It’s been a crazy week in college football with teams preparing for conference showdowns and the coaching carousel in full swing.
Today all eyes will be on conference championship games that include #18 Florida vs #2 Alabama at the Georgia Dome (SEC), #10 North Carolina vs #1 Clemson at the Bank of America Stadium (ACC), #5 Michigan State vs #4 Iowa at Lucas Oil Stadium (Big Ten), #7 Stanford vs #20 USC at Levi’s Stadium (Pac-12), #22 Temple vs #19 Houston at TDECU Stadium (AAC), and Texas vs #12 Baylor at McLane Stadium (Big 12). Air Force and San Diego State play at Albertsons Stadium in Boise (MWC), while Western Kentucky and Southern Miss also face off (C-USA).
In our latest issue of The Kickoff, we look at the Power Rankings between these teams. We also preview the ACC and Big Ten contests as our Games of the Week. If you’re a subscriber, you’ve seen our projected picks to win, along with the bowl game lineup of dates and locations, news and notes on last week’s upsets and superlative players, a breakdown by conference, our Kickoff Top 25, and the results of every FBS team in the country. If you want to get the final four issues of the current season, you can order online at http://bit.ly/1l28Dcp
Could the outcomes of this weekend’s games shake up the final College Football Playoff Rankings headed into bowl season? Most definitely! A loss this weekend by Clemson, Alabama or Iowa could have major ramifications on who plays for the national championship this year. The committee named those teams 1, 2 and 4 in the poll, with Oklahoma in the third spot. We feel the Sooners are the most dangerous team likely in the CFP. The first two teams out are Michigan State and Ohio State. The Kickoff’s Top 6 teams headed into Saturday are Clemson, Alabama, Oklahoma, Michigan State, Iowa, and Ohio State.
It’s been an exciting and eventful week in college football – and not just because The Kickoff announced our Ultimate Tailgater Giveaway (see details at http://thekickoffstore.com/ultimate-tailgater-giveaway/ ).
The media reported rumors that Les Miles’ time at LSU was coming to an end, but he’s still there while Georgia’s Mark Richt is bound for Miami, where Al Golden was fired. Alabama Defensive Coordinator Kirby Smart is expected to be announced as Richt’s replacement for the Bulldogs. East Carolina has fired Coach Ruffin McNeill after the Pirates finished 5-7 this season. Will Muschamp, fired last season as Florida’s head coach, is not expected to return as Auburn’s defensive coordinator if he’s offered Steve Spurrier’s old job at South Carolina instead of Rich Rodriguez.
Other coaches getting the boot include Kyle Flood at Rutgers, Mike London at Virginia, Curtis Johnson at Tulane, Scott Shafer at Syracuse, Randy Edsall at Maryland, and Dan McCarney at North Texas. USC fired Steve Sarkisian after his earlier leave of absence.
Missouri defensive coordinator Barry Odom has been named that program’s new coach, replacing Gary Pinkel, whose retirement became effective after the Tigers’ season-ending loss to Arkansas on Nov. 27. Arizona State offensive coordinator Mike Norvell is headed to Memphis after former head coach Justin Fuente accepted the head coaching position at Virginia Tech. Illinois hired interim coach Bill Cubit to a two-year contract. Southern Cal named Clay Helton its permanent head coach. Nevada offensive coordinator Nick Rolovich was hired as Hawaii’s head coach.
After accepting George O’Leary’s resignation, UCF also hired an offensive coordinator, Scott Frost of Oregon, as its head coach. Offensive coordinator Jason Candle Matt Campbell will take over at Toledo for Matt Campbell, who is accepting the head coaching job at Iowa State. Michigan Defensive Coordinator DJ Durkin is expected to become Maryland’s new head coach.
These coaches will have eight months to begin building programs at their new schools, each striving to become successful enough to have the word “era” follow their names in the history books.
Speaking of next year’s teams, The Kickoff is offering an Early Bird Special this holiday season that allows you to buy a full year email/PDF subscription (23 issues, including six monthly issues starting this February covering recruiting, spring practice and transfers, along with 17 weekly issues next fall) for just $28 PLUS you can get an additional email/PDF subscription to give a friend for FREE. To take advantage of this limited time offer, enter your email address and the address of your friend when checking out from our website (http://thekickoffstore.com/product/buy-one-get-one-free/ ) or place your order by calling (423) 267-0953.
Have fun watching this weekend’s conference championship games and speculating on which coach will land where.