Texas tops Forbes ‘most valuable’ rankings yet again

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For the second straight release, Texas has been determined to be the most valuable college football program in the country according to a renowned business magazine.  And, thanks to a controversial network that wasn’t even included this latest evaluation, that stranglehold on the top spot is not about to end in the foreseeable future.

In its latest rankings of College Football’s Most Valuable Teams, Forbes.com has pegged the value of the Longhorns at $129 million, up roughly eight percent from its value in the 2009 rankings.  UT is well ahead of No. 2 Notre Dame, with the Irish coming in at $112 million.

That gap will likely only widen, however; the 20-year, $300 million deal for the Longhorn Network was not included in Forbes’ most recent set of financial calculations.

Forbes also laid out exactly how it comes to its financial estimates:

… Unlike our NFL Team Valuations, which estimates each team’s enterprise value in an arms-length transaction, our college football ranking evaluates the financial impact each team has on four distinct areas. The two areas most important to our study are a team’s academic value, or the revenue directed towards university programs and spending (including football scholarships), and its athletic value, which is the football revenue used to support other athletic programs. The remaining two areas are weighted less heavily in our scoring system. They consist of the distribution of bowl game revenue amongst conference teams and the economic impact of visiting fans for each team’s home games.

While UT’s value will only continue to rise thanks in part to the LHN, another school will likely see its value tumble in the next set of rankings.

Penn State is currently the third-most valuable team in college football, but that value was determined prior to the Jerry Sandusky child-sex abuse scandal that rocked the State College school last month.  As Forbes writes, “we expect the team to fall quite a bit in future rankings.”

As expected, the SEC and Big Ten accounts for a sizable majority of Forbes’ Top 20 — eight for the former (nine if you include Texas A&M), seven for the latter.  In fact, exactly half of the members of the Top Ten come from the conference that, after Jan. 9, will have won the last six BcS titles.

Oklahoma State was the only team to fall out of the rankings, replaced by Iowa.

Below are the 20 teams that make up the upper financial echelon of the Forbes rankings:

1. Texas, $129 million (up 8% from 2009)
2. Notre Dame, $112 million (up 4%)
3. Penn State, $100 million (up 1%)
4. LSU, $96 million (up 12%)
5. Michigan, $94 million (up 15%)
6. Alabama, $93 million (up 1%)
7. Georgia, $90 million ( up 7%)
8. Arkansas, $89 million (up 59%)
9. Auburn, $88 million (up 27%)
10. Oklahoma, $87 million (up 5%)
11. Florida, $86 million (down 1%)
12. Tennessee, $82 million (up 6%)
13. Ohio State, $78 million (down 8%)
14. Nebraska, $77 million (down 18%)
15. Wisconsin, $67 million (up 40 percent)
16. South Carolina, $64 million (down 20%)
17. Texas A&M, $63 million (up 19%)
18. USC, $62 million (down 9%)
19. Michigan State, $59 million (3%)
20. Iowa, $48 million (unranked)

Arkansas assistant Vernon Hargreaves added to Mizzou’s staff

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Vernon Hargreaves wasn’t retained by the new coaching staff in Fayetteville, but he’ll end up remaining in the SEC anyway.

Missouri confirmed Thursday that Hargreaves has been hired by Barry Odom and added to the second-year head coach’s staff.  The veteran assistant will serve as Odom’s inside linebackers coach.

“I’ve known Vernon for a number of years and have always respected the way his position plays the game,” said Odom in a statement distributed by the school. “He will be a great teacher and mentor for our student-athletes. His experience will be so valuable for our program; I’m excited about Vernon and his family joining our Mizzou family.”

Hargreaves spent the past three seasons as the linebackers coach at Arkansas.  Most notably, he served in the same capacity at Miami from 1998-2005.

Hargreaves also spent time on staffs at Houston (2013-14), South Florida (2010-12), East Carolina (2007-09), Florida International (2006) and UConn (1985-97).  He was also the special teams coordinator at USF and ECU in addition to being a position coach.

