Keith Jackson, the iconic and legendary voice of college football, passed away on Friday night. Jackson was 89.
Jackson spent his broadcasting career calling multiple events for ABC, from baseball to basketball and ABC’s Wide World of Sports, but he will always be connected to his work covering college football. If there was a big game being played on ABC, Keith Jackson’s voice would likely be behind the microphone. Jackson spent his entire career broadcasting college football starting in 1952, with the lone exception of when he did Monday Night Football one season. Jackson provided the narration for many iconic college football moments from regular season games to bowl games, and always delivered with his signature style that provided the tone of the moment but without letting the moment get buried in his signature voice.
Jackson’s final game assignment was a true classic, the 2006 Rose Bowl BCS National Championship Game between Texas and USC. It was a fitting way for Jackson’s final broadcast assignment to send him off into retirement.
Jackson has done more to lend his voice to college football’s history over the years before and after his retirement from broadcasting. His work on team videos have helped preserve the history of various college football programs and he continued to help the Big Ten Network with documentary features as well.
Jackson was awarded the Gold Medal Award by the National Football Foundation in 1999, and the Rose Bowl stadium’s TV booth has been named in his honor. It is Jackson that is largely credited with nicknaming the Rose Bowl “The Granddaddy of Them All.” Jackson is also believed to have nicknamed Michigan Stadium “The Big House.” Jackson had a wide-spanning appeal across the college football landscape because he had a deep understanding and appreciation of the sport from multiple angles. Jackson was able to relay the significance of different traditions and stories for the games he covered because he invested himself in the pageantry and tradition wherever he traveled.
Over the years, listening to Jackson call a game was more and more like having someone tell us a story, and we could not wait to hear what happened next.
Rest in peace, Keith Jackson, and thanks for all of the memories.
Auburn head coach Gus Malzhan is a rich man. He’s set to become even richer.
It’s no secret that the Tigers’ head coach agreed to a new deal back in December that was worth a reported seven years at roughly $7 million a season. While the overall value of that would work out to around $49 million if Malzahn stays on the Plains until 2025, that’s not quite the amount that the school is committing to the coach if they decided to make a change down the road.
Speaking at a news conference for new athletic director Allen Greene on Friday, Auburn president Steven Leath told the Montgomery Advertiser that just over half of the money in the deal is fully guaranteed (so roughly $24.5 million) and that while there is an increased buyout on the Tigers side, it is not close to the reported $49 million mark that some thought it would be when figures were flying around at the end of 2017.
“I’m still a trust guy,” Leath told the paper. “Gus and I are functioning well together. We know the basic tenets, we’ve drawn things up and sent it to his attorney. So we’ll get that cleaned up pretty soon.”
He also confirmed the deal has not been signed by either side.
While Malzahn does seem like he’s on solid footing after guiding the team to an Iron Bowl victory, a SEC West title and a New Year’s Six bowl berth last season, he’s certainly no stranger to the hot seat given the fan base he works with and the sky-high expectations for the school. Either way, he’ll enter 2018 as one of the highest paid coaches in the country and a very rich man going forward, even if it wasn’t quite the security that some thought he was getting after a rumored flirtation with Arkansas several weeks ago.
Auburn checks in at No. 16 in CFT’s Way-Too-Early Top 25 for next season.
It’s becoming a regular occurrence around Madison this time of year but Wisconsin has renewed head coach Paul Chryst’s contract once again.
The UW Athletic Board approved the deal on Friday and keeps Chryst around with a five-year contract that runs through January 31, 2023. Other terms of the contract were not announced but this is pretty standard operating procedure for the school after the board did the same back in 2017 and 2016 to keep the coach on what amounts to a rolling five-year deal.
Based on his upgraded deal that agreed to last winter, Chryst is set to set make $3.3 million in 2018 with additional annual raises of $100,000 each year through 2023.
Chryst is 34–7 at his alma mater (53-26 overall as a head coach) and is coming off the team’s best season several years after going 13-1 in 2017 and capping things off with a victory over Miami in the Orange Bowl. The Badgers could be even better in 2018 given what returns to the starting lineup and were slotted in at No. 5 in CFT’s Way-Too-Early Top 25 for next season as a result.
Mike Bobo finally has his defensive coordinator as Colorado State announced on Friday that long time coaching veteran John Jancek was hired to run the Rams’ defense.
“I’ve had the opportunity to coach on the same staff with John at Georgia, and I’ve coordinated offenses that have gone up against his defenses,” Bobo said in a statement. “He has a great deal of experience coaching and winning at the highest levels of college football, and I’m very excited he is part of the Ram Family.”
The hire of Jancek comes a little over a week after the program nearly brought in former Alabama assistant Derrick Ansley, who was set to head to Fort Collins to take the DC job before getting hired by the Oakland Raiders and their new coach Jon Gruden. The team had an opening at the position after Marty English retired following the 2017 season.
Jancek most recently was a defensive consultant at Kentucky this past season but spent the three years prior as the coordinator at SEC rival Tennessee. All told, this is his fifth stop as a defensive coordinator at the FBS level — including a stint at Georgia that overlapped with Bobo’s tenure in Athens from 2005-2009. He also spent one season as the safeties coach at South Florida in 2016 in his last full-time on the field role as a coach.
Jancek’s move west caps off a busy week for Colorado State’s staff after Dave Johnson was hired as run game coordinator and offensive line coach on Tuesday.
Zach Rogers ended the 2017 season as a starter at Arkansas. Now, he’s set to begin the next first phase of his life post-football.
Rogers’ father confirmed to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that his son has decided to give up playing college football. According to the dad, the offensive lineman is pursuing a career in law enforcement, with the Democrat-Gazette reporting that Rogers has already interviewed with two police agencies in Washington County (Ark.).
A three-star member of the Razorbacks’ 2015 recruiting class, Rogers was rated as the No. 27 offensive guard in the country and the No. 48 player at any position in the state of Texas. After redshirting as a true freshman, Rogers played in three games in 2016.
Last season, when Frank Ragnow, a third-team All-American, went down with a season-ending injury, Rogers started the final five games of the year. Those were the only games he started in his collegiate career, although he would’ve entered summer camp this year as the favorite to land the starting job in the middle of the Hogs’ line.
Now, as the Democrat-Gazette notes, new head coach Chad Morris oversees a roster without a player who’s ever played the center position at this level.