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Tag:Tennessee
Posted on: January 23, 2012 1:11 pm
 

Washington shells out $2.73M for assistant staff

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

With hires like new defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox and defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi (pictured), Steve Sarkisian has put together an overhauled Washington staff that -- on paper -- ranks as one of the best in the Pac-12, and maybe the country. But not surprisingly, that overhaul has come at a cost.

The Seattle Times reported this weekend that thanks to the substantial raise for coaches like Lupoi over their predecessors, the Huskies are now spending more than any other public school in the Pac-12 on their assistants' salaries. The total bill comes in at $2.73 million, more than any other league school save -- probably -- USC, which is private and not required to release salary information.

Wilcox will make $750,000 this coming season, with escalators in his contract that could pay him as much as $850,000 in 2014. (The salary is an increase on what even his previous SEC-based employer, Tennessee, was paying him.) New offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau will earn $375,000 and Lupoi $350,000--a staggering figure for a position coach outside of the cash-flush Big 12 or SEC, but one likely necessary to pry the coach considered by many the best recruiter on the West Coast away from Cal.

So where is all this cash coming from? In a release, Husky AD Scott Woodward doesn't shy away from the source (emphasis added):

"As we've done since (Sarkisian's) arrival, we are seeking and signing the nation's best coaches, and we are willing and able to do it at market value. Our student-athletes deserve the best leaders and the best facilities to create the best environment to win championships. The expenditure on salaries for football's assistant coaches is a prudent investment of that additional money from the Pac-12 new multimedia contract, into the program that gives the biggest return to all Husky athletes."

By snatching away Tupoi and offering weapons-grade money to Wilcox, the Huskies may have just fired the first shot in what could prove to be the same kind of Pac-12 salary battles the SEC -- see the there-and-back-again journey of Alabama assistant Lance Thompson -- has been waging for years. The only real question is which of their conference rivals is going to issue the next one. 

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. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page.

Posted on: January 20, 2012 4:34 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2012 2:31 pm
 

A first look at 2012's returning starters

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's never, ever too early to talk about the next college football season once the previous one has passed. But it's a lot less too early once the deadline for NFL Draft declarations has passed and teams can enjoy an accurate -- or at least semi-accurate -- gauge of what their returning talent will look like next season.

Thanks to data-cruncher Phil Steele, we can enjoy that same semi-accurate gauge. As he does every January -- among the teams predicted for big things at this time last year were Michigan, Alabama and Vanderbilt -- Steele has released a comprehensive list of FBS returning starters for 2012, ranking each team 1-123. Yes, 123, thanks to the arrivals of UT-San Antonio, Texas State and UMass; Larry Coker's UTSA Roadrunners even top the list with 23 total returning starters (11 offensive, 10 defensive, and both specialists) as they ready for their first WAC season.

But of course, UTSA has its work cut out for it to make an impact, no matter how experienced its players might be. Among programs college football fans are more familiar with, here's the numbers and teams from Steele's data that stand out:

