Tag:Oklahoma
Posted on: August 11, 2011 11:57 pm
 

Texas to the Pac-12 makes sense

Don't look at this Texas A&M thing as conference realignment. Look at it through the stakeholders' eyes.

The stakeholders being ESPN, Oklahoma, A&M and Texas. It's likely that ESPN CEO John Skipper is evaluating at this moment how to maximize his profits through Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Texas if there is another round of conference shuffling.

Where those schools end up is less important than how the three current Big 12 schools can be profitable for ESPN (and Fox).

Whether or not A&M ends up in the SEC, watch for the Pac-12 to sooner or later take another run at Texas. The Big 12's instability dictates it. Commissioner Larry Scott told the Austin American-Statesman last month after the formation of the Pac-12 network one could "imply" that the Longhorn Network would be a "huge impediment" to Texas joining his league.

How quickly things change -- or possibly change. In a strange way, the Pac-12 could now make it more likely that Texas make the jump if it deems the Big 12 not worth the effort.

"At this point I don't think Larry does anything," one source close to the situation said, "He's got to let it come to him. He's the one who is sitting there with all the firepower. There is no one in a better position to monetize expansion than Larry Scott is. Not the SEC, not the Big East, not the ACC, not the Big 12. He's sitting in the catbird seat."

Why? Because he can. Remember, Scott was the guy who had invited six Big 12 teams, including Texas, last year. Consider it a still-open invitation. One that Texas would have to seriously consider.

One source painted it this way: The new Pac-12 Network is made up of six regional networks. Why couldn't the Longhorn Network be folded into the Pac-12 as a seventh regional network?

The source emphasized that ESPN is desperate to make TLN profitable. It has sunk hundreds of millions into the venture and there is no certainty whether it will work. To date, only the Big Ten Network has been profitable among collegiate networks.

It didn't help Thursday that the NCAA ruled against the televising of high school games on school/conference networks.

There are a few hurdles. Texas supposedly would have to surrender its third-party rights (re: archival, historic properties). But if Texas shows interest, that's nothing more that details. The new Pac-12 shares revenue more or less equally. Again, that can be worked out because it's, well, Texas.

Pac-12 schools would have consider working around those barriers to get the No. 1 revenue-producing athletic department into its conference.

That takes care of Texas. Oklahoma? If A&M bolts, it is seemingly a swing team between the Pac-12 and SEC.

Here's why ESPN would like A&M in the SEC: The Aggies would make ESPN's (and CBS') 15-year, $3 billion deal with the league more profitable. Some at A&M obviously see it as a more stable home.

If the Big 12 crumbles, the Longhorns most likely aren't going to the SEC or Big Ten. Texas has always looked down its nose at the SEC. Texas AD DeLoss Dodds is on record as saying he is against independence.

The Pac-12 makes the most sense for Texas almost because of TLN. It would increase the value of Pac-12 Network as well as increase the value of TLN.

"Something is wrong with your conference," a source said. "when Washington State is getting more from its conference than the University of Texas."

The source was referring to the fact that some Pac-12 projections have the league making $30 million per school once its network gets up and running. Even when the Big 12 renegotiates its primary rights in a couple of years, it is expected to top out at $20 million per year. That was with A&M.

So where does that leave us? Scott and SEC commissioner Mike Slive declined to comment through spokesmen. Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe did not return phone and text messages.

But I learned last year during the conference merry-go-round to start with the stakeholders. Last year, it was Texas and Notre Dame. Both stayed in place, minimizing conference realignment.

This year the main players are Oklahoma, Texas and A&M. The question seems to be whether the Big 12 will hold together (with nine schools, or more with new expansion) if A&M leaves. That decision is up to Texas and ESPN (and Fox).

That combination kept the Big 12 together last year. Is the negativity such that the league couldn't go on after the loss of A&M? Is an enhanced SEC and Pac-12 worth more to ESPN than a damaged or non-existent Big 12?

The answers, seemingly, are coming soon. Despite reports that A&M-to-the-SEC was a done deal, it's likely that nothing will be officially decided until the Aug. 22 A&M regents meeting.

While Nebraska was a slam dunk to go to the Big Ten last spring, it wasn't official until AD Tom Osborne and chancellor Harvey Perlman made their official presentation to the regents.

Through an A&M spokesman I was able to determine this much about the process:

--A conference call among the regents is scheduled for Aug. 22. The fiscal year budgets for the entire A&M system will be discussed.

--An agenda has not been published beyond the budget discussions. An official agenda for the meeting will be available 72 hours prior.

