinator in 2010 and oversaw a dramatic upward spike in the Red Wolves' offensive production. He was promoted to head coach after the dismissal of Steve Roberts and led ASU to a 10-2 record and their first-ever Sun Belt conference title. The Red Wolves will play Northern Illinois in this year's GoDaddy.com Bowl.
But if it was just about his record in Jonesboro, Freeze likely wouldn't be the choice. As a Mississippi native, former Orgeron assistant, and longtime Memphis high school head coach (even casual fans may remember him as Michael Oher's coach in The Blind Side), Freeze has better Oxford-area recruiting connections than any other candidate in the pool. Combine that familiarity with his offensive coaching acumen, and it's little wonder Freeze has been mentioned as a potential favorite from the start.
His hire isn't a foregone conclusion just yet. But it looks as if it will take quite an upset for any other candidate to beat out Freeze for the job at this point.
For a full, updating team-by-team overview of 2011's coaching changes, check out (and bookmark) the Eye on CFB Coaching Changes One-Stop Shop. And voice your opinion for the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year by voting HERE.
Posted on: December 2, 2011 11:09 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2011 7:19 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
WHY NORTHERN ILLINOIS WON: Their ... defense? The Huskies have been a sieve all season after graduating eight starters from the 2010 unit, and came into Friday's game ranked 91st in total defense, 94th in scoring. But led by junior defensive lineman Sean Progar (7 tackles, 4 QB hurries) and outstanding corner Jimmie Ward -- whose fourth-quarter interception marked the official turning point in NIU's late rally -- the Huskie defense vastly outplayed their much more celebrated colleagues on the offensive side. Three first-half NIU turnovers meant that only the good work by the Huskie D (including three stops inside their own red zone) was responsible for the halftime deficit wasn't already out of reach, and only one of Ohio's six second-half drives covered any more than 13 yards. And of course, thanks to Ohio kicker Matt Weller's first miss inside of 40 yards all season, the NIU defense didn't allow a point after the break--despite the fact that any Ohio score at any time would have effectively ended the game.
Harnish has been the star for NIU all season. But tonight, all the Huskies that really mattered played on the other side of the ball.
WHEN NORTHERN ILLINOIS WON: When Matt Sims' 33-yard field goal just snuck inside the left upright on the game's final play. The Huskies might not have even needed Sims' heroics if he'd hit an earlier extra point that would have put his team ahead 21-20 instead of stuck in a 20-20 tie, but no one will mind that much now.
WHAT NORTHERN ILLINOIS WON: A trip to the GoDaddy.com Bowl to face Arkansas State in what promises to be one of the best under-the-radar bowl matchups of the season. And we mentioned this is their first MAC championship game win, right, and their first MAC title in 28 years? That's a pretty big deal.
WHAT OHIO LOST: Given how many opportunities the Bobcats had to put this game to bed, this likely ranks as the most brutal of their three MAC title game losses under Solich, an out-and-out heartbreaker. They'll still head to Boise for the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, but the sting of this one isn't going to start to fade by then ... if it ever does.
Dave Doeren before-and-after photo credit: Getty
Posted on: November 21, 2011 12:30 pm
Edited on: November 21, 2011 12:46 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
Louisiana-Lafayette is expected to announce an invitation to the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl in a pep rally on Monday, according local reports.
University officials announced a "bowl invitation pep rally" for Monday, where the school is expected to announce the acceptance to participate in one of the Sun Belt Conference's two bowl games. The game, played in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Dec. 17, will be the first bowl game for Louisiana-Lafayette since 1970. It is also the first time in the 11-year history of the New Orleans Bowl that a team from Louisiana will be participating.
The Ragin Cajuns (8-3) were off in Week 12, but likely figured out their destination after Sun Belt Conference champion Arkansas State accepted an invitation to the GoDaddy.com Bowl - the only other bowl guaranteed to the Sun Belt. The Red Wolves locked up the conference after a 45-19 road victory over Middle Tennessee on Saturday.
"Arkansas State is 9-2 with the potential of being 10-2 and having a real good record when they arrive in Mobile for the game," GoDaddy.com president Jerry Silverstein told the Mobile Press-Register. "Not being in a bowl game in a while, being in a game the night before the (BCS) national championship game, it gives their fans a chance to come to town for a good weekend."
Arkansas State will face the to-be-determined MAC champion in Mobile, while Louisiana-Lafayette is slated to face a team from Conference USA. CBSSports.com's Jerry Palm actually has Syracuse slotted for the New Orleans Bowl, in the event that Conference USA will not be able to fill all their bids with bowl eligible teams.
