The Colorado Daily

Stuart WhitehairAnalyst IJanuary 12, 2011

BOULDER, CO - NOVEMBER 20:  Ralphie IV, the mascot for the Colorado Buffaloes, leads coach Brian Cabral (R) and the team onto the field to face the Kansas State Wildcats at Folsom Field on November 20, 2010 in Boulder, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

January 11th

Sipili arrested

Former Colorado linebacker Michael Sipili was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of sexual assault.

Sipili turned himself in around 10:30 a.m. and is being held on $100,000 bond in the Boulder County jail. According to police, a 22-year-old woman reported she was sexually assaulted by Sipili on December 4th. The woman told police she and another female friend met a group of males at a downtown bar in Boulder and agreed to hang out with them at a local residence. Police say that Sipili engaged in sexual activity with the woman without her consent.

In a press release, CU athletic director Mike Bohn issued a statement, stating that he was “extremely disappointed and troubled to learn of these allegations.” Head football coach Jon Embree said he would not tolerate personal misconduct or violence against women. “It is a privilege to be a University of Colorado Buffalo,” Embree said. “We have to hold ourselves to high standards of personal conduct, and if our players don’t embrace that, they will lose that privilege.” The statement went on to point out the number of reforms the school has implemented since a string of sexual assault allegations were levied against members of the football team almost a decade ago.

Sipili led the Buffs in tackles in 2010, with the senior registering 94 tackles, including three-and-a-half sacks and seven tackles for loss. While in Boulder, Sipili had other brushes with the law. In 2007, he was arrested on charges of punching another CU student, pleading guilty to misdemeanor assault. Sipili was suspended from the team in 2007 but was reinstated for the 2008 season.

A chilling note at the end of the CU press release: The University did not know if others will be charged…however, it should be noted that the police were contacted the morning of December 4th, and the police have been investigating for over a month. It would be a logical assumption if other charges were going to be filed, they would have been…

Michigan goes with “Plan A” for its next head coach

Times are tough for Wolverine fans.

It’s bad enough that Michigan has only beaten Ohio State once in the past decade. Now, the fans of the blue-and-maize have to pretend to be excited about Michigan hiring San Diego State Brady Hoke.

Jim Harbaugh? Off to the NFL. Les Miles? Staying in the bayou.

Instead, Michigan gets a native of Ohio whose biggest accomplishment was having one great season at his alma mater…Ball State. “The job was never offered to them,” said Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon, speaking about Harbaugh and Miles. “We did have different discussions with them that were helpful and positive.” Brandon insisted that hiring Hoke, who was an assistant coach for one season (1997) at Michigan, was Plan A.

“Brady Hoke understands Michigan, and he wanted this job because it has been his dream job,” said Brandon of Hoke, who also interviewed for the Minnesota coaching position after only two years at San Diego State. “We won’t have to teach him the words to ‘The Victors’, and I believe our players will respond to him.”

Color me skeptical. Hoke’s career record is 45-50 and has coached teams to winning seasons in only three of his eight years as a head coach. Hoke turned around his alma mater, Ball State, but, after one good season, left for San Diego State. After two years with the Aztecs, Hoke was openly shopping around for another job.

Is Michigan Hoke’s dream job? If he is successful, will he cast his eyes on the NFL? If he is not successful…?

Oregon State loses one brother; keeps another

Oregon State junior tailback Jacquizz Rodgers will be turning pro this spring.

Rodgers, a 5′7″, 191-pound junior, finishes with 3,877 career rushing yards, second in school history. Rodgers was also the Beavers’ career receiving leader amongst running backs, with 151 career catches.

Meanwhile Rodgers’ older brother, James, will return to Corvallis next fall. Rodgers was given a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA after suffering a knee injury early last season.

While Colorado would not have faced either Rodgers as the Buffs do not play Oregon State in 2011, the announcement is significant, as Jacquizz Rodgers would have been a significant contributor for a team trying to stay with two top five teams in their own division, Oregon and Stanford.

January 10th

Petersen says “no thanks” to Stanford

Boise State head coach Chris Petersen will be staying with the Broncos.

