Pac-12: Bob Bowlsby
That other conference, however much it makes folks grumble, gets to be No. 1 until somebody dethrones it. But the debate among Pac-12 and Big 12 fans for second place was a spirited one.
The Big 12 just clipped the Pac-12 in the ESPN.com Stats & Info power rankings by 0.6 points after going 2-1 versus the Pac-12 in bowl game, with Baylor whipping UCLA in the Holiday Bowl and Texas outlasting Oregon State in the Alamo Bowl.
Of course, Oregon, the Pac-12 North runner-up behind Stanford, blew out Kansas State, the Big 12 champion, in the Fiesta Bowl, and Arizona beat Oklahoma State in the regular season -- by 21 points -- to even the conferences' overall mark at 2-2. So even then there was some wiggle room.
The Pac-12 went 4-4 overall in bowl games, winning two BCS bowls, while the Big 12 went 4-5, losing its only BCS bowl. Both conferences finished with three Top 25 teams, but the Pac-12 had two teams in the top-seven compared to no top-10 teams for the Big 12.
Like we said: It was close. And highly subjective to judge.
This is all prelude to the new Pac-12 bowl agreements, which haven't yet been officially announced but we can strongly conjecture upon.
What the Big 12 could always counter in bowl matchups with the Pac-12 is a lower seed. The past three Alamo Bowls matched the No. 1 non-BCS bowl Pac-12 team against the No. 2 non-BCS bowl team from the Big 12. The Holiday Bowl featured the No. 2 Pac-12 team against the No. 4 team from the Big 12.
(There's even a Pac-12 counter to this, with the Pac-12 sending two teams to BCS bowl games the past three years and the Big 12 sending just one during the same span, which thereby evening out the seeds).
Guess what, though? Since the Pac-12 signed on with the Alamo Bowl, the Big 12 is 3-0 against it. Baylor beat Washington in 2012 and Oklahoma State crushed Arizona in 2011.
The new bowl contracts likely will match the No. 1 non-playoff/non-Rose Bowl Pac-12 team vs. the No. 1 non-playoff/non-Sugar Bowl Big 12 team.
Previously, the No. 1 non-BCS bowl Big 12 team played in the Cotton Bowl, which is now part of the College Football Playoff. Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby has already commented on the change for his conference.
What does that upgrade mean for the Pac-12?
Well, if we go by teams that played in the Cotton Bowl that means UCLA would have played No. 11 Oklahoma, Washington would have played No. 11 Kansas State and Arizona would have played No. 18 Texas A&M.
Now, these trades aren't exact and aren't always better because bowls have their own selection politics. For example, No. 16 Oklahoma State was ranked higher than Texas A&M in 2011 but the Cotton Bowl preferred a Texas-based team.
Still, this means the bowl competition for the Pac-12 is moving up. It will be a test worth watching.
And the No. 1 non-BCS bowl Big 12 team might like getting out of the Cotton Bowl rotation. The Big 12 has lost nine of the past 10 Cotton Bowls to the SEC, and the lone victory was No. 7 Missouri over No. 25 Arkansas in 2008. Of course, the Tigers are now in the SEC.
By the way, the Big 12 and Pac-12 also appear headed to a matchup in the Buffalo Wild Wings in Sun Devil Stadium -- the Big 12 likely will be replaced by the Big Ten in the Holiday Bowl -- so the conferences will matchup at the top as well as measure each other's depth.
While both conferences would like to move up to No. 1, neither wants to yield the perception of being at least No. 2. The Alamo Bowl will provide a nice annual measuring stick for the two conferences.
The BCS presidential oversight committee meets Tuesday afternoon in Washington D.C. to discuss college football's future postseason. The 12 presidents will hear from the FBS commissioners who last week endorsed a seeded four-team playoff beginning in 2014, which would have semifinals at bowl sites and bid out the championship game nationally. The commissioners are expected to present multiple models and discuss the evolution of their discussion, which came to a head last week in Chicago. Although the commissioners are unified, they’ve made it clear the presidents have the final say here.
The oversight committee begins its meetings at 3 p.m. ET, and while initially scheduled to meet four hours, the session likely will last well into Tuesday night.
To get you prepared for a long day and night, here's a primer, in question-and-answer form.
What action will the presidents take Tuesday?
It's likely they'll approve the four-team playoff model endorsed by the commissioners. ESPN.com has learned that the two most evolved elements of the playoff are the basic four-team model and the use of a selection committee to determine the four teams. Two elements that still must be discussed further and likely won't be resolved Tuesday: understanding playoff access and revenue distribution. Although there's an agreement in principle among the commissioners for how the revenue should be divided, the presidents want to have a thorough discussion on this topic.