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Posted on: March 9, 2011 10:45 am
Edited on: March 9, 2011 10:47 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
It's not every day an entire team wins a coaching award, particularly for the coaching done by a coach who's no longer employed by that team (or any other). But yesterday was one of those days, as the Miami (Ohio) Redhawks were honored with the 2011 Lee Tressel Ohio College Coach of the Year Award, given by the Northeastern Ohio chapter of the National Football Foundation.
It's the kind of announcement that raises a whole host of questions. Fortunately, we're here to answer them:
They really gave a coaching award to an entire team? Yes, yes they did, and it makes a certain kind of sense when you consider that maybe no team in the FBS was better-coached last season than the Redhawks, who went from a miserable 1-11 in 2009 to a triumphant 10-4 in 2010. Add in Miami's MAC and GoDaddy.com Bowl championships, and there's no doubt the Redhawks' campaign represented the best in Ohio college coaching last year.
So why not honor the coach that made it happen? For the obvious reason, no doubt: that that coach was later arrested on ugly domestic violence charges and unceremoniously dumped from his new head gig at Pitt. Giving Mike Haywood a coaching award right about now would be almost as awkward as giving out some kind of coaching integrity award to Jim Tressel .
Speaking of ... I'm assuming Lee Tressel is related to Jim? Yes, it's Jim's father.
So the Northeastern Ohio Chapter of the National Football Foundation's timing could have been a little better, it seems like? It's certainly no fault of their own. But yes, given the events of yesterday evening, seeing the last name "Tressel" used synonymously with "great achievements in Ohio-based college coaching" feels a little ... awkward this morning. Doesn't it?
Of course, Haywood or no Haywood, "Tressel" on the plaque or no "Tressel" on the plaque, it's still a heck of an honor and one Miami richly deserved. Congratulations are in order. The Redhawks will simply hope that next time they receive it, it'll arrive with a bit simpler fanfare.
Posted on: January 6, 2011 11:58 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
The Basics: Middle Tennessee (6-6) takes on Miami (OH) (9-4) in the GoDaddy.com Bowl at 8:00 in Mobile, AL
Why to watch: Oh you mean other than for the GoDaddy commercials? This game features one of the greatest turnaround stories of the 2010 season, with Miami flipping last year's 1-11 season to a 9-4 record and a MAC conference championship. However, the Redhawks are stuck in coaching limbo, with head coach Mike Haywood gone after accepting the position (and quickly being dismissed) as PIttsburgh's head coach. Miami has already hired Michigan State offensive coordinator Don Treadwell to take over in 2011, but defensive backs coach Lance Guldry will serve as the interim.
Middle Tennessee had to start the season without their star quarterback Dwight Dasher, who was suspended for the first four games for accepting a $1,500 loan. Dasher has made the most of his time on the field, accumulating 13 combined rushing and passing touchdowns in just eight games of play. The dual threat quarterback has a dangerous, and occasionally sloppy, style of play that makes each game interesting. He'll face one of his toughest challenges yet going up against a Miami defense that is only giving up 13.6 points per game on their current five-game winning streak.
Keys to victory for Middle Tennessee: Redshirt freshman quarterback Austin Boucher has played exceptionally for Miami since starter Zach Dysert's season was finished due to injury, but much of that has been set up thanks to the running game. If Middle Tennessee can use their potent offense to jump out to an early lead, they can dial up the pass rush on the young signal caller. The responsibility for that early lead will fall on quarterback Dwight Dasher. Dasher has struggled with his decision making at times this season, racking up 14 interceptions in just eight games. The time off will help Dasher, who has been banged up much of the season, and Blue Raider fans hope that the improved health with assist in keeping him comfortable in the pocket. If Middle Tennessee can play mistake-free on the offensive end and build a decent lead, they will force Boucher to move the ball with some urgency -- something he hasn't had to do yet this season.