--The spokesman would say whether conference membership would be discussed.
Category: NCAAF
Posted on: August 4, 2011 1:16 pm
Edited on: August 5, 2011 9:59 am
 

Breaking down the coaches' top 25

A drive-by reaction to the preseason coaches poll released Thursday. If nothing else, it is another sign that we are closer to actual football.

 Oklahoma is No. 1 in a preseason poll for only the second time in the BCS era (2003 was the other). The Sooners got 42 first-place votes. Alabama is a distant second with 13 first-place votes but is only 40 points away from No. 1 (1,454-1,414). That 1-2 slotting probably will last at least to Game 2. In Week 1, Alabama hosts Kent State. Tulsa goes to Oklahoma.

That also means the winner of No. 3 Oregon and No. 4 LSU in the Jerry Dome isn't likely to jump into the top two.

 Speaking of which, still researching the last time two top five teams met on a neutral field in a season opener. Your input is welcome.

 At least seven of the 25 teams are on probation or are being investigated by the NCAA for major violations: Ohio State, Florida State, Alabama, Oregon, LSU, Boise State, Auburn.

 Of the 11 teams to win championships in the BCS era, eight are in the preseason poll: Auburn, Alabama, Florida, LSU, Texas, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Florida State. Missing: Tennessee, Miami, USC (not eligible).

 You want an early opinion on the season? Ask Tulsa's rookie head coach. Bill Blankenship. His Hurricane play three teams in the top eight in the first month -- No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 7 Boise State and No. 8 Oklahoma State.

 Four of the top five teams play each other in the first three weeks. (LSU-Oregon, FSU-Oklahoma).

 Boise State is the only school in the top eight not playing another school in that group. If the Broncos get into championship contention again, you can already hear the haters.

 The SEC has eight teams in the top 25. That's up from six to end last season. What are the odds that the Strength Everywhere Conference will claim a sixth consecutive national championship? Answer: Good. Very good.

 The SEC (eight), Big 12 and Big Ten (five each) account for 18 of the 25 teams.

 To the surprise of no one, 20 of the 25 teams who ended ranked in 2010 are ranked to begin 2011. Missing: Maryland, Utah, North Carolina State, Central Florida, Nevada.

 The dividing line comes at Arizona State. Penn State is No. 25, three points ahead of the Sun Devils, the first of "others receiving votes."

 The Big East was shut out of the top 25. The highest-ranked BE school is West Virginia at No. 27.

 Defending champion Auburn (No. 19) is by far the lowest-ranked defending champion in the preseason coaches poll in at least nine years. LSU was previously the lowest at No. 6 in 2008 during that period. Others: Alabama, 2010 (No. 1), Florida, 2009 (1), Florida, 2007 (3), Texas, 2006 (2), USC, 2004-2005 (1), Ohio State, 2003 (2), Miami, 2002 (1).

 Fifty teams, 42 percent of FBS, received votes.
Posted on: July 24, 2011 3:40 pm
Edited on: July 24, 2011 4:35 pm
 

Five things about the Big 12

Heading into the conference's media days in Dallas beginning Monday, here are five key issues.

1. Stability. The Big 12 was a shotgun marriage from the start. We're just seeing the latest manifestation of the cultural and geographical incongruity. Texas A&M and Oklahoma are upset at the way Texas has pushed the Longhorn Network on the conference. There was a vague idea that TLN was going to broadcast high school games, but that quickly became a deal-breaker when TLN head Dave Brown went on Austin radio on early June and went Manifest Destiny on the Big 12. Eighteen high school games? Broadcasting out-of-state high school games of 2012 Texas commits? All parties are working things out. The league should stay together -- this time. The point is, the league needs to calm down when level-minded observers point out the conference's instability. Note to the Big 12: The current lineup may last 50 years (doubt it) but quit getting upset every time someone points out Texas is the big dog and usually gets its way. That alone might be enough someday to break up this league. It won't be over this issue, but the Big 12 will continue to live in a constant state of flux.

2. Oklahoma rules. With Texas down and not looking to rebound anytime soon, Oklahoma looks like it is ready to run away and hide in the new Big 12. No surprise. The Sooners won seven of the 15 old Big 12 titles and are loaded again this year. While Bob Stoops hasn’t been able to follow up on that 2000 title, this would be only the second time in the BCS era the Sooners will have been picked as a preseason No. 1.

