Just as Tennessee appeared on the verge of ending its search for a new head football coach with a knocked-it-out-of-the-park hire, the voyage through the post-Dooley era will reportedly continue for the listing program.
Citing a Louisville source, SI.com‘s Pete Thamel is reporting that Charlie Strong has turned down an offer from the Vols to become its new coach and will instead remain with the Cardinals. What UT was offering as part of a financial package to lure Strong back to the SEC is unknown, but, per Thamel, the finishing touches on a revamped contract are currently under way for the third-year UofL coach.
Athletic director Tom Jurich stated two months ago that he was willing to make Strong the highest-paid coach at the FBS level, although that was likely more hyperbole than reality. Still, Strong should see a significant bump in his 2012 salary of $2.3 million.
Today, Strong refused to specifically address his coaching future, telling reporters that, tomorrow morning, he will first address his team before going public with his intentions for the 2013 season.
Based, on Thamel’s report, that won’t include a move to Knoxville. That, of course, begs the question: to where will UT turn?
Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy has been heavily connected to the Vols job, and could be athletic director Dave Hart‘s No. 1 target now that he has reportedly been snubbed by Strong. Or North Carolina’s Larry Fedora. Or… oh my gawd that’s Jon Gruden‘s music…
Oregon touched the ball 15 times in its 41-24 win over Colorado on Saturday night. Jeff Lockie played seven of them, including the first. Taylor Alie played eight.
As long as Vernon Adams nurses his broken finger, this appears to be the plan for the Ducks.
“They’d both done enough good things in practice last week to merit playing,” head coach Mark Helfrich told the Oregonian. “We just felt looking at the game plan we could parcel out aspects with each.”
“Of course you want to get into a better rhythm but that’s how it goes,” Lockie said. “We’re just going to play the best we can and as long as we’re winning games, there’s no problem with me.”
Lockie completed 8-of-11 throws for 54 yards with an interception while rushing five times for 18 yards. Alie connected on 4-of-9 throws for 83 yards and a touchdown while adding 22 yards on five carries. Not quite Marcus Mariota numbers from either signal caller.
“It’ll just depend on the game plan,” Helfrich said of Alie and Lockie. “I think those guys they have differences. There are some strengths and weaknesses to different areas of their game and so we’ll think about that going forward of just how the Washington State game plan comes out.”
With Oregon playing Washington and Washington State (combined Pac-12 wins thus far: zero) before a tough closing stretch, Helfrich and company have time to alternate signal callers.
The polls are meaningless. Especially any poll that isn’t the College Football Playoff top 25 and even then, as the TCU learned late last season, even the penultimate ranking is as meaningless as the paper they’re metaphorically written on.
Still, they’re catnip to college football fans and observers. Place them in front of us and we can’t help but gnaw on them.
And with that said, a bit of milestone was reached in Sunday’s Associated Press Top 25, as the SEC was completely shut out of the top five.
That group breaks down as follows:
- Ohio State
- Michigan State
An SEC free top five hasn’t happened in nearly five full years; October 10, 2010 was the last time such a thing occurred. Oddly enough, two of the same five culprits occupied that ranking as well:
- Ohio State
- Boise State
Underscoring the lesson of the first paragraph, eventual national champion Auburn checked in at No. 6. Those Tigers moved up a spot the following week and never looked back.
None of this means anything at all, until it does. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun along the way.