Petersen issued a statement, going only so far as to say he “would continue directing the football program”. Petersen also welcomed his new offensive coordinator, Brent Pease, and his receivers coach, Robert Prince. Pease did not have to spend much time getting reacquainted, as he was the receivers coach for Boise State last seaason. On December 30th, Pease took the offensive coordinator’s job at Indiana…before Boise State offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin took the same job at Texas, prompting Pease to return to Boise.

The name Robert Prince will be familiar to Buff fans, as Prince was the passing game coordinator for Colorado last season. Prince is also familiar with Boise, having been the wide receivers coach for Boise State—and Dan Hawkins—in 2001 and 2002.

So where will Stanford turn?…With Petersen out of the picture, the guess is the Cardinal will likley turn in-house, choosing between offensive coordinator David Shaw and associate head coach Greg Roman. Both have had discussions with Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby.  

Les Miles the front-runner for Michigan job?

ESPN is reporting that Les Miles will be meeting with Michigan on Tuesday. Miles, who played at Michigan and was an assistant coach in the early 1980’s, did not commit to anything on Monday. Miles said he was “extremely happy” at LSU, and he could not speculate on any potential meetings with Michigan.

Meanwhile, another source indicated that, if Miles does not work out, Michigan will turn to San Diego State head coach Brady Hoke.

January 9th

Les Miles to interview for Michigan job?

Stop me if you have heard this before…

Three years after LSU head coach Les Miles was a potential candidate for the head coaching job at Michigan, Miles is a candidate again.

In 2008, Michigan opted for West Virginia head coach Rich Rodriguez instead of Miles, with poor results. Now, three seasons later, Rodriguez is unemployed, and Miles has posted three more successful seasons with the Tigers. ESPN is reporting that Miles is trying to finalize a time and place to talk with Michigan.

LSU athletic director Joe Alleva, however, reports that he has not been contacted by Michigan about meeting with Miles. “I have not been contacted by anyone from the University of Michigan about Les Miles,” said Alleva. “Les Miles is LSU’s head coach, and we are going to do everything we can to keep it that way.”

Why the interest in Miles?

Miles is a “Michigan man”, an offensive lineman under Bo Schembechler before later joining the staff as an assistant. In 1982, Miles left with the Michigan staff with the Wolverines’ defensive coordinator when the defensive coordinator was offered a head coaching job in the Big Eight.

The defensive coordinator’s name? Bill McCartney.

January 8th

Stanford looking in-house?

With less than a month before signing day and a strong recruiting class already lined up, Stanford may look in house for its next coach.

Jim Harbaugh is off to the NFL, but Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby may not be utilizing a nationwide search. The next Stanford head coach may come from a list of existing coaches—assistant head coach Greg Roman; offensive coordinator David Shaw (who would be my pick); and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.

Quarterback Andrew Luck has already stated he will return to Stanford next fall, regardless of who is the new coach, but continuity on the part of the Cardinal coaching staff would only serve to solidify Luck’s decision.

Utah already out of debt

Colorado and Utah are joining the Pac-12 together but not on equal financial footing.

The Big 12 Buffs, in sacrificing its “exit fee” from the Big 12, going without a full share of revenues from the Pac-12 in 2011 and paying off Dan Hawkins, are looking at a $15-$17 million “shortfall” over the next few seasons, as Colorado waits for Pac-12 revenues to start to flow in.

Utah, meanwhile, is only about $2 million short, as that is all the Utes were expecting to receive from the Mountain West Conference next fall.

Make that “was” only about $2 million short.

Utah will forego all television revenue from the Pac-12 in 2011, but the new $25 million contract with Fox Sports is ”new” revenue, as it is for the extra nine regular season conference games Fox can televise, along with the championship game. The revenue sharing agreement of the new Pac-12 will net Utah about $2 million. “What it does is allow us to start the year without a $2 million deficit, which is what we were looking at,” said Utah athletic director Chris Hill. “It’s obviously good news.”

Unlike Colorado, Utah will not be a full partner in the Pac-12 until 2014-15. After foregoing revenue in 2011-12, Utah will receive 50 percent revenue in 2012-13, 75 percent in 2013-14, before becoming a full-share member in 2014-15.

But then again, Utah doesn’t really mind.

January 7th

Harbaugh agrees to deal with San Francisco 49ers

ESPN is reporting that Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh has agreed to become the next head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. “Sources” are confirming that Harbaugh will sign a five-year, $25 million contract.

