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Category: Chris Dufresne

Arizona fires Mike Stoops


The first Pacific 12 Conference coach fired this year won't be UCLA's Rick Neuheisel. Instead, it was the coach of UCLA's next opponent.

In a somewhat surprising move, given that the season is only half over, Arizona announced Monday it had fired Mike Stoops six games into his eighth season. The school announced that defensive coordinator Tim Kish would be the interim coach for the rest of the season.

Arizona has been reeling of late, losing 10 straight games to Division 1opponents dating back to last season. The Wildcats fell to 1-5 this year after losing last weekend at previously winless Oregon State. Arizona's only win this season came against 1-AA Northern Arizona.

"We're appreciative of Mike's dedicated work for the Arizona Wildcats," Athletic Director Greg Byrne said in a statement. "Coach Stoops had many successes as our head coach over the last eight seasons. It was a difficult decision but I feel now is the time for new leadership and direction."

Stoops leaves with a 41-50 overall record and was 27-38 in conference games. Arizona stuck with Stoops through four straight non-winning seasons before he broke through with an 8-5 season in 2008. He followed with another 8-5 year and started 7-1 last year before losing five straight.

Arizona has faced a brutal stretch of late, losing twice each to Oregon, Stanford and Oklahoma State during the recent downturn.

Arizona's last win over a major college school was, ironically, at UCLA last Oct. 30. The Wildcats have a bye this week before hosting UCLA on Oct. 20.

 -- Chris Dufresne

Photo: Mike Stoops patrols the sideline during Saturday's loss to Oregon State at Reser Stadium. Credit: Jim Z. Rider / US Presswire



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Big 12 authorizes move to invite Texas Christian

Wait a minute ... wasn't Texas Christian heading to the Big East?

Yes, but that was yesterday. A lot can change in the rapid-fire world of college football. The Big 12 Conference, seemingly on the brink of extinction only days ago, announced Thursday morning that it had authorized its board of directors to begin negotiations to make TCU its 10th member.

"The action of the board was without dissent," the Big 12 said in a statement. "On the advice of legal counsel The University of Missouri did not participate in the vote."

This really is an Abbott and Costello routine. Missouri did not vote because it is mulling a decision to join the Southeastern Conference. Texas Christian, which plays in the Mountain West Conference, agreed last year to join the Big East Conference in 2012.

But nothing lasts forever in the breakneck world of college football realignment. Sometimes, things never get started.

Continue reading »

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Scott McKibben resigns as Rose Bowl executive director

Photo: The UCLA Bruins take the field against Oregon State on Nov. 5 at the Rose Bowl. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times.  

The Tournament of Roses President Rick Jackson issued a statement Thursday to announce Scott McKibben, citing personal reasons, would be resigning as executive director.

"William B. Flinn, the Tournament's longstanding chief operating officer, will assume the role of interim executive director," the statement said. "With our excellent volunteers, our very capable management committee and Tournament of Roses staff support, we anticipate a smooth transition leading to a successful 123rd Tournament of Roses Parade and 98th Rose Bowl Game."

McKibben could not immediately be reached for comment.

McKibben was named Rose Bowl executive director in 2009, replacing Mitch Dorger. McKibben was previously executive vice president and chief revenue officer for the Los Angeles Times Media Group.

-- Chris Dufresne

 Photo: The UCLA Bruins take the field against Oregon State on Nov. 5 at the Rose Bowl. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times.

Texas A&M's move to to SEC delayed by legal snag

The Southeastern Conference on Wednesday announced it had unanimously accepted Texas A&M as its 13th member.

No surprise there, as the move has been speculated for weeks.

The move, however, is on hold.

In a statement, the SEC said on Friday it received assurances from the Big 12 it was free to extend Texas A&M an invitation. The SEC said it received word Tuesday afternoon that at least one school had withdrawn its previous consent and was "considering legal action." ESPN, citing sources, reported Baylor as being one of the schools.

If the Big 12 dissolves as a result of further expansion, Baylor is a school vulnerable to not landing in a major conference.

"The SEC has stated that to consider an institution for membership, there must be no contractual hindrances to its departure," the conference's statement said.

