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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).

Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione reportedly set to join CFP selection committee

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The College Football Playoff is set to replace six selection committee members before next season, and the first one is in. Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione will join the committee, according to ESPN’s Heather Dinich.

Castiglione will replace Texas Tech AD Kirby Hocutt, who also served as the committee’s chairman.

This will be the third selection committee on which Castiglione has served, finishing the Big Three trifecta after he worked on the baseball and men’s basketball committees. He will be on the committee for the 2018, ’19 and ’20 seasons.

Castiglione will be forced to recusal himself from any discussions involving Oklahoma, a 2015 and 2017 participant in the College Football Playoff. Ohio State AD Gene Smith and Clemson AD Dan Radakovich also did the same regarding their programs. Radakovich is also set to cycle off the committee this year, along with former Arkansas AD Jeff Long, former NCAA executive Tom Jernstedt, former Stanford, Notre Dame and Washington head coach Tyrone Willingham and former USA Today reporter Steve Wieberg.

Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson, Bryce Love among Lombardi Award candidates

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The college football season may be in the books for the 2017 season, bu there is still a piece of hardware to present to one of the sport’s top players from the most recent season. On Monday, the Lombardi Foundation unveiled a list of 21 players named as a candidate for the Lombardi Award for the 2017 season. This year, the award is open to players of any position based on performance, leadership, character and resiliency and the list of candidates includes a number of names you should be familiar with.

2017 Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield, 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson, Bryce Love, Saquon Barkley, Roquan Smith, and J.T. Barrett are all among the players nominated for the award. The list of 21 candidates will be whittled down to seven finalists by a select panel of award voters this week, and four of those finalists will be invited to the Lombardi Honors presentation for the awarding of the Lombardi Award. The seven initial finalists will be announced this coming Monday, January 22.

Saquon Barkley, Penn State (RB)
J.T. Barrett, Ohio State (QB)
Bradley Chubb, N.C. State (DE)
Tyrell Crosby, Oregon (OT)
DeShon Elliott, Texas (S)
Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama (S)
Shaquem Griffin, UCF (LB)
Lamar Jackson, Louisville (QB)
Derwin James, Florida State (S)
Joel Lanning, Iowa State (LB/QB)
Bryce Love, Stanford (RB)
Hercules Mata’afa, Washington State (DE)
Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma (QB)
Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame (G)
Ed Oliver, Houston (DT)
Da’Ron Payne, Alabama (DT)
Rashaad Penny, San Diego State (RB)
Roquan Smith, Georgia (LB)
Vita Vea, Washington (DT)
James Washington, Oklahoma State (WR)
Christian Wilkins, Clemson (DT)

Alabama’s Jonathan Allen won the award for the 2016 season.

Bob Stoops’ WR son will be preferred walk-on at Oklahoma

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Despite having a Power Five scholarship offer in his hip pocket, Drake Stoops and his very familiar surname have decided to stay home.

Drake Stoops, the son of former Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops and a 2018 prospect, announced on Twitter that he has committed to play his college football for the Sooners. The younger Stoops is coming to his dad’s old stomping grounds as a preferred walk-on.

Coming out of Norman North High School, Stoops is listed as a three-star recruit by 247Sports.com. The same recruiting website has the 5-11, 175-pound receiver rated as the No. 20 player at any position in the state of Oklahoma.

Iowa, to which he took an official visit in early December, had offered Stoops a scholarship, and it was thought he could possibly be headed to the Hawkeyes before he made the decision to be a walk-on at OU. Air Force, Arkansas State, Memphis, Ohio and Western Kentucky were the group of Five programs that offered him as well.

According to the Oklahoman, “Stoops’ twin brother, Isaac, is a two-star recruit and has an offer from Army, as well as preferred walk-on offers from Oklahoma, Arkansas, Nevada, Northwestern and Kentucky. He has yet to announce his college decision.”

Reports: Longtime Oklahoma strength coach Jerry Schmidt leaving for Texas A&M

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We usually don’t get into the comings and goings of strength coaches in this space but, well, this isn’t most strength moves. Longtime Oklahoma strength coach Jerry Schmidt is set to leave Norman and take the same post at Texas A&M, according to multiple reports Wednesday. (The news was first reported by ESPN analyst, Oklahoma City radio host and former Sooners defensive tackle Dusty Dvoracek.)

Schmidt has been at Oklahoma since the arrival of Bob Stoops and originally began working with Stoops when he arrived at Florida as defensive coordinator in 1996.

Schmidt has worked with six Heisman Trophy winners throughout his career: Notre Dame’s Tim Brown, Oklahoma State’s Barry Sanders, Florida’s Danny Wuerffel and a trio of Oklahoma winners in Jason WhiteSam Bradford and Baker Mayfield. And if you’ve never seen the man, well, let’s just say he could step in front of the Aggies’ Corps of Cadets and no one would bat an eye.

Credit: Oklahoma athletics

In addition to (possibly) seeking a fresh start, there is also reportedly another reason Schmidt is set to leave Norman for College Station, and it’s the same reason that put Jimbo Fisher in maroon in the first place.

Doyle made $675,000 this year, according to USA Today, more than $100,000 ahead of the next-closest strength coach in Ohio State’s Mickey Marotti.