Dayton to announce Minnesota bid to host NCAA football championship

Gov. Mark Dayton and Minnesota business leaders will unveil a bid for Minnesota to be host of an upcoming NCAA Championship Game in college football.  Dayton and unspecified business leaders will talk about the effort  at a news conference Tuesday morning. No more details were released about the bid, but currently the College Football Playoff National Championship is scheduled through the January 2017 game.  The February 2018 National Football League Super Bowl is already scheduled for February 2018 at the stadium now under construction in downtown Minneapolis. Dayton lent his support to that bid as well. In addition, the new stadium will be site of the NCAA Final Four tournament in spring of 2019.  Older Post Dayton, DFL lawmakers blast GOP campaign spending provisions Newer Post Firefighters decry 'slow death' of flame retardant bill Continue Reading

Cal football: News and notes from media day

Had intended to post this Wednesday, then got slammed by Pac-12 Network news … *** Jeff Tedford was the first coach on the stage in the formal interview session and wasted no time addressing the disappointing 2010 season: “We have created a standard and expectation at Cal over the last nine years. Last season, we fell short of that, and we’re not hiding from that. “We understand there’s a very fine line between winning and losing, and we were six points away from being 8-4.” *** Candidate for over-hyped Bears factoid of the preseason: Players wearing T shirts with “Team Matters” on the front. Yes, it’s worth mentioning, but it should not be a continual topic of conversation through training camp. T shirts slogans are meaningless until the Bears show they can beat quality teams on the road. *** Tedford hasn’t seen heralded freshman tailback Brendan Bigelow in person but said the trainers believe Bigelow (multiple knee surgeries) is healthy and will be ready for camp. I asked if that meant full contact. “I assume so,” Tedford said. Desarte Yarnway is also healthy, meaning Cal will have seven TBs. Don’t expect an equal distribution of reps. *** OT Sam DeMartinis has earned his degree and decided to “move on”, Tedford said. *** The highlight of Cal’s formal interview session was Tedford’s response to following question: Can you characterize your relationship with Will Lyles … does it concern you are this point? Tedford’s response, which echoed what he told me a few weeks ago: “Not at all. I’m not concerned one bit. We deal with probably four or five recruiting services per year. I wouldn’t know Lyles if he was in this room right now … I think there are over 250 high schools in the Houston area, and the reason we use those services is to make sure we can be efficient with our time and resources. I have no concern whatsoever about it. Continue Reading

San Jose State football: News and notes from training camp

*** Please note: I’ll have my schedule analysis and game-by-game predictions for the Bay Area teams late next week or early in game week … And coming tomorrow/Friday, hopefully: My preseason AP football ballot. (Yep, they let me vote again this year.) A short but spirited practice this morning at SJSU that included tailback Patrick Perry, who’s still awaiting word from the NCAA on his eligiblity appeal. The decision is expected to be favorable and could come this week — or not until 30 seconds before kickoff at USC. Didn’t get as much time as I hoped with Coach Dick Tomey because practice bumped up against a department-wide meeting. But he had a few minutes for questions: *** It’s clear that both QBs, Kyle Reed and Jordan La Secla, will play at USC … and probably against Utah … and at Stanford … *** Fred Koloto and John Konye are currently the No. 1 tackles, with Andres Vargas backing up Konye on the right side and David Quessenberry behind Koloto on the left. (The Spartans have shuffled the tackle rotation because of Jon Moreno’s pectoral injury, which will keep him out at least until November.) *** Philip Zavala has improved as a punter and been “terrific” on kickoffs, Tomey said. Colorado transfer Tyler Cope is the top placekicker, but his consistency and range are both in question. Tomey indicated that Cope might handle everything from 45 yards and in, while Zavala takes the field goals from 46+. *** Asked which true freshmen might play, Tomey said that cornerbacks Ronnie Yell and Chris Hill and defensive end Travis Johnson are “clearly ahead of the others.” *** Transfer cornerback Brandon Driver (knee) is “as much as a month away” from being healthy. *** Another pleasant surprise, according to Tomey, has been walk-on quarterback Cory Murphy, from Wilcox High. *** The Spartans will scrimmage Saturday afternoon in the stadium (with officials). Tomey said the No. 1 Continue Reading

