Sunday's Top Ten: A salute to all 10 conference champions
There are 10 conferences in FBS, so it feels only natural to devote today's top 10 column to a salute of each conference champion.
Head coach: Gus Malzahn (12-1, first year)
Last conference title: 2010
Clinched: With a 59-42 win in the SEC championship over Missouri
Likely postseason destination: BCS National Championship vs. Florida State
When it looked bleakest: No one was thinking SEC championship after the Tigers' 35-21 loss to LSU in late September. Orange and blue confetti also seemed unlikely when Alabama had the ball with a 28-21 lead last Saturday.
Best performance: Auburn put on an absolute clinic Saturday, but these past eight days have been Week of the Malzahn.
Head coach: David Shaw (34-6, 3rd year)
Last conference title: 2012
Clinched: With a 38-14 win over Arizona State on Saturday night
Likely postseason destination: Rose Bowl vs. Michigan State
When it looked bleakest: Stanford seemed to have voided its Pac-12 North stranglehold with its loss at USC on November 16, but the Cardinal was re-gifted control of the division a week later when Oregon lost at Arizona.
Best performance: Demolishing a white-hot Arizona State squad was mighty impressive, but not everyone can grab a 26-0 lead over Oregon and physically impose its will on the Ducks the way Stanford did on November 7.
Big 12: Baylor
Head coach: Art Briles (44-31, 6th year)
Last conference title: 1994 (shared), 1980 (outright)
Clinched: With a 30-10 win over Texas on Saturday
Likely postseason destination: Fiesta Bowl vs. Central Florida
When it looked bleakest: Oklahoma State looked every bit the class of the Big 12 with its 49-17 blowout of Baylor on November 23, and again appeared Fiesta-bound after taking a 24-20 lead over Oklahoma with 1:46 to play on Saturday. But the Cowboys couldn't close the deal.
Best performance: If we can't submit the Bears' play over the entire month of September, how about spanking a 10-win Oklahoma team 41-12 on November 7?
Big Ten: Michigan State
Head coach: Mark Dantonio (63-29, 7th year)
Last conference title: 2010 (shared), 1987 (outright)
Clinched: With a 34-24 win over Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship on Saturday night
When it looked bleakest: The Spartans couldn't have felt confident after building a 17-0 lead, only to see the No. 2 team in the country take a 24-17 lead in what felt like about 47 seconds.
Best performance: There are plenty to choose from. This was a special season for Michigan State. You can't go wrong with either the upset of Ohio State or the 29-6 crunching of Michigan on November 2.
ACC: Florida State
Head coach: Jimbo Fisher (44-10, 4th year)
Last conference title: 2012
Clinched: With a 45-7 win over Duke in the ACC Championship on Saturday night
Likely postseason destination: BCS National Championship vs. Ohio State
When it looked bleakest: Never. The Seminoles dominated every opponent they've faced from opening kickoff to final gun.
Best performance: A 51-14 win on the road, at night, against an undefeated and then-No. 3 ranked Clemson was a sight to behold on September 28.
American: Central Florida
Head coach: George O'Leary (71-54, 10th year)
Last conference title: 2010
Clinched: With Louisville's 31-24 overtime win over Cincinnati on Thursday night
Likely postseason destination: Fiesta Bowl vs. Baylor
When it looked bleakest: The Fiesta Bowl was the furthest thing on the Knights' minds after they fell behind heavy conference favorite Louisville 28-7 on October 18....
Best performance: .... then UCF outscored Louisville 31-7, on the road, over the game's final 20 minutes to take down a darn good football team.
Mountain West: Fresno State
Head coach: Tim DeRuyter (20-5, 2nd year)
Last conference title: 2012 (shared), 1991 (outright)
Clinched: With a 24-17 win over Utah State late Saturday night (or Sunday morning, depending on where you watched) in the Mountain West title game
Likely postseason destination: Las Vegas Bowl vs. USC
When it looked bleakest: Never. Disappointing as that San Jose State loss was, Fresno State controlled the Mountain West from that 41-40 win over Boise State on.
