The Scoop on Pittsburgh at Connecticut

The Big East takes center stage tonight when Paul Chryst's Pittsburgh team visits Paul Pasqualoni and Connecticut at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

After a very slow start to his tenure at Pittsburgh, a 31-17 loss to Youngstown State followed by a 34-10 loss to Cincinnati to open the season, Chryst's Panthers have won four of their last six and came within a hair of upsetting Notre Dame last week. Pittsburgh must win two of their last three games to achieve bowl eligibility, and considering they still have 7-1 Rutgers on the schedule, tonight is a game they need to win. 

Panthers running back Ray Graham is heating up with two straight 100-yard games, rushing for 109 yards against Temple and 172 yards versus Notre Dame. Coupled with an efficient passing game, the Panthers place 12th nationally with 14 touchdowns against two interceptions, and it's clear where Pittsburgh's turnaround has come from. 

Connecticut has dropped all four Big East games thus far, and scoring has been a major struggle for the Huskies. Connecticut has scored 3, 14, 10 and 6 points in four consecutive losses. The other side of the ball, however, has performed well throughout the year. The Huskies' defense ranks first in the Big East and ninth nationally with just over 290 yards allowed per game, first in the Big East in pass efficiency defense (112.1 opposing quarterback rating), and second in the conference in rushing defense (114.2 yards per game) and scoring defense (18.6 points per game). 

The home team has won the last three games in this series and to keep that trend alive Connecticut must find a way to reverse its Big East-worst turnover margin, convert turnovers into points, and use its attacking defensive front (2.67 sacks per game, 7.22 TFL per game) to stifle the Panthers' offense. 

Mike Bellotti thinks its only a matter of time before Chip Kelly takes an NFL job

Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com reported Friday that, according to former Oregon head coach Mike Bellotti, it is "inevitable" that Kelly will one day jump from Oregon to a head coaching position in the NFL. 

As we know, last year Kelly accepted the head coaching job with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before changing his mind and staying at Oregon.

“It's just inevitable that he will eventually be in the NFL,” Bellotti said. “Chip is one of the ultimate competitors and he sees that. It actually surprised me he changed his mind [with the Bucs] last year."

Dodd also spoke with an anonymous source who stated, "There are nine chances in 10 if he wins out [this season] he's gone."

Kelly took over for Bellotti in 2009 after Bellotti to a dozen bowl games in 14 years as the Ducks head coach. Bellotti hired Kelly away from New Hampshire to serve as the Ducks' offensive coordinator for the final two seasons of Bellotti's tenure before Kelly was promoted to head coach after Bellotti's retirement. In his fourth season at the helm, Kelly is 43-6 at Oregon while closing in on his fourth conference championship with hopes of appearing in his second BCS National Championship.  

When asked if Oregon could keep Kelly out of the NFL again, Dodd's source had this to say: "I don't think so. I wish we could. He's a friend. I want him to be happy. I would like to think he's got the best college football job in America. He clearly has all the tools that one could ever need.”

Or, as Bellotti put it, “Once you get to the top of the mountain, there's one other mountain for him to climb."

Read Dodd's full report here.

Friday TV - Pittsburgh at UConn in prime time

The Big East takes center stage in prime time

All times Eastern.




Pittsburgh at Connecticut - 8pm - ESPN2

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Report: Auburn president considering a coaching change

"News" broke earlier this afternoon that Auburn president Jay Gogue has told AU Board of Trustees members that he is possibly planning to dismiss head coach Gene Chizik, according to AuburnUndercover.com. According to the report, Gogue has contacted board members about forming a search committee to name a new head coach "within days after the end of the season", should he decide to make a change

The report also stated the athletics director Jay Jacobs would be retained and that executive associate athletics director Tim Jackson, who oversees football, would be reassigned. 

Chizik's buyout presently stands at $10 million but drops to $7.5 million on December 1, according to AL.com.

For a full summary of the report, please click here

To be clear, Chizik has not been let go. 

In the meantime, Auburn hosts Georgia on Saturday (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2). The Tigers are 2-7 on the season and 0-6 in SEC play. 

David Cutcliffe outlines plans for Wallace Wade Stadium renovation

Duke announced last months a $3.25 billion campaign for improvements across the university, with $250 million earmarked for athletic facility improvements. On Wednesday, head coach David Cutcliffe detailed to the Raleigh Sports Club what the improvements will entail for Wallace Wade Stadium. 

“We’ll do what Stanford did, and as soon as we finish the last ball game (in 2013), construction will start,” Cutcliffe told the Raleigh-Durham News & Observer. “It will require a day and night operation to get it up and running.”

In the off-season between the 2013-14 seasons, Duke will remove the track surrounding the field, lower the playing surface and update the stadium's facade to match the rest of campus. 

Originally opened in 1929, Duke Stadium was renamed in honor of College Football Hall of Fame coach Wallace Wade in 1968. Originally opened with a 35,000-seat capacity, the stadium grew to 44,000 in 1942 but has been downsized twice since, most recently to 33,941 in 1982. 

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