Posted on: February 10, 2010 10:30 pm
Edited on: February 11, 2010 2:02 pm

More expansion: A proposed new look

The Mountain West is on notice.

The Big East too.

Don’t forget the Big 12 which could be ripped asunder.

One or all of those conferences are going to be impacted if, as expected, the Pac-10 and Big Ten expand in the near future.

After writing about the big picture on Wednesday, we’re here to speculate freely about how other conferences might be impacted.

Mountain West: After leading his league to the brink of BCS automatic qualifying status, commissioner Craig Thompson has to be concerned.

A BYU-Utah defection to the Pac-10 makes a lot of sense. In basketball, the league has travel partners (Washington-Washington State, Arizona-Arizona State). The Utes and Cougars are bitter rivals but would be make ideal additions due to the far-flung nature of the league.

I still don’t know how the Pac-10 views the academic aspect of expansion, so I’m not sure how it views the combination of a state school (Utah) and what amounts to a private school (BYU). If there is a fallback, it could be San Diego State.

If the Big Ten were to take Missouri, that’s a potential three teams ripped from the Mountain West and could mean the end of the league.  The three most likely replacements would be Boise State, Fresno State and Texas-El Paso.

The best non-BCS league could find itself teetering on the edge of existence, or at least relevance.

Big 12: The biggest hit comes if both Colorado (Pac-10) and Missouri (Big Ten) leave.

If Missouri or Colorado leave, the Big 12 would go get TCU from the Mountain West. While that would wound the MWC, the league would most likely then invite Boise State.

If both Colorado and Missouri left, the Big 12 would get TCU and, maybe, Houston? Either way, the Big 12’s TV stature would shrink.

Big East: The league was almost wiped out when the ACC expanded five years ago. What happens if Pittsburgh, Syracuse or Rutgers is taken by the Big Ten?

Most likely the Big East would raid Conference USA for Central Florida. That would get the league further into Florida. UCF is third-largest school in the country (53,000) behind Ohio State and Arizona State. There's got to be some football players in there somewhere. Plus, the school has made a huge commitment to facilities.

Sooner or later doesn’t Big East football and basketball have to split? The unwieldy existence between the two sides (16 teams in basketball, only eight of which play football).

After the wounds caused by the ACC, another hit could cause the end of the Big East in football.

My latest look on how the Big Ten, Pac-10, Big 12 and MWC might look in the future.

Schembechler Division

Michigan State

Grange Division
Ohio State
Penn State

BIG 12
North Division
Kansas State
Iowa State

South Division
Texas Tech
Texas A&M
Oklahoma State


North Division
Oregon State
Washington State

South Division
Arizona State

Fresno State
Boise State
Texas-El Paso
Air Force
San Diego State
New Mexico
Colorado State



Posted on: February 5, 2010 5:04 pm

Background on David Sills

Steve Clarkson called USC coach Lane Kiffin recently.

“You’re laying down on the job,” said the quarterback guru who is a subject in Friday’s column about David Sills.

Clarkson had just found out that Florida coach Urban Meyer had faxed an offer to Santa Ana, Calif. Mater Dei quarterback Matt Wittek, the next big thing out of Southern California. The teasing, Clarkson knew, would get Kiffin’s attention. 

“I asked him an opinion,” Clarkson said. “I wanted to make sure I wasn’t biased.”

Clarkson directed the Trojans’ coach to YouTube to see film of Sills, the 13-year-old who committed to USC on Thursday.

After watching the video, Clarkson recalls Kiffin saying, “What would he think if I offered him a scholarship right now? I want him to know this is a valid offer.”

Even Kiffin didn’t know that Sills, of Bear, Delaware, had been a lifelong USC fan. Clarkson described the kid as being “overcome”. Kiffin invited Sills out for USC camps in the future.

Then the media machine (me included) went wild.

