LSU fires Tiger coach Les Miles after Saturday's 18-13 loss to Auburn. This move, which was not unexpected in the long term--Miles has been on a seat which has been warm for the past several years--will have ramifications which will affect several conferences and schools.
With LSU open, Houston coach Tom Herman becomes a prime target. But Houston is on the cusp of elevating itself to Power 5 status if it receives an invitation to the Big 12. If that happens, Houston officials have already put a $5 million a year pay raise into Herman's contract as an incentive to stay.
If Houston is not invited, that offer disappears, Houston will be facing a financial crisis because it has over extended itself to pay for the improvements it felt necessary to join the Big 12, which will offer eventual payments as much as 6 times more than it is now receiving from the American Athletic Conference.
Without that invitation, Herman will no doubt be gone by January and in the middle of a bidding war from several schools. And Houston could fall back into the also ran category.
There is already speculation that Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, who is ready to re-emerge as a head coach after having stops at USC and Tennessee,, could become a contender. That probably won't happen, but Kiffin's name will be mentioned. So will FSU coach Jimbo Fisher, who also has SEC ties.
There is also a rising sense of uncertainty of what will happen at Oklahoma to Coach Bob Stoops, if the Sooners, who have been beaten soundly by Houston and Ohio State this season, continues to falter.
Generally, the silly season of coaching rumors and hirings and firings doesn't start until at least Halloween. Apparently it has already started. Stay tuned.
- Alabama--Tide swept past Kent State and have another bye next week against Kentucky.
- Ohio State--Buckeyes didn't play this week and face Rutgers next week. Nice to have vacations in middle of a school year.
- Michigan--Wolverines defense got kinks out of system last week against Colorado and rolled past Penn State. On to Wisconsin in the Big House on Saturday.
- Louisville--Cards have another statement game challenge this week at Clemson
- Wisconsin--Was supposed to get smoked against LSU in opener. Wisconsin won. The Badgers were supposed to get rolled over at Michigan State on Saturday. They won going away. They travel to the Big House this week to take on the Harbaugh Project and Michigan. The Wolverines better be careful.
- Texas A&M--Was regarded as an SEC after thought in the pre-season SEC chatter, well behind, Alabama, LSU, Tennessee, Georgia and even Florida. After romping past Arkansas 45-24 on Saturday, the Aggies are 4-0 and climbing in the rankings. Their next three games, South Carolina, Tennessee and Alabama will determine whether they are real.
- Utah--Won 10 games a year ago and hardly anyone noticed. The Utes are 4-0 this season and they are the best team in the Pac-12 this side of Stanford and Washington and people had better start paying attention. USC knows who the Utes are after a 31-27 loss on Friday and when is Ute coach Kyle Wittingham going to get on more people's "hot'' list?[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
- Notre Dame--Getting beat and giving up 50 points at Texas, getting beat and falling behind Michigan State ? OK. We'll give Notre Dame some wiggle room. But looking defense-less against Duke at home? Something's got to give in South Bend. Or do the Irish just stink? They are 1-3 and now none of their remaining eight games looks like a lock. Irish coach Brian Kelly made the first move on Sunday by firing defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder.
- Northern Illinois--The Huskies began this season with a string of six straight MAC championship game appearances. Now they aren't even the best team in Illinois. They lost to Wyoming, they lost to San Diego State, they lost to South Florida. But a loss to FCS Western Illinois dropped them to 0-4.
- Georgia--Mark Richt was fired because he couldn't get the Dawgs to win the big games even though he averaged nearly 10 wins a season for 15 years. Kirby Smart's team barely beat Nicholls State and on Saturday was rolled over by Ole Miss. Tennessee is next. Watch out.
DID YOU KNOW
UCLA coach Jim Mora is now 0-6 versus Stanford, Pac-12 contender Washington beat Arizona 35-28 (in OT on the Pac-12 Late Show Game), Tennessee ended an 11- game losing streak to Florida, scoring the last 38 points to post a 38-28 win, BYU has had all of its games decided by three points or less ( 2 point win over Arizona, 1 point loss to Utah, 3 point loss to UCLA and 3 point loss to Virginia); Louisville QB Lamar Jackson threw for 5 TDs and ran for 2 in the Cards' 59-28 win over Marshall, Virginia won its first game of the season and Coach Bronco Mendenhall won his 100th career game. Nebraska (4-0) is in the Top 25 for the first time in 2 years, which isn't a long time, unless you are from Nebraska, Wake Forest is 4-0 for the first time in 10 years, every Power 5 conference team has a victory following wins on Saturday by Virginia and Iowa State.
The heat is already starting to be felt by first year coach Clay Helton, who is 1-3 this season and 1-5 in his tenure as USC's head coach since being named as the Trojans' full-time coach last season. Helton is not in danger of getting fired after this season (we think). But the man who hired Helton, former USC athletic director Pat Haden, has retired and former USC All American WR Lynn Swann is now the Trojans AD...Don't count out Baylor as a Big 12 contender despite off the field problems that have ravaged the football program and the athletic department. The Bears, under interim coach Jim Grobe, are still unbeaten after a weather-delayed 35-24 win over Oklahoma State on Saturday. They face Iowa State and Kansas, the Big 12's bottom feeder teams in their next two games. Sign of the times: who are these guys and what league do they play in? Old Dominion defeated UTSA 33-19. Old Dominion is in Norfolk, and UTSA is University of Texas San Antonio. Both are Conference USA teams.
PLAY IT FORWARD
Key games next week
1. Stanford at Washington--Battle for Pac-12 North front-runner status. Winner remains in Final Four hunt
2 Louisville at Clemson--Winner takes charge in ACC Atlantic and definitely is a Final Four contender.
3. Wisconsin at Michigan--Michigan's first Big Ten challenge test. Wisconsin continues to be under rated.
IN MY OPINION
The Pac-12 may be the most entertaining conference in college football. Games such as Utah's 31-27 come-from behind win over USC, Colorado's 41-38 win over Oregon, Arizona State's 51-41 win over California and Washington's 35-28 overtime win over Arizona over the weekend, were the latest Pac-12 episodes.
The only problem was that almost all of them were past prime time (0r ended past prime time). I understand the metrics of television. I also understand the primary viewership (Pacific Coast) should not have to watch live games at 6 in the evening or 9 in the morning to cater to the viewing habits of the East Coast.
And that is one of the reasons why Fox (the primary outlet for Pac-12 football) starts games such as Washington-Arizona at 7:30, Pacific-Coast time, which means that the games are not finished until past 11 p.m PCT time on many occasions.
The problem with that had to do with recognition and respect. Few people will argue that Stanford running back Christian McCaffrery's Heisman hopes were diminished last season because many of his games started and ended past the prime viewing periods on the East Coast. Pac-12 games are scheduled on Friday night, which is not really prime time. The prime college football slots, Saturday afternoon and early evening, are dominated by the SEC, Big 10 and ACC.
Stanford and Washington may be two of the best teams in college football this season, yet many voters and viewers are barely familiar with either teams' credentials this season, although Stanford has had far more prime time exposure than Washington.
FYI: the Cardinal and Huskies play for the top spot in the Pac-12 North on Friday night. If you are a college football fan, it is must see TV.
There is no remedy to this dilemma. The Pac-12 and Fox have the deal they have and the late night/early morning shows will continue.
But so will the lack of respect and recognition, one of the unintended consequences of the arrangement.[/membership]