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#pounditTuesday, November 30, 2021

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Would Urban Meyer leave NFL for Notre Dame job?

Speculation immediately began on Monday regarding whom Notre Dame might look to after Brian Kelly’s shocking departure. One name came up more than any other: Urban Meyer.

Meyer is inevitably linked to most big college football jobs that open up, but the Notre Dame position is different. Like most big programs, the Fighting Irish have the resources to attract and pay a big name. For Meyer, however, there’s a personal angle to the Notre Dame job.

As long ago as 2008, Meyer, who was then coaching Florida, described the Notre Dame position as a “dream job.”

It wasn’t a one-off thing, either. In 2017, Meyer’s wife Shelley told “The Eleven Dubcast” podcast that Meyer had laid out three dream jobs when the couple first got together. One was Ohio State, which Meyer ultimately held from 2012 to 2018. Another was Michigan, which is no longer a consideration. The other was Notre Dame.

We already know, then, that Meyer has had strong feelings about Notre Dame. We also know that he’s struggled in his first year in the NFL with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He’s had to deal with a very unflattering scandal. At least at certain points, he has not appeared to have the respect of his locker room.

If Meyer wants an out from the NFL, the Notre Dame job would represent the perfect opportunity. The Fighting Irish would likely want him, but even with his recent scandal in mind, there is nobody else potentially available with Meyer’s resume at the college level. One has to wonder if his position with Jacksonville is even all that secure.

If Meyer were to leave the NFL so quickly and after one bad season, he would have to endure that criticism and blemish on his resume. That happened to Nick Saban in Miami, but Saban has mostly rendered the label forgotten with his immense success at Alabama.

Meyer is already a controversial figure and might never be able to shake that reputation, even if he wins a lot at Notre Dame. That said, if he were ever going to be lured back to college football, this is probably the opportunity that would do it.

Photo: Joseph Maiorana-USA Today Sports

Recent Brian Kelly quote about leaving Notre Dame is going viral

A recent quote from Brian Kelly about leaving Notre Dame has gone viral now that he actually is poised to leave the school.

Kelly was asked last week about being mentioned in connection with rumors about the USC job, which eventually went to Lincoln Riley. Kelly was asked what it would take for him to leave Notre Dame, aside from retirement.

The 60-year-old coach offered a humorous quote, saying it would take $250 million for him to leave.

“No. I mean, look, I think Mike Tomlin had the best line, right? Unless that fairy godmother comes by with that $250M check, my wife would want to take a look at it first. I’d have to run it by her.”

The quote was funny because Kelly made it seem like it was a fantasy land concept for him to leave. But maybe LSU’s athletic director saw the quote and realized that Kelly might actually be willing to leave for the right price.

Now it looks like Kelly will be headed to Baton Rouge and leaving South Bend, where he has coached the last 12 years. Maybe the fairy godmother is bringing him a $150 million check.

As for the Mike Tomlin quote Kelly referenced, well, that line was much better than Kelly’s.

Report: MLB pushing for controversial playoff expansion proposal

As free agent megadeals continue to be agreed, other major negotiations are taking place behind the scenes in Major League Baseball. The league’s CBA is poised to expire on Dec. 1, and major changes will likely be necessary in the next agreement.

One of those changes could be to the league’s playoff format, according to Jesse Rogers of ESPN. MLB is proposing a 14-team playoff with three division winners and four wild card teams from each league. The team with the best record would receive a bye into the Division Series, while the other two division winners would get to pick their opponents from the three worst wild card teams. The wild card team not selected would then face the best wild card team.

The proposal has detractors among both players and executives. Players are concerned that adding more playoff teams would give teams less of an incentive to spend money and compete, as teams close to .500 could make the postseason. Executives are concerned about it, as it could lead to public second-guessing or bulletin board material if a chosen opponent knocks their team out in the opening round.

This proposal came up prior to the 2020 season as well. The pandemic derailed any real attempts to institute it, but the league clearly likes the idea — and the revenue that would come from playoff expansion. It may be a hard sell to some players, though.

