The 100th Rose Bowl Game - Stanford v Michigan State

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

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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.

Record-breaking QB one of two coaches hired by New Mexico State

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Doug Martin‘s 2017 on-field coaching staff will have a decidedly familiar feel to it, even as it’s in some ways brand-new.

New Mexico State announced that two coaches have been hired by Martin, Chase Holbrook and Kai Brown.  The former will serve as tight ends coach, the latter as defensive ends coach.

Holbrook spent the 2016 season as a quality control coach for Mike Leach at Washington State.  A former NMSU quarterback, he still owns the school’s single-season and career records for passing, passing attempts, completions, touchdowns, total offense and total touchdowns.

Brown was a graduate assistant the past three seasons for the football program.

“We are really excited about Chase coming back to New Mexico State,” Martin said. “Having a former great quarterback that has his name written all over the Aggie record book will have a huge impact on us taking that next step. Chase really believes and cares deeply about the football program here. To have a coach of his talent join our staff makes us a better program immediately. …

“Kai has been a very loyal hard working coach for us as a GA and it gives me great pride to add him to our staff in a full time role. He brings a lot of enthusiasm to our program and has a great relationship with our players.”

This will be both coaches’ first foray into full-time coaching responsibilities at the FBS level.

Cal turns to Fresno State to complete Justin Wilcox’s staff

EAST LANSING, MI - SEPTEMBER 14:  A member of the California Golden Bears spirit squad waves a team flag while standing next to the Bears' mascot in front of the Michigan State Spartans crowd on September 14, 2002 at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Michigan.  California defeated Michigan State 46-22.  (Photo by Danny Moloshok/Getty Images)
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In late December, Fresno State hired Tony Tuioti as part of Jeff Tedford‘s first coaching staff with the Mountain West program.  Two months later, Tedford’s former Pac-12 employer has poached said staff.

By way of a press release, Cal announced that Tuioti has been hired as Justin Wilcox‘s outside linebackers coach.  Tedford served as Cal’s head coach from 2002-12; Tim DeRuyter, Fresno’s head coach for five seasons before being fired and replaced by Tedford, is now Wilcox’s defensive coordinator with the Golden Bears.

“Tony has a tremendous resume that showcases his diverse skill set and abilities both on and off the field,” Wilcox said in a statement. “Not only is he an excellent coach, but the experience he has as a director of player personnel will be a tremendous benefit to us in the structuring and organization of our recruiting operation. Finding someone with a skill set as unique and diverse as Tony’s is challenging. We are fortunate that we have found that in Tony and are looking forward to his contributions to our program.”

“Working at Cal for a coach like Justin Wilcox was an opportunity I could not pass up,” a statement from Tuioti began. “I have a tremendous feeling about the positive direction Cal is headed, and I really wanted to be a part of that and contribute all I could to a football program with tremendous potential.”

In 2016, Tuioti worked as a football staffer at Michigan.  His last on-field job at the collegiate level came at Hawaii (2012-13, linebackers coach; 2010-11, defensive line).

Georgia raising money to build Devon Gales a home

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It’s been close to a year and a half since Southern football player Devon Gales fractured his C6 vertebrae when covering a kick at Georgia. While the two sides will forever be linked, Georgia has gone above and beyond its duties to help improve his life.

In addition to regularly visiting him in the hospital and paying for his parents’ travel to Georgia, the Bulldogs will now raise funds to build him a house.

Gales received an NCAA Sportsmanship Award at the Bulldogs’ basketball game on Saturday, and it was announced that the UGAAA will launch a “Drive to Build a Dawg House” for Gales and his family.

“Anybody can just their prayer for you and send you on your way, but they didn’t. They took me as one of their kids, not just as another player, but as one of their children,” Gales said.

To contibute, text (707) 204-1707 to donate $5 toward the fund.

Mike Gundy says Sugar Bowl loss to Ole Miss wasn’t on a “level playing field”

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 01:  Laquon Treadwell #1 of the Mississippi Rebels celebrates scoring a 14-yard touchdown against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the fourth quarter of the Allstate Sugar Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 1, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
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Mike Gundy originally blamed himself for Oklahoma State’s 48-20 loss to Ole Miss at the Sugar Bowl that closed the 2015 season.

Speaking at the AFCA Convention in Nashville last month, I heard Gundy explain to thousands of fellow coaches he felt he overtrained his Cowboys in preparation to play the physically imposing Rebels. The end result backfired. As I wrote for FootballScoop:

As Oklahoma State prepared to face No. 12 Ole Miss in the Sugar Bowl, Gundy pushed his players harder than usual in December practices. “They’re going to knock us off the ball and it’s not going to look pretty,” he remembers thinking. That strategy backfired on him, though, as the Rebels pounded Gundy’s team 48-20. Oklahoma State was out-rushed 207-63 and averaged only 6.7 yards per pass attempt to Ole Miss’s 9.9. “We weren’t physical and we were slow,” Gundy said.

But now Gundy thinks something else may have contributed to that 28-point spanking.

As he explained to the Tulsa World‘s Bill Haisten, Gundy said he couldn’t help but think of the Sugar Bowl when he learned of the NCAA’s charges against Ole Miss.

“The first thing I thought about was (OSU’s recent experience with the NCAA),” Gundy said, “and the second thing was the Sugar Bowl and my players and what they went through.”

He continued: “We’ll never know what we could have done in the Sugar Bowl if it was a level playing field. That is the truth. I’m not sure we would have won the Sugar Bowl, but we’ll never know.”