Tag:Arizona State
Posted on: December 21, 2011 9:27 pm
Edited on: December 22, 2011 9:55 am
 

Pittsburgh hires Wisconsin's Paul Chryst

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It appears we are getting close to Pitt finding a replacement for Todd Graham after Graham left the school to take over at Arizona State.

An Associated Press source with knowledge of the decision says Pittsburgh has hired Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst to be the next head football coach.  This confirms a report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Wednesday night, as well as several other outlets with sources close to the program. 

The Post-Gazette report says that the two sides are still working on a contract agreement, and that an official announcement could come in the next day or two. Which, we'll admit, leaves a bit of wiggle room. It wouldn't be the first contract negotiation to go horribly awry.

It had been reported earlier in the week that FIU's Mario Cristobal was the frontrunner for the job with Chryst in second place, but it seems that has changed for now. Chryst also interviewed at Pitt last January before the school decided to hire Todd Graham.

Graham took the Pittsburgh head coaching job 11 months ago preaching character, commitment and a "high octane" offense designed to take the Big East by storm.

What was high-octane was watching Pittsburgh quarterback Tino Sunseri dodge pass rush from the opposition.  The Panthers allowed 57 sacks this season, easily the most in the FBS, and Graham enraged the Pitt fan base by shifting blame from himself to Sunseri.

Chryst, a former Wisconsin quarterback, has built one of the Big Ten's most dominant offensive units since joining the Badgers' coaching staff in 2005.  This season, the Badgers' led the Big Ten in total offense with 466.9 yards per game and the unit has finished in the top three of that same category every season since 2007.   



Posted on: December 21, 2011 6:55 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2011 7:10 pm
 

Roundtable: Changes to the bowl schedule

Posted by Eye On College Football 


Occasionally the Eye on CFB team gathers, Voltron-style, to answer a pressing question from the world of college football. Today's question is:

What changes, if any, would you make to the current bowl schedule and/or bowl eligibility requirements?


Bryan Fischer: Any time you have a team like UCLA playing in a game at 6-7, I think it underscores that there needs to be a new rule that you not only be 6-6, but 7-5 at the very minimum. I get that the bowl games are a treat for the players but shouldn't we be rewarding winners and not the mediocre? The entire bowl system seems to have turned into the college football equivalent of a participation trophy. This, of course, ties-in with the line of reasoning that there are too many bowl games. At some point we'll get to the point where there's a good number of games for good teams but right now the excess causes mediocrity. For every crazy New Orleans Bowl finish we get, there's just as many Beef O'Brady Bowl duds it seems.

Tom Fornelli: I tend to agree with Bryan in that I'm not a big fan of 6-6 teams being rewarded for mediocrity, and I usually fall in line with the "there are too many bowl games" crowd, but then a funny thing happens every year. The games start, and they feature a couple of 6-6 teams, and I love them.

Yeah, there are some duds, but there are plenty of duds every Saturday during the regular season. So I think my personal criticisms from the current bowl system come from the fact that I'd like to see some type of playoff. A plus-one being the minimum of what I'd like to see.  So while I get extremely annoyed when I see that 6-6 Florida is playing 6-6 Ohio State in the Gator Bowl, I'm sorry, the TAXSLAYER.COM (bangs head, SIGN OF THE BEAST!!!) Gator Bowl, I'll probably still watch the game. I'm just a college football junkie, there's no way around it.

Jerry Hinnen: There's an easier fix for getting the UCLA-like riffraff out of the postseason than scuttling existing bowls: re-institute the discarded NCAA mandate that bowls must take teams with winning records ahead of teams with .500 (or sub-.500, in the Bruins' case) marks. "Too many bowls" is going to be a hard sell for the folks at places like Temple -- who unfairly sat at home after going 8-4 in Al Golden's final season last year -- or Western Kentucky, who should have gotten their first-ever FBS bowl bid after 2011's second-place Sun Belt finish and 7-5 record.

Cases like Temple's and WKU's are why, personally speaking, I'm fine-n'-dandy with the Participation Trophy Bowl circuit; not every game is going to be riveting theater (and matchups like UCLA-Illinois or Louisville-N.C. State promise to be quite the opposite), but it's not like anyone's required to watch. Should the seniors on that UL-Lafayette team we saw celebrating like they'd collectively won the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes Saturday night have been denied that once-in-not-even-most-people's-lifetimes experience just because a few college football diehards don't want to risk being bored?