Continue reading »

Texas A&M says it's leaving the Big 12 Conference

Photo: Pac-12 logo. Credit: Kirby Lee / U.S. Presswire.  After weeks of speculation, Texas A&M made it official Wednesday: The school plans to leave the Big 12 Conference and apply for membership in a new league.

"After much thought and consideration, and pursuant to the action of the (Texas A&M University System) Board of Regents authorizing me to take action related to Texas A&M University's athletic conference alignment, I have determined it is in the best interest of Texas A&M to make application to join another athletic conference," President R. Bowen Loftin wrote to Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe in the letter dated Wednesday.

Here is the entire news release.

It has been widely reported that Texas A&M will become the 13th team in the Southeastern Conference, but those details have yet to be worked out. The SEC recently said it was happy with its 12-team format.

The Big 12 has said, if Texas A&M left, it would act quickly to secure another school to keep the conference together. There were reports the Big 12 would target Notre Dame, but Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick reiterated this week that the Irish were happy as a football independent.

Another potential target for the Big 12 is Brigham Young, which left the Mountain West this year to become a football independent with all other sports moving to the West Coast Conference.

Southern Methodist Unversity, a current member of Conference USA, has made public it would like to be considered as the Big 12 replacement for Texas A&M.


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-- Chris Dufresne

Photo: Pac-12 logo. Credit: Kirby Lee / U.S. Presswire.

Commentary: College football turns itself in to authorities


Arrest warrants were issued Friday for two Louisiana State players, but these days, really, it could have been any school or anybody. Why pick on LSU?

The hope now, according to sources, is that there will be enough eligible coaches and players to kick off the season, which actually can't get here soon enough Thursday.

The Generic Campus Glee Club has deemed this year's theme "College Football's Lost Summer (and Spring)."

The Sept. 3 marquee match-up, LSU vs. Oregon in Arlington, Texas, has become a microcosm for a sad state of recent affairs.

LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson and linebacker Joshua Johns turned themselves in to Baton Rouge, La., authorities Friday and are facing second-degree battery charges, a felony, stemming from an Aug. 19 bar fight that reportedly involved several players.

The players' status for next week's big opener has yet to be determined. Some LSU fans long disgruntled with Jefferson's erratic play might welcome a six-game suspension.

LSU, though, is already playing without star receiver Russell Shepard while the school and NCAA sort out his possible relationship with Willie Lyles. He's the scouting service provider also under scrutiny for his involvement with Oregon, which has hired outside counsel to battle its own NCAA inquiry.

Oregon can be relieved Shepard is not playing because the Ducks will be without top cornerback Cliff Harris, suspended after a DUI charge that involved Harris and his car allegedly being clocked at 118 mph. Oregon quarterback Darren Thomas was in the car, but said he basically slept through the entire incident.

LSU vs. Oregon could be called "The Embarrassment Bowl." Updates in The Great LSU Bar Fight came the same day Miami ruled several players, including starting quarterback Jacory Harris, ineligible while the school sorts out their connections to Ponzi-schemer Nathan Shapiro.

When will it ever end? USC announced it wouldn't fight the NCAA appeal it lost over rules it admitted to violating. Even though the chair of the infractions committee that presided over the Trojans' case was the former athletic director at ... Miami.

It's also, apparently, cause for celebration these days when a coach, Lane Kiffin of USC, won't face major NCAA sanctions for his misdeeds at Tennessee.

Should you get "Employee of the Month" for that?

Texas A&M this week also formally notified the Big 12 it is exploring options pertaining to conference affiliation. Gee, what conference might A&M being interested in joining? We're going to guess Southeastern, fully prepared to issue a retraction. What happens after Texas A&M bolts to the SEC is anyone's guess, but hold onto your thigh pads.   

Southern Methodist, the only major school to receive the NCAA's "Death Penalty" in football, is petitioning to replace Texas A&M in the Big 12.

SMU's argument: "Hey, we've done our time and it's about half the time Miami should do. Aren't we now mainstream?"

And the answer is, well, yeah. In fact, held in today's light, SMU is now a model program.

--Chris Dufresne

Photo: Louisiana State University football players Jordan Jefferson, right, and Jarvis Landry leave State Police headquarters in Baton Rouge on Tuesday after meeting with Baton Rouge Police. Credit: Arthur D. Lauck / Associated Press.


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