UConn Huskies

GREENVILLE, NC - OCTOBER 23:  Head coach Bob Diaco of the Connecticut Huskies directs his team during a game against the East Carolina Pirates at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on October 23, 2014 in Greenville, North Carolina. East Carolina won 31-21.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
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Bob Diaco, wife giving $250,000 toward non-football athletic facilities at UConn

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Mark Richt recently dipped into his own pocket in an effort to help build a practice facility for his own football program.  Now, his counterpart at UConn is doing something similar, although it seemingly won’t benefit him or his team at all.

In a press release, UConn announced that Huskies head football coach Bob Diaco and his wife, Julia, have plans “to contribute $250,000 to the University to help fund the construction of several new UConn athletic facilities.”  Those facilities that will be constructed will be utilized by the men’s and women’s soccer, baseball and softball teams.

The Huskies already have their own indoor facility, so the Diacos are directing their money to help other student-athletes and athletic programs at the school.

“Our UConn football family is very fortunate to call The Burton Family Football Complex and Mark R. Shenkman Training Center our home,” said the coach in a statement. “These facilities are among the finest in the nation and fully serve the needs of our football student-athletes. I want all Husky student-athletes and my fellow coaches to be able to enjoy the same caliber of facilities, which they richly deserve.”

Well done, Diacos.  Well done.

Report: Big 12 expansion, TV network on hold for 2016

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Thirty-five media members are expected to descend upon suburban Dallas this week for the annual gathering of Big 12 presidents and chancellors — more than three times the average number — and not because they’re excited to see whether Baker Mayfield gets another year of eligibility. Expansion is the first word off the lips everywhere from Provo to Storrs with numerous stops in between, but a report Tuesday said all these digital trees slain in devotion to the subject will die in vain.

According to Chip Brown of Horns Digest, the issue has already been decided and the Big 12 will stand pat — both on the membership and television network fronts — for 2016.

Brown writes:

“The bottom line is there is no consensus on any non-Power Five candidates to add, and the league’s primary TV partners – ESPN and Fox – aren’t exactly knocking down doors right now to start a conference network, the sources told HD.”

If the presidents haven’t even broken their proverbial bread yet, how could the issue already be decided? With 10 schools, only three are needed to block any movement, and Texas, TCU and Texas Tech were said to be against expansion heading into the meetings.

It’s also possible this report is a trial balloon of sorts, a shot across the bow at a specific group of people in the meeting room.

The only area change could happen, according to Brown, would be to add a championship game. The conference won the right to hold a title game without expanding during the NCAA Convention in January.

A conference championship game is believed to be worth an extra $2-3 million per year per school in television money.

57 centers named to Rimington Award spring watch list

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You know how I know we’re getting closer to the start of a new season?  The first watch list of the offseason has arrived.

The first for that honor this year is the Rimington Award, which on Tuesday released its spring watch list that is 57 players strong.  The Rimington Award, named in honor of former Nebraska standout Dave Rimington, is presented annually to the top center in the nation and is determined by the consensus All-American center pick from three existing All-America teams — Walter Camp. Sporting News and FWAA.

None of the finalists for the 2015 award, won by Alabama’s Ryan Kelly, are included on this year’s initial watch list as all three have since moved on with expired eligibility.

The ACC and SEC pace all conferences with eight watch listers apiece, followed by the AAC and Big 12 with seven each.  The Big Ten placed six, while the Pac-12’s three was the least of all of the Power Five programs.

All 10 of the FBS leagues, plus one independent (Notre Dame), are represented on the spring watch list, the full roster of which appears below.

AAC
Deyshawn Bond, Cincinnati, senior
Ryan Crozier, UConn, redshirt sophomore
Will Noble, Houston, sophomore
Drew Kyser, Memphis, sophomore
Evan Brown, SMU, junior
Brendan McGowan, Temple, redshirt senior
Chandler Miller, Tulsa, sophomore

ACC
Jay Guillermo, Clemson, senior
Alec Eberle, Florida State, redshirt sophomore
Freddie Burden, Georgia Tech, redshirt senior
Nicholas Linder, Miami, junior
Lucas Crowley, North Carolina, senior
Alex Officer, Pittsburgh, redshirt junior
Jason Emerich, Syracuse, redshirt senior
Jackson Matteo, Virginia, senior

