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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)

Colorado QB Sefo Liufau hurt as Washington takes halftime lead in Pac-12 title game

SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 02:  Jake Browning #3 of the Washington Huskies runs with the ball against the Colorado Buffaloes during the Pac-12 Championship game at Levi's Stadium on December 2, 2016 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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Colorado’s unlikely road to the Pac-12 title may have gotten a little bit harder on Friday night.

Buffaloes starting quarterback Sefo Liufau suffered a lower leg injury midway through the first quarter and missed most of the half as the unlikely South Division champions trailed Washington 14-7 in the Pac-12 Championship Game.

Liufau eventually headed to the locker room before the whistle at the end of the second quarter but it’s possible he will return to the game.

Backup Steven Montez did lead the team down on a scoring drive shortly afterward (capped off by a Phillip Lindsay touchdown run) but was under pressure on nearly every snap by the Huskies’ pass rush.

His counterpart similarly didn’t have much luck against Colorado’s stingy defense either. Washington signal-caller Jake Browning finished the half just 4-of-12 for 38 yards but the Huskies didn’t bat much of an eye by doing what they wanted on ground — rushing for 148 yards behind the tough running of both Myles Gaskin and Lavon Coleman.

It should make for a fantastic second half from the Bay Area as both teams harbor hopes of making it into the College Football Playoff after capturing a Pac-12 title.

Row The Boat! Western Michigan captures MAC title over Ohio and states Group of Five case

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 02: Trevor Sweeney #25 of the Western Michigan Broncos celebrates causing a first half fumble on a kick return with teammate Leo Ekwoge #33 while playing the Ohio Bobcats during the MAC Championship on December 2, 2016 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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Still perfect. Still rowing.

Western Michigan completed a dream undefeated regular season on Friday night and captured the school’s first MAC Championship since 1988 with a 29-23 win over Ohio.

The Broncos led from wire-to-wire on Friday night but struggled to complete drives with touchdowns against a stingy Bobcats defense on a night where they needed all the style points they could get. WMU is the College Football Playoff’s highest ranked Group of Five team but are in a neck-and-neck battle with Navy for a bid to the Cotton Bowl this season.

Even if the final margin wasn’t what head coach P.J. Fleck wanted, he nevertheless was excited at the way his team played defensively in holding Ohio to just 213 yards on the night. The normally prolific offense had their moments too, with quarterback Zach Terrell finishing with 301 yards, two scores and two interceptions.

One of those touchdown passes from Terrell went to wide receiver Corey Davis, who continued to press his case that he’s a first-round pick in the spring. The pass-catcher scored the team’s first touchdown back in the second quarter on a 70-yard scamper and the all-time leader in FBS receiving yardage finished his MAC career with 155 yards on nine catches.

The Bobcats tried to use their normal formula of running the ball and playing defense to control the clock but failed to do much of the former. The team finished with just 37 yards on the ground (and 251 overall) but did manage to make things interesting with three second half touchdowns and a late drive that could have taken the lead but instead ended with a game-sealing interception.

That wasn’t exactly the kind of high-flying #MACtion game the conference record 45,615 fans at Ford Field were looking for, with many of them sporting WMU colors as the school looks ahead to Sunday and whether or not they’re headed to a New Year’s Six Bowl at the end of the month.

On Friday night however, they just had to soak in the remarkable run the Broncos are on and row that boat all the way to a championship.

Report: Les Miles not in the mix in Purdue head coaching search

BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 28:  Head coach Les Miles of the LSU Tigers look on during the game against the Texas A&M Aggies at Tiger Stadium on November 28, 2015 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
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One of the bigger storylines of this offseason is the annual coaching carousel and where former LSU head coach Les Miles will land.

The longtime coach has stated he wants to coach again in 2017, and has plenty of credentials — over 100 wins, SEC and national championships — but where he will find a fit is one of the bigger mysteries.

A lot of folks have noted that he could be in the running for the Purdue job (Miles is a Big Ten man at heart) but it appears that will not be the case. According to Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel, a source told him to cross Miles’s name off of Purdue’s list.

There are not a ton of big openings at the moment so with the Boilermakers reportedly off the table, it might be a long offseason for the former LSU coach. Western Kentucky’s Jeff Brohm and Western Michigan’s P.J. Fleck have been the two biggest names mentioned with the Purdue search but it appears unlikely any movement happens before this weekend.

Thamel also mentions Miles could be in the mix at Houston, which would be fascinating given his years at Oklahoma State and over a decade spent a few hours East in Baton Rouge. Either way, it looks like the carousel has a few more spins left in it this month.

Colorado denies Mike MacIntyre is interviewing at Baylor this weekend

BOULDER, CO - NOVEMBER 19:  Head Coach Mike MacIntyre looks on from the field during the second quarter against the Washington State Cougars at Folsom Field on November 19, 2016 in Boulder, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
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Colorado plays Washington on Friday in the Pac-12 Championship Game but that hasn’t stopped the coaching carousel from taking a break.

Rumors have circulated that Buffaloes head coach Mike MacIntyre is a candidate at Baylor and that he would be interviewing with the Bears either today or tomorrow. Colorado’s sports information director wanted no part of those reports continuing to flourish however, and took to Twitter to vehemently deny them.

That is… quite the denial.

At the same time, you can understand why Baylor wants to speak with MacIntyre give his credentials for turning around the program, his moral values and the fact that he was just named the Walter Camp Coach of the Year.

If it’s not meant to be however, the school will no doubt be turning to other candidates this weekend, possibly including fellow Pac-12 coach Sonny Dykes at Cal.