Les Miles staying at LSU, will get extension, raise in return

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As expected, and in the end, it was much ado about nothing… nothing but money, that is.

Yesterday evening, at least two reports surfaced that Arkansas had made a significant contractual offer to Les Miles to become the Razorbacks’ next head coach.  It was assumed by most that either it was a desperation move on the part of UA or a leverage move by Miles’ agent in an effort to get his client a new contract.

Regardless of what the reality is or was, the latter turned out to be the result of the speculation.

In a statement released through the university,  athletic director Joe Alleva confirmed that, as in the past, Miles would indeed be staying in Baton Rouge and would remain on as the Bayou Bengals’ head coach.

“Les Miles is one of the premier coaches in the country and has LSU in contention for championships year in and year out,” Alleva’s statement read.  “Only two coaches in the 119-year history of LSU football have coached as many years at this school and only one has won more games.  Les Miles has made a commitment to LSU and LSU is solidifying its commitment to Les Miles.”

The commitment on the part of the university will come in the form of a tweaked contract that will include both an extension (seven years) and a raise of an unspecified amount.  The new deal, which is currently in the process of being negotiated, is expected to be finalized following LSU’s bowl appearance this season.

Somewhat unbelievably, Miles has not received a raise, as the school itself noted in the release, “since his salary was automatically elevated following our national championship in 2007.”  Miles is hardly a pauper, though, as he earned just under $3.9 million in 2012, a figure that makes him the second-highest paid head coach in the SEC behind Nick Saban‘s $5.5 million.

Alleva acknowledged that the speculation expedited matters on the contract front between the university and the coach.

“Our intent was to address his contract following this year’s bowl game, but speculation about other job opportunities accelerated our process a little,” Alleva said.  “I think we have accomplished the important step of securing Les Miles as our head coach for the long-term good of the program.”

Miles did acknowledge in a subsequent press conference that he did engage in very preliminary discussions with UA, saying that he is very good friends with that school’s athletic director, Jeff Long.  The coach declined to say which side initiated the conversations.

Miles did deny, though, that there was a five-year, $27.5 million offer on the table from Arkansas.

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.

Oregon hopeful leading receiver will be back soon

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There could be some good news on the injury front for Oregon.  Maybe.

Charles Nelson suffered a lower-leg injury in UO’s win over Wyoming in Week 3.  At the time, it was thought that the injury wasn’t as serious as it initially looked.  Monday, Willie Taggart indicated that it wasn’t, although the head coach fell short of declaring the senior wide receiver ready to go for the Pc-12 opener against Arizona State in Week 4.

“Hopefully he’ll be back here soon and be ready to go,” the head coach said according to The Oregonian.

Nelson’s 15 catches for 243 yards are tops on the Ducks through the first three weeks of the 2017 season.  He also has a rushing touchdown on one of his six carries.