Feed aggregator

Pac-12 Football Early Enrollees You Need to Know More About

National Signing Day marks an important milestone in the college football season, but some recruits choose not to wait until then to get started...

Begin Slideshow

Alabama's Doug Nussmeier Reportedly to Become New Michigan Offensive Coordinator

Just hours after the University of Michigan announced the dismissal of Al Borges, it is reportedly on the precipice of snagging Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier for the same position.

CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman first reported the move, which is seen as nothing short of a surprise. Wolverines coach Brady Hoke and athletics director Dave Brandon spearheaded the move with a robust contract offer that will make Nussmeier one of the five highest-paid assistant coaches in college football.

Although Alabama has typically been known as a grind-it-out offense carried by an elite defense, Nussmeier has quietly built one of the most efficient attacks in the nation. Alabama finished in the top 10 in Football Outsiders' S&P offensive metric in each of Nussmeier's two seasons under Nick Saban and was in the top five in 2012. 

Nussmeier was integral in the development of AJ McCarron, with the Tide quarterback openly rooting for his coordinator to land the University of Washington head coaching job.

"I'm excited for him," McCarron said, per Michael Casagrande of AL.com. "I can't wait for him to have his option. I was rooting for him with the Washington job, but he didn't get it. But I think he'll be an unbelievable head coach."

That job eventually went to Chris Petersen, but it seems the promise of a huge pay raise and the task of rejuvenating the Michigan offensive attack was enough for Nussmeier to leave Tuscaloosa anyway.

The Wolverines were a nightmare offensively this past season, finishing 87th in average yards per game. Although Football Outsiders ranked Michigan a more favorable 44th, Borges' unit floundered down the stretch. Michigan lost five of its last six games, scoring 21 points or fewer in four of those contests. 

The 58-year-old Borges was let go earlier Wednesday after a three-year run at Ann Arbor. He had been on Hoke's staff since 2009, dating back to their days at San Diego State. 

As for Alabama, speculation has already run rampant about a high-profile name that could land in Tuscaloosa. Feldman notes that former USC head coach Lane Kiffin could be an early favorite considering his close relationship with Saban:

Kiffin already has some familiarity with how things were working under Nussmeier. The 38-year-old coach visited Tuscaloosa to "evaluate" the Crimson Tide's attack last month. USC fired Kiffin following in September after a disappointing 3-2 start, ending a three-plus-year reign in Los Angeles that saw him become one of the most embattled coaches in the nation.

Kiffin previously served one season as the head coach at Tennessee and parts of two with the NFL's Oakland Raiders. He holds a 40-36 record as a head coach across all levels, but Kiffin arguably found his most success as an offensive assistant with the Trojans in the early 2000s. 

Whether Kiffin's future involvement with Alabama is mere speculation or an impending hire, Saban now has a gaping hole on his staff. After winning three national championships in four seasons, Alabama lost just its second bowl game under Saban when Oklahoma pulled off a 45-31 upset at the Sugar Bowl. With high-octane offenses running rampant across the SEC, perhaps it is time for a revamping of the Tide blueprint.

ESPN's Joe Schad noted that Saban is "intrigued" by uptempo offenses. Losing Nussmeier may hurt, but his departure may wind up helping both Michigan and Alabama rejuvenate their offenses. 

 

Follow Tyler Conway on Twitter:

 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Breaking Down 5-Star WR Malachi Dupre's Highlight Tape

Malachi Dupre, a 5-star receiver from New Orleans, is among the nation's top recruits. At 6'2.5" and 187-pounds, Dupre is a smooth athlete with great length and ball skills.

He displays solid explosiveness off the line, as well as impressive build-up speed when running routes. Dupre has the ability to detach himself from defenders at junctions with subtle quickness before plucking the ball with his mitts.

His highlight tape warrants a more in-depth look. 

Player evaluations are based on review of tape at Scout.comRivals and 247Sports.

Begin Slideshow

Virginia Tech Football: 4 Players Who Will Help the Hokies Offense in 2014

For the last few seasons, there is no question that the Virginia Tech football team has been carried by its defense, but that could change in 2014.

