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USC reportedly sells naming rights to L.A. Coliseum to United Airlines

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Fly the friendly skies… to USC football? That’s apparently the case as one of college football’s most historic venues is going corporate.

Sports Business Journal is reporting that USC and the Los Angeles Coliseum have entered into a 15-year naming rights agreement worth a whopping $70 million with United Airlines. It’s unclear what the name of the new venue will be (or if the field at the site is what is being named) going forward in the wake of this but SBJ notes that officials involved have stressed in the past that ‘Memorial Coliseum’ will remain no matter who the sponsor is.

The deal is understandable on both sides even if Trojans supporters can’t be happy about seeing the corporate influence on the venerable stadium pop up. The Coliseum is undergoing a reported $270 million renovation in various stages that is expected to be completed in time for USC’s 2019 home opener. The city is a large hub for the airline and United CEO is apparently a USC alum as well.

That’s not the only news at the site either, as Thursday also brought word that the Los Angeles Rams would remain a tenant at the Coliseum for another year — through 2020 — as the result of construction delays at their new stadium in Inglewood.

With the additional year of revenues from the Rams and the new sponsorship agreement, USC appears well on their way to paying for those significant renovation costs that are quickly approaching.

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