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Mountain West Conference lands rich new TV deal with two TV partners

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The Mountain West Conference has a brand new TV deal locked in, and it’s a big one for the conference. The Mountain West announced it has agreed to terms on a new media rights deal with CBS Sports Network and FOX that will run through 2025-2026. The six-year contract is valued at $270 million for the conference.

The new media contract with CBS Sports and FOX will send 23 Mountain West Conference football games to CBS, CBS Sports Network, FOX, or FOX Sports 1, and an additional 10 games may be added to CBS Sports Network or CBS’s streaming digital platform, which is a paid service. FOX will air game son both network television and FOX Sports 1. FOX will have first dibs on any Boise State home games as part of the deal. FOX will broadcast the Mountain West Conference championship game as part of its package of games on either FOX or FOX Sports 1.

Boise State continues to be a winner in the new deal with a higher percentage of conference TV revenue share. However, it has been noted this will be the final time Boise State gets such an advantage.

Also of note, Hawaii will be keeping its own local rights agreement. In return, Hawaii will hand over conference games as part of the TV deal. Hawaii’s revenue share will be calculated differently as well.

The new media deal is certainly heavy on traditional television outlets as opposed to the push for digital streaming options. Even though the media landscape continues to move away form traditional cable options, the Mountain West Conference going with a relatively shorter contract shows the conference is still comfortable with the media landscape’s stability for the near future. And for how much the conference will distribute to conference members for the next six years, everyone should be pretty happy about the deal. As far as Group of Five conferences go, the Mountain West has a very good deal in place with multiple viewing options to expand the visibility of the conference’s football and basketball brands.

Rocky Long steps down, Brady Hoke named next head coach at San Diego State

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The college football coaching carousel never stops. Even after the early signing period was supposed to put an end to such movements.

In a rather stunning turn of events out of Southern California, San Diego State head coach Rocky Long confirmed reports that he has stepped down at an afternoon press conference on Wednesday in what is officially being billed as a retirement for the soon to be 70 year old.

Long has led the Aztecs for the past nine seasons, compiling a remarkable 81–38 record while winning a trio of Mountain West titles. The team has reached double-digit wins in four of the past five years and been a thorn in the side of many bigger Pac-12 programs with a number of Power Five upsets recently as well. Adding in his tenure at New Mexico from 1998-2008, Long departs as the all-time winningest coach in MWC history (143 overall wins) and the second-winningest coach in San Diego State.

In addition to his time on the mesa, Long served as an assistant in various defensive capacities at UCLA (1996-97), Oregon State (1991-95), TCU (1988-90), the CFL’s British Columbia Lions (1986-87), Wyoming (1981-85) and New Mexico (1972-73, 1978-80).

The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman added that friction with the administration — including insisting on staff changes — are at least partly to blame behind the shocking move. Long has apparently been thinking about things for some time because it’s been reported that he has explored becoming a defensive coordinator at a Power Five school for the 2020 season in recent weeks as well.

While Long’s departure is considered a surprise, it’s not at all shocking for outsiders to hear that there will be no coaching search to replace him as a familiar name takes over the program for a second stint: Brady Hoke. He recently served as the defensive line coach at San Diego State this past season but ran the entire show in 2009 and 2010, elevating the program from four wins to nine before taking the Michigan job.

The former MAC, MWC and Big Ten Coach of the Year has had a winding career path since leaving Ann Arbor but it seems Hoke will be back in charge of the Aztecs as part of this transition.

Could Rocky Long leave San Diego State for a coordinator job?

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Rocky Long has been one of the most successful head coaches among the non-power conference programs and has been the head coach at San Diego State since 2011. But despite being a three-time Mountain West Conference champion with an 81-38 record with the Aztecs, Long appears to be considering a change of scenery. He may even be willing to take on a reduced role on a coaching staff to do so.

According to Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports, via Twitter, Long is taking a look at various defensive coordinator openings around the country. One job, in particular, is the Syracuse vacancy.