There’s reason to be concerned about the offense, given some of the players who are leaving. After all, for all his flaws, quarterback Logan Thomas accounted for an absurd percentage of the total offense these past two seasons.

Bud Foster should ensure that the defense will still be talented, but for once, the offense might be able to pick up some of the slack. 

The team will experience some growing pains as it breaks in a new quarterback, whether that ends up being veteran Mark Leal or a promising freshman like Andrew Ford or Chris Durkin. Nevertheless, a lot of talent will surround whoever ends up taking snaps under center for the Hokies.

When Thomas first started for the team, he was unproven, as he had spent most of the preseason at tight end. But the combination of a veteran offensive line, star running back David Wilson and a pair of fantastic receivers in Jarrett Boykin and Danny Coale helped the young signal-caller thrive. This year’s group of offensive talent can help Tech’s new quarterback do the same in 2014. 

After spending another year in offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler’s system, these four players can help take Tech’s offense to the next level in 2014.

Begin Slideshow

USC Football: Justin Wilcox's Defense Will Bend but Not Break

It's been over a month since head coach Steve Sarkisian has moved back into USC housing, and he's finally finished assembling his roommates. While notably retaining offensive play-caller Clay Helton and wide receivers coach Tee Martin from the incumbent staff, Sark's most significant hire is fellow Washington departure and defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox.

In this case, stability better serves the camaraderie between Sarkisian and his predominantly piggybacked coaching staff, rather than the players on the roster. At least within the confines of Clancy Pendergast's established standards during his brief tenure, the defense under Wilcox's management should suffer a temporary backslide.

In the long run, though, change doesn't guarantee neither positive nor negative, but simply differentiation. For USC's sake, hopefully change yields similarly prosperous results, and preferably fast.

If anything, look no further back than this past Fight Hunger Bowl to witness the potential of Wilcox's 3-4 in action.

The Huskies enforced the classic bend-but-not-break approach against dual-threat quarterback Taysom Hill and BYU. Hill alone accumulated 426 yards of total offense (293 passing, 133 rushing), a figure that suggests Washington was caught guessing throughout the game and walloped on the scoreboard.

Nonetheless, the defense asserted itself when it needed to most, applying costly pressure (led by end rusher Hau'oli Kikaha's three sacks) and holding the Cougars offense to merely one touchdown and three field goals (and one miss) inside their own 30.

With interim Marques Tuiasosopo (now USC's tight ends coach) leading his first charge, the pressure and spotlight were on Wilcox as he strived to preserve the team's invariability on the defensive side of the football, and he impressively delivered. Despite the allotted yardage, Washington never gave up the detrimental big play, as BYU's longest was only 23 yards, and the Huskies cracked down with everything in front of them in the red zone.

Still, it remains a tall task to assume Southern California duties and the nation's No. 1 red-zone defense (62.8 percent compared to Washington's 56th-best 82.6 percent, per NCAA.com).

Though a short-lived era, Wilcox will be hard-pressed to replace Pendergast, whose shapeshifting 5-2 pass rush was revolutionary for the revitalization of USC's defense on the national spectrum. The Trojans' miraculous 2013 campaign was punctuated in the Las Vegas Bowl, where their healthiest rotation thus far utterly disrupted the rhythm of the country's top passer Derek Carr, limiting him to 216 yards and 2-of-14 on third down.

USC's finale garnered attention over that of Washington, since formerly ranked Fresno State is a more highly touted opponent than BYU, and Hollywood prowess and scandal usually take precedent over cloudy Seattle.

Statistics insinuate the warranted press is justified for the most part, but Wilcox and the Huskies ultimately weren't too far off.

Based on NCAA.com statistics, Pendergast's unit ranked inside the top 20 in rushing defense (15th), total defense (13th), third-down defense (12th) and scoring defense (16th). With the amount of yards Washington conceded (388.5 YPG—good for No. 55 in the nation), one could imagine that its defense would be considerably inferior en route to a 6-6 record or worse.

