SMU Mustangs

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 10:  Head coach Sonny Dykes of the California Golden Bears looks on during the third quarter of a game against the San Diego State Aztecs  at Qualcomm Stadium on September 10, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Sonny Dykes has reportedly spoken to Baylor; Mike MacIntyre could soon?

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Has Baylor honed in on its top target — or two — to permanently replace Art Briles?

With a significant number of signs pointing to Chad Morris being Baylor’s initial focus, SMU announced Wednesday that it had reached an agreement with its head coach on a contract extension through the 2023 season. Not long after, Mark Schlabach of ESPN.com reported that BU would now shift the focus of their search to Cal’s Sonny Dykes.

Thursday night, a report surfaced that Dykes and the Big 12 Bears have been in contact and held conversations.

Dykes completed his fourth season at Cal late last month. In three of those four seasons, including 2016, the Bears have failed to qualify for a bowl. In 2015, Cal won eight games; in the other three seasons, the Bears combined to win 11 games.

The son of legendary Texas Tech head coach Spike Dykes, Sonny Dykes is a well-steeped disciple of the so-called “Air Raid” offense. Given the type of players Briles recruited to Waco the past several years, especially offensively, Dykes would seemingly offer a smoother transition personnel-wise than someone outside that particular coaching tree.  The Texas native’s extensive ties to his home state would be a draw to the program as well.

While Yahoo! has previously disputed the notion that Dykes has now emerged as BU’s focus, Pat Forde says the Cal coach is one of five or six who could still in the mix for the job.  Another?  Mike MacIntyre, according to that and numerous other outlets.

The reports connecting MacIntyre to Baylor come amidst Colorado’s preparations for the Pac-12 championship Friday night against Washington.

MacIntyre took over a Buffaloes program that won a combined four games in 2011 and 2012, but then won just four, two and four games his first three seasons at the school.  In 2016, however, the Buffs went 10-2, the football program’s first 10-win season since 2001. They are also bowl-eligible for the first time since the 2007 season.

This week, MacIntyre has taken home Coach of the Year honors from the Pac-12 and Walter Camp Foundation.

It would seem odd that a coach, even a devout Baptist such as MacIntyre, would leave a program seemingly on the rise for one enveloped in a cloud of controversy. Especially a coach with zero ties, personally, professionally or otherwise, to either the program or the state. Earlier this week, at least one respected national college football writer has attempted to toss some cold water on the speculation.

With his name being mentioned in connection to other jobs, it’s expected CU will commence talks on a contract extension following the title game. In 2016, MacIntyre was the lowest-paid head coach in his conference.

SMU locks down Chad Morris with extension through 2023

DALLAS, TX - OCTOBER 22:  Head coach Chad Morris of the Southern Methodist Mustangs celebrates with Jackson Mitchell #44 of the Southern Methodist Mustangs after the Southern Methodist Mustangs beat the Houston Cougars 38-16 at Gerald J. Ford Stadium on October 22, 2016 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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With rumors swirling around about possible interest from Baylor, SMU has gone all in on keeping Chad Morris happy where he currently resides. SMU announced on Wednesday that Morris has agreed to a contract extension that will keep him in charge of the program through 2023.

The news is even more significant given the current climate of the coaching carousel that has seen one of SMU’s rivals (Houston) lose one  of the top coaching targets in the coaching carousel (Tom Herman) to a power conference program in the same state (Texas). SMU handed Houston one of their three losses this season, and now managed to keep their head coach from leaving for another potential job opportunity. For a program looking to rebuild and become a contender in the AAC, SMU has plenty of reasons to be smiling right now.

Morris has been the head coach at SMU for two seasons now, and while the results have not necessarily paid off in the win column just yet with a bowl trip or a conference title push, the groundwork is being laid for future long-term success with Morris serving as the foreman. SMU has focused on recruiting well within the state of Texas.

While Morris may be signed to a long-term deal at SMU, if he continues to show progress with the program there is a very good chance his name will continue to pop up in the rumor mill in the future. Such is the life of a successful coach from the Group of Five.

Trio of Big 12, Big Ten, SEC teams among 16 that can become bowl-eligible Saturday

PHILADELPHIA - DECEMBER 11: An Army Cadet waves an American flag and cheers during a game between the Navy Midshipmen and the Army Black Knights on December 11, 2010 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Midshipmen won 31-17. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
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Entering a Week 12 that kicked off Tuesday, 58 teams had already met the six-win threshold and are bowl-eligible. With wins Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan pushed that number to an even 60. As there are 40 bowl games this season, that means 20 of those slots are still left to be filled.

Once Week 12 is put to bed, well over half of those available openings could be closed heading into the final full weekend of the regular season.

Leading the charge toward the postseason are a trio of teams from three Power Five conferences: the Big 12 (Kansas State, TCU, Texas), Big Ten (Indiana, Maryland, Northwestern) and SEC (Kentucky, Ole Miss, South Carolina). UK and USC are nearly mortal locks to reach six wins as they both play FCS teams at home, while K-State and TCU have the added advantage of two more games apiece should they lose to Baylor or Oklahoma State, respectively, this weekend.

