Posted on: November 26, 2011 9:04 pm

Kansas' Turner Gill could be next to go

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The 800-pound gorilla took on a different form Saturday night. Turner Gill’s job security was the $6 million buyout in the room Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium.

Both were hard to ignore.

There is wide speculation that Gill, Kansas’ second-year coach, will be the next major-college coach fired following Missouri’s 24-10 win over the Jayhawks. The former Nebraska star is 5-19 in two seasons in Lawrence.

Gill may be next up on the chopping block in a coaching silly season that figures to pick up momentum this week. Arizona just filled its opening. Ole Miss and North Carolina remain open. But the jobs at Illinois, Tennessee, Memphis, Arizona State and Ohio State could soon come open as well. According to reports, Urban Meyer is expected to formally announced any day as the new Buckeyes’ coach.

Kansas, at times, has been laughably bad this season finishing 2-10 while threatening to set an NCAA record for average yards allowed (531.45, last in FBS). Six of the losses were by at least 30 points.

Names being tossed around already include Mike Leach, former South Florida coach Jim Leavitt and former Arizona coach Mike Stoops. Leach still is dealing with three active lawsuits following his December 2009 firing from Texas Tech. Leavitt left South Florida after being accused of laying hands on a player. Stoops’ sideline demeanor was an issue at Arizona but his team also slumped badly toward the end. He was 41-50 in eight seasons.

“I think a positive is that our guys stuck together as a team,” Gill said after his team blew a 10-0 lead. “They were truly a team inside and outside of the lockerroom. They played their hearts out.”

It may not be enough. Gill was hired by former AD Lew Perkins and handed a five-year, $10 million guaranteed contract starting in 2010. If he were fired, Gill would be owed every cent of the remaining three years ($6 million). Some KU booster(s) will have to dig deep if they want a change. But it may be worth it at Kansas which has been able to tolerate mediocre football as long as it doesn’t embarrass the basketball program.

It is embarrassing the basketball program, gaining national attention for all the wrong reasons.

“It’s hard to turn something in two [years],” Kansas offensive coordinator Chuck Long said. 

“We all understand three [years]. We all understand that [is a key time for a coach] … But we feel like 2012, 2013 could be good years for us.”

Long has been in this situation himself. The former Heisman runner-up was 9-27 in three years as head coach at San Diego State.

“If that [two years] was the case they probably would have fired me too,” Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. “I wasn’t the most popular guy in my first four years here … He’s [Gill] a colleague and a friend. I don’t think there is any way you can  make a decision on a program in two seasons.”



Category: NCAAF
Posted on: November 25, 2011 5:48 pm
Edited on: November 25, 2011 5:57 pm

LSU beats Arkansas; BCS picture clears -- a bit

BATON ROUGE, La. -- The weirdest thing about LSU’s undefeated regular season is that the Tigers may be able to rest their starters next week in the SEC championship game.

Such is LSU's large margin for error after beating No. 3 Arkansas on Saturday. The win before the second-largest crowd in Tiger Stadium history cleared up the BCS mess just a bit. The Hogs, having lost their second game, were eliminated from the SEC West and national championship races. LSU clinched a spot in Atlanta next week against Georgia. But as one of two undefeated teams left -- Conference USA’s Houston is the other -- it may have room to lose that game against the Bulldogs and still play in the BCS title game.

Against who is to be determined. Alabama can all but get to New Orleans itself for a rematch by beating Auburn on Saturday in the Iron Bowl. 'Bama began the weekend as the best of the one-loss teams. That doesn’t figure to change if beats Auburn’s Tigers.

That’s where it comes back to LSU’s Tigers. Barring a blowout win by Georgia in Atlanta, LSU will still have to be considered one of the top two teams in the BCS. That’s the result of going undefeated in the SEC, beating No. 3 at home and advancing to a less-than-pressurized SEC title game.

The Tigers have built up that much equity with the pollsters and computers that it may be able to suffer a loss. It’s happened before. Nebraska didn’t even win its division in 2001 before advancing to play Miami. In 2003, Oklahoma lost by four touchdowns to Kansas State in the Big 12 title game but still advanced to play … LSU in … New Orleans.

The BCS formula has actually changed since then to make it less likely. But with LSU and Alabama having separated themselves from the college football pack, what else are you going to do? Is a one-loss LSU at that point better than a one-loss Stanford, Oklahoma State or Virginia Tech?