On the contrary, by embodying that bend-but-not-break mentality as opposed to USC's high-risk, high-reward attack, the two schemes proved to be equally accomplished with nearly identical scoring defenses (USC's 21.2 points per game allowed compared to Washington's 22.8), interception totals (17 to 16) and turnover margin (plus-seven to plus-five).

Two key categories Washington actually exceeded USC in are team passing efficiency defense (107.42 to 11.89, respectively)—which intrinsically factors opposing completion percentage, interception ratios and passing yardage allowed—and sacks.

Led by departing senior linebacker Devon Kennard with nine quarterback takedowns, Pendergast's ability to create havoc in the pocket was the most renowned component of this Trojans defense. Thanks in part to Kikaha's 13 sacks, though, Wilcox's squad was fourth-best in that department, outnumbering USC by a count of 41 to 35.

Again, credit the Hollywood spotlight.

All in all, both Pac-12 schools concluded 2013 with only four losses (and for Washington, that is its best mark since the 2001 Rose Bowl season), similar records against bowl-bound teams (USC: 5-4Washington: 4-4) and sightings in the final AP poll.

While USC's shocker over Stanford is regarded by many as one of the most emotional triumphs of the year, the Huskies were able to thwart Washington State...a seemingly simple feat for a superior defense and competent offense. They also upended once-No. 19 Boise State in a 38-6 blowout back in Week 1, winning the third-down battle (11-of-15 for Washington; 8-of-19 for Boise State) in arguably their stoutest showing.

It's truly a testament to how two dissimilar paths can direct themselves toward the same destination of success. Sarkisian accepts the responsibility as head coach, but the offensive guru felt substantially at ease focusing primarily on offense with Wilcox at the defensive helm and clearly enough to rope him along to Southern California.

Of course, with brand-new surrounding circumstances for Wilcox, there will be a definite learning curve. How well equipped is the program and its defensive coordinator in rapidly overcoming it?

First and foremost, Wilcox is accompanied by Washington assistants Keith Heyward (secondary) and Peter Sirmon (linebackers). The transition should be smoother thanks to the cemented cohesion amid the staff in a familiar conference, as all the new coaches—including recently hired defensive line coach Bo Davis as reported by Los Angeles Times' Gary Klein—are introduced to the players and the Trojan way.

As for those players, along with senior casualties Kennard and Morgan Breslin are now eligible juniors Dion Bailey and George Uko as they enter the NFL draft. As alluded to by B/R's Alex Sims, however, with the amount of injuries endured and the finite rotation Pendergast utilized throughout 2013, the losses are nothing USC itself cannot handle.

Jonathan Lockett headlines the incoming recruiting class for Wilcox's benefit, joining a suddenly deep secondary with improved upperclassman Josh Shaw and emergent freshman Su'a Cravens.

In the 5-2, the front seven both illuminates and masks the strengths and weaknesses (respectively) of its secondary, so in USC's return to the 3-4, a back end that can now start holding its own in a base pass rush alleviates pressure on Wilcox.

Plus, there's still the residual services of ESPN All-American Leonard Williams and captain Hayes Pullard. The team is stacked.

Wilcox has never been granted such illustrious talent in his young career, although the limitations in depth due to ongoing sanctions (albeit fading, according to B/R's Kyle Kensing) are a foreign obstacle as well. Pendergast's mastery of the situation superseded the feel-good story of Washington's success to match USC's preexisting draw of the media.

Luckily, Wilcox is another esteemed recruiter in Sark's army, something Pendergast hardly cared for. As two divergent strategies try to yield identical results as done in 2013, that's one crucial difference you can rely on long term.

As impatient as Trojan Nation is in its quest for vengeful relevance, a little bit of time can be spared for this up-tempo renovation to settle in. According to CBSSports.com's Bruce Feldman, it did only take Wilcox two years to elevate the Huskies scoring defense from No. 104 to No. 34 in the country.

