Portrait of poet, journalist, and sportswriter Grantland Rice, 1940s.

Voters for new college football poll announced by FWAA and NFF

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This upcoming college football season will see two brand new polls introduced to go alongside the traditional polls used by the Associated Press and the coaches. The only one that will truly matter will be the weekly poll released by the College Football Playoff selection committee later in the season, because that will likely give fans an idea of whre things are heading for the playoff. This offseason also saw a new poll announced by the National Football Foundation and the Football Writers Association of America, the Grantland Rice Super 16 Poll. Now we know who will be casting votes for this brand new power poll.

Today the FWAA and NFF released a list of the voters, ranging from various local and national media outlets, board members and the College Football Hall of Fame.

“We have assembled a group of highly knowledgeable voters who will collectively provide an objective and credible view of the top college football teams each week,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell in a released statement. “We are extremely pleased to partner with the FWAA on the launch of the Grantland Rice Super 16 Poll, which will provide a compelling reference point for fans to follow during the college football season.”

If you are wondering just who will be voting, wait no more. Here is the list of voters, as provided by the NFF and FWAA;

  • Mark Anderson*, Las Vegas Review-Journal
  • Chris Ault, College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2002
  • Lee Barfknecht*, Omaha World-Herald
  • Tony Barnhart*, SEC Network
  • David Barron*, Houston Chronicle
  • Mark Blaudschun*, AJerseyGuy.com
  • Murry Bowden, College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2003 and NFF Vice Chairman
  • Gil Brandt*, NFL.com
  • Chuck Carlton*, The Dallas Morning News
  • Gene Corrigan, NFF Board Member
  • Brian Davis*, Austin American-Statesman
  • Gene DeFilippo, NFF Board Member
  • Dennis Dodd*, CBSSports.com
  • Bob Epling, NFF Board Member
  • Jack Ford, CBS 60 Minutes Sports Correspondent and NFF Board Member
  • Teddy Greenstein*, Chicago Tribune
  • Andrew Greif*, The Oregonian
  • Mike Griffith*, MLive.com
  • Wally Hall*, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
  • Matt Hayes*, The Sporting News
  • Tommy Hicks*, AL.com
  • Ron Higgins*, NoLa.com/The Times Picayune
  • Dave Jones*, PA Media Group
  • Ryan Kartje*, Orange County Register
  • Blair Kerkhoff*, Kansas City Star
  • Jack Lengyel, NFF Board Member
  • Kelly Lyell*, Fort Collins Coloradoan
  • Don McPherson, College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2008
  • Matthew Murschel*, Orlando Sentinel
  • Chuck Neinas, NFF Board Member
  • Randy Peterson*, Des Moines Register
  • Jeff Shain*, PrimeSportsNetwork.com
  • Phil Steele*, Phil Steele Publications
  • Patrick Stevens*, Syracuse.com
  • Barry Switzer, College Football Hall of Famer Class of 2001
  • David Teel*, Newport News Daily Press
  • John Wagner*, Toledo Blade
  • Dick Weiss*, Blue Star Media
  • Rod West, NFF Board Member
  • Reggie Williams, College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2007
  • Bud Withers*, Seattle Times

*FWAA Member

La. governor threatens LSU football in stumping for tax increase

BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 28:  Head coach Les Miles of the LSU Tigers look on during the game against the Texas A&M Aggies at Tiger Stadium on November 28, 2015 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
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In life, there are some things you just don’t threaten, like a man’s mother or wife or kids.  In the South, you never, ever threaten a man’s — or woman’s or mom’s — college football, even if it’s nothing more than what most are calling your typical political bluster.

Yet that’s exactly where Louisiana’s governor went Thursday, with John Bel Edwards “threatening” the very existence of the sport in the state — including flagship program LSU — if a tax increase for which he’s pushing isn’t implemented.  The state is facing a nearly $1 billion deficit, and funding for higher education, among other things, could be cut, the governor said, if “the largest tax increase in state history” is not put in place by June.

“If you are a student attending one of these universities, it means that you will receive a grade of incomplete, many students will not be able to graduate, and student-athletes across the state at those schools will be ineligible to play next semester,” Edwards said. “That means you can say farewell to college football next fall.”

“These are not scare tactics,” Edwards, wearing a Grim Reaper costume, added.

From the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

The governor went so far as to say that LSU football was also in jeopardy, due to a threatened suspension of spring classes that would jeopardize college athletes’ eligibility next year. He said the state would no longer be able to afford one of its most popular programs with middle class residents — the TOPS college scholarship — without tax hikes.

… “I don’t say this to scare you. But I am going to be honest with you.”

The governor didn’t just threaten LSU football if his tax increase wasn’t implemented, with the Times-Picayune writing that, during the state-wide television address, “Edwards told viewers that the state would be forced to take extreme action — such as throwing people with off of kidney dialysis and shutting down hospice services — if new taxes didn’t go into place over the next few months.”

Here’s to guessing that a deal will be reached before June, before people are thrown off dialysis.  Or before people start throwing legislators off buildings and/or bridges for shutting down their beloved Bayou Bengals football.

Texas losing assistant Jay Norvell to Arizona State

Jay Norvell
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Back in December, Jay Norvell was rumored to be a candidate for Arizona State’s vacancy at offensive coordinator.  Two months later, it appears the Texas play-caller will be joining Todd Graham‘s coaching staff after all, albeit in a “lesser” capacity.

Shortly after Texas confirmed that Charlie Strong had lost one assistant due to “circumstances [that] have put us in a position that we are going to part ways,” reports began to surface that Norvell is leaving Texas to take a job at ASU. Specifically, Norvell is expected to become Graham’s wide receivers coach and hold the title of passing-game coordinator as well.

Norvell spent one season at Texas after being dismissed by Oklahoma following the 2014 season.  Originally hired as the Longhorns’ wide receivers coach, Norvell was promoted to play-caller early on in the 2015 season when Shawn Watson and Joe Wickline were demoted by Strong.

After the 2015 season, Norvell ceded his play-calling duties to Sterlin Gilbert, who was hired by Strong as offensive coordinator in December. Norvell won’t have play-calling duties at Arizona State, either, as Graham hired Chip Lindsey away from Southern Miss to coordinate the Sun Devils’ offense.

Norvell becomes the fifth Longhorn assistant to leave the program since the end of the season, joining Watson (not retained), Wickline (moved on to West Virginia), Tommie Robinson (left for USC) and Chris Vaughn (Ole Miss muck). The last two offseasons, a total of eight assistants have left the program in some form or fashion.

As it stands now, Strong has three vacancies to fill on his current staff.

UPDATED 10:29 a.m. ET: While neither program has confirmed it, Norvell took to his personal Twitter account to apparently say goodbye to his home of the last year.

Report: USC AD Pat Haden undergoes unspecified medical procedure

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 03: 
USC Athletic Director Pat Haden speaks at a press conference introducing Steve Sarkisian as the new USC  head football coach at the John McKay Center at the University of Southern California on December 3, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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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.

Utah State continues filling holes on Matt Wells’ Aggies staff

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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.