Bobby Petrino

Louisville officially welcomes back Bobby Petrino

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And there you have it.  The Prodigal Football Son has returned.

How long he stays or what controversy may be lurking around the next corner is to be determined.

Regardless, and following up on speculation that against all logic began gaining momentum Wednesday, Louisville confirmed in a release ahead of a press conference Thursday morning that it has hired Bobby Petrino as its new head football coach.  Petrino, who spent 2013 as the head coach at Western Kentucky, will replace Charlie Strong, who left the Cardinals after three seasons for the Texas job.

The official announcement comes after a special meeting of the university’s Personnel Committee was convened to discuss the hire.  That committee, as is usually the case, unanimously approved the move.

It also comes a little over seven years after Petrino ended a four-year stint as the Cardinals head coach, a wildly successful run that saw him compile a 41-9 record and an Orange Bowl win.  Since then, Petrino’s coaching career has been marked by the controversy left in the wake of his departures from the Atlanta Falcons and Arkansas Razorbacks.

And, as expected, Petrino talked — in generalities –about his controversial past in the press conference to officially introduce him as the UofL’s new head coach.

“I’ve made mistakes both professionally and personally, something that I’m not going to do again,” Petrino said, adding his “first mistake was ever leaving” Louisville in the first place. “I want everyone here to know this is my destination job. … This is where I want to finish my career,” said the vagabond coach.

Petrino’s boss is also sold on the “new man” angle that the university is pushing.

“I believe Bobby Petrino’s a changed man,” UofL athletic director Tom Jurich stated. “Bobby has convinced me he’s a changed man. …

“Bobby has convinced me he’s a changed man. I told Bobby the coach I had here is not the coach I want to hire. I want the new Bobby.”

Petrino also acknowledged that he’s contractually obligated to follow through on his “I want to finish my career at Louisville” creed, revealing that he has a $10 million buyout written into what’s reportedly a seven-year deal.  Petrino is actually quite familiar with eight-figure buyouts; in signing a seven-year deal with Arkansas in December of 2010, part of the language included in that deal was a buyout of $18 million if he left for another job in the first two years.

Of course, that buyout never came into play because, well, vroom vroom

Report: NCAA finds 13 violations against Ole Miss football, nine under Hugh Freeze

BATON ROUGE, LA - OCTOBER 25:  Head coach Hugh Freeze of the Mississippi Rebels reacts to a call during the game against the LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium on October 25, 2014 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
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When word first broke of NCAA violations against Ole Miss, word from the Rebels’ football program was one of caution, for it was uncertain how many were targeted against football versus women’s basketball and track and field.

It appears we now know.

On Tuesday evening, the Associated Press reported the NCAA levied 13 allegations out of a possible 28 against the Ole Miss football team, nine of which occurred under the watch of head coach Hugh Freeze. However, it appears the most serious violations were either already know or took place during the Houston Nutt regime.

Included in the allegations are Laremy Tunsil‘s improper benefits, for which the left tackle already sat seven games. Also included are accusations former Nutt assistant David Saunders participated in a scheme to produce fraudulent test scores for recruits — the same allegations currently levied against Louisiana-Lafayette.

The remaining allegations, as detailed by the AP, include run-of-the-mill violations such as having the wrong people provide transportation on recruiting visits or assistant coaches making improper contact with recruits, many of which Ole Miss has already self-reported.

Half of all FBS signees lived between Texas and North Carolina

ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 29: Johnny Jefferson #5 of the Baylor Bears carries while defended by Dominquie Green #26 and Des Lawrence #2 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during the first half of the Russell Athletic Bowl game at Orlando Citrus Bowl on December 29, 2015 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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ESPN recruiting analyst Gerry Hamilton provided a massive public service through his Twitter account on Tuesday, releasing a data dump of fascinating information about the signing class of 2016.

In short, Texas was the most popular breeding ground for FBS prospects, but half of all signees came from a clean sweep from Texas, across the Gulf of Mexico to Florida and up to North Carolina.

The Lone Star State produced 359 players, with nearly half of those heading to Power 5 institutions. In fact, Hamilton reports, 72 of 128 FBS programs and 38 of 64 Power 5’s signed at least one player from Texas.

Florida trailed with 327 players, followed by California with 248 players and Georgia with 225. For what it’s worth, Ohio was not included in the study.

Data dump, begin!

AAC releases 2016 conference schedule

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The American Athletic Conference released its 2016 conference schedule highlighted by, oddly enough, non-conference games that pit league gem Houston against Oklahoma (on opening day at Houston’s NRG Stadium) and Louisville (in Houston on Nov. 19).

Those two games, more than any others, will sink or swim the conference’s chances of not only grabbing the Group of Five spot in the New Year’s Six, but a spot in the College Football Playoff itself.

The 2016 conference slate kicks off with Navy meeting Connecticut on Sept. 10 and concludes with the second annual AAC title game on Dec. 3 at a to-be-determined campus site.

The AAC led the way in scheduling Power 5 opponents — highlighted by a Week 3 schedule that will see the entire East Division punching up a weight class — and includes the likes of Florida State, Maryland, N.C. State, Virginia, Syracuse, Kansas, TCU and Oklahoma (for all intents and purposes) visiting AAC campuses.

View the full AAC slate here:

 

Former Notre Dame QB Tommy Rees hired as Chargers offensive assistant

SOUTH BEND, IN - NOVEMBER 02: Tommy Rees #11 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish passes against the Navy Midshipmen at Notre Dame Stadium on November 2, 2013 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Just like we all thought when watching him play at Notre Dame, Tommy Rees will be in the NFL in 2016. Just not as a quarterback.

The San Diego Chargers announced his hiring as an obnoxiously vague offensive assistant, assisting with the club’s offense in some form that they aren’t inclined to elaborate on.

After completing a career in which he threw for 7,670 yards with 61 touchdowns against 37 interceptions from 2010-13, Rees was cut by the Washington Redskins in 2014, then spent the 2014-15 seasons as a graduate assistant at Northwestern.