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Pac-12 Networks president denies schools were promised revenues like Big Ten, SEC ventures

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Ask any Pac-12 fan what their biggest source of frustration is right now and more likely than not ‘Pac-12 Networks‘ will be at, or near, the top of their list.

That can at times be the same response given by the league’s athletic directors as revenues from the venture fall further and further behind rivals like the uber-successful Big Ten Network and SEC Network. With those two leagues pushing conference payouts over the $50 million mark as soon as next year, the Pac-12 appears in danger of slipping further and further behind on the finance front.

Speaking to industry publication CableMax this weekPac-12 Networks’ outgoing president Lydia Murphy-Stephans understands that the balance sheet isn’t quite the same out West but parity with the two other conference networks was never something that was promised to schools when the channels were formed several years ago.

“There is a gap between what Pac-12 Networks delivers and the Big Ten Network and the SEC Network,” said Murphy-Stephans in a Q&A with the magazine. “What has to be factored in is the revenue specifically from Pac-12 Networks is only one part of the overall revenue each university receives from the Pac-12. I understand there is frustration, though no athletic director or administrator was ever told the Pac-12 Networks would deliver the same or more revenue than what its peer conferences are currently getting from their networks.

“I don’t think it’s fair in any way to call out Pac-12 Networks as the source of the deficiency the universities or maybe those particular athletic directors or administrators are citing.”

Not exactly the kind of comments that will thrill some around the Pac-12 when it comes time to pay for facility upgrades or to give a coach a raise but probably pretty on the nose as to what was said back when realignment was getting hot and heavy around the country. Murphy-Stephans is leaving her post in the not too distant future so it’s not like she will have to massage some of these comments with Pac-12 administrators like her boss Larry Scott will likely have to do in the coming days.

Contract extension assures Kyle Whittingham will remain Mr. Utah

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Utah and Kyle Whittingham seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly at this point, and the combo will continue to be tied at the hip for at least a few more years to come. On Friday, Utah announced the school had reached an agreement on a contract extension with the football coach through 2021.

And why wouldn’t Utah want to keep Whittingham happy in Salt Lake City? Whittingham has successfully guided Utah through a transition into a power conference from the Mountain West Conference to the Pac-12 and has come close to guiding the Utes to the Pac-12 championship game but have yet to reach that point. He has been the head coach of the program for 12 years, succeeding former Utah coach Urban Meyer when Meyer accepted a job offer from Florida (of course, Meyer is currently Ohio State’s head coach). Whittingham, a BYU alum, was offered the BYU job at the same time he was offered the job at Utah following Meyer’s departure.

Under Whittingham as head coach, Utah is an impressive 10-1 in postseason bowl games and 104-50 overall/ Whittingham has been a part of the Utah football program since 1994 as a defensive line coach and has established a solid track record of having Utah play some of the toughest defense in the Pac-12. Utah also won a Mountain West Conference championship in 2008 under Whittingham, when the Utes went 13-0 and won the Sugar Bowl and finished second in the nation in the final AP poll (fourth in the coaches poll).

Who knows how things may have changed over the years had Whittingham returned to Provo, Utah to coach the Cougars, who are now a football independent and on their second coach since Whittingham turned them down (Bronco Mendenhall took the BYU job after being an assistant coach with the program, and he now coaches at Virginia; BYU’s head coach is currently Kalani Sitake).

In wake of Bob Stoops’ retirement, thought of not being part of a team scares Nick Saban

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With the reverberations of Bob Stoops‘ shocking retirement announcement Wednesday still being felt, some attention has turned to just which long-tenured head coach could be next to step away from the profession.

At the moment, there are currently head coaches who have been at the same program for at least the last 10 consecutive years — Rice’s David Bailiff (2007), Air Force’s Troy Calhoun (2007), Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio (2007), Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz (1999), Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald (2006), Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy (2005), Navy’s Ken Niumatalolo (2007), TCU’s Gary Patterson (2000), Alabama’s Nick Saban (2007), Ohio’s Frank Solich (2005), Middle Tennessee State’s Rick Stockstill (2006) and Utah’s Kyle Whittingham (2005).  Of the Power Five coaches in that group, the oldest, as well as most successful, is Saban, who’ll turn 66 in late October this year.