What elements unified the commissioners in Chicago?
The two big ones were the selection committee and having the semifinals played inside the bowls. Commissioners who have chaired the NCAA men's basketball tournament selection committee -- such as the SEC's Mike Slive, the Big Ten's Jim Delany and the Big 12's Bob Bowlsby -- strongly advocated for it, and others, like the Pac-12's Larry Scott, warmed up to the idea. They see the committee as more transparent, more rational and having fewer conflicts of interest than the current polls used in the BCS formula.
The commissioners emerged from their April meetings in Hollywood, Fla., with two models: a four-team playoff inside the bowls and a four-team playoff at neutral sites outside the bowls. ESPN.com has learned three leagues -- the SEC, Big 12 and Conference USA -- advocated neutral sites for semifinal games, which likely would bring in more revenue but devalue the top bowl games. The Big Ten and Pac-12 didn't want to see the Rose Bowl drop down several notches (think NIT) and endanger the other bowls. This was a deal breaker, and it eventually pushed the group toward an inside-the-bowls model.
How will the model work inside the bowls and with access?
It's very likely that five or six bowls, not just the four BCS bowls, will be part of the playoff structure. There will be the familiar four -- Rose, Sugar, Orange and Fiesta -- as well as one or two yet-to-be-determined bowls (Cotton, Capital One, etc.). Although the commissioners spent a lot of time discussing an anchor plan -- where the No. 1 and No. 2 playoff participants would play at regional sites -- they determined it would be too difficult because of television sponsorships, ticket distribution and other factors. So the semifinal games will be predetermined and rotate between the bowls. For example, if the TV contract is for 12 years and the rotation includes six bowls, each game could host a semifinal four times.
The selection committee could end up selecting participants for more than just the four-team playoff, especially because the additional bowls will provide access for champions from smaller conferences. The same guidelines applied to selecting the playoff participants – strength of schedule, valuing conference championships -- also will be used to determine who appears in some of the additional bowls. For example, if the Mountain West champion and the Big Ten's No. 2 team have comparable profiles, including strength of schedules, and are ranked 12th and 13th, the Mountain West champion likely would get the nod to a big bowl because of its championship.
While there will be access for smaller-conference champions, the bowls who have contracts with certain leagues will continue to feature teams from those leagues. If the Rose Bowl isn't a national semifinal and loses the Pac-12 and/or Big Ten champion to a semifinal game, it will replace them with Pac-12 and Big Ten teams. The only way the Rose Bowl features teams not from the Big Ten or Pac-12 is if it's a semifinal.
How much traction does the plus-one model have?
None. It will be discussed Tuesday because the presidents want to look at multiple models, but everyone is so far down the road toward a four-team playoff and they're highly unlikely to turn back. Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman, a playoff opponent who prefers the status quo and a plus-one over a four-team playoff -- as do the Big Ten colleagues he represents and some Pac-12 presidents -- will have his say, but he also understands where this is headed. Perlman realizes he can't be Mr. Davis in "12 Angry Men" and sway everyone else in the room.
How would the selection committee operate?
The group will have certain guidelines for selection, such as valuing strength of schedule conference championships. There are no hard-and-fast rules, but these guidelines will help break ties. Expect the committee to be around 15 members, and it will meet throughout the season. It's unclear who will serve on it, although former coaches as well as school and league administrators are the likeliest candidates.
According to a source, the committee could reveal a poll midway through the season to let the public know where things stand with certain teams. Such a poll likely would debut around the time the initial BCS standings do (Week 8 or so).
When would the playoffs take place?
The five or six bowls in the playoff rotation likely will take place around Jan. 1. The Rose Bowl will keep its traditional New Year's Day afternoon time slot, whether or not it's a national semifinal. A new contract for the Rose Bowl is expected this week and will last through the 2026 game. The Rose Bowl contract always has been completed before the BCS contract.
We could end up seeing three of the bowls take place Dec. 31 and the other three, including the Rose, on Jan. 1. The championship game then would take place about 10 days later.
Colleagues Mark Schlabach and Heather Dinich will be in D.C. for the presidential oversight committee meeting, so be sure and check in with ESPN.com throughout Tuesday afternoon and night.
Bowlsby replaces Dan Beebe, who was fired in September 2011 as the Big 12 seemed on the brink of falling apart, with Oklahoma, Texas and others flirting with the Pac-12.
Chuck Neinas has been serving as the interim commissioner.
Bowlsby has told his staff he will remain with the Cardinal until June, according to The Associated Press.
You can read the complete story here.
From the article:
ADs average about $450,000 at the NCAA's top-tier schools, according to a USA TODAY analysis, rivaling the pay of many university presidents. But at least five ADs make more than $1 million, and since August 2010, at least 10 public schools have given their AD's pay raises of $75,000 or more.
