The 100th Rose Bowl Game - Stanford v Michigan State

Who can pull a college football-basketball conference title double dip?

1 Comment

This is a pretty important week for college basketball. The big conferences are wrapping up the regular seasons and getting set for their various conference championship tournaments. Some conferences have already crowned their conference champions for the year so the countdown to Selection Sunday is already one.

It is not all that often we see schools win their conference championship in football and men’s basketball, but it does happen from time to time. Will any of the conference champions from last fall have a shot at winning their men’s basketball championship by Selection Sunday? Here is a run down the various FBS conferences and quick look at whether it is possible or likely.

ACC

Football champion: Florida State

It certainly would not be impossible for Florida State to run a hot streak in the ACC tournament this week, but the Seminoles have quite the uphill battle in front of them if they are to pull off the conference championship double-dip. Florida State was 0-5 against the top four teams in the ACC this basketball season. We will call this one possible but unlikely.

American

Football champion: UCF

The UCF Knights finished the regular season with a losing record at 12-17. Let’s just go ahead and say this is not going to happen. Not with the defending national champions at Louisville in the conference and a strong Cincinnati team to get through, not to mention the competition from UConn, Memphis and SMU.

Big 12

Football champion: Baylor

Can Baylor come out on top in the Big 12? It probably would not be a complete shock, although the BEars were 9-9 in conference play this season. But the Bears are a 20-win program and that did not happen by accident. The basketball Bears average 75 points per game, which is just a few more points than the football team could score. Possible but probably not likely.

Big Ten

Football champion: Michigan State

This could be the best bet around the country for an FBS school to pull the double-dip. The Spartans upset Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game last December, and the Spartans are a known basketball power. Michigan State will enter the Big Ten tournament with a high seed and are always going to be a tough out. Michigan and Wisconsin have good opportunities as well in one of the most competitive conferences in the country. Michigan State has limped to the finish line, but you can never count out the Spartans when it is tournament time.

Based on history, we will call this one a realistic possibility. If the Spartans were at full strength, it might be considered likely.

Conference USA

Football champion: Rice

Not happening. Moving on.

MAC

Football champion: Bowling Green

This is another one that will not be happening. Bowling Green finished the regular season in last place in their division.

Mountain West Conference

Football champion: Fresno State

This one would be considered a pretty big shock. It is not because Fresno State is a .500 team, but because San Diego State and New Mexico are far and away the top two programs in the conference. UNLV is not all bad either. Do not count on Fresno State getting this done.

Pac 12

Football champion: Stanford

Stanford will enter the Pac 12 tournament somewhere in the middle of the Pac 12, so they would have their work cut out for them in the conference tournament. Sometimes this tournament can be unpredictable though. Colorado came out of nowhere to win it two seasons ago, so who is to say Stanford won’t get it done this year? Me, that’s who. Certainly far from impossible, but not at all to be expected.

SEC

Football champion: Auburn

There is a reason Alabama is obsessed with football. Neither Alabama or Auburn will make a run for the SEC title this season, and that means Auburn will not pull off the double-dip. Instead, it could be two SEC East schools that failed to play in a bowl game last season that play for the championship (Florida and Kentucky).

Sun Belt

Football champion: Louisiana-Lafayette

If there is a conference that appears to be the second best bet after the Big Ten to have the same school claim the football and men’s basketball title, it may be the Sun Belt. Louisiana-Lafayette won the football title by way of a tiebreaker, and considering how even the top of the conference may be this basketball season, this could very well be possible. Georgia State is the team to beat, but the Ragin’ Cajuns could make a run. Georgia State won both match-ups this season, but both were within seven points. Let’s throw this under the Likely category for now, but note that Georgia State is standing in the way.

What about the FCS schools?

If you dig deeper then you will find some other schools who have claimed their own double dips. Ivy League champion Harvard did just that with a football and men’s basketball championship this season. Coastal Carolina also managed to win both Big South championships this season.

For more college basketball coverage, be sure to check out College Basketball Talk.

Separation of UCLA coach Jim Mora, wife of 30-plus years announced in a statement

PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 19:  Head coach Jim Mora of the UCLA Bruins greets players after a third quarter UCLA touchdown against the BYU Cougars at the Rose Bowl on September 19, 2015 in Pasadena, California.  UCLA won 24-23.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Unfortunately, the private life of a major college football coach has once again become laid bare for public consumption.

In a statement released Friday, the agent for UCLA head coach Jim Mora, Jimmy Sexton, released a statement confirming that his client and his wife, Shannon, have decided to separate.  The couple have been married for more than 30 years, and have four children — one daughter and three sons.

“After much thought and careful consideration, Jim and Shannon Mora have decided to separate,” the statement from Sexton began. “This was a very difficult decision and they appreciate the respect for their family’s privacy at this time.”

