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Ole Miss confirms hiring of Lane Kiffin as head coach

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That certainly didn’t take long.  At all.

Friday, reports emerged that, barring the unexpected, Lane Kiffin would be the next head football coach at Ole Miss. Saturday afternoon, less than an hour after Florida Atlantic claimed another Conference USA championship, Ole Miss confirmed that, yes, the Lane Train is rolling into Oxford.

Kiffin will officially be introduced at a 2 p.m. ET press conference Monday.

“I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Coach Kiffin to the Ole Miss family,” athletic director Keith Carter said. “As we entered this process, we were looking for energy, innovativeness and a program builder who could excite our student-athletes and fans. Coach Kiffin checked every box and is a home run for our program. I look forward to locking arms with him to take Ole Miss Football to a championship level.”

The 44-year-old Kiffin — yes, he’s still just 44 — has spent two separate stints in the SEC. The first was a blink-and-you-missed-it year as the head coach at Tennessee.  From 2014-16, Kiffin was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Alabama.

The hiring means that Kiffin will square off against Nick Saban at least once a season as well.

“I am truly honored and humbled to join the Ole Miss family, and recognize this as a special opportunity to lead Rebel Football into the future,” Kiffin said. “I am especially grateful to Keith Carter, Chancellor Boyce and the entire Ole Miss family for their trust and confidence. Our staff and I will work tirelessly to recruit and develop successful players for this program, and I look forward to producing many exciting memories to add to Ole Miss’ storied football legacy. I am excited to get to Oxford and begin the groundwork of building a championship program that Mississippi’s flagship university deserves, and I’m thrilled to be back in the greatest athletics conference in the nation. Hotty Toddy!”

Named the head coach at FAU in December of 2016, Kiffin has since led the Owls to a 25-13 record.  The win Saturday over UAB gave FAU two conference championships in three seasons as the Owls won the title in Kiffin’s first season.

Kiffin will not remain with the Owls through their bowl game this season.  Instead, the school confirmed that defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer will serve as interim head coach until a successor is named.

“Coach Kiffin deserves our thanks and a great deal of credit for continuing to build our football program to high levels of success,” a statement from athletic director Brian White began.

“A national search will begin immediately. I know there will be a great deal of interest in the position. We have an extremely talented roster returning with an established culture of success. There are outstanding facilities here with the new Schmidt Family Complex about to open and recent renovations to FAU Stadium. I couldn’t be more excited about the future of our football program.”

Colorado LB Jashua Allen tosses name into the transfer portal

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Colorado football has already seen one portal reversal this offseason.  They are now hoping for another change of heart.  Maybe?

Earlier this offseason, Sam Noyer took the first step in leaving the Colorado football team by placing his name into the NCAA transfer database.  In early April, the quarterback pulled his name from the portal and remained with the Buffaloes.

Three months later, 247Sports.com is reporting that Jash Allen has entered the portal as well.  While the linebacker didn’t confirm the news specifically, he did retweet reports of his impending departure.

Now, for what’s seemingly becoming a daily disclaimer when it comes to transfers.

As we’ve stated myriad times in the past, a player can remove his name from the portal and remain at the same school. At this point, though, other programs are permitted to contact a player without receiving permission from his current football program.

NCAA bylaws also permit schools to pull a portal entrant’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered it.

Allen began his collegiate career at the JUCO level.  In 2019, he was a four-star member of the Colorado football recruiting class that cycle.

His first season with the Buffs, Allen played in 10 games.  Most of that action came on special teams, although he did appear in three games on defense.  In that limited action on the defensive side of the ball, he was credited with four tackles and two quarterback pressures.  His official CU profile also notes he had “four special teams points on the season, one tackle inside the 20, one first down field and one knockdown or springing block on kick return.”

Allen will be leaving the Pac-12 school as a graduate.

It cost Indiana $44,000 to lose to Tennessee in the Gator Bowl

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Talk about adding financial insult to on-field injury for the Indiana football program.

Indiana faced Tennessee in the Gator Bowl this past college football bowl season.  Midway through the fourth quarter, the Hoosiers held a 22-9 lead.  IU was on the verge of claiming its first postseason win since the 1991 Copper Bowl.  The Vols, though, scored a pair of touchdowns in less than a minute of game time to come away with a 23-22 win.