Keys to victory for Miami (Ohio): Just the opposite. Keep Dasher in the pocket and force him to beat you as a traditional quarterback. At 5-10, Dasher cannot hurt you as bad from the pocket as he can on the run. If the Miami pass rush can keep him one-dimensional, it will take a lot of the pressure off a vulnerable Redhawks secondary. Also, if Miami's offensive line can step up and create holes for running back Thomas Merriweather the Redhawks can dictate the pace of the game. Merriweather is averaging 136.0 yards rushing in his last three outings, and has been an integral part of the Redhawks five game winning streak. Finally, the onus will fall on the Miami seniors to lead this basically coach-less team. With Haywood gone, and Treadwell only in attendance, this is the time for the players to take charge on the field and in the locker room. If Miami can get inspired play from their upperclassmen, it could provide the example to lead the Redhawks to their first bowl victory since 2003. That team was led by a current two-time Super Bowl winner you might have heard of: Ben Roethlisberger.
The GoDaddy.com Bowl is like: A palette cleanser - After an exhausting week of bowls, we get a nice little break before we head into our final stretch. The GoDaddy.com bowl will feature two teams that are playing their equivalent of a Super Bowl, and the level of competition should be up to par with any of the other bowls this week. The talent level will be a noticeable difference, but it serves as a kind reboot before we prepare for the final games of the college football season.
Posted on: January 4, 2011 6:01 pm
Edited on: January 4, 2011 6:09 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Typically, the College Football Blog covers either the hard news that matters or the goofy news that makes you laugh, and doesn't bother with the day-to-day, more run-of-the-mill stories inbetween.
But we're going to relay this one to you on Middle Tennessee State's week at the GoDaddy.com Bowl anyway, because so much of the public reaction to the smaller-rung bowls of the world seems to be either 1. there are too many of these bowls clogging up the schedule and demeaning the meaning of bowl games 2. the smaller teams playing these bowls can't afford them and should simply not go.
There's something to be said about the latter point -- ticket guarantees are a nasty bit of business on the part of the bowls, and indirectly on the ESPN megalith that keeps them in business -- but these arguments almost always miss the point that whatever the negatives, there's no question that there's a huge positive in how much the players involved appreciate the experience. As the story from the Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Daily News-Journal illustrates:
MTSU defensive lineman Jarrett Crittenton was excited about the team activities leading up to Thursday's GoDaddy.com Bowl .No, the news that various Blue Raiders are enjoying a tour of an old submarine and are looking forward to meeting Danica Patrick isn't going to shove Rich Rodriguez out of the headlines. But it's worth remembering anyway the next time some pundit or another suggests contracting a bowl out of existence; sure, there might be some benefits, but it's worth asking if they outweigh denying two teams of players who worked their tails off all season some modicum of reward, however meager the payoff of the GoDaddy.com Bowl might seem.
Posted on: December 5, 2010 4:33 pm
Edited on: December 5, 2010 4:59 pm
J. Darin Darst
TampaBay.com is reporting that South Florida and Clemson will meet in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.
KCBD-TV in Lubbock, Texas is reporting that Texas Tech has accepted a bowl bid to play Northwestern in the TicketCity Bowl .
Alabama.com is reporting Pittsburgh has accepted an invite to play in the BBVA Compass Bowl, which is the old Papajohns.com Bowl.
The Fresno Bee says Fresno State is headed back to the Humanitarian Bowl to play Northern Illinois. Interesting note, Fresno is 0-3 against teams with 10 wins this year, losing to Hawaii, Nevada and Boise State. Northern Illinois is 10-3.
The Dallas Morning News is also saying Baylor will be headed to the Texas Bowl. Fox Sports reported the info during broadcast of the Baylor women's basketball game.
The Detroit News says the Little Caesars Bowl is set with Toledo taking on FIU. That means Miami (Ohio), which won the MAC on Saturday night, will be headed to the GoDaddy.com Bowl.
Posted on: October 18, 2010 12:27 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Whenever I've watched the GMAC Bowl -- and I watch it every year -- I can't help but think to myself "You know what this stellar matchup of teams from the MAC Conference and Sun Belt Conference needs? More stupid commercials with Danica Patrick in them. That would really put the whole ensemble together."
Well, I've finally gotten my wish. It was announced on Monday that GoDaddy.com would be taking over the title sponsorship of the GMAC Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, giving us the very first GoDaddy.com Bowl. Get excited, people!
"We're excited to have a powerhouse like Go Daddy behind Mobile's biggest event of the year," said GoDaddy.com Bowl President Jerry Silverstein . "Go Daddy stepped up big time for this sponsorship, which is good for all of us. Our bowl holds the record for the highest-scoring game in college football bowl game history. We are looking forward to another marquee match-up."
My only fear is that while the first half of the game will be shown on television, they'll then force all of us to go online to see the conclusion, and when we do, we'll all be severly disappointed.