NAU football: Lumberjacks host San Diego in first round of FCS playoffs

Although Northern Arizona’s regular season didn’t end the way the Lumberjacks would have liked, with a loss Saturday at Southern Utah, there’s more football ahead.NAU (7-4) received a bid to the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision playoffs and will host San Diego (9-2) at 6 p.m. on Saturday in Flagstaff.The winner will advance to a second-round matchup at North Dakota State (10-1) at 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 2.It’s NAU’s first playoff appearance since 2013, and it extends the tenure of longtime coach Jerome Souers. On Sept. 11 it was announced that this would be his final season.CEDAR CITY, Utah — Jay Green ran in three touchdowns, Patrick Tyler carried in two more and Southern Utah clinched the Big Sky Conference title with a 48-20 win over Northern Arizona on Saturday.Green finished with 25 carries for 134 yards and Tyler was 20-of-30 passing for 238 yards with an interception and another 31 yards rushing. Isaiah Diego-Williams also had a rushing TD and Manny Berz kicked two field goals for Southern Utah (9-2, 7-1), which edged Northern Arizona 442-379 in total offense.The Thunderbirds captured the automatic berth to the FCS playoffs but will share the conference title with Weber State, which finished Saturday with an identical season record but lost to Southern Utah in October.Northern Arizona (7-4, 6-2) got 246 yards from Case Cookus with 23-for-44 passing, including a 2-yard TD throw to Matthew Kempton late in the fourth quarter. Cory Young had a rushing TD and Griffin Roehler had two field goals. - Associated Press Nov. 17, 2017 Northern Arizona (7-3, 6-1 Big Sky) at Southern Utah (8-2, 6-1)When: 2:30 p.m.Where: Eccles Coliseum, Cedar City, Utah.Radio: Money Radio 1510 AM and 105.3 FM.The matchup: The Big Sky Conference championship comes down to Saturday. The winner of this game will get at least a share of the trophy, depending on the results of the game between Weber State (8-3) and Continue Reading

Tom Brady’s agent Don Yee bucks against football system and NCAA with Pacific Pro league

At the NFL Draft, virtually all players selected come from college football programs. Within two years, that may change. A disruptive new professional football league, a corporate football factory that will pay players straight out of high school and build them up mentally and physically for an NFL career, is on the verge of launching. And when Pacific Pro Football hits the field next summer, it may not only put NCAA football as we know it on a path to extinction, but also change the face of professional sports forever. The league is the brainchild of Don Yee, the sports agent who is best known for his work representing Tom Brady. Yee has spent a lifetime advocating for the rights of athletes. For many years, he’s been critical of the NCAA amateur-athlete structure, he’s advanced revolutionary ideas about how to better manage big-time college athletics, and in 2010, he penned an op-ed in the Washington Post in which he called for the NCAA to pay student-athletes once and for all. In the same column, which, in retrospect, now stands as a guidebook for his current mission, Yee called for the development of “football corporations” that would bid on the rights to operate college football programs, rather than the universities doing it. He forecasted the eventual elimination of the NCAA, leaving schools to concentrate on education, while the football companies handled the big-business of college football. Almost a decade later, Yee and his team are bringing these ideas to life with a semi-professional football league that will offer college-age athletes a choice they’ve never had before: either go to school, where you are forced to attend class and make grades, all while essentially living life as a minor-pro football player without getting paid; or join this new league, earn a salary and benefits, and learn how they really live and play ball at the NFL level. “They’re being offered a place Continue Reading

Which college football team’s new starting quarterback will make the biggest impact?