Is the long-since-antiquated notion that bowl berths are for no one but mid-major champions and the top handful of major-conference programs worth brilliant Hilltoppers' running back Bobby Rainey ending his career without a bowl appearance? Not if you ask me--if the players want to play them, the the local organizers want to host them, it's not my place (or any fan's) to say they shouldn't. The number of bowls is fine; the way the teams are selected could just use a little pro-winning-record tweaking. Besides, give it another month and there won't be any college football at all. I'll take whatever I can get at this stage, Belk Bowl included.

(That said, it would be outstanding if the NCAA also prohibited the exorbitant ticket guarantees that have turned bowl trips into a financial sinkhole for so many smaller schools, but that's a separate issue from the scheduling/eligibility question.)

Chip Patterson: I too would like to see limping 6-6 BCS conference team taken out of the bowl equation, particularly when there are dangerous Non-BCS teams that have been left out of postseason play in recent years. One way could be to change the requirements to 7-5, but this season I thought of another wrinkle.

Instead of changing the bowl eligibility record/win total, add a stipulation that requires a team to finish .500 or better in league play. Many times, the 6-6 team that fails to show up for a bowl game has struggled down the stretch and enters the postseason with little-to-no momentum. If schools are going to benefit from conference tie-ins, make them perform in conference play to earn that right. A 6-6 team with a 3-5 conference record likely is not playing their best football at the end of the season, and might be a part of one of the dud bowl games we have seen recently.

I would also prefer to move the "gutter" bowl games back before the BCS and traditional New Years Day games. That stretch of bowls leading up to the National Championship Game is one of the places where we find unattractive matchups and lose college football excitement after the blitz of New Years Day. If those games were moved back before the New Year and the title game was pushed back to Jan 4-5, it would arguably be a better spot for college football to capitalize on the nation's interest. Not only does the average fan have to wait, but they have to be teased with games that would be better consumed in pieces during a Dec. 28 doubleheader.

Adam Jacobi: It's important to keep in mind that most of these lowest-tier bowls are media-owned entities, which were created and staged every year because from a media perspective, live televised FBS college football is more lucrative than anything else that could be aired in the middle of a December week. As such, if you want to get rid of these bowls, you had better come up with something that produces higher ratings for that network instead, otherwise, no amount of hand-wringing about the quality of the teams playing in bowls is going to result in any meaningful change. This is not a scandal or anything that should not be, mind you, because it does not negatively affect fairness of play or anything else of vital importance. It's merely the entity that stands to gain most from lowest-tier bowls being played, making sure that the lowest-tier bowls get played by owning and organizing them. That's just good business.

Moreover, if by some chance these lowest-tier bowls happen to disappear, as much as we're tired of seeing a 6-6 (3-5) BCS-conference team get into the postseason, let's not pretend that that team's going to be the first against the wall. It's going to be the also-rans of the MAC, WAC, C-USA, and every other non-AQ conference, because 90% of the time, those non-AQ schools draw lower ratings than their BCS-level counterparts. The Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl between UCLA and Illinois is going to suck, but if we're being honest about what bowl organizers really want out of a team that they invite, UCLA and Illinois are going to keep getting bowl invitations over even 8-win teams like Tulsa, Toledo, or Louisiana Tech.

So if you're asking me what I would change about the bowl system, I wouldn't possibly know where or how to begin. The bowl system is a product of media desires and inequality in FBS football, so if you want the bowl system to be any different, you'd better figure out a way to fix either the media landscape or the college football landscape first, and well... good luck with that.

Tom Fornelli: What if we replace the mid-week December games with gladiator like competitions? In which players from each school battle each other to the death. The loser, obviously, dies and frees up a scholarship for the school. The winner gets extra credit in any class of his choosing!

WHO WOULDN'T WATCH?

Adam Jacobi: Well, that would certainly be heartbreaking for everyone involved.

I wouldn't mind it if the sponsors (or bowl organizers or the stadium) had a little bit of leeway in ground rules for these games. These are silly games anyway (unless I'm supposed to take something called the Beef O'Brady's Bowl completely seriously all of a sudden), so why shouldn't the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl be played with literally a giant potato for a football? Field goals in the Holiday Bowl worth 4 points if they're from more than 45 yards out? Fine by me! Special uniforms in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl designed to look like boxes of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese? OF COURSE we should be doing that.

So yeah, as long as we're going to have ultimately trivial exhibitions end the seasons of so many teams, we might as well make said trivial exhibitions unique in ways that go beyond mere branding.

Tom Fornelli: These ideas have my full support.  Can you imagine how much better the Orange Bowl would be if they were using an orange instead of a football?

