Mountain West Conference

SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 21:  Donnel Pumphrey #19 of the San Diego State Aztecs runs past Jermaine Kelly #3 of the San Jose State Spartans for a touchdown during the first half of a game  at Qualcomm Stadium on October 21, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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With Chargers skipping town, San Diego State places focus on new stadium


The San Diego Chargers wanted a new stadium in San Diego but were turned down, leading the franchise to make the decision to head to Los Angeles. San Diego State, who has shared residences with the Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium, also wants a new stadium, but the Aztecs lack the same kind of bargaining power and threat the Chargers do. After all, San Diego State cannot go anywhere. The good news is their demands are not nearly as taxing on the city either.

San Diego state currently has a lease with Qualcomm Stadium that expires after the 2018 season, which means the school needs to figure out if it can create a new place to call home or renew its contract for the cavernous Qualcomm Stadium for however many more years are necessary. The school has explored stadium options before, including the possibility of investing $100 million for a brand new stadium all to themselves, but there are no plans in place just yet to break ground on a stadium built just for the Aztecs.

“The big thing is finding a suitable stadium solution for the long term,” San Diego State athletics director John David Wicker said in a story published by The San Diego Union-Tribune. “That means we have to be able to generate revenue over and above what we’re doing now. We need to generate premium sales; we need to generate third-party marketing rights – those types of things that we don’t get now.”

The issues facing San Diego State are common among programs located in cities. Temple and USF, for example, play their home game sin NFL stadiums in part because the location for a football-only stadium is either not available or feasible. San Diego State looks to other midmajor football programs for inspiration where stadiums with a smaller seating capacity offer a more enjoyable experience for fans compared to dressing up (or dressing down) a stadium built in 1967 to host both baseball and football.

“That’s the only way we’re going to be successful moving forward,” Wicker said. “It’s figuring out what that’s going to look like.”

Having just played Houston in the Las Vegas Bowl gave Wicker a chance to meet with Houston officials, who have extended an invitation to him to come check out their football stadium.

“They told me they’d love to have me come out to take a look,” Wicker said. “They said they could tell me what they did right and the things they’re regretting now. There’s that road map out there.”

There is no timeline for when San Diego State will have a future stadium plan all hashed out, but there is work being done behind the scenes to address it.

Ex-Alabama QB David Cornwell announces transfer to Nevada

TUSCALOOSA, AL - APRIL 18:  David Cornwell #12 of the Crimson team drops back to pass against the White team during the University of Alabama A Day spring game at Bryant-Denny Stadium on April 18, 2015 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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Few programs deal with a January full of roster turnover quite like Alabama and that was certainly the case with a few expected decision coming from players looking to continue their careers outside of Tuscaloosa.

In addition to a trio of juniors announcing they would be leaving for the NFL Draft, backup quarterback David Cornwell followed up on his decision to transfer from the program by tweeting that he would be continuing his career at Nevada.

Cornwell was a four-star prospect coming out of high school and a former Elite 11 signal-caller prior to enrolling early at Alabama. He redshirted his first season and then was somewhat buried on the depth chart in subsequent seasons, appearing only twice in game action during the 2016 campaign.

With rising sophomore Jalen Hurts firmly entrenched as the starter for the Crimson Tide, the quarterback meeting room was naturally going to thin out and Cornwell is the third QB to leave the program in the past few months as a result. He is set to join the Wolfpack’s new head coach Jay Norvell out in Reno, where he’ll have two seasons left of eligibility as a graduate transfer starting this year.

Craig Bohl ‘excited’ QB Josh Allen’s returning to Wyoming

LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 12:  Quarterback Josh Allen #17 of the Wyoming Cowboys throws against the UNLV Rebels during their game at Sam Boyd Stadium on November 12, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. UNLV won 69-66 in triple overtime.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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If you listened to some of the growing draft chatter, Josh Allen had the kind of talent that wowed scouts and could’ve led to the redshirt sophomore being the first quarterback taken in the upcoming draft. Instead, he decided a little additional seasoning is in order.

