Texas A&M Aggies

WASHINGTON - JANUARY 30:  President of the United States Barack Obama (C) talks to CBS annoucers Clark Kellogg and Verne Lundquist during a college basketball game between Georgetown Hoyas and the Duke Blue Devils on January 30, 2010 at the Verizon Center in Washington DC.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Brad Nessler to replace Verne Lundquist as voice of SEC on CBS after 2016

2 Comments

Rumors have been swirling throughout the off-season, but CBS made the news official on Tuesday by announcing Verne Lundquist will step down as the lead voice of the network’s college football coverage — primarily the SEC, but also Army-Navy and the Sun Bowl — to be replaced by Brad Nessler after the upcoming season.

“Verne has set the standard for college football broadcasting,” CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said in a statement. “Together with Gary Danielson he has played a key role in making the SEC on CBS the highest-rated college football package in America. After an incredible 17 years, he will be handing the reigns off to Brad, who in his own right is highly acclaimed and respected as one of the premier play-by-play broadcasters in the business. I am very pleased that Verne will still have a prominent role in our college basketball and major championship golf coverage.  We are fortunate to have one more football season to appreciate Verne’s one-of-a-kind storytelling as we pave the way for a seamless and smooth transition to Brad.”

Lunquist will continue with the network covering college basketball and golf, but will cede the college football chair in what was certainly a contract bullet point to lure Nessler away from ESPN.

“Being a part of the SEC on CBS since 2000 has been the most significant assignment I’ve been given in my more than five decades in this business,” said Lundquist. “Now, it’s time to step back and take in the aroma of those tulips, those roses, and those daffodils that friends have been telling me about for years. In 2017, I’ll happily step aside from college football and welcome Brad to the booth. I’ve known Brad for more than 30 years and have always admired his work ethic and his on-air presence. He shares the same passion for college football that I do. The SEC on CBS is in great hands. Brad and Gary will form a great partnership in the years ahead.”

Nessler leaves a plum gig at ESPN, where he, Todd Blackledge and Holly Rowe called the ESPN Saturday primetime game and one of the two College Football Playoff semifinals each of the past two seasons.

“Verne has been a friend for over 30 years and someone I’ve always looked up to in this business,” said Nessler. “I’m not replacing him as it would be impossible to replace Verne. I am truly honored to carry on where he leaves off and work to maintain the standard of excellence he has set calling the SEC on CBS. I am excited to rejoin the CBS Sports team this season and look forward to working alongside Gary again in 2017.”

42 defensive players named to Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list

Ronnie Lott
Associated Press
Leave a comment

Another day, another watch list.

One day after the Rimington Award released its initial spring watch list, the Lott IMPACT Trophy has followed suit, with the award named in honor of former USC great Ronnie Lott unveiling a watch list consisting of 42 players from seven of the 10 FBS conferences.  The trophy is handed out annually to the defensive player who most represents the qualities of the honor’s namesake – Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.

Last year’s winner was Penn State defensive end Carl Nassib.

Alabama is the only team with three players on the list. Six teams placed two players each: Michigan, Stanford, TCU, Tennessee, USC and Virginia. There was also one FCS team represented — Harvard.

Conference-wise, the Big Ten paced all leagues with 10 players selected, followed by the SEC”s eight and the ACC’s seven. The Mountain West led all Group of Five conferences with two players. The only other G5 league to get an initial nod was the AAC (Houston).

Below is the complete 42-player watch list for the 2016 Lott IMPACT Trophy.

Jamal Adams, S, LSU
Sean Ahern, S, Harvard
Joey Alfieri, LB, Stanford
Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
Dante Barnett, S, Kansas State
Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
Evan Berry, CB, Tennessee
Quin Blanding, S, Virginia
Ben Boulware, LB, Clemson
Riley Bullough, LB, Michigan State
Jason Cabinda, LB, Penn State
Josh Carraway, DE, TCU
Jack Cichy, LB, Wisconsin
Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
Dylan Haines, S, Texas
Charles Harris, DL, Missouri
Adoree’ Jackson, CB, USC
Eddie Jackson, S, Alabama
Derwin James, S, Florida State
Joshua Kalu, CB, Nebraska
Andrew King, LB, Army
Desmond King, S, Iowa
Micah Kiser, LB, Virginia
Jourdan Lewis CB, Michigan
William Likely, CB, Maryland
Dallas Lloyd, S, Stanford
Cameron Malveaux, DE, Houston
James McFarland, DE, TCU
Raekwon McMillan, LB, Ohio State
Viliami Moeakiola, LB, Arizona State
Calvin Munson, LB, San Diego State
Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
Cameron Smith, LB, USC
Arrion Springs, DB, Oregon
Weston Steelhammer, S, Air Force
M.J. Stewart, CB, North Carolina
Jordan Thomas, CB, Oklahoma
Drue Tranquill, S, Notre Dame
Anthony Walker, LB, Northwestern
Jordan Whitehead, DB, Pitt
Tim Williams, LB, Alabama
A.J. Wolf, DL, Duke

SEC joins ACC in utilizing ‘collaborative process’ for instant replay

cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznptzjyznlmmm1ywy5yja0yzc4ymvlnjk3ywmxy2m1ytk5
Associated Press
2 Comments

Earlier this month, the ACC became the first conference to adopt what was described as “collaborative instant replay.”  Less than a week later, the SEC has followed the ACC’s centralized lead.

