Fans stop to take photos with the College Football National Championship trophy at Meijer in Ypsilanti, Mich. on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2024. The trophy is going on a tour for fans to see presented by Dr. Pepper.

CFP committee discusses 14-team playoff for 2026

With the ink not yet dry on the new 12-team playoff format that will begin in 2024, the College Football Playoff management committee discussed the idea of a 14-team playoff, multiple outlets reported Wednesday.

Any additional expansion wouldn’t happen until 2026, if at all. The idea was discussed during CFP meetings in the Dallas area on Wednesday.

“Fourteen teams is a possibility,” Mike Aresco, CFP committee member and outgoing commissioner of the American Athletic Conference, told some reporters.

The CFP on Tuesday just approved a 5+7 model for the upcoming season, featuring the five highest-ranked conference champions and the next seven highest-ranked teams.

Under the 12-team playoff format that begins in the fall, the four highest-ranked conference champions will be seeded one through four for the CFP tournament and will receive a first-round bye. Teams seeded five through 12 will play each other in the first round at the home of the higher-ranked team.

It’s unclear what a 14-team format would look like, per the reports.

Aresco announced his retirement in December and will leave after May 31.

–Field Level Media

Jan 8, 2024; Houston, TX, USA; Washington Huskies tight ends coach Nick Sheridan against the Michigan Wolverines during the 2024 College Football Playoff national championship game at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama names Nick Sheridan as OC, JaMarcus Shephard as co-OC

Alabama football made two personnel moves to replace one coach who didn’t stay for long.

Alabama named Nick Sheridan its offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach on Tuesday while announcing JaMarcus Shephard as the Crimson Tide’s new assistant head coach, co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach.

The hires come after Ryan Grubb, who originally signed on as Alabama’s offensive coordinator under new head coach Kalen DeBoer, accepted the same position with the Seattle Seahawks instead. Grubb worked for DeBoer as Washington’s offensive coordinator and chose to remain in Seattle.

“Nick and JaMarcus are both fantastic coaches, and we are excited to have them join us at Alabama,” DeBoer said in a statement. “They have experience in our offense, and they know what we are trying to accomplish on that side of the football. They both bring passion and enthusiasm to their work and have proven to be excellent teachers and recruiters at every stop of their careers.”

Sheridan, 35, recently was hired as the tight ends coach at Alabama after filling the same role for DeBoer at Washington in 2022-23. A former quarterback at Michigan, Sheridan’s only offensive coordinator experience came at Indiana in 2020-21.

Shephard, 40, is known for working with star wide receivers Rome Odunze and Ja’Lynn Polk at Washington, where he spent two years on DeBoer’s offensive coaching staff.

–Field Level Media

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) looks to pass the ball in the second half of the College Football Playoff national championship game against Washington at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas on Monday, January 8, 2024.

CFP revamps new 12-team playoff structure, adds at-large bid

The College Football Playoff expanding to 12 teams for the upcoming season includes an altered format featuring the five highest-ranked conference champions and the next seven highest-ranked teams.

The CFP Board of Managers voted Tuesday to modify the original plan, which called for the six highest-ranked champions to earn an automatic entry into the field, plus six at-large berths. The switch was necessary with the Pac-12 down to just two teams in 2024 following the defection of 10 programs to other conferences.

“This is a very logical adjustment for the College Football Playoff based on the evolution of our conference structures since the board first adopted this new format in September 2022,” said Dr. Mark Keenum, president of Mississippi State University and CFP board chair. “I know this change will also be well received by student-athletes, coaches and fans. We all will be pleased to see this new format come to life on the field this postseason.”

There is no limit on the number of teams that can qualify in each conference.

The shift was made with no objection from Washington State president Kirk Schulz, who represents the Pac-12 on the board. Oregon State will be the only other remaining Pac-12 team next season.

