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Malzahn completes Auburn coaching staff

Tim Horton

A mini-flurry of activity over the past couple of days has left Gus Malzahn with no work left to do on the coaching hire front.

Malzahn announced Friday that Tim Horton (pictured, left) has been hired as the Tigers’ tight ends coach.  Horton’s hire means the first-year AU head coach has filled all nine positions on his coaching staff.

“Tim is a true professional and an outstanding coach and recruiter, who deserves a lot of credit for Arkansas’ success while he was there,” Malzahn said. “Tim is a man of character who will be a great compliment to our staff and a tremendous representative of the entire Auburn family.”

Horton has spent the past six seasons at Arkansas as running backs coach, serving as recruiting coordinator as well for five of those years.  Horton also played at Arkansas in the mid- to late-nineties.

Prior to his coaching stint at his alma mater, Horton served on FBS coaching staffs at Air Force (1995-2005; 2007) and Kansas State (2006).

“It is an honor and privilege to work at Auburn University with Coach Malzahn and the tremendous group of people and coaches that he’s assembled,” Horton said. “My family and I are thrilled to be joining the Auburn family.”

(Photo credit: Arkansas athletics)

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Potential starter along Oregon’s O-line calls it a career

Rose Bowl - Oregon v Florida State

Unfortunately, one of the best names in college football retired Thursday.

Andre Yruretagoyena won’t return to the Oregon Ducks football program this year. An exact reason wasn’t provided, but the redshirt senior decided it was time to leave.

Yruretagoyena finally found his way into the Ducks’ starting lineup last year, but it was short-lived as he dealt with a lingering foot injury.

After the amount of injuries Oregon suffered along the offensive line a season ago, Yruretagoyena’s loss hurts the team’s depth at offensive tackle.

Tyler Johnstone is expected to return from a torn ACL he suffered last summer to start at left tackle, while sophomore Tyrell Crosby should prove to be the team’s bookend at right tackle.

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49ers eyeing bid to host future playoff title game

Pac-12 Championship - Arizona v Oregon Getty Images

The new home of the San Francisco 49ers has already hosted a conference championship game.  Now, it appears the club wants to get to know an even more important postseason game as well.

Citing a source a source with knowledge of the plans, the Associated Press is reporting that the NFL organization is planning to bid on becoming a future host of the College Football Playoff championship game.  The 49ers will be focusing their bid — or bids — on the 2018-2020 games that would be played in newly-built Levi’s Stadium.

Bids for those games must be received by May of this year, with the winning bids expected to be announced at some point this fall.

The 2016 (following the 2015 season) and 2017 (following the 2016 season) national title games have already been awarded to Glendale, Ariz., and Tampa, Fla. The first ever playoff title game was played in Dallas at AT&T Stadium, home of the NFL’s Cowboys.

Levi’s Stadium, which opened in 2014, has hosted a regular-season college game as well as the Pac-12 championship game. It will also serve as the host of that conference’s title tilt the next two years as well as being the site of next year’s Super Bowl.

In addition to that stadium in Santa Clara, officials from New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium — home of the NFL’s New York Giants and Jets — have also expressed an interest in bidding on CFP title games from 2018-20.  Also, city officials in New Orleans are beginning the process of considering the feasibility of hosting a title game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported this afternoon.  The Superdome, of course, is the home of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints.

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Hefty LSU recruiting sanctions may be related to Alabama signee

Matt Womack

First, what we know in this situation: LSU has been slapped with some rather hefty recruiting sanctions.

What we don’t know?  Exactly what recruit led to the sanctions… although the Baton Rouge Advocate has an idea.

According to the Advocate, and citing public records obtained by the newspaper, “LSU is banned from signing early enrollee recruits to financial aid agreements for the next two years, and the program will be stripped of 10 percent of its recruiting evaluation days in 2015.” The latter sanction works out to 21 of 210 days allotted on the recruiting calendar. The penalties stem from a recruit who had originally signed a financial aid agreement with LSU last August, with the intention of enrolling in January, but ultimately signed a National Letter of Intent elsewhere.

The financial aid agreement (FAA) mentioned binds the university to the player, but not the player to the university. That policy was enacted by the NCAA in 2013, and allows high school seniors who intend to enroll early to sign the agreements and, in theory, end their recruitment and allow them to focus on what’s left of their senior years.

Football programs that have recruits sign such agreements are permitted unlimited contact with the prospects, although there are penalties for the program if that player enrolls elsewhere. That appears to be the boat in which LSU finds itself.

The public records obtained by the Advocate do not list the name of the recruit involved. However, all the signs seem to point to one who signed with an SEC West rival.

