Tag:Big East
Posted on: December 16, 2010 11:59 am
 

BCS proving pretty expensive for UConn

Posted by Tom Fornelli

One of the more enlightening parts of the book Death to the BCS wasn't the fact that college football could have a playoff that would be incredibly successful financially.  This is something that anybody with common sense could figure out.  No, when I read the book it was seeing exactly how much money that schools actually make by going to bowl games.

Or, as is the case quite a few times, how much money that schools can lose going to a bowl game.

Something that, at the moment, it looks like UConn is going to experience first hand.  Yes, the chance to go to a BCS game is exciting for the program as it gives the school some national exposure, but it also means that the school has a lot of tickets and hotel rooms to sell, and it looks like it's having some trouble doing that.
UConn also has a hotel obligation — a total of 550 rooms at three different hotels ranging in price from $125-225 a night, not including tax, with blocks reserved for either three or seven nights. Additional expenses include a chartered flight and meals for the team, staff and 300-member band, as well as a $100,000 bonus to coach Randy Edsall, and smaller bonuses for assistants, per their contracts, for getting the team to a BCS bowl.

Cost of any tickets or hotel rooms that go unfilled are absorbed by the university, with the exception of the 150 rooms at the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa, where UConn is on the hook for only half of money owed on unsold rooms at the $225-a-night hotel.

Whether UConn maximizes its revenue opportunity will depend on the amount of tickets it can sell. The school will almost certainly take a bath. As of Monday night, only 4,000 tickets had been sold, meaning UConn was still holding roughly $2.5 million in unsold tickets.

Those 4,000 tickets that UConn has sold?  That means the school still has 13,500 more to go. Obviously, the economy has a lot to do with this.  Most UConn fans just don't have the money to buy tickets and fly across the country and stay a few days right now, and those who do can surely find tickets cheaper elsewhere.

The school has started an ad campaign to encourage fans to travel to the game, even having coach Randy Edsall warn everybody that "this might be the only Fiesta Bowl we go to." Sounds encouraging doesn't it?

I get the feeling there are going to be quite a few empty seats in Glendale next month.

Photo courtesy of New Haven Register
Posted on: December 15, 2010 8:36 pm
 

Report: Pitt hires Miami (OH) coach Mike Haywood

Posted by Adam Jacobi

According to multiple reports, this morning's suspicions that Mike Haywood would be Pittsburgh 's next coach have indeed been confirmed, and Haywood has been hired by Pittsburgh AD Steve Pederson today.

Haywood's pedigree includes a MAC championship at Miami University in only his second year atop the program; in his first year, the team went 1-11, and the eight-win turnaround was unmatched by any program in the FBS this year. Haywood also spent 14 years at major football schools LSU, Texas, and Notre Dame as a running backs coach; during his four years at Notre Dame, Haywood was also Charlie Weis' offensive coordinator.

During his career as an assistant coach, Haywood coached such tailbacks as Kevin Faulk, LaBrandon Toefield, Domanick Davis, Cedric Benson, and the talented but injury-plagued Armando Allen, and his experience at these "football factory" type of schools should allay any fears Pittsburgh fans may have about Haywood's recruiting abilities -- especially if all they're looking at is his last two years at Miami University.

Still, it doesn't seem apparent that Haywood has any meaningful connection to the Pittsburgh program or area, so one might not get the sense that this is a "destination" school for Haywood. Rather -- to borrow a term from the military -- this seems more like an "up or out" position for Haywood, where if he succeeds he's expected to move to a more prestigious program, and if he doesn't he's fired -- or, like his predecessor Dave Wannstedt, "gently encouraged" to resign at a 15-second press conference. Only time will tell.


Posted on: December 15, 2010 11:57 am
 

Mike Haywood seems to be Pitt's next target

Posted by Tom Fornelli

So you've asked the prettiest girl in class to go to the dance with you, and she said yes.  You're excited.  Today is the day of the dance, and you've got yourself a nice new suit, a haircut and you're wearing some generic knockoff of a very expensive cologne.  You are ready to rock her world, but there's a problem.  You go to pick her up in your mom's car, and when you get to her house her parents told you she's already left for the dance with the kid who lives down the street from you.