LA Times' Klein's reports indicate Pendergast gained brilliant likability during his short stint at USC, both for his result on the gridiron and his "feisty" demeanor off the field. If Wilcox and his defense minimize time spent treading water or holding their breath underneath it, then he'll follow suit just nicely.

A word of advice: I hear these players like cookies.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

USC Football: Justin Wilcox's Defense Will Bend but Not Break

It's been over a month since head coach Steve Sarkisian has moved back into USC housing, and he's finally finished assembling his roommates...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

Arizona State Football: 5 Recruits Sun Devils Must Land on NSD 2014

The Arizona State football team, led by head coach Todd Graham, already has an impressive recruiting class lined up for next year.

But Graham's work isn't done just yet.

The Sun Devils are losing a bunch of defensive starters and playmakers and will also lose two key offensive linemen this offseason.

ASU's biggest area of concern will be in replacing leading tackler Chris Young and two-time Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Will Sutton. While Graham has already received verbal commitments from players such as linebacker Derik Calhoun, defensive tackle Tashon Smallwood and defensive end Connor Humphreys, there are still many positions that need to be filled.

If ASU's current commit list holds true on national signing day, and the Sun Devils can add a few more playmakers, fans in Tempe will have plenty to cheer about next year.

With that being said, let's take a look at five players ASU needs to land on national signing day.

Begin Slideshow

Arizona State Football: 5 Recruits Sun Devils Must Land on NSD 2014

The Arizona State football team, led by head coach Todd Graham, already has an impressive recruiting class lined up for next year. But Graham's work isn't done just yet...

Begin Slideshow

2014 College Football Recruits Sure to Redshirt Right Away

Almost all of today's recruits do not want to hear the word "redshirt" when a school is recruiting them. Today's prospects are competitive, plus they have egos. 

So playing right away is a goal many of them have, but most of them need a year of development before getting on the field in college. Others enter situations where the incumbent depth chart is simply too great to overcome. No matter the reason, many recruits in the 2014 class will redshirt this fall.

A trio of quarterbacks will be holding clipboards during the 2014 season, while a running back will not be immediately needed. Also, an offensive tackle just isn't ready to play right now.

 

Player evaluations are based on review of tape at Scout.comRivals and 247Sports. Star ratings taken from 247Sports.

Begin Slideshow

College Football's Top 10 Assistants and What They Should Be Paid

With the top head coaches in college football earning a cool $5 million a year, what do the top assistant coaches make?

And given that compensation doesn’t always reflect results, which guys should make more?

In other words, does the salary scheme for assistants reflect that of head coaches, where—according to USA Today—Michigan’s Brady Hoke (7-6) made $4.1 million in 2013, while Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio (13-1) made $1.9 million?

To answer this, we’ve taken 10 of the top assistants in college football and compared their total pay—according to USA Today’s salary database—to that of guys who do the same job at the same level.

Taking things one step further, we’ve used the comparative data to recommend raises and pay cuts for each.

 

Statistics courtesy of College Football Statistics, unless otherwise noted biographical information courtesy of each coach’s school bio.

 

Begin Slideshow

Jameis Winston's Accuser Plans to File Civil Suit

The woman who accused Florida State's Jameis Winston of sexual assault plans to file a civil lawsuit against the Heisman-winning quarterback and the Tallahassee Police Department in the near future, according to her attorney.

Pat Carroll, the attorney for the unidentified woman, spoke with ABC News in an exclusive interview, accusing the police department of negligence and continuing to assert Winston raped her client.   

"I want heads to roll," Carroll said, per ABC News' Matt Gutman and Alyssa Newcomb.

No suit has been filed in federal court as of Jan. 8. Carroll did not indicate when the accuser and her family would file paperwork, as it seems the parties are still deciding whether to include Florida State University as a defendant.

“The family is proceeding, with civil action against the TPD and Jameis Winston. And possibly the university," said Carroll.