Matt Womack, an offensive tackle from Mississippi, signed a financial aid agreement with LSU in August intending to enroll at the school in January. Instead, Womack de-committed — as hundreds of prospects do each year — and signed a National Letter of Intent with Alabama in February.

One twist in the plot is that the three-star lineman’s father, David Womack, told the Jackson Clarion-Ledger in mid-September that “LSU is not using [the FAA to take advantage of the unlimited contact] because if Matt was to change his mind they would have to report it.” Exactly why LSU got slapped, or if said slapping involved another unknown recruit who signed an FAA with LSU but enrolled elsewhere, is unknown.

Four other LSU recruits who signed FAAs with the Tigers ultimately enrolled at the school.

(Photo credit: Rivals.com)

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Trevone Boykin to undergo surgery on non-throwing wrist

Trevone Boykin AP

An injury that actually occurred four months ago will impact one of the top quarterbacks in the country a couple of months down the road.

In October of 2014, TCU acknowledged that, after some initial misdirection, Trevone Boykin had indeed sustained an injury to his left (non-throwing) wrist.  Boykin didn’t miss a game because of the snap, but he will miss a portion of spring practice this year as he surgically deals with the issue.

According to David Ubben of FOX Sports Southwest, Boykin will undergo surgery the first week of April to repair what’s being described as a small fracture in the wrist.  The timing of the procedure means that Boykin will miss the final week of spring practice, which for the Horned Frogs begins this weekend.

As for a rehab timeline, Ubben writes that Boykin is “expected to return in about five weeks and will be 100 percent in time for voluntary summer workouts.”

Boykin is coming off a season in which he was widely regarded as the most improved quarterback in the country.  He’ll also enter the 2015 season as one of a handful of Heisman favorites.

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Scheduling additions won’t quiet Baylor’s critics

Close up of red velvet cupcakes with frosting on counter

Don’t expect this to quiet the critics of Baylor’s scheduling habits.  In fact, if anything, it’ll likely do nothing but increase the volume of the howling.  And laughing and/or chuckling, as the case may be.

According to Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com, Baylor and Louisiana Tech have scheduled a future three-game series.  The 2020 and 2022 games will be in Waco, while the 2021 game will be played in Ruston.  Additionally, McMurphy’s ESPN colleague, Jake Trotter, tweets that BU will face FCS-level Abilene Christian in 2018.

As it stands now, Baylor has just one non-conference series scheduled against a Power Five program: Duke in 2017 and 2018.  Aside from that, it’s a cornucopia of lower-level creampuffs as far as the eye can see.

Four of the next five years, BU has an FCS team on its schedule: Lamar (2015), Northwestern State (2016), Liberty (2017) and Incarnate Word (2019).  The other teams on the Bears’ future schedules through 2022 include those from the AAC (SMU, 2015 & 2016) and Conference USA (Rice, 2015, 2016 & 2019; UT-San Antonio, 2018; La Tech, 2020-22).

Part of the reason Baylor was shut out of the first College Football Playoff was its strength of schedule, or lack thereof.  If such a scenario plays out in the future, the Bears can look to ongoing — and some would say stubborn — scheduling decisions such as the ones revealed today as a reason why.

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NHL commish ‘intrigued’ by Beaver Stadium hockey game

Beaver Stadium

Depending on how things go in the future, The Big House may not be the sole province of professional hockey games played on a college campus.

In the past it’s been rumored that the home of the Penn State Nittany Lions, Beaver Stadium, could be in line to host an outdoor NHL regular season game.  The level of chatter in that vein has increased a bit of late, so much so that it prompted the question of an NHL game in Happy Valley being asked of the man in charge of the sport in North America.

While not even remotely ruling it out, Gary Bettman acknowledged that it’s not something that’s imminent, either.

“There’s been talk about it,” the commissioner told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Wednesday. “I’m intrigued by the possibility. But it’s not anywhere close to fruition.”

In January of 2014, Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor hosted the annual Winter Classic, which that year featured the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs, although it did fall short of its goal of setting the outdoor hockey attendance record. That record, incidentally, still resides in the Big House, which saw 113,411 fans witness Michigan beating Michigan State in a college hockey game.

There have also been rumors that Notre Dame could host a hockey game at either the professional or collegiate levels, although that speculation hasn’t gained much steam over the past couple of years.

(Photo credit: Penn State athletics)

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PHOTOS: SnowVol fight at Neyland Stadium

Neyland Snow

Sign No. 1,783 that we’re diving deeper into the offseason?  This post.