Best performance: Hw about Saturday? Fresno didn't put up their typical gaudy numbers, but those figures came against a schedule that featured eight teams ranked 92nd or worse in scoring defense, plus an FCS team. Utah State ranked seventh. And the Bulldogs' defense rose to the occasion, collecting two late stops when Utah State could've forced overtime with a touchdown.
Conference USA: Rice
Head coach: David Bailiff (40-43, 7th year)
Last conference title: 1994 (shared), 1957 (outright)
Clinched: With a 41-24 win over Marshall Saturday in the Conference USA title game
Likely postseason destination: Liberty Bowl vs. Mississippi State
When it looked bleakest: The Owls lost control of the C-USA West with a 28-16 loss to North Texas on Halloween night and didn't get it back until North Texas lost to UTSA on November 23. The Owls had to beat Tulane 17-13 on November 30 to clinch the division.
Best performance: How about Saturday? Rice took a Marshall team scoring 53 points a game since late October and winners of five in a row and made it look average. The Owls out-gained Marshall by 116 yards and led 14-0 after one quarter and 34-10 through three.
MAC: Bowling Green
Head coach: Dave Clawson (32-31, 5th year)
Last conference title: 1992
Clinched: With a 47-27 win over Northern Illinois on Friday
Likely postseason destination: GoDaddy.com Bowl vs. Arkansas State
When it looked bleakest: The Falcons fell into second place in the MAC East with a 28-25 loss to Toledo on October 26, and didn't regain first place until Northern Illinois beat Toledo on November 20.
Best performance: This one's easy. Bowling Green ended Northern Illinois' undefeated season and forcefully snapped its 25-game MAC winning streak by tattooing the Huskies for 574 yards of total offense. The Falcons led 17-7 after one, 31-13 at the half and ran off 16 straight points to start the fourth after Northern Illinois pulled within 31-20.
Sun Belt: Louisiana-Lafayette
Head coach: Mark Hudspeth (26-11, 3rd year)
Last conference title: 2005 (shared), 1940 (outright)
Clinched: With Arkansas State's 34-31 loss to Western Kentucky on November 30
Postseason destination (announced): New Orleans Bowl vs. Tulane
When it looked bleakest: The Ragin' Cajuns appeared to have everything under wraps after getting off to a 5-0 start in Sun Belt play, but then they lost two straight games to close the season. It took Arkansas State's losing to Western Kentucky on Thanksgiving Saturday to give Hudspeth's team the crown.
Best performance: Over a game-and-a-half period from the second quarter of the Western Kentucky game on October 15 through the first three quarters of the Arkansas State game a week later, Louisiana-Lafayette outscored a pair of teams that finished 15-7 this season by a combined score of 60-17.
Wyoming to reportedly hire Craig Bohl
Wyoming has reportedly tabbed North Dakota State head coach Craig Bohl to fill its vacant head coaching position, according to Bruce Feldman of CBSSports.com. We heard the same thing throughout the day Saturday but were not able to confirm the news.
Wyoming has called a 7 p.m. ET press conference for Sunday.
Any way you slice it, this would be an absolutely fantastic hire for the Cowboys.
Bohl has led North Dakota State to the past two Football Championship Subdivision national championships, and the 12-0, top-seeded Bison are odds on favorites to bring home a third consecutive crown. North Dakota State defeated Furman 38-7 on Saturday, securing the program's fourth consecutive trip to the FCS quarterfinals.
North Dakota State has won its last 21 games and holds a 40-2 record since the beginning of the 2011 season. Bohl is 101-32 in 11 seasons in Fargo. He is 4-0 over the last four seasons against FBS competition, including a 24-21 win over Kansas State to open this season and a 22-7 defeat of his new rival Colorado State in 2012.
For Bohl, taking the Wyoming job is a guarantee at more money, a shot to prove himself at the highest level of college football and the chance to secure a BCS job down the road. And with 40 wins in his last 42 games, his stock will never be higher.
There really is no risk attached to taking the Wyoming job considering Bohl would likely have his pick of FCS jobs should things not work out in Laramie.
However, we fully expect Bohl to win at Wyoming. It's what he does.
