Following up on Sunday's blog: How hot is Skip Holtz? So hot that if polls were released today, the East Carolina coach's program could make a heck of an argument for being No. 1. What other schools at this point have defeated two top 20 teams that won their
conferences last season?
So hot that agents are going to start lining up hoping to be hired.
Holtz is a unique kind of "free agent". Despite having just signed a six-year extension before the season, he does
not have a traditional agent, choosing to work closely with his boss AD Terry Holland. His buyout, only $150,000 in
his old deal, wouldn't scare away a school trying to hire him away.
"I'm pretty much old fashioned," Holtz told me last week. "The AD hired me, we can work on a handshake. When I need
an agent to go in there and start negotiating I've got a problem."
It's a problem he might like to have. Holtz's next job could be a lifestyle changer. Coaches have cashed in on less
than Holtz has accomplished just this season.
"His market value is definitely on the rise," said Matt Baldwin, a senior associate in client management with IMG
Coaches in Minneapolis. "I think he'd be a fantastic client."
IMG is the worldwide conglomerate specializing in representation and marketing. Prior to the latest extension Holtz
was making only $4.35 million over five seasons. His new deal guarantees $1.16 million per season. The old contract
included modest bonuses for tickets sold and for more than five conference victories per season.
Holtz's name value alone should net him some offers after the season. The problem is there don't figure to be many
high-profile openings. Michigan, West Virginia and UCLA all have new coaches. The only sure openings seem to be
coming at Washington and Syracuse.
Texas Tech coach Mike Leach is said to be interested in Washington. With the Syracuse situation deteriorating
rapidly, AD Daryl Gross might have difficultly landing a major-program head coach to replace Greg Robinson.
If you really want to speculate how about Louis J. (Skip) Holtz Jr. at Notre Dame some day? The former Irish walk-on
played for his father in 1986.
"I thought I gambled stupid and it was just dumb," Leach said. "Being in Reno, I guess I got the bug. I was stuck in a hotel where you don't have any clocks and they were pumping oxygen in there. I thought it was my lucky day."
• Beanie Wells is playing Saturday in The Cage Match In The Coliseum. What did you expect? You know my feelings.
• Washington's Ty Willingham seemingly changed his stance since Saturday when he supported the official who threw
that horrid excessive celebration against his team:
"I think we all know that it was not the right call. There are rules written for them to use discretion, and in this
case we didn't do that. Proper judgment was not used. That was not an act of a young man taunting, not an
unsportsmanlike act at all, and therefore it should have been viewed in its totality and not just isolated as to the
letter of the law."
Reaction around the country varied widely ...
Pittsburgh's Dave Wannstedt: "At the staff meeting this morning we talked about that. I'm going to show our team
that clip and reiterate what the rules are. My initial reaction was shock. I had to see it again to see what the
penalty was. But when you read the rule book...the official had the right to throw the flag. Did I think it was
right? I didn't think there was any taunting going on. I know what the rule is. The official made the call that way
but there's a gray area that needs to be talked about.
Connecticut's Randy Edsall: "I don't know why everybody got upset. It's a rule. It's simply stated in the rulebook.
If you score, hand the ball to the nearest official. I don't know why everybody is getting upset with the officials.
The official had no other option but to throw the flag. If he doesn't then he has a problem. The guy was doing his
job. The kid was wrong, didn't mean it intentionally but that's part of the rule."
• Sebastian the Ibis wasn't the only one with ruffled feathers after Florida kicked that late field goal against
Miami on Saturday night. The Gators led 23-3 with less than a minute left when Urban Meyer called for a 29-yard field goal to make the
final score 26-3. It seemed inconsequential at the time. But it was clear after the game that the Canes were upset
that Florida was trying to run up the score.
Coach Randy Shannon issued a terse "no comment" when asked about it. Offensive lineman Jason Fox said "If I did
(comment), I'd probably get in trouble."
Shannon later said: "Sometimes when you do things and people see what kind of person you really are, you turn a lot of people off.
A person in the office had an interesting thought -- that it was done intentionally to cover the spread, which was 21
1/2 points. I won't go that far. To me, it was more of a reminder that Florida is Miami's, er, witch and will stay
that way for some time. Miami had beaten Florida six consecutive times dating back to 1985.
These things always get blown out of proportion when a rivalry is involved. It is ironic, though, that Florida coach
Urban Meyer famously stated in his book that Georgia's bum rush of the field in Jacksonville was "a bad deal."
" ... It will forever be in the mind of Urban Meyer and in the mind of our football team ... We'll handle it."
• Parity? What parity? The three power conferences -- Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC -- went a combined 30-1 over the weekend. The only slacker was Ole Miss which lost to Wake Forest on a late field goal.
The Big 12 enjoyed it first 12-0 week with the WAC On Steroids continuing its offensive assault. Oklahoma State became the first team in conference history to have a 300-yard passer, a 200-yard rusher and a 200-yard receiver in one game (a 56-37 victory over Houston). That has been only four times in history.
The rusher was Kendall Hunter (210 yards), the receiver Dez Bryant (236 yards), the passer Zac Robinson (320 yards). The Cowboys seemingly haven't missed offensive coordinator Larry Fedora, now the head coach at South Miss. The Cowboys were eighth nationally last season in total offense averaging more than 200 yards each in rushing and passing. This year's group is 12th, once again averaging 200-200.• In that 12-0 sweep, the Big 12 scored 71 touchdowns, 33 passing, 27 rushing and 11 on defense or special teams. The touchdown passes averaged 25 yards, the scoring runs averaged 11 yards.
Big 12 quarterbacks had a great "season" completing 250 of 365 for 3,475 yards and 39 touchdowns (only eight interceptions).
• The thinnest position at Utah is now thinner. Kyle Whittingham has lost starting defensive tackles at the same
position -- with the same injury! -- in consecutive weeks. Kenape Eliapo broke his foot in the opener against
Michigan (out six-to-eight weeks). Lei Talamaivao replaced Eliapo and broke HIS foot Saturday against UNLV.
• Nebraska linebacker Barry Turner's season is over after suffering a broken leg against San Jose State. That
reminds us of his quote from the preseason on how much he loves playing at Nebraska.
"Once we lose a game shops close, people are sad, divorces go up. There's no other place I'd want to play."
• West Virginia coach Bill Stewart said there is a future after Saturday's loss to East Carolina: "Jesus, Mary and
Joseph, yes. It's only the second game of the season."
• Through two games Texas Tech has seven rushing touchdowns and only two passing. In the prior two seasons, Tech has
scored 90 passing touchdowns and 31 rushing.
• The most brutal loss last week? I can't even begin to describe it. Read on.