  • Sharing the lead amongst all BCS programs are Texas Tech and Tennessee with 20 starters each, including quarterbacks Seth Doege and Tyler Bray, respectively. If Red Raider and Volunteer third-year coaches Tommy Tuberville and Derek Dooley can't turn that kind of experience into a better year 3 than their collective Year 2's, neither one should be surprised if they don't receive a Year 4.
  • Never say never with Chris Petersen still around, but this looks like the season Boise State's incredible run of dominance and top-10 finishes comes to a halt. The Broncos rank dead-last, rock-bottom, with just 6 starters coming back--3 offensive 2 defensive, and (infamous) kicker Dan Goodale. (Then again, in the newly TCU-less Mountain West, will anyone stop them regardless? The league leader in returning starters is Colorado State, with no other MWC program ranked higher than Fresno State at 29th.)
  • It's possible Badger fans will rue their back-to-back failures at the Rose Bowl even more than they do already; with just 10 returning starters, Wisconsin ranks at the bottom of the Big Ten and 116th overall. Big Ten fans should instead gear up now for an even-more-critical Ohio State-Michigan game than usual; the Buckeyes are second in the league behind Indiana with 18 starters, and the Wolverines are tied with Nebraska for third with 16.
  • The Vols, Auburn, Florida and Vanderbilt top the SEC list -- with 18 starters or more, all rank among the nation's 19 most experienced teams -- which means the league could see a more topsy-turvy season than usual; despite their cavalcade of young talent LSU returns just 5 defensive starters, national champions Alabama just 4. Despite major losses on the offensive line, Georgia looks poised to field the conference's best defense, with nine starters coming back for a unit already ranked fifth in the FBS.
  • Why is USC getting so much early preseason love? Pretty simple: of the 10 teams listed in Bruce Feldman's early-bird top 10, the Trojans are one of just two to have as many as 17 returning starters. The other is Oklahoma, and since the Sooners finished the year getting chewed up and spit out by Oklahoma State while the Trojans were busy upsetting Oregon in Eugene and annihilating UCLA, it's not hard to see why voters might go for the former.
  • Poor Al Golden: not only is his Miami team still laboring under the weight of the Nevin Shapiro allegations, not only do they rank 96th nationally and tie for next-to-last in the ACC with 12 returning starters, but according to Steele's data the Hurricanes are -- amazingly -- the only ACC team to not return its starting quarterback for next season. 
  • Gus Malzahn is going to be one of the FBS's most closely watched mid-major head coaches after his move from Auburn, and with six returning starters including QB Ryan Aplin on offense, the Red Wolves should be fine on that side of the ball. But with just three starters back on defense, ASU ranks 116th overall and last in the Sun Belt in total starters returning. Opposite Malzahn's punishing up-tempo attack, we'd like to place an early wager on the Red Wolves as one the nation's statistically weakest D's in 2012 ... and on Malzahn needing at least two years to return ASU to last year's championship perch.

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. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page.

Posted on: January 17, 2012 4:22 pm
 

SEC official: 'We're not going to nine' games

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Mike Slive and the SEC have stated (on multiple occasions) that the league's 2012 schedule is a stopgap solution before more permanent answers to the questions of cross-divisional rivalries and rotations are established in 2013. But according to conference official Larry Templeton, there's one thing that won't change in the schedule between 2012 and 2013: the number of games in it.

Templeton, chair of the SEC's transition team, confirmed to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at Missouri Monday that the conference will not be considering moving to a nine-game schedule in 2013 ... or ever.

"We're not going to nine," he said. "The competitiveness in our league week-to-week is just too strong. It would be an easier scheduling format, but I don't think it would be fair to our players or our coaches."

In November, South Carolina president Harris Pastides said the league planned to move to a nine-game slate, but that claim was quickly shot down by the league and Slive himself, who said in December he didn't "sense any interest" from member schools in adding an additional league game.

Assuming the SEC sticks with Templeton's assertion that a nine-game schedule is off the table, the league faces a difficult catch-22. With six of the eight games already guaranteed to be divisional games (thanks to the 14-team expansion and seven teams in each division), only two will be devoted to cross-divisional contests. Make one of those a permanent cross-divisional rival and rotate through home-and-home series in the last remaining slot, and non-rival teams in opposite divisions will play each other just twice in a span of 12 years. Give both slots over to rotations, and suddenly some the bedrock rivalries of the league -- Auburn-Georgia and Alabama-Tennessee, to name the two most prominent -- are no longer annual affairs.

"That is a huge question that has not been answered ... It will be an interesting debate," Templeton said. "I think anything else is on the table for discussion. We're going to have to make some tough decisions. Are we going to stay with the permanent opponent, and then how are we going to rotate that one other game?"

One possible solution would be for some teams (like the Tide and Vols, or Tigers and Bulldogs) to keep their permanent cross-division rival while the others have both their East-West games rotate. But that could prove unnecessarily complicated, and would still force those teams with permanent rivals to see opposite-division teams exceedingly rarely. 

Of course, there are some positives to sticking with an eight-game schedule; teams with annual nonconference rivalries like South Carolina (with Clemson) or Florida (with Florida State) will find it much easier to maintain those with four non-league games available, and the capacity to schedule an extra "paycheck game" will greatly aid the league's lower-rung teams in reaching bowl eligibility. 