In the last 5 mins I’ve had about 10 coaches text / DM me. Each says: “Great hire” “Great coach” “Surprised he took it” “He’ll win"— FootballScoop Staff (@footballscoop) December 8, 2013
His coaching staff loves him. Coaches around the country respect and praise him. Just a great hire— FootballScoop Staff (@footballscoop) December 8, 2013
A guy at Wyoming told me that Bohl beat them on several recruits. Well, now he’ll bring them to Laramie.— FootballScoop Staff (@footballscoop) December 8, 2013
@footballscoop he came to NDSU just as I was leaving. Stopped and talked to me for 30 minutes at the school paper. Very engaging guy.— Neal Coolong (@NealCoolong) December 8, 2013
Sunday TV - Showdowns in the NFC South and NFC West
Week 14 in the NFL is upon us.
As always, all times Eastern.
Indianapolis at Cincinnati - 1 p.m. - CBS
Atlanta at Green Bay - 1 p.m. - FOX
Cleveland at New England - 1 p.m. - CBS
Oakland at NY Jets - 1 p.m. - CBS
Detroit at Philadelphia - 1 p.m. - FOX
Miami at Pittsburgh - 1 p.m. - CBS
Buffalo at Tampa Bay - 1 p.m. - CBS
Kansas City at Washington - 1 p.m. - CBS
Minnesota at Baltimore - 1 p.m. - FOX
Tennessee at Denver - 4:05 p.m. - CBS
St. Louis at Arizona - 4:25 p.m. - FOX
NY Giants at San Diego - 4:25 p.m. - FOX
Seattle at San Francisco - 4:25 p.m. - FOX
Carolina at New Orleans - 8:30 p.m. - NBC
Ohio State's hype video for Saturday is title-game worthy
Fifty-eight seconds. That's all Ohio State needs to get you ready for what should be an epic conclusion to the 2013 college football regular season.
Missouri breaking out a special uni combo for Saturday
It's a special day for the Missouri football program, so it only makes sense that the Tigers would break out a special uniform combination.
Mizzou will wear their black matte helmets, white jerseys and gold pants for the SEC title game, the first time this specific uniform combination has been worn. (Should we mention that the last time Missouri broke out a special uniform combination - gold jerseys for the Kansas game in 2008 - the Tigers lost 40-37 on a 26-yard touchdown pass with 27 seconds left in the game? No, no we probably shouldn't.)
2013-14 Head Coaching Changes
The 2013 regular season has come to a close for all but a handful of FBS teams, which means it's time to start tracking head coaching changes across the college football landscape.
This page will track head coaching changes at every level of football - NFL, NCAA and NAIA - throughout the 2013-14 coaching change season, so check back frequently.
In the NFL, one head coaching job has come open as of Friday, Dec. 6. There were eight coaching changes in the NFL following the 2012 season.
|Team||2013 Coach||2014 Coach|
|Houston Texans||Gary Kubiak|
At the FBS level, a total of 11 jobs have come open as of Dec. 11 and eight have been filled.
As a point of reference, here are the number of coaching changes following the last five seasons: 22 (2008), 23 (2009), 24 (2010), 28 (2011), 31 (2012). Additionally, here is our list of coaching changes from the 2012-13 hiring season.
|School||2013 Coach||2014 Coach|
|Arkansas State||Bryan Harsin|
|Boise State||Chris Petersen||Bryan Harsin|
|Bowling Green||Dave Clawson|
|Connecticut||Paul Pasqualoni||Bob Diaco|
|Eastern Michigan||Ron English||Chris Creighton|
|Florida Atlantic||Carl Pelini|
|Miami (Ohio)||Don Treadwell||Chuck Martin|
|USC||Lane Kiffin||Steve Sarkisian|
|Wake Forest||Jim Grobe||Dave Clawson|
|Washington||Steve Sarkisian||Chris Petersen|
|Wyoming||Dave Christensen||Craig Bohl|
At the FCS level, we are showing 19 head coaching changes as of Dec. 11. Eight positions have been filled.