BIG TEN
Joe Spencer, Illinois, senior
Sean Welsh, Iowa, junior
Brendan Moore, Maryland, sophomore
Mason Cole, Michigan, junior
Dylan Utter, Nebraska, senior
Michael Dieter, Wisconsin, sophomore

BIG 12
Kyle Fuller, Baylor, senior
Dalton Risner, Kansas State, sophomore
Jonathan Alvarez, Oklahoma, junior
Brad Lundblade, Oklahoma State, junior
Austin Schlottman, TCU, junior
Tony Morales, Texas Tech, senior
Tyler Orlosky, West Virginia, redshirt senior

CONFERENCE USA
Michael Montero, FIU, senior
Dillon DeBoer, FAU, redshirt senior
Daniel Stephens, Middle Tennessee State, senior
Nick Clarke, Old Dominion, sophomore
Cameron Tom, Southern Miss, senior
Max Halpin, Western Kentucky, redshirt senior

MAC
Tim McAuliffe, Bowling Green redshirt junior
James O’Hagan, Buffalo, sophomore

MOUNTAIN WEST
Jake Bennett, Colorado State, junior
Asotui Eli, Hawaii, redshirt sophomore
Nathan Goltry, Nevada, senior
Arthur Flores, San Diego State, senior
Austin Stephens, Utah State, senior

PAC-12
Toa, Lobendahn, USC, junior
Coleman Shelton, Washington, junior
Riley Sorenson, Washington State, senior

SEC
Frank Ragnow, Arkansas, junior
Brandon Kublanow, Georgia, senior
Jon Toth, Kentucky, senior
Ethan Pocic, LSU, senior
Jamaal Clayborn, Mississippi State, senior
Robert Conyers, Ole Miss, senior
Alan Knott, South Carolina, redshirt junior
Coleman Thomas, Tennessee, junior

SUN BELT
Devin Mondie, Arkansas State, senior
Andy Kwon, Georgia Southern, senior
Gabe Mobley, Georgia State, sophomore
Steve Matlock, Idaho, senior

INDEPENDENTS
Sam Mustipher, Notre Dame, junior

UConn, Bob Diaco reach agreement on two-year extension, raises

PROVO, UT - OCTOBER 2: Head coach Bob Diaco of the Connecticut Huskies talks to his team on the bench during their game against the Brigham Young Cougars at LaVell Edwards Stadium on October 2, 2015 in Provo Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
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Getting UConn back to the postseason for the first time in a half-decade will pay off well for Bob Diaco.

UConn confirmed Monday that it has reached an agreement with Diaco on a two-year contract extension that would keep him with the football program through the 2020 season.  The 2019 and 2020 seasons, Diaco will be paid $2 million and $2.1 million, respectively.

Additionally, the three remaining years on Diaco’s original contract have been changed to reflect raises of $100,000, $150,000 and $200,000, pushing his total compensation to $1.7 million in 2016, $1.8 million in 2017 and $1.9 million in 2018.

According to USA Today‘s salary database, Diaco earned $1.55 million last year.  That total was fourth in the American Athletic Conference.

After a 2-10 first season with the Huskies, Diaco led the Huskies to a 6-7 mark in 2015.  Last season also featured the Huskies’ first bowl game since the Fiesta Bowl following the 2010 season.

NC State announces future series with Texas Tech, Vandy, UConn

RALEIGH, NC - OCTOBER 31:  The North Carolina State Wolfpack run onto the field before their game against the Clemson Tigers at Carter-Finley Stadium on October 31, 2015 in Raleigh, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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Tuesday afternoon, North Carolina State decided to do a rather hefty scheduling dump.

That football program announced earlier in the day today that it has reached an agreement on three future home-and-home series, including one each against Texas Tech and Vanderbilt.  The Tech series will take place in the years 2022 (Raleigh, N.C.) and 2027 (Lubbock), while the Vandy series will be played in 2026 (Nashville) and 2028 (Raleigh).

The Wolfpack owns a 4-1 advantage in the all-time series against the Red Raiders, with the last meeting coming in 2003.  The Commodores have beaten the Wolfpack in both previous meetings, including a 38-24 win in the 2012 Music City Bowl.  The only other previous meeting came back in 1946.

In addition to those two series, NCSU will also take on UConn in a third home-and-home.  The Wolfpack will host the first game of that series in 2022, while the Huskies will return the favor the following season.

NCSU has won both games between the two football programs, the first one coming in 2003 and the most recent in 2012.