Michigan AD: Brady Hoke the right leader for Michigan

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Things have not exactly gone to plan for Michigan in the Brady Hoke era, but as the 2013 season draws to a close job security is not going to be an issue in Ann arbor for head coach Brady Hoke. At least, that is if you believe what athletics director Dave Brandon had to say in a lengthy blog entry on Michigan’s athletics website Wednesday.

“Brady Hoke is our coach and will be leading our football program well into the future,” Brandon opened his post in definitive fashion. “There is no question about it… Anyone making efforts to stir up a coaching controversy at Michigan is ill-informed and is likely promoting a personal agenda that is not in the best interest of Michigan Football.”

Hoke took over a mess of a situation at Michigan following current Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez.  Hoke quickly turned Michigan around in year one on the job by taking the 2011 Wolverines to the Sugar Bowl as a BCS at-large. Since then though things have take steps backward instead of forward when it comes to wins. Michigan won 11 games including the Sugar Bowl in the 2011 season, then won eight games and lost the Outback Bowl last season. On Saturday the Wolverines hope to get back to eight wins with an upset win over undefeated Ohio State. Michigan may be trending downward, an argument supported by the fact one of Michigan’s top commits in the Class of 2014, Jabril Peppers, has stated he will make other official visits in the off-season before announcing his decision.

Michigan’s transition to a more pro-style offense this season has not produced the kind of results expected by many before the year. the Wolverines have also struggled on the road (UConn, Penn State, Michigan State) and in big games, including last year’s match-ups against Alabama and Ohio State. Michigan has recruited well under Hoke but in year three as head coach it appears as though that talent is falling short of full potential in some areas. Brandon says there is no room for excuses at Michigan.

“We don’t make excuses at Michigan when we fail to reach our goals, and we never will,” Brandon said. “When we don’t meet those expectations there’s disappointment — and that starts with Brady, the coaches, players and everyone else that represents our football program. If you saw how hard everyone inside Schembechler Hall works every day, you would understand why they are disappointed.”

There have been times when an AD will come out and show a sign of support for the head coach they are responsible for hiring. That is what we see here at Michigan. Brandon has to say these things about Hoke and his staff, because his job could ultimately be on the line if it backfires. Hoke’s contract does not expire until 2016, so it would be unlikely Michigan makes any change at head coach. It would cost Michigan over $2 million to buy out his contract this off-season.

Considering Brandon did not want to pay to send Michigan’s marching band to Arlington, Texas last season for the week one match-up with Alabama, it would be a financial shock if he made a decision to buy out Hoke’s contract at this point in time.

Of course, if Hoke can lead Michigan to a win over Ohio State this weekend, all of the talk about a hot seat will vanish for a while.

A&M, UCLA both add New Mexico to future schedules

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Texas A&M and UCLA announced Wednesday that their 2017 opener had been moved from Saturday to Sunday.  As it turns out, that wasn’t the only scheduling news connecting the two football programs.

As part of a release announcing seven games being added to its future schedules, New Mexico confirmed that two of those contests will include A&M and UCLA.  Both of those games, obviously, will be on the road, with the Lobos traveling to College Station Sept. 18, 2021, and to Pasadena and the Rose Bowl Sept. 13, 2025.

In its release, the school wrote that “[t]he game in College Station has a guarantee of $1,100,000 and 450 complementary tickets,” while “[t]he game in Pasadena has a guarantee of $1,200,000 plus 2,000 complementary tickets that UNM can sell for extra revenue.”

The last and only time New Mexico and UCLA squared off was in the 2002 Las Vegas Bowl, a 27-13 win for the Bruins.  UNM and A&M actually completed a home-and-home series relatively recently, with the Aggies winning both games played in the 2008 (28-22) and 2009 (41-6) seasons.

In addition to the future Power Five games, a continuation of the long-running rivalry with UTEP will be extended.  UNM will play in El Paso in 2021, then host UTEP in 2022.  Those two games will mark the 79th and 80th contests in the regional rivalry.

Michigan State, Washington round out future schedules with Utah State

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Needing to fill a single spot in some future schedules, both Michigan State and Washington have come calling to the Mountain West for an opponent. Utah State was happy to oblige.