|School||2013 Coach||2014 Coach|
|Alabama A&M||Anthony Jones|
|Albany||Robert Ford||Greg Gattuso|
|Central Connecticut||Jeff McInerney|
|Colgate||Dick Biddle||Dan Hunt|
|Drake||Chris Creighton||Rick Fox|
|Elon||Jason Swepson||Rich Skrosky|
|Grambling||Doug Williams||Broderick Fobbs|
|James Madison||Mickey Matthews|
|Mississippi Valley State||Karl Morgan|
|Morgan State||Donald Hill-Eley|
|North Carolina Central||Henry Frazier III|
|North Dakota||Chris Mussman|
|North Dakota State||Craig Bohl|
|Robert Morris||Joe Walton||
|Rhode Island||Joe Trainer|
|Southeast Missouri||Tony Samuel|
|Stephen F. Austin||J.C. Harper|
|Valparaiso||Dale Carlson||Dave Cecchini|
|Weber State||Jody Sears||Jay Hill|
In Division II, 15 schools have switched head coaches and six positions have been filled as of Dec. 11.
|School||2013 Coach||2014 Coach|
|Bentley (MA)||Thom Boerman|
|Central State (OH)||EJ Junior|
|Central Washington||John Picha|
|Mary (ND)||Myron Schulz|
|Minnesota-Crookston||Paul Miller||Mike Fritze|
|Northeastern State (OK)||Kenny Evans|
|Northwood (MI)||Mike Sullivan||Pat Riepma|
|Pace (NY)||Chris Dapolito|
|Simon Fraser (Canada)||Dave Johnson|
|Southeastern Oklahoma State||Ray Richards||Bo Atterberry|
|Southern Connecticut State||Rich Cavanaugh|
|Virginia Union||Michael Bailey|
|West Alabama||Will Hall||Brett Gilliland|
|West Georgia||Daryl Dickey||Will Hall|
|West Texas A&M||Don Carthel||Mike Nesbitt|
At the Division III level, 16 schools have announced coaching changes and two positions has been filled as of Dec. 8.
|School||2013 Coach||2014 Coach|
|Aurora (IL)||Mark Walsh|
|Averett (VA)||Mike Dunlevy|
|Beloit (WI)||Chris Brann|
|Emory and Henry (VA)||Don Montgomery|
|Frostburg State (MD)||Tom Rogish|
|Loras College (IA)||Paul Mierkiewicz|
|Mississippi College||Norman Joseph|
|Nichols College (MA)||Kevin Loney||Dale Olmstead|
|Oberlin (OH)||Jeff Ramsey|
|St. Norbert (WI)||Jim Purtill|
|St. Vincent (PA)||Bob Colbert|
|Sul Ross State (TX)||John Tyree|
|Trinity (TX)||Steve Mohr||Jerheme Urban|
|Westfield State (MA)||Steve Marino|
|Westminster (PA)||Jeff Hand|
|Whitworth (WA)||John Tully|
In NAIA, three jobs have come open at this time and all have been filled.
|School||2013 Coach||2014 Coach|
|Dickinson State (ND)||Hank Biesiot||Pete Stanton|
|Edward Waters College (FL)||Brad Bernard||Alvin Wyatt|
|McPherson College (KS)||Pete Sterbick||Steve Fox|
As always, if we missed anyone please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ole Miss has released a "ball boy" rebuttal video
So yesterday we stumbled on a spectacular highlight video of Florida State ball boy known as Red Lighting. Well, it turns out that balls boys are held in a little higher esteem down south, and are rapidly gaining popularity.
Here's Ole Miss' rebuttal with their very own "Ball Man". This guy can flat out scoot.
The stakes have bumped up a few notches with this one. It's your move now Big Ten / ACC / Pac-12.
The Top Nine Coaching Matchups of Championship Weekend
Usually this column runs down the top 10 coaching matchups of the impending weekend, but we're a day behind this week. But since "Louisville 31, Cincinnati 24" has already happened, we're down to nine this week.
1. Tom Herman vs. Pat Narduzzi - I wrote about this game more extensively yesterday, but we'll boil it down to this: Ohio State ranks in the top 10 nationally in 10 offensive categories. Michigan State ranks in the top 10 nationally each of those same categories. When Ohio State runs the ball, there will be a difference of nearly five yards between what the Buckeyes normally gain and what the Spartans allow. Something's gotta give.