The 54-year-old Mora will be entering his fifth season as the head coach of the Bruins.  Earlier this month, UCLA announced that Mora, 37-16 in his first four seasons with the Bruins, had reached an agreement on a two-year contract extension with the university.

There was no specific word on whether any type of raise was involved in the new agreement, which keeps Mora signed through the 2021 season.

Entire Penn State staff on receiving end of new two-year contracts

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 27:  Head coach James Franklin of the Penn State Nittany Lions hugs a police officer after defeating the Boston College Eagles in the 2014 New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium on December 27, 2014 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Getty Images
1 Comment

Earlier this year, James Franklin saw a pair of key assistant coaches leave his Penn State staff for other jobs.  Fast-forward a few months, and the head coach’s athletic department is looking to provide the program a little more staff stability.

Speaking to area reporters earlier this week, Franklin revealed that every member of his nine-man coaching staff received new two-year contracts this offseason.  Not only that, but other members of the football staff received new deals as well.

“Our entire staff just this summer got (two)-year contracts,” Franklin said Thursday according to the Times Leader. “All of the assistants, their first contracts just ran out. And they all just signed multiple-year, guaranteed contracts. All the strength coaches did. All the administrators. Everybody.”

Arguably the best part, though, at least from Franklin’s point of view?  The new deals also addressed the buyout aspect of contracts, presumably making it harder for a Nittany Lion assistant to jump ship without some type of significant financial penalty.

“That’s really good from a stability standpoint. It’s helpful,” said the coach o the contracts, adding, “and what we did is, it’s both ways. They have the stability and protections, but we have buyouts as well.”

In January, Franklin watched as defensive coordinator Bob Shoop and offensive line coach Herb Hand leave for jobs at Tennessee and Auburn, respectively. And it’s not like the assistants left for promotions; rather, each of the moves involved was, at least in title, lateral ones.

The pay involved in those moves, however, is another matter entirely, something that, along with the buyouts, was likely addressed in the new deals. The financial particulars, though, have yet to be released, although that’s expected at some point in the next month or two.

Baylor, Art Briles mutually agree to an official divorce, acknowledge ‘serious shortcomings’ in response to sexual assaults

WACO, TX - OCTOBER 17:  Head coach Art Briles of the Baylor Bears looks on as the Bears take on the West Virginia Mountaineers in the second half at McLane Stadium on October 17, 2015 in Waco, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Getty Images
3 Comments

After some dotting of some i’s and crossing some t’s, and some closed-door legalese, Art Briles is officially a former head football coach.

In a press release Friday, Baylor announced that it and Briles “have mutually agreed to terminate their employment relationship.”  In the release, the university mentions “[b]oth parties acknowledge that there were serious shortcomings in the response to reports of sexual violence by some student-athletes.”  The public acknowledgement of “serious shortcomings” in responding to claims of sexual assault will likely be of import to the lawyers involved in at least three lawsuits filed against the university and/or Briles that allege “deliberate indifference” in their collective response to claims of sexual assault.

Briles’ termination is effective immediately, but was essentially effective nearly a month ago when Briles was suspended “with intent to terminate” in the wake of the sexual assault scandal that’s rocked the university in Waco.

As Baylor is a private institution, the financial terms of the separation haven’t been divulged.  Briles had eight years and nearly $40 million remaining on his contract at the time of his initial “suspension.”

The official separation also comes a week after Briles reportedly reached a contract settlement with the university.

Below is the full and complete release from Baylor on this development.

WACO, Texas (June 24, 2016) – Baylor University and Art Briles have mutually agreed to terminate their employment relationship, effective immediately. Both parties acknowledge that there were serious shortcomings in the response to reports of sexual violence by some student-athletes, including deficiencies in University processes and the delegation of disciplinary responsibilities with the football program. Baylor is addressing these shortcomings and making ongoing improvements.

Baylor wishes Coach Briles well in his future endeavors. Coach Briles expresses his thanks to the City of Waco and wishes the Baylor Bears success in the future.

ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

Pair of reserve O-linemen reportedly leaving Vols

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 11.08.54 AM
Tennessee athletics
1 Comment

Tennessee has become the latest FBS program to see players leave in search of greener playing-time grass, with a pair of offensive linemen reportedly set to make their exits from Knoxville.

According to a pair of tweets from UT radio network sideline reporter John Brice, Vols linemen Dontavius Blair (pictured) and Ray Raulerson have decided to leave Butch Jones‘ football program.  According to 247Sports.com‘s Wes Rucker, “multiple program sources have indicated in the past week to GoVols247 that Blair and Raulerson were indeed looking to leave the program in hopes of having better chances to play.”

Both are expected to transfer to FCS programs to either continue their playing careers or, in the case of Blair, finish it.

Blair played in nine games last season, Blair in five. Neither player started a contest as a Vol.

When it came to the 2016 season, neither player was expected to be a significant part of any line rotation.