Michigan State will host Utah State on September 1, 2018. The Aggies will travel to Washington on September 19, 2020. For their travels, Utah State will collect $2.9 million between the two games, according to FBScheduels.com ($1.4 million from Michigan State, $1.5 million from Washington).

The Big Ten and Pac-12 each use nine-game conference schedules, leaving three spots open for non-conference games. The Big Ten requires all conference members schedule one game per season against another power conference opponent (the Pac-12 has no such requirement of its members at this time), although exceptions are made. Utah State, as a member of the Mountain West Conference, would not satisfy that requirement for the Big Ten, but the Spartans already have a road game against Arizona State (Pac-12) on the schedule in 2018. Michigan State and Arizona State will play again in 2019 in East Lansing. Michigan State also has future power conference matchups with Notre Dame (2017, 2026, 2027) and Miami (2020, 2021). Michigan State will also play BYU in 2020 in Provo.

Washington has future power conference matchups with Rutgers (2017), Auburn (2018, in Atlanta), and Michigan (2020, 2021). The Huskies will also face Mountain West Competition from Fresno State (2017), Hawaii (2019), and Nevada (2027).

Utah State will face power conference opponents on the road in 2017 (Wisconsin, Wake Forest), 2018 (Michigan State), 2019 (Wake Forest, LSU), 2020 (Washington), and 2021 (Washington State). Utah State will also host Washington State in 2020 as part of a home-and-home deal. Utah State also has an annual series against BYU running through 2020.

Old Dominion hopes to “hit the ground running” on new stadium project

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Some fans of the Old Dominion football program may be getting a little impatient with the progress (or lack of) in the development of the football stadium, but Old Dominion athletic director Wood Selig says things are coming along nicely and progress will start to be seen soon enough.

“Once we get the architects engaged, we’ll figure out what $55 million will buy in 2019 dollars,” Selig said, according to The Virginian-Pilot. “Then we’ll have an idea for how much additional money needs to be raised to support the project.”

Old Dominion is planning on tearing down Foreman Field at the end of the 2018 season and rebuild it with modern seating and amenities. The $55 million project remained on the books in the Virginia budget in February, allowing the university to move ahead with their plans. The first step is finding an architect to take on the job.

Because Old Dominion’s football stadium is among the smallest in the nation and will remain so even after the rebuild and renovations, the entire project is expected to move fairly swiftly once the work actually begins. Old Dominion isn’t building a grand football palace, so any concerns over the lack of updates on the stadium should be calmed.

If nothing else, the concerns raised about the lack of updates on the stadium renovations may just mean Old Dominion has some eager fans excited about the future of the program.

Baylor interim president to Texas senators: “We were not trying to cover up what happened at Baylor”

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Texas senators are taking aim at Baylor University and are hoping to persuade the university to be more open and transparent despite being a private university.

Baylor interim president David Garland faced criticism from senators during a hearing with the Senate Higher Education Committee on Wednesday regarding the coverup of rape accusations found throughout the football program in recent years.

“We were not trying to cover up what happened at Baylor,” Garland said to the committee. Unfortunately for Garland, that was far from enough to sway the senators on the committee from playing nice with him and Baylor University.

I’m sorry, but I don’t buy that for a minute,” Senator Kel Seliger replied, according to The Texas Tribune. “I don’t buy that for a minute. I think that is exactly what was going on.”

The exchange between the interim president at Baylor and the senator came during a hearing regarding a state bill that requires any school receiving more than $5 million in Tuition Equalization Grants from the state to comply with open records and open meetings laws in the state of Texas. Baylor, being a private university, believes it should not have to comply with the bill, which would open up the doors to more information regarding Baylor’s handling of vile accusations within its university and athletics department.

The exchange comes a day after Baylor moved to dismiss a lawsuit claiming 52 rapes over a three-year period occurred at the university.

If you thought the ugliness around the Baylor situation was going to be limited to athletics, you thought wrong. This is clearly a state-wide concern and battle now. And things are always bigger in Texas, right?