Mike Bellotti Interested in Coaching Again

Before Oregon became the intimidating force they currently are utilizing Chip Kelly’s “Blur Offense,” Mike Bellotti was running the show. Bellotti took over the head coaching job in 1995 after Rich Brooks left for the NFL, and he turned the Ducks into a perennial Pac-10 contender.

Under Bellotti, the team enjoyed its first double-digit win season in school history, winning the Holiday Bowl in 2000 while going 10-2. The next year they went 11-1 with Joey Harrington at quarterback, their best year ever. Bellotti stepped down as coach to become the school’s athletic director two years ago and turned things over to Kelly. Not long after that, he left his post with the school to become a college football commentator.

Colorado just fired coach Dan Hawkins this week, creating a vacancy at a prominent school. Mike Leach and Mark Mangino were successful coaches at Big 12 schools and both are available. Apparently Bellotti is too.

The former Oregon coach told The Denver Post “[he and Colorado] had some initial talks, nothing more than that” and that he would need more information about Colorado to determine his interest in their opening. More importantly, he said “I’m interested in getting back in coaching. But it would have to be the right situation.”

Memo to coaches on the hot seat (I’m looking at you, Neuheisel): get your act together because there are other good coaches on the market. Aside from Leach and Mangino who were already available, now we know Bellotti is too. This information should give athletic directors more reason to closely evaluate their coaching staff; I can already think of several over whom Bellotti would be an upgrade.

Cam Newton Investigation Questions: Why Now, and Where Is it Coming From?

There are several questions circulating regarding the Cam Newton investigation. Why did the NCAA declare him eligible before the season began if they knew about the Mississippi State allegations? Moreover, if Mississippi State informed the SEC that Cam Newton’s father wanted over a hundred thousand dollars for his son to sign with their school, why didn’t the conference investigate the situation at the time? Most of all, why did people wait until Auburn was 10-0 and Cam Newton had established himself as a certified star before they finally dropped this bombshell of a story? Let’s try to navigate our way through this tale rationally.

We’re told Mississippi State reported the Cam Newton story to the SEC back in January. The SEC says most of the pertinent/follow-up information they requested was not provided by Mississippi State until July. It wasn’t until November that we found out the NCAA was investigating Auburn’s recruitment of Newton. It wasn’t until this week that we learned the FBI was getting involved in the investigation.

We found out late December that Auburn was signing Cam Newton, thereby beating out Mississippi State in his recruitment. Mississippi State says they informed the SEC that Newton’s father wanted thousands of dollars for his son to sign, and given that they reported the incident and didn’t land Cam, it’s safe to say they weren’t willing to pay. I’m guessing the SEC followed up and asked for more information such as phone records and anything else that helps prove Newton wanted money to sign. Being busy trying to manage and run an entire football team, I’m guessing Mississippi State didn’t provide that information until July as the SEC says. I think it’s reasonable to believe that the program was focusing on taking care of itself first before worrying about busting an opponent for cheating.

So here’s the next question: did the SEC report the allegations and story to the NCAA immediately? And here’s another major chicken-egg issue: has the NCAA been investigating the recruitment of Newton the entire season and word just leaked out, or did the investigation begin last week? Not many people can answer those questions so it all depends on what you believe.

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Kenny Rogers: Cam Newton’s Dad Wanted $100-180K for His Son to Sign

You want sources? You want “on the record?” You want first-person, primary accounts? Boom, you got it. I always thought it was ridiculous that everybody was questioning the sources and reports by ESPN, Joe Schad, and FOX Sports when it seemed pretty obvious that Cecil Newton Sr. wanted loads of money for his son to play at a given school. It’s not like that’s an uncommon practice, but it’s uncommon for someone to rat it out.

Kenny Rogers, a former Mississippi State football player, said Thursday during an interview on ESPN Radio in Dallas that he and Cecil Newton sat inside the Hilton Garden Inn in Starkville, Mississippi, during Cam’s official visit to Mississippi State and Newton told two Bulldogs coaches that they would have to pay between $100,000 and $180,000 to get his son.

Rogers even named the name Bill Bell as a Mississippi State booster with whom he was put in touch to see if a deal could be reached. Obviously Mississippi State did not come through, or at least they didn’t beat out Auburn in the auction, and that’s why Cam is a Tiger and not a Bulldog. I said all along that Auburn must have paid around $200,000 to get Newton and it appears as if that must be the case. Why else would he have signed with Auburn instead? Because he loves the school’s colors? Give me a break.