2. The Auburn offensive staff vs. the Missouri defensive staff - Auburn survived the SEC's top rushing defense just fine last week. Fifty-two carries for 296 yards and two touchdowns did the trick against Alabama, and now Auburn faces the SEC's second-ranked defensive front.
Gus Malzahn's biggest challenge this week, aside from Michael Sam and the rest of Mizzou's awesome defensive front, will be pulling his team's head out of the clouds after last week's once-in-a-lifetime win. There won't be any Kick Sixes to win this one.
3. Mack Brown vs. Art Briles - No one's playing for a national championship here, but I'd wager no two head coaches want a win on Saturday worse than this pair. For Briles, it's a chance to wrap up the best season anyone in green and gold can care to remember, to close out Floyd Casey Stadium the right way, and to beat Texas. For Brown, it's a shot at least a share of the Big 12 title and, most importantly, a shot at extending the Mack Brown era into 2014.
I fully expect this to be a close game in the fourth quarter.
4. David Shaw vs. Todd Graham - Graham drilled into his players' heads all off-season that they were worthy of playing in the Rose Bowl, now they've got one game on their home field to prove it. Arizona State has won all seven of its home games this year and, save for the Wisconsin squeaker, they've all been decisive. Stanford's last three road games? A 20-17 loss to USC, a 20-12 win over Oregon State and a 27-21 loss to Utah. Kevin Hogan's quarterback rating is nearly 20 points lower on the road, too. How much have these teams changed since Sept. 21, when Stanford built a 39-7 lead on the Sun Devils and en route to a 42-28 final?
5. The Bowling Green defensive staff vs. Jordan Lynch - There's no pretense here. Northern Illinois will ram Lynch into the Falcons' defensive line as many times as it takes until it breaks. Lynch has the third-most rushing yards of any player in college football, owns the highest yards per carry average of any player with at least 200 rushes, and it's his one chance to send his team to the Fiesta Bowl and himself to the Heisman ceremony.
Lynch will get his yards, but what will Bowling Green's top-ranked red zone defense show near the goal line?
6. The Oklahoma offensive staff vs. the Oklahoma State defensive staff - Old-fashioned style Bedlam is in store Saturday morning with snow on the ground and rumors of single-digit temperatures at kickoff. Oklahoma has finally found a mix that works offensively, rushing for 706 yards and seven touchdowns on 96 attempts (7.35 per carry) in its two games since losing to Baylor. The Sooners can't win if Trevor Knight has to throw the ball. No Big 12 team stops the run better or forces more turnovers than Oklahoma State. How many 3rd-and-8's can the Pokes force Oklahoma to deal with?
7. The Duke defensive staff vs. the Florida State offensive staff - Duke hasn't lost often this year but when it does, the Devils' back seven gets taken to the woodshed. Duke has surrendered 10 passing touchdowns in its two setbacks (compared with eight total in its 10 wins) and a shade over 11 yards per pass attempt. Its challenge Saturday night? The overwhelming favorite for the Heisman Trophy, playing with a clear head for the first time in weeks, with a shot at the national title on the line. Good luck, Cut.
8. The Fresno State offensive staff vs. the Utah State defensive staff - A week after facing its stiffest defensive test of the season - and failing - Tim DeRuyter's team faces the harshest opponent its prolific offense will meet all season. Utah State has surrendered 10, 10, 24, zero and seven points in its last four games (all wins). The Aggies rank seventh on the national scoring defense charts. The rest of Fresno State's schedule? 94th, FCS, 41st, 115th, 125th, 92nd, 97th, 102nd, 110th and 104th.
9. The Marshall offensive staff vs. the Rice defensive staff - Marshall has won five straight games and scored 53 points per game in its last half-dozen games. Quarterback Rakeem Cato has fired 28 touchdowns against four interceptions (on 8.5 yards per attempt) in the Thundering Herd's nine wins, and only six touchdowns against four picks (on under seven yards per attempt) in its three losses. Against a defense that's allowed the 12th-fewest passing yards in college football, and ranks 22nd nationally in pass efficiency defense and sixth in opponent completion percentage, the Conference USA title game shapes up quite nicely.