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Arkansas, Notre Dame announce future home-and-home

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For those clamoring for a Lou Holtz Bowl, here ya go.

Both Arkansas and Notre Dame announced early Thursday afternoon that the two athletic departments had reached an agreement on a future home-and-home series.  The Razorbacks will travel to South Bend on Sept. 12, 2020, to open the series while the Fighting Irish will head to Fayetteville Oct. 4, 2025.  Both schools will receive an allotment of 7,500 tickets for their respective road trips.

The 2020 game will be the first-ever meeting between the two football programs.

“It’s remarkable to think our historic programs have never met, but we are excited that this will change in the near future as we add the University of Notre Dame to our football schedules in 2020 and 2025,” said UA athletic director Jeff Long in a statement. “This series will benefit our football program, our University and the Southeastern Conference, but more importantly it is an opportunity for our football student-athletes to compete against one of college football’s storied programs while providing a premier match-up for our fans. This series will provide a once-in-a-lifetime road trip and another memorable football Saturday at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

“Whenever we have an opponent come to Notre Dame Stadium for the first time, there’s another layer of interest in the game. The same is true for our program and fans when we play away from home at a first-time venue,”Long’s counterpart, Jack Swarbrick, said. “That is especially likely to be true of these games given the quality and tradition of the two programs.”

Provided it goes off as announced, the series with Arkansas would leave three SEC schools that have never played Notre Dame in football — Auburn, Kentucky and Mississippi State.

Notre Dame has three future games with two SEC schools scheduled, at home against Georgia this coming season as well as a home-and-home with Texas A&M (2014 at College Station, 2025 in South Bend).  There most recent game against a team from that conference came against LSU in the 2014 Music City Bowl; the last regular season matchup was versus Tennessee in 2005.

“This two-game series will provide our program with another opportunity to play a top-caliber foe from the Southeastern Conference,” said Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly. “Coach (Bret) Bielema is a tremendous coach and his teams have always played a physical style of football. I know our team and fans will be excited to play the Razorbacks.”

“Ever since I became a head coach I’ve wanted to get Notre Dame on the schedule and when it became a possibility we were 100 percent in on getting a home-and-home done,” head coach Bret Bielema said. “I’m excited for our program, but I’m also excited for our fans to experience a game at Notre Dame and then come back and show what an amazing home atmosphere we have.”

Holtz was Arkansas’ head coach from 1977-83.  From 1986-1996, Holtz held the same job at Notre Dame.  His 1988 national championship was the last for the Fighting Irish.

His 60 wins are the third-most in Razorbacks history, while his 100 wins while with the Fighting Irish are second only to the legendary Knute Rockne’s 105.

Michigan pulls recruiting director away from former Michigan coach’s staff

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Michigan is set to add Arizona recruiting czar Matt Dudek as its new director of recruiting, according to a report from FootballScoop on Saturday.

CBS Sports’s Dennis Dodd confirmed the report, adding that Michigan is expected to formally announce the move at Big Ten media days on Monday.

The irony, of course, is that Dudek will leave the staff of former Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez.

Dudek had been with Rodriguez shortly after his late 2011 hiring, first as on-campus recruiting coordinator and player personnel director before being named college football’s first general manager after the 2015 season. He helped the Wildcats win the 2014 Pac-12 South championship and was named a finalist for FootballScoop‘s Player Personnel Director of the Year award multiple times. (Disclaimer: I also write for FootballScoop.)

Prior to Arizona, Dudek worked as director of football branding and events at Rutgers and as assistant director of football operations and recruiting coordinator at Pittsburgh.

At Michigan, Dudek will join a staff that already recruits quite capably under head coach Jim Harbaugh. The Wolverines have finished eighth and fifth nationally in 247Sports‘s composite team rankings in Harbaugh’s two full cycles as Michigan’s head coach.

Dudek’s departure will be viewed by some as an anti-show of faith in Rodriguez’s tenure at Arizona. Since that 10-4, top-20 season in 2014, the Wildcats have slipped to 7-6 in 2015 and 3-9 last fall.

WATCH: Mark Richt takes annual backflip off the high dive

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It’s been quite the summer for Mark Richt. His 2018 recruiting class is one of the best in the nation, he taught the nation the most efficient way to eat a sandwich, and on Friday he executed his annual high-dive backflip at a Hurricanes pool party.

(In case you haven’t seen the sandwich bit, watch it below. It’ll change your life.)

As SB Nation catalogues, Richt has made these backflips an annual thing since he was at Georgia in 2015. It was a skill he learned, he says, to impress the ladies after watching Greg Louganis (yes, that Greg Louganis) do it while they were students at Miami.

Richt and Louganis both enrolled at the University of Miami in 1978, and the future Hurricanes’ coach and his teammates would hang out at the university’s pool, where Louganis and the diving team would practice.

“We would watch him,” Richt said. “You’d go to the pool, because that’s where the girls were, right? So we’d watch the divers work out and say, that guy’s pretty good. Turns out he was the best in the world, like, ever. I had a lot of respect for him.”

Here’s this year’s effort.

Not bad for a guy pushing 60.

Nick Saban thinks skipping bowl games could lead to recruits doing same thing in high school

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Grand Poobah of college football and Alabama head coach Nick Saban has had some interesting ideas about the sport over the years that conflict with the general consensus of his peers. The latest subject to fit that mold? How players like Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey skipping their bowl games could filter down to the high school level with recruits.

“Same thing will happen in high school if they make the signing day before the season,” Saban told CBS Sports. “It will take a few years, then some kid will say, ‘Hey, I’m going to Notre Dame. I’m not playing my senior year.'”

The Crimson Tide coach is referencing not only the two tailbacks skipping bowl games but also the possibility that upcoming December signing date could be moved up on the calendar. Big 12 commissioner (and chairman of the Football Oversight Committee) Bob Bowlsby said at his conference media days that the date for signing could be changed or even extended to a longer signing period as part of ongoing discussions about the recruiting process.

Talk of players signing with a college prior to their senior season in high school has not been broadly talked about by coaches or administrators but it does seem like everything is on the table when it comes to NCAA reforms in this area. It remains to be seen if any recruit will actually go as far as sitting out a full year in order to protect himself from injury in order to play in college… just as it remains questionable as to whether Fournette and McCaffrey’s decisions will develop into a broader trend at the college level.

Coaches are no fans of dramatically altering the status quo and it seems Saban is among the group who want to stem the postseason defection of players before things turn into a regular occurrence at any level of football.

Coastal Carolina coach Joe Mogila has precautionary surgery on trachea

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Coastal Carolina is one of the newest members of the FBS ranks and the program’s first ever Sun Belt conference media day was supposed to be one of the highlights for the school transitioning the ranks in college football. Unfortunately for the Chanticleers, their head coach won’t be able to make it following a health scare.

The Sun Belt released a statement Friday afternoon saying that Coastal Carolina assistant Jamey Chadwell will represent the team at media day after head coach Joe Mogila “had a precancerous nodule on his trachea and doctors wanted it removed as a precaution.”

The 68-year-old Mogila is perhaps best known to those outside the sport for his time on Wall Street, including a productive stint as CEO of the company now known as TD Ameritrade. He got the itch to coach college football however and has been in charge of the Chanticleers since 2012, leading the program to a 51–15 record at the FCS level.

Chadwell was named CCU’s offensive coordinator this past January after previously serving as head coach at Charleston Southern. Neither the school or the conference indicated any timetable for Mogila’s recovery but based on the release it seems the operation was a success and the coach is now recovering.

Coastal Carolina opens the season on September 2nd against UMass in what will be the school’s first game as a FBS program.