Harbaugh reportedly met with Stanford officials on Thursday, in order to give the Cardinal one last chance at retaining their coach. Stanford, which had offered a contract extension and salary increase to Harbaugh in December, reportedly upped their offer even higher, but it was not enough to persuade Harbaugh to stay.

Two candidates whose names are familiar to Buff fans are already being circulated as possible replacements for Harbaugh. One is Stanford offensive coordinator David Shaw, who was considered a candidate for the Colorado head coaching job a month ago. The other is Boise State’s Chris Petersen, who has had a tremendous five-year run as the head coach of the Broncos.

Andrew Luck, the Stanford quarterback, was not swayed by Harbaugh’s announcement. Luck stated he still intends to return to play for Stanford next fall.

UCLA safety also going pro

Rahim Moore, rated the best safety prospect in the nation by one draft expert, will forego his senior season at UCLA and participate in the 2011 NFL draft.

“It’s time to move on,” said Moore, who had 77 tackles last season. “I have a chance to fulfill a dream, so why not take it?” Moore is a two-time All-American and ranks fourth in UCLA history with 14 interceptions.

The list of Pac-12 players going pro has reached seven:

Joining Moore in the NFL from UCLA is linebacker Akeem Ayers

USC loses two players—defensive tackle Jurrell Casey and offensive tackle Tyron Smith.

Cal running back Shane Vereen;

Utah will play without cornerback Brandon Burton; and

defensive end Thomas Keiser of Stanford.

On Friday, Arizona State All-Pac-10 cornerback Omar Bolden announced he will return for his senior season. With 20 starters coming back in 2011, some are considering Arizona State to be an early favorite to represent the Pac-12 South in the first Pac-12 championship game.

January 6th

Andrew Luck says “no thanks” to the NFL

Colorado travel to Pal Alto on October 8th, and the Buffs may be taking on the front-runner for the Heisman trophy when they do so.

Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, the likely the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL draft, will instead play for Stanford one more fall. “I am committed to earning my degree in architectural design from Stanford University, and am on track to accomplish this at the completion of  the spring quarter of 2012,” said Luck in a statement released by the University.

Not that the Buffs would have been favored on the road against Stanford next season, but with Luck returning, the Cardinal will likely be co-favorites along with Oregon to rule the new Pac-12.

As yet undecided…who will coach Luck in the fall. Head coach Jim Harbaugh spent five hours with the 49ers on Wednesday and is reportedly meeting with the Dolphins today. The Dolphins are reportedly willing to make Harbaugh the best-paid coach in the NFL, at $7–$8 million per year.

It is looking more and more likely that Harbaugh will join his brother in the NFL coaching fraternity, rather than staying at Stanford or moving back to Ann Arbor to coach at his alma mater, Michigan.

And the Broncos? “I don’t believe anyone that NFL experience can make that jump… other than Harbaugh,” said new Denver Broncos executive vice president John Elway. “There’s nobody else in the college ranks we’re interested in talking to.”

First Pac-12 championship game worth $14.5 million

Did everyone remember to send Larry Scott a Christmas card?

The Pac-12 commissioner has made the last seven months bearable for the Buff Nation, first by inviting Colorado into the Pac-12 and ever since by the promise of a great future for the University of Colorado in the new conference.

The latest gift came Thursday when it was announced that Fox Sports had agreed to pay the Pac-12 $25 million to televise games next fall, which figures out to be $10.5 million for an existing contractual obligation and $14.5 million to broadcast the Pac-12 title game on December 3rd. As the members of the new conference have agreed to share revenue equally, the contract works out to over $2 million for each school, including cash-starved Colorado.

The details of the deal, according to Sports Business Daily’s Michael Smith and John Ourand: “Industry sources said Fox is paying the Pac-12 $25 million for the championship game and other game inventory that is the result of the conference’s expansion from 10 teams to 12. The Pac-12’s championship game is valued at around $14.5 million, sources said; the other $10.5 million is part of a prior contractual obligation.”

Fox Sports has also entered into an agreement with the Big Ten to televise its first conference championship game, also to be played December 3rd. The Big Ten title game will be conducted at the dome home of the Indianapolis Colts, while the Pac-12 title game will be played on the home surface of the division champion with the best record.

