Larry Scott

Larry Scott listening to schools interested in Pac-12


I have to say this: it sure would be nice to sit down and actually watch and enjoy the first full weekend of college football.  Instead, there are additional signs pointing toward a thermonuclear version of conference apocalypse that simply can’t go unmentioned.

In the latest and most significant development, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott acknowledged that he has fielded calls from unnamed schools — one rhymes with “Schmoklahoma” — that have expressed an interest in joining his conference.  One thing Scott’s making perfectly clear, however, is he’s the one on the receiving end of phone calls from interested parties, not the other way around.

I will say schools have reached out to us,” Scott told reporters before the start of the LSU-Oregon game. “We are not doing anything proactively… schools have called us. We certainly are going to listen. …

“If there is any suggestion whatsoever that our conference is being predatory that’s just wrong. We’ve not had expansion as an initiative, as an agenda, for us at all. If there were any conversations going on, you can be sure there are not any we initiated.”

Earlier today, the Daily Oklahoman reported that Oklahoma’s sole focus is now on the Pac-12.  If the speculation comes to fruition, OU would make the first move to the Pac-12, causing a ripple effect that would bring Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech along with them, leaving the Big 12 with five schools and almost no shot at survival — especially after the Big Ten grabs Missouri as part of a counteroffensive to the Pac-12 morphing into the Pac-16.  And then Jim Delany reaches into the Big East before convincing Notre Dame to shed its football independence to get to 16 members.  And then the SEC responds as well, getting to 16 by swallowing up three schools from the ACC, forcing that conference and some of what’s left of the Big East and Big 12 to merge.

Such developments — well, maybe not those specific developments — would come as no surprise to Scott.

“I’ve also been clear,” Scott said, “that there will probably be further expansion at some stage.”

Of course, at one point last year Scott, after flying to a handful of Big 12 cities, thought he had the OU-UT-OSU-TT quartet all but signed, sealed and delivered before the then just-a-dream Longhorn Network played a significant role in scuttling those grandiose expansion dreams.  This time, the LHN isn’t expected to pose an obstacle to adding Texas.  Rather, this time it appears as if it’ll be up to the school in Norman to (mercifully) put the final bullet in the head of the Big 12.

Illinois announces two-year extension for interim head coach Bill Cubit

Bill Cubit
Associated Press
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Illinois has extended year-long interim head coach Bill Cubit for another two seasons, the program announced Saturday afternoon. Does that make him a short-term full-time head coach or a long-term interim coach? Or a combination of the two?

Either way, Cubit is in Champaign to stay through the 2017 season.

A mitigating factor here, undoubtedly, is the absence of a full-time chancellor and a full-time athletics director.

“Bill has stepped in during an extremely difficult period and done an outstanding job in leading our football program since August,” interim athletics director Paul Kowalczyk said in a statement. “Our student-athletes have responded in a positive manner and we feel he is the best person at this time to be the head coach. We wanted to allow Bill to make decisions regarding the program as the head coach without the interim title, and lead the Fighting Illini into Saturday’s game without speculation.”

Cubit’s extended contract will pay him $1.2 million annually. Former Illini head coach Tim Beckman made a reported $1.8 million.

“During the past three months, Coach Cubit has led this team with a steady and experienced hand,” interim chancellor Barbara Wilson said. “He has earned respect and appreciation from all of us. This move will allow the permanent Athletics Director to evaluate the program at his or her own schedule and make decisions based on those evaluations once that search is completed.”

Illinois is 5-6 this season, playing to extend its season at home against No. 16 Northwestern (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU).

Tulane announces Curtis Johnson officially out as head coach

Curtis Johnson
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Confirming what was reported earlier this week, Tulane announced Saturday morning it had relieved head coach Curtis Johnson of duties.

Johnson closed his four-year tenure with a 45-34 loss to Tulsa Friday night, a game where the Green Wave led midway though the fourth quarter but were undone by two pick-sixes. He closes his run with a 15-34 record, peaking with a 7-6 mark and a New Orleans Bowl appearance in 2013 but winning only eight games in his other three seasons.

“I want to thank CJ for his hard work and his dedication to rebuilding the Green Wave football program,” Tulane AD Rick Dickson said in a statement. “His efforts were rewarded in 2013 when Tulane reached its first bowl in 11 years. Since then, however, the program has not progressed to the level that we aspire to.”

Similar to Illinois, Central Florida and possibly Rutgers, Tulane says it will find a replacement for Dickson (who originally said he’d step down mid-2016) before finding a new head coach.

Report: Rutgers AD Juile Hermann could be on the chopping block this weekend

Julie Hermann
Associated Press

Many assume Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood won’t survive this disappointing and scandal-ridden fourth season of his. But it could be his boss, the highly controversial Julie Hermann, that receives the ax first.

According to a report from Keith Sargeant of, Hermann could see her 30-month tenure end as soon as this weekend.

“Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann is expected to meet with university President Robert Barchi before the end of the weekend, three people familiar with the situation told NJ Advance Media on Friday,” Sargeant wrote. “The meeting, presumably called by Barchi, is the first evidence the university’s administration is preparing to act.”

Sargeant writes that Hermann has been kept in the dark while the university conducts a top-to-bottom investigation into the football program’s compliance efforts. Flood was suspended three games and fined $50,000 earlier this season for overriding the church-state relationship between football and academics.

The results of that investigation could find Rutgers joining the ranks of Illinois and Central Florida among schools looking to hire an AD and head football coach at the same time.

“The futures of Flood and Hermann could hang on a report being compiled by the university’s office of enterprise risk management, ethics and compliance,” wrote Sargeant. “The report is expected to detail allegations of failed drug tests and other issues that could result in NCAA infractions and possible sanctions, multiple people familiar with the situation have told NJ Advance Media.”

In addition to a losing season on the field, Rutgers football has dealt with drug suspensions and player arrests off the field this fall.


AD says San Jose State coach Ron Caragher safe for 2016 despite missing bowl game

Ron Caragher
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A 40-23 loss to Boise State Friday condemned San Jose State to a third straight bowl-less season, but Spartans AD Gene Bleymaier said afterwards the setback would not result in a change in job status for head coach Ron Caragher.

“There’s no question about his status,” Bleymaier told the Contra Costa Times. “Ron’s our coach, and he’ll be our coach going forward.”

Hired away from San Diego to replace the departed Mike MacIntyre, Caragher is just 14-22 in three seasons leading the Spartans.

San Jose State did go 6-6 in his debut season of 2013 but did not garner a bowl invite.