Fresno State Bulldogs

BERKELEY, CA - OCTOBER 20: California Golden Bears head coach Jeff Tedford walks the sidelines during their game against the Stanford Cardinal at California Memorial Stadium on October 20, 2012 in Berkeley, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Fresno State officially confirms the hiring of Jeff Tedford

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One opening on the 2016-17 coaching carousel has officially been filled.

In a simple tweet Thursday afternoon, and following up on reports that gained steam Wednesday, Fresno State athletic director Jim Bartko confirmed that Jeff Tedford has been named as the football program’s next head coach.  Tedford replaces Tim DeRuyter, who was fired Oct. 23 in the midst of his fifth season with the Bulldogs.

The long-time West Coast coach will be introduced at a press conference Friday.

A former Bulldogs quarterback, Tedford becomes the 17th full-time head football coach at his alma mater.

According to FOXSports.com‘s Bruce Feldman, Tedford’s salary is expected to be in the neighborhood of $1.6 million annually.  DeRuyter was scheduled to make $1.548 million in 2016, which made him the highest-paid head coach in the Mountain West per the USA Today salary database.

Tedford has spent his entire collegiate coaching career west of the Rocky Mountains, most notably as the head coach at Cal from 2002-12 prior to his firing.  Before to that, he was an assistant at Oregon (1998-2001) and his alma mater Fresno State (1992-97).  His only coaching experience in another part of the country came as the offensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2014, but that short stint was marred by a health issue that actually kept him from performing his duties during that one season with the NFL club.

Earlier this year, Chris Petersen announced that Tedford had been added to his Washington football staff as a consultant.  It’s unknown whether Tedford will continue on in at the role as the Huskies push toward a potential playoff appearance, although that should be cleared up at his press conference tomorrow.

Report: Fresno State closing in on hiring Jeff Tedford as head coach

BERKELEY, CA - OCTOBER 21:  Head coach Jeff Tedford of the California Golden Bears looks on against the Washington Huskies on October 21, 2006 at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, Callifornia. Cal won 31-24 in overtime. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
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Over the past few days, speculation has been growing that Jeff Tedford could be Fresno State’s top target in its search for a new head coach.  While nothing is finalized, it appears to be headed in that general direction.

FootballScoop.com is reporting Wednesday afternoon that “Tedford is closing in on a deal to become Fresno State’s next head coach.” The website adds “that if negotiations go well a deal could be struck in the next 24 hours.”

Tedford, who played quarterback at Fresno in the early eighties, would be replacing Tim DeRuyter, who was fired Oct. 23 in the midst of his fifth season with the Bulldogs.

Tedford has spent his entire collegiate coaching career west of the Rocky Mountains, most notably as the head coach at Cal from 2002-12 prior to his firing.  Before to that, he was an assistant at Oregon (1998-2001) and his alma mater Fresno State (1992-97).  His only coaching experience in another part of the country came as the offensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2014, but that short stint was marred by a health issue that actually kept him from performing his duties during that one season with the NFL club.

Earlier this year, Chris Petersen announced that Tedford had been added to his Washington football staff as a consultant.

Tim DeRuyter out as Fresno State head coach

LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 10:  Head coach Tim DeRuyter of the Fresno State Bulldogs watches his players warm up before their game against the UNLV Rebels at Sam Boyd Stadium on October 10, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. UNLV won 30-27 in overtime.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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Another one bites the dust.

In a move that isn’t at all surprising, Fresno State let head coach Tim DeRuyter go on Sunday afternoon after the Bulldogs fell to 1-7.

“Tim DeRuyter is a man of high character — a class individual who is a leader of men,” athletics director Jim Bartko said in a statement. “Over the time I’ve been here, the football program has shown it has the ability to be a product the Red Wave can be excited about, but the results have not been to the standard we anticipated and expect.”

DeRuyter was a solid hire initially for the program as they replaced longtime head coach Pat Hill. He jumped out to a 20-6 record in his first two seasons, including an 11-2 year in 2013 and a wave of national publicity with Derek Carr at quarterback.

That was the team’s peak however and it’s been downhill ever since for the former Mountain West power. DeRuyter went 6-8 in 2014, 3-9 in 2015 and began 2016 with a just one win (over an FCS team) in seven tries.

DeRuyter likely won’t be out of a job for long considering he has a good reputation as a defensive coordinator. What might more interesting is where the school turns after this, as alum and current Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin has been a name many have connected to the opening. Former head coach Jeff Tedford has also been mentioned as a candidate as well.

Offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau was named the interim head coach and will lead the team the remaining of the season. Fresno State plays Air Force on Friday.

Mountain West to consider expansion with or without Big 12 poaching

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 05:  The Championship Trophy, with the Offensive and Defensive Player of the Game trophies, sit on a table fieldside prior to the Mountain West Championship game between the San Diego State Aztecs and  the Air Force Falcons at Qualcomm Stadium on December 5, 2015 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Kent Horner/Getty Images)
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Regardless of what happens in one Power Five conference, one Group of Five league could be expanding.

Air Force and Colorado State of the Mountain West have reportedly made the cut as the Big 12 looks to expand by at least two teams and possibly four.  That conference could make their expansion decision as early as the next month.

In the meantime, the MWC won’t be sitting idly by waiting to be poached as commissioner Craig Thompson confirmed Saturday that his conference will look to expand independent of what the Big 12 does.  And, more to the point, Thompson doesn’t hide the fact that the league would like a presence in the state of Texas.

“I can say this — and I said it at our [football] media days. We have a lot of people saying, ‘If there’s an opportunity to be in your league, we’re interested.’ So there are numbers there,” Thompson said, without getting into any specifics. “I’ve challenged our membership to think about expansion — with or without losing [current] members. Do we look east? Do we look at the state of Texas, for example?

“So that’s probably going to be something we have to confront this year.”

The Salt Lake Tribune mentions current Conference USA members North Texas, Rice, UTEP and UT-San Antonio as possibilities from the state of Texas.  The Sun Belt’s Arkansas State is also considered a viable option.

TCU, Auburn, others name starting quarterbacks

COLUMBIA, SC - AUGUST 28: Kenny Hill #7 of the Texas A&M Aggies drops back to pass South Carolina Gamecocks during their game at Williams-Brice Stadium on August 28, 2014 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
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Game week is upon us, which means it’s time for those mired in quarterback derbies to declare a winner. At least for Week 1.

A number of announcements have come down the pike of late, so we funneled them all into one post here.

First, TCU announced that Texas A&M transfer and short-lived Heisman favorite Kenny Hill has beaten Alamo Bowl hero Foster Sawyer to win the Horned Frogs’ starting role next Saturday against South Dakota State.

“He’s in as good a shape as I’ve ever seen him,” TCU head coach Gary Patterson told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “Stronger, faster than he was coming out of high school. I mean, he’s done a great job of re-doing himself.”

Auburn has the unenviable task of opening against college football’s best quarterback in Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, and the player charged with that task will be Sean White. The one-time Tiger starter reclaimed his role by beating former Florida State quarterback and Last Chance U. star John Franklin III and incumbent Jeremy Johnson.

“It feels really good,” White told Auburn Undercover. “I feel blessed to be in this position, and I feel responsible to lead this team against Clemson. I’m happy coach put this responsibility on me and my teammates believe in me. I feel like they have a reason to believe in me. We’ll be ready to go come Saturday.”

At Wisconsin, Bart Houston will lead the Badgers on the field as they open against LSU at Lambeau Field. In what may be a savvy karma play, head coach Paul Chryst selected Houston, a fifth-year senior named after Packers legend Bart Starr, over redshirt freshman Alex Hornibrook. “I felt like Bart did everything he needed to do and earned the right to get the start,” Chryst said in a release.

At Virginia Tech, new head coach Justin Fuente tabbed Jerod Evans as his starter over fifth-year senior Brenden Motley and true freshman Josh Jackson. A Dallas native and Trinity Valley College transfer, Evans is the first JuCo transfer to ever win the Hokies’ starting gig. Fuente indicated more than just Evans will play in the Hokies’ opener opposite Liberty.

“We’ve still got a lot of work to do,” Fuente said, via the Roanoke Times. “We have a lot of development, a lot of coaching, a lot of mentoring left to do with all three.”

Finally, Fresno State selected redshirt freshman Chason Virgil over Ford Childress and Kilton Anderson to start as the Bulldogs open at Nebraska. For Virgil, the announcement comes at the end of a sordid saga after Mississippi State pulled his scholarship offer late in the recruiting process.

“He earned the job. It wasn’t that we’re just selecting somebody,” Fresno head coach Tim DeRuyter said of Virgil, via the Fresno Bee. He clearly separated himself. If you look at the statistics, he had over twice the throws and less than half of the interceptions of any of the guys that were close to him. The longer we were in the system, the clearer it became.”