The B1G schools have by far the toughest row to hoe, with two of the teams facing ranked opponents on the road (Indiana, at No. 3 Michigan; Maryland, at No. 18 Nebraska) while Northwestern plays at a 7-3 Minnesota squad still alive in the race for a West division title.

A football program that played its first season in 2012, UT-San Antonio, will be looking to wrap up its first-ever bowl bid, although that may have to wait until the regular season finale against Charlotte as UTSA will have to travel to Texas A&M this weekend. Army (home against Morgan State) and UK, meanwhile, will be looking to end the longest bowl-less streaks amongst the group of 16 schools that could reach six wins Saturday, with each team last playing in the postseason following the 2010 season.

Below is that complete group of 16 schools that can become bowl-eligible in Week 12, along with their opponent and last year of playing in the postseason:

Arizona State (at Washington), 2015
Army (Morgan State), 2010
Colorado State (New Mexico), 2015
Indiana (at Michigan), 2015
Kansas State (at Baylor), 2015
Kentucky (Austin Peay), 2010
Maryland (at Nebraska), 2014
North Carolina State (Miami), 2015
Northwestern (at Minnesota), 2015
Ole Miss (at Vanderbilt), 2015
SMU (USF), 2012
Southern Miss (at North Texas), 2015
South Carolina (Western Carolina), 2014
TCU (Oklahoma State), TCU
Texas (at Kansas), 2014
UT-San Antonio (at Texas A&M), never

(Note: There are currently 35 teams, out of 128 FBS teams, that have at least seven losses, meaning they can’t reach bowl eligibility. If there not enough six-win teams to fill all 80 bowl slots, five-win teams with the best APR scores will be selected.)

Report: Baylor focusing on several big names for head coaching position

WACO, TX - OCTOBER 15:  Baylor Bears fans cheer as the Bears take on the Kansas Jayhawks in the second quarter on October 15, 2016 in Waco, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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As Baylor’s season has progressed, it’s become increasingly clear that interim head coach Jim Grobe is unlikely to be retained by the school as they search for a long term replacement for dismissed coach Art Briles.

While the Bears still have three games and a bowl left to play, speculation is already starting to turn to what candidates the program will look at for their vacancy. According to a report from 247Sports and another one from CBS Sports, Baylor’s short list includes Houston’s Tom Herman, SMU’s Chad Morris and even ex-LSU coach Les Miles.

The inclusion of Herman makes plenty of sense considering he is the hottest name on the coaching carousel for just about every opening and is fresh off an upset win over No. 5 Louisville on Thursday night. Adding to the intrigue, Baylor’s new athletic director Mack Rhoades was actually the one who hired Herman from Ohio State to be the Cougars’ head coach.

Still, it seems like a bit of a long shot for Baylor to hire Herman given the still-unfolding sexual assault scandal that has rocked the school and the fact that his name has frequently been linked to bigger openings like LSU and other jobs such as Oregon and Texas. That’s why it’s no surprise to see Morris, who has done a great job turning around SMU and is superbly familiar with the state, and Miles on the list.

No matter where Baylor turns however, they figure to have one of the more interesting coaching searches in all of college football over the coming weeks and months.

It’s official: Big 12 unanimously decides not to expand

FILE - In this July 18, 2016, file photo, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby addresses attendees during Big 12 media day in Dallas. The Big 12 board of directors meets Monday, Oct. 17, 2016, in Dallas and the topic of expansion will be addressed.  Not necessarily decided, but definitely addressed. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)
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It’s official.

In a “unanimous” decision, the Big 12 Board of Directors announced on Monday that the conference would not be expanding and adding any new schools to the league.

“We decided after a very thorough discussion to remain at 10 members,” Oklahoma president and board chair David Boren said. “We came to the decision that this is not the right time for expansion.”

Among the other highlights from the league’s press conference in Dallas:

  • There was no discussion of any individual schools getting into the conference
  • There was no vote on any schools or any polls of support for any university
  • The process to expand or not is no longer an agenda item being considered by the Big 12. Both Boren and Bowlsby said “never say never” however.
  • There will be no Big 12 Network at the current moment as the result of “market place forces” but it is not being ruled out completely in the future
  • Extending the conference’s grant of rights did not come up in the board’s discussions
  • The process of holding a conference title game moved forward and further details will be handled by the 10 athletic directors
  • There was no talk about the ESPN/Fox television contracts being renegotiated at this time

“I made one recommendation. We should bring this process to closure,” commissioner Bob Bowlsby added. “We shouldn’t kick the can down the road.”

The news no doubt comes as a blow to schools like Houston, BYU and Cincinnati among others who were hoping the Big 12 would expand by two or four schools and they would be able to join the Power Five as a result.