Art Briles

Baylor’s Art Briles: I can’t see myself anywhere else


The Baylor Bears are lighting up scoreboards on a weekly basis and could be the new Big 12 team to beat this season. Meanwhile the turmoil in Austin, Texas could end up sending a the Texas Longhorns on a national search for a new coach in 2014. One of the names that would seem to make some sense at Texas, if Mack Brown‘s future is in a round of Final Jeopardy right now as many seem to speculate it is, is Baylor’s Art Briles. There is also a pretty attractive opening out in Los Angeles at USC that should grab the eyes of a number of candidates.

Briles knows people are paying attention to the success Baylor is having this season, and he is aware enough to know his name will be popping up in conversations relating to other potential job opportunities out there in the next round of the coaching carousel.

“The great thing about my situation is I don’t really pay attention to anything,” Briles said during an interview Wednesday on 105.3 The Fan. “It’s a week-to-week job, and all I am trying to do is just stay focused on the task at hand — and that task is making Baylor the best it can be.”

So far this season no team has been as good as Baylor on offense, not even Oregon. Baylor has scored 282 points in four games, surpassing the entire season’s worth of points of 31 teams in 2012. The only team to score more points to this date than Baylor is Oregon, with 296 points but in five games.

Of course, any conversation about a coach’s future inevitably gets to the money line in which the coach declares himself perfectly satisfied with his current job. To this end, Briles does not disappoint.

“I’m extremely happy here at Baylor,” Briles said. “We’ve got a good thing going and I can’t see myself anywhere else.”

Was Washington loss the beginning of the end of the Steve Sarkisian era at USC?

Steve Sarkisian
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Steve Sarkisian’s win totals in his six previous seasons are both a positive and a negative.

On one hand, he resurrected a moribund Washington program that went 0-12 under Ty Willingham in 2008 and took them to four consecutive bowl games from 2010-2013. He won nine games his last year in Seattle, then led a talented-yet-thin USC team to a nine-win season and AP No. 20 finish in 2014.

Those are good accomplishments. But the flip side of the argument is Sarkisian has never won double-digit games in a season, something that’s a necessity to keep one’s job at USC. The Trojans’ 17-12 loss to Washington last night — at home, no less — means the road to 10 wins and a Pac-12 title will be awfully difficult.

And worse yet, there are plenty of arguments to be made Sarkisian doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt and a little more time in Los Angeles to turn things around (#SarkAfterDark, his drunken rant at a booster event, certainly doesn’t help). The reaction from national media to last night’s loss looked like this:

Mandel, in his column, argued USC is right where it was two years ago with Lane Kiffin as its coach. And there’s this embarrassing thought, that looks more and more like a truth, for Pat Haden:

This one, however, was the most damning by far for many reasons, most notably that it came at the hands of Sarkisian’s old team. The sense among many Washington fans nearly two years ago was that the Huskies managed to upgrade coaches when the school lured Chris Petersen from Boise State upon Sarkisian’s departure to USC.

They were right.

USA Today’s Dan Wolken similarly wrote that USC needs to drop Sarkisian and bring in Chip Kelly from the Philadelphia Eagles.

This is the state of USC, and it may not get better. The Trojans start a brutal three-game stretch next Saturday at Notre Dame in primetime, then welcome Utah to Los Angeles the next week. A Halloween trip to Berkeley to face Jared Goff and Cal finishes it up. There’s a very real chance USC, for all its talent and all its hype, limps into November with a 4-4 or 3-5 record.

Sarkisian will have to engineer and sustain a major turnaround in these coming weeks, otherwise he’ll give Haden all the ammo he needs to unceremoniously jettison him after two years.

Starting Navy S Kwazel Bertrand undergoes surgery, likely out for season

Kwazel Bertrand, Jacobi Owens
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Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.

Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.

“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”

Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.