LSU Tigers head coach Les Miles speaks with cornerback Tyrann Mathieu after their team defeated the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC Championship NCAA football game in Atlanta

Report: Mathieu wants to return to LSU after sitting out season


In the words of Lee Corso, not so fast my friends.  Maybe.

Dismissed by LSU for violated unspecified team/school policies, All-American cornerback/punt returner Tyrann Mathieu was thought to be headed to the FCS level — McNeese State specifically — and play the 2012 season before (likely) becoming an early entrant in the 2013 NFL draft.

While that may still ultimately be the case, the Honey Badger is looking for forgiveness and another shot with his former school.

Citing unnamed sources,‘s Joe Schad is reporting that Mathieu has an interest in sitting out the 2012 season and returning to the Tigers football team in 2013.  Those close to the player said that Mathieu “is interested in working on his maturity and character.”

And it’s not just Mathieu, who sources described to Schad as “heartbroken” and “grieving” over the dismissal, who is thinking of a potential return.

As Schad writes, “[t]he possibility of future reinstatement would have to be approved at many levels, including university administration and head coach Les Miles.”  Discussions on at least a couple of those levels have already taken place.

It’s been speculated and reported on that Mathieu’s dismissal was the result of “repeated violations of LSU’s substance abuse policy for athletes.”  According to the school’s policy, a third failed drug test results in “a one-year suspension from all athletic related activities (team practices, weight room, team running, etc…)” and a “one-year suspension from competition.”

The policy goes on to state that “[r]einstatement after the one-year period is with the support of the ADAP [athletic department] treatment team and Athletic Director and at the request of the Head Coach, dependent upon negative drug screen.”

Additionally, and if Mathieu were to be reinstated, the policy reads that other conditions could be placed on the player’s return, including the “loss of scholarship, game suspension, etc.”  If a reinstated athlete were to be subsequently tested and the result “reveals the existence of drugs at any time, an automatic positive test will be issued and Permanent Ineligibility to participate at LSU will result.”

In other words, it would be one strike and he’s out at LSU.  Provided reinstatement is even a realistic possibility, of course.

“Yeah, [Mathieu] will not be back,” Miles said Friday when asked if the dismissal was permanent.

UPDATED 3:07 p.m. ET: A source close to Mathieu has disputed Schad’s report, telling the New Orleans Times-Picayune that a return to LSU “would not be happening.”  The source went on to tell the paper that Mathieu hopes to have a transfer decision made by Wednesday, and that, right now, McNeese State is the only viable option.

Mathieu visited the FCS school over the weekend.

Win over Grambling approved, Cal officially becomes bowl eligible

Jared Goff
Associated Press
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Earlier today we had the report that Cal, they of the normally bowl-eligible six wins on the season, were not actually bowl eligible. The hang up was due to some NCAA red tape on how many scholarships Grambling, a 73-14 victim to the Bears on opening Saturday, had actually awarded this year.

Why the number of scholarships awarded by an opponent of a 6-5 team could determine what glorified exhibition said 6-5 could or could not play is a matter for another time, but the fact is it mattered.

But according to a report from Kevin Gemmell of, the Bears received approval to count the win toward their total, meaning Sonny Dykes and company will go bowling for the first time since 2011.

“We have conferred with both Grambling and the NCAA,” Cal spokesman Wes Mallette told ESPN. “As anticipated, Grambling has confirmed their football program has met the 90 percent financial aid requirement over the rolling two-year average. Therefore, Cal football’s win over Grambling counts toward bowl eligibility. Cal football is bowl eligible.”

The Bears have a chance to become bowl eligible the old fashioned way with a win over Arizona State Saturday in Berkeley.


Tulane reportedly set to fire head coach Curtis Johnson

Curtis Johnson
Associated Press
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The end of the college football regular season brings with it bowl bids, conference championship entries and rivalry games. Along the way, though, come end-of-season firings. So many end of-season firings.

According to a report from Dan Wolken of USA Today Wednesday night, the first one is already on the books. Or at least close to it.

Wolken reports Tulane is set to part ways with head coach Curtis Johnson following the Green Wave’s Friday finale against Tulsa “barring a last-minute change of direction.”

Johnson is 15-33 in nearly four complete seasons at Tulane, reaching a high point of a 7-6 mark wtih a New Orleans Bowl appearance in 2013 but winning two, three and three games in his other three campaigns.

If and when the move becomes official, Tulane will become the 15th FBS school to change head coaches this season, matching the total number of changes during the 2014-15 cycle.

Wolken reports Tulane will hire a new athletics director within the next week, and once that hiring is complete the school will then embark on hiring Johnson’s replacement.

Reports: Michigan DC D.J. Durkin a “strong candidate” for Maryland vacancy

D.J. Durkin
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Michigan defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin has emerged a “strong candidate” for the Maryland job, according to reports from Yahoo‘s Pat Forde and Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman Wednesday.

“Durkin, 37, met recently with Maryland officials, sources said,” Forde wrote. “No job offer was made, but the interview went well, sources said.”

Added Feldman:

Durkin is in his first season as Michigan’s defensive coordinator, helping the 9-2 Wolverines jump from 14th to third nationally in yards per play allowed (4.77 to 4.15) and 27th to sixth in scoring defense (22.4 to 14.9).

Prior to working on Jim Harbaugh‘s staff, Durkin served as Will Muschamp‘s defensive coordinator at Florida for two years, and as his special teams coordinator for two years before that. He previously worked at Stanford, Bowling Green (his alma mater) and Notre Dame.

Should he be offered and accept the job, Durkin would immediately become Big Ten East rivals with his mentor Harbaugh.

“This week is so important to our guys, my 100% focus is on this game and our players — that’s what this profession is all about. You’ve got to make sure you’re taking care of the job you have week in and week out. It’s a tough task, especially with this team we have this week,” Durkin told the Detroit Free Press when asked about the reports.

“My goal is to get the best game plan possible together for Ohio State and have our guys go play well. To answer rumors or speculation right now and put something to it, my total focus is 100% on Ohio State and nothing else.”

Illini to decide on fate of interim head coach Bill Cubit by Sunday

Bill Cubit
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Illinois will decide whether or not to retain interim head coach Bill Cubit for the full-time job by Sunday, interim AD Paul Kowalczyk told WSKJ-FM Wednesday.

“We need to make that call and figure out which way we’re going for everyone’s sake,” Kowalczyk said, via the Chicago Tribune. “For me, it’s posthaste.”

Illinois closes its regular season Saturday against No. 16 Northwestern in Champaign. The Illini are 5-6 on the year and, for what it’s worth, Cubit desperately wants the job.

Also worth noting: the athletics department is operating under a total state of dysfunction in the wake of AD Mike Thomas‘s firing.

From 670 The Score in Chicago on Wednesday:

Sources tell 670 The Score that as overwhelmed university officials are dithering and providing little guidance, the group of trustees, boosters and alums left to run things can’t yet agree on much.  Some want to hire a search firm with a spotty recent track record, others want to form their own search committee, while another faction thinks they need to act faster by using their own contacts to target specific AD and coaching candidates right now and just get moving.

Any support for retaining Bill Cubit is getting strong push-back from those who don’t believe he wasn’t aware of Tim Beckman’s aberrant behavior, and from some who feel strongly about making a more dynamic hire.

For those keeping score at home: Illinois is dealing with a power vacuum of trustees, boosters and alums battling for control while an interim chancellor and interim athletics director work to reach a resolution on an interim football coach.

And the coaching carousel starts spinning in full four days from now.