Chip Patterson: Did they change tires on car at half time of the Meineke Car Care Bowl? If not they should.  Same goes for the Belk Bowl. I think instead of a coin toss there should be a Dockers shopping spree to determine who gets the ball first.

Adam Jacobi: And if Hooters got involved, there would be... lots of wings available for attending fans to eat. And that is all.

To chime in on the bowl schedule debate, or offer your own changes; "Like" us on Facebook and let us know what you think.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. | Preview
Posted on: December 20, 2011 3:15 pm
Edited on: December 20, 2011 6:21 pm
 

Report: Norm Chow hired as new Hawaii coach

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Hawaii
has reportedly hired widely renowned college and NFL assistant coach Norm Chow as its new head coach.

According to a report by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Chow has emerged as the Warriors' top choice out of a pool of three finalists which is likely to have included former Arizona State head coach Dirk Koetter. Athletic director Jim Donovan has reportedly been "authorized" by Hawaii officials to work out a contract with the current Utah athletic director. 

Chow, 65, is a Honolulu native who began his coaching career at BYU in 1973 and spent 26 seasons with the Cougars before stints as an offensive coordinator at N.C. State, USC, the Tennessee Titans and UCLA as well as Utah. While at USC he won the 2002 Broyles Award as the nation's top assistant and played a major role in building the Trojans' national championship- and Heisman-winning offenses.

According to the Star-Advertiser report, an official announcement on Chow's hire could come as soon as Thursday.
Posted on: December 20, 2011 3:04 pm
Edited on: December 20, 2011 6:24 pm
 

ASU covers $1M buyout as part of Graham contract

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The Arizona State search to replace Dennis Erickson got its man in Todd Graham, but it didn't come without a high cost in negative press for the new Sun Devil head coach--or, as Tuesday's revealed contract details show, an equally high price in cold, hard cash.

The full details are available as an executive summary from the school's Board of Regents here (PDF), with Graham's deal set to award him $2 million per season over five seasons, a total of $10 million if Graham serves the length of the contract or if the school fires him beforehand. The contract also includes a minor $50,000 escalation for each year Graham stays in Tempe.

Perhaps the most interesting detail, however, is that the Sun Devils were desperate enough to grease the tracks of Graham's messy departure from Pitt with $1 million in buyout money. 

Other interesting tidbits:

-- As with most FBS coaches, Graham has a litany of bonuses built into his contract, up to $750,000 for winning the BCS national title game. (Good luck with that, Mr. Graham.) But he must "forfeit and repay all compensation and bonuses paid" if any of the accomplishments which triggered those bonuses are vacated by the NCAA. Here's a guess that Graham will want a beefier Sun Devil compliance office soon.

-- Graham cannot leave the Sun Devils for another Pac-12 job "for the rest of the original contract's term," or at least not without (we're speculating) a sizable legal fight.

-- Per the Arizona Republic"As football coach, Graham receives tickets to ASU sporting events, the use of two automobiles or a stipend, golf privileges at the ASU Karsten Golf Course, reimbursement of membership fees and monthly dues at a country club and one-time payment of relocation expenses." Good work if you can get it, huh?

Of course, what remains surprising about the Graham move is that the Sun Devil job still seems like outstanding work for a coach who'd just gone a mediocre-at-best 6-6 at Pitt to get. Though $2 million isn't outrageous, the contract (and buyout repayment) still does nothing to alter the perception that Graham
Posted on: December 20, 2011 12:31 pm
Edited on: December 20, 2011 6:34 pm
 

PODCAST: the Free Bruce Podcast, with Hugh Freeze

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

In this edition of the Free Bruce Podcast, CBSSports.com's Bruce Feldman talks new coaching hires with our Bryan Fischer--Urban Meyer at Ohio State, Todd Graham at Arizona State, and more. But that's just the run-up to an interview with one of those new hires his own self: Ole Miss's Hugh Freeze. Freeze discusses the challenges of his new job, how far he's come to earn it, and just how often he hears about his role in The Blind Side.

To listen, click below, download the mp3, or pop out the player in a new window by clicking here. Remember that all of the CBSSports.com College Football Podcasts can be downloaded for FREE from the iTunes Store.

 
Posted on: December 20, 2011 9:48 am
Edited on: December 20, 2011 1:22 pm
 

Report: FIU's Cristobal is 'frontrunner' for Pitt

Posted by Chip Patterson

Pittsburgh's search to replace Todd Graham as the head football coach has slowed since the weekend's interviews, possibly because school officials are waiting for a response from the reported frontrunner: Florida International head coach Mario Cristobal.