3. How the North was lost. The remaining members of the division formerly known as the North in the Big 12 face a distinct competitive disadvantage in the new 10-team league. Notably, there will be no more scheduling holes that allowed Kansas to win 12 games in 2007 without having to play Oklahoma or Texas. That's one example. There are more. Point is, the new round-robin Big 12 schedule is going to make it extremely difficult for Missouri, Kansas, Kansas State or Iowa State to make a serious run at a title in the 10-team league. Those schools will be playing Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma each season. Since 2005, the remaining North schools have lost 75 percent of their games to those three. Add to that the reality that every other year, teams will be playing five of nine conference games on the road. Not only is there a competitive disadvantage -- only Kansas State among the four has won a Big 12 title -- there will be a physical toll as well. With a round-robin schedule, there will be fewer breathers.

4. Mack Brown's future. Texas' coach did what any veteran would do when the program slides off the edge of the cliff. He changed his coordinators. Much of the Horns' ability to turn around immediately from a 5-7 disaster will be on the shoulders of co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin and defensive coordinator Manny Diaz. Harsin is credited for making Boise State a huge offensive force in recent years. Diaz's career has soared since he began as an intern at ESPN. If Texas doesn't rebound quickly and begin competing for the conference title again, will this be Mack's final year?

5. Bring the kids, spread out a blanket and watch the fireworks. For whatever reason, the Big 12 has become the most entertaining league in the country. This is a conference that produced Vince Young, Chase Daniel and Jason White. The conference has made its on-field rep with great offenses and great offensive players. Three of the top six players in total offense came from the Big 12 last year. The top two receivers in the country (Justin Blackmon, Ryan Broyles) were also from the Big 12. Oregon's LaMichael James led the country in scoring. No. 2? Lou Groza Award winner Dan Bailey of Oklahoma State. The Cowboys and Sooners were 2-3 in passing. With Baylor maturing and Oklahoma and Oklahoma State at the top of their offensive games, there are going to be plenty of opportunities to "hang half a hundred on 'em," as Barry Switzer used to say.
Posted on: July 21, 2011 8:26 pm
 

Big 12 in uproar over Longhorn Network

At one point Thursday afternoon, I Tweeted "Big 12 making WAC look stable."

One Big 12 loyalist immediately shot back: "u know something we don't?"

Apparently. Start with the new, 13-month old league looking a lot like the 15-year old previous version of the Big 12 that almost disintegrated last year. It looks just as shaky and twice as disparate. Texas is starting a network on its terms. Everyone else in the Big 12 is having problems with those terms. They include televising high school games and as well as one conference game.

Several issues: Texas A&M, among others, isn't happy with Texas essentially having its own televised recruiting service. That, and conference rivals helping drive ratings and subscribers by playing Texas on its own network.

Commissioner Dan Beebe seemingly had calmed the waters by issuing a Thursday statement saying the issue needed "clarification" and that the league would "manage the interplay". Beebe concluded by saying the pause button had been it on TLN. It could show no more than one game (the opener against Rice) and no high school games until things were sorted out.

I thought these types of conflicts would be avoided for at least a few years. But who knew Texas and ESPN would launch a network without getting these issues resolved with the rest of the Big 12? Or maybe it doesn't matter. It's the other members -- particularly Missouri, Iowa State, Kansas and Kansas State -- who are just happy to be in a BCS conference at this point.

As one executive intimated to me this week: These schools DO understand why the conference stayed together, right?

Answer: Texas.

That kind of gives you a picture of where things stand at the moment. Texas has all the power, as usual. And most of the rest have to take it except for Texas A&M, and perhaps Oklahoma. A&M made it clear to me Wednesday that the administration is upset with comments made by TLN network chief Dave Brown, a long-time power broker in college football for ESPN. 

A&M and OU have some leverage, which translates into jumping to the SEC if pushed too far on this issue. Read this scathing statement from Aggies' AD Bill Byrne.

“I have continued to have concerns about the Longhorn Network since the original announcement by ESPN and Texas. Since last summer, the Big 12 member institutions have committed to work together in a spirit of unity and equality. Recent news reports concerning this network; however, have created a considerable amount of uncertainty.

We had an agreement in place that Big 12 members would have the right to one non-conference football game and four to six basketball games for third tier, or institutional rights. The concept of the Longhorn Network broadcasting two live football games -- with one of these being a conference game -- had not been discussed among the Big 12 athletic directors.

