There are football schools (Alabama) and basketball schools (Kentucky). There are also football conferences (SEC) and basketball conferences (Big East?). Ask Maryland football coach Randy Edsall for his take on the new conference home, the Big Ten, and he will know just how to respond to get the support of the fans.
“As a football coach, I feel better,” Edsall said, as captured by Pressbox Baltimore. “I’m going to a football conference. I’m not in a basketball conference anymore.”
Edsall won approval points from Terps fans with that comment, although most would consider Maryland a basketball school, so the irony of the statement is worth noting. Most would probably agree the ACC is a basketball conference before it is a football conference. Florida State and Clemson did the ACC proud in football last season with a BCS championship and Orange Bowl victory, but the conference was built on its basketball foundation and was forced to make moves to attempt to strengthen the football product through expansion. More recent additions to the conference have actually padded the depth on the hard court more than what immediate impact it has on he football field. Syracuse and Pittsburgh have been more successful in football in recent years, and Louisville has a longer history of basketball success compared to the recent growth of the football program.
But is the Big Ten a football conference more than it is a basketball conference? To put it bluntly, yes. But the data is somewhat stacked against Edsall’s comments. The Big Ten has struggled to hold onto its position as the top conference on the football field over the last few years. Meanwhile, the Big Ten has sent four times as many teams to basketball’s Final Four than the ACC.
Edsall’s comments should be subject to much scrutiny though. He is simply playing to his crowd, one that he needs to win over this season. Nobody would blame Edsall for his remarks, and he is actually right in what he si saying. The Big Ten will continue to be a football conference before it is a basketball conference, although it may be a deeper basketball conference than it is in football. The ACC will continue to be top-heavy in football, but much deeper in basketball.
Helmet sticker to Sports Illustrated.
While we don’t yet know where former Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire is transferring to, we might have an idea of when he plans on making a move this offseason.
Per Orangebloods.com’s Anwar Richardson, the signal-caller has zeroed in on the end of May for an announcement on his new school in a timetable that coincides with the Irish’s graduation ceremonies. Perhaps just as interesting is the fact that there may also be a new school in the mix and it’s known for being a powerhouse of a different kind away from the gridiron.
“In addition, I was told a new school is in the mix. Zaire is still considering Texas, Wisconsin and Florida, and the grad transfer quarterback has added Harvard to his short list. It remains unclear how serious Zaire is about playing Ivy League football. If he does go that route, Harvard would be his landing spot.”
The Ivy League power is an interesting new destination for Zaire and could be a pretty good backup option given what’s going on at his other finalists.
While Texas and Wisconsin are both on his shortlist, both the Longhorns and Badgers return their starting quarterbacks from last season in Shane Buechele and Alex Hornibrook. Richardson reports that Zaire wants to start in 2017 and not hold a clipboard but he is still keeping his options opens when it comes to the thin depth charts at the position in both Austin and Madison.
Complicating things is Florida, which should be a prime landing spot for Zaire were it not for an SEC rule passed last year that is preventing him from transferring him there this offseason. The league is set to talk about changes to that rule at their spring meetings in Destin, Fla. but it remains unclear if the QB will wait and see before making a decision (and it’s entirely possible the SEC keeps things as they are).
Either way, the former Irish starter does not appear to be lacking options when it comes to the graduate transfer market.
Tennessee might not be a favorite to make the College Football Playoff in 2017 but the school is doing their best to bring a little bit of the sport’s postseason to Knoxville.
Athletic director John Currie announced on Tuesday that the Vols would be hiring the College Football Playoff’s Chief Financial Officer Reid Sigmon as Tennessee’s new Executive Associate Athletics Director and Chief Operating Officer. The hire isn’t too surprising considering the two worked together for several years at Kansas State in very similar roles.
“It is with great enthusiasm that I welcome Reid Sigmon to the Tennessee Athletics family,” Currie said in a statement. “He has earned national credibility as part of a visionary leadership group creating the College Football Playoff organization for the last four years, and his tremendous integrity and understanding of college athletics make him a perfect addition to our Tennessee leadership team.”
Sigmon served in a variety of roles in college athletics as well as the NFL before eventually landing with the College Football Playoff. The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that he starts at Tennessee on May 15 with a salary of $285,000 per year.
That certainly didn’t take long.
A little over a week ago, P.J. Mbanasor was one of two cornerbacks who had decided to transfer from Oklahoma. Tuesday morning on his personal Twitter account, the defensive back announced that he “will be attending the University of Louisville in the fall.”
For what it’s worth, the Cardinals have yet to announce Mbanasor’s addition to the roster.
Mbanasor will likely have to sit out the 2017 season. He would then have two seasons of eligibility at his disposal beginning in 2018.
A four-star member of the Sooners’ 2015 recruiting class, Mbanasor was rated as the No. 19 corner in the country; the No. 17 player at any position in the state of Texas; and the No. 132 player on 247Sports.com’s composite board. After playing in 10 games with two starts as a true freshman, Mbanasor took a redshirt for the 2016 season.
It appears Pat Fitzgerald will still be stalking the sidelines in Evanston deep into the next decade.
Tuesday afternoon, Northwestern announced that it has reached an agreement with Fitzgerald, the program’s Dan and Susan Jones Family Head Coach, on a multi-year contract extension. The 42-year-old Fitzgerald’s extension would keep him as the coach of the Wildcats through the 2026 season.
Fitzgerald will be entering his 17th season as a coach at the school, 11 of those as head coach. From 1993-96, Fitzgerald was an All-American linebacker for the Wildcats and ultimately inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a player.
“This is home for me and my family, and I love this University,” a statement from Fitzgerald began. “I’m extremely privileged to coach the exceptional young men we invite here to earn the best education in college football and compete at the highest level in the Big Ten Conference. The best is yet to come, and we’re excited for the future.”
In his 11 seasons, Fitzgerald has guided NU to a 77-62 record overall and a 41-48 mark in Big Ten play. Fitzgerald has accounted for two of NU’s four 10-win seasons the program has produced, with both of those coming in the the last five seasons.
He is the winningest football coach in the school’s history.