BCS committee ready to dump playoff responsibility on presidents

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As of a few weeks ago, the idea of a four-team playoff seemed almost inevitable. There was a model (four teams) and what sounded like a general consensus on a couple of important items, such as where the games would be played (semifinals within the bowl system; championship game bid out) and how the field would look (not conference champions-only).

But Dennis Dodd saw the writing on the wall. So did Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany. There were too many issues to resolve and not enough time to do so — the deadline was originally June 20 — without someone hurting themselves. So, someone(s) in today’s BCS meeting probably had a meltdown that morphed into a Lewis Black-like tirade that morphed into the following decision:

The BCS committee will present “options” — plural — to the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee on June 26 instead of providing just one option. Supposedly, they’ll take it from there. I think. Maybe.

Our job is just to narrow and refine the options,” Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said.

What Scott is really saying is that the 11 conference commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick didn’t want the responsibility anymore. So, the BCS committee decided to dump the job on the group that was going to approve/decline a decision anyway.

Here, you take it. No tag-backs!

“We made progress in our meeting today to discuss the future of college football’s post-season,” a statement from the BCS read. “We are approaching consensus on many issues and we recognize there are also several issues that require additional conversations at both the commissioner and university president levels.

“We are determined to build upon our successes and create a structure that further grows the sport while protecting the regular season. We also value the bowl tradition and recognize the many benefits it brings to student-athletes.

“We have more work to do and more discussions to have with our presidents, who are the parties that will make the final decisions about the future structure of college football’s post-season.”

Conveniently, the chair of the Presidential Oversight Committee, Virginia Tech President Charles Steger, also issued the following statement earlier today saying the group is up to the task:

“This is an important decision that will not be taken lightly. The group will weigh the upsides and downsides carefully. It is the group’s desire to maintain college football as an element of higher education, to preserve the importance of the regular season, and to continue the bowl tradition and experience.”

Also on that committee is Nebraska Chancellor Harvey Perlman, who not 10 days ago said a plus-one was on the table. A week before Perlman, Scott did the same. I thought they were joking, but BCS executive director Bill Hancock reaffirmed it today.

With so much left to decide, serveral options are on the table, including a four-team playoff, but also the one where college football’s power brokers toss up piles of paper in disgust and decide to keep everything as is.

Iowa loses RB James Butler ‘at least through the bye’

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Iowa sat Akrum Wadley for much of Saturday’s 31-14 win over North Texas after he was flagged for a (frankly ridiculous) excessive celebration penalty for high-stepping his way to the Kinnick Stadium end zone. (The score was wiped off the board, but Iowa completed the drive with a touchdown anyway.) The Hawkeyes will have no choice but to give him carries now.

Running back James Butler (20) has injured an elbow that will keep him out for the next few weeks.

“I think James will be out through the bye week,” head coach Kirk Ferentz said, via Hawkeye Report. “It will be a couple of weeks before we get him back.”

A Nevada transfer with two 1,000-yard seasons to his credit, Butler was a graduate transfer addition to the Hawkeyes, announcing his transfer on July 4. He ranks second on the club with 36 carries for 158 yards thus far in 2017, carrying a season-high 16 times for 74 yards before the injury.

Butler’s carries figure to go to fellow senior Wadley and freshmen Toren Young and Ivory Kelly-Martin. Wadley leads the club with 60 carries for 258 yards and a touchdown, and Young and Kelly-Martin have combined to rush 30 times for 152 yards and two scores. Young made his debut in Wadley’s absence in the second half Saturday, rushing 19 times for 78 yards.

The 3-0 Hawkeyes host No. 4 Penn State on Saturday (8 p.m. ET, ABC), then visit undefeated Michigan State the week after (4 p.m. ET, FOX). Iowa will host Illinois before its Oct. 14 bye week.

Lincoln Riley to earn $3.1 million a year as OU head coach

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Lincoln Riley won’t be paid nearly as much as Bob Stoops was as Oklahoma’s head coach, but he’ll earn significantly more than he did as the Sooners’ offensive coordinator.

Oklahoma approved and released Riley’s new deal on Tuesday, a 5-year contract that pays him $3.1 million annually and rises $200,000 a year. Stoops made $5.5 million in his last season, according to USA Today, while Riley earned $900,000 as offensive coordinator.

Perks include 25 hours of private airplane use, not one but two private golf club membership, and bonuses ranging from $25,000 for winning Big 12 coach of the year honors to $250,000 for a national championship.

Riley is 3-0 in his young tenure, already proving himself to be a tremendous bargain for the Sooners.

SEC releases 2018 schedule

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The SEC released its 2018 slate on Tuesday, beginning the weekend of Sept. 1 and running through the SEC Championship on Saturday, Dec. 1. It would be entirely pointless to break down winners and losers of the ’18 slate considering we don’t really even know who’s good yet in 2017 — other than Alabama — and we especially don’t know who will be good in ’18 — other than ‘Bama, of course.

But we can point out some dates that look interesting as we sit here on Tuesday, Sept. 19, the year of our Lord 2017. And, no, intra-divisional games don’t count, since they are played every year.

  • Auburn vs. Washington — Sept. 1 (at Atlanta)
  • Alabama vs. Louisville — Sept. 1 (at Orlando)
  • LSU vs. Miami — Sept. 1 (at Dallas)
  • Tennessee vs. West Virginia (at Charlotte)
  • Clemson at Texas A&M — Sept. 8
  • Vanderbilt at Notre Dame — Sept. 15
  • Florida at Mississippi State — Sept. 29
  • Tennessee at Auburn — Oct. 13

Consult the full schedule here. 

Louisville-Ole Miss 2021 Chick-fil-A Kickoff opener made official

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After reports had signaled it, it’s a done deal.

The “it” in this case is Louisville opening the 2021 season against Ole Miss, with the two programs confirming Tuesday that they will square off in one of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff games that year.  The game will be played at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, although a date and kickoff time are still to be determined.

The 2021 game will mark the first-ever meeting between the football teams.  Each has made one previous appearance in the Kickoff Game, Louisville in 2015 (31-24 loss to Auburn) and Ole Miss in 2014 (35-13 win over Boise State).

“To have the opportunity to play in this game again for the second time is a huge win for our program,” Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich said in a statement. “We are honored to be welcomed back by the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, which is a tremendous testament to our loyal fan base, who helped pack the stadium in 2015. Our fans have a great history of traveling, and to have the opportunity to play a great program like Ole Miss in this brand-new facility will certainly be a hot ticket for the fans. Gary Stokan and the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl group do a tremendous job with this game and we appreciate them selecting Louisville for what has become the premier game to kick off the season.”

“We are thrilled to once again be part of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff. We always set the goal to end the regular season in Atlanta, so it’s only fitting that’s where we begin it,” Jurich’s Ole Miss counterpart, Ross Bjork, said in his. “With our strong alumni base in Georgia, Rebel Nation will arrive in full force to experience this premier matchup in the nation’s finest new stadium. In addition, the Atlanta market is a key recruiting area for our staff, and this trip offers a tremendous opportunity to compete in front of those prospects.”

Earlier this month, it was confirmed that Alabama and Miami would square off in the other Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game the opening weekend of the 2021 season.