Well, that would certainly be something. A few things could be in play here. First, Long could simply be exploring his options as a negotiating tactic to secure a better contract from San Diego State. This is pretty much a standard operating procedure for coaches these days, and it almost always results in a shiny new deal. Second, maybe Long is juts looking to take some of the load off his shoulders running a program that will typically have a difficult time just getting to a New Years Six bowl game. Sometimes, the best course of action for a happy work-life is to shed yourself form some of the responsibilities you have been carrying around for close to a decade. Long will be 70 when the next college football season begins, and it takes a toll being a head coach of any program.

A third possible option might be Long is simply looking to get back into a power conference program one more time before his coaching career eventually comes to a close. The last time Long coached at a power conference program was as a defensive coordinator at UCLA in 1997. Could UCLA be a school of interest for Long?

It is not unprecedented for a Group of Five head coach to take a coordinator job at a power conference program. Dan Enos did just that in 2015 when he left his position as head coach of Central Michigan to become the offensive coordinator at Arkansas for former Razorback head coach Bret Bielema.

UPDATE: Thamel updated his earlier tweet to say Long has informed San Diego State officials he is still the team’s head coach.

College Football All-Decade Team — CFT’s selections

College Football All-Decade Team
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Hey, look, it’s a College Football All-Decade Football Team, so let the whining commence in earnest as there’s little doubt that we hate (insert name of your favorite player from your favorite team here).

While it might be hard for some to believe, we have come to the end of yet another decade. As such, we — Zach Barnett, Bryan Fischer, Kevin McGuire and myself — decided to cobble together a list of players who have been the best of the best in college football over the past 10 years. And, yes, we’ve done so fully aware of the verbal slings and written arrows that are sure to follow.

(Writer’s note: Speaking of the esteemed panel and verbal slings/written arrows, their personal Twitter accounts can be found HERE, HERE and HERE. Fire away at will.)

This was truly an impossible task — with a small handful of exceptions. Justin Blackmon as one of the wide receivers? Zero doubt. Luke Kuechly manning one of the linebacker spots? No-brainer. Aaron Donald in the middle of the defensive line? Obviously.

Outside of those three, plus a couple of more? Good luck.

Let’s also be clear: This team is based on what the players did at the collegiate level.  What they did or didn’t do in the NFL has no — zero, none, zip, zilch, nada — bearing whatsoever in this endeavor.

One final note before we get on to the festivities: Players needed to have spent more than half of their collegiate careers in this decade to be included. Thus, players such as Alabama’s Mark Barron, Oklahoma’s Ryan Broyles, Alabama’s Julio Jones, Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh and Texas’ Early Thomas were ineligible.

With that all out of the way, let’s get it on.  Or something.

OFFENSE

QB: Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
A three-time Heisman finalist, the former two-time walk-on finally claimed the trophy in 2017.  Twice Mayfield helped lead the Sooners into the College Football Playoffs as well as breaking the FBS pass-efficiency rating each of his last two seasons in Norman.  This was arguably the hardest selection as I wouldn’t argue one bit if someone were to put the special mention in this spot.
(Special Mention: Deshaun Watson, Clemson)
(Honorable mention: Lamar Jackson, Louisville; Robert Griffin III, Baylor)

RB: Derrick Henry, Alabama; Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin 
The only reason this position was “easier” to select than quarterback is the fact that there are two players instead of one.  Taylor is a two-time Doak Walker Award winner who this season, in breaking Herschel Walker‘s record, became the only player in FBS history with more than 6,000 yards rushing his first three seasons.  As part of the Crimson Tide’s 2015 title team, Henry won the Heisman Trophy after rushing for more than 2,200 yards and 28 touchdowns.  He was the only running back to win the Heisman this decade.
(Special mention: Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State; Christian McCaffrey, Stanford)
(Honorable mention: Any other Wisconsin running back; Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona)

