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

NC State adds Division 2 graduate transfer kicker

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It’s possible Dave Doeren‘s life would feel completely different right now if he had a better kicker in 2016.

In this reality, Doeren is 25-26 after four seasons in Raleigh, coming off back-to-back 7-6 seasons following his 8-5 breakthrough of 2014. But if his Wolfpack could kick last year, Doeren is most likely riding high after an 8-4 regular season buoyed by a win over Clemson in Death Valley. Because not only did NC State lose that game on a late field goal whiff, the Pack also suffered a 33-30 loss to East Carolina in which it endured two missed field goals.

NC State’s two kickers combined to hit only 9-of-17 tries last fall, good for 121st nationally, and ranked 104th with a 93.3 percent conversion rate on 45 extra points. And the situation wasn’t getting better this spring.

To rectify that situation, NC State announced the addition of kicker Carson Wise. A graduate transfer from Division II Carson-Newman, Wise will have two years of availability for the Wolfpack.

Wise connected on 21-of-31 field goals and 97-of-101 PATs last season, numbers that, on their face, do not represent massive changes from what NC State posted last season. But Doeren is banking on Wise as a solution for NC State in 2017.

“I’m excited to have Carson join the family,” Doeren said in a statement. “He is a talented player who should be a great addition to our special teams as we look for him to handle our field goal and kickoff duties this fall.”

Arkansas House votes to exempt sporting venues from expanded gun law

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Remember how we talked about it’s impossible to follow sports and ignore politics? Not long after John Swofford released a statement on how a North Carolina law would effect ACC sporting events, the Arkansas legislature passed a bill that will do the same in the SEC.

The Arkansas House voted 71-20 to allow its state colleges and universities to exempt themselves from a law that greatly expands venues permitting concealed-carry handguns. Until the passing of SB724 today, guns would have been permissible inside Razorback Stadium, among other places.

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey released a statement earlier this week urging state lawmakers to remove sporting venues from the bill. “HB 1249 creates concerns for the Southeastern Conference and its member institutions,” he said. “It remains our collective desire to provide a safe environment for student-athletes, coaches, officials and fans, and will continue to closely monitor the status of this legislation.”

Passing the bill was made more complicated by the involvement of the NRA, according to Rep. Jimmy Gateway.

The bill must now head back to the Senate before it can receive final approval from Governor Asa Hutchinson.

John Swofford releases statement on North Carolina repeal of HB2

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It’s pretty much impossible to keep politics out of the sports page today. SEC commissioner Greg Sankey was forced to release a statement on Tuesday urging Arkansas state legislators to exempt Razorbacks sporting venues from a bill that would greatly expand areas allowing concealed-carry handguns, and now ACC commissioner John Swofford has been forced to wade back into political waters.

North Carolina’s state legislature brokered a deal Thursday with new governor Roy Cooper to repeal House Bill 2, the controversial law requiring persons within Tar Heel state borders to use public bathrooms matching their gender at birth. The “bathroom bill” cost the state a reported $3.76 billion in revenue, and some of that lost revenue related directly to college football.

Following the NCAA’s lead of revoking the state’s championship event hosting privileges due to HB2, the ACC moved its football championship game from Charlotte to Orlando (the men’s basketball tournament was previously booked for Brooklyn), a move that cost the conference itself money as well.

Thursday’s repeal of HB2 is more complicated than simply yanking the bathroom bill (this is where I’ll direct you to a much more appropriate place to digest the political news of the hour than a college football blog) and, as such, Swofford’s statement is appropriately nuanced.

The ACC is still undecided where this December’s title game will be played, and Swofford will kick that decision upstairs to the league’s presidents.

Oklahoma OL Christian Daimler to pursue graduate transfer

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Oklahoma offensive tackle Christian Daimler will pursue a transfer, according to a message posted to his Twitter account Thursday.

As a fifth-year senior, Daimler qualifies as a graduate transfer and will be eligible immediately. “I could not be more excited about what my future holds,” Daimler wrote. “Wherever I end up I know that I will always be a Sooner and for that am I so proud. This University [sic] will forever remain close to my heart. Boomer Sooner.”

If that name does not immediately ring a bell, you are forgiven. Daimler appeared in three games as a Sooner, all over last season.

Hailing from Houston, Daimler, who stands 6-foot-7 and is listed at 321 pounds, was a 3-star recruit when he signed with Oklahoma over Texas A&M, Arizona State and Colorado, among others.