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Florida, USC
Posted on: February 3, 2010 3:20 pm

Signing day notes

Before we begin, the recruiting “get” of the day goes to CBSSports.com’s J. Darin Darst. He was able to find Alabama’s “fax cam.”

If you didn’t believe it before, recruiting is officially out of control.


Tennessee: Never mind Derek Dooley’s closing job. The recruiting class just became that much better. A Boise television station reported Tuesday night and ESPN said Wednesday that Boise defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox is headed to Tennessee.

Wilcox is one of the young up and comers. He was a short timer at Boise after his unit shut down Oregon and TCU on national television. The 33-year-old has coordinated the Broncos D for the last four seasons. Boise led the WAC in scoring defense and total defense in each of those four seasons.

The Oregon grad also worked at Cal before for three years as linebackers coach before coming to Boise for the second time in 2006.

Urban Meyer: A life-changing health problem. Rival recruiters running him into the ground. A revamped coaching staff. It is amazing that Florida has still been able to assemble the nation’s No. 1 class.

Auburn: Formal apologies to Gene Chizik who was largely derided in this space after his hiring from Iowa State. Chizik won eight in his first season, almost beat Alabama, and then actually beat the Crimson Tide – in recruiting. Auburn was listed above Bama in the top five midway through Wednesday.  Chizik and offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn are fired up about national juco player of the year and former Gator quarterback Cameron Newton.

Texas: Let’s stow any speculation that Mack Brown is retiring anytime soon. This class showed that he still has the hunger to chase championships.  Texas finished with what was largely considered to be the nation’s No. 2 class. Most notable – West Chester, Ohio linebacker Jordan Hicks and Plano, Texas defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat.

Missouri: Finished with what is believed to be its highest ranked class ever (top 20). Gary Pinkel continues to aggressively recruit Texas and lock up the best players in Missouri. The Tigers aren’t going away as an annual bowl team and factor in the Big 12 North. The Big Ten has to be happy.

Notre Dame: A respectable top 15 class that’s a good sign for Brian Kelly in 2011 when he has a whole year to recruit. Kelly completed revamped the coaching staff and didn’t get blown out of the water.

Cal: Jeff Tedford continues to solidify his spot as second-best coach in Bear’s history. (Hard to argue with Pappy Waldorf.) Tedford recruited aggressively landing a top 15 class with prospects from seven states. Typical of the far flung recruiting philosophy was getting five-star defensive back Keenan Allen to drop Alabama and come all the way from Greensboro, NC

Non-winners (Can’t bring myself to say ‘losers’ when no one knows how these kids will turn out):

Miami: The locals are grumbling about the lack of five-star recruits (none) and abundance of two and three-star prospects (19). Howard Schnellenberger might not approve. Nine players came from outside the “State of Miami”, including prospects from Buffalo, NY; New Berlin, NY and Evanston, Ill.

Kansas: Turner Gill got a late start, completely changed the coaching staff and had a hard time luring top recruits. Potosi, Mo. running back Brandon Bourbon should ease the pain.

Indiana: Rivals.com’s lowest ranked BCS conference school (No. 90). Let’s hope rankings mean little. Bill Lynch (7-17 the past two seasons) still deserves a chance to get the Hoosiers turned around.

Arkansas: The Razorbacks are one of the “it” teams in the SEC for 2010. Maybe. A class ranked in the 50s might have impressed in Fayetteville but not elsewhere.
Ed Orgeron: Coach O’s reported poaching of Tennessee recruits on his way out the door to USC didn’t get the proper attention. “It’s been done before,” Tom Lemming said. “It’s not illegal, it’s unethical.” Maybe it should be illegal.

Best names:

MarKeith Ambles, USC.  Scoured from Twitter: Keith Ambles didn’t want to name his son after himself, so naturally he added a “Mar”

Emmanuel Beavers, San Diego State. How did he get away from Oregon State?

Furious Bradley, Southern Miss. Let’s hope he’s fast too.

