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Tag:Pac-12
Posted on: November 25, 2010 5:52 pm
Edited on: November 25, 2010 5:56 pm
 

Despite extension, Chow still has no guarantees

Posted by Chip Patterson

UCLA Rick Neuheisel would not make any guarantees for any of his staff, and many believed that legendary offensive coordinator Norm Chow was in jeopardy of being replaced.  Then, it was announced on Wednesday that that UCLA had approved a two-year extension for Chow.  The announcement was likely a result of the hot-seat rumors, with the extension being agreed on in July and approved late last week.  UCLA firmed their commitment with Chow after USC head coach Lane Kiffin made a play to get Chow out of Westwood.

But the Bruins offense has been far from impressive so far in 2010, ranking 111th nationally in total offense and 117th in passing offense.  Not what you would expect from a coach who has helped with two national championships and coached two Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks.  Contrary to what the extension may imply, the status on Chow's job has not changed.  The deal was made before this dismal season, and Neuheisel reiterated Wednesday that each member of the staff would be evaluated at season's end.  Just because the deal has been approved does not guarantee Chow will be the offensive coordinator in 2011.  


Posted on: November 24, 2010 1:14 pm
 

Does Colorado have a shot at Miles?

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

If most of us were compliling a wish list of candidates for Colorado and their open head coaching position, we'd rank Les Miles somewhere between Condoleeza Rice and Zombie Knute Rockne . All three are intriguing options, but the day any of the three accept the Buffaloes'  head job is the day the world ceases spinning on its axis.

Or so we think. That's reportedly not the way Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn is thinking , however, as he tries to lure the former Buffs assistant back to Boulder:

Bohn isn't talking about the ongoing coaching search, but Miles' name will not go away. School sources say Miles remains high on Bohn's wish list, along with Air Force's Troy Calhoun . And if he pulls off a third straight win Friday, interim coach Brian Cabral should get prominent consideration.

What are the chances of Colorado luring Miles, winner of the 2007 national championship and the coach of the 10-1, fifth-ranked Tigers?

"Two weeks ago, I would've given that story a lot of validity," said Brandon LeGrange, a booster for 15 years in the powerful Tiger Athletic Foundation. "The pressure on him before his win in the Alabama game, I don't know how one man can stand it."

Pressure or no, the list of reasons Miles wouldn't relocate to Colorado seem endless; he'd be forced to take a huge pay cut to join cash-strapped Buffs, his chances of winning championships (both conference and national) would shrink dramatically, he'd have to abandon an LSU program he's recruited into one of the most talented in the country and is poised for its third BCS berth on Miles' watch, and all of that is before we start getting into the pain of uprooting his family.

In short, the pressure (along with Miles' alleged love of Boulder as a city) would be the only reason Miles might abandon Baton Rouge for Boulder, and after starting 9-1, Miles seems to be thriving as fully as he ever has under that pressure. If Miles was looking for a way out of his LSU job, it stands to reason he'd have taken the chance to go to a Michigan job he reportedly covets three years ago.

Stranger things have happened. And at this relatively early stage, there's not much cost (if any) to aiming high. But until there's some indication Bohn's interest is reciprocated in any fashion, we'd suggest the Buffs focus their efforts on Calhoun, or maybe some kind of unholy rite involved in hiring a vampire Vince Lombardi .

HT: EDSBS .

Posted on: November 23, 2010 10:07 am
Edited on: November 23, 2010 10:08 am
 

Norm Chow on the hot seat at UCLA?

Posted by Chip Patterson

UCLA was able to find some hope near the beginning of the 2010 season with upset wins against Houston and at Texas, but the Pac-10 schedule has not been particularly friendly to the Bruins.  When UCLA kicked off conference competition, their opponents were well prepared for the Pistol offensive attack that carved up the Longhorns for 260+ yards rushing in Austin.  The Bruins offense has struggled to score in the second half of the season, never scoring more than 21 points since October 2.  There are many things to blame for the Bruins failures, but the one name that continues to come up is offensive coordinator Norm Chow.

"I don't want to talk about who will be or who won't be on the staff next year," head coach Rick Neuheisel said when asked about Chow's status with the Bruins for 2011.  "Our staff is intact and we're ready to go. I honestly haven't even start to think about that road."

Neuheisel did go on to say that Chow, along with the rest of the staff, would be evaluated at season's end.  Chow is one of the great offensive minds in college football across the last 30 years, and his legacy was cemented with two national championships and two Heisman winning quarterbacks at USC.  But something at UCLA is clearly not working.  The offense has looked less like a Pistol for most of 2010, and more like, well, this.



