Category:NCAAF
Posted on: December 15, 2011 12:24 am
Edited on: December 15, 2011 10:41 am
 

Saban could lose second coach before title game

Nick Saban could lose two staff members before the BCS national title game.

Once again the name of 'Bama linebackers coach Sal Sunseri has emerged as a replacement at Pittsburgh. The abrupt departure of Todd Graham means the Pittsburgh administration will have to scramble. Sunseri, also Alabama’s associate head coach, interviewed with Pittsburgh last year. He is a former All-American linebacker with the Panthers.

Saban has already lost offensive coordinator Jim McElwain who is headed for Colorado State. McElwain will stay through the bowl game. He has been with Tide almost four years.

Meanwhile, five names have emerged at Pittsburgh as the school rushes to find a coach for the second straight December. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette called Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads a possible front-runner. Rhoads was defensive coordinator for the Panthers under Walt Harris and Dave Wannstedt.

Rutgers offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti could be a candidate at Pittsburgh along with Baltimore Ravens secondary coach Teryl Austin. Prior to Rutgers, Cignetti spent two seasons as Pittsburgh’s offensive coordinator. Austin played at Pittsburgh and most recently spent a season as Florida’s defensive coordinator. Most of his career has been spent in the NFL.

Last year, Pittsburgh also showed interest in Florida International coach Mario Cristobal and Tom Bradley, now the Penn State interim coach.  

Also, look for Samford offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee to get serious consideration to join Gus Malzahn in the same position at Arkansas State. Lashlee formerly played quarterback for Malzahn in high school and was a grad assistant at both Arkansas and Auburn.  


Posted on: December 14, 2011 5:11 pm
Edited on: December 14, 2011 5:12 pm
 

Hypocrite Week during coaching silly season

The clear losers today in the coaching carousel are SMU and Arizona State. That’s two schools with coaches under contract.

That’s part of the problem.

The SMU administration already has taken back June Jones who dumped his employer of four years and had all but left for Arizona State last week. The ASU administration apparently learned nothing. It “quickly” went out – well, six days – and hired Todd Graham from Pittsburgh.  

The story is not that Graham stayed exactly 337 days with the Panthers. It's not that Arizona State took 17 days in a sun-splashed desert paradise to find a replacement for Dennis Erickson. 

It’s that either of these schools are actually honoring signed contracts. The guys they currently employ haven't. Graham has made the word “vagabond” seem like permanent employment over the course of his career. Carpetbaggers think he is disloyal.

Meanwhile, Jones has told SMU through his actions that he doesn’t want to be there. He knows that. The school knows that. Yet it has taken him back.

At some point, administrators are going to start treating coaches like free-lance workers. There will be no-compete clauses where coaches can’t talk to a potential employer. Their salaries will be end-of-the year retention bonuses. If a coach leaves within three years he owes a buyout: You name it, $2 million, $5 million, $10 million. It’s already been done.

Yes, coaches are not loyal. You’ll be reading a lot of that over the next several days. It has turned into an offseason angle du juor. But what about the schools? A week after the season ended, Texas A&M Bill Byrne was forced to fire Mike Sherman. The school president and a booster wanted change. They eventually got their man in Houston’s Kevin Sumlin.

That’s why coaches have buyouts too.

Shame on administrations, though, for repeating their mistakes. It’s often cited that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. What, then, about either school’s conduct tells anyone that they have changed?

Pittsburgh is Graham’s second school where he spent one season before bolting to the next best thing. Except in this case, going to Arizona State is a lateral move. At best. ASU traded a 6-6 coach (Erickson) for a 6-6 coach (Graham). The difference in the two jobs is the weather. Both Pittsburgh and Arizona State have been a chronic underachievers for years.

At least in Tempe, it’s a dry mediocrity.

If I’m an SMU player I have a hard time playing for Jones at this point. A coach who asked his athletes for dedication and loyalty has shown none. Even worse, Jones came back after swinging and missing at another job. Still worse, the school took him back.

I recommend you start following Pittsburgh receiver Devin Street on Twitter (@D_Street_15) for a street-level view.

Sample: I'm literally sick.. That man [Graham] pulled me in his office one on one and lied to me.

The poor players are caught in the crossfire. The Todd Grahams of the world have absolutely no remorse when they reportedly inform players of their departure by text. If the technology had been available when Dennis Franchione left Alabama he still wouldn’t have used it.

