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FAU Hires Arkansas Assistant Partridge As New Head Football Coach

partridgeReports began to surface this weekend that Arkansas defensive line coach Charlie Partridge would be named the next head football coach at Florida Atlantic.  Today, those reports became official.

FAU announced the hiring of Partridge this morning.  He is a Florida native and his departure from Bret Bielema’s staff leaves a South Florida-shaped hole.  Partridge helped the Razorbacks land Denver Kirkland and Alex Collins from that area in February.

This will be the first head coaching job for Partridge who will take over the Owl program from Carl Pelini.

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Report: Hog OC McGee Talks To FAU About Head Coaching Job

The website FAUOwlAccess.com reported yesterday that Arkansas offensive coordinator Garrick McGee has interviewed for the head coaching job at Florida Atlantic and “he possibly could have an offer to be the next coach already in hand.”

The Owls are 1-10 in Howard Schnellenberger’s final season at the helm and still have a game to play with Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday. 

When it comes to McGee, apparently the writers at OwlAccess are in favor of finding someone with a more proven background as they suggest FAU’s athletic director talk to Ron Zook and Dennis Erickson before rushing into a hire of Bobby Petrino’s coordinator.

It’s appropriate to note that Zook’s offensive coordinator at Illinois — before being fired this week — was former Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino.

McGee has been at Arkansas for four seasons and has led the offense for the past two.  He is one of five finalists for this year’s Broyles Award which goes to the nation’s top assistant coach.

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Muschamp Says Brantley’s Ready To Go

Earlier this week, Florida quarterback John Brantley said that his sore back is fine and that he’s A-OK to start for the Gators on Saturday.  Now Will Muschamp is saying the same thing:


“John’s had a good week, and I’m really pleased with his progress.  He’s responded well to the treatments and the different things we’ve done.  We’ve got an outstanding medical staff here.”


Luckily for the Gators and Brantley, it’s not likely the Florida Atlantic pass rush will be putting much pressure on the senior Saturday night.  Of course, if FAU can get heat on the Gator signal-caller, that’ll be bad news for Muschamp’s squad on a number of levels.

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Auburn Figures To Take A Big Step Back In 2011

The 2010 BCS champion Auburn Tigers won’t look the same in 2011.  Sure, Gus Malzahn will still have his rapid-fire offense in place.  The entire coaching staff is expected to return as well.

But the Tigers lose two very special players from this year’s team: Cam Newton and Nick Fairley.

If Newton and Fairley had not been on AU’s squad this past season would the Tigers have won all of these games: Mississippi State (a 17-14 win), Clemson (a 27-24 win), South Carolina (a 35-27 win), Kentucky (a 37-34 win), LSU (a 24-17 win), Alabama (a 28-27 win) or Oregon (a 22-19 win)?

Not likely.

But Newton and Fairley aren’t the only Tigers heading for the exit.  Auburn will also lose a 24-man senior class that includes four starting offensive linemen and several key defensive vets (Mike Blanc, Josh Bynes and Zac Etheridge). 

Now look at the Tigers’ schedule for next season:


Utah State
Mississippi State
at Clemson
Florida Atlantic
At South Carolina
At Arkansas
Florida
At LSU
Ole Miss
Samford
At Georgia
(Open Date)
Alabama


Mississippi State, South Carolina, Florida and LSU should be better in 2011.  Clemson and Arkansas will be on the road this time around.  Georgia, too.  Alabama has holes but a lot of talent to fill them.

Add it up and you’re looking at a lot of question-mark games for Auburn.  And remembering how Malzahn’s offense lost five of its last six SEC games in 2009 without Newton, it’s not hard to imagine a Barrett Trotter-led attack taking a big step backwards next year.

If you were to have to put money on the Tigers next year, in which games would you feel the most certain?  Utah State, FAU, Ole Miss (at home) and Samford, right? 

But the other eight games — especially that brutal at Carolina, at Arkansas, Florida, at LSU stretch — are toss-ups at best.

I know, I know, Auburn fans… 12-0 again.  I hear ya.  Every fanbase says that following an SEC title.  Ask a Bama fan.

But to everyone outside of Southeast Alabama, who feels that a winning season is even a guarantee?  At most, MrSEC.com would currently list Auburn as a favorite in only five or six games next fall.  Doesn’t mean they’ll lose all the other ones, but they would not be clear favorites.

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Don’t Bet On It!: Week Twelve College Football National Game of Disinterest

Georgia
Content provided by Dawg Sports.

Although some wags see it differently, I have not yet declared this week’s national game of disinterest. Although I have gone around the SEC and highlighted the national games of interest, I am only just getting around to identifying the weekend’s least intriguing college football contest. This Saturday, that dubious honor is conferred upon . . .

Florida Atlantic Owls at Texas Longhorns

After this week’s podcast, you might think my reference to the Sun Belt squad from Fort Lauderdale is just an excuse to use the abbreviation “FAU” as a vulgar expression of my attitude toward the Georgia Bulldogs’ oldest rival, but the Owls’ appearance here largely reflects the mismatch that is evident any time a team from the weakest of the Division I-A conferences travels to take on an elite program from a league whose champion automatically qualifies for a spot in the Bowl Championship Series.

Here’s what makes this weekend’s matchup in Austin so singularly awful, though: Florida Atlantic has a better record than Texas.

It’s true. The Owls are 4-5 overall and 3-3 in Sun Belt play. The Longhorns are 4-6 overall and 2-5 in Big 12 play. Saturday’s game pits an FAU squad that is playing about like you’d expect against a Burnt Orange outfit that is worse than any of us possibly could have imagined a Mack Brown-coached club being.

Frankly, I’m embarrassed for both teams about the whole deal. Since I can’t pretend the game isn’t taking place, my next-best option is to declare it the national game of disinterest and refuse to pick it on general principle.

Go ‘Dawgs!


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