Posted on: November 17, 2010 9:15 am
 

Sarkisian: Locker cleared to play

Posted by Chip Patterson

After yet another day passed without any word on Jake Locker's status, Washington fans were beginning to fear that the star quarterback may not get to see the field in his final home game against the Bruins on Thursday night.  Locker, still recovering from a broken rib, did practice with the team on Tuesday but head coach Steve Sarkisian informed the media he had yet to be cleared to play by team doctors.  Sarkisian not only wants Locker to play for the betterment of the Huskies, but also knows that the former Pac-10 Freshman of the Year would like to close out his career under center in Husky Stadium.  When doctors finally cleared Locker late Tuesday, Sark was not about to wait for any press release to be written - he took the good news straight to Twitter.



 
Posted on: November 15, 2010 10:07 am
Edited on: November 15, 2010 10:21 am
 

Locker practices, status uncertain for Thursday

Posted by Chip Patterson

Washington quarterback Jake Locker was back on the practice field taking snaps with his teammates this weekend for the first time since October 30, but there are still no promises for his return to the starting lineup.  Locker is recovering from a broken rib suffered against Stanford two weeks ago, and has utilized the Huskies' off-week to get back to playing shape.  Locker split reps with backup Keith Price during Washington's weekend practices, working on a short week in preparation for Thursday's conference battle with UCLA.  As for Locker's status against the Bruins?  Head coach Steve Sarkisian did sound incredibly optimistic, but did not give any official status update in his statements after Saturday's practice.

"I thought he moved around okay,'' Sarkisian said to reporters after practice. "We will just have to take it day-by-day to assess how he responds from one day to the next. I'm not going to make any grand statements as far as 'is he playing, is he not.' We just need to assess it here for a couple days.''

Todd Milles, of the Tacoma News Tribune, writes that Sarkisian may not make a decision on Locker until Wednesday.  Doctors are very encouraged with how quickly he has recovered from the injury, but it is unlikely that he will be 100 percent before Saturday's game.  Price, a redshirt freshman, was issued a tall order for his first career start against Oregon in Autzen Stadium.  He completed 14 of 28 passes for 127 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions.  If given the chance to start again his task will be much easier against the Bruins defense, which has given up 33.5 points per game in conference play.  


Posted on: November 8, 2010 10:22 am
 

The Dan Hawkins firing watch is underway

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

By now, you know the story out of Lawrence from last Saturday : Colorado went into the fourth quarter up 45-17 against a Kansas team that had scored more than 28 points in an entire game just once this season , then gave up five straight touchdowns to lose 52-45. It is not hyperbole to call it the worst loss suffered by any team in the FBS this season. It's more like fact.

Coaches that preside over losses like that don't usually keep their jobs for very long, and when you're talking about a coach in Buffalo head man Dan Hawkins that only retained his job for 2010 by virtue of being too expensive to buy out, "not for very long" very well could mean "not for even another day." Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn admitted as much in the wake of the meltdown , saying "the  school could make an announcement in regard to his future later this week" and declining to give Hawkins a vote-of-confidence for even so much as this week's game against Iowa State .

For their part, the Buffalo players would like to see their head coach allowed to finish the season with dignity:
"I don't know the history, but I would say in most history when a head coach is fired in the middle of the season, those teams generally don't do so well," injured starting quarterback Tyler Hansen said ... "I think it's only fair to the seniors to ride out this coaching staff."

"It would be unfortunate to see any coaches have to go at this point in time because it's so much more than putting something on one person," [senior tight end Luke] Walters said. "It's way more than that. One change is obviously probably not going to get the results that everyone is looking for. At this point in time, I can't say there would be anything positive coming out of that, as much as people want to see something happen."
If the players' support for their coach is admirable (if not unanimous, as an "it really doesn't matter" quote from safety Anthony Perkins makes clear), the fact that even they aren't entertaining the possibility of Hawkins being retained another season is telling. Hawkins has surpassed New Mexico coach Mike Locksley as the most fired coach in America; even the players know the only matter to discuss is when Bohn should pull the trigger.

And if he wants a nickel's worth of free advice from the CBS College Football Blog, he should pull it sooner rather than later. Hawkins' continued employment appears to be a charade by this point, a farce that almost by definition ought to be ended with as much haste as possible. Bohn can ask Hawkins to coach through the end of the season for the sake of continuity and in deference to the wishes of the Buff senior class; with his son Cody Hawkins the starting quarterback almost by default in the wake of the injury to Hansen, Hawkins may very well accept. This would give the program some measure of stability while still being honest about Hawkins' status and permitting Bohn to (ethically) begin the process of evaluating candidates for Hawkins' replacement.