As the backup quarterback for North Carolina in 2015, Mitch Trubisky completed 40 of 47 attempts for 555 yards and six touchdowns. In other words, in limited duty the then-sophomore had just one more incompletion than scoring strike. Not too bad.So expectations were pretty high entering last fall, his first in the starting lineup. And he met those head on: Trubisky tossed 30 touchdowns for the Tar Heels before becoming the No. 2 overall pick in the recent NFL draft.Who’s the next first-year starter at his respective program on the Power Five ranks to have a Trubisky-like rise from the backup job to the top of the Football Bowl Subdivision rankings? This week’s top 10 list attempts to answer the question. 1. Jarrett Stidham, AuburnFormerly at Baylor, Stidham will take the reins at Auburn and almost certainly flourish in Gus Malzahn’s system. Big arm? Running ability? Overall athleticism? Familiarity and comfort in the system? He checks all the boxes. 2. Nic Shimonek, Texas TechShimonek moves into the starting role after spelling Patrick Mahomes for two early season games in 2016. In one, a laugher against Kansas, Shimonek completed 15 of 21 attempts for 271 yards and four scores — all in the second half. He’ll be the next Kliff Kingsbury-coached quarterback to shine in the Red Raiders’ system. 3. Tanner Lee, NebraskaHe’s a first-year starter at Nebraska but not an inexperienced option: Lee started two years at Tulane before transferring before last season. While Tommy Armstrong was a gutsy, agile and fairly productive contributor for the Cornhuskers, Lee represents a dramatic upgrade for Mike Riley. He’ll also allow Riley and his offensive staff to implement their desired scheme. MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL NEWS 4. Will Grier, West VirginiaThe former Florida transfer will assume the top spot from Skyler Howard, who had a solid final season, and should quickly have a hugely positive impact on the Mountaineers’ Continue Reading

Women’s Final Four in Texas illuminates another potential bathroom bill quandary for NCAA

In the wake of North Carolina's finally repealed bathroom bill, which NCAA president Mark Emmert said Thursday may or may not allow the state to host championship events — namely NCAA tournaments — from 2018-2022, the state of Texas is on the precipice of entering a similar bind should its new legislation, Senate Bill 6, be passed.Texas’ bathroom bill, similarly criticized by LGBT activists as discriminatory like North Carolina’s House Bill 2, requires bathroom usage according to an individual’s “biological sex.” SB6 was passed by the Senate and has reached the House. Texas House speaker Joe Straus has spoken out against the bill because of the forecasted economic impact it would cause. No decision has been made yet on the bill."The speaker of the house in Texas has opined he doesn't think this is a good bill, so we'll wait," Emmert said Thursday at a Men's Final Four news conference in Phoenix. "One of the things we’re trying hard not to do is try to second-guess states and where they’re going to go and not go (legislatively). I don’t know that we should presuppose where Texas is going, and I don’t know there’s any value in speculating about it."Still, it's no secret that there is pushback at the idea of the NCAA allowing the country's biggest state to host championship events with the possibility of a discriminatory law looming. The NCAA Men's Final Four is slated for San Antonio next year and a study conducted by the the SABÉR Research Institute estimated that the San Antonio economy alone would receive a boost of $135 million in direct spending as a result of hosting the championship in 2018. The NCAA is in the process of selecting host cities for the next five years and plans to announce next week whether North Carolina will be granted any host cities based on its new legislation, House Bill 142 — which waves Continue Reading

Bobby Bowden’s silence about prostate cancer a reminder of NCAA football win-at-all-costs mentality