But already, many SEC fans would say the conference's traditional powers -- say, Alabama and Florida, or LSU and Georgia, or old rivals Auburn and Tennessee -- don't play often enough. The most likely outcome of an eight-game schedule is that games between those teams would become even more scarce. Expansion may boost the league's bottom line if its forthcoming post-14-team TV negotiations prove fruitful, but it will still come at a price, and games like this past two season's showdowns between the Tide and Gators look like they'll going to be that price.

HT: Get the Picture. 

For more from the Eye on CFB on the SEC, click here.

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Posted on: January 17, 2012 3:56 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2012 3:59 pm
 

Stiff NCAA penalties on the way with new model



Posted by Bryan Fischer


Scandals, scholarships and rules changes were among the topics of frequent conversation at last week's NCAA Convention and while not everything president Mark Emmert wanted - the $2,000 cost of attendance stipend for example - was passed by the Legislative Council and Board of Directors, it's safe to say what happened in Indianapolis laid the ground work for significant changes that will impact schools for decades to come.

While details on most proposals from Presidential Working Groups finally emerged in some areas, the one place where there was plenty of talk but little substance was the new enforcement model that some in the organization have been tasked with reforming. After a year that included news about major infractions at Tennessee, Miami, Ohio State, North Carolina and others, it's no surprise that this would be one area of emphasis.

"We were damn mad and not going to take it anymore," Ed Ray, Oregon State president and chair of the Enforcement Working Group, said.

The Enforcement Working Group that came out of August's presidential retreat was tasked with creating a tiered violation structure, new penalty procedures, a reformed process for adjudication and a reformed process that is fair while supporting the collegiate model the organization is looking to uphold.

"In terms of what is our charge, we heard President Emmert talk about this risk-reward analysis and the fact that there seems to be a general loss of integrity and upholding the rules," Vice President for Enforcement Julie Roe Lach said. "This isn't purely a reactive move, we're not just doing this because of the scandals or if there is a crisis. We're doing this because it's the right thing to do. This is a time to redefine what are our principles and what do we stand for."

In addition to following the principles of fairness, accountability and process integrity, flexibility is one of the key things the new model is designed to address as there are currently only two categories of violations: major and secondary. The new model would have four levels (most egregious, serious, secondary, minor) with the Committee on Infractions taking into account various mitigating or aggravating factors that would then help determine penalties. While many believe the enforcement side just makes it up as they go along (and they can because they don't follow past precedent), the model should help move cases along in the system quicker and result in more consistency among penalties given out to schools.

"The working group recognizes the wide-spread perception that the current penalty model leads to inconsistent and insufficient penalties and does not adequately deter other institutions and individuals from engaging in conduct contrary to the rules," the working group's report stated. "The working group believes that the severity of the penalty imposed must correspond with the significance of the rule violation(s)."

If it all seems a bit dense and hard to understand, it is. That's why the NCAA created this proposed penalty matrix that gives you a better visual idea of what future programs will have to get used to if they break rules. For example, if you commit a serious Level I offense and there were no mitigating factors, you can expect a 2-3 year postseason ban.

"We haven't had a lot of pushback on this," Roe Lach said of the new multi-level structure. "If there's anything in the package that is a no-brainer, it seems like this may be it.

"An issue we've heard is we need to be more consistent and allow for more predictability. I think if we are more consistent, it would afford more predictability. The idea is to move toward a penalty guidelines model."

So how does it really work? Well, take the infamous USC case involving Reggie Bush and O.J. Mayo among others: violations of NCAA bylaws governing amateurism; failure to report knowledge of violations; unethical conduct; violations of coaching staff limitations; impermissible recruiting contacts by a representative of the institution's athletics interests; impermissible inducements and extra benefits; and lack of institutional control.  

According to the new model, this would be classified as multiple Level I violations with four significant aggravating factors. Here's a comparison of penalties with what the Trojans got and what they would have received under the new model:



So yes, USC would have been punished even worse under the new proposed enforcement model coming from the NCAA. That's interesting because athletic director Pat Haden is on the enforcement working group and has made it a point to say that the Trojans were unfairly punished. In other examples provided by the NCAA, Baylor's basketball program would have seen the number of scholarships available slashed in half following the school's 2005 infractions case. Instead of fewer practice hours for Rich Rodriguez and Michigan in their case, the Wolverines could have lost up to four scholarships per year. Florida State's 2009 case could have seen football scholarship losses of 10-21 per year for three years instead of the six they received.