It's not ideal, but it's better than allowing what sounds like a noxious atmosphere surrounding the program to fester. The sooner the air in Boulder clears, the sooner fans and boosters and players and the administrationa all alike can see where the program is headed.

HT: @DrSaturday

Posted on: November 4, 2010 2:11 pm
 

Utah A.G. looking for federal help in BCS suit

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Utah attorney general Mark Shurtleff has been gearing up for an antitrust lawsuit aimed at bringing down the Bowl Championship Series for quite some time now, and this week he made his pitch to what could prove to be a very powerful friend in his fight against the BCS: the U.S. Justice Department. The administration of president Barack Obama --- who of course famously stated that he would support a playoff in college football -- has already been mulling over an investigation into the fairness of the BCS system. If Shurtleff has his way, that mulling over will become action and the BCS could be facing federal antitrust violations.

But as this report from the Salt Lake Tribune helps illustrate, if Shurtleff doesn't get federal help, the lawsuit will likely never get off the ground. Finding the funding to bring such a high-profile suit is proving to be difficult:

 

Shurtleff said Utah couldn’t cover the costs of the litigation on its own, which is why he has repeatedly reached out to attorneys general from other states and sent a detailed legal brief to the Justice Department six months ago.

He believes the Justice Department would be in a better position to push the issues because AGs from around the nation often represent the major universities in their states and it is the college presidents who make up the BCS.

“Potentially the defendants are your own clients,” Shurtleff said.

Further, the climate for pursuing such a case is growing harsher by the day. Shurtleff first began his crusade in the wake of his home-state Utah program getting shut out of title consideration after their undefeated 2008 run, but since then the Utes have become part of the BCS's landed gentry themselves by accepting a Pac-12 invitation; his constituency may not support his cause with the fervor they once did, another reason he may need the support of the Justic Department.

Beyond that, with both Boise State and the winner of Saturday's mega-clash between Utah and TCU highly likely to play in BCS bowls (and reap BCS cash) this season, non-AQ access to the BCS has never been greater. Shurtleff claims of a potential non-AQ team playing in the national game that ...

“There is no scenario whatsoever where it can happen under the current regime,” he said. “It can not happen.”
But this is simply, patently false; a scenario in which Oregon loses or the SEC champion has two losses could do the trick before the year is out.

Should the Ducks win out and either undefeated Auburn or a one-loss Alabama squeeze the unblemished Broncos, Frogs, or Utes out of the title game, Shurtleff will have a point. It will not be fair to continue to reward perfect seasons by established non-AQ powers with seats at the metaphorical kiddie table. But fair or not, neither the political climate nor the climate surrounding college football seems conducive right now to forcing BCS change at the point of a knife.

HT: GTP .

 


Posted on: November 3, 2010 12:43 pm
 

Malzahn leaves Colorado door open, sort of

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

One of the most talked-about columns to emerge in the college football media this past week has been this one by the Denver Post 's John Henderson, which not only confidently claims that Colorado head coach Dan Hawkins won't survive into the 2011 season but offers an early shortlist for his replacement. The four names allegedly being considered by Buffs brass: Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain , retired former Colorado head coach Bill McCartney , LSU head coach Les Miles , and Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn .

Of those four, Miles is widely seen as unattainable; McCartney (who has been out of coaching for the past  16 seasons) is seen as old and potentially out-of-touch; and McElwain is seen, as, well, the less-exciting of the two Alabama-based coordinators. Which has focused most of the speculation in response to Henderson's column on Malzahn, whose go-go offense has transformed Auburn from one of the SEC 's worst attacks to one of the nation's best in two short seasons (not to mention turning Cam Newton into the Hesiman front-runner). His approach would seem to be a good fit both for the Buffs' move to the high-scoring Pac-12 and for a Colorado fanbase that could use some excitement after the stultifying Hawkins tenure.

But Malzahn, like his quarterback , has already taken enough turns on the coaching speculation carousel to know not to give anything away this early :

"To be honest, I’m in my own little world," he said. "My entire focus is on this team and making it the best it can be. I’m extremely happy. I’ve said that time and time again. I love coach (Gene ) Chizik and I love coaching these kids. And my only focus is trying to win games and trying to win a championship."

"Somewhere down the line I’d like to [become a head coach]," he said. "I’m in no hurry. I feel like a lot of people think I am. But like I’ve said before, we’ve got a good thing going here and I’d like to see it through.”
This is standard boilerplate for a coach who's a candidate for another job in midseason, but of course that boilerplate is something other than "I'll be at Auburn next year" or "I'm not going to Colorado."

So the door for a move to Boulder still is, in the most technical sense of the metaphor, still open. But at this premilinary stage, reading anything into Malzahn's comments other than that he doesn't want to comment is reading too much into them.





 
 
 
 
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