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Big 12 Interim Commish Says Mizzou Won’t Go Anywhere Before 2013

Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas said today during a conference call with the media that his league will give Missouri all the time it needs to decide whether to stay or go from the league it’s called home since 1995.  But the school won’t be going anywhere before 2013.

According to Brett McMurphy of CBSSports.com, Neinas said “there’s no timetable,” but he also added Missouri could take up until the end of the current academic year (which seems pretty much like a timetable, though a lengthy one).

Neinas said his league will feature both Missouri and TCU next season.  “If Missouri is going to change horses, it won’t be for 2012 anyway.”

Other notes:

* Neinas said that he’s told SEC commish Mike Slive, “if you’re going to extend an invitation to Missouri please let me know.”  (Neinas let the Big East know about TCU after he’d called the school to gauge its interest in his conference.)

* Neinas said the Big 12′s plan to reach 10 or 12 teams.  “It won’t be 16.”

* Neinas also said the numbers in an AP report last night are incorrect.  The report stated that a 45-page research document prepared by MU stated that the Tigers could make up to $12 million per year more in the SEC which would require an awfully big jump in the SEC’s current television contracts.  “(A 14-teams SEC) would have to increase their television revenue by $168 million.”

Whether or not Missouri could actually escape in time for the SEC to field a 14-team league next season is anybody’s guess at this point.

The Kansas City Star has a bit more on today’s teleconference right here.

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Expansion Headlines – 10/11/11

Let’s get some expansion clutter out of the way.  We’ll start with the 45-page document “obtained by The Associated Press from a source within” Missouri’s administration.  (In case you missed our breakdown of that news, here’s what we wrote last night.)


1.  Mike DeArmond of The Kansas City Star reports that “a high-ranking Texas A&M official” tried to warn “a counterpart at Missouri” that these types of documents might leak to the press during “MU’s protracted investigation” into an SEC berth:


“You guys are new at this.  You’re going to have to come to terms with the fact that this sort of stuff is going to happen.  You just have to keep advancing the ball forward.”


According to DeArmond, “a rift with certain SEC officials” over a previous leaked story has been patched up.  The rift came after an anonymous MU source said the SEC was the school’s second choice behind the Big Ten.


2.  Meanwhile, TCU will officially join the Big 12 next year, slipping neatly into the slot currently occupied by Texas A&M.

3.  Vahe Gregorian of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that TCU and Missouri appear to have two completely different views of the Big 12.  (Yeah, TCU make more money in the Big 12 than the Big East and Missouri can make more money in the SEC than the Big 12.)

4.  Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com follows up on a Boston Globe report in which Boston College athletic director Gene DeFilippo stated that ESPN told the ACC what to do in expansion:


“There is no denying that the ACC will receive a better television contract with Syracuse and Pittsburgh involved.  There’s no denying that the Big East being greatly diminished makes the league less attractive to NBC and Fox.  They’re accepted facts.  So did ESPN help destroy the Big East?  I guess I can’t say for sure.  But I bet the folks a the Big East office feel that way.”


The Big East had turned down a contract offer from ESPN in order to take its right onto the open market and force ESPN to compete with NBC and Fox.  Interestingly, the leadership at Pittsburgh was instrumental in turning down that initial ESPN offer.


5.  CBSSports.com’s Dennis Dodd writes that Air Force AD Hans Mueh — whose school is “strongly leaning” toward leading the MWC for the Big East — is turned off by the double-crosses taking place across college sports today:


“There are terrible, terrible hard feelings in college athletics.  I’m so disappointed with my fellow athletic directors.  I think we have put the student-athlete in second place while chasing the dollar.”


Well, yes and no.  Yes, this is all happening because of television money.  No, because that money will be poured back into the schools and athletic programs that benefit the student-athletes and — someday — might even provide them full-cost-of-attendance scholarships.  Sure, some coaches and AD will get bigger checks along the way, too, but in case you haven’t noticed… the study centers and practice facilities going up around the country are just a tad better than what student-athletes had at their disposal a generation ago.