“For our two schools in the Pac-12 as it’s currently configured, there is no question that five-seven, with seven at-larges, is better than six at-larges,” Schulz told ESPN. “… There’s no question our football coaches are going to want to compete for one of those seven slots, and seven is going to be better than six.”

Under the 12-team playoff format that begins in the fall, the four highest-ranked conference champions will be seeded one through four for the CFP tournament and will receive a first-round bye. Teams seeded five through 12 will play each other in the first round at the home of the higher ranked team.

Michigan is the defending CFP champion, defeating Washington in the title game on Jan. 8. Both schools will be members of the Big Ten next season as Washington departs the Pac-12.

–Field Level Media

Oct 7, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Michigan Wolverines defensive back Keon Sabb (3) returns an interception for a touchdown against the Minnesota Golden Gophers during the third quarter at Huntington Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama lands former Michigan S Keon Sabb

Former Michigan safety Keon Sabb has enrolled at Alabama after entering the transfer portal last week.

He played in 14 games for the national champion Wolverines in 2023 and tallied two interceptions and 28 tackles.

The sophomore returned an interception 28 yards for a touchdown in Michigan’s 52-10 win at Minnesota on Oct. 7.

Sabb was a four-star recruit in the Class of 2022 out of IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. The 247Sports composite ranked him as the No. 9 safety in the nation.

New Crimson Tide head coach Kalen DeBoer’s general manager, Courtney Morgan, recruited Sabb to Michigan.

–Field Level Media

Oct 25, 2022; San Francisco, CA, USA; Deputy commissioner Teresa Gould speaks during Pac-12 Women's Basketball Media Day at the Pac-12 Network Studios. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Pac-12’s Teresa Gould first female commish of Power 5 conference

The Pac-12 on Monday promoted deputy commissioner Teresa Gould to commissioner, effective March 1, to replace the outgoing George Kliavkoff.

Gould will become the first woman to serve as commissioner of a Power 5 football conference.

“Teresa’s deep knowledge of collegiate athletics and unwavering commitment to student-athletes makes her uniquely qualified to help guide the Pac-12 Conference during this period of unprecedented change in college sports,” Washington State president Kirk Schulz said in a statement. “As the first female commissioner of an Autonomy Five conference, Teresa will be able to bring new perspectives and fresh ideas to the table as the industry works to find its way through this shifting landscape.”

Gould was appointed by Schulz and Oregon State president Jayathi Murthy. Their schools received control of Pac-12 decision-making in December because the remaining member institutions are departing for the Big Ten, Big 12 and ACC later this year.

Washington State and Oregon State have set up a scheduling partnership with the Mountain West Conference for football and will join the West Coast Conference as an affiliate member in 12 men’s and women’s sports for at least the next two seasons. A news release said the Pac-12 “will continue to sponsor select sports, sign media rights partnership and produce live events and content” going forward.

“I look forward to partnering with Oregon State and Washington State to secure a bright future for their student-athletes that allows them to compete at the highest level of college athletics, while enjoying the benefits of a quality campus experience,” Gould said in a statement. “Working in collaboration with their leadership and our talented staff, I am excited to build a pathway for the future that allows their programs to thrive.”

–Field Level Media

University of Missouri Curator Daryl Chatman, left, and System President Mun Choi present new athletic director Desiree Reed-Francois with a jersey Wednesday after she was formally introduced at the Walsworth Family Columns Club.

20210811 033a Mu Athletic Director Reed Francois Press Conf

Report: Arizona set to name Desiree Reed-Francois new AD

Arizona is set to name Missouri athletic director Desiree Reed-Francois to the same position in Tucson, ESPN reported Monday.

Reed-Francois will sign a five-year contract with Arizona, per the report. She would replace Dave Heeke, who was fired last month after seven years and reportedly leaving the athletic department in dire straits.

Arizona is facing a deficit of $177 million, in part due to more than $80 million the athletics department has borrowed from the university, according to ESPN. Part of the issue was a $55 million loan received amid the COVID pandemic that the university was having trouble paying off.