"But he already has a girlfriend," you yell, tears already beginning to form in your eyes.

Dejected, you get back into the car.  You have two options now.  You can feel sorry for yourself, go home and cry yourself to sleep, or you can go to that dance, find any other girl there and show her the time of her life.  All while little Dana Ditchedyou stands and watches you.  So what are you going to do?

Well, it looks like Pitt has chosen the latter.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Miami (OH) head coach Mike Haywood was on campus on Tuesday to interview for the head coaching job a day after Dana Holgorsen spurned Pitt for West Virginia.
Officially the job has not been offered to Haywood - officially - but he is in Pittsburgh and from everything I can tell based on who I have talked to this morning, he is the first candidate that has actually been brought to campus and it is likely he is now fully in the crosshairs of this thing.
So stay tuned, you, meaning Pitt fans, could have a coach in place shortly.

Haywood went 1-11 in his first season at Miami in 2009, but the Redhawks went 8-4 this season to win the MAC East, and defeated Northern Illinois in the MAC Championship game.
Posted on: December 14, 2010 3:00 am
 

Is Bill Stewart coaching with his job at stake?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

One of the more intriguing subplots of the Big East this season has been the performance of Bill Stewart at the helm of the West Virginia Mountaineers, and what little effect it's had on his job security. This is the third season of a six-year deal for Stewart, and all things considered, his time in Morgantown hasn't exactly been a failure; his Mountaineers are 27-11 in the last three years, and are playing for their first 10-win season since going 11-2 under Rich Rodriguez in 2007, RichRod's last season there.

And yet, nine wins seems to be Stewart's ceiling, which understandably irks some fans who look at a historically inconsistent Big East and see a conference ripe for regularly allowing double-digit wins to a program like West Virginia's. Stewart hasn't won the conference in his three seasons, though, and having Connecticut represent the league in one of the most lopsided BCS bowls ever while WVU faces an ACC bowl opponent for the third straight season is just a little more than some fans and school administrators want to take.

Hence, then, this report from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Stewart may be fired if his team loses to 8-4 North Carolina State in the Champs Sports Bowl, and that regardless of the result of the bowl game, the school is already setting its sights on a replacement:

Sources confirmed today that a high-ranking official from West Virginia's athletic department has been in contact with Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen about the head coaching position at West Virginia, even as there is no vacancy.

[...] A source confirmed it is probable Stewart will be fired if West Virginia does not win that bowl game, and could happen regardless of the outcome. A win in the bowl game would give the Mountaineers a 10-win season.

Now, there aren't many coaches with clean disciplinary records who get fired with records like 28-12 -- an even .700 winning percentage -- and what job Stewart takes next would depend strongly on how much of a workload the 58-year-old feels like putting himself through after what an unceremonious departure like this would be.

If the Post-Gazette's other report listed in the aforelinked article -- that if Stewart's offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen is hired as head coach at Kent State , Holgorsen would be hired as the offensive coordinator with the head coaching spot guaranteed for 2012 -- is correct, it's clear that Stewart is operating in an environment that's enormously toxic from a trust and security standpoint. If that's the case, then regardless of whether Stewart wins his bowl game and/or salvages his job with the Mountaineers for another season, he doesn't have his superiors' confidence, and those situations rarely end well.

Posted on: December 10, 2010 12:39 pm
Edited on: December 10, 2010 12:40 pm
 

The Wannstache doesn't shave off that easily

Posted by Tom Fornelli

If you saw Dave Wannstedt's press conference to announce his resignation at Pitt earlier this week, the impression you got was likely that he couldn't wait to get out of that school fast enough.  It was either that or he was afraid he'd break down in tears if he talked too long, and nobody wants to see a mustache that glorious stained by tears.