The public comments come on the heels of Winston leading the Seminoles to a 34-31 victory over the Auburn Tigers in the BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 6. Winston led the game-winning drive, capping off a season in which he became the second freshman to ever win the Heisman Trophy. Carroll alleges that authorities have warned her client not to return to school or risk bodily harm. 

"I inquired if…if she could return to FSU and they told me absolutely not," Carroll said. "They too had the impression she would be in physical danger."

The alleged incident, which took place in December 2012, cast a shadow over Winston's season and arguably cost him votes in the Heisman race. Although he was cleared of any wrongdoing by the state attorney Willie Meggs early last month, Winston has only indirectly alluded to the sexual assault investigation in public comments.

In the ABC segment, Carroll paints the clearest picture from the accuser's eyes yet. The woman, a Florida State student, alleges that Winston forced her to have sex at an off-campus apartment complex despite her pleas to stop. A friend of the accuser claims to have witnessed what happened, and said Winston ignored both his roommate's and the woman's requests.

Winston's representation has maintained that the two engaged in consensual intercourse. In a December press conference explaining his department's decision to not prosecute Winston, Meggs claimed there was not enough evidence to support the claims.

"We have a duty as prosecutors to determine if each case has a reasonable likelihood of conviction," Meggs said, per Mark Schlabach of ESPN. "After reviewing the facts in this case, we do not feel that we can reach those burdens."

Meggs has come under fire for his actions at the press conference, which at times felt far too jovial for such a serious matter. Meggs at different points laughed and told jokes to media, causing many to criticize the department as being tone deaf. ESPN's Sam Ponder was one of many who felt uncomfortable watching the presser:

Carroll claims the police department's handling of the case led to criminal charges not being filed. Despite the fact that the accuser initially reported the incident on Dec. 7, 2012, an investigation was not formally launched until this past November. A DNA sample taken from Winston matched the one found on the accuser's person, but the quarterback and his attorney have maintained innocence.

Neither Winston nor the Tallahassee Police Department have commented at this time.  

 

Follow Tyler Conway on Twitter:

 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Big 12 Football Early Enrollees You Need to Know More About

The 2013 college football season is over, but it's never too early to start looking at spring practices. 

Each team gets a first start, and many of them will be adding some new faces to their rosters. 

Early enrollees, whether from junior college or high school, will make their way onto campus and try to get a head start on learning playbooks. Here is a list of names that fans should keep their eyes on as football starts up again this spring. 

 

Note: All star ratings reflect 247Sports Composite Rankings.

Begin Slideshow

USC Football: Early Departures Will Test Steve Sarkisian in Year 1

Steve Sarkisian inherited a tenuous situation when he accepted the head coaching vacancy at USC. The upcoming signing period is the program's last under heavy NCAA-mandated scholarship reductions, and the brunt of three years with limited roster space is compounded by a number of early departures for the NFL. 

Tight end Xavier Grimble became the fifth USC underclassmen since the Trojans' Las Vegas Bowl rout of Fresno State to declare for the 2014 NFL draft. The Los Angeles Times first reported Grimble's change of heart on Tuesday, almost a month after hinting he would return

Grimble joins safety Dion Bailey, defensive lineman George Uko, offensive lineman Marcus Martin and wide receiver Marqise Lee on a journey to the NFL that leaves a sizable dent in USC's outlook for next season.

Grimble's departure complicates one of Sarkisian's stated plans for the Trojans offense in 2014. At his introductory after being named the new head coach in December, Sarkisian touted his use of the tight end, namely All-American Austin Seferian-Jenkins, while at Washington. 

Five is not an insignificant number; that's 10 percent of the entire corps that made the trek to Las Vegas last month. 

With everyone returning who had the opportunity to do so, the Trojans looked like a Pac-12 championship contender coming off of their 10-win campaign and a No. 19 ranking in the final Associated Press Top 25.

As it stands, USC is still a possible preseason Top 25 selection, based on very early projections—San Jose Mercury News columnist Jon Wilner has the Trojans all the way up at No. 8 in his initial projection. But Sarkisian’s job in year one is considerably more challenging when left to not only address the depth issues but also replace Bailey, Martin, Uko, Grimble and Lee. 