Saban is in the midst of what will be a Hall of Fame career that stretches back 45 years, the past 27 as a head coach.  Given his age and the ever-growing demands of the profession, it’s natural to wonder how long until the winner of five national championships hangs up his coaching whistle.

As for that particular subject, the coach himself doesn’t seem to even want to think about a future that doesn’t include him on the sidelines.

In the full article from Aaron Suttles of the Tuscaloosa News, Saban expounded on his coaching future and the “r” word.

“I don’t think that anybody can not have those thoughts,” the coach told the News. “But my thought is that I want to do it as long as I feel like I can do it. I really enjoy being around the players. I really enjoy trying to create value for them and their future whether it’s their personal development, seeing them graduate, seeing them develop as football players and have opportunities in life.”

Saban and Stoops and Stoops’ family — there’s a great story HERE about Saban and one of Stoops’ uncles in a Youngstown bar that was robbed — have been friends for more than four decades. Could Stoops’ abrupt decision to step away from the game have an impact on Saban, who earlier this signed off on a contract extension through the 2024 season? That’s unlikely as it seems that Saban has at least a few more good years left in him.

Then again, before Wednesday, most would’ve said the same for the 56-year-old Stoops.

Ex- Utah DB Jordan Fogal tweets he’s transferring to Colorado State

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Last month, Jordan Fogal used Twitter to announce his decision to transfer from Utah. This month, he’s taken to the same social media website to reveal his new college football home.

In a tweet, Fogal acknowledged that he be enrolling in a Masters program at Colorado State and will be playing football for the Rams. While the school has yet to confirm the safety’s move, he is now being followed on Twitter by head coach Mike Bobo.

As a grad transfer, Fogal will be eligible to play immediately in 2017 at CSU.

After spending two seasons at the junior college level, Fogal played in 11 games the past two years. Fogal’s two interceptions last season were tied for fourth on the team.

The defensive back’s 2015 season came to a premature end after three games because of an injury. He then played in eight games in 2016 for the Utes.

Utah and Wyoming add home-and-home series in 2020, 2025

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Former Mountain West Conference foes Utah and Wyoming are set to revive a long-time series with an upcoming home-and-home series.

Wyoming will host Utah on September 19, 2020. Utah will serve as host in the second game of the series, but not until September 19, 2020.

“This is a great opportunity for us to renew a traditional rivalry that goes back to the Skyline Conference, through the WAC and the Mountain West Conference,” said Tom Burman, University of Wyoming Athletics Director, in a released statement. “We’re excited for our fans, particularly in Western Wyoming.”

“This will be an outstanding opportunity for us to play another quality PAC-12 opponent in the coming years,” Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl said. “We look forward to the challenge as we continue to take steps forward in the development of our football program.”

Any time a school from the Mountain West Conference can line up a home-and-home deal with a program from the power conferences is a scheduling win regardless of the outcome on the field. In 2020, Utah will be the second power conference opponent Wyoming will face. The Cowboys are scheduled to visit Texas Tech of the Big 12 the week prior to hosting Utah. As of now, Utah is the only opponent on Wyoming’s non-conference schedule in 2025, but Wyoming has a number of power conference opponents lined up in the coming years, including a road trip to Iowa to open the 2017 season and a home game against Oregon in mid-September. Wyoming also has future dates with Clemson, Washington State, Missouri, Illinois, and Arizona State.

Utah continues to keep old Mountain West Conference on the future schedules. Utah will play BYU this fall and annually through 2022. Utah also has future games against San Jose State (this season) and San Diego State in addition to this new series with Wyoming.

Utah and Wyoming have faced each other 84 times overall, with Utah owning the 51-32-1 edge in the all-time series that started in 1904, according to FBSchedules.com. The teams last squared off in 2010 in MWC play, with Utah winning by a score of 30-6. Utah has won the last four meetings and 10 of the last 11 games in the series.