Here are the Pac-12 ADs and their salaries.
Dan Guerrero, UCLA, $688,296
Scott Woodward, Washington, $553,000
Bob De Carolis, Oregon State, $540,356
Rob Mullens, Oregon, $500,000
*Greg Byrne, Arizona, $500,000
Sandy Barbour, California, $460,997
Bill Moos, Washington State, $455,000
Lisa Love, Arizona State, $448,000
Chris Hill, Utah, $400,000
Mike Bohn, Colorado, $253,500
*Byrne recently signed a new contract that included a raise from the $392,000 listed in the USA Today database.
USC's Pat Haden and Stanford's Bob Bowlsby both work at private schools that don't release salary information.
Understand: These are not predictions. They are extreme scenarios and pieces of fiction. You can read last year's versions here.
We're going in reverse order of my post-spring power rankings (which might not be identical to my preseason power rankings).
Up next: California
California fans were giddy well before Zach Maynard completed his 24th consecutive pass against Fresno State in Candlestick Park, but just about everyone wearing blue knew whose revered name had just been knocked from atop the school record book during a 38-17 victory.
"That's true," said Cal coach Jeff Tedford. "But Maynard runs a lot better than Aaron Rodgers did, so I don't want to compare them."
Colorado was eager to take vengeance for an embarrassing 52-7 loss in Berkeley the year before, but it couldn't stop Maynard and his half-brother Keenan Allen, who caught 11 passes for 131 yards and two touchdowns in a 27-19 victory in Boulder.
After beating the Fighting Blue Hose of Presbyterian 103-4 -- third string centers with bad shotgun snaps! -- the Bears head to Seattle to take on Washington, which has won two consecutive games in the series, the first an embarrassing blowout, the second on a last-second TD that handed Cal a losing record for the first time in nine years under Tedford.
Maynard throws three TD passes, Isi Sofele and Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson both eclipse 100 yards rushing and the Bears defense sacks Huskies QB Keith Price four times in a 31-13 drubbing.
"I am struggling with this," types GooooooooooBEARS -- a longtime anti-Tedford gadfly -- in the comments section of the Pac-12 Blog. "For so long, I have been hating on Tedford. But... well. I just need to be alone for a little bit to get back in touch with myself."
A 15,000-word essay appears on the California Golden Blogs -- complete with 15 different charts and graphs -- that claims to mathematically prove that Maynard is the reincarnation of Samuel Adrian "Slingin' Sammy" Baugh.
"It actually pencils out nicely," says Tsit-Yuen Lam, Berkeley Mathematics Professor of the Graduate School Emeritus. "I still think Tedford should go for it on fourth down more often, but that's a topic for another day."
The Bears go nose-to-nose with No. 1 Oregon before falling 24-20, becoming the first team to hold the Ducks below 50 points.
A 55-yard field goal with four seconds left from Giorgia Tavecchio bests USC, 27-24. After a 30-20 win over Utah, the 6-1 Bears move up to 10th in both major polls.
The Old Blues starting thinking Rose Bowl. But those dreams get torn apart during a mistake-laden upset loss at UCLA. Fans consider a bandwagon jump.
"Hey, gang, I recommend keeping a level head," types GooooooooooBEARS. "We love our team. We love our coach. We must have faith and support them. Unite, Blues! We've only begun to fight!"
The Bears pound Washington State and Oregon State, which sets up the Biggest of Big Games against No. 1 Stanford, which is fresh off a victory over previously-No. 1 Oregon.
Tedford walks into a team meeting on Monday. He wordless flips on cut-ups of the 2010 Big Game, which featured Cal picking a pre-game fight then showing no fight while the Cardinal bludgeoned the Bears 48-14, Stanford's most lopsided win in the rivalry in 80 years. He shows QB Andrew Luck running over safety Sean Cattouse. He shows a post-game interview of then-Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh: "Our guys really kept their cool and I think that was a big difference today. They kept their poise. I don't like that kind of football where you try and talk and intimidate. ... Just play football. Shut up and play football."
Tedford then turns to his team: "Shut up and play football."
Cal upsets the Cardinal 35-27, with Cattouse sealing the deal with an 87-yard interception return of a Luck pass.
The Bears nip Arizona State to finish the regular season 10-2. They then whip Texas 45-3 in the Alamo Bowl. Cal fans spend most of the game, which was decided by halftime, serenading Longhorns coach Mack Brown, who in 2004 talked his team into the Rose Bowl over a more deserving Cal squad.
Cal earns a final No. 9 ranking.
