Chris Petersen

Gators could/should be targeting Petersen, Whittingham

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In the immediate aftermath of Urban Meyer‘s decision to again step down as Florida’s head coach, we were among the many who assumed Dan Mullen would be at or near the top of the list to replace the now-former head coach.

While that may ultimately be the case, it appears there are two other names who may have even more of an inside track to the opening.

According to the Gainesville Sun‘s Robbie Andreu — as connected a media person you’ll find when it comes to the UF football program — athletic director Jeremy Foley will be looking for that same “special connection” he had with Meyer six years ago that led to him leaving Utah for Florida.  Andreu feels that connection will most likely happen with Boise State’s Chris Petersen and Utah’s Kyle Whittingham.  More from Andreu:

These two coaches seem to perfectly fit the Foley profile.

They’re both a lot like Meyer in that they’re strong family guys, have engaging personalities (and are friends with their athletic director), and win a lot of football games — and do it the right way.

I’m not privy to Foley’s interview schedule for the next few days (or weeks), but I have a feeling that once he has a chance to sit down with Petersen and Whittingham and get to know them, he’s going to have a strong feeling who he wants as his next football coach.

These guys really fit the profile.

Whether or not Petersen or Whittingham — who took over for Meyer when he left for Gainesville and remains close to the coach — fits Foley’s current “profile” and the AD goes in the same direction as his last football hire remains to be seen, but no BcS conference school could go wrong with either of those two coaches.

In another intriguing note, Andreu writes that Mullen appears to be slipping as a candidate.  The Mississippi State coach’s lack of a resume’, aloofness while at UF and not being a great recruiter are all cited as the reasons for the apparent slippage.  And, not that our words carry as much weight as Andreu’s, we’re hearing the exact same thing.  We’re told that, if Mullen does indeed end up with the job, it will be because others have turned Foley down.

Could that behind-the-scenes scuttlebutt be why Mullen is “happy at”, “absolutely” committed to Mississippi State?  In the not-too-distant future, I guess we’ll find out.

UCF announces largest financial gift in school history for athletics department renovations

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UCF announced the largest financial gift in school history from UCF alum Kenneth Dixon. The donation will help give UCF the support needed to move forward with its athletics facility upgrades, including an athletics village. Among those upgrades will be an expansion to the school’s baseball stadium and basketball facility, as well as a better atmosphere outside the football stadium for fans.

As far as the football program is concerned, the upgrades to the football operations and athletics headquarters have received a $2 million commitment to date. Most of the renovations will help bring the school’s other sports programs up to a more level playing field, but the football stadium will be given a fresh look on he outside with a plaza and promenade to make for a more inviting atmosphere for UCF fans before and after home football games.

In all, UCF is looking to invest $25 million in the renovation project, and the recent donation from Dixon has helped the school cross the $10 million benchmark.

“With more than $10 million committed to our $25 million facilities vision, our goal is to build the best Athletics Village in the nation,” UCF Athletics Director Danny White said in a released statement. “Thanks to Ken Dixon’s gift of more than $5 million, we’ve taken a major step in that direction.”

Duke QB Thomas Sirk to transfer

Duke quarterback Thomas Sirk (1) looks to pass against North Carolina during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
AP Photo/Gerry Broome
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Duke quarterback Thomas Sirk is leaving Durham in search of a new place to play football in his final year of eligibility. Duke announced Monday morning Sirk will transfer in 2017.

Sirk was recently declared a no-go for Duke’s spring football practices as he returns from an Achilles injury suffered last season. Sirk was granted an extra year of eligibility, his sixth, from the NCAA last November. It will be his final year of eligibility.

Sirk was Duke’s leading passer in 2015 with 2,625 passing yards and 16 touchdowns with eight interceptions. He was also Duke’s leading rusher that season with 803 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns. Naturally, he will likely be a quality dual-threat option for whatever program lands his services in 2017. As a graduate transfer, he will be eligible to play this fall at any FBS program.

Minnesota Row the Boat bobblehead features Gopher mascot rowing a boat

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 3: Goldy, mascot for the Minnesota Golden Gophers performs before the game against the TCU Horned Frogs on September 3, 2015 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
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With the rights to use “Row the Boat” successfully acquired through a deal with Western Michigan, Minnesota is going all in with the merchandising efforts to capitalize on the motto of P.J. Fleck. Aside from being able to use the motto for program-building measures, Minnesota has the rights to market the saying on merchandise, including an upcoming bobblehead featuring Minnesota’s Gopher mascot.

A limited edition University of Minnesota bobblehead featuring Goldy Gopher rowing a boat was unveiled on Friday by the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum. Though just an illustration now, it looks incredibly promising and I sort of want to add it to my bobblehead collection.

The bobbleheads are available for pre-order at a cost of $40.00. They should begin shipping in July of this year, in plenty of time for the first season of the Fleck era at Minnesota.

Ex-Rutgers QB transferring to San Diego State

PISCATAWAY, NJ - OCTOBER 15: Quarterback Chris Laviano #5 of Rutgers attempts a pass during the second quarter against Illinois on October 15, 2016 in Piscataway, New Jersey. Illinois defeated Rutgers 24-7. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
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It appears one of Rutgers’ transferring quarterbacks has found a new home.

In late November, Chris Laviano became one of three Scarlet Knights signal-callers who decided to transfer from Chris Ash‘s football program.  Over the weekend, as relayed by the San Diego Union-Tribune, Laviano has decided to continue his collegiate playing career at San Diego State.

As Laviano would be coming to the Mountain West program as a graduate transfer, he’d be eligible to play immediately in 2017. This coming season will be his final year of eligibility.

Laviano had started 18 consecutive games for the Scarlet Knights until he was benched in October of last year.

In 2015, Laviano completed nearly 61 percent of his passes for 2,247 yards, 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. The completion percentage was the best for an RU player since 2008, while the yardage was good for eighth in school history.

Overall, he tossed 21 touchdowns and 15 picks during his time in Piscataway.