Sarkisian reminded the nation that NCAA sanctions are lasting on an interview with The Herd on ESPN Radio Tuesday, per CoachingSearch.com

When we get to training camp, we’ll have between 65-70 scholarship players that are healthy and ready to go. When you think about that, compare it to everybody else in the country that have 85. We’re 20 players less, essentially, at practice. Practice is when most people work with the [first string] and [second string] and sometimes [third string]. We’re going [first] and maybe [second string].

The lack of depth is a greater concern with fewer seasoned veterans accustomed to it, particularly given the style Sarkisian had success using while at Washington. 

He installed a hurry-up, no-huddle scheme there last season that reinvigorated the Huskies offense after a tumultuous 2012. Washington averaged 37.9 points per game and scored at least 38 points five times.

An uptempo system only works with enough to cycle players in and out, or if the few playing are particularly well conditioned. Given the Trojans played just 13 defensive players in the win over Stanford, and early departing Uko and Bailey were two of the them, the pace of an uptempo may prove too rigorous for Sarksian to implement immediately. 

That is unless, of course, Sarkisian is able to get incoming recruits and the few reserves USC did have last season prepared in very short order.  

Reinforcements are on the way on the defensive side. End Claudeson Pelon and safety/linebacker Uchenna Nwosu are intriguing additions. Pelon will practice in the spring, and Nwosu, a recruit of retained wide receivers coach Tee Martin, could settle into a hybrid role similar to Bailey's.

National Signing Day will be paramount for filling USC's ranks, and Sarkisian made an addition this week that sent tremors through the recruiting world with the defensive line coach Bo Davis from Texas. 

Two Longhorns verbal commits—defensive linemen Courtney Garnett and Trey Lealaimatafao as reported by The Dallas Morning News—rescinded their pledges following the news of Davis leaving Texas to join Sarkisian's staff. 

USC was not in the mix for Garnett or Lealaimatafao prior to their decommitting, but Davis' presence adds an intriguing element to their recruitment for the next four weeks. 

The new USC staff has worked some recruiting trail magic, landing U.S. Army All-American tight end Bryce Dixon, a prospect heavily projected to go to UCLA. Dixon could prove to be a key addition, as he or sparingly used sophomore Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick may help offset Grimble's departure. 

Sarkisian is obviously severely hamstrung because of the scholarship limitations, which makes every decision of paramount importance.  

That said, he is hardly working from scratch. Sarkisian may have the best returning wide receiver in the Pac-12 in Nelson Agholor, running backs Tre Madden and Buck Allen were both stellar when given the reins as the primary ball-carrier, and quarterback Cody Kessler grew into a capable leader of the offense by season's end. USC also returns Leonard Williams, one of the nation's best defensive linemen.

The departures leave Sarkisian more filling holes than building from the ground, but how those holes get filled is the difference between a trying season and a thriving one. 

 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

USC Football: Early Departures Will Test Steve Sarkisian in Year 1

Steve Sarkisian inherited a tenuous situation when he accepted the head coaching vacancy at USC. The upcoming signing period is the program's last under heavy NCAA-mandated ...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

Which Recruit Makes Biggest Impact on Defense in 2014?

The 2014 class is stacked with impact players on the defensive side of the ball, but a few have set themselves apart.

Ohio State commit Marshon Lattimore is one of the top defensive backs in the country and has the potential to contribute immediately for the Buckeyes next season.

Who else made Bleacher Report's list of the top impact defenders in the 2014 class?

Watch B/R experts Michael Felder, Barrett Sallee and Adam Kramer break down who should be on your radar as freshmen next year.

Highlights courtesy of xosdigital.com

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Big Ten Football Early Enrollees You Need to Know More About

Early enrollees are becoming a greater trend in college football, and the Big Ten is perhaps one of the leading conferences in this practice. 

For those that enroll early, the chances of playing as a freshman increase dramatically. 