Shaban Dika, Iowa State

Steele Divitto, Boston College

Pep Konokalafi, Hawaii

Munchie Legaux, Cincinnati. Please, God, make this be a nickname. Can’t imagine a parent who would name their child “Munchie.”

Shaquille Richardson, UCLA. And you thought there was only one.

 Another cautionary recruiting tale: It was announced this week that Miami linebacker Arthur Brown is leaving the program. The one-time five-star prospect made 17 tackles in two seasons. Speculation is that Brown and his brother Bryce, a tailback at Tennessee, could transfer to Kansas State.

 Good to know that top defensive end J.R. Ferguson has his head screwed on straight. His nickname is “Ego” (dad is actually Ego Sr.). Friends and family wear clothing labeled “Team Ego.” Let’s hope that LSU, his college choice, feeds his ego.
Posted on: February 2, 2010 6:00 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2010 6:02 pm

Boise-Va Tech to Labor Day

Boise State's season has been moved from Oct. 2 to Labor Day night.

In a move that was widely expected, Boise's game with Virginia Tech at FedEx Field has been moved from that date to Sept. 6. ESPN had been working on moving the game for a while. It means that we'll find out quickly whether Boise is a national contender. I stress that the Broncos' season is on the line. Beat the Hokies and the Broncos could be headed for another undefeated regular season.

They should start the season ranked in the top five. It will likely take that undefeated season to get the non-BCS Broncos to the national championship game in Glendale, Ariz. where they have twice won Fiesta Bowls.

Now the trick becomes finding FedEx Field for the first time since I covered USC-Virginia Tech a few years ago. The home of the Washington Redskins and is located in unincorporated Prince George's County, Maryland. Got a GPS?

Posted on: January 13, 2010 11:37 am
Edited on: January 13, 2010 7:33 pm

Muschamp top choice at Tennessee

Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp has been targeted as the top choice to replace Lane Kiffin at Tennessee.

Muschamp’s name surfaced almost immediately in Knoxville after Kiffin’s shocking announcement Tuesday night. The 38-year-old with roots in the SEC was elevated to Texas’ “coach designate” in November 2008 after being hired away from Auburn in January 2008. His pay jumped from $425,000 to $900,000 in less than a year in Texas.

Under his watch, Texas’ defense became a top five unit in 2009 featuring All-Americans Sergio Kindle and Earl Thomas. It has long been thought when a school seriously came after Muschamp there wasn’t much Texas could do about it. Brown’s retirement is not imminent.

Since coming to Texas, Muschamp name has been linked to openings at Auburn, Clemson, Washington and Tennessee (after Phil Fulmer departed).

Other names that have surfaced for the opening include Troy Calhoun (Air Force), Houston Nutt (Ole Miss), Kyle Whittingham (Utah), Bronco Mendenhall (BYU), Kevin Sumlin (Houston) and Phil Fulmer.

 And so the fallout begins …

The Knoxville News Sentinel is reporting that Ed Orgeron is telling Tennessee mid-term recruits not to enroll. That, the paper says, would allow the recruits to sign at USC ...

Before you go to bed tonight, you have to look at this gallery of photos from Knoxville last night. Vol Nation is an uproar ...

Did I just see that Mike Leach has been contacted by South Florida? A guy that is suing his administration could replace a guy (Jim Leavitt) who is about to sue his administration.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: January 13, 2010 12:42 am
Edited on: January 13, 2010 12:43 am

Everything Kiffin

The story goes like this:

Norm Chow and Lane Kiffin almost came across the table at each other during a USC staff meeting years ago. To say they hated each other was an understatement. Now we're to believe that Kiffin may bring back Chow to USC -- and Chow might come back? That's what I'm getting through the grapevine.

I thought Chow would have been a great head coaching candidate at USC, if the school could get past his age (something like 64). Apparently, Mike Garrett wanted Kiffin to hire Chow. I don't know if they would have come together on their own. Believe me, there is some serious animosity between the two.