Wisconsin blows out Stanford in the Rose Bowl, and immediately thereafter offensive linemen Jonathan Martin and David DeCastro as well as linebackers Shayne Skov and Chase Thomas opt to join Luck in the NFL draft a year early. Coach David Shaw steps down to pursue a career on Wall Street, and athletic director Bob Bowlsby brings back Walt Harris, "to take care of unfinished business."
Zach Maynard was brilliant for three quarters. Then, early in the fourth against Fresno State, he falls awkwardly out of bounds.
Cal wins 28-20, but Maynard suffers what is notoriously called a "high ankle sprain."
Brock Mansion gets the start at Colorado, and the Buffaloes get their revenge for their 2010 beatdown in Berkeley, beating the Bears 24-21.
After pounding Presbyterian, Cal falls 28-20 at Washington.
"I think we'll get Zach back after the bye week at Oregon," says a hopeful Jeff Tedford.
Maynard does return at Autzen Stadium, but he's sacked six times and is noticeably limping in the fourth quarter. He also throws two interceptions.
With Mansion back under center for Cal, USC rolls over the Bears inside half-empty AT&T Park. At 2-4, things start to get tense in Berkeley.
"Is it just me, or are things tense in Berkeley?" a one sentence post on the California Golden Blogs queries.
Tedford opts to start Allan Bridgford against Utah, and Bridgford is solid in a 28-24 victory. He then leads the Bears to a win at UCLA, which evens their record at 4-4, but he gets hurt in the second quarter against Washington State. Maynard comes off the bench but isn't sharp. The Cougars prevail on a late Jeff Tuel TD pass.
The first "Cal needs to fire Tedford" column appears in the San Jose Mercury News. The column says, "Tedford led the Bears back from oblivion, but then he hit a plateau. Instead of rising above that plateau, the program has redirected to another unhappy valley. Credit Tedford for what he accomplished but he must be held accountable for what he hasn't. Not only has he failed to maintain a winning program, he now has led it back to losing."
Tedford refuses to engage the topic, but his players rally around him and beat Oregon State 20-17, kicker Giorgio Tavecchio giving Tedford the game ball after he kicked a late winning field goal.
But that rally doesn't last through the Big Game. David Shaw, coach of unbeaten, top-ranked Stanford, perhaps showing a bit more mercy than his predecessor, yanks his starters early in the fourth quarter of a 38-10 victory.
The Bears, with Maynard at quarterback and still needing just one win to earn bowl eligibility, play with surprising verve at Arizona State. But they fall 24-20
"It's not Coach Tedford's fault," receiver Keenan Allen says after a second-consecutive 5-7 finish. "Players win or lose games. And if we'd had Zach healthy the entire season, we'd have won a lot more games and we wouldn't be having this conversation."
But too many Cal fans have turned against Tedford. Athletic director Sandy Barbour announces that "with great regret" she is terminating him.
Tedford sits out a year before being hired by the Oakland Raiders, whom he leads to a victory in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Stanford wins the national championship, whipping Alabama 41-10.
"What the heck -- I'm coming back!" announces quarterback Andrew Luck, which inspires every Cardinal to do the same and not leave early for the NFL draft.
Barbour hires Eugene F. Teevens III -- most know him as "Buddy" -- to replace Tedford. "I thought he was so close to doing some good things at Stanford," Barbour explains.
- A Big H needs to step up for Arizona.
- Bo Moos, son of Washington State AD Bill Moos, has moved up at Arizona State.
- Brock Mansion stays positive as California's backup quarterback, waiting for perhaps a shot at redemption. A Q&A with Bears coach Jeff Tedford.
- Some Colorado thoughts after 10 days of camp. A frosh cornerback steps up.
- A new projection of Oregon's depth chart. Perhaps a little worrisome that wide receiver Josh Huff is in a boot.
- The news continues to be good for wide receiver James Rodgers. A look at the Beavers after one week.
- Stanford AD Bob Bowlsby thinks making freshmen sit would be a good thing. New coach David Shaw embraces high expectations.
- Neat story about UCLA's Renaissance Man.
- Intrigue continues in USC's running back competition. The O-line isn't playing well, particularly inside.
- Has Utah found an answer at cornerback? Pushing through the dog days.
- Wide receiver James Johnson tries to bounce back after a sophomore slump for Washington. Running back Chris Polk is ready for his close-up.
- Quarterback Jeff Tuel is The Man for Washington State. The Cougs are losing their Grippi.
- Jon Wilner provides his AP poll ballot.
"The NCAA formulas used to determine student-athlete stipends are not appropriate," Haden said in the post. "Having interviewed 15 different athletes and broken down their stipend against their bills, they are left with about $5 per day for food. I just do not think that is right."