Bobby Bowden went on ABC's "Good Morning America" Tuesday and disclosed to a national television audience that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2007, but has been successfully treated and is now cancer free. The 81-year-old former Florida State coach is a spokesman for the "On the Line" campaign, a worthwhile cancer-education initiative that encourages men to speak to their doctors and other men about this disease, which is the second-leading cause of death in American men behind lung cancer. In the past, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame coaches Jim Boeheim of Syracuse and Jim Calhoun of UConn have also spoken about their experiences with prostate cancer in an effort to raise funds for "Coaches vs. Cancer." St. John's coach Steve Lavin, only 46, announced last May that he had been diagnosed with the disease in the early stages before the 2011 season and was seeking treatment. Bowden won 377 games, national championships at Florida State in 1993 and 1999 and finished in the Top 5 of the AP poll from 1987 through 2000 during his 44-year college coaching career that ended in 2009. Bowden offers us a harsh reminder about the win-at-all-costs mentality that has become prevalent in college football and the perils of an aging legend trying to stay at center stage when he said he decided not to tell anyone but his wife and his children about his cancer because he was afraid it would have a negative impact on the Seminoles' recruiting. As more universities pour money into athletics and the football coach becomes the face of the of the university, coaches find themselves trading privacy for substantial salaries and upscale lifestyles. Coaches are not as invincible as they sometimes appear to be. Bowden was under stress long before he received his initial diagnosis. Florida State had become less significant on the national landscape and was in the midst of an NCAA investigation that turned ugly when the Seminoles were forced to vacate 12 Continue Reading

‘Bastion’ is the New York Daily News’ Video Game of the Month

Sometimes, the finest video games come in the smallest, cheapest packages. And the News' pick for July video game of the month, "Bastion," is proof of exactly that.Transformers: Dark of the Moon"), and that just magnifies the value of "Bastion". Xbox Live Arcade. "Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon""NCAA Football 12"EA Tiburon doesn't get many points for originality (or centuries-old player models), but this game does produce fun and realistic on-field college football action. The ability to play NCAA commish and alter the national landscape makes for Dynasty Mode fun, too."Captain America: Super Soldier" Batman: Arkham Asylum"), so the gameplay's actually a blast for the few hours that this game lasts. Definitely don't buy this game. But see the movie and give it a weekend rent. "Pac-Man and Galaga Dimensions"GAMEPLAY ON!What we're itching for next month:Deus Ex: Human Revolution" (Xbox 360, PS3 and PC)Madden NFL 12" (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PSP)Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked" (Nintendo 3DS) Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

NCAA Football: USC, on probation, looks to wipe away Reggie Bush scandal with new coach Lane Kiffin

The University of Southern California is in the process of trying to remove any questions regarding the integrity of its storied football program. Ever since June, it's as if new president Max Nikias has called Ty Pennington into Heritage Hall for an "Extreme Makeover College Edition." He has had any memories of former All-American running back Reggie Bush removed, including the replica of his 2005 Heisman Trophy from the athletic building in the center of this walled campus. Bush was the central figure in a four-year investigation by the NCAA Committee on Infractions, which determined both the star running back and his family had taken money and illegal gifts from two sports agents during his junior and senior seasons. The NCAA wound up putting USC on four years' probation, banning the Trojans from bowl games the next two years, docking them 30 scholarships over the next three years and allowing current players and recruits to transfer without penalty. The punishment could have the same effect on USC as SMU felt in the '80s and Miami in the mid-'90s, making the Trojans, who have won 11 national championships and sent 437 players to the NFL draft, vulnerable again to adversaries from the Pac-10. What remains to be seen is whether new coach Lane Kiffin, a 35-year-old Pete Carroll disciple who was offensive coordinator at the time of the infractions, will be able to keep the ship afloat during this "Grapes of Wrath" period. Kiffin, whose bold nature has sometimes been perceived as arrogance, was not afraid to antagonize his former employer with the Raiders, Al Davis, a renegade in his own right, or his opponents in the SEC while at Tennessee. He has never lacked confidence, although he hasn't been able to balance the books on the field. He was  just 5-15 in one-plus years with the Raiders and 7-6 in his only year at Tennessee with a 23-point loss to Virginia Tech in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. "This is the exact job I signed up for," said Kiffin. "I Continue Reading