1. The hunt for LSU's next defensive coordinator continues. Les Miles met with candidates in Dallas over the weekend, including Oklahoma's Mike Stoops, according to a report. Bob Shoop (Penn State) is also believed to be a candidate as is Kevin Steele (Alabama) and Clancy Pendergast though interest in Pendergast may have cooled. One name not to rule out is current LSU defensive line coach Brick Haley, who has been a defensive coordinator once (at Baylor from 1999-2001) but has made stops at Georgia Tech and with the NFL's Chicago Bears. As for John Chavis, who vacated the position to take the defensive coordinator job at Texas A&M, sources told NOLA.com that money wasn't the reason for the move.
2. Speaking of defensive coordinator searches, Mississippi State is still on the hunt for a replacement for departed defensive coordinator Geoff Collins. One name to watch is a quite familiar one to those in Starkville: Manny Diaz. The Clarion-Ledger reported Sunday that Diaz, a one-time MSU defensive coordinator who is now at Louisiana Tech, will interview for the job this week. If you'll recall, Diaz left Mississippi State after one season to join Mack Brown at Texas, where he was until he was fired in 2013. Louisiana Tech was 39th nationally in scoring defense and 16th in rushing defense this season.
3. What better way to introduce yourself to a fan base than to do it yourself. That's the approach new Florida head coach Jim McElwain took at the Birmingham Bowl, by taking in the scene and mingling with the fans. The new Gators coach made sure to make the rounds as fans tailgated outside Legion Field, stopping for pictures, shaking hands and greeting Gator Nation. UF documented the experience on video, which included many fired up and surprised fans. McElwain even made sure to fire off a tweet about it.
Around the SEC
For the first time since 2008, the national title game won't have either Alabama or Auburn. It was a nice run while it lasted.
Missouri's running game was key for the Tigers this season and is set up to do similar things in 2015.
The start of the College Football Playoff era could signal the end of SEC dominance, if this year's results are any indication.
Charlie Harbison, who served as Auburn's interim defensive coordinator for the Outback Bowl, will not be retained by Will Muschamp.
LSU defensive lineman Danielle Hunter is reportedly struggling with his decision whether to declare early entry into the NFL draft or return to LSU for his senior season.
Tweet of the day:
— Tennessee Football (@Vol_Football) January 5, 2015