(Sidenote — Dodd also mentions the possibility that the SEC and Big Ten will try to remove the current BCS bowl limit of two teams per conference.  We suggested that would happen way back on May 17th of 2010.)

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Big 12′s Big Announcements

The Big 12 has been busy today.  First, the league’s board of directors agreed to a formal grant of television rights for a minimum of six years.  The approval of the board on that vote was unanimous, with Missouri abstaining on the advice of legal counsel.

As soon as the individual schools sign the contracts that interim commissioner Chuck Neinas sent out today, the deal will be final, equal revenue-sharing of Tier 1 and Tier 2 television rights will kick in, and the Big 12 will become a much more stable entity.  (At least for six years.)

There were also agreements relating to high school content being shown on Tier 3 television packages like the Longhorn Network.  According to a Big 12 release, “Conference bylaws will reflect that no member institution branded outlet will show high school games or highlights, nothing that it is permissible pursuant to NCAA interpretation to use scores, standings and statistics of high school games.”  (Start the clocks now for a show geared toward talking about and the stats of top Texas recruits.)

In addition to all this, TCU has received an invitation to the join the Big 12.

Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton took part in today’s teleconference, but as noted earlier he did not vote on any matters.

So what does all this mean for the SEC?

First, most of the things Missouri and the other Big 12 schools wanted have come to pass.  And if Mizzou decided to stay at home now, the school would simply scratch out “Texas A&M” on future schedules and fill in “TCU.”  That if the Frogs accept, of course, and it’s assumed they will.  (We look forward to hearing Kenneth Starr’s take on how his league poached TCU from the Big East.)

According to Kirk Bohls of The Austin American-Statesman:

“The Big 12 remains unaware of Missouri’s plans, but most Big 12 administrators do not think Missouri has an invite from the SEC or even any assurance that it will get one.  The league decided not to wait and was taking immediate action to strengthen the league.”

But PowerMizzou.com — the Rivals site that covers the Tigers — reports that Missouri wants the Big 12 to go back to being an actual 12-team conference.

At this point, Missouri needs to decide if it wants to sign back on with the Big 12 and have a hand in future expansion?  Or does the school truly want to move to the SEC?

It seems that Mizzou has come to a point where there is little chance of turning back.  Neinas and the Big 12 would love to have them, but it appears the more MU officials — especially the board of curators — thought about a lifetime of stability versus six years of stability, the more they liked what they saw in the SEC

In addition, once in the SEC, they’ll no longer have to worry about one or two schools — Texas and Oklahoma — driving the bus for everyone else.  Missouri will be equal to Florida and Alabama as well as to Vanderbilt and the Mississippi schools.

Aside from learning to silence moles inside their own operation, Missouri has likely done enough to convince Mike Slive of their interest to gain an SEC bid should they seek one.  We’re assuming they wouldn’t go so far out on a limb without some sort of assurance two years in a row.

No, if the Tigers are to this point, it’s because Slive and his league are interested.  As we wrote yesterday, as long as Slive is convinced MU isn’t still pining for the Big Ten, the path south should be clear.

And if Slive wants nine votes to bring Missouri into the SEC, he’ll be able to get those nine votes.  In fact, if the commissioner presses the issue, we expect he’ll get a unanimous vote.

Our best bet at this point?  Missouri’s SEC bound unless the administration gets some seriously cold feet.  And best of luck to Deaton and crew if they have to sell an about-face to Tiger fans who’ve just gotten hyped up about exiting Texas’ shadow.

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The Merry-Go-Round Continues To Spin: TCU To Leave Big East Before Ever Actually Entering

CBSSports.com is reporting that TCU is expected to accept an offer to join the Big 12.  The Horned Frogs were scheduled to join the Big East next year, but that became questionable when Pittsburgh and Syracuse fled that league for the ACC last month.