Haden is not alone. Across town at UCLA, Dan Guerrero feels the same way.
“I would much prefer to see the NCAA pursue the notion of allowing athletic scholarships to cover the full cost of attendance at an institution," he said.
In fact, six conference athletic directors said the same thing. None who were asked for their take -- a number of ADs were on vacation -- said they were against increasing the value of scholarships to cover cost of attendance.
But paying athletes for their services beyond a full-cost scholarship also was panned.
"I am not in favor of any 'stipend' that would exceed that amount," Stanford's Bob Bowlsby said.
Why not? Well, while a few ADs sounded at least lukewarm to a revolutionary idea where athletes in revenue sports -- football and men's basketball -- could receive a stipend, none said they'd heard of a way to do that and not fall afoul of Title IX laws on gender equity.
"I haven't heard of one yet," Arizona's Greg Byrne said. "It would have to be a group effort to see if that's even feasible."
And even if someone produced a revolutionary idea that circumvented Title IX, the notion didn't generate much support.
"I'm not for pay for play," Washington's Scott Woodward said. "I think it's a great structure the way it is."
So cost of attendance it is.
"Cost of attendance," in fact, is the new catch phrase. It means covering all reasonable expenses a college athlete might have. That would mean an extra $2,500 to $3,500 per athlete. That doesn't sound like much, but when you multiply it across an entire athletic department with, say, 400 or so scholarship athletes, it gets pretty pricey. Woodward estimated it would cost Washington an extra $1 million a year.
Still, that doesn't sound like too much when automatic qualifying conferences in the BCS are signing billion dollar TV contracts.
Ah, but that's part of the problem. Non-AQ schools would struggle to pick up the extra tab. Many already are losing money on college sports. If AQ programs started to provide "better" scholarships and non-AQ programs didn't, then it would increase an already sizable competitive advantage.
Colorado's Mike Bohn has been an athletic director in non-AQ conferences -- San Diego State and Idaho -- so he understands why the idea isn't generating much traction outside of AQ conferences.
"I recognize the challenges it would put on those types of institutions," he said. "They would have to evaluate that and make decisions on what's best for themselves."
Bohn also feels like many people don't recognize just how valuable a full ride is -- cost of attendance or not. He points out it pays not only tuition and room and board but also health care, tutoring and other academic services and summer school. And the experience of a major college athlete is a fairly privileged one.
"It's important to accurately portray the investment each institution is putting into each student-athlete," he said. "The investment in these men and women goes far beyond the scholarship commitment."
Still, there's plenty of momentum behind the idea of improving scholarships and taking further financial burdens off athletes.
Writes Haden, "In a year from now, our new TV contract is going to kick in with $20 million per year in revenue and it is not right to have a student-athlete tell me he or she is going hungry. It is unconscionable."
The academic Rose Bowl?
The games will be played in four consecutive seasons, with the first matchup scheduled for Sept. 14, 2019, in Evanston, Ill. The series will then shift to Stanford for the 2020 campaign. The 2021 game will be contested on Sept. 18 in Evanston before moving back to Stanford Stadium on Sept. 17, 2022.
"We are very excited to be commencing a football series with Northwestern," Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby said in a statement. "Like Stanford, Northwestern is an elite academic institution, from a great conference with a major football program. Pat Fitzgerald and Jim Phillips also reprint the best values in intercollegiate athletics so they are the kind of people with whom we like to compete."
Stanford and Northwestern have played six times previously, with Stanford holding a 3-1-2 advantage in the series. The two schools last met in 1994, as the Cardinal and Wildcats played to a 41-41 tie in Evanston. Other meetings occurred in 1933 (0-0), 1934 (20-0 Stanford), 1957 (26-6 Stanford), 1958 (28-0 Northwestern) and 1992 (35-24 Stanford).
QB Andrew Luck
On the hire:
Very excited. He's a Stanford man. I've known that since he was recruiting me coming out of high school. He has a deep, abiding love and respect for Stanford. You can really tell that. He's going to do a wonderful job with this program and the players are behind him 100 percent."
"He's definitely a lot different than Coach [Jim] Harbaugh in a lot of aspects. I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing. We'll have to wait and see what motivation is like from the head coach and how the recruiting is. I have a lot of faith that it will be successful and good. It's just different personalities and people go about things differently. I wouldn't say there's one right way to do it.
Did players favor him over other in-house candidates?
"I wouldn't say there was one more favored than another. We all had great relationships with all the coaches. Obviously, I think any one of the three would have been great for the players, but Shaw is the one."
On a smooth transition:
"It's nice not having to learn a new playbook, to be able to hit spring ball running like you were just on the field in the bowl game. I think that definitely helps in terms of making a smooth transition."
