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Maryland Agrees to Buyout with Ralph Friedgen, Targeting Mike Leach

Mike Leach desperately wants to coach college football again. His reputation took a huge hit after a concussion scandal that occurred when he was the head coach at Texas Tech.  Donald Trump thinks Leach deserves another shot, as evidence by the letter he sent the president of the University of Miami.  It looks like Leach may finally get his chance.

According to InsideMDSports.com, University of Maryland football coach Ralph Friedgen has verbally agreed to let the university buy out his contract, meaning he will not return in 2011.  Maryland is said to be very interested in hiring Leach to be its next head coach and plans on moving quickly to bring him in.

Leach would be a great hire for Maryland.  He compiled an 84-43 record at Texas Tech from 2000-2009 and is one of the best known offensive minds out there.  Leach was fired as a result of accusations that he mistreated his players, not because he was an ineffective coach.  Bringing in Leach would allow Maryland to sign a big-time coach to lead a program that has not yet reached its potential.

Friedgen had the Terps headed in the right direction, but Leach could do better.  With the likes of Miami, Florida State, and Virginia Tech in the ACC, Maryland would do well to bring in a coach who knows how to put points on the board.  Assuming the player mistreatment accusations don’t effect Leach’s ability to recruit, he should be able to bring in some of the top offensive high school prospects based on his history with Texas Tech.  If he’s interested in the job — which he should be considering there aren’t many offers out there for his services — Maryland should act quickly and bring Leach on board.

College Football TV Ratings Down Everywhere But Versus, ESPN

In a year where it seems like more and more people are watching sports on TV and ratings records are continuously being set, it’s surprising to learn that the ratings on most college football TV networks were down for the season. According to Sports Business Daily, ESPN’s average viewership was up 3.2% while Versus was up a whopping 27.6%. CBS, which airs SEC games, had the highest average viewership, but they were down 0.7%. ESPN2 was down 5.1%, ABC was down 8.6%, and NBC was down 15% thanks largely to a lack of interest in Notre Dame football.

The most viewed college football game of the year was the Iron Bowl between Auburn and Alabama which had 12.5 million viewers. The second most watched game was the SEC Championship between Auburn and South Carolina which was watched by slightly more than 10 million people. In all, six of the top 10 rated games were SEC contests, helping explain where they get the money to pay all their players. A few other interesting items of note — the Virginia Tech-Boise State game to open up the season was a huge success and the third most watched game of the year. Also, holidays are great — both the Iron Bowl and Oregon-Arizona were in the top 10 most watched games, and both took place the day after Thanksgiving.

I know I was watching many of these games this year but it looks like many sports fans were missing out. Why do you think that is the case? Were you watching? Is your interest in college football down? Were we lacking interesting teams, compelling stories, outstanding players?

All in all, I do think it was a down year in college football — the most interesting story was Cam Newton because he was great, and because he was investigated. It seems like there was a lack of star power this year and it didn’t help that many traditional powers had down years. And maybe another explanation comes from LBS correspondent Reyes who said once you get spoiled with the NFL, the level of play in college just isn’t good enough. What do you think?

Mark Cuban Wants College Football Playoff, But BCS Is Still Good Solution

I know I’m in the minority here, but I’m actually someone who supports the BCS. Sure, my ideal college football postseason would be a four-team playoff between the top four teams based on an average of the polls, but that is unlikely. People always want more and more teams to be involved in the postseason, and my four-team playoff would quickly become 16 teams, and eventually 32 if we’re not careful. Anyway, Mark Cuban made some waves when he said he wants to develop a college football playoff system that will oppose the BCS.

Cuban’s idea is to have a 12 or 16 team playoff where homefield advantage for the higher seeded teams helps keep the regular season relevant. He wants to offer schools money to play in his playoff each year and is willing to mustang up the cash that makes the BCS so enticing for school presidents. I’m against a 12 or 16 team playoff for a number of reasons.

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Pac-10, Big East, Big Ten Conference Movement Makes No Sense

Conference jumping. It’s the latest trend hitting the world of college sports. Perhaps it will one day become an official Olympic sport, featuring slightly more polyester pants than golf and certainly less coordination and nose plugs than synchronized swimming. Showing no respect for traditional conference alignments, or 5th grade geography teachers for that matter, colleges are switching league affiliations from coast to coast on Boise taters and Texas State toast. Quite possibly, U-Haul may want to begin sponsoring bowls at this rate.

Remember the good ol’ days when the Big Ten actually had that many teams and the folks at the Big East actually owned a compass? Well those times are as outdated as Bear Bryant’s houndstooth hat. Today, universities have begun to mislead a generation of youths. If Lewis and Clark had only possessed foresight they might have been able to smell the salts of the Pacific-10 at around Boulder or Salt Lake City and done a 180 instead of schlepping all the way up the Oregon coast. Sacagawea would not have minded. In fact, she might have been able to show Larry Scott that Utah is not on the Pacific.

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Jon Gruden: 2001 Miami Hurricanes Best College Football Team Ever

As an unabashed Canes fan, you know I’m not going to miss an opportunity to give some love to my Hurricanes, especially when it was prompted by somebody else. After Andre Johnson caught a touchdown prior to halftime of the Ravens-Texans Monday night game, analyst and former coach Jon Gruden began praising Miami.

Introducing what seemed to be a prepared piece by ESPN, Chucky said that the 2001 Miami team was the best college football team ever. He pointed out how 38 of the 89 players on the team were drafted, including 17 in the first round. They showed a team photo and spot-shadowed Andre Johnson and Ed Reed (both of whom were playing in the Monday night game) and mentioned Willis McGahee, who was also playing in the game. Other running backs on that Miami team were Frank Gore, Clinton Portis, and Najeh Davenport. In addition to Andre Johnson, Santana Moss, Jeremy Shockey, and Kellen Winslow II caught passes from Ken Dorsey. Defensive stars included Jonathan Vilma, D.J. Williams, Vince Wilfork, and Antrel Rolle and Sean Taylor as backups.

Gruden said he wished he had some of those players on his teams and that’s why he’s out of a job. Then he got in the ultimate line saying that team could win the NFC West this year. Of course that’s not true, but it’s funny and it shows how stacked Miami was. Now that we’ve gotten the sucking up out of the way, let’s dive into some real analysis.

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Texas Opens Search for New Defensive Coordinator … Manual Dexterity Required

With Florida hiring Texas “coach in waiting” Will Muschamp as their new head coach, the Longhorns are now in the market for a new defensive coordinator. And guess what folks? The position is open to all applicants! Andy Staples passed along the link from the Texas job board of the job ad and it’s pretty darn comprehensive.

The biggest joke from the ad is that it says the hours per week is 40 (variable). Right, show me a coach who works only 40 hours per week and I’ll show you someone who is looking for a new job.

They’re looking for someone with a Bachelor’s Degree, and specifically someone who has “Experience coaching in the NFL. Ability to project the image of the University of Texas and the UT Men’s Athletics Department with dignity and grace regardless of circumstances and environments. Excellent interpersonal and communication skills. Professional demeanor.”

Other requirements include a coach with 12 years of experience coaching in D-I college and seven years experience in the NFL. Working conditions are described as “Use of manual dexterity. Climbing of stairs. Climbing of ladders. Lifting and moving.” If you haven’t seen one of these jobs posted before, you should check it out. It’s quite amusing, and my guess is the new coach won’t have the type of success Muschamp did — he was pretty darn awesome.

Did Tim Tebow Break News of Florida Hiring Will Muschamp?

Florida went A-Rod/Scott Boras on the college football world Saturday evening when reports first emerged that they hired Will Muschamp as their new head coach. The news came out as the Heisman Trophy ceremony was going on, and most people probably learned of the development from the Bottom Line scroll on ESPN. More connected fans may have heard things before anyone else from … Tim Tebow’s twitter feed.

About an hour before the word appeared on the Bottom Line, Tebow tweeted “Welcome to the Gator family Coach Muschamp! You’ll soon find out why it’s great to be a Florida Gator! God bless and Go Gators!!!”

Considering how infrequently Tebow tweets, it was a surprise to see him breaking news on his account as if he were challenging this guy. Upon further review, sports site Saturday Down South reported the news before anyone else, well before Tebow’s tweet, but most people don’t realize that. Not that it really matters to most fans because they only care about who Florida hires, not who breaks the story. Still, it was funny to see Tebow share some inside news before most people had heard it.

It was also quite thoughtful of Florida to steal the spotlight from Auburn and Cam Newton by spoiling the Heisman ceremony. Nothing like some SEC ribbing by the Gators. Can you say revenge?