Up to this point, the BCS has spoken.  LSU is the only team to beat seven ranked opponents, three in the top five. In the biggest game at Tiger Stadium since 1959 -- when No. 1 LSU beat No. 3 Ole Miss -- the home team survived. Barely.

It was clunky: LSU fell behind 14-0, trailing for the first time at home all season, then rallied in the final seven minutes to take a 21-14 halftime lead. Trailing 14-zip, the Tigers fumbled as many times as Jordan Jefferson was booed on the Tigers’ first touchdown drive. A 14-play, 77-drive was finally completed when freshman Kenny Hilliard scored to lead LSU back from its biggest deficit of the season.

It was amazing: Tyrann Mathieu ended a month or so of anonymity by taking a Dylan Breeding punt back 92 yards for a score. Cue the Richter Scale. Tiger Stadium shook, seemingly knowing what was coming next. Fourteen-all.

It was a turnaround: After stinking on the previous series, Jefferson completed four of five for 66 yards and a touchdown to put LSU ahead 21-14. That drive was set up when Arkansas’ Dennis Johnson was ruled to have fumbled at LSU’s 34. Three scores in 6:50 put the Tigers ahead to stay at halftime.

LSU should have known it was in trouble when Jarius Wright snuck free over the middle for a 13-yard touchdown reception. The first score of the game marked the first time all season the Tigers had trailed at home. It was the first touchdown pass given up by LSU in 1½ months.

The BCS started to look murkier when Arkansas’ Alonzo Highsmith returned a Mike Ford fumble 47 yards for a touchdown that made it 14-0.

Through all of LSU’s recent excellence, Arkansas had been that rock in the Tigers’ shoe. The Hogs had won three of the last four meetings. Something was going to give.

Eventually, Arkansas did.

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Arkansas, BCS, LSU
Posted on: November 23, 2011 3:35 pm
Edited on: November 23, 2011 4:38 pm

Source: Meyer has not accepted Ohio State job

A person close to the process denied a Wednesday report that Urban Meyer was about to become the next coach at Ohio State.

The person did not want to be identified because of the sensitivity of the situation but is intimately involved in the process.

“People can throw out guesses,” the person said. “Some may or may not know what they’re talking about. It’s [the report] not true. That’s not the case. That is all there is to say.”

The Columbus Dispatch, citing two well-placed sources, reported Wednesday that Meyer will be announced next week as the new Buckeyes coach. The report added that contract terms had not been agreed upon.

Meyer has denied on at least two occasions he has been offered the job. That doesn’t account any indirect contact that may have been between his representatives and Ohio State officials. An Orlando, Fla. television station reported that Meyer has agreed in principle to a seven-year, $40 million deal.

Meyer has been widely speculated, and in cases reported, to be Ohio State’s next coach. He is not joining his usual ESPN broadcast crew at the Ohio State-Michigan game. ESPN released a statement saying the Bristol, Conn. studios were the best place for him to be this weekend to analyze games.



Category: NCAAF
Posted on: November 21, 2011 5:57 pm
Edited on: November 27, 2011 12:22 pm

Arizona replaces Sgt. Hulka with ... Rich Rod

CBS Sports Network loses an analyst. Arizona gets a future.

That’s my first impression after hearing that Rich Rodriguez is taking the Arizona job. Just about the perfect hire. Rich Rod is hungry and wants to prove himself after the Michigan detour. Arizona needs to be revitalized. Rodriguez needs a job.

In short, Rich Rodriguez fits in Tucson. It is a laidback town, one of those big-little towns that isn’t pretentious. Larger than Morgantown, not as tradition-bound as Ann Arbor. In terms of sideline demeanor, Rodriguez is the antithesis of Mike Stoops. Arizona just traded Sgt. Hulka for this guy. 

That’s motivation.

Let’s be honest: Both sides needed rejuvenation. The Michigan thing just didn’t work out. Stoops had worn out his welcome. This just made Arizona matter again.

You can believe Rich Rod will attract top quarterbacks. No word on who he’ll get as defensive coordinator, but you can be sure Wildcat football will be exciting again. This is a new era in the Pac-12 and for the only team in the old Pac-10 never to play in the Rose Bowl, this is a home run.