Well, it's starting to look like it may have been the latter, as Wannstedt has reportedly made a decision about what he's going to do for Pitt's bowl game. Job or no job, that mustache will be leading his team into Birmingham.
In the days since the announcement that Wannstedt would no longer be the Panthers' head coach, multiple sources told PantherLair.com that Wannstedt planned to lead the Panthers in the BBVA Compass Bowl at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala., on January 8. 
On Thursday, defensive coordinator Phil Bennett said as much during a press conference in Birmingham to promote Pitt's bowl matchup against Kentucky. Wannstedt did not make the trip to Birmingham. 

Not really a surprising decision since Wannstedt will be staying on at Pitt as a special assistant to athletic director Steve Pederson.  What exactly that entails, I have no idea.  Maybe Wanny will drive Pederson around in his Camaro or give him grooming tips.
Posted on: December 9, 2010 6:31 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2010 6:33 pm
 

Holgorsen and Rhoads mentioned for Pitt job

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It's been a few days since Dave Wannstedt "resigned" from his position as head coach at Pitt before giving one of the shortest press conferences in history, and it seems that the school has already gotten started searching for its next head coach.  A couple of names that have popped up early are Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen and Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads (pictured).

Holgorsen's name came up as a candidate in a few reports, but if Pitt is planning on interviewing him, he doesn't know it yet.  Holgorsen told NewsOk.com that he hasn't been contacted by Pitt about the job, and when he was asked about whether he'd have any interest in the gig, he told the site that he is "pretty happy where I am at."

Still, just because he hasn't been contacted yet doesn't mean that Pitt has no plans on getting in touch with him.

There's also Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads, who served as defensive coordinator at Pitt from 2000-2007 before leaving to take his current job in Ames.  It's only natural that his name would come up given his history with the school.  While it's likely that Pitt will reach out to Rhoads at some point, as of now, it's unknown whether or they have as of this time.
Posted on: December 8, 2010 8:23 pm
 

Louisville to do everything to keep Strong

Posted by Tom Fornelli

While I went over the emotions running through Starksville earlier today -- emotions athletic director Scott Stricklin is trying to soothe -- Mississippi State isn't the only school in the country worried that Urban Meyer's latest resignation will affect its football program.  Louisville is also the home of a former Florida coordinator under Meyer, Charlie Strong.

Strong's name is likely to come up at some point during the coaching search, and Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich knows it.  Which is why he's planning on doing whatever it takes to keep Strong in Kentucky.

“He brings everything to a job from A to Z,” Jurich told The Courier-Journal. “I will do everything in my power to make sure he stays because he is a perfect fit for this city and this university.”

Of course, just because Louisville wants to keep Strong, that doesn't mean it will be able to.  The lure of coaching at Florida is a strong one, as it's easily one of the top jobs in the country, if not the best job in the country.  Florida could also offer Strong a lot more money than he'll make at Louisville, which is always a nice card to play when luring a coach.

So even if Jurich does everything in his power to keep Strong, I'm not sure he has the power to pull it off should Gainesville come calling.
Posted on: December 8, 2010 6:21 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2010 6:29 pm
 

Dave Wannstedt holds world's shortest presser

Posted by Adam Jacobi

In what's clearly the biggest coaching shake-up of the year, Pittsburgh saw six-year head coach Dave Wannstedt resign from his head coaching post yesterday. After the news was announced, Wannstedt took to the podium, flanked by his players, for one last press conference to clear the air. Doubtless, he took as much time as it needed to answer every qu -- wait, I'm told he took things in a slightly different direction:

What? Like 12 seconds isn't enough? Jeez, Captain Needy, lighten up.

Obviously, Wannstedt's solemn demeanor indicates that his resignation isn't exactly voluntary. It's good to see, then, that his players stood by him one last time. But the clapping? At a resignation news conference? He's not doing this for applause! Some dignity, please.

[Terrorist fist jab: Slow States ]


 
 
 
 
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