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Pitt, Penn State won’t resume rivalry until 2026 at the earliest

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There are a lot of terrible outcomes from the mass realignment of the earliest part of this decade, but this is by far the worst: the breakup of longtime rivalries.

Pitt and Penn State — or is it Penn State and Pitt? — are in the midst of a 4-year reunion, and it’s been great so far. The Panthers’ 42-39 win over the Nittany Lions in Pittsburgh last season was not only a thrilling game, but it kept Penn State out of the College Football Playoff. This is what college football rivalries are all about, no? Who wouldn’t want to make this an annual thing again?

Penn State, that’s who.

Speaking at a coaches’ caravan event last week, Penn State AD Sandy Barbour told Nittany Lions fans that the earliest their team would start playing their rivals to the west again after the current agreement expires in 2019 would be 2026.

“That’s our Power 5 slot,” Barbour said, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “We are scheduled out in that Power 5 slot through 2025, so it certainly isn’t going to be before then.”

The Nittany Lions are slated to play home-and-homes with Virginia Tech (2020, ’25), Auburn (2021-22) and West Virginia (2023-24) in the intervening years. Those are no slouches, to be fair to Barbour. Virginia Tech and West Virginia are regional rivals, and Auburn presents an interesting intersectional matchup. But it’s too bad Penn State can’t play Pitt and Virginia Tech/Auburn/West Virginia — an unrealistic option given the 9-game schedules deemed necessary by the Big Ten’s bloat to 14 teams. (Thanks again, realignment!)

For their part, Pitt has Notre Dame lined up in 2020, a home-and-home with Tennessee in 2021-22 and a 4-game series with West Virginia from 2022-25 (along with another game against the Irish in ’25). Not bad, either.

But the end result is a rivalry between the two major programs in Pennsylvania that was played on a near annual basis throughout the 20th century will be played only four times during the first quarter of the 21st century.

College Football Playoff reveals new chairperson, six new selection committee members

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As expected, the group that will determine the four playoff semifinalists next season will have a new leader — with the group consisting of new members as well.

The College Football Playoff announced Wednesday that Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens has been named as the selection committee’s new chairperson.  Mullens replaces Kirby Hocutt, the Texas Tech athletic director whose two-year term is expiring Feb. 1.

Former Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long was the first CFP chair (2014-15).

“We are delighted that Rob will be stepping into this role,” CFP executive director Bill Hancock said in a statement. “He is an experienced committee member, extremely passionate about college football, detail-oriented and brings a high level of energy that is perfectly suited to chairing the committee.”

As chairman, the press release stated, “Mullens will set the selection committee’s agenda, run its meetings and serve as the spokesman for the committee along with Hancock.”

“College football plays a vital role in intercollegiate athletics, and it is an honor to continue to serve on the CFP Selection Committee,” said Mullens. “I look forward to partnering with the other committee members and the staff to build on the strong foundation which has been created in the first four years of the CFP.”

Additionally, the CFP announced six new committee members:

  • Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione, as previously reported
  • Former journalist/current journalism professor Paola Boivin
  • Former Rice/Clemson/Arkansas/Air Force head coach Ken Hatfield
  • College and NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott
  • Georgia Tech athletic director Todd Stansbury
  • Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin

There were five members whose terms are set to expire at the beginning of next month: Clemson AD Dan Radakovich, Arkansas AD Jeff Long, former NCAA executive Tom Jernstedt, former Stanford/Notre Dame/Washington head coach Tyrone Willingham, former Vanderbilt head coach Bobby Johnson and former journalist Steve Wieberg.

The six additions bring the committee back to a dozen voters, including Robert Morris president Christopher B. Howard (term expires in Feb. of 2020), former Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer (2020), Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith (2020), former Southern Miss head coach Jeff Bower (2019), former Central Michigan head coach Herb Deromedi (2019) and Mullen (2019).

You can wager on who will be first coach to leave their team, Nick Saban or Bill Belichick

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If you’re into this sort of thing, Bovada.lv has offered up a very interesting and intriguing wager.

There’s been some chatter of late that the 65-year-old Bill Belichick could be nearing the end of his wildly successful run with the New England Patriots, although the future Hall of Fame head coach has been dismissive of such talk. And then there’s 66-year-old Nick Saban, Belichick’s former defensive coordinator and rumor mill veteran who is regularly linked to the NFL or even other college jobs despite the future Hall of Famer’s wildly successful run with the Alabama Crimson Tide that shows no sign of abating.

That gets us back to Bovada, which asked a very simple question in their latest prop bet: Who will be the first coach to part ways with their current team? According to them, Belichick is a slight favorite to leave Foxboro before Saban takes his leave of Tuscaloosa.

Bill Belichick -150 (2/3)
Nick Saban +110 (11/10)

If I were a gambling man — and I’ll bet you I’m not — I’d put my money on the younger Belichick to not only leave his team first but to be the first to retire from coaching, period, in large part because of quotes like these from his former lieutenant.

“I’ve been a part of a team since I was nine,” Saban said in June of last year, shortly after Bob Stoops announced his retirement from Oklahoma. “The thought of not being [part of a team] scares me.”

Herb Hand announced as Texas’ offensive line coach

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On the same day Auburn officially hired his replacement, Herb Hand‘s new employer has officially confirmed his move from The Plains.

Tuesday, reports surfaced that Hand was leaving AU to take over as the offensive line coach at Texas.  One day later, Tom Herman confirmed Hand’s addition to his Longhorns coaching staff.

In addition to line duties, Hand will also carry the title of co-offensive coordinator.

“Though we haven’t worked together or personally met before discussing our position, Herb is someone I’ve admired since our teams played each other at Rice and Tulsa,” Herman said in a statement. “I was extremely impressed then and have continued to be in the years since. As an aspiring young coach, I spent a great deal of time studying the best offenses around the country, and his group was continually one of them. They were as well coached up front as I’ve seen, so when I was looking to fill our 10th coach position and he was interested, we had a great visit, and we’re thrilled we were able to get him.”

Hand spent the past two seasons as the line coach at Auburn.  Prior to that, he spent two years with Penn State (2014-15) and four at Vanderbilt (2010-13).

“We are extremely excited and honored to be joining the Longhorn family,” Hand said. “We had a great situation at Auburn and were very happy there, but the opportunity to come to Austin, to work with Coach Herman and the Texas staff, to be a part of the history and tradition at The University of Texas, it was one we could not pass up.”

24-year-old Charlie Weis Jr. hired as Lane Kiffin’s OC

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For those hoping for a Weis to get back into the coordinating game, today’s your lucky day.

Both fauowlaccess.com and the Sun-Sentinel are reporting that Lane Kiffin is hiring Charlie Weis Jr. as FAU’s new offensive coordinator.  The 24-year-old Weis, the son of former Notre Dame and Kansas head coach Charlie Weis, would become the youngest coordinator at the FBS level when the move comes to fruition.

Weis would replace Kendal Briles, who left to take the coordinator job at Houston earlier this month.

This would actually serve as Weis’ second “stint” with Kiffin at FAU.  Nearly two months after being hired by Kiffin to coach tight ends, Weis left to take a job as an offensive assistant with the Atlanta Falcons in February of last year.

Kiffin and Weis also both worked on Nick Saban‘s coaching staff at Alabama