Gene Chizik out at Auburn

After four seasons on the Plains, Auburn head coach Gene Chizik was fired on Sunday. The Tigers lost to Alabama 49-0 on Saturday, concluding their 2012 season with a 3-9 overall mark and an 0-8 SEC record, a first in school history. 

According to the Associated Press, Auburn will pay in excess of $11 million to buyout the contracts of Chizik and his assistants. Chizik's buyout states that he will be paid more than $156,000 per month through the life of his contract, which runs through 2015-16. The rest of the staff will be paid through June 2013, except for Scot Loeffler, Brian VanGorder and Trooper Taylor, who will be paid through June 2014. 

Auburn AD Jay Jacobs announced in his official statement that he, Mac Crawford, Bo Jackson and Pat Sullivan will serve as the search committee for finding the next head coach. 

As always, we'll keep you posted on The Scoop with anything you need to know. 

Chizik released this statement following the announcement. 

"I am very grateful for the opportunity that I had during the last four seasons to serve as the head football coach at Auburn University," he said. I’m extremely disappointed with the way this season turned out and I apologize to the Auburn family and our team for what they have had to endure.

"In my 27 years of coaching, I have gained an understanding of the high expectations in this profession. When expectations are not met, I understand changes must be made.

"While we experienced a tremendous low in 2012, I will always be proud of the incredible highs that we achieved, including three bowl victories, an SEC championship and a national championship.

"I want to thank Dr. Gogue and Jay Jacobs for the great opportunity they gave me. I’m confident in their leadership ability to continue to move this football program forward.

"I feel blessed to have been surrounded with so many great coaches, players and administrators that have worked relentlessly and dedicated themselves to this institution. I will miss not being able to continue to mentor these players on a daily basis. I’m confident these young men will continue to excel both on and off the field. They are a great group and I wish them nothing but the best.

"I’ve been fortunate to spend seven years of my coaching career at Auburn, which is an incredible place to work and live. My family and I have been blessed to call Auburn home and look forward to remaining in the Auburn community. "I have said this many times, but the Auburn fans are the best in college football. They have an incredible passion and love for their school and I want to thank them for their support in good times and in bad times.

"As I said four years ago when I arrived, Auburn was great way before we got here and it will remain great long after we leave. My sentiments about Auburn have not and will not change. I wish the next football coach all the best and I anticipate a smooth transition.

"I encourage the Auburn family to continue to be ‘All In’ and support this great university and its athletics programs. War Eagle!"

Tom O'Brien let go at NC State


After six seasons, North Carolina State let go Tom O'Brien earlier today. 

In four of his six seasons at the helm, O'Brien lead the program to a bowl a game, but always came up short of competing for the ACC title. The Wolfpack finished 7-5 this season, and O'Brien compiled a 40-35 record overall in Raleigh (with eight of those wins coming against FCS competition). His best season was 2010 where he led NC State to a 9-4 record, but since then their win total has diminished by one each year.

In conference play, O'Brien was just 22-26 and finished above the .500 mark just once. Atlantic Division road games were always an area of concern under O'Brien as well, as he went just 1-14 in six seasons. 

Although the Wolfpack found a way to beat a top 3 Florida State team the first weekend of October, they struggled with consistency issues all season. They lost to Tennessee to open the season by two touchdowns, and then gave up a 10 point lead to eventually lose to Miami. Later in the season, Virginia came into Raleigh on a six game losing streak and took home a 33-6 win.

In his official statement, O'Brien (who has been coaching at the college level since 1975), noted that he is finally "looking forward to life after football."

“I appreciate the opportunity to have coached at North Carolina State University and I feel that the program is in a better place now than when I started. I’m proud of the young men that I have coached here, for their accomplishments on the field and in the classroom. Wolfpack football is as sound academically as it’s ever been with a [single year] APR of 990 to be reported this spring. I appreciate all of my coaches and wish them the best and I look forward to life after football.” O'Brien said. 

Offensive coordinator Dana Bible will take over on an interim basis for the bowl game, and all assistants have been retained as they continue their bowl preparations. Athletic director Debbie Yow will meet with the media at 5pm ET today.

Here is a link to North Carolina State's official announcement.

VIDEO: Go inside the Notre Dame locker room

Notre Dame provided some great footage from the locker room and sidelines of last night's win over USC.

The video opens with Brian Kelly's halftime address to his team. The Fighting Irish led 16-10, and you can see on Kelly's face how close they are to 12-0. "Alright men, this is it," Kelly said. "This is it! Play the last two quarters together and play to the last second. That's who we are. Be who we are.

"You've got a great opportunity. Go seize the moment. Let's go play."

The video then picks up at Notre Dame's goal line stand and shows the post-game celebration on the field.

Kelly enters the locker room to cheers from his players and a kiss from Joe Theismann. 

"You put yourself in the history books," Kelly told his team. "Our want and desire to win football games is unparalleled, and it's because of great players and a great coaching staff."

