I’m telling ya, this guy Jon Gruden might be in Buffs coaching mix

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Yes, we understand that this is likely a Minnesota-esque pipe dream, but I’m telling ya we’ve been waiting for this guy to come on somebody’s radar for a job at the collegiate level so we could use that headline.

And trust me, this guy is on somebody’s radar.  Well, at least for a minute he is.

It’s been just eight hours or so since Dan Hawkins was officially relieved of his duties as Colorado’s head coach, and already lists of potential replacements have begun cropping up.  According to Kyle Ringo of the Boulder Daily CameraTroy Calhoun, Brent Venables, Mike Bellotti, Les Miles, Bill McCartney and, yes, that guy Jon Gruden are a few of the names known to be on Colorado’s radar.

Of course, it’s one thing to have a wish list of potential head-coaching replacements.  It’s another matter entirely to have a realistic list of candidates to work from.  And, based the words of the athletic department’s boss at the press conference announcing Hawkins’ firing, you can already cross a couple of names off the Daily Camera‘s initial offering based on financial considerations alone.

According to athletic director Mike Bohn, Colorado is “not a $4 million institution… I would be surprised [if] we are in a $2 million-plus marketplace” as a salary for the next head coach.  With that as a baseline, the Buffs can all but forget about Miles, Bellotti and, yes, Gruden.

Air Force’s Troy Calhoun and Oklahoma defensive coordinator/associate head coach Brent Venables, on the other hand, would seem to fall in CU’s price range, although it’s always possible a well-heeled supporter or supporters of the football program could step up and toss their checkbooks into the financial mix for a school whose athletic department has seen its fair share of monetary struggles the past couple of years.

And then there’s Bill McCartney.  The 70-year-old former CU head coach is the school’s all-time leader in wins, but has not been involved in the game at any significant level since 1994.  He’s been rumored the past couple of months to be a potential option — at least for the short-term — for the school, and Bohn confirmed Tuesday that McCartney “is a viable candidate for us to consider.”

McCartney himself said shortly after Hawkins’ firing became official that he has an interest in the job.

“If Colorado was interested in me, I would definitely be interested in returning,” the former coach told the Denver Post.

For what it’s worth, we’ve been told that Houston’s Kevin Sumlin is the favorite amongst several people associated with the athletic department, although whether those individuals have enough pull with the higher-ups who will actually pull the trigger on a hiring remains to be seen.

Another name to remember is Mark Mangino.  The former Kansas coach has been connected to the Gophers opening — we’ve been told he’s already spoken to the search firm conducting Minnesota’s search — and will no doubt get at least a look from Colorado’s search committee.

Missouri set to rent empty dorm rooms to fans for football weekends

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Homecoming could be taken to another level at Missouri this fall with a chance for Tigers fans to actually spend a weekend in their old dorm rooms.

As part of an effort to make up several budget shortfalls and adjust to dwindling freshman enrollment, Mizzou revealed plans this week to rent out unused dorm rooms in residence halls for football games and other campus events. The St. Louis Post Dispatch adds that the concept has been in the works for some time and a mind-boggling seven residence halls have been taken offline in the wake of a huge drop in the number of students following a number of serious issues at the Columbia campus.

Guests who want to bypass a local hotel for games and sign up for the opportunity will be able to grab a furnished, two-bedroom suite with four single beds for $120/night. Internet access, bed sheets and towels are included and you can even head on down to the campus cafeteria to boot in order to buy food. For those planning on tailgating before a big game, the Post Dispatch notes that the school is still discussing whether alcohol will be allowed in the rooms.

While the ability to stay in an actual dorm room is pretty unique when it comes to the SEC football experience at the school, the reason for even taking this step should raise eyebrows even further given the situation at Mizzou. Student protests rocked the campus two years ago and Columbia really hasn’t been the same since with declining enrollment dropping off sharply ever since to further add to the crisis at the university.

Though financial necessities may be forcing the Tigers to go this route with unused dorms, it will be interesting to see if other schools in less dire situations at least take a look at emulating the concept on a smaller scale for game days in the future. Several universities around the country already have on-campus hotels so taking the next step to Airbnb some dorms seems like it will be in the cards for a football Saturday soon enough.

Buffalo reportedly receives state approval for new $18 million football field house

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If it seems like every college football program has an indoor facility nowadays, that’s because it’s a statement that is pretty close to being true. Now it’s time to cross one of the few remaining FBS holdouts off the list of those without one as Buffalo has finally gotten a thumbs up to build one just across the street from the school’s football stadium.

Buffalo Business First reports that the state has given the green light to a nearly $18 million field house project and that the university could issue construction bids for the building as soon as next week.

The project will check off a lot of boxes for the athletic department and the football team in particular. It reportedly will result in a 90,000-square-foot facility that includes both a full turf field and a small track. The exact timeline still appears to be up in the air a bit but it seems as though the school will receive bids soon and then commence construction sometime in early 2018.

That’s welcome news for head coach Lance Leipold as the Bulls were the lone MAC school without an indoor facility as of 2017. Given the winters (and fall’s and spring’s…) in upstate New York, the addition of a place to practice and train away from the elements should be a boon for the program going forward.

Kansas planning $300 million stadium renovation and new indoor football facility

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No matter how good or bad your football team is nowadays, chances are high that your school is planning to upgrade football facilities in order to keep up with the burgeoning college athletics arms race.

Case in point lies in Lawrence, where Kansas is set to embark on a whopping $300 million renovation of Memorial Stadium that will also include an indoor practice facility. AD Sheahon Zenger disclosed the plans on Wednesday night while speaking at a booster function, according to the Kansas City Star.

“It will be something that will be just that next step in transcending our program to the next level,” Jayhawks head coach David Beaty reportedly said. “We really do have to keep up with the facility war that goes on out there.”

Memorial Stadium is one of the older stadiums in the Big 12, dating back to the 1921 opening of the site. While there have been a handful of updates in the past few years, there hasn’t really been much of a major renovation since 1998-99. Plans for the updated design and any additional features should be unveiled in September based on the timeline that Zenger disclosed.

No word on if Kansas is planning on adding any waterfalls to project just yet however.

Arkansas State stadium expansion includes pair of waterfalls

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The college athletics’ arms race of the past few decades has produced a number of unique designs when it comes to various stadiums and other football-centric facilities. Just about everybody is trying to hang their hat on something new and different to set themselves apart from the crowd and that ethos is seemingly creeping into just about every design element in any new building across the country.

Arkansas State appears to be the latest program to go in this direction and, based on new renderings of a north end zone project for Centennial Bank Stadium that were released on Thursday, the school is perfectly content to ignore TLC’s advice and start chasing actual waterfalls.

“This project will allow us to attract the top students in the country and provide first-class services to develop our students on and off the playing surfaces,” athletic director Terry Mohajir said in a statement on the school’s website for the project. “Additionally, we’ve created a unique feature to pay homage to the great state of Arkansas, the Natural State.”

This is far from the only water feature to be incorporated into a stadium in recent years (Jacksonville’s EverBank Field — home to the annual Florida-Georgia game — has a pool after all) but is a little bit outside the box for a smaller FBS school’s stadium. The two waterfalls are set to be placed on either side of the north end zone grandstand and include a new outdoor premium seating area as well. Also included in the project are a new weight room, a training/rehabilitation area, new football locker room, position meeting rooms, a players’ lounge, academic rooms and team-theater meeting area.

No cost breakdown or timeline were given but safe to say the former will involve millions of dollars and the latter will result in several years passing before the water is flowing in Jonesboro.