Tennessee just backed up the truck

UT Chancellor Jimmy Cheek made the following announcement today:

As we face a transition in our football program, I want to make it clear that we support a mission of comprehensive excellence in our athletics department. Under the leadership of Vice Chancellor and Athletics Director Dave Hart, we will do the things required to return our team to national prominence. As we begin our search for a new coach, I have assured Dave that he will have the support and resources he needs to be successful.

For the next three years, the money the athletics department has contributed to the campus will be reinvested in the athletics department. Relieving athletics of this commitment will allow the department to add an average of $6 million per year to its bottom line for a total of $18 million over three years.

The money was committed under different circumstances and we now need to allow athletics to use these dollars to attain financial stability and invest in the future.

Most of this money has been used for scholarships and fellowships. We will continue to honor these commitments, primarily through private gifts. Let me emphasize, we will not reduce our commitment to students.

I know that winning championships and competing at the highest level lifts the national profile of the University of Tennessee. As chancellor, I am committed to winning both on the field and in the classroom.

Great sign of commitment to the program. Money won't be an issue in this search. 

Jeff Tedford bought out at Cal

After 11 seasons and an 82-57 record as the head coach at Cal, Jeff Tedford was fired on Tuesday morning. The Golden Bears concluded their 2012 season with a 62-14 loss to Oregon State on Saturday, dropping their record to 3-9. With nearly a dozen years on the job, Tedford was the longest continuously-tenured head coach in the Pac-12 and leaves the program in undeniably better shape than he found it. 

Tedford, who inherited a team that went 1-10 the year before his arrival, led Cal to heights previously unseen, including two 10-win seasons, a share of the 2006 Pac-10 title and one top 10 finish. Tedford's tenure as a head coach and quarterback guru peaked in 2004, when junior college product-turned first round NFL draft pick Aaron Rodgers led the Bears to a 10-2 record, a No. 9 finish and within a hair of beating eventual national champion USC. 

After appearing in seven consecutive bowl games from 2003-09, this season marks the second time in three seasons that Cal will miss a bowl game. The Bears haven't finished a season ranked in the final AP top 25 since 2006. Tedford's position of expertise, quarterback, slipped noticeably this season as the Bears ranked 10th in the Pac-12 in passing yardage and passing efficiency. 

The firing comes just months after Cal AD Sandy Barbour gave Tedford a ringing endorsement

"Jeff Tedford is not on the hot seat. We want to win and we will win with Jeff Tedford...Anybody who wants to talk about Jeff Tedford being on the hot seat, I challenge them to go and look at his body of work, look at what he has done with facilities that would be poor high school facilities. Jeff Tedford has worked miracles at Cal. He's an icon as far as I'm concerned." 

The exact amount of Tedford's buyout is unknown, but Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury - News estimates it to be around $7 million. 

The Tedford era met an unceremonious end as Cal ended the 2012 season on a five-game losing streak in which the Bears were beaten by an average score of 42-14 and the newly-renovated Memorial Stadium sat mostly empty for a nationally televised Friday night game with Washington.

In the official statement delivered by the university, Barbour had this to say: "This was an extraordinarily difficult decision, one that required a thorough and thoughtful analysis of a complex set of factors," she said. "Ultimately, I believed that we needed a change in direction to get our program back on the right track."


Below is a statement from Jeff Tedford:

“I want to thank the University of California for the opportunity to be a part of this great university and community. I am so grateful to all of the coaches, players and support staff for playing such a vital role in making Cal Football relevant while enjoying winning seasons nine of 11 years. All involved can feel a great sense of pride with their sacrifice, contributions and commitment that have made it possible to have the winningest tenure in Cal Football history. We all can be very proud of helping to build a renovated Memorial Stadium that will have a positive impact on many athletes, fans and staff members for years to come. I will never forget the most gratifying part of these last 11 years, and that has been the relationships with the players I have had the special opportunity to watch grow academically, physically, socially and spiritually. To watch this process and be a part of their growth and development has been a blessing. The Tedford family is blessed to have built so many great relationships and create memories that will last a lifetime. I am most proud that through the sacrifices we have made over the last 11 years, my wife and two sons are the foundation and joy of my life. We wish the university much success – Go Bears!”

Tedford is a good man. 

Middle Tennessee head coach Rick Stockstill gets raise, extension

After leading his team to a 20-12 victory over South Alabama on Saturday, Middle Tennessee head coach Rick Stockstill triggered a $100,000 raise and contract extension through July 2019. 

Stockstill's contract, signed in 2009, mandates a $100,000 raise and an additional year added to his contract by meeting the three following benchmarks: an APR of 940 or higher, no major NCAA infractions and an overall winning record or five Sun Belt wins. With that clause, Stockstill can add a total of five years and $500,000 to his contract. 

The win moved the Blue Raiders to 7-3 on the season (5-1 in Sun Belt play) and, with two more games and the possibility of a Sun Belt championship on the horizon, Stockstill's salary could reach $725,000 this year.

“Nobody thought we could do what we’ve done this year,” Stockstill told the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. “I think everybody picked us seventh or eighth (in the Sun Belt). With two weeks to go, we are still in first. I’m very proud of this team. I love this team.”

In his seventh season at Middle Tennessee, Stockstill is 42-43 overall and is in pursuit of his second conference title and fourth bowl bid. 

The Scoop on Akron vs. Toledo

Midweek MACtion comes to an end tonight with the Battle of I-80 when Akron visits Toledo at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2. 

After ripping off eight straight wins, Matt Campbell's team has now lost two straight games, including last week's 31-24  decision to cede the MAC West to Northern Illinois. A win tonight is imperative for the Rockets to improve their bowl standing, as the MAC bowl picture could be quite crowded with the possibility of producing six eight-win teams. The MAC has three direct bowl tie-ins and two secondary tie-ins, so the Rockets don't want to risk getting lost in the shuffle. 

At 1-10, Terry Bowden and Akron haven't had much success this season. The Zips can do one thing exceedingly well - throw the ball. They lead the MAC with over 317 passing yards per game, but with 28 touchdowns and 17 interceptions, the second most in the MAC, Akron drops to seventh in passing efficiency. Akron has thrown the ball a MAC-leading 537 times, and throws the ball on more than 60 percent of its snaps. 

Toledo, for its efforts, ranks just 10th in the conference in total defense and ninth in passing efficiency defense. A successful offense (455 yards, 33 points per game) will be buoyed by a defense that allows 450 yards and 36 points per game.

There may not be a whole lot on the line tonight, but, if nothing else, expect Midweek MACtion to go out in style.

Muschamp: Stats don't matter to me

The wins aren't always pretty, but Will Muschamp and his staff have Florida sitting at 10-1 and have found ways to win all season long, despite what the stat sheet says.

"I've seen a lot of coaches that weren't good coaches that were stat guys," Muschamp explained to the Orlando Sentinel. "They worried about stats and they wanted to grab the stat sheet when the game was over. At the end of the day, the most important thing is winning the game and doing what it takes to win games."

"That's what we're judged on at the end of the day -- not style point, not stats. None of those things matter to me."

A win on Saturday against Florida State, however ugly or pretty it may be, will give Florida four wins against teams currently ranked amongst the top 12 in the country. That fact alone is far more impressive than any resume that any other top 5 team could currently put together.

"Our record speaks for itself. Being at the University of Florida, playing in the Southeastern Conference and playing the teams we've played, I don't feel like you need to politick much, other than to put your shirt on and show where you are and who you are."

Good point. When you win games in the SEC, you deserve a shot at the title. That is hard to argue.

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