Just look at Sojourn Shelton at Wisconsin and Joey Bosa at Ohio State just this past year as examples of what can happen by enrolling early. 

Bosa and Shelton were easily the two best freshmen playing defense in the Big Ten this past year and a lot of it had to do with the extra time, not just with the football program, but also in school period. 

Of course, this practice isn't ending with the 2014 class, so as we begin to look forward instead of behind, here are a few of the early enrollees you should get to know and keep an eye on throughout the Big Ten. 

Begin Slideshow

Predicting Every 2014 College Football Conference Champion

The 2013 college football season, which seemed to spiral further into chaos every week, has set the bar high for 2014.

The sport will be going through some major changes, as conference realignment will continue and the College Football Playoff will be replacing the BCS.

Meanwhile, conference title races will rage on like always, leaving plenty of questions looming for the ensuing season.

Can Oregon finally break through and win an elusive national title? Will Alabama climb back to the top of the SEC? How will traditional powers Texas, Florida and Michigan fare after underwhelming 2013 seasons?

We'll take an early look at those questions and predict the outcome of every conference race up next.

 

H/t to Trey Iles of The Times-Picayune for breaking down the conference realignment for the 2014-15 season.

Begin Slideshow

Brady Hoke, Michigan Announce Al Borges Will Not Return in 2014

After fielding one of the worst offenses in the Big Ten Conference, Brady Hoke and the Michigan Wolverines have signaled for a major coaching change.

Hoke announced Wednesday evening that offensive coordinator Al Borges will not return for the 2014 season, according to the official website of Michigan athletics.

"Decisions like these are never easy," Hoke said. "I have a great amount of respect for Al as a football coach and, more importantly, as a person. I appreciate everything he has done for Michigan Football for the past three seasons."

Borges has been with the Wolverines for all three of Hoke's seasons in Ann Arbor. The two-time Broyles Award nominee joined Hoke in 2009 while he was at San Diego State.

According to USA Today, Borges was among the top 10 highest-paid assistant coaches in college football.

His long career has included offensive coordinator stops at Auburn, Indiana, Cal, UCLA, Oregon and Boise State.

The Wolverines finished 10th in the Big Ten in total offense, tallying just 373.5 yards per game. UM closed out the season with a poor offensive performance (261 total yards) in a Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl blowout loss to Kansas State.

In that contest, the Wolverines totaled just 65 rushing yards—40 of which came on one run by quarterback Shane Morris in the fourth quarter when the game was well in hand.

UM's offensive struggles started long before that, including historically bad performances against rivals Michigan State and Nebraska.

In consecutive games, the Wolverines netted negative rushing yards. The two-game disaster yielded minus-21 rushing yards against the Cornhuskers and minus-48 (worst output in school history) against the Spartans.

Those embarrassing outcomes likely sealed Borges' fate. Two customary questions now arise: How will this impact recruiting and who will UM bring in to replace Borges?

The first question will be answered in time, but ESPN's Tom VanHaaren has already begun reaching out to several recruits with mixed results. He retweeted 2015 5-star running-back commit Damien Harris expressing surprise over Borges' departure, but also reported that 3-star wide receiver Maurice Ways won't let the news impact his recruitment.

Task No. 1 might be keeping 2014 crown jewel Jabrill Peppers in the fold, while task No. 2 will be replacing Borges.

Bleacher Report's Adam Biggers has already taken the time to suggest a potential replacement: recently fired Miami (Ohio) head coach Don Treadwell.

The high-profile position could attract a number of viable candidates. 

The hire will also be a crucial decision for Hoke, who is on the hot seat after regressing in each of his last two seasons.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

10 College Football Coaches Who Will Begin 2014 Season on the Hot Seat

Nobody feels the pressure in college football more than head coaches.

If a team wins, the players will usually get the majority of the credit. But if the team loses, the blame typically falls squarely on the head coach.

Then again, that tends to come with the territory.

However, sometimes the head coach truly is to blame. Sometimes, the coach is the only thing holding a team back from reaching its true potential—see Gene Chizik.