Allen confirmed to Craig Bohl Thursday that he will indeed be returning to Wyoming for his fourth season, with the school confirming the news in a press release. This past season was Allen’s first full year as the starter and, while it didn’t prevent Mitch Trubisky of North Carolina from leaving early, it was likely a wise decision on his part to eschew the NFL and return to Wyoming — especially as it’ll give him another year in a pro-style offense.

“We always support our student-athletes in pursuing their potential professional options,” said Bohl in a statement. “We’re excited that Josh and his family have made the decision for him to return to Wyoming for next year and help continue to build on the success that our program enjoyed this past season.

“Now we’re looking forward to getting ready to play Iowa in our season opener next fall.”

In 2016, the 6-5, 222-pound Allen was first amongst Mountain West quarterbacks with 28 touchdowns; second in passing yards with 3,203; and third in passing efficiency (144.9). Those numbers were tied for 20th, 32nd and 33rd nationally.

Barring an unexpected development, 2017 will likely be Allen’s last season at the collegiate level.

Lorenzo Ward added to Louisville’s coaching staff

LOUISVILLE, KY - OCTOBER 18:  Bobby Petrino the head coach of the Louisville Cardinals watches the action during the game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on October 18, 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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The reshaping of Bobby Petrino‘s Louisville defensive coaching staff has continued.

Earlier in the day, Mississippi State confirmed that it had hired U of L defensive coordinator Todd Grantham for the same job. The U of L subsequently confirmed that the man Grantham replaced in Starkville, Peter Sirmon, would replace Grantham with the Cardinals, completing what was essentially a coordinator-for-coordinator swap.

Additionally, Petrino announced Wednesday the hiring of Lorenzo Ward as his defensive backs coach.  Ward replaces Keith Heyward, who left earlier this month for Willie Taggart‘s staff at Oregon.

Ward had spent the 2016 season as the coordinator at Fresno State.  Prior to that, he was on Steve Spurrier‘s South Carolina coaching staff for seven seasons.  For four of those seasons, he was the Gamecocks’ coordinator.

Ward and Petrino also have a previous working relationship, with the former working as the secondary coach on the latter’s Arkansas staff.

“Adding a coach with the experience of Lorenzo Ward is very exciting and will be a great addition to the University of Louisville football staff,” Petrino said. “Lorenzo is a guy I’ve known and respected for a long time, and saw the incredible job he did as the defensive coordinator at South Carolina. He does a tremendous job developing players, building relationships, working with a staff, and is one of the top recruiters in the collegiate game. I’m excited he will be joining our staff.”

CFP extends contract of executive director Bill Hancock

DALLAS, TX - JANUARY 10:  College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock attends the ESPN College Football Playoffs Night of Champions at Centennial Hall on January 10, 2015 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images for ESPN)
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The leadership at the top of the College Football Playoff will remain as its been since its inception.

In a press release Wednesday morning, the CFP board announced it has reached an agreement on a three-year contract extension with executive director Bill Hancock.  The new deal leaves Hancock signed through June of 2020.

“Bill Hancock is not only one of the most widely respected people in college football, he’s one of the kindest, most decent, and able people anyone will ever meet,” said USC president and CFP board chair C. Max Nikias in a statement. “Under Bill’s leadership, the playoff for three years in a row has been a huge success, making it an event that is loved by fans, students and alumni throughout the country. We’re delighted to extend the contract of a man who is so dedicated to helping students be successful in college and in life.”

Hancock has been the executive director of the playoff all three years of its existence.  Prior to that, he served in the same capacity for the Bowl Championship Series.

One of the biggest issues facing Hancock, Nikias and the rest of the board will be declining television ratings and what if anything can be done about them. (Hint: moving the title game to Saturdays certainly couldn’t hurt.)