Our concerns were heightened further when news reports surfaced that the Longhorn Network would be broadcasting high school football games featuring Texas high school recruits, including recruits living outside the state of Texas. Knowing how restrictive NCAA rules are regarding any collegiate representative contacting prospects, we contacted the NCAA for an interpretation. We are still waiting for the NCAA's response.

I have continued to communicate our concerns to the conference office and my fellow athletic directors. We are pleased that the Commissioner has started to address these concerns, but many questions remain. These are significant issues for all of collegiate athletics as they relate to broadcast rights, revenue distribution and the recruitment of student-athletes.”


There it is. A&M ain't standing for it and -- best guess -- the SEC would take an Aggie-Sooner package in a heartbeat. That would likely set off a chain reaction of new conference realignment that could lead to the era of super conferences.

What's likely to happen? ESPN isn't going to risk the disintegration of the Big 12 (a partner) to show high school games on TLN (a different, new partner). ESPN made a financial commitment to the Big 12 last year to keep Texas in the fold, if for no other reason than the Horns having a launching pad for that network. Essentially, we're talking about Big 12 game inventory (a lot) being worth more than TLN's (a little) to ESPN.

If the NCAA doesn't rule that the high school games are an unfair recruiting advantage, Texas/ESPN will simply back down and not show them. It's worth it to keep everyone happy. Sources here at the SEC media days told me that the high school programming isn't a huge deal. It would be nice to have on the TLN but its absence is not going to wreck it.

Guess that means more re-runs of the Mack Brown Show. I'm sure A&M will be happy with that.
Posted on: July 1, 2011 12:08 pm
Edited on: July 1, 2011 12:10 pm
 

Tom Osborne on the move to the Big Ten

This is the day Nebraska officially says goodbye to more than a century of history in the same conference. It started with the old Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association in 1907. It ended Friday when Nebraska left the Big 12 and joined the Big Ten.

Gone are decades of history in the old Big Six, Seven and Eight. Gone are memorable games with Oklahoma. Gone is Nebraska's preeminent spot in its conference. It is joining the nation's oldest conference populated with Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and others. Nebraska is still a big fish, only in a bigger pond.

Where does one of the country's most recognizable football factories fit in? In this companion blog to Friday's story on conference realignment, CBSSports.com tried to find out in this exclusive interview Nebraska legend/AD Tom Osborne.


CBSSports.com: How is the Big Ten different than the Big 12?

Tom Osborne: "Probably a little more traditional, more emphasis on traditional rivalries, not that they weren't there in the Big 12. When the Big 12 was formed Oklahoma began to face South, focus on the game with Texas. Nebraska-Oklahoma was no longer a regular game. It seems that the Big Ten puts an emphasis on history and tradition.

"I would say that the Big Ten is more oriented toward a level playing field in that they don't preserve a large percentage of TV money for those that appear more frequently.

"What all that does is probably lead to a little more stability. I'm not saying one's right and one's wrong ... I would compare it to the NFL model with pretty much equal revenue distribution. If you're in a major market you're able to generate a lot more money. Generally, the Yankees do better because they make more money."

CBSSports.com: Were you surprised Nebraska was kicked out of the Association of American Universities? (Note: The AAU is a prestigious group of research universities. For the first time in its 111-year history, it voted a member out. It was supposed that Nebraska's AAU membership was key to its being attractive to the Big Ten.)

Osborne: "It came out of the blue. The thing that was difficult, we're a land-grant college in an agricultural state. The AAU decided they weren't going to count those agricultural research dollars. Our medical school is on a separate campus. If that was not the case we would have been [OK] ... They chose to discard us."

CBSSports.com: What about assimilation in the Big Ten, football-wise?

Osborne: "We'll be in uncharted water but so will they. They'll have no familiarity with Nebraska and we have little familiarity with them. An outsiders' perspective is we'll probably be playing with a traditional defense, three linebackers on the field. In the Big 12 you found yourself playing with one linebacker and six defensive backs a lot of the time. If you're playing teams with one running back or no running back and five or six receivers, it becomes sort of a matchup game.

"I can relate to it a little better. You'll see more teams that have a tight end and fullback in the game. In the Big 12, you saw some teams with no tight ends."

CBSSports.com: Will Nebraska have to change its recruiting focus? It has been a national program in that sense in the past.

Osborne: "The orientation is not very much different. We've always been a national recruiting program. I imagine there will be a little more emphasis in the Big Ten states. We've always been in Texas, California."

CBSSports.com: It's amazing after all the conference realignment upheaval, it's Nebraska's brand name that carried it through. In other words, population density didn't necessary matter.

