San Diego State wins bowl, wonders how long they’ll keep Brady Hoke

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A field submerged under water at Qualcomm Stadium a day before kickoff wasn’t the only story line for the Poinsettia Bowl this year. While sports bloggers and T.V. analysts alike were cracking “advantage Navy” jokes at the thought of a soggy playing field, San Diego State and coach Brady Hoke — in sticking with the military cliches — flew seamlessly under the radar.

Well, after defeating the Midshipmen 35-14, going around unnoticed is going to be harder for Hoke and his team. San Diego State chalked up their first bowl win in over 40 years and, in Hoke’s second year, had a 5-game turnaround from 2009’s 4-8 season.

Hoke has only held two head coaching jobs at the Division 1 level, Ball State and San Diego State. Yet, he’s managed to turn both programs into contenders within their respective conferences. In his final year at Ball State, he took his alma mater to a 12-0 regular season before departing for San Diego.

With that kind of success, Hoke will undoubtedly become one of the hottest coaching commodities over the next few years — that is, if he isn’t already.

While interviewing for the SDSU job, Hoke stated openly to his athletic director Stephen Weber that being the head coach at Michigan would ultimately be “the arc of his career.” Hoke was an assistant at Michigan from 1995-2002.

Hoke has also been linked to interviewing with Minnesota and Auburn.

The fact that Hoke views San Diego State as a stepping stone job, and has received the blessing of his AD in the event the Wolverines come calling, begs the question “How much time is left on Hoke’s clock in San Diego?”

As evidence with the recent coaching shuffles, universities, AD’s and coaches alike have shown us that head coaching jobs are, well, just that: jobs. Jobs become available and coaches move around. Even destination gigs like USC have seen their national championship winning coach, Pete Carroll, bolt for the sexiness of the NFL.

Loyalty is a thing of the past.

Hoke gets that and, to his credit, doesn’t attempt to lie about it, either; nothing’s more annoying than a coach who screams loyalty and gets offended at the mere thought of them taking another job, then when the better offer comes along, turns right around takes it.

No, Hoke has made his intentions of moving up the coaching ladder very clear. For San Diego State, it’s now a matter of playing the waiting game to just how long he sticks around.

Arkansas to host Ole Miss in Little Rock in 2018

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Ole Miss will put the finishing touches on its 2017 season with the annual Egg Bowl Thanksgiving night, but there’s a bit of 2018 scheduling news involving the Rebels to touch on first.

Wednesday, Arkansas announced that its 2018 game against Ole Miss will be played at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock instead of their on-campus home in Fayetteville. Next season will mark the 70th anniversary of the opening of War Memorial Stadium.

“We look forward to our return to Central Arkansas to take on Ole Miss at War Memorial Stadium in October 2018,” interim athletic director Julie Cromer Peoples said in a statement. “I know Razorback fans will be excited and ready to cheer on our team in a key Southeastern Conference Western Division matchup.

“Arkansas and Ole Miss first met on the football field more than a century ago and we look forward to the next chapter in this rivalry, in a venue that has hosted so many important games in this series.”

In fact, the game next season will mark the 110th anniversary of the first-ever meeting between the two football programs.

The Razorbacks and Rebels last played in Little Rock in 2012. Their only other matchup at War Memorial Stadium as conference foes came in 1992.

UCLA, UNLV announce future home-and-home

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Happy Thanksgiving, y’all! And, as you get set for your Turkey Day feast, here’s a little future scheduling news on which to nibble.

Just a handful of days after dumping its head coach, UCLA, along with UNLV, announced that the two football programs have reached an agreement on a future home-and-home series. The Bruins will play host to the Rebels on Sept. 7, 2024, at the Rose Bowl. The following season, on Sept. 6, 2025, the two teams will meet up once again in Las Vegas.

“This is another series that bolsters our future schedules and is beneficial for both sides geographically,” a statement from Desiree Reed-Francois began. “Our fans enjoy seeing traditional powers come to town, it enhances our football program’s efforts in the recruiting hotbed of Southern California and partnering with prestigious institutions in the Pac-12 only helps our development as a University.”

The schools have met twice previously, in 2015 and 2016, with the Bruins winning both by a combined score of 79-24.

This scheduling news comes three weeks after UNLV announced a future four-game series with Cal. The MWC program also has future games against Pac-12 members USC (2018 season opener) and Arizona State (home-and-home in 2020 and 2021) on the scheduling docket.

Tennessee WR Jauan Jennings dismissed after Instagram tirade against Vols coaching staff

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The 2017 season just can’t end quick enough for Tennessee.

Proving that there have been much better days on Rocky Top, the school has reportedly and unexpectedly dismissed wide receiver Jauan Jennings from the team on Wednesday evening — just hours after the junior went on a tirade against the current coaching staff and posted it to his social media accounts.

Jennings reportedly went off earlier in the day at the staff and called them several choice, NSFW names in videos posted to his private Instagram account.

The receiver was somewhat of a surprise return to practice recently as it was expected he was going to miss the rest of the season after being injured in season opener against Georgia Tech. Jennings enter the year as an All-SEC third team selection in the preseason but was limited to just three catches for 17 yards the first half of the Vols’ first game.

Jennings could transfer to another school as he has a redshirt year available and likely would be able to receive a medical redshirt as well. Declaring for the NFL Draft seems the more likely scenario however but one thing is for certain: a return to Tennessee doesn’t look like it’s in the cards after Wednesday’s actions on both sides.

Arkansas names advisory committee for athletic director search to replace Jeff Long

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Arkansas needs a new athletic director so they’re doing what every enterprise in college athletics does when they need to get something done: form a committee.

The school announced on Wednesday that they had formed a seven person search committee to find the Razorback’s next athletic director after firing Jeff Long last week from the same position. Julie Cromer Peoples will continue to serve as the interim AD while Arkansas chancellor Joseph Steinmetz finds the next permanent name for the position.

The committee is quite a diverse group, headlined by LPGA golfer Stacy Lewis (who golfed for the school). Women’s track coach Lance Harter, Board of Trustees chairman Ben Hyneman, professor Gerald Jordan, architecture school dean Peter MacKeith, Razorback Foundation member Rick Massey, and former quarterback turned booster Bill Montgomery.

“I sought to assemble a committee representative of the university, spanning past and present in our academics and athletics history, with knowledge and perspective about Arkansas, and, notably an appreciation of the source of pride the Razorbacks are for the state of Arkansas,” Steinmetz said in a statement. “I have great faith in the approach that each of these advisors will bring to the process and I’d like to thank these folks for their time in this endeavor.”

It remains unclear what, if any, input the committee will have regarding the future of head coach Bret Bielema. His tenure was widely linked to that of Long’s and rumors have already surfaced that the school will quickly let the coach go and begin a full court press to land Auburn’s Gus Malzahn to replace him.

First up though is the team’s final game, which comes at home against Missouri on Friday. Arkansas, sitting at 4-7 on the season, has already been eliminated from bowl contention so the outing will be the team’s last before the future direction of the program gets decided.