Telly Lockette takes job at Florida State as TEs coach

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As Willie Taggart constructs his first coaching staff at Florida State, he’s added yet another familiar face.

Taggart, FSU announced earlier Thursday, has hired Telly Lockette as the Seminoles’ tight ends coach.  Lockette had spent the past three seasons as the running backs coach at Oregon State.

Prior to that, Lockette was a member of Taggart’s coaching staff at USF as running backs coach for two seasons and maintains deep ties to the fertile recruiting soil of South Florida.

“I’ve known Coach Lockette for a long time and am excited he is joining our staff at Florida State,” Taggart said. “He was an important part of my first staff at South Florida and has gained Power 5 experience with his last three seasons in the Pac-12. Coach Lockette is a tremendous recruiter and coach who does a phenomenal job developing student-athletes on and off the field. While we were at South Florida he was the primary recruiter for the Miami area and helped us sign a number of impact players, including Quinton Flowers, Khalid McGee and Deatrick Nichols. His expertise will benefit our current and future Seminoles.”

The job with Taggart at USF was Lockette’s first at any level of college football.  The first 10 years of his coaching career were spent at the high school level, including a five-year stint at Miami Central from 2008-12.

Amidst Arizona State chatter, Texas Tech DC David Gibbs signs contract extension

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Almost without fail, it pays to have your name circulating through the annual churning of the coaching rumor mill.

The latest example is David Gibbs, with the Texas Tech defensive coordinator being rumored as a target for the same job with Herm Edwards at Arizona State over the past few days.  Fast-forward to Thursday night, and Tech announced that it has finalized a new two-year contract extension with Gibbs.  The coordinator is now signed through the 2019 season.

According to the school, Gibbs’ pay will be bumped from $550,000 per year to $650,000.  That number puts Gibbs right in the middle of Big 12 DC pay.

“We are fortunate to have one of the top defensive coordinators in the country in Coach Gibbs,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said in a release. “Since the conclusion of the regular season, finalizing this new contract to keep Coach Gibbs at Texas Tech has been a priority for myself and [athletic director] Kirby [Hocutt]. We look forward to continuing to build one of the nation’s top defenses in the years to come under Coach Gibbs.”

Long a punchline, the Red Raiders’ defense has steadily improved in the three years under Gibbs.  This season, their 27 takeaways led the Big 12 and are the most in a season for the football program since 2008.  They’re also currently seventh in the country with four defensive touchdowns.

With Gibbs back, he’ll have 10 returning starters with which to work next season.

“There isn’t a better person to work for than Kliff Kingsbury, and I’m looking forward to continue building this program with him,” Gibbs said. “There is still plenty of work that needs to be done, but I’m excited about the future of our team.”

RB Justin Crawford to skip West Virginia’s bowl game, begin preparing for NFL draft

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Sometimes the personnel gods giveth, and sometimes the personnel gods taketh away.

Thursday evening, West Virginia announced that quarterback Will Grier will return to Morgantown for the 2018 season.  Not long after, the same football program confirmed that Justin Crawford has decided to eschew playing in the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl.

Instead of preparing for Utah in the postseason, the senior running back will instead begin preparations for the 2018 NFL draft.

“Justin has logged a lot of miles and been a key contributor for us the past two seasons,” head coach Dana Holgorsen said. “He made a decision to not play in the bowl game based on what is best for him and his family. He came to West Virginia to further his education and be a featured back in the Big 12 and he accomplished his goals. As he starts his preparation for the NFL Draft, we wish him nothing but the best.”

Crawford has led the Mountaineers in rushing each of the past two seasons.  He’s the first WVU player to post back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons since Noel Devine in 2008-09.

After finishing third in the Big 12 this season with 1,061 yards on the ground, he was named second-team all-conference for the second straight season.  Following the 2016 season, he earned the league’s Newcomer of the Year honor.