Osborne: "I don't want to sound [presumptuous], but there was something there that was attractive to the Big Ten. Whereas they had a chance to bring in a school from a more heavily populated area. We're glad they did invite us."

CBSSports.com: What's your feeling about Jim Tressel? He was key part of this early on, in that he stopped by and you showed him around the athletic department last spring.

Osborne: "It's very sad. I know Jim personally. I believe him to be basically a very good person. I just imagine he's made a wrong decision ... I don't see him as a person trying to do something intentionally unethical."

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: June 29, 2011 11:33 am
Edited on: June 29, 2011 12:09 pm
 

Taylor Martinez says Pelini 'misunderstood'

LINCOLN, Neb. -- They call him T-Magic. His coach seemed to call him out last fall in what might have been the turning point in Nebraska's season.

Huskers' quarterback Taylor Martinez said Tuesday that coach Bo Pelini "misunderstood" events surrounding his injuries during a bitter loss to Texas A&M. Martinez went into detail about the contentious situation the night of Nov. 20 in College Station. During that game, Martinez reinjured his right ankle and had to leave early during a 9-6 loss to the Aggies.

That's when controversy sprouted. Back in the lockerroom after being examined, Martinez said he spoke to his father, Casey Martinez, via cell phone during the game.

By the day after on Sunday, Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman had criticized Pelini's sideline behavior. The coach had to shoot down rumors that his quarterback had left the team.

What the public saw that night was Pelini berating officials and getting in the face of his quarterback. Martinez had emerged from the lockerroom after treatment early in the game, only to have Pelini poke a finger in his chest on the sideline.

Here's how Martinez saw it:

"I hurt my [left] turf toe then two plays later, that's when our center stepped on me. I went to the sidelines, then went back and got X-rayed. After I got X-rayed, I went back to the lockerroom. I couldn't move at all. It was so painful, my left toe and my right ankle. I was in so much pain. I didn't think I was going back in.

"I was trying to walk to our lockerroom to feel it out. I plugged in my phone for the charger. It was on and it lit up. I saw it. I saw my dad called me. I called him back and told him I didn't think I was going back in. I couldn't move at all. I explained to him what happened."

Martinez did eventually return in the second half but threw for only 107 yards in the game. Nebraska came into the game 9-1 and ranked ninth. It finished the season losing three of its last four, including the Big 12 title game to Oklahoma and the Holiday Bowl to Washington.

Was Martinez surprised how much was made about the night of Nov. 20?

"I was, but people could have their own assumptions of what happened. Maybe they don't think it's a correct thing, that what I did was call my dad and let him know what happened. I got turf toe and he didn't know about that. He actually thought I tore my ACL or broke my femur or whatever. He was concerned like any other father would be."

So he called you. Was he just taking a shot and hoping you'd answer the phone?

"Yeah. He knew I went to the lockerroom. I thought I was done. I didn't think I'd be able to go back in. I knew it was him who was calling. I explained to him what happened. The trainer was next to me ...

"Coach Pelini misunderstood what one of the trainers told him [about] what was going on. That's when Coach Pelini came over and talked to me about it. He was heated because of everything going on, everything going on in the game."

These are revealing comments from the rising redshirt sophomore known for his aversion to media. Maybe it's because it was the offseason and he was relaxing on his turf in the Nebraska athletic offices. Maybe Martinez is opening up. Maybe this means Nebraska is getting the leader it desperately needs at quarterback. Backup Cody Green left the team in the offseason.

Whatever the case, Big Red Nation is agonizing over which Martinez shows up this season, the Huskers' first in the Big Ten. The Good T-Magic looked like a Heisman candidate during the first half of 2010. After the injuries, the Bad T-Magic lost mobility and effectiveness.

"It [injuries] pretty much changed everything," Martinez said. "I was pretty much playing on one foot. You can't move. I think Tom Osborne said it's like Peyton Manning breaking his arm, comparing me with my ankle."

Martinez said both the turf toe and ankle will be 100 percent going into the season. Pelini is expected back in the office this week after taking some time off. 

Posted on: March 9, 2011 10:29 pm
 

Baylor's Jones declared ineligible, another Cam?

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Cam Newton meet Perry Jones III?

Baylor's second-leading scorer was declared ineligible Wednesday for sort of the same reason that Auburn's quarterback went free last year. The NCAA ruled that Jones' mother accepted three, 15-day loans from Jones' AAU coach while the player was still in high school. Baylor said Jones had no knowledge of the loans. 

