Friday, January 04, 2013

Catching up haggles over $90K for some reason

Editor's note: I've spent the last week collecting links and doing nothing with them because of a complete lack of motivation. Now that I have enough that there are really too many for one post, I'll attempt to cram them all into one post. Don't question me, dammit.

Let's keep scoring lots of points and stuff: USA Today got somebody at Oregon to acknowledge Thursday what everybody's assumed for the last couple years: If/when Chip Kelly bails for the NFL (probably at some point in the next few days considering that he's already got at least three interviews scheduled), O-coordinator Mark Helfrich will take over. Details:
Offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich will be promoted to head coach if Kelly jumps to the NFL, according to a person with direct knowledge of the school's plans. This person spoke to USA Today Sports on condition of anonymity because Kelly is still the Ducks' coach. ...

Boise State coach Chris Petersen, who had long been linked in speculation to the Oregon job if it ever opened, would not be a candidate, the person said.

"Conceptually, it's about continuity," the person said, adding that Helfrich could be named head coach within 72 hours of Kelly's departure.
FYI, Helfrich's been the offensive coordinator for the entirety of Chip Kelly's time as head coach but before that was at Colorado, ASU and various other places (which is to say not with Kelly). He's reportedly pretty heavily involved in Oregon's gameplanning, though, and considering what Oregon's been and done for the last four years, staying as close to that as possible going forward makes sense, even if Chris Petersen or whoever else were interested. I mean, a hypothetical Oregon that's 80 percent as prolific as that the current version of Oregon probably still goes to the Rose Bowl every other year and contends for the national title at least occasionally. So consider me not surprised; beyond that, I'm gonna hold off on writing 2,000 words on Helfrich until Kelly actually leaves.

Commitment, eh? Bill O'Brien was either really unimpressed with the various NFL front-office guys he met with or felt so bad about meeting with those guys that he couldn't even imagine actually leaving, hence this:
Bill O'Brien isn't going anywhere.

On the same night we learned the Penn State coach interviewed with the Cleveland Browns earlier this week, we also learned that O'Brien is staying with the Nittany Lions.

"I'm not a one-and-done guy," O'Brien told on Thursday night. "I made a commitment to these players at Penn State, and that's what I am going to do. I'm not gonna cut and run after one year, that's for sure."

O'Brien said several NFL teams contacted him through his agent, Joe Linta, and Sirius XM Radio's Adam Caplan reported the coach also interviewed with the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday in Massachusetts.
Hurrah for Penn State being something resembling relevant for the next five-ish years and having something to build around (that being an NFL-style passing game that was pretty good with Matt McGloin and therefore should be pretty good for the foreseeable future). I can't imagine that another coaching search at this point in the offseason given Penn State's current, um, situation would've gone particularly well.

Geographical coherence FTW: Boise State is staying in the Mountain West and paying the Big East $10 million to not be a member. This has been known for a couple days now and makes sense for everybody, even if it sucks for the Big East since what was gonna be a relatively crappy conference will now be a definitively crappy one. But what wasn't as widely known was this stuff: (a) Boise State will retain its home-game TV rights, therefore effectually doubling its TV revenue, (b) San Diego State has the option to return to the Mountain West and reportedly is interested in doing so despite all the public statements to the contrary, and (c) the Mountain West dropped its uniform regulations as part of the deal, meaning Boise can wear blue unis on blue turf. Very important.

As for the TV thing, there's also this:
The Mountain West's new contract includes equal revenue distribution among its members but also a bonus structure paid to individual members for each national television appearance it makes. If, for example, Boise State appeared on national television four times and Wyoming twice, Boise State would receive a bigger total bonus. The bonus amount for weekday or weeknight games is $300,000 and $500,000 for games played on Saturdays, according to a release from Boise State.
So there's equal revenue sharing that's not at all equal, basically. Boise oughta be doing fine for itself financially going forward regardless of the size of the Mountain West's TV package (hur hur).

As for San Diego State, the details:
The Broncos’ contract with the Mountain West state that the league “will extend an option for San Diego State University to join the MWC on terms mutually agreed between SDSU and the MWC and to join or decline before offering membership to any other institution.”