WR: Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State*; Amari Cooper, Alabama*
As noted earlier, Blackmon was one of the no-brainers.  In 2010 and 2011, Blackmon caught 233 passes for 3,304 yards and 38 touchdowns.  He’s one of just two receivers to win back-to-back Biletnikoff Awards, the other being Texas Tech’s Michael Crabtree. Cooper put up two 1,000-yard seasons during his three years in Tuscaloosa, winning the Biletnikoff following the 2014 season.  He was a unanimous All-American that year as well.
(Special mention: Corey Davis, Western Michigan)
(Honorable mention: Justin Hardy, East Carolina; Marquie Lee, USC; James Washington, Oklahoma State)

TE: Mark Andrews, Oklahoma
Andrews totaled 22 touchdowns during his three seasons with the Sooners, coinciding with Baker Mayfield‘s time in Norman.  He was named the winner of the Mackey Award after catching 62 passes for 958 yards and eight touchdowns in 2017.
(Honorable mention: Jake Butts, Michigan; Evan Ingram, Ole Miss; Nick O’Leary, Florida State)

OT: Barrett Jones, Alabama*; Brandon Scherff, Iowa*
Jones was a four-year starter at Alabama.  He was a Freshman All-American at guard, won the 2011 Outland Trophy at tackle and claimed the 2012 Rimington Trophy at center.  Those last two seasons, he was a consensus All-American.  Scherff started at both guard and tackle at Iowa, and was a consensus All-American and Outland Trophy winner for the 2014 season.
(Special mention: Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M; Cam Robinson, Alabama)
(Honorable mention: Spencer Drango, Baylor; Jake Matthews, Texas A&M; David Yankey, Stanford)

G: Quinton Nelson, Notre Dame*; David DeCastro, Stanford
Nelson was a three-year starter for the Fighting Irish.  He earned unanimous All-American honors in 2017.  A two-time first-team All-Pac-12 selection, DeCastro was a unanimous All-American in 2011.
(Honorable mention: Chance Warmack, Alabama)

C: Pat Elflein, Ohio State
Elflein began his career as a guard, where he was twice named All-Big Ten.  After moving to center, he was named as the 2016 winner of the Rimington Trophy.
(Special mention: Ryan Kelly, Alabama; Billy Price, Ohio State)

DEFENSE

DE: Joey Bosa, Ohio State*; Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
On the defensive side of the ball, this might’ve been the toughest group to select.  His last two seasons in Columbus, Bosa was a unanimous All-American one year and a consensus All-American the other.  In three seasons, he totaled 51 tackles for loss and 26 sacks. Garrett was a two-time All-American who had 31 sacks his last two seasons with the Aggies.
(Special mention: Derek Barnett, Tennessee; Chase Young, Ohio State)
(Honorable mention: Vic Beasley, Clemson, Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina; Sutton Smith, Northern Illinois)

DT: Ed Oliver, Houston; Aaron Donald, Pitt*
I think people tend to forget just how dominating Donald was at the collegiate level.  His last three seasons, Donald was credited with 63 tackles for loss (63!!!).  A two-time unanimous All-American, Donald won Outland, Lombardi, Bednarik and Nagurski Awards in the same season.  In just 32 career games, Oliver accumulated 53 tackles for loss.  In 2017, he became the first sophomore to win the Outland Trophy.
(Special mention: Christian Wilkins, Clemson)

LB: Luke Kuechly, Boston College*; Jarvis Jones, Georgia; C.J. Mosley, Alabama
Kuechly, who finished his three seasons at BC with more than 530 tackles, was a two-time consensus All-American and the winner of the 2011 Butkus, Lombardi, Lott IMPACT and Nagurski Awards.  Like Kuechly, Mosley was a two-time consensus All-American and a Butkus Award winner.  Jones, who began his collegiate career at USC, was a two-time consensus All-American as well.
(Special mention: Khalil Mack, Buffalo)
(Honorable mention: Dont’a Hightower, Alabama; Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame; Roquan Smith, Georgia; Manti Te’o, Notre Dame)