Reed-Francois, who graduated from Arizona law school in 1997, turned Missouri’s athletics operating deficit into a $15 million surplus in 2022, in part due to her fundraising prowess, per the report. Reed-Francois will also oversee Arizona’s transition from the Pac-12 to the Big 12 in the 2024-25 academic year.

Reed-Francois, 51, has been at Missouri since 2021 after working as the AD at UNLV from 2017-21.

Arizona fired Heeke one week after he hired Brent Brennan as the Wildcats’ football coach on Jan. 16 to replace Jedd Fisch, who left to take the Washington job.

According to the Action Network, Heeke was let go because of “financial & operational mismanagement, resulting in an athletic department financial ‘disaster,’ loss of major donors & mishandling of former (football) coach Jedd Fisch’s contract.”

–Field Level Media

Longhorns Head coach Steve Sarkisian answer questions from the local news media during the first press conferences for the 2023 football season on August 1, 2023.

Report: Texas set to double football coach Steve Sarkisian’s salary

Texas is set to nearly double the annual salary of football coach Steve Sarkisian, according to documents posted on social media Saturday by Inside Texas.

The proposed four-year contract extension — announced by Texas officials on Jan. 13 with no financial details revealed — will go in front of the University of Texas System board of regents for consideration at their Feb 21-22 meeting, according to a published agenda book for that meeting.

Sarkisian, 49, is currently halfway through a six-year contract that’s scheduled to pay him $5.8 million in 2024, $6 million in 2025 and $6.2 million in 2026. If approved, the new contract would pay him $10.3 million in 2024 and then receive an annual increase of $100,000, capped at $10.9 million in 2030.

Sarkisian also can earn up to $1.85 million in annual performance bonuses, based on how successful the team is in the playoffs and which awards he has earned. If he receives the maximum bonus allowed, it would mean the Longhorns won the CFP national championship and Sarkisian earned the conference coach of the year (coaches vote) and at least one national coach of the year award.

Chances are good for these accomplishments given recent performances by Sarkisian and the Longhorns, who just had their most successful season in a decade. They posted a 12-2 record on the way to a Big 12 championship and an appearance in the CFP, albeit a 37-31 loss to the Washington Huskies in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1.

The Longhorns finished at No. 3 in the AP Poll, the highest final ranking for Texas in 15 years.

Sarkisian earned Big 12 coach of the year recognition and was a finalist for the Eddie Robinson, Bear Bryant and George Munger Coach of the Year awards.

“I said it when I came here three years ago, this is a dream job for me,” Sarkisian said in a statement last month. “It’s a destination job, and I’m fired up every day to be the head coach at The University of Texas. We’re thrilled with what we’ve been able to accomplish and proud of the culture we’ve built and the way our players have grown — on and off the field. But we’re just getting started. I’ve said it all along, we’ve been building this program for long term success.”

Sarkisian has a 25-14 record in his three seasons in Austin.

–Field Level Media

Nov 12, 2022; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA;  North Carolina State Wolfpack Athletic Director Boo Corrigan looks on during the second half against the Boston College Eagles at Carter-Finley Stadium. The Eagles won 21-20. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

NC State AD Boo Corrigan gets contract extension

North Carolina State athletic director Boo Corrigan received a contract extension through June 2029, the university announced Friday.

Terms of the contract, which was approved by the NC State Board of Trustees, were not disclosed.

Corrigan has held the job since April 2019. In that span, NC State has won 16 Atlantic Coast Conference team championships, the most of any school. The women’s cross country team has won the past three NCAA titles.

“Under Boo’s outstanding leadership, NC State Athletics is experiencing new levels of competitive, academic and financial success,” chancellor Randy Woodson said. “We are fortunate to have such an experienced and well-respected leader to help us navigate through the ever-changing landscape of college athletics.”

In the 2022-23 academic year, NC State was one of just eight Division I schools to reach the postseason in these four sports: football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball and baseball.

