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Tosh Lupoi to reportedly join the Alabama staff

Word that began trickling out Friday finally hit the wire on Sunday night, as Jeremy Fowler of CBS Sports reported that former Cal and Washington assistant Tosh Lupoi will join the Alabama staff in an unspecified, off-the-field position. A move into the player personnel department feels like a natural fit, especially after Kevin Steele's transition to inside linebackers coach. 

 Lupoi, of course, has a reputation as one of the most aggressive recruiters on the West Coast. After finishing his playing career at Cal in 2005, Lupoi worked at Cal and Washington for half-a-dozen seasons before a six-week NCAA investigation - in which he was absolved of wrongdoing - left him without a job. 

Enter Nick Saban.

Saban, who at 62 has to be entering the twilight of his career, has apparently decided to leave no stone unturned in recruiting. Alabama signed the nation's top recruiting class according to Rivals.com in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013, but that success didn't stop Saban from hiring South Florida recruiting dynamo Mario Cristobal as offensive line coach in February 2013. 

Coupled with Lane Kiffin's hiring in January, Lupoi would give Alabama another set of experienced eyes on the West Coast for a team that has now cast its recruiting nets well beyond the Southeast. In the freshly-signed 2014 recruiting class, for example, Alabama stretched beyond SEC country to sign offensive linemen from Iowa and Minnesota, a defensive lineman from Virginia, a wide receiver from Ohio, a punter from Colorado and a junior college offensive lineman from California.

If there are players to be found, Saban wants them. Lupoi helps with that. 




Michigan State just misses out on a shot at history

Michigan State won the Rose Bowl. We know this. Mark Dantonio's Spartans rammed, battered, bullied, bruised and stonewalled their way to an 11-1 regular season, an upset of Ohio State for a spotless Big Ten record and a triumph over Stanford on New Year's Day, giving them their best season in a quarter-century and a No. 3 national ranking. 

But it's what the Spartans almost did that is the focus of this piece.

Sunday's 60-54 loss to Connecticut in the East Regional final cost Michigan State not only their basketball season, but a chance to join a group of eight schools to reach a BCS game and the Final Four in the same academic year. With the BCS now extinct, the club is closed at seven:

1998-99 Ohio State - won the Sugar Bowl, lost in the Final Four
1999-00 Wisconsin - won the Rose Bowl, lost in the Final Four
2001-02 Maryland - lost the Orange Bowl, won the National Championship
2006-07 Florida - won the National Championship, won the National Championship
2007-08 Kansas - won the Orange Bowl, won the National Championship
2010-11 Connecticut - lost the Fiesta Bowl, won the National Championship
2012-13 Louisville - won the Sugar Bowl, won the National Championship

Had Tom Izzo's club captured a national championship of its own, Michigan State's 2013-14 football/basketball combination would have cemented itself as the second-best year in the BCS era, trailing only the dual championships won by Florida in 2006-07.

With the 10-team BCS now closed for business and replaced by the four-team College Football Playoff, the bar is now raised for any gridiron-hardwood high achievers. 

The good news here for those in East Lansing, though, is that I can't imagine a better candidate to break that mold than Michigan State. 




Video: Muhammad Ali is the soundtrack to this look at Indiana practice

We've posted hundreds of practice videos in the history of this site but none (that I can recall, at least) that standout like this look at a recent Indiana practice. 

First, I love the underneath shot of two linemen going at it. Very creative.

And second, the greatest hits of Muhammad Ali put to music make this a very enjoyable 82 seconds.




Take a look at how East Carolina ran their Pro Day

Recruiting is, obviously, the birth canal of every college football career, but it's also the process by which a player leaves college ball for the NFL. At East Carolina, a school that isn't a Florida State, Alabama, Ohio State-level automatic stop on the Pro Day tour, player personnel director Brian Overton reaches out to his network of NFL scouts, inviting them to practice in the fall and then back for Pro Day in the spring. And it worked. Overton was happy to note that all 32 NFL teams had a representative in Greenville for the Pirates' Pro Day.

 "If you want to win a Super Bowl," notes head coach Ruffin McNeill, "put a Pirate on your team." The last four Super Bowl champions had at least one former East Carolina player on their respective rosters. 




Video: 'You've got to give up something to become a champion'

The video below is going a million different ways all at once. Just like the way Jerry Mack likes it.

Hired away from South Alabama, Mack was charged with changing the culture around a North Carolina Central program that went a disappointing 5-7 last season. His avenues to change have been sacrifice and attention to detail. 

“The devil’s in the details,” Mack told the Durham (N.C.) Herald-Sun. “If we call a 3 o’clock meeting, the doors are locked at 3 o’clock.”

"Every day you've got to come out here and get a little bit better," says the video below. "Each day is a process. We've got to grow a little bit more as a team. Get a little bit better fundamentally, a little bit more disciplined every single day. That's the only way to become a champion. Every single time we take the field we have to take it with a passion...You've got to give up something to become a champion."




Photos: Construction updates on Houston's new stadium

Houston's new football stadium - creatively named Houston Football Stadium for the moment - is scheduled to open on August 30 as the Cougars host UTSA. That's 22 weeks from today.

On Friday, Houston posted a photo update of the progress on their new home. Let's just say there's some work left to be done in the 154 days between now and opening day.

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And this is (an artistic rendering, of course) how the stadium will look on August 30:

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See the full photo set at the stadium's Facebook page.




This Penn workout video will get your blood moving

Don't let the bagpipes and Celtic punk rock in the background fool you, this video is actually about football. 

As they say, the boys are back and they're looking for trouble. 




Video: South Dakota State has an impressive spring football trailer

I'm not sure what's more impressive here, the sharp camera work, the luscious greens of the South Dakota spring, or the Jackrabbits' actual work in these 52 action-packed seconds. Either way, it all works. 

After reaching the second round of the FCS playoffs each of the past two seasons, South Dakota State is looking to break through to the quarterfinals and beyond in 2014.