This means the Aztecs have the right to first refusal, a development that is all the more interesting when held in contrast with an ESPN report by Brett McMurphy which stated that “San Diego State wants back in the Mountain West, but the league is holding up the process as it decides whether there is a better fit than the Aztecs and if there is a school that can deliver more value.”
If San Diego State wants in, it's in. And that will presumably happen since the Mountain West is now back at 11 schools and needs one more to get to 12 and have a championship game. And with that, the Big East will have taken one more step in its inevitable journey toward becoming indistinguishable from Conference USA.

Butch Davis really needs that extra $90K: So Butch Davis was reportedly in talks to take the Florida International job (for some reason) last week before running into some contractual issues related to his North Carolina buyout. To be specific, those contractual issues were basically North Carolina wanting out of its deal if Davis were to take another job.
The dispute centers on almost $1.8 million that Davis is owed from the settlement he signed upon his dismissal as UNC's head coach in July 2011. The source said that UNC doesn't want to pay the money if Davis accepts another coaching position, which is a stumbling block that also complicated his hiring earlier this year by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Davis would earn "roughly $500,000 a season" coaching for FIU, according to Marvez's source, while his settlement from UNC would reportedly pay him $590,000 per year for the next three years -- meaning that if Davis could not force UNC to continue his payments even after taking the FIU job, he'd be taking nearly a $100,000 per-year pay cut for his efforts for the Panthers.
And that resulted in this:
"(Davis) will not be taking the FIU job," Davis' attorney, Jon Sasser, told the Miami Herald. 
OK then. If he'd really wanted the job, I can't imagine that $90K would've been a significant factor; the consensus early on was that Davis wasn't as interested in as FIU was in him, and that was probably the case. BTW, it's worth reiterating that Davis came out of the North Carolina stuff without being specifically named in any of the violations or getting any show-cause penalty or anything of that nature. He's hirable; he just hasn't been hired yet.

But Ron Turner has:
Florida International has hired former Illinois coach Ron Turner to take over its football program.

FIU director of sports and entertainment Pete Garcia says Turner signed a five-year contract Thursday night with a base salary of $500,000 annually. A news conference with Turner was being scheduled for Friday afternoon.

Turner most recently was the quarterbacks coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is a past offensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears and was Peyton Manning's position coach with the Indianapolis Colts.

Garcia says Turner is "the best quarterbacks coach in America, college or pro. So I'm very excited to get this guy."
Hahahahaha. Turner hasn't coached in college in any capacity since getting fired by Illinois in 2004 after going 35-57 and making two bowl appearances in eight years. Since then he's been roaming the NFL demonstrating his "best quarterbacks coach in America"-ness via Rex Grossman, Curtis Painter and the 2012 version of Josh Freeman, all of whom became Pro Bowlers, I'm pretty sure (no time for research!).

And that's what FIU fired Mario Cristobal for. SMH.

Ohhh boy: I didn't write anything about the Texas hotel shenanigans when they first happened because ... I mean ... what's to say? Something bad either happened or didn't happen, depending whom you choose to believe. A little background:
Texas quarterback Case McCoy and linebacker Jordan Hicks were suspended and sent home a day before the Valero Alamo Bowl for breaking team rules, a source within the school's administration told on Friday.

A person with knowledge of the suspensions told The Associated Press the players violated curfew.

Texas coach Mack Brown addressed the situation during a previously scheduled news conference Friday and referred to a KENS-TV report in San Antonio that police were investigating two unidentified Texas players in an alleged sexual assault at a hotel in the city, where Texas played Oregon State.
Yeah. Bad. But there's this, of course:
Hicks "vehemently asserts that all conduct that occurred during the evening of the incident was consensual by everyone involved," his lawyer said Sunday in a statement. "The allegation, if any, that a sexual assault occurred by anyone at any time is completely false."

No charges have been filed.

"No arrests have been made; (the case) is still being currently investigated," Matthew Porter of the San Antonio police said. "There is no timetable for the investigation" to be handed over to the district attorney, he said.
To my knowledge, there's been nothing new in that regard (there might never be). Neither guy played in the Alamo Bowl, obviously.

But if the allegation-type thing ever results in charges and long-term suspensions/dismissals/whatever, Hicks would be the more significant loss; he was an uber recruit back in 2010 who became a starter as a sophomore last year, then got hurt in the Ole Miss game this year and missed the rest of the season. He had 14 tackles and four tackles for loss in about two and a half games; he's a no-doubt starter if he's healthy and available and whatnot.