The North Carolina State women were ranked No. 6 in the most recent Associated Press Top 25 poll, and the football team finished No. 18 in the College Football Playoff rankings.

Corrigan was named Athletics Director of the Year in 2022.

He previously served as an associate athletic director at Navy, Notre Dame and Duke, and as the athletic director at Army (2011-19).

–Field Level Media

Trey Holly (25) runs the ball as the LSU Tigers take on the the Army Black Knights in Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, October. 21, 2023.

LSU RB Trey Holly arrested in Louisiana shooting

LSU running back Trey Holly is facing three felony charges, including attempted second-degree murder.

He turned himself in to authorities in Farmerville, La., one of three arrests made on Thursday in connection with a shooting last week that injured two people.

Holly is also charged with aggravated criminal damage to property and illegal use of a weapon and is being held on a $512,000 bond, Union Parish Sheriff Dusty Gates confirmed to The Advocate.

The incident occurred at an apartment complex at about 10:30 p.m. on Feb. 9. One woman was in critical condition after being shot three times and a man was shot once in his lower leg, according to police.

Investigators determined that three shooters fired multiple rounds following an earlier altercation at the location.

LSU issued a statement saying it is “aware that a student-athlete has been arrested in relation to a shooting in Union Parish.” The school said the student-athlete has been suspended indefinitely from all team activities.

Holly was a four-star recruit in the Tigers’ 2023 recruiting class out of Union Parish High School in Farmerville, where he broke the state’s all-time rushing record with 10,523 yards and scored 160 touchdowns.

The 5-foot-7, 192-pound Holly played in three games for LSU in 2023 and rushed 11 times for 110 yards and a touchdown. He was named the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week after running for 91 yards — including a 67-yard touchdown — in his Oct. 21 debut against Army.

–Field Level Media

Dec 23, 2023; Boise, ID, USA; Georgia State Panthers head coach Shawn Elliott hoists the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl trophy after the game against the Utah State Aggies at Albertsons Stadium. Georgia State defeats Utah State 45-22. Mandatory Credit: Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Spring practices halted as Georgia State coach Shawn Elliott resigns

Georgia State head football coach Shawn Elliott resigned Thursday, forcing the university to halt spring practice and postpone the team’s spring game.

Elliott is leaving to accept the job as tight ends coach at South Carolina.

“This was not a professional move, but a personal move,” Elliott told ESPN. “We’ve made it work for seven years with my family still living in Columbia, and I even thought about not coaching this year. I had promised my daughter that I would be there for her senior year of high school and when this opportunity came up to go back to South Carolina and coach again, it was something I couldn’t pass up. I’ve always loved South Carolina.”

Spring practice started Tuesday to launch what was to be a group of 15 practices for the Panthers. The spring game initially was scheduled for March 7.

Elliott, 50, spent seven seasons with the Panthers, leading them to five bowl games. They beat Utah State 45-22 in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl last season.

Just last week, Elliott welcomed 12 new arrivals on National Signing Day, hoping to build upon his team’s 7-6 record in 2023.

He leaves Georgia State with a 41-44 record.

A South Carolina native, Elliott was part of the Gamecocks’ coaching staff from 2010-16 in a variety of roles before departing to accept the Georgia State job.

“We want to thank Shawn Elliott for his hard work and dedication the last seven years to build this football program. I know this was a difficult decision for him, but I understand his personal reasons, and we wish the best for Shawn and his family,” athletic director Charlie Cobb said.

“We are proud of what this football program has accomplished in such a short time. Six bowl games and four bowl victories in our first 10 years at the FBS level — I don’t know of another start-up program that has had that kind of success so quickly.

“I am confident that we will hire an outstanding football coach who will take Georgia State football to even greater heights. We plan to move quickly.”

Cobb did not state when spring practice might resume.

“It’s extremely difficult to step away from the Georgia State football program, particularly the players and staff who have gone above and beyond,” Elliott said. “As hard as this decision is professionally, it’s something that I must do personally.”

–Field Level Media