Tedford connected to USC job; Chip Kelly says ‘no’ to interest

4 Comments

It took maybe a nanosecond after Lane Kiffin was fired as USC’s head coach for rumors of a replacement to begin, even as a hire likely won’t be made until shortly after the end of the regular season at the earliest.

The rumor mill goes 24/7/365, though, so the speculation continues unabated.

The latest name to be connected to the vacancy is Jeff Tedford.  According to FOXSports.com, USC approached the former Cal head coach shortly after Kiffin’s dismissal with an offer to serve as an offensive consultant and recruiter.  The offer, the source told the website, came with the suggestion that Tedford would then be considered when it came time to name Kiffin’s replacement.

Tedford reportedly declined the opportunity, but made sure the school knew he wanted to be considered for the job.

In November of last year, Tedford was fired as Cal’s head coach after 11 seasons.  While he had a respectable 82-57 record overall with the Bears, a 15-22 mark the last three years of his tenure led to his demise.

In other USC-related coaching rumors, Chip Kelly is one of those who has been mentioned as a possibility.  The thinking goes that Kelly is in over his head as a head coach in the NFL — Kelly’s Philadelphia Eagles are currently 1-3 — and will decide to head back to the college game following the 2013 season.

Thanks to NCAA sanctions slapped on his former program at Oregon, Kelly has an 18-month show-cause that will follow him for the rest of whatever collegiate coaching career he has remaining.  While such a penalty doesn’t preclude anyone from hiring him, it might make a school like USC, coming off their own NCAA sanctions, shy away from such a candidate.

That, though, hasn’t stopped the speculation connecting Kelly to the Trojans.  Kelly was asked by a member of the media about the USC job Thursday and Kelly responded that he “doesn’t deal with hypotheticals.”  When pressed about rumors, Kelly said “no” when asked if he’d entertain an offer from the school if it came to him.

“I’m the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles,” Kelly said. “I’m very, very excited to be here.”

Speaking of former UO head coaches, Mike Bellotti, who was rumored to have been a candidate the last time the USC job came open, told The Oregonian‘s John Canzano that he would not be interested in the opening this time around.  When Canzano continued the line of questioning, Bellotti allowed that, if USC “somehow figure[s] out how to make my wife happy,” he would consider it.  In other words, he won’t consider, although it’s highly doubtful the university would even given him the opportunity to do such a thing.

However, Bellotti did have a suggestion for athletic director Pat Haden.

“If they could somehow get Chris Petersen it would be the greatest get in the world,” the former coach said of Boise State’s current head coach, who is among the betting favorites to land the job even as it’s highly unlikely he leaves the Broncos.

 

LSU reportedly offered Duke star Zion Williamson a scholarship to play football

Getty Images
1 Comment

We’re in the thick of the college football season and months away from March Madness, but even the most casual college sports fan who has been soaking up the action on the gridiron has mostly likely heard of Duke freshman basketball player Zion Williamson by this point.

Perhaps more appropriately, just about everybody has hopefully at least seen the potential No. 1 NBA draft pick throw down a vicious dunk or two this season and thought the 6-foot-7, 285-pounder would make for a pretty decent tight end at the next level. It turns out, those thoughts are not limited in their scope as LSU reportedly offered the hoops prodigy a football scholarship back when he was in high school

“Honestly, I just thought it would be really fun and would be good exposure for LSU if we offered him for football. Unfortunately, he didn’t seem to be too [interested],” former Tigers tight ends coach Eric Mateos told ESPN. “Coach O said go recruit the best athletes in the country, and that’s what I tried to do.

“I thought, hell, why not, he’s probably the best damn tight end to ever live.”

Mateos, who is now the offensive line coach at Texas State, apparently extended the offer in the fall of 2016 to Williamson but did so without the knowledge of head coach Ed Orgeron. 

It’s hard to find anybody in football circles who wouldn’t love to turn somebody like LeBron James into a tight end and many current or future Hall of Famers like Tony Gonzalez or Antonio Gates famously played hoops in college before making their name in the NFL.

Williamson could probably follow in all their footsteps if he wanted to but it seems like sticking to throwing down monster dunks for the Blue Devils is the better course of action at the moment.

North Texas serving up In-N-Out, energy drinks and discounted beer to lure fans for FAU game

Getty Images
1 Comment

At the beginning of the season, many expected that North Texas hosting Florida Atlantic would serve as a potential Conference USA title game preview — just like it did a year ago. Fast forward to Thursday night however and that is far from the case for either program as both enter struggling a bit this late in the season.

The Mean Green though, are doing everything they can to lure fans to Denton for the game either way for the 8:30 p.m. CT kickoff on CBS Sports Network. And when we mean everything they can to juice the numbers, that means just about everything you can think of.