The move is not only an immediate boon to the Buffs, but the fact it is a one-year contract bodes very well for the future. The Pac-10 is in transition to the Pac-12, and Larry Scott is looking for a long-term television contract for his new league. The Fox contract for the 2011 Pac-12 championship lets all potential suitors (paging ESPN!) know that the minimum amount for the annual contract has been set, and a long-term deal will command even more $$$ for the league.

Think it’s too late to send Larry Scott a “thank you” card?

January 5th

This time, it’s for real …

“I have completed a systematic and thorough review of our football program, and believe that a change in leadership is necessary,” said Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon in a statement Wednesday morning. “We have not achieived at a level I expect.”

So ends the Rich Rodriguez era at Michigan.

Rodriguez was 15-22 in three years, but 0-6 v. Ohio State and Michigan State, just 11-11 at home, and 6-18 in Big Ten play.

Speculation, of course, is that Stanford head coach Jim Harbargh is a leading  candidate, but the Detroit Free Press is reporting that Harbaugh does not wish to make a “lateral move,” even if it is to his alma mater. If Harbaugh is out of the picture, Brady Hoke from San Diego State is a possibility (Hoke is from Ohio and was a successful coach in the MAC before heading west), or once again, Les Miles of LSU (though Miles “tweeted” Wednesday that he had not heard from Michigan).

And Jim Harbaugh?

Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh, according to ESPN, met Wednesday with the San Francisco 49ers. Speculation had been all season that Harbaugh would be a prime candidate to return to his alma mater, Michigan, if Rich Rodriguez was fired, but it now appears that Harbaugh might be setting his sights a little higher.

“When you have a bunch of billionaires chasing you around to be a part of an NFL program…If Jim feels likes he is ready for that, who would blame him?”, lamented Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon.

Other teams reportedly interested in Harbaugh’s services include the Denver Broncos, the Miami Dolphins and the Oakland Raiders.

USC loses offensive linemen

USC guard Michael Reardon will not be on the sideline in 2011.

Reardon started the final five games of 2010 and had a year of eligibility remaining, but instead, chose to graduate and move on. Reardon has suffered injuries throughout his career and would require an additional surgery on his hip if he were to return for another year of competition.

USC head coach Lane Kiffin, at one point, thought he would have four starters returning along his offensive line. Instead, with Michael Reardon moving on to the real world, and offensive tackle Tyron Smith moving on to the NFL, the Trojans will be down to two returning starters—juniors Matt Kalil and Khaled Holmes.

How desperate are things for USC? The Trojans signed two junior college offensive linemen in December—Jeremy Galten and David Garness—and both are expected to compete immediately for playing time.

January 4th

Ashley Ambrose hired on at Cal

Colorado takes on two coaches from Arizona; California has now taken on two former Buffs.

Joining Eric Kiesau on the Cal Bears staff is Ashley Ambrose, who was a coach at Colorado the past three seasons. Ambrose will be the new secondary coach, replacing Al Simmons. “I’m excited about the opportunity to work with Jeff Tedford and his staff,” said Ambrose. “He’s a proven coach with a winning program and a great staff that knows how to recruit and coach.”

If the reason that Ambrose was not retained is that Jon Embree felt he could better allocate coaching and recruiting resources better elsewhere on his staff, then so be it. We’ll wish Ashley Ambrose well (except when Colorado plays Cal). If Ambrose wasn’t kept simply due to insufficient funds for coaches at Boulder, then this is a sad day for Buff fans. Ambrose was one of the coaches I was hoping Embree would decided to keep.


Rodriguez out? Harbaugh reportedly not interested

Two sources—the Detroit Free Press and a television station in Detriot—are reporting that Rich Rodriguez will not be retained as the head coach at Michigan. Rodriguez has posted a 15-22 overall record in three seasons at Michigan (6-18 in Big Ten play; 0-6 v. Ohio State and Michigan State). Rodriguez would be due $2.5 million if the remaining term of his contract is bought out (he would have been entitled to $4 million if he had been fired prior to January 1st).