McCoy's loss would be more problematic from a depth perspective. David Ash is obviously the starter at this point, but McCoy did get a start against Kansas State and was sort of always on the periphery waiting for Ash to do something terrible, which he mostly avoided. Both guys were sophomores this year, BTW. Texas does have big-time recruit Tyrone Swoopes committed, but I'd think the optimal scenario would be to redshirt him, and if McCoy's gone, that becomes more difficult since Ash and currently redshirting freshman Connor Brewer would be the only quarterbacks on the roster. That said, if McCoy's third on the depth chart (which is a definite possibility), replacing him with a walk-on or whatever wouldn't be a big deal barring extreme quarterback attrition, and in that case, Swoopes would probably be needed anyway.

So we'll see. With no announcement yet from anybody in San Antonio, it's seeming more and more likely that nothing will happen from a legal standpoint, in which case anything that happens from a Texas standpoint would be minor (if extant).

Chris Ault was good and did stuff : Chris Ault retired last week for the second time; this one's probably a real retirement since the guy's now approaching 70 and has done pretty much everything that can be done at Nevada. Srsly:
Ault announced Friday he was stepping down, leaving as the winningest coach in school history, already a Hall of Famer.

Under Ault, the Wolf Pack went from Division II to I-AA to I-A, winning at every level with some of the most prolific and innovative offenses in the country.

The 66-year-old won 10 conference championships and took the Wolf Pack to the postseason 16 times, including 10 bowl games in 12 FBS seasons. He finished with a record of 233-109-1.
He went 233-109-1 at Nevada (Nevada!) and retired having gone to eight straight bowl games. In the Mountain West. At Nevada. He also was making about $500K -- roughly half the Mountain West average and something like 15 percent of what Chris Petersen made last year -- probably in part because he spent his previous coaching hiatus as athletic director and therefore understood the duality of managing a crappy budget and hiring a viable staff. As mentioned in the blockquoted portion above, he's already a Hall of Famer, and deservingly so. There's an alternate universe in which Nevada is Boise State.

Ault also invented the Pistol, which I think I saw somebody use the other day oh wait that was everybody. This Smart Football novella ...

... was published last week, literally the day before Ault announced his retirement (for those with vision even worse than mine, it's titled "How the Pistol offense is changing the NFL"). Mandatory quote:
"I'm proud that our offense has broadened the landscape of football. That's exciting," Ault said. "It's here to stay, unlike the wishbone (offense)."
Yeah. Suck it, wishbone.

As for Nevada, given the aforementioned financial situation, the next guy will most likely be either an FCS coach or an FBS assistant, maybe SMU D-coordinator Tom Mason or recently deposed Arkansas O-line coach Chris Klenakis, both of whom were coordinators under Ault in the past and could probably retain a majority of the staff.

Wisconsin has an O-coordinator: It's Andy Ludwig, most recently of San Diego State and Utah but also of various other West Coast locales. Details:
Wisconsin is expected to hire Andy Ludwig as its next offensive coordinator, according to a report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Ludwig, who has held the same post at San Diego State for the past two seasons, attended Wisconsin's pre-Rose Bowl practice Friday in Los Angeles. New Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen coached with Ludwig at Utah from 2005-08, helping the Utes to a 13-0 season and a Sugar Bowl championship in 2008.

Because of Wisconsin's hiring rules for all state employees, the team can't confirm Ludwig's hiring until the job posting expires.
Ludwig has since confirmed, BTW. Answer to the obvious question: Yeah, Ludwig is basically a pro-style running-game guy. The "basically" qualifier is necessary because anecdotal evidence would seem to indicate that he prefers to spread (a little, as in three wides and one back) to run rather than manballing to run, but that may have been a personnel-based thing rather than a philosophical preference. Interestingly, Ludwig was actually one of the finalists for the Wisconsin O-coordinator job last year when Paul Chryst left; in that regard, it makes sense that Andersen would bring him in given (a) their familiarity from the Utah days and (b) Ludwig's apparent blessing from Bret Bielema/Barry Alvarez in the recent past. An excerpt from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article dated almost exactly a year ago:
When Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema initially talked about finding an offensive coordinator to replace Paul Chryst, his No. 1 goal was non-negotiable:

"We're not going to change what we're doing," he said as UW prepared for the 2012 Rose Bowl. "We're going to be a pro-style offense and continue to do the things we've been doing."