Sound familiar? Newton was allowed to keep playing in December after the NCAA ruled that the player had no knowledge of his father's solicitation of money from Mississippi State. Baylor said the loans were repaid in a "timely manner." If you want to make a comparison, the difference in this case is that money actually changed hands.  

"This outcome appears to be inconsistent with other recent, widely discussed NCAA decisions," Baylor AD Ian McCaw said.

Baylor officials could barely conceal their disgust. After dealing with this situation since December, they were upset that the ruling came out on the same day of the opening of the Big 12 tournament. McCaw said the school found out about the ruling at about noon, approximately six hours before Wednesday's tip off with Oklahoma. The Bears, 18-13, then officially slid off the NCAA tournament bubble, losing to the Sooners, 84-67.

"I hope no one ever has to go through what we had to go through the last six hours," coach Scott Drew said.

"It's like somebody coming into your house and punching your little brother," teammate Quincy Acy said. 

Baylor is appealing the case. Regardless, Jones' next stop is most likely the NIT or the NBA. If is not reinstated at Baylor, Jones already is considered a top-five NBA draft choice after one season in college. The 6-foot-11 freshman from Duncanville, Texas averaged 13.9 points and was the Bears' second-leading rebounder (7.2). He was Drew's highest-rated recruit having been rated a top-10 prospect by MaxPreps.  

The NCAA is cracking down on third-party influence in both football and basketball recruiting. Baylor contends that Jones had a relationship with his AAU coach since at least the sixth grade. The AAU coach also paid for Jones to go an NFL preseason game in San Diego, according to the school. 

Jones was a finalist for the Wayman Tisdale Award, given to the nation's top freshman.
Category: NCAAB
Tags: Baylor, NBA, NCAA, NIT, Oklahoma
 
Posted on: February 25, 2011 3:15 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2011 3:56 pm
 

Miami just isn't a destination these days

You're feeling hurt, Miami.  At this point, you feel like the mistress whose lover has left her for his wife.

You need a cigarette and a handkerchief. Then you need to lash out. This is not the way it is supposed to work. In a perfect world, the relationship would go on forever. But you're Miami and you're hurt. You also should know better.

The University of Miami isn't a destination. AD Kirby Hocutt proved that again by taking the Texas Tech job on Friday. One part of you, Miami, is saying, "Texas Tech?!" But after that cigarette, that hanky and a few minutes to gather yourself, you realize. Hell, Miami, wasn't a destination for Howard Schnellenberger, or JJ, or Dennis Erickson. How can it be a destination for a 38-year-old up-and-coming administrator?

Trying to figure it out? Miami is a national program. Texas Tech is in a better conference. At the end of the day, maybe Hocutt is going "home". It may be nothing more than that. His parents, at least, recently, lived near Dallas. He worked for six years at Oklahoma and played at Kansas State. Texas Tech would make it is fourth Big 12 school since high school.  

Did some of Miami's inherent frustrations nudged him out the door? Hard to say. Hocutt will probably be paid more at Texas Tech but that wasn't reason alone to leave. It had to be hard to schedule Oklahoma and Ohio State, basically knowing that the mighty Canes still needed the money from those road games to help balance the budget. Those games looked good on the schedule, but ask Randy Shannon; they did little to get Miami back to dynasty mode.

Attendance had to be an issue. As glorious as Miami's history is, football does not draw well. Miami is a big, metropolitan town. Only the biggest games are sellouts. That, seemingly, will never change. While a leading private institution, the athletic department is not flush with money. That remains part of both the charm and challenge of Miami football.

It's strange. Hocutt lasted one less year than Shannon. The AD made the decision to get rid of a native son, then quickly followed him out the door. While others may have argued that Shannon deserved another year, it is stranger that Hocutt left two months after hiring his hand-picked guy, Al Golden. The new coach will inherit a boss who didn't hire him.

All of it, though, is part of the great mystery of Miami's football dynasty. It has survived -- no, thrived -- despite  change

Sure, you can say the city itself is a "destination" -- for tourists, the film industry and for South Beach's tragically hip. But the tourists eventually leave, Hollywood is fickle and models eventually wrinkle. This change may be as simple as Hocutt wanting a better place to raise his two young sons. 

If that's the case, you can't blame him. He is trading South Florida for West Texas. The climate, culture and football, all of them are arguably worse than Miami at this point. But what is peace of mind worth?

Grab a cigarette and call a cab, Miami. It's not a jilting, it's just a delay. The Canes will be great again. It just won't happen with Kirby Hocutt. 

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