Earlier this week it was reported that officials from TCU had told the Big East at a Sunday meeting that they were still 100% a go for lift-off in that league next summer.  Which just goes to show you can’t trust anyone when dollars are on the table.

With the Big 12 waiting on Missouri to make a decision, TCU is a safe pick-up.  If the Tigers stay in the Big 12, TCU can come in as the 10th team in the league and simply fill Texas A&M’s old slot.

If Missouri goes, then the Big 12 can look outward — BYU, Louisville, Cincinnati, Tulane and West Virginia are the most rumored possibilities — to expand to 12 teams.

As one Big East team after another departs, WVU officials have to be on edge.  Ditto UConn and Rutgers.  The farther east you go, the longer the shot becomes of a partnership with the rebuilt Big 12.

If the Big East bellyflops, UConn and Rutgers would be desperate for a bid to either the Big Ten or the ACC.  Would those leagues snap them up to try and tap into the New York television market?

One other element to pay attention to — Notre Dame.  As the Big East shrinks, the Irish lose one opponent after another in all sports but football.  The Big Ten is being awfully quiet these days.  Texas’ DeLoss Dodds believes the Big 12 can flush Notre Dame out by killing off the Big East.  And the ACC’s John Swofford would love to add the Irish and UConn as the perfect 15th and 16th partners with his league.

And how might all that affect the SEC?  Leagues expanding and contracting around them, schools coming off the board like tight ends in a fantasy draft… as much as I’d love to have Mike Slive’s wallet, I sure wouldn’t want to trade shoes with him right now.

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Thursday Morning SEC/A&M Expansion Update – The “Thanks For Dragging This Out, Baylor” Edition

Expansion is good for web traffic.  There’s zero question about that.

But expansion coverage also requires constant attention.  Not unlike a chihuahua.  And I don’t like chihuahuas.

So many thanks to the folks at Baylor for waiting til the last minute to toss a new glitch into everyone’s plans — including thousands of frustrated fans who are Suh-Ick of this story.  Cheers to the Bears.  If only I could go back in time to last Friday night and un-pull for BU’s upset of TCU.

Here’s a wrap of what was being said early — and we mean early — Thursday morning:


1.  Mississippi State president Mark Keenum explained in detail yesterday how the SEC’s powers-that-be learned of Baylor’s reversal of field on Tuesday night.

2.  In this must-read breakdown of a split Big 12, Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin loosened his bow tie and let Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe have it for his last-minute backtrack:


“We took this letter (of September 2nd) very seriously.  We asked for such a statement.  They gave it to us freely.  It says here a unanimous vote was taken and yet when we look at Beebe’s letter (from Tuesday) night it says: ‘No we didn’t really mean that,’ and I find that to be rather difficult to digest. …

We are being held hostage right now.  Essentially, we’re being told that you must stay here against your will and we think that really flies in the face of what makes us Americans, for example, and makes us free people.”


(An aside… dollars-to-doughnuts that if someone from the University of Texas had made that statement they would have substituted the word “Texans” for “Americans.”  Guaranteed.)


3.  Loftin also took aim at Baylor:


“Clearly for quite some time, one school has been specifically the one trying to both bring pressure on us politically for a while and now raising the threat of legal action.  In fact even calling members of the board of the SEC directly and the commissioner of the SEC directly and speaking to them and leaving voicemails for them.”


4.  Beebe put out a statement yesterday confirming that his league as a whole won’t take legal action against the SEC or Texas A&M, but he won’t guarantee what individual schools might do:


“If the departure of Texas A&M results in significant changes in the Big 12 membership, several institutions may be severely affected after counting on revenue streams from contracts that were approved unanimously by our members, including Texas A&M.  In some cases, members reasonably relied on such approval to embark on obligations that will cost millions of dollars.”


(That sounds pretty legit.  Except for the fact Houston, Rice, SMU and TCU could have made the same claim when Baylor, Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech left them in the hot Texas dust back in 1996.)