Brian Kelly expected to become next LSU head coach

If you thought USC made big news with their coaching hire, wait until you see what LSU is working on.

The Tigers may one-up the Trojans. On Monday, we learned they were targeting Brian Kelly as their next head coach. Later in the evening, Yahoo’s Pete Thamel reported that LSU is expected to hire Kelly. Thamel says the deal could be announced on Tuesday.

This is nothing short of a shocker.

News regarding LSU’s coaching search had gone so quiet for so long that we believed they had a stealth plan in place. It seems like that was the case, and their plan is even grander than anyone could have imagined.

Kelly is one of the finest coaches in college football. He has posted five straight double-digit win seasons at Notre Dame and seven double-digit win seasons in 12 years there. The 60-year-old has even more of a proven track record than Lincoln Riley, making him arguably a stronger hire.

LSU really knocked this one out of the park if they can finalize the deal.

LeBron James’ investment group looking to buy NBA team?

LeBron James could soon be the owner of an NBA team and not just in the figurative sense.

The Pittsburgh Penguins of the NHL announced this week that Fenway Sports Group, the Boston, Mass.-based limited liability company in which James is a partner, has reached an agreement to acquire a controlling interest in their team. FSG also already owns MLB’s Boston Red Sox and Liverpool F.C. of the English Premier League.

Dan Primack of Axios also reports that FSG also would like to buy an NBA team once it is finished acquiring the Penguins. Primack adds that FSG expects it will seek out a target franchise in 2022.

The NBA’s collective bargaining agreement does generally prevent current players from owning portions of either the NBA or the WNBA. But Article XXIX, Section 11 of the agreement says that players may hold “an ownership of publicly-traded securities constituting less than five percent (5%) of the ownership interests in a company or entity that directly or indirectly owns an NBA Team.” Additionally, with how long the purchase process can take, the soon-to-be 37-year-old James could easily be retired by the time that such a deal by FSG to buy an NBA team is actually consummated.

James has openly expressed his interest in eventually owning an NBA team.

“Yeah, I’ve always said that,” he said this past March, per ESPN. “My goal is to own a team, own an NBA team. I got so much to give to the game. I know what it takes to win at this level. I know talent. I also know how to run a business, as well. And so, that is my goal. My goal is to own an NBA franchise, and it will be sooner than later.”

The former MVP’s ambitions may extend well beyond the hardwood as well. A few years ago, we heard that James also wants to buy a team in this sport.

H/T Lakers Daily

Photo: Nov 28, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) reacts against the Detroit Pistons in the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kalen DeBoer named new head coach at Washington

The Washington Huskies have secured their preferred choice as their new head coach.

The school announced Monday that it has hired Fresno State coach Kalen DeBoer as its new head coach, replacing the fired Jimmy Lake.

It had been reported last week that DeBoer had become the firm frontrunner for the Washington job, and it does not seem that anyone else was seriously targeted. That makes sense when you consider DeBoer’s West Coast ties. DeBoer has also shown himself capable of leading a turnaround, winning nine games at Fresno State in only his second season there.

DeBoer will be tasked with turning around a program that had grown stale under Lake. Their last ten-win season came in 2018, and Lake’s conduct had become a significant issue. The program has shown itself capable of success, and DeBoer will be tasked with delivering it.

Photo: Oct 30, 2021; Carson, California, USA; Fresno State Bulldogs head coach Kalen DeBoer reacts in the second half against the San Diego State Aztecs at Dignity Health Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

LSU has shocking top target for head coach job

LSU is looking to make a major splash with its next head coach, and they are reportedly targeting another huge name.

LSU is making an “aggressive push” to hire Brian Kelly, according to The Athletic. They are said to have pursued the longtime Notre Dame head coach when their search began, but Kelly told the Tigers he is not interested. Now that Lincoln Riley has taken the Oklahoma job, LSU is focused on trying to change Kelly’s mind.