Given the new model, expect the hammer from Indianapolis to come down harder on cheaters in the future.

Posted on: January 15, 2012 10:58 pm
Edited on: January 15, 2012 10:58 pm
 

Coach swap: Tide hires Vols' Thompson as LB coach

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Three years ago, Alabama hired Sal Sunseri to replace linebackers coach Lance Thompson, hired away by Tennessee. So now that Sunseri has also been hired away by the Vols, as Derek Dooley's new defensive coordinator, who has Nick Saban tabbed to replace him? Why, he's hired Lance Thompson, of course. 

That's according to multiple reports Sunday, which cited sources in claiming Thompson will return to the same Crimson Tide linebackers-coaching position he left in 2008 when Lane Kiffin lured him Tuscaloosa. Thompson coached the Vols' linebackers for two years before moving to defensive line duties this season.

Thompson becomes the sixth Tennessee assistant to depart the Volunteer program this off-season. Receivers coach Charlie Baggett retired; previous defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox and linebackers coach Peter Sirmon left to join Steve Sarkisian at Washington; offensive line coach Harry Hiestand left to take the same position at Notre Dame; and special teams coach Eric Russell joined Mike Leach at Washington State.

With the hires of Sunseri at DC, former Vol star Jay Graham at running backs coach, and North Carolina's Sam Pittman as the new offensive line coach, Dooley is doing his best to stop the bleeding. But Thompson's departure will leave a substantial mark nonetheless, especially this close to Signing Day; he's long been recognized as one of the SEC's best recruiters, a major factor in his having been hired by Saban in the first place, by Kiffin in 2008, and -- no doubt -- now by Saban a second time. (That the Crimson Tide head coach is willing to bring Thompson aboard a second time despite his earlier decision to hitch his wagon to Kiffin -- whose antics in Knoxville Saban is widely believed to have loathed -- speaks to how highly Saban thinks of his coaching and recruiting acumen.)

There's little doubt that hiring an up-and-comer like Sunseri away from his archrivals was something of a coup for Dooley, and a major positive for his under-fire Knoxville tenure. But every step forward for Dooley and the Vols seems like it's matched by one backwards these days, and it's no real surprise that one that came at the expense of Saban and Alabama was so quickly returned in kind.

For more on the Vols and Crimson Tide, follow CBSSports.com's Tennessee RapidReports by Daniel Lewis and Alabama RapidReports by Jim Dunn.

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. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page.

Posted on: January 13, 2012 3:09 pm
 

Report: Bryce Brown looking to enter NFL Draft

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The saga that has been Bryce Brown's college football career is reportedly moving in a whole new direction. ESPN's Joe Schad is reporting that Brown is strongly considering not returning to school next year and instead will enter the NFL Draft. A decision that no doubt raises some eyebrows.

Brown's college career has been an interesting one, but also one that hasn't seen much time on an actual football field. As a high school senior in Kansas, Brown was widely considered to be the second best running back prospect in his class, behind only Trent Richardson. While we all know how Richardson's career turned out at Alabama, Brown's has gone the opposite direction.

Brown originally signed with Tennessee in 2009 and after gaining 460 yards on 101 carries as a freshman, Brown transferred to Kansas State where he joined his brother, Arthur Brown. Brown sat out the 2010 season and came into 2011 expected to take over the starting role in the Wildcats backfield. Instead Brown lost the starting job to John Hubert and only carried the ball 3 times for 16 yards before leaving the school midseason.

Now it seems he's ready to give the NFL a try rather than returning to Kansas State or transferring once again. Which, to be quite honest, doesn't seem like the wisest of decisions if that's the one Brown does indeed make. While Brown may have been a top prospect coming out of high school, there probably aren't a whole lot of NFL teams who will be knocking themselves over for a chance to draft a kid with 104 career carries in the last three years.

In order to get drafted Brown would likely have to blow scouts away at the combine. He's much more likely to go undrafted and sign as a free agent somewhere and hope to make a roster or a practice squad.

