One of the big questions college football fans have about the new College Football Playoff is just how the selection committee will choose the top four teams in the country to compete for the national championship in the new four-team playoff model. That question will ultimately have to wait to be answered in December, but we now have a glimpse as to what those who drafted the criteria to be used had in mind.
The College Football Playoff released documents revealing how the CFB Management committee suggested the top four teams be selected. That committee is comprised of FBS conference commissioners and Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick. As expected, strength of schedule and overall competition is tops on the list.
“Strength of schedule, head-to-head competition and championships won must be specifically applied as tie-breakers between teams that look similar,” the document reads, according to USA Today. The sanctity of the regular season is preserved under the guidelines outlined by the management committee, which was always one of the goals of limiting the playoff model to just four teams. Winning a conference championship will carry some weight but the management committee did point out there should be flexibility to allow for a non-conference champion to compete in the four-team playoff. For example, it looks as though Alabama would have been strongly considered for a playoff spot if this model was used last season.
But what about the influence placed on national polls? What happens when one team is ranked behind another despite having defeated that higher-ranked team during the season? The management committee has two solutions to hopefully address that. First, all preseason polls will be ignored. Preseason polls have been criticized for years to various degrees, but the College Football Playoff selection committee has already taken care of that problem by developing a plan for its own poll, which will start in late October. This poll should take away much of the influence from any other national poll, like the Associated Press or coaches polls, but those will be hard to completely ignore for long. The management committee has stated that if any other poll is considered for anything by the selection committee, then that specific poll in question should be open and transparent.
It’s all about open transparency, right?
Citing a source with knowledge of the situation, the Los Angeles Times reported overnight that outgoing USC athletic director Pat Haden underwent what’s only being described as “an unspecified medical procedure” at some point Thursday.
Early Wednesday afternoon, reports surfaced that Haden nearly collapsed outside of Heritage Hall and was treated by paramedics called to the scene. Shortly thereafter, per reports, he was taken to the hospital via ambulance. A statement from the school confirmed Haden had felt lightheaded before being treated by medical personnel and ultimately transported to his doctor off campus.
The 63-year-old Haden, who has a pacemaker, was taken to one hospital later that day and discharged. According to the Times, however, Haden was taken to another hospital at some point after the first visit and was held overnight prior to the procedure being performed Thursday.
It’s expected that Haden will remain hospitalized for another day or two, the paper reports.
A similar episode prior to the Notre Dame game last season prompted Haden to give up his duties as a member of the College Football Playoff selection committee. Lingering health issues played a role in his decision earlier this month to step down as USC’s athletic director later this year.
Departures had left Matt Wells with myriad openings on his Utah State coaching staff. Earlier this week, Wells filled one hole on the offensive side of the ball; a day later, he turned to the defensive side.
The university confirmed Wednesday that Julius Brown has been added by Wells as cornerbacks coach. Brown had spent the past two seasons as the secondary coach and recruiting coordinator at Mountain West rival Boise State.
Brown, who played his college football with the Broncos, and his alma mater reportedly parted ways earlier this year. The Idaho Statesman reported at the time that “[i]t was unclear if Brown’s departure would be termed a resignation or a firing.”
Prior to his first tenure at BSU, Brown was a secondary coach and recruiting coordinator at Arkansas State (2013) and cornerbacks coach at Troy (2012).
“We are excited to add Julius to the Aggie football family,” said Wells. “He brings a lot of experience to our staff and team as both a secondary coach and former defensive back, and also has a reputation as an outstanding recruiter. He possesses key knowledge of the Mountain West that will aid us moving forward in our quest to win a conference championship.”
With the hiring of Brown, Wells still has a need for running backs and tight ends coaches as well as special teams coordinator.
Following up on reports that surfaced earlier today, Texas head coach Charlie Strong has confirmed in a statement that Chris Vaughn is no longer a member of his Longhorns coaching staff.
“Chris did a tremendous job for us,” the statement from Strong began. “He’s a terrific football coach and a great person. However, circumstances have put us in a position that we are going to part ways.”
While those circumstances weren’t specified, it’s believed they’re tied to the NCAA’s investigation into the Ole Miss football program.
From 2008-11, Vaughn was an assistant under Houston Nutt with the Rebels. One report in connection to Vaughn’s ouster at UT stated that “the facts against Vaughn [in the Ole Miss case] ‘were damning,'” while another said the “NCAA has a ‘thick file’ on Vaughn.”
Vaughn had spent the past two seasons as Strong’s defensive backs coach. While his two-year contract had expired late last month, he had an option for a third year that, prior to the Ole Miss developments, was expected to be picked up by the football program.
For the third time this offseason, Dan Mullen has added a new face to his Mississippi State defensive staff.
The latest addition is Maurice Linguist, who the school confirmed Thursday has been hired as to coach the safeties for the Bulldogs. Linguist had spent the past two seasons as Iowa State’s defensive passing game coordinator.
“Maurice is a very sharp person with a bright future in the coaching profession,” a statement from Mullen read. “His knowledge of the game is exceptional, while his teaching and communication skills will resonate well with our players. We are happy to have him in Starkville and look forward to the impact he will make on our team.”
“I am excited to be a part of the tradition that Coach Mullen has established in his tenure here at Mississippi State,” Linguist said. “It’s a privilege to be a Bulldog, to coach in the Southeastern Conference and to mentor the dynamic safeties we have on this team.”
Linguist’s first on-field job at the FBS level came at Buffalo in 2012-13, holding the same job title he had at ISU. After finishing up his playing career at Baylor — as a safety he was team MVP and honorable mention All-Big 12 selection — he began his coaching career at his alma mater as a grad assistant in 2007.
The 31-year-old assistant has also spent time on staffs at Valdosta State (2008, defensive backs/special teams) and James Madison (2009-11, safeties).
Linguist joins Peter Sirmon (defensive coordinator) and Terrell Buckley (secondary) as coaches Mullen has hired over the past three weeks.