Early line: Oddsmaker digs Urban as JoePa’s successor

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With Joe Paterno out, Penn State will commence a search for a new head football coach since Lyndon Johnson was sitting in the White House.

The name that’s come up most often, even before the whole sordid tale became public knowledge, is Urban Meyer.  The former Florida head coach released a non-statement statement Thursday addressing the speculation, saying that he is “very happy with my role at ESPN” and has “no plans to return to coaching” before adding the qualifier “at this time.”

Some of the individuals charged with setting gambling lines, however, see it as only a matter of time before Meyer’s in Happy Valley.

Bodog.com has released their odds for who will be head coach of the Nittany Lions in 2012 and, in what’s not even remotely a mild shock, Meyer is the current favorite at 2/1.  The man right behind Meyer is far from a shock, either; Miami’s Al Golden — a former player of and coach for Paterno — has long been rumored to be one of a handful of likely heirs to Paterno’s Happy Valley kingdom and is currently listed by Bodog at 9-2.

Next up on the list, though, is somewhat of shocker — Mike London is listed at 5/1.  The current Virginia head coach has no direct connection to Penn State — given how far back this scandal reaches, maybe that’s exactly what the football program and the university needs — having played in college at Richmond, with coaching stops at his alma mater, William & Mary, Boston College and UVA at the collegiate level and a one-year stint in the NFL with the Houston Texas.

Houston’s Kevin Sumlin and Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald are right on London’s heels at 11/2 and 6/1, respectively.  Like London, Sumlin has no direct connection to the Nittany Lions, although he has played and coached in the Big Ten.  Fitzgerald, on the other hand, has been mentioned consistently when the conversation turned in the past to replacing Paterno.  While he recently signed a contract extension with the Wildcats that could keep him in Evanston through the 2020 season, a contract in this day and age is anything but unbreakable.

Perhaps the biggest surprise, even more so than London, is where Greg Schiano falls in the eyes of this group of line setters.  The Rutgers head coach was a member of Paterno’s staff in the early to mid-nineties and, like Golden and Fitzgerald, is always a name that comes up in connection to the opening at Penn State.  Despite that, Schiano is listed at 25/1, below even the interim head coach who most view as having almost no chance of being named the full-time coach.

Anyway, and for those interested, below is the complete list of Bodog.com odds, including the obligatory appearance of the “This Guy” candidate.

Urban Meyer 2/1
Al Golden 9/2
Mike London 5/1
Kevin Sumlin 11/2
Pat Fitzgerald 6/1
Dan Mullen 8/1
Kirk Ferentz 8/1
Tom Bradley 10/1
Chris Petersen 10/1
Greg Schiano 25/1
Jon Gruden 50/1

QB Keller Chryst announces transfer from Stanford

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Stanford’s quarterback room will have a decidedly different look this coming season.

Keller Chryst announced on his personal Twitter account Sunday afternoon that he has decided to transfer from the Cardinal for his final season of collegiate eligibility.  Chryst will graduate from the university in June, making him eligible to play in 2018 at another FBS program if that’s the path he chooses.

Chryst gave no specific reason for the decision, although the fact that he lost his starting this past season likely played a significant role.

Chryst began the 2016 season as the backup to Ryan Burns, who started the first seven games after winning the job coming out of camp before losing it to Chryst midseason; he replaced Burns midway through that season as the starter.  While he suffered a torn ACL in Stanford’s Sun Bowl win over North Carolina following the 2016 regular season, he began the 2017 season as the starter; an injury in the Week 4 win over UCLA opened the door for redshirt freshman K.J. Costello to start the following week against Arizona State.  Chryst returned in Week 6 and started the next three games.

Ahead of the Washington State game in early November, however, a healthy Chryst was benched in favor of Costello.  In what turned out to be the final three starts of Chryst’s career with the Cardinal, he completed just under 57 percent of his passes for 453 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions.

In parts of three seasons, Chryst, whose uncle Paul Chryst is the head coach at Wisconsin, passed for 1,926 yards, 19 touchdowns and six interceptions in 289 attempts.

Rich Rodriguez releases statement as additional claim against his alleged behavior is filed

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Rich Rodriguez was fired earlier this month after his former administrative assistant filed an $8.5 million claim against him, saying she was forced to lie to his wife and children to cover up his extramarital affair and that he subjugated her to numerous instances of inappropriate behavior, including brushing up against her breast and making comments about his underwear and genitalia.

He admitted to the affair, but said the other claims were unequivocally false.

On Saturday, the same woman, Melissa Wilhelmsen, filed an additional $7.5 million claim against the University of Arizona, saying the school is liable for its former employee’s behavior.

From the suit, according to the Arizona Daily Star:

The document says that Wilhelmsen and her husband also have claims against Rodriguez for slander, defamation and false light, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress stemming from Rodriguez and his wife’s conduct after his firing — including “statements to football players at a team meeting on January 9, 2018.” Rich and Rita Rodriguez spoke to the players in a team meeting run by interim head coach Marcel Yates on that date. It was not immediately clear if any additional legal action had been filed.

Rodriguez on Sunday released a statement, essentially calling Wilhelmsen’s bluff.

Considering the plaintiff is now seeking a sum of $15 million here, the odds of an out-of-court settlement seem so overwhelming that they may as well be taken off the proverbial board.

LOOK: Jalen Hurts cut his hair

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We’ve all known Jalen Hurts for two years, and in that time three characteristics have remained constants about the Alabama quarterback:

1) His calm, unflappable demeanor.

2) His penchant for winning games.

3) His hair.

You can now scratch one of those off the list.

“The deal was if we won the natty, the locs (sic) had to come off lol,” Hurts wrote in a Twitter post. “New look. Same mission. Grind hard and improve every day!”

Hurts was held accountable to the deal by teammate Josh Jacobs.

Honestly, it won’t be the same this season when, after eluding beyond the left hash and just barely picking up a 3rd-and-11 by extending the nose of the football past the stick on the right sideline, we don’t see that same golden ponytail emerging from the crimson No. 2 helmet, calmly trotting back to the huddle like it’s all no big deal.

Miami CB Malek Young to undergo career-ending neck surgery

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Miami cornerback Malek Young left in the second quarter of the Hurricanes’ Orange Bowl loss to Wisconsin and never returned. That fateful play that knocked him out, we now know, has ended Young’s promising career.

Young suffered a neck injury against the Badgers, and the surgery to fix it will force the end of the rising junior’s career.

“After discussions with my family and the UM medical staff we have determined that my football career should come to an end,” Young said in a statement. “I look forward to getting healthy, working towards my degree and continuing to support my teammates, as I know they will continue to support me.”

These unfortunate situations are always double-edged swords. First, you’re disappointed that a career ends before it has to end. But at the same time you’re thankful that the player gets out of the game before a catastrophic injury can occur, leaving him healthy to live the rest of his non-football life.

“While we’re disappointed that Malek’s football career is over, his health is our top priority,” head coach Mark Richt said. “Malek is a terrific young man, one who I’m confident will go on to accomplish great things. He will remain on full scholarship and we will support him every step of the way.”

Young appeared in all 13 games this season, collecting 43 tackles, three tackles for loss, two picks — the Miami Herald noted Young was the first player to receive Miami’s noted Turnover Chain — and a team-high eight pass breakups.