"We're going to South Beach."

VIDEO: Jim Mora wins the press conference

After Saturday's 35-17 loss to Stanford, UCLA head coach Jim Mora opened his post-game press conference giving customary credit to Stanford for their win.

Los Angeles Times columnist T.J. Simers nabbed the first question and immediately engaged Mora in a dialogue of whether Mora truly wanted to win the game. Mora, of course, dismissed the allegation wholeheartedly. 

Here's his quote: "Because we're competitors, T.J. Those guys in there don't spend all the time they spend preparing for a game in the offseason, during the week, the sacrifices they make to go out and not try their best to win ... So that's what they did, and they came up a little short. To insinuate that our players didn't give their best effort"

Simers, however, continued arguing in favor of the angle he took in his post-game column

"I've never in my life stepped on the field and given less than my best, nor will I ever," Mora continued. 

I give Mora a lot of credit for showing restraint here. I've been in my share of post-game press conferences and have never seen a press conference get derailed quite like that, especially right off the top. 

At the four-minute mark, another media member asked if Mora held anything back for next week. Mora answered, "We're trying to create a culture about winning. You try to win every single time you step on the field and if you don't do that you cheat everybody. You cheat yourself, you cheat your players, you cheat your alumni, you cheat the students the students that suport you, you cheat your fans. We're trying to be great."

At the 5 minute mark Simers again comes back for more and Mora responds a bit this time. Watch the death stare at about the 5:40 mark. Priceless. Mora wins this one. 

Watch for yourself below.


Coaches of the Week - Week 13

Here are the coaches whose work jumped out to us as the best across college football for Week 13.

Head Coaches of the Week - Brian Kelly, Notre Dame and Urban Meyer, Ohio State: Thirteen weeks ago, 124 FBS teams were unbeaten and now only two are left standing. Each coach led his team to an emotional win and each team showed the mark of a true winner, growing more focused with every step closer it got to the finish line. Meyer's Buckeyes started the day by playing an inspired defensive effort to choke out Michigan, not allowing the Wolverines to cross midfield in the second half. Kelly's Fighting Irish went on the road and played like the better team for all 60 minutes against USC. Notre Dame's offense threw for 217 yards, ran for 222 yards and never turned the ball over. The defense limited USC to a lone field goal in the second half, and its exclamation point, of the game and the season, came in a goal line stand with two minutes left. 

Offensive Staff of the Week - Florida: The Florida offense has been far from effective for much of this season but the Gators came up big when it mattered the most on Saturday in defeating Florida State, 37-26. The Seminoles brought in college football's best run defense and Florida ran for 244 yards, its third-best performance of the season. Florida State brought in the nation's best total defense and Florida accumulated 398 yards, more than it gained against Bowling Green, Missouri, Louisiana - Lafayette and Jacksonville State. Brent Pease's group scored 37 points, three times what Florida State normally allows. Florida State led the nation in third down defense, allowing opponents to compete 25 percent of their opportunities. Florida converted over half of its third downs (8-of-15). Florida State allowed the fewest first downs in college football. Florida gained 21, one more than Florida State. 


Defensive Staff of the Week - Kent State: No defense filled the box score quite like Jon Heacock's Golden Flashes in topping Ohio 28-6 on Friday. Kent State returned a fumble and interception for touchdowns in building a 21-0 first-quarter lead. The Golden Flashes created a total of four fumbles on the day, sacked Bobcats quarterback Tyler Tettleton eight times and forced Ohio to punt nine times. Kent State held an Ohio offense that has run for 210 yards per game and 4.5 yards per carry to just 107 yards and 2.1 yards per carry. Ohio's 339 yards were its third-fewest of 2012 and, most importantly, its six point output was its worst of the season. 


Special Teams Unit of the Week - Notre Dame: On a night when Notre Dame moved the ball everywhere except the red zone, sophomore kicker Kyle Brindza came up huge for the Fighting Irish. He hit 5-of-6 field goals, including a career long 52-yarder, the second longest field goal in school history, just before the half to give Notre Dame a 16-10 lead at the break. Ben Turk boomed three punts for a net average of 44.3 yards, and the Irish coverage units neutralized the explosive Marqise Lee and Robert Woods in the return game. George Atkinson III also returned a kickoff 39 yards, setting up Brindza's fifth field goal to put the Irish up by two scores, 22-13, with 5:58 to play. 

Call of the Week - Mark Tommerdahl and Sonny Dykes, Louisiana Tech: The Bulldogs didn't win the game, but they do win our Call of the Week with a beautiful fake field goal call of Saturday night's game with San Jose State. Trailing 17-6 in the second quarter, Louisiana Tech lined up for a 33-yard field goal when holder David Gru grabbed the snap and ran left, directly at the oncoming edge rusher. Gru then  shoveled it forward to Malon Lee (who had lined up as the right wing), who raced in for a 15-yard touchdown. A bit of a read option type look, nice design.  

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