Kevin Sumlin

Black Monday brings new round of rumors for college coaches


A pair of NFL jobs opened up in the first few hours of the annual Black Monday firing parade and, as expected, some of the names connected to the openings will cause some level of discomfort for college football programs.

With Leslie Frazier out in Minnesota, Doug Farrar of writes that “[t]he Vikings are said to prefer a college coach, perhaps to assist in future drafts.”  Specifically, Farrar mentions Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin and Vanderbilt’s James Franklin as possible replacements for Frazier in the Twin Cities.

The fact that Sumlin and Franklin are mentioned as possibilities for other jobs is far from surprising, although the latter’s name coming up in connection to an NFL job is, at minimum, eyebrow raising.

Sumlin agreed to a new contract late last month that would seemingly keep him off-limits to other college football programs.  The NFL, though, is another matter entirely — depending on the buyout language in his new deal, of course — and is the cause of the most concern around College Station when it comes to Sumlin and his long-term future with the Aggies.  Already over this coaching carousel cycle, Sumlin was tied to speculation regarding the open Houston Texans job.  If the Dallas Cowboys make a change at head coach, you can expect Sumlin’s name to come up there, too.

Over the past couple of months, Franklin has been mentioned as a contender for jobs at USC and Texas, and could still be in play for the latter as the Longhorns continue their search for Mack Brown‘s replacement.  The connection to an NFL job, however, has plowed new speculative ground when it comes to Franklin.

In the nation’s Capitol, the Washington Redskins finally and mercifully put the Mike Shanahan era down and is in search of a new coach.  ESPN‘s Adam Schefter tweeted shortly thereafter that the “Redskins inquired through [a] third party about David Shaw.”  Earlier this month, it was reported that Shaw was showing no interest in the NFL and would remain at Stanford.

With quarterback Robert Griffin III the (likely) future of the organization on the field, you can expect speculation to continue regarding Baylor’s Art Briles.  Briles helped turn RGIII into a Heisman winner and second-overall draft pick during their time together with the Bears, with the thought process being Redskins’ ownership will target Briles as a way to continue building around the second-year player.

Another area of concern for college football fans, specifically those in Happy Valley, is Cleveland.

Sunday night, the Browns were asinine decisive enough to cut ties with Rob Chudzinski after just one season.  Penn State’s Bill O’Brien has already been mentioned as a possibility, and for good reason.  Last year, O’Brien interviewed for the Browns’ vacancy and could’ve had the job had he been so inclined.  The Browns are expected to pursue O’Brien again this year — provided another NFL club doesn’t get to him first.

Over the weekend, it was reported that talks between O’Brien and the Texans had intensified to the point where the two sides are working on a contract.

Last call! Orlando bar gave out 15,000 free beers during UCF’s 0-12 season

Chad Banschbach
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It was a long season for fans of the UCF Knights, but at least one bar may have been the biggest loser of all. Orlando bar The Basement committed to giving away free beer during UCF football games after starting the season with four losses. The free beer promotion would continue until the Knights won a game, which of course never happened. USF demolished UCF on Thanksgiving night to bring an end to a dreadful 0-12 season in Orlando. So, what was the final tab?

An estimated total of 15,000 free beers were given away to patrons during UCF games this season, and the promotion is expected to continue into the 2016 season.

“We thought the next two games after we came up with the offer were our most winnable games of the season,” Jake Whitacre, marketing director for The Basement, said in a local TV interview. “Once we lost those two we realized we had really gotten ourselves into a hole.”

Whitacre said the bar still ended up making money thanks to customers buying other beverages in addition to receiving free beer.

If you were curious, UCF opens the 2016 season at Michigan unless they fill a scheduling vacancy on September 3.

Broyles Award finalists may include your team’s next head coach

Alabama Football Spring Practice Day 8
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If your favorite college football program is in the market for a new head coach, you may want to pay close attention to the Broyles Award. The award honors the top assistant coach in the nation, and its list of finalists for the 2015 season’s award was announced on Monday. It includes some names that will likely be a head coach in due time, some as early as this season.

Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, Baylor offensive coordinator Kendal Briles, Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables, North Carolina defensive coordinator Gene Chizik and Oklahoma offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley are the five finalists for the award. A few have been connected to various coaching carousel headlines and rumors already. Smart is pegged as a possible candidate for either the Georgia or South Carolina vacancy. Venables has been connected to some rumors as well and Chizik, of course, has previous head coaching success worth noting as well.