Per the Denton Register Chronicle:

The school has offered up two free guest tickets to students who already get in for free. And that’s just for starters. UNT is also giving out 700 free In-N-Out Burgers to students, free coffee and free energy drinks. Once people get inside, it’s $2 hot dogs and $3 beer and wine. UNT is also putting out heaters on the hill above Apogee Stadium, where students hang out before the game (and during the game, if we are being honest).

While it is a late kickoff on a school night in the metroplex, that’s still a lot of stops to pull out in order to get people to the stadium. It’s also interesting to note that UNT went with In-N-Out for students coming to the game and not the much more appropriate Whataburger that is much more synonymous with a meal in the state.

It still sounds like the program will set an attendance record for the season even if it’s just a normal turnout for the final home game of the year but AD Wren Baker is not one to rest on his laurels in order to hit the mark. While there are unique challenges of filling up a stadium at schools not in the same stratosphere of Michigan, Ohio State, Alabama, etc., it will still be interesting to see if this kind of practice continues to spread across college football to entice folks off their couch and into their seats.

AAC commissioner changing tune on College Football Playoff expansion

Getty Images
2 Comments

Welcome to the dark side, Mike Aresco. It’s about time.

The AAC commissioner told ESPN this week that he’s changing his tune on expanding the College Football Playoff given recent events involving his conference and, particularly, the undefeated run UCF is on.

“The point is, I hadn’t really given a lot of thought to expansion of the playoff, but I’m giving more thought to it, only because it seems to me that if half of FBS is pretty much going to be left out of this. Then I think maybe you have to think more about it,” said Aresco. “I don’t think there’s much impetus for it now, but it might grow because also you’ve seen a couple of [Power 5] conferences left out… This year, you could have a scenario where three could be left out. It’s possible. If that’s the case, you might even see some sentiment on that side to expand it, whether you go to six and have byes or whether you go to eight.

It goes without saying that a big talking point for the AAC the past 18+ months or so has been whether or not the Knights could get into the playoff if they run the table for a second straight season. The team is currently ranked No. 11 by the Selection Committee, a mark that is the highest for a Group of Five team but far from the area where they need to be to get consideration for the final four.

Then there’s Aresco’s larger point that you could have multiple Power Five leagues also left out of the Playoff with the Pac-12 and Big 12 in particular on the outside looking in thanks to the presence of undefeated Notre Dame. Larry Scott’s league in particular could miss out for a second straight season.

Calls for an expanded playoff of either six, eight or even 16 teams have been thrown around forever and even pre-date the current system’s creation. There’s likely to be even more calls for more teams getting involved as the years go by and an actual conference commissioner starting to warm up to the idea could mark the beginning of the process — even if we’re really no closer to a bigger playoff in 2018 than we were a few years ago.

Still, talk led to action when it came to getting rid of the BCS and we may be entering the early stages of the same when it comes to the playoff being just four teams.

Les Miles, LSU settle prolonged buyout… coaching gig next for the Mad Hatter?

Getty Images
5 Comments

Try to contain your excitement, but the grass-eating Mad Hatter could be back on the sidelines sooner than expected.

In a statement released on Thursday afternoon, LSU announced a $1.5 million settlement with former head coach Les Miles that would conclude the two parties financial relationship and close out the latter’s buyout from the school… potentially paving the way for the title-winning coach to accept another job.

“It’s time for both parties to move forward,” said Tigers athletic director Joe Alleva. “One of the challenges of the buyout that was in place was there just wasn’t a lot of incentive to move on to other things. We were looking to provide that and Coach Miles and his representatives were also ready. It was a mutually agreed upon goal and a very positive process from beginning to end.”

The news can be viewed as a win for both parties. LSU had owed Miles a hefty buyout — some $6.5 million coming into this week of a total figure of $9 million — after canning him back in 2016 that resulted in monthly payments continuing for several more years. Now, not only does the school save some $5 million as a result of the lump sum payout, the head coach himself is no longer subject to contractual terms requiring him to specifically pursue other jobs with that salary offsetting the rest of the buyout.

The timing of the move is particularly interesting given that Miles has strongly been linked to the opening at Kansas this year and might even be considered the front-runner for the position. The former LSU and Oklahoma State head coach was also rumored to be involved with other searches at Arizona, Oregon State, Ole Miss and Houston among others over the years as well.

Fully freed from his contract with LSU, Miles can now take that position with the Jayhawks without any strings or move forward with his budding broadcast and acting careers that he’s embarked on recently. It seems like several things are on the table now for one of the game’s biggest personalities and the Tigers get to save a pretty penny in the process.