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Don’t Expect The Spurrier/Swinney Barbs To Stop Flying

spurrier-swinneySteve Spurrier takes an awful lot of shots at Clemson.  Hell, Spurrier takes shots at just about everybody when he’s winning, but the cross-state Tigers have become his favorite target in recent years.  A five-game winning streak over your rival will put a little added wind in your sails, after all.

Though he’s been on the short end of the USC/CU rivalry, Tiger coach Dabo Swinney fires his own share of barbs back towards Columbia.  Both coaches popped off after their schools’ bowl wins this year.  First, Spurrier said winning the Capital One Bowl was almost as good as winning the state championship.  Swinney then collected his squad’s Orange Bowl trophy and said it was great to be the first school from the Palmetto State to win a BCS bowl.

Spurrier had a little more fun at Clemson’s expense on Saturday when he reminded fans at a Carolina basketball game — as if they needed reminding — that the Gamcocks had won five in a row against the Tigers.  Afterward, the Ol’ Ball Coach was asked why he throws so many barbs toward Clemson.  His take:

 

“I don’t think we throw much.  I think y’all (in the press) blow that up.  Obviously, our fans love beating Clemson.  The old-time Gamecock fans suffered for years and years, as we all know.  So they’re enjoying it.  They should enjoy it.  They’ve been on the short (end of the) stick most of the time.  I’m talking to our people.  I’m not talking just to talk.  It’s for our people.  It’s not for the other school’s people.

When Dabo talks, it’s for his people.  It doesn’t bother me.  I can assure you.  That’s what we do in the offseason.  We have to talk a little bit.  I’m talking to the Gamecocks.  The other people shouldn’t listen to me.”

 

Sounds good.  But here’s the rub for any Carolina fan nodding in agreement — That means you can’t complain or get angry over anything Swinney says about USC.  Think you can just ignore the Tiger coach’s barbs?  If not, then Spurrier’s “I’m just talking to my people” defense doesn’t carry much weight.

Also, Spurrier’s been known to pay attention to what other coaches are saying about him.

Is it all fun and games?  Sure.  But Spurrier and his fans should know full well that barbs of any kind will most certainly be heard by rival coaches and rival fans.  And here’s guessing Spurrier enjoys the heck out of that fact, too.

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Ready For The First “College Football Playoff” Title Game At Cowboys Stadium?

cfb playoff logosThe FBS presidents have decided on a name for their new college football playoff — the College Football Playoff.  No, that’s not the most imaginative name in the world, but if the product is something everyone wants there’s no need for a flashy name.  And just about every college football fan in America has wanted a College Football Playoff at one time or another.

The powers-that-be have also decided on the site of the first title game — Arlington, Texas’ Cowboys Stadium.  Sources reported to ESPN that Tampa actually put together a better than expected bid before losing out to Jerry Jones’ palace.  “It was closer than a lot of people thought it would be.”

You can actually vote for the new playoff logo — and they’re also rather bland — at CollegeFootballPlayoff.com.  (For some reason, the logo that looks like a throwing star ranks ahead of the classier, Logo #2.)

More info leaking from the FBS presidents’ meeting in Pasadena:

 

*  The six bowls making up the playoff rotation will be: the Rose Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, the Orange Bowl, the Fiesta Bowl, the Chick-fil-A Bowl (welcome to the big time), and the Cotton Bowl.

*  No city will host the title game and a semifinal in the same year, so the Cotton Bowl won’t host a semifinal game in the first year of the playoff’s existence (the 2014 season).

*  The semifinal rotation will progress as follows: Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl (January 1st, 2015), Orange Bowl and Cotton Bowl (December 31st, 2015), Fiesta Bowl and Chick-fil-A Bowl (January 1st, 2016), rinse, wash and repeat in that order through the 2026 playoffs.

*  The title games will all be played on Mondays — January 12th, 2015, January 11th, 2016, January 9th, 2017, and so on.

*  In the years the Orange Bowl (ACC versus highest-ranked SEC/Big Ten/Notre Dame), Rose Bowl (Big Ten versus Pac-12) and Sugar Bowl (SEC versus Big XII) are not part of the semifinal rotation, they will get the highest ranked team from their existing partners.

*  The playoff selection committee will determine the matchups for the other bowl when they are not part of the rotation.

 

This information is expected to be officially announced today.

