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Rice confirms David Bailiff will return as Owls’ head coach

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As the coaching carousel continues to spin, there’s one Conference USA head coach we know of who officially won’t get caught up in its wake.

With reports surfacing Tuesday morning, Rice confirmed in a press release very early this afternoon that David Bailiff will return for his 11th season in 2017 coming off a three-win 2016 season.  Speculation had been growing in the midst of what would be the football program’s second consecutive losing season that Bailiff’s job could be in jeopardy.

While athletic director Joe Karlgaard confirmed Bailiff’s return, his statement also made it clear that not going bowling is wholly unacceptable and intimated that a repeat next season could lead to a change in leadership.

Below is Karlgaard’s statement, in its entirety:

Yesterday, Coach Bailiff and I met to review the 2016 season and to discuss the state of the Rice football program. While we are all disappointed with the results, there is a plan to turn things around under his leadership next season and I have made the expectations for 2017 very clear to Coach.

After two straight seasons without a winning record, we need to acknowledge that we are not meeting an acceptable competitive standard for this university. Our ambitions remain very high. We expect to be competitive in every game and to compete for conference championships. When nearly two-thirds of college football programs participate in bowl games every year—including slots for half of Conference USA members—bowl games should be a regular part of our seasons.

Our season-ending meeting yesterday gives me hope that Coach Bailiff can meet these expectations next year. He is prepared to make substantial changes to the football program to ensure our student-athletes are put in the best position possible to be successful on the field. We will work together to carefully implement those changes.

David, his staff, and his student-athletes have consistently represented Rice in a first-class manner throughout his ten seasons as our head coach. Together, we have accomplished much competitively as well, including four bowl appearances and a conference championship. It is also important to acknowledge that, despite our disappointments this season, our team did not quit. That’s a great testament to David’s leadership.

I am asking that all Owls fans continue to support our program and to believe that we will get back to our winning ways in 2017.

In 10 seasons with the Owls, Bailiff has compiled a 56-69 record.  Bailiff owns a pair of 10-win seasons at the school (2008, 2013), and won a conference championship in the latter season.

His 56 wins are second in school history behind Jess Neely‘s 144 from 1940-66.

The Owls had gone to three consecutive bowl games prior to going 5-7 and 3-9 the past two seasons.

“No one is more disappointed in the 2016 season’s results than me and I am resolved to do whatever is necessary to have success once again,” the coach said in his statement. “While many factors have contributed to our performance these past two seasons, I am focused on my responsibility as our head football coach. I am working with Joe on implementing the changes we need to be successful while also preserving the terrific attitude of our players who fought through a difficult season this year.

“I am excited to move forward and grateful for the support of our fans and this university.”

Wyoming QB Josh Allen deleted Twitter off his phone following loss to Oregon

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Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen was one of the most heavily discussed signal-callers in the country this offseason and labeled by many as a potential No. 1 overall draft pick. Some thought he has the physical tools to transition effortlessly from the Mountain West to the NFL just like Carson Wentz.

By late September though, people are starting to hit the brakes on the hype train for the Cowboys QB and so, too, is the player himself it appears. The Associated Press published a long profile of Allen this week and one nugget seemed to jump out: following a 49-13 loss to Oregon last Saturday in which he completed just nine passes for 64 yards and an interception, the quarterback promptly deleted Twitter of his phone.

“Those guys on Twitter aren’t making draft picks and putting together teams in the NFL,” Allen said. “All I really care about is respect from my teammates and my coaches here.”

We’ve seen players delete apps or jump off social media when they face a little adversity on the field and it seems that the Wyoming star is the latest to join the bandwagon and swear off tweeting in the foreseeable future. We’ll see if it makes any difference on Saturday as his team takes on Hawaii at home to open Mountain West conference play.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby’s contract extended through 2025

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The future of the Big 12 conference still seems a little murky but one thing remains clear: commissioner Bob Bowlsby will be in charge no matter which way things go.

The league announced on Friday morning that Bowlsby’s contract was extended through 2025, keeping him at Big 12 headquarters through the next round of television negotiations and right up to the expiration date on the conference’s grant of rights.

“This is an important time for college athletics. This is an important time for the Big 12,” West Virginia President Gordon Gee, the chairman of the conference’s board of directors, said in a video statement. “To have a valiant and committed leader and someone who understands athletics as well as anyone in this country leading our conference is something that is very much important to the league and to the individual schools and I believe to college athletics.”

Bowlsby notably guided the Big 12 through on-again, off-again rounds of conference expansion the past few years and played a big role in bringing a football championship game and new tiebreaker scenarios to the league since he took over in 2012. The former Stanford and Iowa athletic director will be 73 at the end of his new contract, which is paying him right under $2.7 million a year according to USA Today.

Arkansas tailback Devwah Whaley will play against Texas A&M following “disagreement” with teammate

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Things got heated at Arkansas in the lead up to their next game and we’re not just talking about head coach Bret Bielema’s hot seat among the Razorbacks fan base either.

It appears that starting tailback Devwah Whaley was involved in what is being called a “minor disagreement” with a teammate this week at practice. While scuffles in the middle of an intense play are nothing new in football, there were a lot rumors that the running back was actually injured in the brouhaha and wouldn’t be able to take the field at AT&T Stadium on Saturday against Texas A&M.

“He’s ready to play,” the coach said on his radio show, according to Hawgs Illustrated. “How many times are 21-year-olds in a disagreement? Devwah is excited to play in the game in his home state.”

Whaley himself confirmed that he wasn’t injured and would be playing against the Aggies on Twitter:

While one side of this “disagreement” is all set to play at JerryWorld against Texas A&M, the other side is not. That’s because wide receiver Brandon Martinwho was also reportedly involved, is staying home in what Bielema labeled a previously determined decision due to his lingering hamstring injury. Either way, Razorbacks fans are probably hoping for a lot of the same fight they’ve seen this week from the team to carry over to their game on Saturday.

Banged up North Carolina down three starters after trio of season-ending injuries

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North Carolina’s injury situation has gone from bad to worse in the blink of an eye this week.

The school confirmed via their weekly injury report on Thursday night that three starters were lost for the rest of the season as linebacker Andre Smith, offensive lineman William Sweet and receiver Thomas Jackson all won’t return to action. The trio, who were not listed with a specific injury, were part of a whopping 19 players who were banged up on the report.

Smith did not play in last week’s game for the Tar Heels but it appears both Sweet and Jackson went down against Old Dominion and did not return.

“It is what it is. It’s the same old thing: The next guy has to get up, and the next guy has to play,” head coach Larry Fedora said earlier in the week. “You hope you can build some type of continuity at some point.”

The three starters join a lengthy injury list for the Tar Heels that is now up to nearly a 1/10th of the roster — nine names long — out for the year.

Defensive lineman Jalen Dalton was also ruled doubtful for UNC’s game against triangle rival Duke on Saturday, along with cornerback Corey Bell. offensive lineman Cam Dillard and Bentley Spain, as well as wideout Dazz Newsome, were all listed as questionable.