Category: NCAAF
Posted on: November 20, 2011 1:57 pm

Power Poll Week 12: Cowboys still in running

We know the SEC has a choke hold on the top three spots, and thus the national championship race. But who is next in line?

The Power Poll says it's Oklahoma State which went from despair to hope in the space of 24 hours. The Cowboys are still in it despite losing Friday to Iowa State. They have to hope for losses by two SEC teams above them and then smack down Oklahoma in Bedlam.

1. LSU – Don’t load up on turkey, boys. There’s plenty of Hog to go around.
2. Alabama – Dear Lane: Thank you for the lovely gift. We received it late Saturday night. Signed, Nick.
3. Arkansas – This has to be the best week of football for the Piggies since 1969.
4. Oklahoma State – Nothing like a Friday night in Ames.
5. Stanford – Cardinal still have another Big Game left if teams above them lose.
6. Virginia Tech – What’s wrong with a fourth ACC title in five years?
7. Houston – Question: If the Cougars are the lone remaining undefeated team, do they play for it all. If that happens do dogs and cats start living together?
8. Boise State – It’s hard to believe that Kellen Moore will probably play in only one BCS bowl.
9. Oregon – On that final drive against USC, Chip Kelly was too fast even for himself.
10. Oklahoma – Can’t win the little ones.
11. Michigan State – Indy or bust. Spartans clinch a spot in first Big Ten title game.
12. Wisconsin – Please, someone, quick, trademark “MonteeBall”.
13. Kansas State – Cotton Bowl on Line 1.
14. South Carolina – Back-to-back nine-win seasons for the first time.  
15. Georgia – Hot seat has turned into a comfortable recliner for Mark Richt. Dawgs clinch SEC East.
16. USC –  At last check, were still singing “Fight On” in raucous Autzen Stadium lockerroom.
17. Clemson – This is called a let down game: Losing big to N.C. State after the division is clinched.
18. Baylor – We all need a hero in our lives. Robert Griffin III is it.
19. TCU – Soon to be in their third conference in a year, Froggies clinch at least a share of their third straight Mountain West. Or was it the Big East?
20. Penn State – Good on Tom Bradley. He wins the Interim Coach Bowl over Ohio State.
21. Michigan –  Big House fans chated “Beat O-hi-o [State]”. It’s been almost 3,000 days since the Wolverines have.
22. Nebraska – The good version of Denard Robinson showed up in Ann Arbor. Huskers were just bad.
23. Notre Dame – Could still win 10 after matching last year’s victory total (eight).  
24. Virginia – Mike London can have his pick of jobs.
25. Iowa State – In case you haven’t heard, Paul Rhoads is so proud to be your coach, Cyclones.



Category: NCAAF
Posted on: November 19, 2011 11:28 pm

USC stuns No. 4 Oregon

EUGENE, Ore. -- This was their bowl, complete with no ocean, no sun and no lavish gifts. And hate, don’t forget that. Plenty of hate from a hostile crowd.

But this was USC’s bowl because they can’t go to a real one. So why not another stunner on the national landscape? Oregon kicker Alejandro Maldonado's 37-yard field goal missed at the gun, allowing the Trojans to hang on, 38-35.

Iowa State wasn’t ranked when it upset Oklahoma State Friday night. USC couldn’t be ranked, at least in the coaches’ poll, when it knocked off No. 4 Oregon at Autzen Stadium. The difference? Your level of shock. Suddenly, they looked like the Trojans of old. The shame of it is, this was their bowl, the high point of the season. In November. It really doesn’t get any better than this.

But they played like it was January with everything on the line. Oregon, a 16 ½-point favorite, didn’t. And so now we have even more BCS chaos.

But before we go there, let’s credit these Trojans. Officially, they have nothing to play for this season. Seventeen months ago the NCAA slapped a two-year bowl ban on the program. Unofficially, they might be the best team you won’t see in the postseason.

They were led by Matt Barkley, who could be in the NFL right now, but chose to tough it out through the bowl ban. He threw four touchdown passes. Receiver Marqise Lee is a freshman All-American if there ever was one. Sophomore Robert Woods was nicked up this week but caught two touchdown passes.

Safety T.J. McDonald has been accused of playing over the line. It was a straight line he took to block an Oregon punt in the third quarter.