Your dealings with Coach Shaw and his input?
"I saw him all the time. I don't know the inner workings of the whole brain trust that was up in the coaches' office but Coach Shaw has always been a great coach since I've been here. He's always had a big hand in the offense."
LB Shayne Skov
“Coach Shaw has been a coach guys have looked up to since I've been here. He is not only a great coach but somebody that allows the program to hit the ground running for next season."
Bob Bowlsby, Stanford Athletic Director
"David Shaw is exactly the right person to lead our football program at this time. David has the experience, intellect, coaching skills and organizational abilities to be a tremendous head coach. He understands and embraces the combination of world class academics and world class athletics that is required at Stanford."
John Hennessy, Stanford University President
"David Shaw has been a large part of the Stanford football program's success over the past four years, and he has all of the experience and qualities to continue the momentum into the future. He is a Stanford graduate and a long-time member of our Stanford family who has personally been part of our scholar-athlete tradition. He understands our values. He also has a wealth of experience outside of the university, and broad respect among both those in his profession and on campus. I am excited about the prospects for Stanford football under his leadership."
Former Stanford Assistant and David's Father, Willie Shaw
“Bill Walsh told me something one time, ‘Willie,’ he says, ‘Your son is one of the best players I’ve ever coached.’
“I said, ‘Is that right?’
“He says, ‘College or pros, he was the one guy that when he went into a game, no matter what position he was at, he could tell you the coverage, he could tell you what the quarterback should have seen, the reads that should have made, what routes should have been run. He’d tell you exactly what he saw.’
“That’s why he’s a good coach.”
On being a finalist [in 1992] for the Stanford head coaching and today's news:
“It’s come full circle. It’s so rewarding to see this happen 18 years later. Now I’m thinking, I didn’t get it before, maybe that was why. This is even more rewarding than if I had gotten it. I’m really so proud.”
Let's start with this: "Two years of good football is not enough," said Shaw, a former Stanford player.
A dominant victory in the Discover Orange Bowl over Virginia Tech? Old news.
"We're going to put it in a box, we're going to put a ribbon around it, and we're going to put it up on a shelf for everybody to admire," he said. "But we're going to get back to work. We're going to let everyone else admire and talk about how great it was. Our goals are not done. ... We did not win our conference. Oregon did that."
Why did athletic director Bob Bowlsby hire Shaw, Stanford's offensive coordinator since 2007, over the other three members of the Cardinal staff he interviewed (associate head coach Greg Roman, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and special teams coordinator Brian Polian)?
Bowlsby said Shaw's hiring was "logical" and a "perfect fit." Among Shaw's strengths, Bowlsby listed recruiting, experience at the NFL and college levels, an understanding of Stanford's academics, organizational skills, continuity from Harbaugh's tenure, high character, the support of the locker room, and good motivational skills.
There's also this: Shaw was adamant that this is his dream job. Stanford won't be a coaching stepping stone for him, he said.
"Since the day I started coaching, this is the job I always knew I wanted," he said, then added later. "I wanted this to be my last head coaching interview ever."
But Shaw wouldn't talk about his staff or assistants. Fangio and Roman are going to leave. It is unclear which members of the current staff stick around, though a handful almost certainly will.
As for as what he wants to continue from the Harbaugh Era, Shaw mentioned being aggressive and physical on both sides of the ball. Shaw also might have said the words "compete" and "competitive" 20 times. That's very Harbaughian.
He said the schemes won't change. And then again they will. "We're going to push the envelope with scheme," he said. Also a Harbaugh trademark.
Shaw's hiring will be popular with the current players. Just after Harbaugh's departure was announced, receiver Doug Baldwin told the San Jose Mercury News that, "All the players want David Shaw as the head coach."
Shaw said he doesn't "plan on disappointing them" when he was asked about this, but he also added something that very much sounded like a grumpy, veteran head coach.
"I was not happy it was in the paper," he said.
Shaw has a lot on his plate, starting with a big recruiting weekend, when he must keep an outstanding recruiting class on board. Next, he must fill out his staff. Then, once the boxes are unpacked and he turns his attention to X's and O's, he will be freighted with the high expectations that come with a likely preseason top-10 ranking.
It won't be easy to replace a larger-than-life -- and slightly eccentric -- personality such as Harbaugh, particularly after the Cardinal's success this year. But Shaw's first day on the job was impressive.
His two conclusions:
1. Stanford likely makes a move Thursday and the school will host a bunch of recruits this weekend.
2. The best odds are on an internal candidate: associate head coach Greg Roman, offensive coordinator David Shaw and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.
