Baylor has scheduled a game against University of Incarnate Word for the 2019 season. At a time when college football is moving toward a stronger emphasis on strength of schedule, Baylor’s latest scheduling announcement seems to go against the grain for those in favor of stronger non-conference match-ups. Baylor Athletics Director Ian McCaw took to the radio to defend the decision to add UIW, a FCS program coming off its first year after moving up from the Division 2 ranks, to the future schedule.
During an interview on ESPN Radio Central Texas McCaw said Baylor has often scheduled one game against a program from the FCS within the region. With UIW moving up to the FCS and joining the Southland Conference, they fall within those parameters. McCaw defended that decision by referencing SEC schedules against FCS opponents and said there is no plan to change that scheduling structure in the future at Baylor. Baylor has scheduled an FCS team every season dating back to 2001. The defending Big 12 champions are scheduled to host Northwestern State in 2014, Lamar in 2015 and Northwestern State again in 2016. As noted by FBSchedules.com, a future game against Liberty is also on the agenda but does not have a specific date or year in place just yet.
The self-proclaimed thick-skinned AD noted fans have voiced opinions and demand for more interesting, or perhaps challenging games, but games against the likes of Alabama or Ohio State are probably going to be pipe dreams according to McCaw. McCaw did say Baylor has been in discussions with UTEP about potential games in the future, but nothing has been put together just yet. A former Baylor rival from the old Southwest Conference, Houston, is not expected to show up on the future schedule any time soon.
Baylor will rack up the points on a weak opponent, but they will not b the only ones to do so in the coming years. As long as a win against a FCS school counts the same in the win column as one against a conference opponent, this scheduling trend is not going anywhere. The hope for the good of the sport is that more schools will move away from this scheduling philosophy as strength of schedule is given more emphasis in the College Football Playoff, but until a team is punished for playing inferior opponents solely to pad the stats and grab an automatic win, Baylor is far from the only team to take advantage of schools like UIW.
You can listen to the radio interview here.
Even in the midst of a coaching search that will determine your football program’s fortunes for the foreseeable future, you gotta have a little fun.
Late Wednesday, it appeared that Houston was zeroing in on a replacement for Tom Herman, who left to become the head coach at Texas late last month. Thursday morning, it was reported that Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin had been hired by UH.
In response to the reports of a final decision being made, Cougars athletic director Hunter Yurachek offered a little papal levity, replete with non-white smoke indicating no football pope has been hired.
The Houston Chronicle, citing a source with knowledge of the situation, subsequently reported that “the University of Houston has not made a decision on its next football coach.”
That said, it’s expected that Kiffin is Yurachek’s man, with an announcement coming as early as tonight. University officials will meet later on today to finalize the search and come to a consensus.
In addition to Kiffin, ex-LSU head coach Les Miles and interim Houston coach Todd Orlando and offensive coordinator Major Applewhite have been under consideration. ESPN.com‘s Brett McMurphy writes that “[w]hoever the next coach is, Houston is trying to require an excessive buyout so he can’t leave after a couple of seasons without paying a substantial penalty.”
As a reference point in that aspect of the situation, Herman’s buyout was $2.5 million. Herman spent two seasons with the Cougars before leaving for the Longhorns.
Yet another FBS opening is reportedly on the verge of being closed.
According to a report from FootballScoop.com, Jay Norvell “will be the next head coach at Nevada.” The Reno Gazette-Journal writes that “Norvell, the third and final candidate to interview for the Wolf Pack football head-coaching vacancy, was so impressive he didn’t even leave Reno before being offered the job, which he quickly accepted.” Norvell was offered the job late Wednesday night.
The other two interviewed were Eastern Washington head coach Beau Baldwin and Vanderbilt offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig. The former interviewed Monday, the latter Tuesday.
If/when hired, Norvell would replace Brian Polian, who “mutually parted ways” with the football program last month after four seasons. This would be Norvell’s first head-coaching job at any level.
Norvell just completed his first regular season as an assistant on Todd Graham‘s Arizona State coaching staff. With the Sun Devils, Norvell served as wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator.
Norvell has spent most of his nearly three decades in coaching at Power Five programs, with stops that included Texas (2015), Oklahoma (2008-14), UCLA (2007), Nebraska (2004-06), Iowa State (1995-97), Wisconsin (1989-94) and Iowa (1986-87). He also spent six seasons as an assistant in the NFL — 1998-2001 as the wide receivers coach of the Indianapolis Colts, 2002-03 as tight ends coach of the Oakland Raiders.
Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh and Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher got together for a joint press conference in Miami today as the two coaches prepare to face one another in the Orange Bowl on December 30. Harbaugh said he is looking forward to the matchup but seemed to be much more interested in getting a chance to witness one of the pregame traditions of Florida State; Chief Osceola riding on Renegade and planting a spear in the turf.
“I’ve never been to a game at Florida State,” Harbaugh said. “I’ve always wanted to go there and see what that atmosphere was like in person. This will be as close as I’ve ever been to that. I’m excited for that. I know I’m going to get some chills when that Appaloosa comes riding out there.”
Of course, this isn’t exactly a home game for the Seminoles, so sometimes pregame traditions are put on ice for the bowl season. Knowing this, Harbaugh made his case and made sure everyone listening knows just how cool he thinks it is.
“I want to see that. That’s one of the cool things,” Harbaugh said. “We have cool things and other teams have cool things, but that is right up there as one of the coolest things.”
Fortunately for Harbaugh, he will indeed get a chance to witness this pregame routine in person. Florida State Associate Athletics Director Jason Dennard said on Twitter Chief Osceola and Renegade will make the trip to Miami from Tallahassee.
The Houston Cougars are reportedly hoping to have a new head coach named as soon as this coming weekend. As expected, Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin and former LSU head coach Les Miles are among the final candidates being considered for the job.
One candidate no longer to be in the mix, according to a report from Joseph Duarte of The Houston Chronicle, is Oklahoma offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley. That should be good news for Oklahoma, as it likely means Riley will be back in Norman for at least one more season to run the offense (and with Baker Mayfield coming back for 2017, the Sooners offense should continue to rack up some big numbers).
As noted by Duarte, five total candidates were vetted by Houston for the head coaching job. Kiffin, Miles and interim Houston coach Todd Orlando and offensive coordinator Major Applewhite along with Riley all were checked by the university as a decision is approaching.