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Bobby Petrino on Western Kentucky: “We Can Be Boise State”

bobby-petrino-smilesDennis Dodd of CBSSports.com catches up with Bobby Petrino in Bowling Green, Kentucky where the former Arkansas coach is now in charge of the Western Kentucky program.  It’s a long piece that you can see here.  As you undoubtedly know by now, Petrino was forced out at Arkansas after having an affair with a 25-year old staffer and crashing his motorcycle with her onboard.  As Dodd frames it, Petrino went from “an SEC program with a top-five national ranking to a fifth-place program in the Sun Belt.”

Here were a few of the quotes that caught our eye.

 

What if he had immediately confessed the affair to Arkansas A.D. Jeff Long?

“There were a lot of things going on that didn’t allow me to do that. I was in the hospital, medicated.”

 

On son Nick, a student coach at Arkansas last year.  

“I thought it was the hardest thing for him more than anything else. I took something away from him.”

 

On communicating with his replacement at Arkansas – John L. Smith

“I tried to stay away. I’d send him a text.”

 

On the kind of program he can create at Western Kentucky

“We can be Boise State. Why not?. We beat them all the time when I was at Idaho.” (That was 1989-91 when Petrino was an assistant)

“My vision for the program is to go to a bowl game every year. I figure I’ve got 14 more years left to go.”

 

Western Kentucky AD Todd Stewart on Petrino

“We’ve got a guy in the prime of his career. He’s 51 years old and has been to the Orange Bowl, Cotton Bowl and Sugar Bowl in the last six years. Sometimes a school will get somebody like that, but they are 20 years removed.”

 

Stewart had a binder prepared with 75 candidates when former coach Willie Taggart left for South Florida.  But Petrino was his first choice.  ”He called back in five minutes.”

Petrino’s Hilltoppers are scheduled to open against Kentucky and then face Tennessee the following week this fall.

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FSU A.D. Won’t Talk About Fisher Rumors

Florida State athletic director Randy Spetman has heard the rumors tying Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher to both Auburn and Tennessee.  He also knows full well that Fisher’s agent is Jimmy Sexton, the world’s best expert at landing his clients’ raises.

But when contacted by The Montgomery Advertiser about the Fisher chatter, Spetman released a short, simple statement:

 

“I don’t believe in commenting one way or the other on any school’s coaching search.  The speculation alone is detrimental to the programs involved.  Our focus is on winning the ACC championship and playing in the Orange Bowl this year and having coach Fisher build on the strong foundation he has put in place over the last three years.”

 

As we’ve been saying all week, expect Sexton to play Auburn, Florida State and Tennessee against one another for maximum cashola.

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SEC Could Have Teams In Playoff, Champions Bowl And Orange Bowl Under Reported Deal

Last night, ESPN.com’s Brett McMurphy posted a quick blurb regarding the ACC’s still-to-be-finalized deal with the Orange Bowl.  In it he mentioned that the bowl game — part of the six-bowl playoff rotation that’s coming in 2014 — will likely pair the ACC Champ “against either Notre Dame, an SEC or Big Ten team.”

As we’ve noted before, the new system will a) be more confusing than the old system, b) lock the small teams out of the big-boy bowls more often than the old system, and c) lead to more arguing and bickering than we’ve had under the BCS.  We’re not anti-playoff, mind you… we’re just anti-this playoff format because it’s as convoluted as can be imagined.

Here’s the skinny:

 

* In years when the ACC champion reaches the four-team playoff, another ACC squad will take its place in the Orange Bowl.

* Notre Dame — which will now be in the ACC except for football — can still be lined up as the ACC’s opponent assuming the Irish didn’t play the bowl’s ACC representative as one of their five Atlantic Coast Conference games that season.  (It’s possible the Orange Bowl could schedule a rematch, but doubtful.)

* If Notre Dame doesn’t grab that slot, the Orange Bowl could extend an invite to an SEC team (not in the playoffs and not in the “Champions” Bowl) or to a Big Ten team (not in the playoffs and not in the Rose Bowl).

* The Orange, Rose and “Champions” Bowls are already known to have locked down slots in the new playoff rotation.  However the Rose and “Champions” Bowls are not likely to get as many semifinal slots in the rotation as the other bowls involved because the Big Ten/Pac-12 and the SEC/Big XII prefer to do their own thing in most years.  According to CBSSports.com’s Dennis Dodd, two sources have already confirmed to CBS that the leagues involved in the Orange, Rose and “Champions” games “will keep all the revenue in years those bowls don’t pass through the national semifinals.”  That means the smaller conferences who aren’t tied into those “contract bowls” will not receive a portion of the money made by those games.  This further separates the haves from the have-nots.  Instead of having a six-bowl pool of money to divvy up, there could be a four-bowl pool with the “Champions” and Rose keeping their cash in a given year.  (The revenue from the national championship game would actually push the overall cash tally higher, but that contest technically won’t be a bowl game.  Follow all that?)