The Cardinal made inquiries with Boise State's Chris Petersen, and he said no thanks. It appears there were feelers with Oregon State coach Mike Riley, but that didn't get very far. And Yale coach Tom Williams also interviewed. Of course, there also may be a guy we don't see coming. There are no indications that athletic director Bob Bowlsby has a super-secret guy he's going to spring on us, but you never know.
Wilner, because he is covering the story, doesn't provide an opinion on whom he believes Stanford should or will pick to replace Jim Harbaugh. San Jose Mercury News columnist Tim Kawakami goes with Shaw.
Early comments from outgoing senior receiver Doug Baldwin indicated a lot of players wanted Shaw, a former Stanford player with deep ties to the Farm. What Wilner writes here echoes my take:
The most important thing to everyone in the locker room, by far — and it has been lost amid the reaction to Baldwin’s comment — is that one of the three internal candidates gets the job.
The notion that the majority of players would be unhappy with Roman or Fangio in charge is ridiculous.
Here's an issue with Shaw: It's unlikely that Shaw would be able to retain Roman or Fangio, both of whom will have a number of NFL opportunities if they don't get the head job, starting with following Harbaugh to the 49ers. Shaw is much more likely to stick around and work for Roman or Fangio.
Then there's this on Roman, from Wilner:
If you were impressed with Stanford’s run/pass balance, with its use of tight ends, its endless array of formations, its protection schemes and overall creativity, everything about the offense, really — well, that was Roman.
If you were impressed? Not to gush about Roman, but the single most impressive thing in college football this season -- scheme-wise -- was the Cardinal's offensive creativity. Oh, the guy playing QB, he was OK, too.
If continuity from what Harbaugh built matters, Roman is likely the guy. If Stanford ties matter most, Shaw is likely the guy.
And, of course, there are a variety of other issues: Recruiting acumen; whether one is viewed as a climber who will leave when a bigger offer comes around; an ability to get along with boosters and administrators; and an ability to hire an good coaching staff.
It appears the suspense is about to end. So stay tuned.
After the Cardinal were turned down by Boise State coach Chris Petersen, attention turned to three internal candidates: associate head coach Greg Roman, offensive coordinator David Shaw and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.
Roman and Fangio also are talking to former Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh about coordinator jobs with the 49ers.
That suggests that if Stanford goes with Shaw -- a popular choice in the locker room -- Roman and Fangio could follow Harbaugh. One of the chief hopes after Harbaugh bolted was to maintain as much staff continuity as possible from this season to next; obviously, the team culture in 2010 worked well.
Oregon State coach Mike Riley's name also continues to get batted around. Last year, Riley signed a contract extension that was perceived to be a lifetime deal for him to stay in Corvallis.
As we all know with college football contracts, there is no "lifetime" deal. There also is no confirmation that Riley has chatted with Stanford AD Bob Bowlsby.
Perhaps there's another wild-card prospect out there -- Brady Hoke leaving San Diego State for Michigan eliminated one possibility -- but with a big recruiting weekend ahead, it seems like Bowlsby wants to make his move ASAP.
- Oregon State running back Jacquizz Rodgers has announced he'll enter the NFL draft a year early.
- Chris Petersen announced he's not leaving Boise State for Stanford.
As for Rodgers, that means he will leave behind his brother, receiver James Rodgers, who will come back for a fifth year after receiving a medical hardship waiver from the NCAA.
The decision makes sense. There's little else Rodgers can do to improve his NFL stock, and running backs don't have a long shelf life. He's a classy young man who has done a lot for the Beavers. He feels he's ready to go pro, so good luck to him.
Petersen's decision is not unexpected. He's spurned many suitors in the past. While Stanford seemed like a good fit, Petersen has done a fairly good job fitting at Boise State, wouldn't you say?
That decision suggests that Stanford might look now at its internal candidates to replace Jim Harbaugh: David Shaw and Greg Roman.
Or perhaps athletic director Bob Bowlsby has someone off the grid that he's going to go after?
You'd think with national signing day just a few weeks away, Bowlsby wants to make a move quickly.
Bowlsby: “Jim Harbaugh has done an outstanding job of advancing the football program at Stanford University and I am grateful for all of his tremendous work. Coach Harbaugh has led the program with integrity, vision, enthusiasm and energy and his teams have played with precision and exceptional passion. Jim has been a relentless recruiter and he has been successful in enticing some of the finest scholar-athletes in the nation to attend Stanford University. We wish Jim all the best with his new challenges and we know that he will continue to be highly successful.”
Hennessy: "We are grateful to Jim Harbaugh for re-energizing the Stanford football program over the past four years. He helped build momentum that we are confident will continue into the future. We made Jim the best offer we could commensurate with our role as a university. We wish him the best of luck and look forward to his continuing contributions to football in the Bay Area."