Paul Zeise, of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, reports that Cristobal emerged from the weekend as the leading candidate to become the next Panthers football coach, but asked the school to hold off any further discussions until after FIU's bowl game. Cristobal's Golden Panthers squad will make its second-straight postseason appearance against Marshall in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl on Tuesday night.

Cristobal interviewed with the school last week, but the Panthers have back-up plans if the Miami native chooses to stay put with the Golden Panthers. Ohio State defensive coordinator -- and interim coach for 2011 -- Luke Fickell as well as Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst are the other known candidates for the vacant position. The report in the Gazette cited a source close to one of those candidates that suggested Pitt was "waiting for something" before moving forward. It is believed the school will wait for the completion of Tuesday's bowl game before gauging the interest of Cristobal.

No formal offers have been made by the school to any candidates, but all three would fit the mold Pittsburgh is looking for in their next coach. Of course, the Panthers thought Todd Graham fit that mold as well, but the most high-octane aspect from Graham's time in Pittsburgh was the speed of his exit. The school is looking for a coach to re-energize the storied program that has only claimed a share of two conference titles since 1980.

Defensive coordinator Keith Patterson will serve as the interim head coach when the Panthers face SMU in the BBVA Compass Bowl on Jan. 7 in Birmingham.

Get set for Mario Cristobal and FIU's showdown in Tuesday's Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl against Marshall at the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl Pregame

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. | Preview
Posted on: December 16, 2011 1:42 pm
 

Maaco Bowl Key Match up



Posted by Bryan Fischer


A look at the key matchup that could decide the Maaco Bowl

Boise State secondary versus Arizona State's passing game

Some numbers can lie. Boise State's 25th-ranked pass defense is one of them. If you caught any of their loss to TCU, you'll know why: the Broncos are young and can be picked on with speedy receivers going down field. Guess what Arizona State has? Experienced wide receivers who know how to run routes and get behind defenses.

Gerell Robinson is averaging over 18 yards a catch and has topped the 100 yard mark five times this season for the Sun Devils. Aaron Pflugrad gets close to 15 per grab and though he slowed down after a great start to the year, is a veteran who can slip behind a corner and find holes in zone defenses. Jamal Miles is a multipurpose threat and has to be contained in the return game as well. A sore point in past years, the ASU offensive line was much improved this year and has given quarterback Brock Osweiler some time to throw. Outside of their game against Cal to end the year, this has been a pretty pass-heavy offense at the end of the year.

The Broncos secondary did well with time to prepare against Georgia earlier in the year but was torched by TCU (473 yards, five touchdowns) and San Diego State (350 yards, three touchdowns). Osweiler has thrown for over 3,600 yards and 24 touchdowns on the year and is tall enough (he's 6-foot-8 if you haven't heard) to see open receivers down the field.

Boise State safety George Iloka was moved to cornerback at the end of the year and the secondary improved so it will be interesting to see how ASU attacks the new-look unit. Things are also interesting considering Sun Devils offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone has moved on to the UCLA coaching staff. Very intriguing match up that should determine whether this game is close or a blow out.

You can read our complete Maaco Bowl preview here.

Posted on: December 16, 2011 12:34 pm
 

Keys to the game: Maaco Bowl

Posted by Bryan Fischer

BOISE STATE WILL WIN IF: This is a total mismatch, there's no doubt about it. The Broncos are better coached and a better team - a decent kicker away from playing for the national title. Instead, they wind up in Las Vegas in the swan song for FBS' winningest quarterback Kellen Moore. It's pretty simple for Boise State, win the game by doing what you've been doing for years. Hit big pass plays, run the ball effectively, get pressure using the front four, run a trick play or two. The Sun Devils are 106th in pass defense so it should make for a big game by Moore.

ARIZONA STATE WILL WIN IF: After a disappointing season and a fired coach on the sidelines, this game gives the Sun Devils a chance to end the season on a high note. The defense never did live up to expectations - due to injury and on-the-field play - but getting stops and forcing turnovers give their offense a chance to score some points. Brock Osweiler and company have done a solid job this year but have to remain balanced, even if they are behind in the game. More than anything, the team is going to have to put together a complete game like they did earlier in the year if they are to have a chance at pulling the upset in Vegas.

THE X-FACTOR: You never know how a team going into a bowl game with a departing coach, in this case Dennis Erickson, will play. They could be inspired and pull off the upset against all odds. They could roll over and play lifeless after being down a score or two. Given the way ASU ended the season, it would be a good bet that it's the latter but you never know. These are two talented football teams playing in an exhibition game to end the year, so it's hard to tell who will be motivated to win it. 


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