* The site for the new “Champions” Bowl game is expected to be known in October.  Houston, New Orleans and Arlington, Texas have reportedly posted the biggest bids to host the game.

* BCS Commissioners are meeting right now to determine the other six bowls in the playoff rotation and — most importantly — how the cash that will be split among leagues is actually going to be split among leagues.  It would be surprising to see the MAC or C-USA, for example, get a large chunk of the revenue generated by the six-bowl (plus title game) system.

* A human selection committee will select and seed the 12 teams they feel best deserve slots in the playoffs and the remaining “big boy” bowl games.  Except — you knew there’d be an except, didn’t ya? — for the “Champions” Bowl and Rose Bowl which will automatically get teams from the SEC/Big XII and Big Ten/Pac-12 respectively when those leagues place teams in the four-team playoffs.

* The committee will also assign teams to certain bowls and semifinal bowl sites which will no doubt lead to complaints from bowls (“That school’s fans are not going to travel as well!”) and from fans (“If we reach the championship game our team will have farther to travel than either of its possible opponents!”), etc, etc.

 

So needlessly confusing.

For the SEC, however, it all just means more money.  Hypothetically speaking, Mike Slive’s league could in one season land two teams in the national semifinals, — we don’t think that’s likely as a selection committee will probably want to limit the SEC’s championship opportunities — one team in the “Champions” Bowl against a Big XII foe, and another in the Orange Bowl against an ACC squad or Notre Dame.

The rich get richer.

However, the SEC’s existing bowl partners likely won’t enjoy seeing another game jump them in the selection pecking order.  All of the SEC’s bowl contracts are up after 2013, so the league will cut new pacts with several games for the 2014 season.  You can expect another tie-in with a Texas-based bowl.  Also, it looks like some of the league’s bottom-rung bowl partners might be outta luck when it comes to maintaining a tie to college football’s most powerful league.  In the above scenario with four SEC teams making the 12-team “big bowl” rotation, some of the SEC’s lowest-tier bowl partners would lose out.

At MrSEC.com, we’re still in favor of a bowl draft (which the major conferences would never go for) and we continue to maintain that the 12 teams selected for the biggest bowls would have best been chosen by a three-tier system — one computer ranking formula, one human poll with transparent voting, and one selection panel with transparent voting.

Instead, you get the mess above.  Oh, the arguments that will rage.

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Ka-Ching! ESPN To Pay Big For The Rose… And That’s Good Sign For The “Champions” Bowl

We’ll keep this one quick, but Sports Business Daily is reporting today that ESPN has agreed to pay an average of $80 million per year for the media rights to the Rose Bowl.  Read that again.  That’s $80 million per year for one game.  The deal would cover twelve years and would be a 167% jump over the $30 million the game currently brings in from television.

The publication suggests ESPN’s splurge could push the media rights for the new college football playoff from the $500 million already discussed to closer to $600 million.  Unlike the BCS which involved five games and was sold as a unit, the new system — with six bowls, two of which will serve as semifinals, and another site serving as host to the title game — is being sold off piecemeal.  Unless, of course, ESPN decides to buy up every game… which is probably likely.

If you’ve got the money to spend $80 million on the Rose Bowl, you’ve probably got the cash to go much, much further.

So what does this mean for the SEC/Big 12′s new “Champions” Bowl?  Big money.  The Rose Bowl may have tradition, a beautiful setting and a primo timeslot, but the new SEC/Big 12 game will feature squads from the two most-successful leagues of the past 15 years.  And unlike the Rose Bowl, the SEC and Big 12 — assuming they don’t partner with an existing bowl game — can bid out its game location year after year.  The Rose Bowl will have Pasadena.  The “Champions” Bowl could have any big spender it’s conference owners like.

You can also expect the Orange Bowl to try to reach some form of agreement with Notre Dame.  Like ‘em or not, the Irish are still a major television draw.  Pairing them whenever possible against the ACC champion will allow the Miami game to ask for big money, too.  Just not quite as big as the Rose Bowl and “Champions” Bowl are likely to get.

Eighty.  Million.  Per year.

Apparently the poor global economy isn’t too poor for the Worldwide Leader in Sports.

As for a football/basketball comparison, the NCAA Tournament brings in about $680 million from television money for 67 basketball games.  That’s about $10.1 million for each one of hoops’ biggest games.  The Rose Bowl will bring in about eight times that much.  By itself.