Suffice it to say, Stanford is putting a happy face on Harbaugh's departure, which certainly seems like the wise -- and fair -- course.
Harbaugh has agreed to a five-year, $25 million contract to become the San Francisco 49ers' head coach, according to reports.
It appears Stanford fought to retain Harbaugh. According to ESPN NFL analyst Chris Mortensen, Harbaugh met with top Stanford officials Thursday, and the school increased its contract offer from December.
The late gambit wasn't enough. He will replace fired coach Mike Singletary.
When Bob Bowlsby hired Harbaugh after the Cardinal went 1-11 in 2006, most folks went "What?" Oh, people knew who Harbaugh was -- a longtime NFL quarterback -- and it was interesting to learn how successful he was at San Diego, but few thought much of the choice. And when Harbaugh barked, "I vow I will attack this endeavor with enthusiasm unknown to mankind," he sort of seemed, well, slightly manic.
And Stanford is not a manic sort of place.
Harbaugh was manic. And he also turned out to be a hell of a coach and a hell of a motivator. Sure, he struck gold when he signed quarterback Andrew Luck, but Harbaugh deserves all the credit for hiring an outstanding staff, recruiting well and rebuilding a program into a surprising national power.
His first season, his outmanned Cardinal beat No. 2 USC 24-23, despite being a 41-point underdog. That -- the 4-8 finish wasn't particularly inspiring-- was only a first hint of what was to come.
He went 5-7 his second year, 8-5 his third and 12-1 this season. Along the way, he sold his players on a blue collar work ethic, announced, "We bow to no program at Stanford," and made good on that by running up the score on USC in 2009 and taunting Trojans coach Pete "What's your deal?" Carroll afterwards.
What's Harbaugh's deal? It doesn't feel hyperbolic to say his marriage with Stanford -- albeit brief -- was lightning in a bottle. Coaching magic.
It's also understandable why he left. His stock will never be higher. Harbaugh is as competitive a guy as you'll ever meet. He wants to test himself all the time and on the highest level. If you coach football, that's the NFL.
And know what? If he washes out -- if the 49ers locker room knows only enthusiasm known to jaded rich guys -- then no matter. Harbaugh's track record in college is so good he'd again be a hot coaching prospect should he want to return in the future.
As for Stanford going forward, there is one hire that would immediately quash the despondency among fans who just days ago were flying high: Boise State's Chris Petersen. There are more than a few folks who believe this is the sort of job that could lure Petersen away from the Broncos. And the cerebral Petersen would be a good fit.
The top internal candidate would be offensive coordinator David Shaw. Shaw would bring continuity for quarterback Andrew Luck -- no, Luck won't reconsider his decision to return because of Harbaugh's move -- and likely would try to maintain the Harbaughian culture. He's a Stanford graduate and has significant NFL coaching experience. His father, Willie, was an assistant coach at Stanford from 1974-76 and again from 1989-91.
While hiring Shaw might not have much pizazz with fans and media, it would resonate positively in the locker room. It also would continue a Stanford tradition of giving black coaches an opportunity. At present, there are no black head coaches in the Pac-10(Colorado joins next year in the Pac-12 with Jon Embree). And, yes, that is still something worth raising an eyebrow over.
Also off the current staff: Greg Roman. The associate head coach was responsible for much of the Cardinal's offensive creativity. [Edit note: We inadvertently left Roman out of our first draft, which was an oversight].
There is a third option: Bowlsby again going off the grid. Let's face it: He's had plenty of time to contemplate who will replace Harbaugh. The general feeling all season was Harbaugh was going to bolt, either to Michigan or the NFL. So Bowlsby surely isn't flat-footed on the news today. Here's a guess he's already sent out some feelers.
Pause for a moment, though, Stanford fans. What a week, eh? Your Cardinal posts a dominant performance in a victory over Virginia Tech in the Discover Orange Bowl -- yeah! -- Luck announces his return -- yeah! -- scuttlebutt starts to surface that Harbaugh is seriously considering returning to the Farm -- yeah! -- and then (boom) it's announced that Harbaugh is headed across the peninsula to the 49ers.
But don't get too morose. There is no reason to believe that Stanford is headed back to 1-11, to Buddy Teevens and Walt Harris. A winning culture has been established, much more so than when Tyrone Willingham left for Notre Dame in 2001, knowing full well his recruiting had been sub-par. The right coach has a good shot to maintain that culture.
Stanford is never going to be a team that regularly goes 12-1. It wasn't headed that way even with Harbaugh. But the Cardinal can and should remain competitive at a high level on a regular basis.
It just needs to attack this endeavor with enthusiasm unknown to mankind.