Simple human decency clauses need to be inserted in some of these contracts.

And the vicious circle continues. Wednesday’s magic number was 4: That’s the number of jobs Charlie Weis has held since December 2009. Also, the number of coaches Pittsburgh will have since December 2010 when it gets around to replacing Graham.

This is lovely karma for those who despise the actions of Pittsburgh chancellor Mark Nordenberg. His name has been cussed in Big East circles for three months now. After once pledging loyalty to the Big East, Nordenberg led a surreptitious move to the ACC in September.

What comes around, Markie Mark.

As Hypocrite Week continued, someone tweeted these words an Arizona State administrator as Graham was introduced: "What we sought in a football coach was someone who would be in it for the long term at Arizona State"

And no one laughed. 

Posted on: December 12, 2011 7:43 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2011 12:12 am
 

What MWC has to do to become BCS league

The near-term BCS fortunes of the once-again fractured Mountain West is now in the hands of the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee.

The league’s board of directors on Monday approved the filing for an exemption for BCS status in 2012 and 2013. The move was expected and if approved, would result in the Mountain West gaining automatic BCS qualification status on a temporary basis in those two years.

The rule creating the possibility a seventh automatic qualifier was adopted in 2004, the year access was expanded to non-automatic qualifying conferences. Because it has achieved only a portion of the benchmarks for automatic qualification, the MWC is asking for an exemption.

Over the course of a four-year evaluation period that ended this season (2008-2011), the league finished in the top five of the 11 FBS leagues in average BCS ranking of its highest ranked team. The MWC finished in the top seven in average conference rank. It finished in the top 33 percent of average number of teams ranked in the final BCS standings.

For automatic qualification the MWC would have had to finish in the top six in the first two categories and top 50 percent in the third.

The exemption would have to be approved by nine of the 12 members of the oversight committee. That committee is made up of CEOs from the 11 current FBS conferences and Notre Dame. BCS executive director Bill Hancock would not speculate on which way the vote would go. He did add that the vote should come in the near future.

The league will rely heavily on the accomplishments of two schools leaving the league. Boise State is headed for the Big East in 2013 while TCU is going to the Big 12 next season. The league will be evaluated on based on the conference’s membership today. That means the MWC would get full credit for Boise’s accomplishments from 2008-2010 in the WAC. That includes a Fiesta Bowl win in 2010 as well as a 49-3 record the last four seasons.

TCU has competed in the MWC for the last four years going to two BCS bowls.

A seventh automatic qualifier for those two seasons would most likely mean the loss of an at-large berth that goes to one of the power conferences. For the fourth time in the last six years, there were eight automatic qualifiers for the 10 available spots. This season: The SEC finishing 1-2 in the BCS means both LSU and Alabama were automatic. Stanford was automatic because it didn’t win its conference but finished in the top four. The at-large teams were Michigan (Sugar) and Virginia Tech (Sugar).

There was an automatic qualifier from the non-AQ conferences each year from 2007-2010. Three of those were from the MWC – Utah in 2008 and TCU and 2009-2010.

There is additional hope for the MWC this time because of a waiver given to the Big East for automatic-qualifying status prior to the 2008 season. That waiver was approved by an 8-0 vote of the six power conferences (SEC, ACC, Big East, Big 12, Pac-10, Big Ten) and Notre Dame as well as one combined vote given to the five non-AQ leagues (MAC, WAC, Sun Belt, Conference USA, MWC). This time around all 11 FBS leagues plus Notre Dame have a vote for a total of 12.


Mountain West membership for 2012:



Air Force

Boise State

Colorado State

New Mexico

San Diego State

UNLV

Wyoming

Fresno State

Hawaii

Nevada













Posted on: December 10, 2011 8:56 pm
Edited on: December 10, 2011 10:01 pm
 

Robert Griffin III wins the 2011 Heisman

NEW YORK -- The humble son of two retired Army sergeants now becomes a name for the ages.

Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III became the 77th winner of the Heisman Trophy here beating out two-time finalist Andrew Luck of Stanford. Alabama's Trent Richardson was third.

The redshirt junior caught the nation’s attention with his accurate arm, incredible moves and scholastic achievements. In other words, what the Heisman should be about. Griffin threw for almost 4,000 yards and accounting for 45 touchdowns for an equally humble Baptist school in central Texas.