With snow and wintry weather blanketing areas of the South, people in that part of the country are being forced to deal with the kind of precipitation seldom seen at any time of the year.  Parts of Alabama have seen 10 inches of snow; much of Georgia, including Atlanta, are under a winter storm warning that could see up to eight inches of snow in some areas; and temperatures in general are upwards of 30 degrees colder than normal for this time of the year, leaving frozen water pipes and general mayhem on many a roadway.

Some, though, have flipped a potential negative into a positive.

Students at the University of Tennessee, for the second year in a row, are just one example as some of them “found their way” onto the field at Neyland Stadium late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning for an impromptu snowball fight.  The snowy romp on the football turf ended, Wes Rucker of 247Sports.com reported, when “the cops came.”

On a completely unrelated note, the 2015 college football season kicks off in exactly 189 days.

(Photo credit: Andy Jeffers)

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Ineligible Baylor walk-on: ‘Bottom line is I broke the rules’

Silas Nacita

Now we have a little further clarity to a situation that blew-up Wednesday afternoon.

Earlier that day, Baylor walk-on Silas Nacita tweeted that he had been declared ineligible by the NCAA for receiving impermissible benefits in the form of housing “instead of choosing to be homeless” as he put it.  Those benefits, which he said he received from what was described as a “close family friend,” led to a statement from BU in which it acknowledged rules violations committed by Nacita and essentially ended the football team’s involvement with the player moving forward.

It also led to a significant public backlash against an already-despised NCAA, although that entity subsequently revealed that it “did not declare Silas Nacita ineligible and Baylor has not requested a waiver for him.”

In another social media posting Thursday morning, Nacita (again) accepted responsibility for his actions while at the same time clarifying the relationship with the individuals who provided him with what turned out to be impermissible.

Nacita clarifying the distinction between “friend” and “close family friend” is relevant when it comes to current NCAA bylaws. In the simplest terms, accepting benefits from the former is impermissible, while accepting the same thing from the latter is permissible.  Additionally, the fact that Nacita is a walk-on instead of a scholarship player has no bearing on this specific situation.

That said, it’s a sad state of affairs when a kid who is at least partially paying his own way through school has to publicly apologize for accepting a place to live, or accepting money for a place to live, from people he considers friends in some form or fashion. It’s just yet another example of how twisted and warped the current state of collegiate athletics in general and the NCAA membership specifically truly is.

It’s amazing, though, that the NCAA can find the time to parse levels of friendships while at the same time overseeing a membership that spends significant time stuffing millions of dollars into its collective coffers, dollars made off the backs of the very student-athletes it keeps under its thumb.  Quite a feat.

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LB Alton Meeks transferring from Cyclones

Iowa State v Iowa

On offseason of roster attrition continues for Iowa State, with a former defensive starter the latest to leave the football program.

In a Twitter conversation with Cincinnati offensive lineman Billy West, Alton Meeks acknowledged that he has decided to transfer away from the Cyclones. No reason was given for the linebacker’s decision.

The school subsequently confirmed the departure to the Ames Tribune.

Meeks, a three-star member of ISU’s 2013 recruiting class, started two games he played as a redshirt freshman in 2014, including the season opener. He subsequently lost his starting job and played in 11 games at middle linebacker.

Meeks’ departure brings to nine the number of Cyclones who have either been dismissed, left voluntarily or transferred since January. That nonet includes the projected starter at running back, one of ISU’s top returning receivers and a starting defensive back.

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Two TCU starters to miss spring ball after shoulder surgery

TCU at Baylor

It’s that time of year again. Spring ball is about to get (or already) cranking on a number of campuses, which means head coaches across the land offer status updates on their club for the first time since the end of the 2014 season. This time around it’s TCU head coach Gary Patterson. The Frogs open spring practices this week, and the head Frog revealed Wednesday that two returning starters will miss the action.

Vaitai started all 13 games as a junior in 2014.

Tuaua was a part-time starter and posted 30 tackles with five sacks, eight tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and a team-leading three fumble recoveries.

Patterson also this Ghandi-like gem in response to TCU’s College Football Playoff snub.

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Nevada adds UCLA graduate transfer

Kevin McReynolds

Nevada added UCLA lineman Kevin McReynolds to its roster as a graduate transfer, the program announced Wednesday.

A former four-star out of Silver Spring, Md., McReynolds garnered Outstanding Defensive Scout Team Player as a redshirt in 2011 and moved to the offensive line under a new coaching staff in 2012, seeing action in 13 games. He did not see the field in 2013 and contributed as a special teams player in 2014.

Though it will have been four seasons since his last action there by the time this fall rolls around, Nevada is treating McReynolds as a defensive lineman.