Ludwig is a candidate because of his play-calling experience. He has served as an offensive coordinator at six schools since the 1997 season, including last season with the Aztecs. Those stops included Fresno State (1998-2001), Oregon (2002-'04), Utah (2005-'08) and California (2009-'10).
Every one of those schools ran a pro-style-ish offense (although Utah was still hanging on to some Urban Meyer stuff) under Ludwig; Wisconsin obviously will do the same and thus bear some resemblance to the Wisconsin of the last 20 years, as expected. The question is whether that resemblance will be purely a stylistic one or also a results-y one.

Do this always: So the Sugar Bowl went pretty well for Florida. It went so well that nobody wanted to sign the alma mater afterward except for one guy (I'm serious): junior linebacker Darrin Kitchens, who didn't actually play in the game ...

... but was Florida's team MVP nonetheless for doing that. Darrin Kitchens for 2013 captain. Darrin Kitchens FTW.

It's a little Montana: Nick Montana -- the one who was good coming out of high school and was at Washington briefly before transferring for playing-time purposes -- is headed to Tulane, presumably due to the allure of the Big East or something. He signed his letter of intent on Friday. Some relevant info:
(Montana) comes to Tulane via the junior college ranks, where he threw for 2,652 yards and 22 touchdowns last season at Mount San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif. Montana -- who originally signed with the University of Washington out of Oaks Christian High in 2010 -- will enroll for the spring semester, participate in spring drills and have two years of college eligibility remaining. Dating back to high school, Montana has compiled a 38-3 record as a starter (27-1 in high school, 0-1 at Washington, 11-1 at Mt. San Antonio College).
FYI, Montana did play in six games for Washington as a redshirt freshman, doing nothing of real significance, and then put up some legit numbers last year in juco ball. That said, 247 Sports (which has the only juco rankings I can find) has him listed as only the No. 156 juco prospect overall and No. 7 juco quarterback, right behind Jesse Scroggins and former Iowa backup A.J. Derby. So he's presumably still talented but not the borderline five-star everybody though he was a couple years ago (hence Tulane).

He'll definitely have a chance to play at Tulane, though (hence Tulane again): Starter Ryan Griffin and backup D.J. Ponder are both graduating, meaning the only real competition for the job will be Devin Powell, who had a touchdown and three picks in some meaningless time this year as a freshman. In other words, Montana will either be the starter next year or irrelevant forever.

So many wings: The Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl apparently has a wing-eating contest for the affiliated teams, which ... I mean ... you know where this is going:
On Wednesday night, Michigan State and TCU combined to eat a ridiculous 7,330 wings at a Buffalo Wild Wings in Tempe in preparation for the bowl game on Saturday at Sun Devil Stadium. The Spartans won the competition by averaging 33 wings per player, while the Horned Frogs averaged just 20 per person. MSU’s team total got a pretty nice boost from offensive tackle Shawn Kamm, who came close to eating 65 wings, according to QB Andrew Maxwell.
I don't even WUT 65 WINGS LOL WWWHHEEEEE!!! Shawn Kamm's wing-eating ability apparently is rivaled only by his mustache-growing ability:


Jadeveon Clowney holy hell: I know: Jadeveon Clowney kills people. And by "people" I obviously mean "160-pound Michigan running backs":

It's science. Also science:

You win, Wikipedia-editing guy. BTW, that hit was only made possible by literally the worst call in the history of worst calls. No joke; attempted explanations are futile.

Of course he is: A.J. McCarron is dating Miss Alabama. Of course.

Except not of course because Miss Alabama is actually an Auburn alum, which OMG:
“I’m not trying to sabotage Alabama,” Webb said.

Some might consider it a necessary disclaimer, since she’s an Auburn University graduate. ... With the intense rivalry between the two schools, are Auburn-Alabama romances ever OK?

"Honestly, it's just a game," she said of the football rivalry.

Webb said her time as Miss Alabama taught her how to put some allegiances in perspective.

“When you’re a representative of the whole state, you have to kind of bypass your own feelings and love everyone,” she said.
/Paul Finebaum dies

Duke amazingness: I randomly came across this stat on Twitter the other day:
Since Duke's last bowl win in 1960, Duke has won 94 NCAA Tournament hoops games.
I have nothing to add.


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