If you thought a wild season-opening victory over Notre Dame was enough to silence the hot seat talk about Charlie Strong, think again. A month into the season and Strong’s job has gone from on the hot seat to secure and now back on the grill. According to one report, Strong may already be well done in Austin regardless of what happens the rest of the season.
“A high-ranking Texas official said on Sunday night that Strong is “very close” to losing his job at the end of the season after back-to-back road losses to Cal and Oklahoma State,” a report from Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated said Monday. “The official said that there will be no move made during the year on Strong.”
That is a pretty strong statement, but it must still be filed under the rumor mill for now. What if Texas beats Oklahoma this week and pulls enough together to go on a run in Big 12 play? Would Texas really show Strong the door under the best-case scenario for the rest of the regular season? Heck, maybe they do. Whatever the future may hold, Strong is acting like a coach who knows he needs to do anything and everything to save his job. That includes a demotion for defensive coordinator Vance Bradford this week, as Strong takes over the defensive playcalling duties to get back in his element.
The question remains why Texas would wait things out. If the decision really is already made to move on from Strong at the end of the year regardless of what happens in October and November, why keep him on as a supposedly lame duck head coach? LSU acted quickly after four games to move on with their coaching situation, in theory getting a jump on the coaching search for a successor. Texas should have no problem attracting interest from potential candidates, so we think. Texas may not be the job it once was compared to other schools, but it’s still a pretty darn good job for the right coach who can handle the pressure. But why string Strong along for the ride if there is no chance for him to return? That could potentially do more harm to Texas football than good. Or is there just nobody on Strong’s staff Texas would trust to serve as an interim head coach. It’s not as if they have an Ed Orgeron on their staff.
Supposing this high-ranking Texas source is accurate with his information, that means Texas will once again be on the prowl for a new head coach in what is already shaping up to be quite the star-studded coaching carousel. LSU has already opened up a vacancy with the firing of Les Miles and many seem to believe USC could also be moving closer to a coaching change from Clay Helton. LSU, Texas and USC? Oh my, and there will be obviously be more to come (Auburn? Penn State? Oregon?), especially once the coaching carousel starts to operate fully.
Illinois head coach Lovie Smith has dismissed three players charged with home invasion and robbery. Offensive linemen Darta Lee and Howard Watkins and tight end Zarrian Holcombe have all been dismissed from the program, according to a statement.
Lee and Holcombe were previously suspended by Smith for violations of team rules. Watkins had also been indefinitely suspended following the initial allegations. All three players claimed the incident that led to the charges was nothing more than an innocent prank, but the authorities and Smith didn’t seem willing to buy that claim.
Each player faces a mandatory prison sentence of 4-15 years on each count against them if found guilty.
Conference USA is in a position where it needs to think outside the box and look to stay ahead of the curve in a changing TV landscape. It appears to be ready to air games on Twitter in 2017.
A report from The Virginian-Pilot says broadcast company STADIUM will air at least 15 football games involving Conference USA teams this fall. STADIUM is the result of a recent merger between the American Sports Network, 120 Sports and Silver Chalice (which also owns Campus Insiders and the online ACC Digital Network). The ASN had owned the broadcast rights to Conference USA games through the end of the 2017-2018 sports season that will carry over to the STADIUM deal (allowing for Conference USA basketball games to be aired on Twitter as well). It was announced earlier this month STADIUM intended to broadcast Conference USA games on Twitter, but it was unknown how many games might make it to the networking service. STADIUM reportedly has an interest in continuing to air Conference USA contests beyond the next athletic season.
Conference USA still has broadcast deals with ESPN and CBS Sports in effect as well, so don’t expect the premiere matchups in the conference to be aired on Twitter. However, by sharing the games online, Conference USA is hoping to reach a wide-spread audience and have the opportunity to be a trending topic. It could work, as Twitter would make sure the game is given a steady feed to allow for a pleasant viewing experience and fan interaction in real time.
Conference USA saw TV revenue take a big hit over the last year. Last summer, Conference USA’s television revenue reportedly dropped to just $2.8 million for the entire conference following realignment changes. Finding a home on a streaming platform now would be key for the conference’s future stability.
It is not at all uncommon for children born in the state of Alabama to be named after Alabama football legends, but it is not every day you see a child of an Alabama coach receives a name inspired by former Alabama football players.
Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt announced the birth of his new son, Flynt Anderson-Foster Pruitt, on Twitter. Alabama fans will likely already know the connection to the new child’s name, as used the last names of two former Alabama football players to create the middle name of Anderson-Foster; Ryan Anderson and Reuben Foster.
Maybe this is more common than I’m aware of, but regardless of how often a coach names a child after former players, this is a testament to the relationship the Pruitt family established with both former Alabama linebackers. And now there will be a bond for years to come between the coach and his family and Anderson and Foster.
Helmet sticker to Al.com.
The Wisconsin Badgers are gearing up for their 100th season playing home football game sin Camp Randall Stadium. As part of the season-long celebration, Wisconsin put some brilliant artistic detail into their season tickets for the 2017 season.
Each ticket to a home Wisconsin game is designed like a retro-style program. These are beautifully done and mimic the style of a program cover from decades past. I’m particularly fond of the program cover for the Purdue game, which features Wisconsin’s Bucky floating in space with a ship with the Purdue logo nearby. Is that a space train? The Band Day program for the game against Florida Atlantic also looks fantastic.
These tickets will surely be must-have collectibles for Wisconsin fans. If Wisconsin wants to make a few extra bucks, then blowing up these images and selling them as posters may be a good decision as well. And I wouldn’t put it past Wisconsin to suit up in a retro-style uniform for at least home game this season in Madison.