Meanwhile, there is another report, also from the Detroit Free Press, that Stanford head coach—and Michigan alumnus—Jim Harbaugh is not interested in the Michigan job. It is also being reported that Harbaugh might be interested in going to the NFL, to coach for either the San Francisco 49ers (Harbaugh and the likely new GM share an agent), the Denver Broncos (John Elway a Stanford alumus), the Carolina Panthers (who hold the first pick in the draft, likely to be none other than Andrew Luck) or even the Raiders (Harbaugh actually gets along with Al Davis).

Nothing is official on any of this, but the speculation continues to  pour in …

Ron Franklin fired

Longtime ESPN college football announcer Ron Franklin has been fired by the network. Franklin reportedly made inappropriate remarks to a female colleague, calling her “sweet baby.” Franklin issued an apology Monday but was terminated nonetheless.

While not knowing all of the details and not condoning what may have taken place, I must say I will miss Ron Franklin. He handled football and basketball games for ESPN for over 20 years and did mostly Big 12 football games. I believe his game calling was excellent and his knowledge of the game refreshing.

He will be missed.

Ayers to enter NFL draft

UCLA junior linebacker Akeem Ayers will forego his senior season and enter the NFL draft.

“I will miss playing with my UCLA teammates next year, but I feel the decision to go to the NFL is what is best for my family,” said Ayers in a statement. Ayers was a Second Team Walter Camp All-American and a Butkus Award finalist. This past season, Ayers had 68 tackles, four sacks, 10 tackles for loss and two interceptions. He is projected to be a mid first-round pick in the 2011 NFL draft.

January 3rd


After being spurned by Tulsa athletic director Bubba Cunningham, Kansas has turned to… Sheahon Zenger.

Yes, that Sheahon Zenger.

The 44-year-old athletic director from Illinois State will take over for the retired Lew Perkins on February 1st. Zenger has coached football at Drake, Kansas State, South Florida and Wyoming. Zenger is a Kansas native and earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s at Kansas State and a doctorate from Kansas.

Zenger had four successful years at Illinois State and now will take over for the Jayhawks.

At least it wasn’t Mike Bohn…

Maryland steals UConn coach

Randy Edsall, the head coach at UConn until Sunday night, is now the head coach at Maryland. Edsall was the head coach for the Huskies for 12 seasons, going 33-19 the past four seasons. This past year, Edsall led UConn to the Big East title and a Fiesta bowl berth. For Edsall, the move to College Park is a homecoming, the site where Edsall saw his first college game.

What about Mike Leach?

“Coach Leach came in here, did a great job. I had a wonderful experience with him,” said Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson. “But there were some other opportunities out there I wanted to pursue. Fortunately, I waited long enough for Randy to become part of our pool.”

January 2nd

Big Ten sets bowl records…

…but not in a good way.

The Big Ten went 0-for-5 in New Year’s Day bowl games (Quickly, for those of you who were recovering from New Year’s Eve revelry and missed some of the action: Northwestern lost, 45-38 to Texas Tech in the TicketCity Bowl; Big Ten co-champion Michigan State was embarrassed by Alabama, 49-7 in the Capital One Bowl; Michigan may have said good-bye to Rich Rodriguez after being humbled by Mississippi State, 52-14, in the Gator Bowl; Penn State fell to Florida, 37-24, in the Outback Bowl; then Wisconsin finished off the day of imfamy in the Rose Bowl, losing to TCU, 19-17).

2011 represented the first New Year’s Day in which the Big Ten went without a victory since 2002. How bad was it? Michigan State, which felt it deserved a BCS bid, lost in the most lopsided Capital One Bowl, which has its origins going back to 1947.

Michigan suffered its worst bowl loss in school history (the good news for Wolverine fans: the buyout for Rich Rodriguez just dropped from $4 million to $2.5 million). Wisconsin, which was averaging 48 points per game the last seven games of the season, scored exactly six points against TCU in the second half of the Rose Bowl.

The Big Ten will be looking for redemption when Ohio State takes on Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl on January 4th…trying to ignore the fact that the Buckeyes have gone 0-9 vs. the SEC in bowl games in their history…

The only bad news? Nebraska fans, still hurting from their 19-6 loss to a 6-6 Washington team in the Holiday Bowl on December 30th, can crawl out from underneath their rocks this morning. The Big Ten isn’t looking so difficult right now…


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