Kelly has been the head coach at Notre Dame since 2010. He struggled to find consistency in his first several years there, and there was talk of him having been on the hot seat multiple times. Kelly has since turned the Fighting Irish into a perennial powerhouse. They have reached the College Football Playoff two times in the past three seasons and could be headed for a third appearance this year. Notre Dame is 11-1 this season, which marks the fifth year in a row that they have won at least 10 games.

It seems unlikely that Kelly would leave Notre Dame. However, Pete Sampson of The Athletic was told by sources that Kelly believes the school is in need of facilities upgrades. He could use the interest from LSU as leverage to get Notre Dame to invest more money in its football program.

LSU’s top three reported targets were recently revealed, and Kelly was not on that list. That could be because very few people believe he will leave Notre Dame, but it makes sense for LSU to try.

Photo: Sep 18, 2021; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; LSU Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron looks on against Central Michigan Chippewas during the first half at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Blake Griffin struggling with Nets demotion?

Blake Griffin went from fashionable to forgotten with stunning quickness. Now it appears that he is having some difficulty processing his new reality.

The former All-Star big man spoke with reporters on Monday and indicated that he is struggling with his demotion from the Brooklyn Nets. Griffin said that he recently spoke with his former teammate and close friend DeAndre Jordan, who gave him advice on how to deal with being out of the rotation. Griffin also said that he would like to play but that he understands how well LaMarcus Aldridge is playing and how his three-point shooting needs to improve, per ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk.

The 32-year-old Griffin has had a season to forget in Brooklyn. He began the year as the team’s starting center but only could muster 5.5 points and 4.9 rebounds a game on 31.8 percent from the field and a revolting 16.1 percent from deep, the one skill he was being relied on for as a small-ball 5. The Nets then pulled Griffin from the rotation, and he has not played for a week now.

Jordan, meanwhile, played for the Nets during the previous two seasons and had his own struggles with falling out of their favor. Once an elite frontcourt duo with the LA Clippers, Griffin and Jordan are sobering examples of just how quickly big men, even the stars, can become obsolete in today’s NBA.

Photo: Dec 18, 2019; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin (23) warms up before the game against the Toronto Raptors at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys’ Trysten Hill suspended for throwing punch after Thanksgiving game

Tempers flared following the Dallas Cowboys’ loss to the Las Vegas Raiders on Thanksgiving Day, and Trysten Hill’s actions during the scrum will cost him two games.

The NFL announced on Monday that Hill has been suspended two games for throwing a punch at Raiders offensive lineman John Simpson. In the press release, the league noted that Hill “waited more than 50 seconds for your opponent at the 50-yard line.”

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Here’s the video of the incident:

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reported after the game that Hill would not be suspended, so it’s unclear what changed.

It’s possible the NFL took Hill’s history into consideration. The third-year defensive lineman was also fined for a controversial tackle last season.

Oklahoma president called out for quote about Lincoln Riley exit

University of Oklahoma president Joe Harroz is hearing it for a comment he made Monday in response to coach Lincoln Riley’s abrupt departure.

Riley’s decision to leave for USC on Sunday took Oklahoma by surprise. Harroz voiced that frustration in a Monday press conference, admitting that “we would’ve liked more notice” from Riley on his decision.

Harroz got very little sympathy for this stance. Numerous people on social media, including several reporters and commentators, pointed out the perceived hypocrisy in Harroz’s statement stemming from the Sooners’ move to the SEC. The announcement that Oklahoma and Texas had been secretly negotiating with the SEC blindsided the rest of the Big 12 and left the future of the conference uncertain when the story broke in July.

No, the situations are not exactly comparable. That said, given the grief both Oklahoma and Texas got over their SEC move, nobody will be feeling sorry for the Sooners here. If anything, given how arrogant and shady they came across during the SEC affair, a lot of people will be enjoying this.

Photo: Jul 14, 2021; Arlington, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley speaks to the media during Big 12 media days at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports