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Major College Coaching Changes

November 29, 2011

Dennis Erickson Out

The college football coaching dominoes continue to fall around the nation today, with Arizona State’s Dennis Erickson the latest head coach to get the axe on Black Monday.

This is really no surprise. Erickson’s job came into jeopardy after Arizona State lost its final four games following a 6-2 start, knocking the Sun Devils from contention to play in the inaugural Pac-12 championship game on Friday. He was 31-30 in five seasons in the desert.

Erickson will coach ASU in its postseason game – probably the Sun or Las Vegas Bowl — like Dirk Koetter did after losing his job in 2006.

“We are grateful for the service Dennis and his staff provided for the past five years,” ASU vice president of athletics Lisa Love (sounds like a porn star’s name) said in a statement. “Even during the most difficult times, he represented ASU with dignity. As he pursued success at the highest level within the Pac-12 conference, he improved the overall competitive health of the Sun Devils by attracting tremendous players to the university. With the confidence earned by his remarkable career, he never doubted the capability of ASU to compete for the Rose Bowl.”

Erickson won a pair of national titles with Miami and had stops at Oregon State and Idaho before arriving in Tempe in 2007. He had an impressive start in the desert, named the Pac-10 coach of the year after leading the Sun Devils to the Holiday Bowl and their first 10-win season in nine years. That turned out to be the highlight of his tenure.

Arizona State won no more than six games the next three years, ineligible for a bowl last season because two of its games were against Football Championship Subdivision schools. In late October, when ASU was 6-2 and favored to win the Pac-12 South, the 64-year-old Erickson seemed likely to receive a contract extension.

Kevin Sumlin, whose undefeated Houston team, is ranked sixth in the BCS standings likely will be among those pursued by ASU and others in a wide-open national market. Houston will play in a BCS game if it beats Southern Mississippi in the Conference USA championship game Saturday. The ASU coaching search in late 2006, also conducted by Love, took two weeks before Erickson was hired after one season at Idaho.

 

Rick Neuheisel out at UCLA but will coach Pac-12 title game

It’s not too often a coach gets his walking papers during a season in which he lead his school to a conference championship game, but that’s the case with UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel. The former Bruins quarterback will not be back next season but will coach the team in Friday’s Pac-12 Championship Game against Oregon. The Ducks are huge college football bets favorites on WagerWeb.com.

Offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Mike Johnson will take over as interim coach after Friday’s title game, while a national search for a permanent replacement will begin immediately, the school announced.

The Bruins (6-6, 5-4 Pac-12) are representing the Pac-12 South in Friday’s title game at No. 9 Oregon because USC, the division champion, is ineligible. The Trojans emphasized that point on Saturday, routing their city rivals 50-0. It was the worst conference loss in UCLA history.

Neuheisel said Sunday that winning five conference games and advancing to the Pac-12 championship game should be enough for him to keep his job, even if the Bruins backed in to the conference title game.

“I was told that we need to move the needle and if the needle moved that we would be fine and I’d get to continue along my five years of my five-year contract,” Neuheisel said. “We have won five conference games as opposed to three last year. We have won the right to represent the South in the conference championship. We’ve certainly had some unfortunate evenings where things haven’t gone our way, but I think the program is headed in the right direction.”

Neuheisel, 21-28 in his UCLA coaching career was greeted with much fanfare when he replaced Karl Dorrell in 2007, but managed to get the Bruins to a bowl game only once in the three previous seasons. Athletic Director Dan Guerrero became frustrated with the lack of progress in the program after the Bruins finished 4-8 in 2010, and that heightened after a 48-12 loss at Arizona in which Bruins players were involved in an on-the-field brawl. Neuheisel has one year left on his contract and will receive $250,000, his base pay. Look for UCLA to try and lure Boise State’s Chris Petersen or Houston’s Kevin Sumlin to Westwood.

 

Urban Meyer in at Ohio State

It’s not too often you will find rejoicing in Columbus, Ohio, just two days after the Ohio State football team loses to arch-rival Michigan, but that’s the case today as Urban Meyer has officially accepted the job to replace Jim Tressel as the team’s head coach.

Meyer, who led the Florida Gators to two national championships before stepping down to spend more time with his family amid ongoing reports of health concerns, had worked as a game analyst this season for ESPN. But he asked to be taken off his assignments for the network this weekend as reports swirled of his imminent hire by Ohio State, a program with a glittering past that has suffered through a difficult year of NCAA violations, suspensions and a 6-6 record after Saturday’s loss to the Wolverines.

Columbus will be the fourth stop in the 47-year-old Meyer’s coaching career. He had a 104-23 record over 10 seasons with Bowling Green, Utah and Florida. From 2001-10, he had five 10-win seasons, the two BCS titles with the Gators and a 7-1 record in bowl games — including the Gators’ 41-14 victory over unbeaten and top-ranked Ohio State in the 2007 title game.

Meyer grew up in Ashtabula, went to the University of Cincinnati and was a graduate assistant coach at Ohio State in the mid-1980s under Earle Bruce before leaving on a journey to several assistant-coaching jobs, including at Notre Dame. Meyer reportedly will get a seven-year, $40 million deal. Funds used to hire Meyer or his assistant coaches would come from the self-sustained OSU athletic department. Tressel was paid an annual total of $3.7 million before his ouster.

Ohio State still is awaiting word from the NCAA committee on infractions concerning final penalties from an NCAA investigation over the past 11 months that, among other things, caused the school to seek the resignation of 10-year coach Tressel on May 30.

Luke Fickell, who had been elevated to head coach May 30 after Tressel was forced to resign in the wake of an NCAA investigation, reportedly will be offered the defensive coordinator job by Meyer. It is presumed Fickell would coach the team through its bowl game.

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Tuesday, November 29th, 2011 College Football Betting 2011

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