5.  Some claim Baylor and their Beggin’ Brethren are hoping to force Oklahoma to “remain in the Big 12 and allow the conference to continue its quest to expand and survive with its strongest members.”

6.  ESPN’s Andy Katz writes that until Oklahoma agrees to stay in the Big 12, eight of the league’s nine school will not waive their right to pursue litigation against A&M and the SEC. 

7.  In case you didn’t know, BU president Kenneth Starr has always been a lightning rod.

8.  But Baylor’s got a fan in this writer from FoxSportsSouthwest.com who says — unbelievably — that Baylor “has positioned itself as that guy standing in front of the tank at Tiananmen Square.”  Uh, yeah.  That’s a fair comparison. 

(Anyone need further proof that the anti-expansion crowd can’t make their argument without wildly exaggerating?)

9.  Gary Parish of CBSSports.com says Baylor is both desperate and right at the same time.

10.  This SI.com writer says Baylor is simply delaying the inevitable in the hopes of catching a realignment ride.  (Agreed.  We said the same yesterday.)

11.  Speaking of Washington insiders like Starr, A&M alum and former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said, “A man’s got to know his limitations,” when asked about the Aggies move to the SEC.  (“Magnum Force,” sweet.)

12.  Written when it looked like Baylor would back down from its lawsuit threats, Matt Hayes’ piece from The Sporting News says mass hysteria will befall college football when A&M finally moves to the SEC.  (Dogs and cats living together…)

13.  The Oklahoman reports that Sooner officials have denied a report that six (now eight, according to ESPN) Big 12 schools are trying to force OU to stay:


“I haven’t heard anything about this ‘group of six.’”


14.  Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton — who also happens to be the chairman of the Big 12 board of directors – pretty much admitted that Mizzou’s been talking to people in other conferences.  Yep, good league you got there, Mr. Chairman.


“There’s so much discussion around the nation right now that I think there’s probably not an institution in the Big 12 that has not been in discussion with other institutions.”


15.  Orangebloods.com reports that Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Missouri “have apparently retained their right to sue but have vowed they won’t take actions against the SEC.”

16.  Speaking of Texas, this writer says the Longhorn Network is to blame for the current mess.

17.  And speaking of Texas Tech, that school’s president said yesterday that “things are going to be in a holding pattern” for Big 12 schools.

18.  This writer for The Kansas City Star says he would dismiss any court case brought by Baylor and its Beggin’ Brethren:


“You boys didn’t lose any sleep when you left those other folk on the outside looking in.  So don’t try to convince me this is anything but a blatant attempt at self-preservation now that you coots are about to be on the outside looking in.  Case dismissed.  Texas A&M, do as you please.”


19.  Pat Forde of ESPN.com has this to say about Baylor slowing down the expansion train:


“Nobody cares about Baylor football, which is why Baylor must do everything it can to retain the big-six conference membership it got mostly through political pressure and traditional alliances.  When the Southwest Conference collapsed in the mid-1990s, Baylor tenaciously clung to Texas, A&M and Tech for inclusion into the Big 12 while Houston, TCU, SMU and Rice were cut loose and marginalized as football entities.  Since then the Bears have done nothing on the football field to merit keeping their place among the power elite — which is why any radical redrawing of the map could easily leave Baylor without a seat at the big-boy table.”


20.  Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com says no one looks good in this latest Big 12 snit.

21.  Stewart Mandel of SI.com says that “no one (with the exception of Texas A&M) actually wants super-conferences.”  Uh, well, technically A&M just wants to be School #13 in the SEC.  And if the Big 12 just replaces the Aggies, all those people who don’t want super-conferences… can avoid super-conferences.  I still don’t get how trading A&M for BYU, for example, would unhinge the Big 12.  Especially when everyone in the Big 12 is telling the world it’s still strong as new rope. 

22.  So what’s up with the Big Ten’s expansion options?

23.  Tony Barnhart of CBSSports.com wonders who’ll be the SEC’s 14th school.

24.  CBS analyst Gary Danielson — very wisely, I might add — states that the SEC’s School #14 should be Florida State because of the school’s name recognition.  (Danielson understands the business of expansion.)

25.  Finally, raise your hand if you’ll sue.


And one last note…

After the events of the last 36 hours, how welcoming do you think Aggie fans will be when Baylor visits College Station on October 15th?

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Legal Threat From Baylor Halts A&M/SEC Expansion For Now

When Nebraska left the Big 12, no one sued.  When Colorado left the Big 12, no one sued.  When TCU and BYU left the Mountain West, no one sued.  When Boise State left the WAC, no one sued.

But with Texas A&M set to leave the Big 12 for the SEC, the threat of lawsuit has slowed the process.

The Big 12 last week waived its right to litigation which appeared to open the door for A&M and the SEC to officially consummate their relationship.  That was expected to happen today.  But the SEC’s presidents want assurances that no Big 12 school will act on its own to sue.

Baylor has not given that assurance.

“We were notified yesterday afternoon that at least one Big 12 institution had withdrawn its previous consent and was considering legal action,” said Florida president Bernie Machen in a statement released by the SEC this morning.  “The SEC has stated that to consider an institution for membership, there must be no contractual hindrances to its departure.  The SEC voted unanimously to accept Texas A&M University as a member upon receiving acceptable reconfirmation that the Big 12 and its members have reaffirmed the letter dated September 2, 2011.”

A&M’s announcement and celebration are now on hold.  The SEC has voted to accept A&M — unanimously, as expected — but not without Baylor agreeing not to sue.  So the ball is clearly in Baylor’s court.

Baylor and president Kenneth Starr are literally holding Texas A&M and every other school in the country hostage.  They are preventing other universities from acting in their own best interests. 

Nevermind the fact that Baylor high-tailed it for the Big 12 back in 1996 with nary a thought for old SWC mates TCU, SMU, Rice and Houston.

In addition to releasing its statement, the SEC also released the Big 12′s letter sent on September 2nd.  The letter from commissioner Dan Beebe read in part: “We both agreed it is in the best interests of each of our conferences and our member institutions of higher education to waive any and all legal actions by either conference and its members resulting from admission of Texas A&M into the SEC, as long as such admission is confirmed publicly by September 8, 2011.”


UPDATE – Some have pointed out that the remaining Big East schools sued the ACC when it absconded with Boston College, Miami and Virginia Tech in 2003.  But as we recently noted on the site, that lawsuit was eventually settled for a paltry $5 million — in league terms — two years later.

That suit was not the act of one school, it didn’t feature a billion-dollar claim (as has been suggested regarding an SEC suit), and it was not aimed at one, lone conference commissioner (as it’s been suggested that Baylor might sue Mike Slive personally).  This one appears to be a first of its kind move by the Bears.

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SEC Places 6 In Top 25 Athletic Department Rankings

When it comes to football, men’s and women’s basketball and baseball, the SEC is currently the master of its domain.  In the last six years, the league has won 12 of the 24 national crowns in those sports.

But there are other sports.  Oh, sure, most fans don’t pay to watch them, but if you’re gonna play them, you might as well win them.  And that’s where the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup comes in.

From the sports mentioned above to lacrosse and water polo, the Directors’ Cup goes to the program that does the most winning across the board in a given year.  This year that program is Stanford’s.  No surprise.  The Cardinal have won the award for 17 years running.

Atop the SEC is Florida.  The Gators finished #4 in the national rankings behind Stanford, Ohio State and California.

Here’s a glimpse at how the SEC’s programs ranked nationally for the 2010-11 school year:


National Rank
School
Total Points
4
Florida
1212.25
19
LSU
831.05
20
Georgia
829.00
22
Tennessee
763.50
24
Arkansas
726.75
25
Alabama
726.25
31
Auburn
638.25
36
Kentucky
585.50
39
S. Carolina
547.50
56
Vanderbilt
378.75
65
Ole Miss
319.25
79
Miss. State
237.00



For the sake of comparison, Vanderbilt ranks behind Tulsa, TCU, the University of Denver and Georgetown.