Get caught up on the early-entry announcements HERE, and all the latest rankings, mock drafts, and breaking news check out the NFL Draft Home 

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. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page. 
Posted on: January 13, 2012 11:32 am
Edited on: January 13, 2012 11:54 am
 

Alabama's Sal Sunseri to Tennessee as DC

Posted by Chip Patterson

Alabama assistant coach Sal Sunseri will be Tennessee's next defensive coordinator.  Early reports from GoVols247 and the Tuscaloosa Bureau were confirmed in an official release from the school on Friday.  Sunseri replaces former defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, who accepted a position on the Washington coaching staff in September.
 
"The chance to work with Derek Dooley, who has been around championships and knows what it takes to build an elite program, combined with the rich tradition of the University of Tennessee, makes this opportunity so exciting to me," Sunseri said in the official release. "I am fired up to work with all of the young talent on the defensive side of the ball, and I can't wait to get up to Knoxville and coach them."

After winning two national championships in three seasons on Nick Saban's staff at Alabama, Sunseri will be in good company with head coach Derek Dooley. Dooley spent five years as an assistant to Saban at LSU, then two more on his Miami Dolphins coaching staff.

Like Dooley, Sunseri's family has been surrounded by college football. His oldest son, Tino, is the starting quarterback at Pittsburgh (where Sunseri was an All-American linebacker in 1981) and his youngest son, Vinnie, recorded just finished a 31-tackle freshman campaign as an Alabama linebacker.

"Sal has had unparalleled success over the last decade in not only contributing to team and unit success, but also in his ability to motivate and develop elite individual talent," Dooley said in a prepared statement. "His combination of defensive knowledge, recruiting success, high-energy personality, ability to connect with players, and personal integrity and character make him an exceptional fit for Tennessee."

Sunseri is Dooley's second hire of the week, looking to fill the positions left by other departing coaches. On Thursday Tennessee announced former North Carolina assistant Sam Pittman as the new offensive line coach. Pittman replaces Harry Hiestand, who left to take a job on Brian Kelly's staff at Notre Dame.

For more information on Tennessee's recent coaching hires, follow Daniel Lewis and the Volunteers RapidReports

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. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page.
Posted on: January 9, 2012 5:48 pm
Edited on: January 9, 2012 5:52 pm
 

FWAA releases 2011 Freshman All-America team

Posted by Chip Patterson

On Monday, the Football Writers Association of America released the 2011 Freshman All-America Team. The group, selected by an 11-person panel of FWAA writers, is made up of the best true freshman and redshirt freshman from the 2011 FBS season.

The panel also names a first-year coach to the FWAA Freshman All-America team. This year's selection was West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen.

USC and Kansas State were the only schools to have two players named to the team, while the SEC and Pac-12 led the way in terms of conferences with five players apiece. Several players from the list below were also named to CBSSports.com's Freshman All-America team, though there are some noticeable differences in the two lists.

Let us know what you think about the group in the comment section below, hit us up on Twitter, or drop a line at the Eye On College Football Facebook page.

OFFENSE
QB - Sean Mannion, Oregon State
RB - Giovani Bernard, North Carolina
RB - Lyle McCombs, Connecticut
WR - Matt Miller, Boise State
WR - Marquise Lee, USC
WR - Sammy Watkins, Clemson
AP - De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon
OL - Reese Dismukes, Auburn
OL - B.J. Finney, Kansas State
OL - Chaz Green, Florida
OL - Kaleb Johnson, Rutgers
OL - Jake Smith, Louisville

DEFENSE
DL - Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
DL - Timmy Jernigan, Florida State
DL - Aaron Lynch, Notre Dame
DL - Marcus Rush, Michigan State
LB - Dion Bailey, USC
LB - A.J. Johnson, Tennessee
LB - Jeremy Grove, East Carolina
DB - Blair Burns, Wyoming
DB - Ibraheim Campbell, Northwestern
DB - Quandre Diggs, Texas
DB - Merrill Noel, Wake Forest
DB - Eric Rowe, Utah

SPECIALISTS
P - Brad Wing, LSU
K - Michael Hunnicutt, Oklahoma
PR - Scott Harding, Hawaii
KR - Tyler Lockett, Kansas State

COACH
Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia

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. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com