Last year’s winner, Tom Herman, won the award as Ohio State’s offensive coordinator and now he is the rising head coach at Houston. Pittsburgh head coach Pat Narduzzi won the award the previous season as Michigan State’s defensive coordinator. The year before that saw Notre Dame assistant Bob Diaco win the award. He is now the head coach at UConn. Other past winners of the award that have gone on to become a head coach include Gus Malzahn, Kevin Wilson, Norm Chow, Randy Shannon, Mark Mangino, Ralph Friedgen and David Cutcliffe. You can also add Chizik’s name to that list. The 2004 Broyles Award winner later went on to be the head coach at Iowa State before returning to Auburn as head coach. He and Smart are looking to be the first two-time winner of the award.

The Broyles Award winner will be announced on Tuesday, December 8.

Navy’s Army-Navy Game uniforms won’t give up the ship


Navy lost a chance to play for the American Athletic Conference this past weekend with a road loss at Houston, but the Midshipmen will still get a chance to close out the regular season with a win. They will be doing so in quite a unique style.

On Monday, Navy took to social media to show off their specially designed “Navy Fleet” uniforms and hand-painted helmets that will be worn for the annual Army-Navy Game next week. We have seen individually hand-painted helmets before, but never quite like this. The helmets to be worn will pay tribute to seven historic battleships in the United States Navy, and each player will have a different ship on their helmet depending on their position.

Here is the helmet design breakdown, as explained by Navy:

  • Linebacker: Cruiser- Provides anti-air defense and packs the biggest punch of Naval surface ships representative of the linebackers on the Navy football team
  • Defensive Back: Destroyer- Known for significant fire power, speed, and anti-missile defense as are Navy’s defensive backs
  • Wide Receiver: Submarine- Predominantly utilized as blockers, wide receivers play a key role in driving the Navy rush attack, taking on a stealth-like persona as they blend into the rhythm of the offense but bring significant fire power when called upon, just like a Naval submarine
  • Lineman: Amphibious Assault Ships- Just as a lineman’s job is the create a hole for a running back or linebacker, these ships are utilized to establish the “beach head” that enables the invading force to gain access and ultimately accomplish their objective
  • Quarterback: Aircraft Carrier- The QB of the Naval Fleet, the aircraft carrier is the ultimate decision maker; the “quick strike” weapon of the Naval fleet
  • Running Back: Littoral Combat Ship- Like running backs, these fast and nimble ships can navigate through both crowded shallow and deep waters
  • Kicker/Special Teams: Minesweeper- Much like the specific task of the Navy special teams, this small ship has a unique mission of identifying and eliminating mines

Compared to some of the uniforms Navy has worn in the past for the Army-Navy Game, these are certainly more unique. I’m personally a fan more of some of the more recent uniforms worn, but I certainly cannot wait to see what these uniforms look like in person.

Army and Navy square off in Philadelphia on Saturday, December 12.

Report: Michigan QB Jake Rudock could play in bowl game

Jake Rudock
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We do not yet know which bowl game Michigan will be playing in this bowl season, but the outlooks appears promising for quarterback Jake Rudock and his chances to play in the postseason game.

Rudock was knocked out of Michigan’s weekend loss to rival Ohio State after being on the wrong end of a Joey Bosa takedown. The play ended up spraining an AC joint in Rudock’s non-throwing shoulder, according to a report by Dan Murphy for Murphy reports Rudock is expected to still be healthy enough to play for the Wolverines by the time a bowl game comes around.

Rudock has been a steady addition to Michigan’s offense under new head coach Jim Harbaugh. The Iowa transfer came to Ann Arbor and won the starting job and has been a rock for the offense. In 12 games, Rudock completed 64 percent of his pass attempts for 2,739 yards and 17 touchdowns with nine interceptions.

Michigan should be playing in a New Years bowl game in the Big Ten line-up. Which bowl game may have to be sorted after figuring out which Big Ten team (or teams) will be participating in the College Football Playoff and Rose Bowl. The winner of this weekend’s Big Ten Championship Game between Iowa (Rudock’s previous school) and Michigan State will be very likely to be in the four-team playoff. The loser will likely head to the Rose Bowl to represent the Big Ten. Ohio State’s possibility of sneaking into the playoff appears to be quite a long shot that would require both Clemson and Alabama to lose this weekend in their respective conference championship game, but the scenario is still on the table. After those three are sorted, Michigan will be one of the top Big Ten bowl participants.