The SEC announced in a Tuesday press release that it “will implement a collaborative process for instant replay in the sport of football beginning with the 2016 season, following a unanimous vote of the league’s athletics directors and approval by the SEC Executive Committee.”  The conference’s decision to utilize a command center for instant replay comes a month after it was tested during an unnamed member school’s spring game.

“Under this experiment, personnel operating from SEC Headquarters will assist the in-stadium Instant Replay Officials when replay decisions are made,” the release further added.  Additional details, including detailed plans and complete logistics for the new replay process, will be presented to coaches and administrators during the SEC Media Days in July.

Those details will then be released to the public at a media briefing during those meetings.

“Our goal is to continue to use the best-available resources to support correct outcomes when instant replay is used,” said SEC commissioner Greg Sankey in a statement. “We believe the collaborative effort, which will involve additional officiating experts during replay reviews, will enhance the Conference’s football officiating program. I believe this update to the instant replay review process will better support football officiating in the SEC through the use of technology.”

ESPN selections set for epic opening weekend

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 11:  Clemson Tigers fans cheer in the first quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 11, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Getty Images
3 Comments

We already knew that the opening weekend of the 2016 was going to be epic.  Now we know on which channels (most of the) said epic-ness will take place.

Tuesday, ESPN announced its channel selections for the Week 1 slate of games, with the World Wide Leader kicking off its coverage with South Carolina-Vanderbilt on ESPN Sept. 1 — hold on, it gets better — and being bookended by Ole Miss-Florida State on Labor Day.

In between, it’s highly-anticipated opening Saturday matchups such as Oklahoma-Houston (noon ET, ABC), LSU-Wisconsin (3:30 ET, ABC, Lambeau Field), Georgia-North Carolina (5:30 ET, ESPN), USC-Alabama (8 ET, ABC) and Clemson-Auburn (9 ET, ESPN).  For those with an international lean, and are early risers, the Georgia Tech-Boston College will be broadcast live from Dublin, Ireland, beginning at 7:30 a.m. ET on ESPN2.

Oh, and lest we forget the clash of iconic programs: Notre Dame-Texas, kicking off at 7:30 ET Sunday night as the NFL season will be a week away from kicking off.

And all of that is without even mentioning games that have yet to have their broadcast destination announced, including UCLA-Texas A&M, Kansas State-Stanford, Missouri-West Virginia and Arizona-BYU, among others.

So, yes, it’ going to be one hell of an opening weekend.  Go ahead and prepare your goodbyes to family and friends now, informing them you’ll see them on the other side of Labor Day.

Auburn DC Kevin Steele to pull in $1.1 million in first year of three-year deal

Raining Money
Leave a comment

When it comes to the defensive coordinator position, Auburn will be getting a veritable bargain compared to last year.

Prior to moving on to become the head coach at South Carolina, Will Muschamp was paid $1.6 million to coordinate AU’s defense.  In details released by the school Friday, it was revealed that Muschamp’s successor, Kevin Steele, will make $1.1 million in the first year of his three-year deal.

Steele would receive raises of $100,000 in each of the last two years of the contract, bringing the value of the deal to $3.6 million before bonuses.

At LSU last year, Steele’s salary was just over $1 million.  His replacement as the Tigers’ coordinator, Wisconsin’s Dave Aranda, has a three-year, $3.75 million deal that will pay him $1.2 million in 2016.

According to USA Today‘s coaching salary database, the highest-paid defensive coordinators in the SEC last season were Muschamp ($1.6 million), Alabama’s Kirby Smart ($1.501 million), Texas A&M’s John Chavis ($1.5 million), Georgia’s Jeremy Pruitt ($1.3 million) and Steele ($1.005 million). Muschamp and Smart left for head-coaching jobs at South Carolina and Georgia, respectively, while Pruitt replaced Smart at ‘Bama.

Pruitt’s contractual details have yet to be released, although it’s the common train of thought that he’ll come in somewhere between his salary at UGA and Smart in his final season in Tuscaloosa. If that’s the case, and with Chavis returning to A&M, Steele should be the fourth-highest paid defensive coordinator in the conference.

The only other defensive coordinators in college football, based on 2015 salaries, that would make more than Steele would be Clemson’s Brent Venables ($1.4 million) and Louisville’s Todd Grantham ($1.3 million).

In addition to Steele’s contract, AU also released the details on four other assistants hired by Gus Malzahn this offseason.  Wide receivers coach Kodi Burns ($350,000 in 2016), offensive line coach Herb Hand ($420,000), defensive backs coach Wesley McGriff ($500,000) and linebackers coach Travis Williams ($225,000) all signed two-year contracts with the university.

AL.com added in its report that “[a]ll four are allotted a car allowance of $16,250 annually, which is the standard figure for all of Auburn’s football coaches.”