His win helps Baylor elevate itself from a low point that included a player’s murder eight years ago. Twice in the last 18 months, the program faced an uncertain future with the possible breakup of the Big 12.

But Griffin changed all that. He has been compared to everyone from Michael Vick to Vince Young to any role model you can imagine. If he doesn’t declare for the NFL next month, Griffin will apply for Baylor Law School. There can’t be many former winners who were pursuing their master’s when they accepted the award.

Griffin had two signature Heisman moments this season. On Nov. 19 he threw the game-winning touchdown pass against Oklahoma with eight seconds left. A week ago, he threw for two scores and ran for two more in a blowout win over Texas. In terms of Heisman voting, that was the clincher. Luck and Richardson had completed their seasons.

Actually, there was a third Heisman moment. Griffin outdid himself as a wearer of outrageous socks. He pulled up his pant leg at the ceremony to reveal he was wearing Superman socks – complete with cape. He is the first Heisman winner to play his high school football in Texas since BYU's Ty Detmer in 1990. That's also the last year a player won it from a private parochial school.

Luck and Richardson were thought to be the leaders late into November. But Griffin overtook them winning comfortably by 280 points over Luck (1,687-1,407). For those on the Richardson bandwagon, he didn't even carry his own region. Griffin won even that region 303-256 over the Alabama tailback. 

Griffin was born in Japan, the son of Army lifers Robert Sr. and Jacqueline Griffin. Enrolled at Baylor at age 17, he was a Big 12 400-meter hurdles champion in track before he took a snap. When he did, he became the youngest starting quarterback in FBS in 2008.

Coach Art Briles saw something that others didn’t. Other schools projected him either as a track star or something other than a quarterback.

But that was at Houston where Griffin originally committed. When Briles got the job at Baylor, Griffin followed like a loyal puppy.

“A big part of the decision was I wanted to go where I could play early,” he said. “Not that I thought I was better than anyone else, I just didn’t feel like it would be good to sit behind somebody for two years then play.”

In the third game of the 2009 season he tore his ACL. In 2010, he was back throwing for 3,500 yards. This season he threw for almost 3,998 yards and 36 touchdowns. He was more accurate than Luck, more exciting than Richardson. If his pass efficiency numbers hold up through the bowl game, Griffin will complete, statistically, the best season in NCAA history.

RGIII also became the third player in FBS history to throw for 10,000 yards and 2,000 yards rushing.

 

 

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: December 10, 2011 7:39 pm
Edited on: December 10, 2011 7:40 pm
 

Badger-TRich discuss split title at Heisman

NEW YORK – The BCS title game representatives at the Heisman ceremony are not cool with a split national championship.

Just so you know.

LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu and Alabama’s Trent Richardson both spoke on the subject as they waited for the Heisman announcement Saturday night. There already is talk that LSU could lose the championship game and still remain No. 1 in the AP poll because it already beat Alabama.

The teams remained 1-2 in the BCS for the final three weeks of the season. But LSU is a unanimous No. 1 in AP with 60 voters. If Alabama won Jan. 9 in New Orleans, theoretically all it would take is 31 voters to keep the Tigers No. 1 for force a split. The coaches’ poll final No. 1 spot is committed to the game’s winner.

“We don’t go into game wondering if we lose will we still be considered the best team,” Mathieu said. “I think this month is going to give us some time to prepare for these guys. It will give us enough time to throw some wrinkles in our defense, stuff they haven’t seen.”

Richardson, Alabama’s star tailback was asked if Alabama fans would tolerate a split national title if the Tide won.

“No, Alabama [fans] wouldn’t,” he said.

What about the players?

“As long as we get that trophy, get those rings, we’re happy with it,” Richardson said. “But we’re kind of selfish when it comes to championships. We probably wouldn’t be OK with it.”

 

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Alabama, Heisman, LSU
 
Posted on: December 10, 2011 10:06 am
 

Crist may be at Ohio St-Kansas hoops game

LAWRENCE, Kan. – New Kansas coach Charlie Weis hinted that Notre Dame transfer Dayne Crist may be at Saturday afternoon’s KU basketball game with No. 2 Ohio State.

There are widespread reports that Crist is transferring and is considering both Kansas and Wisconsin.