Ole Miss ranks behind New Mexico and Central Florida.

And Mississippi State falls farther down the list than Cornell, Kent State, New Hampshire, Dartmouth and UC-Irvine.


Now let’s toss in the 2009-10 athletic budget numbers for each SEC school (and remember, schools often handle their bookkeeping in different ways… some schools do not reveal private dollars going toward coaching salaries, for example):


2011 Learfield Ranking
School
2009 Athletic Expenses (SEC Rank)
4
Florida
$105,235,876 (1)
19
LSU
$102,273,060 (2)
20
Georgia
$76,272,474 (7)
22
Tennessee
$96,671,459 (3)
24
Arkansas
$71,801,905 (9)
25
Alabama
$85,303,354 (5)
31
Auburn
$90,891,616 (4)
36
Kentucky
$76,256,467 (8)
39
S. Carolina
$78,295,029 (6)
56
Vanderbilt
$45,726,384 (10)
65
Ole Miss
$43,917,704 (11)
79
Miss. State
$36,265,186 (12)



In terms of conference rankings, here’s a look at the Top 25 programs coming from each major conference this past athletic year:


Pac-10 = 6
SEC = 6
ACC = 5
Big Ten = 4
Big 12 = 3
Big East = 1 (The one being Notre Dame which does not compete in the league in football)

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Arkansas Led The SEC’s Top Teams In… Arrested Players On The Roster?

Sports Illustrated and CBS News have just wrapped a six-month investigation into college football.  The two parties took SI’s 2010 preseason Top 25 and did criminal background checks on all 2,837 players on those teams’ rosters.  Some of their findings included:


* 7% of players (one out of every 14) in last year’s preseason Top 25 poll “had been charged or cited for a crime, including dozens of players with multiple arrests.”

* Of the 277 incidents uncovered, nearly 40% “involved serious offenses, including 56 violent crimes such as assault and battery (25 cases), domestic violence (6), aggravated assault (4), robbery (4) and sex offenses (3).”  The report also states that there were 41 charges of property crimes such as burglary and theft.


In case you didn’t know it by now, college coaches tend to give a lot of guys second- and third- and fourth-chances.  Some — like Houston Nutt — will tell you they’re in the business helping people, but in reality, coaches are in the business of winning and they’ll sign just about anybody with talent regardless of their criminal history.

But let’s focus in on the SEC here.  Last year, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida and LSU were in SI’s preseason Top 25.  Of those four squads, Arkansas led (?) the way with 18 players on its roster who had been arrested/charged with a crime at one time or another.  The Razorbacks’ total tied with Iowa for second place on the “most arrests” list behind only Pittsburgh (22 players who had been charged). 

Florida’s roster featured seven lawbreakers, Alabama’s five and LSU’s three.  Of the 25 teams in the poll, only TCU had a squeaky clean roster with nary a jailbird on the squad.

The piece is worth a read as it raises an all too familiar question: Does college football really have anything to do with a university’s true mission?

Of course it doesn’t.  College football is a breadwinner, a donation-getter, and a huge advertising vehicle for schools.  But there’s not a school in the country that would go out and actively seek regular students who’ve been charged with violent crimes.  A and B just don’t jive.

At MrSEC.com, we love us some college football.  But that doesn’t mean the sport isn’t overdue for a good bath. 

An 85-man roster featuring 18 players who’ve been arrested or charged with a crime?  It’s hard to defend that.  (Though we know folks will.)

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Crowton Lands Maryland Job, LSU Looking For A New OC

LSU is officially in the market for a new offensive coordinator.

Gary Crowton told Les Miles at a staff meeting this morning that he had accepted the O-coordinator position at Maryland under new Terrapins coach Randy Edsall.

