We are just three days removed from Auburn’s scintillating last-second win over Oregon in the national title game, and already the focus is squarely on the 2011 season.
Specifically, who’s likely to end the 2011 season hoisting the BcS crystal.
As far as Bodog.com is concerned, the Tigers won’t be going back-to-back when it’s all said and done. And the folks in Norman should be expecting big things early in the next new year.
According to the sports gambling website, Auburn’s odds for winning the 2012 BcS national championship have been initially set at 50/1, the same odds as Miami, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, South Carolina and Georgia. Presumably, those odds for the Tigers reflect the presumption that Cam Newton will be leaving The Plains for the NFL; that decision has to be made by Saturday, so those odds could change rather dramatically depending on which direction the Heisman Trophy winner chooses for his football future.
Conversely, the betting site really likes Oklahoma to rise to the top once again. The Sooners are the favorites to win the ’12 title at 7/2, followed by Alabama (15/2), Florida State (10/1), Boise State (12/1) and LSU (12/1).
The field is listed at 10/1.
Interestingly, unranked teams Penn State and Texas have been given the same early odds (20/1) as season-ending top-five schools TCU and Ohio State.
If you’re looking for the longest of longshots, latch on to Kansas State, Boston College or UCLA; those three schools all come in at 150/1.
For the complete list of early BcS title odds, click HERE.
Joe Tumpkin is no longer with the Colorado football program, but the Buffaloes are still sorting through the way he left.
To recap: The longtime girlfriend of Tumpkin called head coach Mike MacIntyre in early December to inform him of a pattern of abuse from his safeties coach, which she later told investigators occurred more than 100 times over a 21-month period. According to the woman’s account given to Sports Illustrated — which the school has not denied — MacIntyre and the woman spoke a couple of times with the coach pledging to handle the situation until the line of communication went dead.
In the meantime, Tumpkin remained on staff and was promoted to interim defensive coordinator for the late-December Alamo Bowl after Jim Leavitt left for Oregon. MacIntyre suspended Tumpkin in mid-January, and Tumpkin resigned a couple weeks after that after a restraining order was filed against him.
However, the SI story created a level of blowback in Boulder that prompted MacIntyre to issue a statement defending the program’s response to the situation.
Still, the CU Board of Regents felt necessary to delay the approval of MacIntyre’s announced extension, and on Friday announced they have hired the two lawyers behind the Pepper Hamilton report that sunk Baylor’s leadership to probe the school’s response to the Tumpkin allegations.
“We are looking at what occurred and when, if our policies were violated, or whether those policies should be modified to better explain the reporting (requirements),” CU Board of Regents Chair Irene Griego said in a statement, via the Boulder Daily Camera.
The probe will be conducted by Leslie Gomez and Gina Maisto Smith, a pair of former Philadelphia prosecutors who now work for the Cozen O’Connor law firm in Philly. At center of their investigation will be whether MacIntyre, AD Rick George and chancellor Phil DeStefano followed the university’s protocol for reporting sexual assault.
Still, Greigo noted the pair’s hiring doesn’t indicate a predetermined outcome one way or the other.
“Let me be clear, in no way should this decision to wait be viewed as an indication that the Board of Regents has determined that any employee violated a policy or that any disciplinary action is warranted,” Griego said. “We are simply being prudent.”
In reading the tea leaves in and around Knoxville, it seems most in orange want David Blackburn to be the Volunteers’ new athletics director.
Blackburn wants that, too.
A former Vol student and administrator, Blackburn has racked up an impressive resume as the AD at Chattanooga. Considering his only competition for the job at this point seems to be former Vols head coach Phillip Fulmer — who has zero AD experience — that seems like a logical choice for Big Orange.
While Blackburn has hemmed and hawed around the idea of becoming Tennessee’s next AD over the past, oh, six months since it was announced back in August Dave Hart was on his way out, Friday was the first time he came out and said he’d like to be the next head Vol.
“If asked to be a part of this process officially, in terms of an interview I would love to,” Blackburn, said Friday on WNML FM 99.1 (via SEC Country).
“It would mean the world to me to be able to lead the institution that led me, by all the people that allowed me the opportunity to do what I do.”
The AD search has, understandably, been stuck in a holding pattern until the university could hire and install a new chancellor — which it has now done. Beverly Davenport took office Wednesday and said the school was working “very quickly” to hire a new AD, and seemed to outline Blackburn as the type of leader she’d want to fill the post.
“I’m looking for a leader with a proven track record of success on and off the field,” Davenport said in a statement. “I will hire someone who is committed to maintaining the integrity of our program and is dedicated to the success of all of our student-athletes and all of the management of our nationally recognized athletic programs.”
It seems like Blackburn will be the eventual choice for Tennessee. Young-ish career administrators with fundraising chops are the new mold for big-time athletics directors — see Florida’s hiring of Scott Stricklin and Alabama’s of Greg Byrne — but this is Tennessee. The Volunteers haven’t been good in football since Fulmer was the head coach, so would it really be any surprise if they turned to him to be their AD?
Former Washington linebacker Psalm Wooching will be going pro in something other than… well, football. Wooching announced Thursday he is passing up an opportunity to become a late-round NFL Draft pick in order to pursue a career in rugby, with an eye on making the U.S. Olympic team.
“I’ve been in deep thought and pray about whether I wanted to continue to play football and I’ve come to a conclusion that it is time to turn the page in my life,” Wooching wrote in a Twitter post. “I will be exchanging shoulder pads for short shorts and rugby boots. My first love and sport I excelled in was rugby, and it is time for me to follow my heart.”
As a senior in 2016, Wooching finished eighth on Washington’s No. 8-ranked defense with 42 tackles out of his linebacker position. Signed as a running back out of Hawaii, Wooching stepped up to lead the Huskies’ injury-depleted front to lead the team with six sacks on the year.
Wooching’s pursuit of rugby continues his love affair of a sport he has already played at a high level. The Seattle Times noted Wooching played on the U.S. rugby junior national team as a high schooler and helped Washington’s club rugby team to a national championship in 2014.
Despite four members of the football program under criminal investigation, Michigan State says its support of its head coach has not wavered.
Michigan State announced Friday it has approved a 1-year contract extension for Mark Dantonio, a rollover provision in his contract. There was question of whether the Spartans would, uh, look into that provision as three unidentified football players and staffer Curtis Blackwell are now under investigation from multiple entities for alleged sexual assault. One of those investigations has resulted in arrest warrants sought by the Michigan State University Police Department.
“My sense is that, if we had anything to be concerned about, we wouldn’t have moved forward with the action today,” Michigan State president Lou Anna K. Simon told the Lansing State Journal. “We’re still looking at everything, because it’s in his interest, as well.”
The extension means Dantonio is now signed with the Spartans through 2023 on a $4.3 million salary with a $700,000 annual retention bonus.
Heading into his 11th season on campus, Dantonio is 90-42 with the Spartans with two Big Ten championships in the past four seasons but is coming off a 3-9 campaign, his worst in 13 seasons as a head coach.