That confrontation was the beginning of the end for Chow at USC. I'm told that's when Pete Carroll figured he had to find a graceful way for Chow to leave. He did, leaving after the 2004 national championship for the Tennessee Titans ...

Also wondering what happens to Tyler Bray. He is the 6-foot-6 quarterback from Kingsburg, Calif. who committed to Tennessee last September ....

Found this lede from a magazine story I did on Kiffin last year:

If you've come here to read how Tennessee's new coach is going yap his way out of a job he has barely started, it ain't happening.  If you think Division I-A's youngest, certainly most cocksure, coach has kicked off his career going negative, well, you're right. There have been at least three secondary NCAA violations.  He called out Florida -- twice. Maybe insulted the entire state of South Carolina. Pissed off the SEC. In the process he has made Al Davis look practically lucid.

All that without ever, you know, actually coaching a college game. No one is that dumb, are they?

If by dumb you want to include Saban, Carroll and Meyer in the conversation then, yes, Lane Kiffin is stupid as charged.

" Lane Kiffin understood it right away," recruiting analyst Tom Lemming said. "I guarantee Tennessee is going to be fighting for the title. Two or three years they're going to be right back up there. Not because of coaching, because of recruiting. These guys are everywhere, they're relentless." 

Oh boy.

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Tennessee, USC
Posted on: January 11, 2010 6:20 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2010 8:59 am

Pete says goodbye; NCAA says helloooooo!

Yahoosports.com just reported that the NCAA's investigation of the USC football program is complete.

We're assuming that Pete Carroll knows the list of allegations. We're also assuming those allegations could have contributed to his departure to Seattle.

The next NCAA committee on infractions meeting is Feb. 19-21 in Tempe, Ariz. That doesn't mean that USC will necessarily be there to appear, only the next scheduled meeting. Typically, a school finds out its penalties six-to-eight weeks after the infractions committee hearing.

At stake is the future of USC football. If Reggie Bush is found to have competed while ineligible Pac-10 titles and the 2004 national championship could be at stake. Remember, the Pac-10 is investigating USC too. The conference has the power to take away conference championships.

The 2004 BCS title would be in the laps of the BCS commissioners. Several of us have done stories over the years on if the commissioners would rip the title. Not likely but you never know. By the way, the NCAA does not have jurisdiction over a national championship. It can force a school to vacate victories (see Bobby Bowden) or forfeit games.

Anything short of massive forfeitures, a postseason ban and loss of scholarships -- say 20 over three years -- has to be considered a win for USC. 

Carroll intimated Monday at his farewell press conference that the investigation had nothing to do with his departure.

 "I won't be able to top what we did here," Carroll said at his farewell press conference.
Category: NCAAF
Tags: USC
Posted on: January 11, 2010 10:49 am

Pete Carroll resigns at USC

Pete Carroll has resigned from USC, CBSSports.com has confirmed.

A source close to Carroll confirmed the move after the L.A. Times reported that staff members texted players late Sunday about the coach’s departure. Carroll is expected to take the Seattle Seahawks job in the next couple of days.

“We had a good run,” said a source close to Carroll

The program is in a state of flux with national signing day three weeks away. Several prominent recruits have expressed uncertainty and have opened their recruiting. USC’s reported top choice, Oregon State’s Mike Riley, signed a three-year extension late Sunday.

USC’s attention now may turn to Jacksonville Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio and Washington’s Steve Sarkisian to replace Carroll.  Sarkisian, USC’s former offensive coordinator, said Washington is his “dream job.” However, a source within the conference said Sunday night that Sarkisian would be interested.

New Mexico State coach DeWayne Walker, a former USC assistant, also has been mentioned.

“I think Pete Carroll has been so good for college football, his energy, his enthusiasm,” said Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly. “We’re going to miss him. I think he probably had that itch too. [for the NFL]”


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