When this happens, these head coaches usually find themselves on the hot seat.

Here’s a list of 10 head coaches who will find their seat a lot warmer entering 2014.

Begin Slideshow

Biggest Takeaways from Pac 12's 2014 College Football Schedule

Set those reminders, make those reservations and let the countdown to the 2014 college football season begin, because the Pac-12 released its slate for the next year Wednesday. 

The 2014 schedule mirrors the 2013 version in a few key ways, thus the divisional races could again be decided before the regular season's final week. Several marquee matchups with possible conference championship implications occur between the first week of September and mid-October: 

 

USC at Stanford, Sept. 6: Pac-12 play begins in especially combustible fashion. Not only has USC-Stanford grown to be one of the conference's more competitive rivalries, but new Trojans head coach Steve Sarkisian and Stanford's David Shaw had a heated dispute that played out in the media last October, following the Cardinal's narrow defeat of the Sarkisian-led Washington Huskies. 

Each side will also have its own brand of payback in mind for the other. The Trojans effectively ended Stanford's BCS Championship hopes in Los Angeles last November, but haven't won on The Farm since 2008.  

As Lindsey Thiry of Fox Sports notes, this is likely the most significant cross-divisional test USC faces. 

 

UCLA at Arizona State, Sept. 25 (Thurs.): The Pac-12 South's last three title game participants meet in Tempe, Ariz. Their last two meetings were decided by two and five points. UCLA won its last time at Sun Devil Stadium with a field goal in the waning seconds. 

 

Stanford at Washington, Sept. 27: This is the first in a series of brutal road games for Stanford, which lost its last time in Seattle. Washington played the Cardinal within a field goal last season. This game should provide some insight into the Huskies' conference championship credentials.

 

Oregon at UCLA: Oct. 11: Each is a very early favorite in its division, thanks in no small part to the decisions of quarterbacks Marcus Mariota and Brett Hundley to return for their redshirt junior seasons. The inside track for hosting the 2014 Pac-12 Championship and the Heisman Trophy race will be at stake. 

 

Stanford at Arizona State, Oct. 18: A rematch at the site of the 2013 Pac-12 Championship game, the Sun Devils are seeking their first victory over Stanford since 2008.  

 

Washington at Oregon, Oct. 18: Chris Petersen, winner of his last two games as a head coach against Oregon, takes a crack at ending Washington's decade-long losing streak in the border rivalry. 

Two-time defending conference champion Stanford will obviously have its mettle tested almost immediately. In addition to its three big Pac-12 games in the season's first eight weeks, the Cardinal travel to Notre Dame in Week 6 for their annual regional rivalry tilt. 

Stanford-Notre Dame is one of the top non-conference dates on the schedule, but fans will have to wait through Week 1 before getting to the good stuff.  

Opening week is rather pedestrian compared to this season, which featured Washington State's trip to Auburn and the Washington-Boise State bowl rematch. USC hosts Fresno State in another bowl redux, but the Bulldogs visit the Coliseum in Trojans head coach Steve Sarkisian's debut, but do so without Derek Carr.

Nevertheless, that may be the most intriguing pairing of the first week. Week 2 rewards fans' patience with perhaps the best non-conference game of the season. 

Michigan State visits Oregon in a clash worthy of the Granddaddy of 'Em All. The programs won two of the last three Rose Bowls, and a number of Spartans from this year's Michigan State team return to test Oregon's high-tempo offense with precisely the same kind of physical defense and smash-mouth offensive style that denied the Ducks the Pac-12 title the last two seasons. 

Between the Michigan State showdown and visit to UCLA, Oregon's College Football Playoff resume will either be rock-solid or scrapped by the time Stanford visits Autzen Stadium on Nov. 1.  

Of course, the Ducks will need to avoid a November letdown, something that has plagued their championship aspirations throughout the last three seasons. The 2013 campaign brought losses at Stanford and Arizona. A Nov. 8 trip to the elevation and cold of Salt Lake City to face Utah looms as a potential upset date. Just ask Stanford. 

 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Pages