“There might be a tall guy out there give me a hug,” Weis said Friday during his introductory press conference.

The 6-foot, 6-inch quarterback was originally recruited by Weis at Notre Dame. Crist lost the job to Tommy Rees early in the 2011 season. As a junior in 2010, Crist started nine games for the Irish and threw for 15 touchdowns. In 2008, he was considered one of the top quarterbacks in the country coming out of Canoga Park, Calif.

Crist would be immediately eligible in 2012 because he has graduated from Notre Dame. He would have one season of eligibility remaining.  

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: December 8, 2011 5:38 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2011 10:43 pm
 

Weis to Kansas

In the biggest stunner of the hiring season, Kansas has hired Charlie Weis.

A program that has been to two major bowls in the last 43 years, a program that lives in the shadow of a top-five basketball program is bringing Notre Dame's former coach. Actually he's Notre Dame's, Kansas City's and Florida's former coach. This will be Weis' fourth job in the last four years.

How much of a stunner? Florida coach Will Muschamp was not aware that Weis had even interviewed. Muschamp was on his way to a Gator Bowl press conference when news broke. 

It's clear that Weis' desire to be a head coach again was stronger than first thought. When I talked to him in March he was content as Florida's offensive coordinator. His family was happy. Will Muschamp was happy getting a proven offensive mind. But the Gators slumped offensively this year.

As a college coach Weis took Notre Dame to two BCS bowls but his teams were mediocre at best toward the end. He is best known for being part of three Super Bowl-winning teams in New England. The man can coach offense. In his one year with the Chiefs, Kansas City won the AFC West, quarterback Matt Cassel became an All-Pro and the Chiefs led the NFL in rushing.

Kansas football now becomes somewhat of a national story along with AD Sheahon Zenger who kept the search very quiet. A few of the other names that leaked out where Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn and Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora.
Category: NCAAF
Posted on: December 8, 2011 3:08 pm
 

Robert Griffin in a landslide in my straw poll

Robert Griffin in a runaway.

That’s how much Baylor’s quarterback has captured the nation – or rather the ballots of Heisman voters. Griffin was the landslide winner in the Dodds and Ends straw poll canvassing of 23 Heisman voters.

Griffin was named on all 23 ballots, getting 19 first-place votes. Stanford’s Andrew Luck was second having been named on 13 ballots, getting two first-place votes. Alabama’s Trent Richardson was third.

Ballots were due to the Heisman Trust on Monday. This poll suggests that Griffin made huge gains after beating Texas on Saturday. Before that, it seemed that Luck and Richardson had dominated the voting.

If Griffin follows through and wins the Stiff Arm on Saturday, he would be the first player from a private parochial school to win the Heisman since BYU’s Ty Detmer in 1990. He would be the first player from a non-traditional football school to win it since Boston College’s Doug Flutie in 1984.

Since then, the Heisman has been shared by only 17 schools.

 

The totals:

1. Robert Griffin, QB, Baylor, 64 points (19 first-place votes)
2. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford, 25 (2)
3. Trent Richardson, TB, Alabama, 17 (2)
4. Montee Ball, TB, Wisconsin, 14
5. Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU, 11
6. Matt Barkley, QB, USC, 6
7. (tie) Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State; LaMichael James, TB, Oregon, 1

Participating voters: Lee Barknecht, Omaha World-Herald; Tony Barnhart, CBSSports.com, CBS Sports Network; Mike Bianchi, Orlando Sentinel; Dean Blevins, News 9, Oklahoma City, Okla.; Kirk Bohls, Austin American-Statesman; Rick Bozich, Louisville Courier-Journal; Chip Brown, Orangebloods.com; Chuck Carlton, Dallas Morning News; Angelique Chengelis, Detroit News; Bob Condotta; Seattle Times; Dennis Dodd, CBSSports.com; Erik Gee, KNML, Albuquerque, N.M.; Ken Goe, Portland Oregonian; Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune; Matt Hayes, Sporting News; Tommy Hicks, Mobile Register; Ron Higgins, Memphis Commercial Appeal; Todd Jones, Columbus Dispatch; Blair Kerkhoff, Kansas City Star; Stewart Mandel, SI.com; George Schroeder, Eugene Register-Guard; David Teel, Newport News Daily Press; Dick Weiss, New York Post.   

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