“We’re looking forward to having a veteran like Kevin join our defensive front,” head coach Brian Polian said. “Kevin is a quality young man who has experience playing Pac-12 football and we’re excited to have him join our program and continue his education at Nevada.”

(Photo credit: UCLA athletics)

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Big 12 reportedly raked in a record $225.9 million in 2013-14

Bob Bowlsby

In college sports, the rich never do anything but keep getting richer.

According to federal tax records uncovered by CBSSports.com‘s Jon Solomon, the Big 12 distributed $225.9 million to its 10 members during the 2013-14 fiscal year. That’s up from a then-record $213 million provided a year ago.

The league’s contracts with ESPN and Fox accounted for $139.7 million of that cheese, with bowl game revenue ($42.6 million) and NCAA distributions ($37.3 million) taking up the next largest shares. The league distributed an average of $19.8 million, up about a million from last year. TCU and West Virginia will not receive full shares until 2015-16.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby nearly doubled his pay from 2012-13 to 2013-14, according to the report. His pay was up from $1.2 million to roughly $2.3 million. That’s more than SEC commish Mike Slive made in 2013.

Deputy commissioner Tim Weiser was the next-highest paid league employee at $288,570, followed by senior associate commissioners Tim Allen ($219,541) and Dru Hancock ($207,361).

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Famed Clemson landmark Howard’s Rock under attack again

The most famous slab of rock in college football is under attack. Again.

Following a 2013 episode where Clemson’s famed Howard’s Rock was vandalized, leading to the arrest of a 46-year-old, his 19-year-old son and the son’s 17-year-old friend. All three were charged with felonies. Now another fiend has taken aim at the rock.

“The damage was reported by construction crew members working on renovations to the suite and club levels of the stadium. Police were immediately notified, and the investigation continues,” a university statement says.

The 2013 incident led to safeguards that left the rock in its place today. “Damage was limited to the glass case protecting the storied rock, one of several security measures put in place following vandalism which occurred in June 2013. The pedestal upon which Howard’s Rock is attached was not damaged.”

The Rock is currently secure in an undisclosed location.

“Howard’s Rock is a very important and visible part of our campus and our stadium, and we know many students, alumni and fans come to see it throughout the year,” said Dan Radakovich. “We’ll work to quickly have it back in its home and available for all to see as quickly as possible.”

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Ex-Auburn players Kodi Burns, Ryan Pugh land coaching jobs

Tostitos BCS National Championship Game - Oregon v Auburn Getty Images

A pair of recent Auburn Tiger football players are continuing their climb up the coaching ladder.

As had been previously reported as a possibility, Middle Tennessee State announced this past Sunday that Kodi Burns has been hired as Rick Stockstill‘s wide receivers coach.  Burns spent 2013 as an offensive graduate assistant at AU. Prior to that, he served in the same position under Gus Malzahn at Arkansas State.

Burns, who played receiver for the Tigers from 2007-10, will be entering his first season as a position coach.

“Kodi was everything I was looking for in a coach,” Stockstill said in a statement. “He has enthusiasm, energy, passion, and will do a great job relating to our players. I am anxious for him to get started and excited about having him in the program.”

In addition to the news involving Burns, one of his former teammates, Ryan Pugh, has been added as a graduate assistant on Les Miles‘ coaching staff at LSU. Pugh, who started 45 games at center for the AU Tigers from 2007-10, will help with LSU’s offensive line. LSU’s current line coach, Jerry Grimes, was Pugh’s position coach at AU his last two years.

Pugh has been a grad assistant the past three years, with stops at AU (2012), Virginia Tech (2013) and Cincinnati (2014). While Pugh was at Tech, Grimes was the Hokies’ line coach.

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TCU makes in-house DC promotions official

Chad Glasgow

Long rumored to be the case, TCU has stayed in-house to fill its coordinating vacancy on the defensive side of the ball.

TCU announced in a press release Wednesday afternoon that safeties coach Chad Glasgow and linebackers coach DeMontie Cross have been promoted to co-defensive coordinators. Both coaches will retain their positional titles as well.

The pair replaces Dick Bumpas, the long-time coordinator who announced his retirement earlier this month.

Glasgow is the most senior member of TCU’s defensive staff, having spent 13 seasons spent working under head coach Gary Patterson with the Horned Frogs. Cross, meanwhile, has been at TCU for two seasons.

Additionally, the school announced that Dan Sharp will take over as defensive line coach and Paul Gonzales has been named cornerbacks coach. The former spent 2014 as TCU’s director of player personnel for special team, while the latter was a Horned Frogs grad assistant the past three years.

(Photo credit: TCU athletics)

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