CB: Morris Claiborne, LSU; Desmond King, Iowa*; Jalen Ramsey, Florida State*
Ramsey played multiple positions in the secondary during his time with the Seminoles, earning All-American accolades his last two seasons.  King was a two-time All-American as well who started all four seasons for the Hawkeyes.  His junior season, he was named winner of the Jim Thorpe Award.  Claiborne won the Thorpe Award in 2011.
(Special mention: Vernon Hargreaves, Florida)
(Honorable mention: Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State; Adoree’ Jackson, USC)

S: Tyrann Mathieu, LSU*; Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama*
One of the most exciting players in the sport this past decade, Mathieu was a finalist for the 2011 Heisman after a season in which, among other things, he returned two fumbles and two punts for touchdowns.  The Honey Badger won the Bednarik Award that season as well.  A two-time consensus All-American and winner of both the Bednarik and Thorpe Awards in 2017, Fitzpatrick was the greatest defensive back produced by a Tide program known for cranking out quality secondary personnel.
(Honorable mention: Landon Collins, Alabama; Grant Delpit, LSU)

SPECIALISTS

K: Roberto Aguayo, Florida State*
Twice a first-team All-American, Aguayo is the third-most accurate kicker in college football history on field goals and never missed an extra point.  Following the 2013 regular season,  he was named as the winner of the Lou Groza Award.
(Honorable mention: Zane Gonzalez, Arizona State)

P: Tom Hackett, Utah
Hackett was the second punter to win back-to-back Ray Guy Awards.  As a senior, he averages exactly 48 yards per punt. For his career, he placed nearly 44 percent of his 242 punts inside the 20-yard line.
(Special mention: Ryan Allen, Louisiana Tech; Michael Dickson, Texas)

RS: Rashaad Penny, San Diego State
Penny finished his collegiate career tied for the most career kick return-touchdowns (7) and combined kick-/punt-return touchdowns (8) in FBS history.  Four of those seven kick returns went for 100 yards, one shy of the FBS record.
(Special mention: Adoree’ Jackson, USC)

AP: Christian McCaffrey, Stanford*
In 2015, McCaffrey shattered Barry Sanderssingle-season all-purpose yardage record, finishing that season with 3,864 yards (Sanders’ old record was 3,250).  McCaffrey finished his time with the Cardinal with (take a deep breath) 3,922 yards rushing and 21 rushing touchdowns; 1,206 yards and 10 touchdowns on 99 receptions; a 26.4-yard average and one touchdown on 56 kick returns; an 11.2-yard average and a touchdown on 34 punt returns; two passing touchdowns; and seven tackles.
(Special mention: Saquon Barkley, Penn State; Jabrill Peppers, Michigan)

(*Denotes unanimous selection)

San Diego State lands Ball State grad transfer Nolan Givan

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The San Diego State Aztecs woke up Christmas morning and found a personnel present from Nolan Givan under its tree — himself.

Earlier this season, Givan opted to enter his name into the NCAA transfer database.  Tuesday, the tight end announced that he has committed to continuing his collegiate playing career at SDSU.

“I’m very grateful that the coaching staff is giving me the chance to join their family,” Givan wrote. “I’m ready to get to work!”

As a graduate transfer, Givan will be eligible to play immediately in 2020. The upcoming season will serve as his final year of eligibility.

A three-star 2016 signee at Ball State, Givan took a redshirt his true freshman season.  The next two seasons, he started 15 of 24 games in which he played.  The 6-3, 256-pound Michigan native caught 39 passes for 160 yards and six touchdowns in that stretch.  Those numbers led all Cardinals tight ends.

Injuries had limited Givan to six games this season. In that limited action, he caught 12 passes for 92 yards.  Those numbers, again, led all BSU tight ends.

SDSU just wrapped up its 2019 campaign by thumping Central Michigan in the New Mexico Bowl. It was the program’s fourth 10-win season the past five years.