“It’s a new challenge in my coaching career and I’m excited about that, knowing that I left LSU, which is a great place,” Crowton told The New Orleans Times-Picayune.  Of course, many believe his decision to leave was mutually arrived at by the coach and Miles.  Crowton, however, says that’s not true.

“No, I never was (asked to leave).  I never ever felt pressure to be let go.  I always felt encouraged, Coach Miles told me after the (Cotton Bowl) game he was excited about coming back with two senior quarterbacks and Zach Mettenberger.  Never ever once was that ever discussed.  I never felt any pressure whatsoever.  My wife and I talked it over and I decided to take it.  Coach Miles gave me his blessings and gave me a hug, thanked me, and I thanked him and that was it.”

Crowton has a long history of success but he came under fire in Baton Rouge when his offense’s production dropped off in 2009 and 2010.  (As we noted yesterday, that might have had more to do with LSU’s quarterbacks than LSU’s quarterbacks coach.)

So who’s next in Baton Rouge?  FootballScoop.com reports that “sources tell us Les Miles has interest in TCU co-offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach Justin Fuente and Washington offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach Doug Nussmeier.”

Nussmeier and the Huskies put a scare into Miles’ Tigers 31-23 in 2009.  His background includes stops in both the CFL and NFL.

Fuente has been at TCU since 2007.  Originally hired as running backs coach, he took over as co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach before the ’09 season.  Interestingly, Fuente played quarterback at Oklahoma while Miles served as offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State.  Fuente finished his collegiate career at Murray State.

TigerBait.com — the Rivals site covering LSU — believes Miles “will consider both college and NFL assistants” for the Tigers’ vacancy.

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Auburn Climbs A Long Way To The Top

Auburn’s 22-19 victory over Oregon last night not only assured the Tigers of their first national crown since 1957, but it also marked the steepest climb for any #1 ranked team in AP Top 25 poll history.

The poll expanded to 25 teams in 1989 and since that time no team has climbed as far as Gene Chizik’s Tigers did in 2010.  AU began the season ranked #22, but at 14-0 they’ve ended the year on top.

TCU — winners over Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl — finished #2.  Oregon dropped from #2 to #3 in the final poll.

Below is the final AP Poll.  You’ll notice that three voters chose TCU as their national champion.  Those voters were either making a pro-little guy or anti-Cam Newton statement, no doubt.

1.  Auburn (56 first-place votes)
2.  TCU (3)
3.  Oregon
4.  Stanford
5.  Ohio State
6.  Oklahoma
7.  Wisconsin
8.  LSU
9.  Boise State
10.  Alabama
11.  Nevada
12.  Arkansas
13.  Oklahoma State
14.  Michigan State
15.  Mississippi State
16.  Virginia Tech
17.  Florida State
18.  Missouri
19.  Texas A&M
20.  Nebraska
21.  UCF
22.  South Carolina
23.  Maryland
24.  Tulsa
25.  North Carolina State

Florida received 19 votes but not did not make the final rankings.


And here is the final USA Today Top 25 Coaches’ Poll:

1.  Auburn (56)
2.  TCU (1, though coaches aren’t supposed to vote for anyone other than the BCS champ)
3.  Oregon
4.  Stanford
5.  Ohio State
6.  Oklahoma
7.  Boise State
8t.  LSU
8t.  Wisconsin
10.  Oklahoma State
11.  Alabama
12.  Arkansas
13.  Nevada
14.  Michigan State
15.  Virginia Tech
16.  Florida State
17.  Mississippi State
18.  Missouri
19.  Nebraska
20.  UCF
21.  Texas A&M
22.  South Carolina
23.  Utah
24.  Maryland
25.  North Carolina State

Florida received 10 votes in this poll but did not make the final rankings.  And in case you’re wondering, TCU’s Gary Patterson does not have a vote… so some other coach tabbed the Horned Frogs as his national champ.

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