For participating in the bowl game, Indiana’s athletic department received $2.125 million from the Big Ten.  The expenses surrounding the trip to Jacksonville, though, were $2,169,416.  So, in other words, it cost IU a little over $44,000 to lose that heartbreaker of a game.

From HoosierSportsReport.com:

Nearly $2 million of those expenses were for the football team specifically, with the most costly line item being travel. Flights to Jacksonville, Fla., cost $690,333, plus there was another $145,406 in ground travel.

Meals were the next biggest expense at $337,236. Hotel costs amounted to $219,240. Uniforms and bowl apparel were a nearly quarter-of-a-million-dollar expense, at $249,150.

There was also a $110,930 expense for awards, which includes commemorative rings for players in the game.

IU’s band and cheerleading team accounted for a combined $174,262 in expenses, including $156,272 for IU’s Marching Hundred.

If I were to hazard a guess, I’d say that the 15 extra practice sessions that came along with the bowl trip — especially since spring practice was gutted by the pandemic — helped ease the financial loss.  For the head coach, at least.

Name of Wake Forest’s football home will be Truist Field moving forward

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A banking merger has led to a name change for the home of Wake Forest football.

Since 2007, the Wake Forest football stadium has gone by the name BB&T Field.  In February of 2019, however, BB&T and SunTrust banks merged.  Eventually, the company’s name was changed to Truist.

As such, Wake Forest announced this past week that, moving forward, its football home will be known as Truist Field.

“Wake Forest University is proud of its affiliation with the people of Truist and grateful for their longtime support of Demon Deacon student-athletes,” said Wake athletic director John Currie said in a statement. “As Truist continues its climb as one of America’s leading financial institutions, we are excited that the 21st century’s best college football program in North Carolina will now call Truist Field its home.”

The facility that now goes by the name of Truist Field was built in 1968.  It has a seating capacity of 31,500, although the record attendance is 37,623 set in November of 2013.  For that game against North Carolina, temporary bleachers were installed.

Wake is scheduled to open the 2020 college football season Sept. 4 at Old Dominion.  They’ll face Appalachian State the following weekend in the home opener.

Wake Forest is coming off an 8-5 2019 campaign in Dave Clawson’s sixth season with the Demon Deacons.  Wake has played in four straight bowl games for the first time in school history.  Last April, Clawson signed a contract extension that would keep him at the ACC school through the 2026 season.

Forbes: Car dealership group part-owned by Nick Saban received millions in PPP loans

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This certainly won’t serve as fodder for the Nick Saban haters in the audience, will it?  Nah.  Of course it won’t.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has doled out in the neighborhood of five million loans to small businesses.  This facet of the stimulus package helps companies with 500 or fewer employees retain those workers by covering eight weeks worth of payroll expenses.

Which brings us to Nick Saban.

The Alabama head coach is part-owner of a string of car dealerships located in four states throughout the Southern U.S. called the Dream Motor Group.  This week, the United State Small Business Administration, which oversees the PPP, released data on the companies that applied for and received loans through the program.  And, according to Forbes.com, Dream Motor Group received between $5 million and $11 in PPP loans the past few months.

Before getting all bent out of shape, there’s more nuance to the story.  From the report:

Saban is a partner in Dream Motor Group, which is run by CEO Joe Agresti.

Agresti says that the loan money was used only for payroll purposes, and that it kept his and Saban’s 480 workers employed. They’ve also continued to pay the roughly 9% of high-risk employees who they instructed to stay home since the pandemic began, he says. Agresti adds he hasn’t taken a salary since March. Saban doesn’t take a salary but instead receives a percentage of profits, Agresti explains. Saban did not reply to a request for comment.

“I’m proud of the way we handled it,” Agresti says. “I don’t know that we would be bankrupt today [if we didn’t take the money]. But it would have been bad.

Saban, of course, has done quite well financially as a football coach.  In 2019, Saban’s $8.7 million salary was second in the country behind only the $9.3 million pulled in by Clemson’s Dabo Swinney.  In July of 2018, Alabama announced a revamped contract that would pay Saban in the neighborhood of $75 million over eight years.

Not surprisingly, Saban is far from the only one connected to the sport to benefit from the PPP program.  From SportsBusinessDaily.com:

In the college realm, Conference USA received a loan worth between $350,000 and $1M, which preserved 21 jobs. The National Football Foundation and College Football HOF, Ole Miss Athletics Foundation and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) also received loans in the same range.

And then you have Tom Brady and his TB12 company as well.  So there’s that.