Basketball’s fun, but football is the money maker… just in case you needed further proof of why football has been driving the expansion bus the past few years.

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SEC Coaching Rumors

Just a quick pre-weekend check of the scuttlebutt floating around regarding potential SEC coaching moves.  We’ll start where things are in the most flux:


* Despite reports out of Miami last night, multiple reports from Tennessee have said former Hurricanes head coach Randy Shannon has not been hired as the Vols’ new defensive coordinator.  In fact, some believe Shannon and Derek Dooley have not yet spoken.  Normally we would say there’s too much smoke involved for their not to be some fire, but as we noted the other day, Shannon is coordinator equivalent of Jon Gruden.  When a job comes open, he’s immediately listed on internet sites as Candidate #1. 

Clemson’s Kevin Steele — despite his unit’s one horrible showing in the Orange Bowl — is believed to be a candidate as is Baylor’s Phil Bennett.  They’re just bowl games, but Steele’s group allowed 70 points to West Virginia and Bennett’s crew gave up 56 to Washington.  Bennett would give Tennessee some recruiting ties to the Lone Star State.


* Texas A&M reportedly interviewed Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi earlier this week.  The Spartans — despite allowing 30 points to Georgia in the Outback Bowl — had a Top 5 defense in 2012. 

Kevin Sumlin is also expected to offer a job to Stanford special teams coordinator Brian Polian.


* Defensive coordinator Chris Wilson — once rumored to be a candidate at A&M — will reportedly stay at Mississippi State.


* FootballScoop.com is reporting that “sources close to the program” have told them that South Carolina will interview Ron West for the job of linebackers coach and Randy Jordan for the job coaching the Gamecocks’ running backs.

Jordan has been on Mike Sherman’s staff at Texas A&M since 2008.  Grabbing him might signal that Carolina wants to start making some inroads into the fertile Texas recruiting grounds.  Ron West as the linebackers coach under Ron Zook at Illinois the past two years.  But he also has ties inside the Palmetto State from the 10 seasons he spent on Clemson’s staff from 1999 through 2008.


* Scuttlebutt from Auburn suggests the Tigers might’ve turned their attention from defensive coordinator Mark Stoops — who’s getting a raise at Florida State — to Seminoles’ assistant head coach for defense and linebackers coach Greg Hudson.  Prior to joining FSU’s staff, Hudson had been the defensive coordinator at East Carolina.


* Boise State offensive coordinator Brent Pease is rumored to be under consideration for the same position at Auburn, Alabama, and Florida.  Pease has SEC experience as he served at Kentucky in 2001 and 2002.

Speaking of the Gators, Hays Carlyon of The Florida Times-Union reports that Jacksonville head coach and former UF quarterback Kerwin Bell is a candidate for the quarterbacks coach position on Will Muschamp’s staff and not the offensive coordinator slot.

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Petrino Joins BCS Short List

Arkansas
Content provided by The Slophouse.

FAYETTEVILLE - If you had any doubt Bobby Petrino was an elite college football coach, there should be little doubt anymore.

The third-year Arkansas coach has the Razorbacks in a BCS bowl for the first time in school history. In doing so, Petrino – who won the Orange Bowl at Louisville in 2006 – joins Nick Saban (LSU, Alabama) and Urban Meyer (Utah, Florida) as the only coaches to earn BCS bids with two different programs.

“We know a lot about Coach Petrino because he was up this direction at Louisville and had some fabulous football teams,” Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said Sunday. “He did some extraordinary things in the Big East. We know the quality of that.”

Year three has become the bar for coaches to get their program to a BCS bowl. Saban, Meyer, Les Miles (LSU), Mark Richt (Georgia) and Gene Chizik (Auburn) are SEC coaches who have done so.

Meyer, Tressel and Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops won the national championship in their second year at their respective schools. This year’s national championship game features two second-year coaches in Chizik and Oregon’s Chip Kelly.

While Arkansas has yet to make it to that level, the Razorbacks were one of the best teams in a conference that perennially puts its champion in the national title game. That bodes well for the future as long as Petrino stays at the school. The UA must lock the coach into a long-term deal following the season – or even perhaps before the bowl game – as other schools are sure to be intrigued by the Razorbacks’ success.

It’s a testament to the improvement made under the current coaching staff and the quality of leadership it has. From 5-7 to 8-5, to 10-2, Petrino and his staff have proven their worth and ability in the right time.

For more visit WholeHogSports.com. You can follow Matt Jones on Twitter @NWAMatt.

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