The shame of it is, these current Trojans have nothing to do with the wrongdoing. The coach, AD and principal rulebreaker are gone. It’s been so long that Reggie Bush is closer to retirement than the goal line.

For Oregon, it could be emptiest division title in the short 20-year history of division titles. The Ducks needed one win in their last two to wrap up the Pac-12 North Division. Now they’ve have to get it next week against Oregon State.



Category: NCAAF
Posted on: November 19, 2011 7:43 pm

Bellotti's name surfaces at Arizona

EUGENE, Ore. – Former Oregon coach Mike Bellotti’s name has surfaced in the Arizona search. reported Friday that “things could move very quickly” between the school and the 60-year-old now analyst for ESPN.  It has long been known that Bellotti wanted to get back into coaching at some point. He stepped down here after 14 seasons in 2009.

“Mike wants to get back into coaching,” one source close to Bellotti told on Saturday. “Mike’s anxious.”

Arizona was the first major job to open up this season after Mike Stoops was fired Oct. 10. Arizona AD Greg Byrne already has one major hire on his resume. He was responsible for bringing Dan Mullen to Mississippi State while AD at that school.

Bellotti may have his pick of jobs in the Pac-12 if Arizona State and/or UCLA open up as well. 

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: November 19, 2011 1:03 am
Edited on: November 19, 2011 7:53 am

BCS chaos kicks off in Eugene; I'm buying

EUGENE, Ore. – This could be the best two weeks of football in BCS history, and I’m at the kickoff party.  

They’re going about two shades of crazy here Friday night at Hop Valley Brewing Co. out near I-5 in Duckland. A guy just walked in and yelled, "How about Iowa State?" It’s a brew pub that just turned into a staging area for the national championship push.

How about the Cyclones indeed? By beating Oklahoma State in overtime Friday night, they made it about football again. We can care again. Maybe we can forget tragedy and scandal -- for a little while.

Maybe for a long while. Two weeks from Sunday, two teams will be matched up to play for the 14th  BCS title. It is more than wonderful that we have no idea who they are going to be. There are six teams in the running -- LSU, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Oklahoma State, Alabama and Oregon. Oregon and Arkansas gained the most. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State the least.

But that’s just me, right now. The Hefeweizen is going down really smooth.

BCS chaos reigns. It reigns because a team whose uniforms look strangely like USC (Iowa State) just took down the nation’s No. 2. I’m here to see Oregon play the real USC on Saturday in a game that just got a lot bigger.

The Ducks are in that conga line with a bunch of one-loss teams, all of them with their hands up saying, "Pick me!"

Let the arguments begin: Do you want a rematch? LSU-Oregon awaits. So does LSU-Alabama. But shouldn’t you have to win your conference? Alabama potentially won’t. Don’t forget Arkansas, which is suddenly in the conversation.

Is Oklahoma State entirely out? Does Oklahoma deserve to be in the discussion? It lost at home to Texas Tech, which lost by 34 to Iowa State, which beat Oklahoma State. The Sooners have a chance, a small one unless …

Unless chaos continues. Who knows how OU will be perceived in two weeks? If Oregon wins on Saturday it most likely will jump to No. 2 in the BCS. Alabama plays Georgia Southern. Nothing, though, is permanent. Call it the BCS' Kardashian Moment.

Get ready for a fashion show with shoulder pads, built-in programming for sports radio. Someone give Jerry Palm a raise. Now.

You can hear the sound of Boise State kicking itself all the way from here.

Please don’t say “kicking” around the Broncos. They not only would have been in line for the BCS national championship game, they would have had to beat only San Diego State, Wyoming and New Mexico to get there. But a kid named Dan Goodale pulled a Brotzman last week, missing the game-winning field goal. That was only after TCU’s Gary Patterson proved he had more stones that Boise State had field goals.

The old missed kick seems to be an epidemic. Dan Goodale meet Oklahoma State’s Quinn Sharp, who wasn’t. Sharp missed a 37-yarder with 77 seconds left that could have beaten the Cyclones.

Nothing is permanent. Ask Kim, or give Sharp a Hefeweizen. He needs one right about now. 

How about the Cyclones indeed? By beating Oklahoma State in overtime Friday night, they made it about football again. We can care again. Maybe we can forget tragedy and scandal -- for a little while. 

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or