NCAA - Football Wiretap
Alabama Stops Colorado In Independence Bowl
Alabama found enough offense Sunday night to win the PetroSun Independence Bowl but stumbled so much that even its star quarterback acknowledges the Crimson Tide aren't rolling just yet. "We had some ups and downs tonight, but we kept our composure," said John Parker Wilson, named the game's most valuable offensive player after the Tide's 30-24 victory over Colorado. "This team has a long way to go, but with everything we built this year, I'm really optimistic." Alabama (7-6) stopped a four-game losing streak and avoided consecutive losing seasons for the first time in 50 years. Colorado (6-7) finished below .500 for the second straight year but was vastly improved from a 2-10 mark in 2006. Wilson completed 13 of his first 15 passes for 185 yards and three touchdowns, and Alabama raced to a four-touchdown lead. Colorado couldn't complete a comeback when its attempt at a multi-lateral play as time expired collapsed shy of midfield.
WVU's Slaton Puts Off Pro Decision For Bowl Game
Running back Steve Slaton knows he'll be playing at least one more game for West Virginia. His decision about whether to return for his senior season won't come until after the Fiesta Bowl. Slaton, who finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting last season, said Sunday he would like to be a first-round NFL draft pick but doesn't know yet where he stands in the eyes of professional scouts. "That's the biggest thing is where I would be. After that, I haven't really sat down and thought about it," Slaton said. "I still have time after this game to think about it. I just want to focus on this game. I don't want to have any bad feelings that I spent too much time worrying about something else instead of worrying about this game." Slaton's numbers have dropped off this season in part because of the addition of freshman Noel Devine to the Mountaineers' already dynamic backfield. But anyone who has watched West Virginia this season can see Slaton hasn't been quite as elusive or explosive.
Cotton Bowl Making Its Case To Join BCS
The Dallas Cowboys' new 80,000-seat stadium in Arlington, Texas, might be just the key to unlock the Cotton Bowl's inclusion in one of college football's most exclusive clubs: The BCS. Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones, who has a special place in his heart for the Cotton Bowl after helping Arkansas win the national championship there in 1965 with a win over Nebraska, hopes the bowl game that has been played since 1937 can join the BCS, according to a published report. Cotton Bowl Classic chairman Bruce Gadd notes that if it weren't for Jones' new stadium, the talk of BCS inclusion would be a short discussion. "The missing piece has been that stadium," Gadd told the Kansas City Star.
Neuheisel Named New Coach At UCLA
Rick Neuheisel has been named UCLA's 16th head football coach, Bruins' Athletic Director Dan Guerrero announced Saturday. ESPN's Joe Schad first reported the hiring. "I am thrilled to be returning to my alma mater as its head coach," said Neuheisel. "UCLA is a special place and I want to thank Dan Guerrero and Chancellor [Gene] Block for the opportunity to come home. We are going to build a program our supporters will be proud of both on and off the field. I can't wait to get started. I made some mistakes earlier in my career, and I take responsibility for those mistakes. I have learned from that experience, and I would never do anything that would reflect negatively on UCLA."
IU Misses Bowl Practice Due To Travel Issues
The Indiana University football team arrived in Arizona seven hours late on Thursday, missing a practice for the Insight Bowl. Indiana's flight was delayed by weather and mechanical problems, but the Hoosiers remained on track to fulfill the goal of their late Coach Terry Hoeppner to play 13 games this year. "That was obviously a rally cry to our program and our community all fall," said Indiana Coach Bill Lynch, who had been Hoeppner's top assistant since 2004 and was promoted to the top job this past offseason. Hoeppner died at age 59 in June after a long battle with cancer. Indiana players will wear "HEP" buttons as they prepare to play Oklahoma State (6-6) in Monday's Insight Bowl. The buttons match patches stitched on the players' jerseys.
WVU Sues Rodriguez, Seeks $4M Buyout
West Virginia University's Board of Governors is suing former football coach Rich Rodriguez to collect a $4 million buyout of his contract with the school. The lawsuit, filed Thursday in Monongalia County Circuit Court, states the university believes Rodriguez doesn't intend to abide by the contract. The buyout clause requires Rodriguez to pay $4 million to West Virginia over a two-year period with one-third of the total due 30 days after his employment's termination. His resignation was effective Dec. 19. Rodriguez's agent Mike Brown declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Butch Jones Interviews At WVU For Second Time
Central Michigan Coach Butch Jones interviewed with West Virginia President Mike Garrison in Morgantown on Thursday, the second time he has discussed the job opening with the university. Jones, who worked under Rodriguez at West Virginia as his receivers' coach, has become an intriguing candidate to replace Rich Rodriguez. There is division in camps supporting former Auburn Coach Terry Bowden and Florida assistant Doc Holliday for the job, and Jones could be viewed as a compromise candidate several people familiar with the search told ESPN's Joe Schad. The governor of the state of West Virginia, Joe Manchin, has spoken directly with all three candidates, as well.
Five Michigan St. Players Benched For Bowl Game
Defensive standouts Jonal Saint-Dic and SirDarean Adams are among five Michigan State players who will sit out the Champs Sports Bowl on Friday against No. 14 Boston College because of academic or other violations. The Spartans said Monday that Saint-Dic, a senior defensive end, and three other players are academically ineligible for the bowl game. Adams, a senior linebacker, violated unspecified team rules. The other ineligible players are wide receiver and return specialist Terry Love, wide receiver/cornerback T.J. Williams and offensive guard Abre Leggins. "We're obviously disappointed for these young men and for their teammates," Coach Mark Dantonio said in a release from the bowl site. "We will miss them and their contributions on and off the field here at the Champs Sports Bowl." Saint-Dic told the Lansing (Mich.) State Journal that he failed a math class, his final requirement to graduate with a degree in sociology.
Mizzou Gives Pinkel $550K Raise, 1-Year Extension
Gary Pinkel helped lead long-suffering Missouri into college football's elite ranks this year. Now he has the contract to match that lofty perch. On Sunday, Missouri Athletic Director Mike Alden announced that Pinkel will receive a $550,000 annual raise and a one-year contract extension. That gives Pinkel a guaranteed $1.85 million a year. The new five-year deal extends Pinkel's contract through 2012 and marks the second season in a row he earned a pay raise. Late last season, Pinkel was given a $225,000 raise and three-year extension. The announcement comes as Missouri (11-2) prepares to face Arkansas (No. 25 AP) (8-4) in the Jan. 1 Cotton Bowl in Dallas.
FSU's Fisher To Stay Despite WVU's Interest
Florida State offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher, who was being wooed by West Virginia officials to fill their head coaching vacancy, has decided to remain with the Seminoles, a statement released Sunday on the school's Web site said. "I know media reports are circulating regarding the possibility of West Virginia's head coaching position," Fisher said in the statement. "I am a native of West Virginia and love the state but I want to make clear that I am staying at Florida State. I am committed to this university, this program and these players. I am excited about where I am and where Seminole football is headed." Two weeks ago, Fisher agreed to a new contract in which his base pay was increased from around $420,000 to $625,000 and he was named the program's coach-in-waiting. FSU coach Bobby Bowden signed a one-year contract extension through the 2008 season.