Report: Dan Mullen, Mississippi State the Source of Cam Newton Cheating Allegation

A FOXSports.com report by Thayer Evans on Monday night said Auburn quarterback Cam Newton cheated twice at Florida before deciding to transfer to Blinn College. Auburn has defended its quarterback ferociously with coach Gene Chizik calling the allegations “garbage.” Besides the allegations, which now number two in less than a week for the Heisman Trophy candidate, Newton defenders are trying to distract the issue by pointing out that Newton’s private academic records have been leaked. They wonder where the information comes from given that the disclosure of such information would be a violation of Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

A report by Auburn Undercover, a member of the 247 Sports Network, apparently says the leak comes from Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen. Paul Finebaum’s twitter passes along the details from AuburnUndercover.com’s report: “Source for the latest academic fraud controversy swirling around Cam Newton originated in Starkville.’ … Per AuburnUndercover Source “Mullen had axe to grind. He believes he’d be undefeated & playing for an SEC Champ. if Newton had gone to MSU. … Ron Sanders: five sources say Dan Mullen is the source of the Cam Newton allegations of academic issues.”

Many people speculated that the leak came from Florida, but it’s quite possible that the source emanated from Starkville. Dan Mullen was the offensive coordinator at Florida while Newton was there so it’s likely he knew about the cheating issues. Additionally, as a school with a legitimate academic interest in Newton (Mississippi State recruited him), they could have had access to his academic records under the law’s provisions. A question, to a lesser extent, is whether Mullen knew about Newton cheating at Florida, and the larger question is whether or not he leaked the story.

One thing that must be kept in mind is that if Newton hadn’t stolen another student’s paper and changed the name on it we wouldn’t have any story to discuss. The responsibility begins with Newton if it in fact is true.

Dan Hawkins, Dirk Koetter Prove Chris Petersen Is Wise to Remain at Boise State

Dan Hawkins was fired Monday night as head coach at Colorado, two days after his team gave up 35 points in the 4th quarter blowing a 45-17 lead against Kansas. Many people feel the move was well overdue and that the Buffs delayed the firing because they couldn’t afford to buy out Hawkins’ contract earlier. The firing of Hawkins completes the cycle of failure for coaches following their departure from Boise State.

Hawkins was promoted to head coach at Boise State after serving as an assistant to Dirk Koetter who left for Arizona State. After going 8-4 in his first season, Hawkins had three straight one-loss years, going 12-1, 13-1, and 11-1 including a 2-1 record in bowl games. They went 9-4 in his final season in 2005 before he left for Colorado. In five seasons at Boise State, Hawkins was 53-11 with four conference titles, a 31-game conference winning streak, and three WAC Coach of the Year awards. Wanting a new challenge of bigger and better things, Hawkins moved on to Colorado taking over for Gary Barnett.

Hawkins’ tenure at Colorado was forgettable. The team went 19-39 in his four-plus years including a putrid 10-27 Big 12 record. The closest he came to a winning record was going 6-7 in his second season with the 7th loss coming in the bowl game. Prior to Hawkins leaving Boise State, it was Dirk Koetter who made the fatal move.

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Cam Newton Reportedly Involved in Academic Cheating Scandal at Florida

With the way Urban Meyer “disciplines” his players, you know Cam Newton had to do something pretty bad to not stick around at Florida. The report always was that he got caught stealing a laptop and then left for Blinn College. Meyer lets his players send life-threatening text messages to women and return to the team, so that hardly seems like a cause for being kicked off the squad.

So what really happened that led to Newton leaving the school? Thayer Evans of FOXSports.com has filled in several blanks that tie the saga together. He says Newton was involved in an academic cheating scandal while in school.

According to Evans, Newton was busted putting his name on a paper written by another student in the same class. Then, it was discovered his makeup essay supposedly was purchased online. Newton apparently was set to appear for a “hearing in front of Florida’s Student Conduct Committee during the spring semester of 2009, but instead transferred to Blinn College.”

With this information revealed, it makes Newton’s already shaky situation at Auburn look even worse. Auburn’s recruitment of Newton is under investigation after the SEC was informed a man claiming to represent Newton wanted $180,000 to get Cam to sign a letter of intent. I didn’t believe Newton was innocent to begin with but I wasn’t too bothered by the situation knowing that most players do the same thing. Their denial was not credible and the Newton party is losing believability by the day.

Blocked Extra Point Return Helped USC Beat Arizona State

If I were to tell you that the kicking game was a big reason a team lost in a USC game, you wouldn’t have been surprised. What is surprising is that it was the other team’s kicking game that blew the ballgame for a change.

USC and Arizona State were matched almost identically when it came to the stats. They had a similar amount of first downs, total yards, penalties, and punts, and they were each sacked and intercepted the same amount of times. Oddly enough, it was a blocked extra point that helped give the Trojans a 34-33 win. Arizona State scored three straight touchdowns to rally and take the lead 33-29 on USC with about seven minutes left. Their extra point attempt following a 10-yard touchdown pass was blocked, and Torrin Harris returned it the other way for a two-point conversion. Instead of being up 34-29, Arizona State was then up just 33-31.

USC drove 68 yards to set up Joe Houston’s go-ahead 29-yard field goal, which made him 1-for-3 on the game. After missing his first two kicks, Houston became the hero because his adversary, Thomas Weber, not only had the extra point blocked, but he also missed the potential winning field goal for Arizona State from 42 yards away. The NFL doesn’t have the same rule as college where the defending team can return a ball the other way for a two-point conversion. Maybe college football will rethink their policy.