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  • What happened to Jim Harbaugh’s signature khakis?

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    Not since the days of Bear Bryant’s fedora, or Jim Tressel’s sweater vest, has a coach and his clothing choice been as synonymous as Jim Harbaugh and his pleated khaki slacks.

    I can’t be sure, but it seems to have all started last January, when Jim’s wife Sarah came out on a radio station and famously noted that Harbaugh sometimes buys his khakis at Walmart. The two have been like peas and carrots ever since.

    Virtually every picture of him during his time in San Francisco has him in those signature khakis, and that’s no exaggeration. It seems like if you were had access to his closet it would look like something straight out of a cartoon; khakis on hangers on one side, and black crewneck sweaters on the other…and it’s very possible that was all his closet included.

    At least that’s the way it seemed.

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    Normally, I wouldn’t get into something like this, but when a school goes all in and starts selling khakis on campus, it’s a big deal.

    Randomly one day, after seeing a few pics of Harbaugh settling in at Michigan, Scott asked me if I had noticed the lack of pictures of Harbaugh wearing his khakis. We both found it as odd, which prompted some further research.

    After taking some time to look through some recent pictures of him since arriving in Ann Arbor, it became apparent that a key component was missing from his signature look. JHkhakis1  JHKhakis3

    Being the curious people that we are, Scott and I asked ourselves; “Why would he just stop wearing something he had become so well known for?” After some quick research, we were able to find some rather interesting coincidences.

    Back in 2013, Levi’s acquired the naming rights to the new field that the 49ers were building in Santa Clara for $220 million for 20 years. Levi’s also happens to own one of the most popular brands of khaki pants in Dockers.

    After some rather unscientific photo research of the khakis that Harbaugh wore as the head coach of the 49ers, which may have included some serious zooming in, it was discovered that Harbaugh’s preferred choice of sideline apparel was the Dockers brand pleated khaki slacks.

    Dockers – owned by Levi’s. Got the connection?

    It is unclear whether Harbaugh was contractually obligated by the Niners to wear the Dockers brand because it sat under the umbrella of Levi’s, or whether it was just his preferred khaki choice. But one thing is apparent; coincidence or not, once Harbaugh left the Bay Area, his fondness for khakis seems to have seriously diminished.

    The khaki look may be not occur as often as it seemed to in San Fran, but he did rock the familiar look while speaking at the recent Michigan High School Football Coaches Association, so the look he has become known for (for better or worse) is not completely extinct, just seemingly scaled back quite a bit.

    After digging around a bit more, this quite interesting. The way I see it, it’s good news for fans of the Dockers brand, Harbaugh, and Michigan because you can now pay homage to all three with Game Day Dockers (also available in Texas A&M, Nebraska, Ole Miss, Tennessee, and various other programs and styles)

  • UCF bringing the beach to Bright House Networks Stadium

    The Jacksonville Jaguars don’t set many trends on the field, but they have inspired at least one college program to copy them off of the gridiron. Following the success of the Jags’ two-level party suite at EverBank Field, Central Florida unveiled plans on Monday to install a “Florida themed social area” at Bright House Networks Stadium called the East Side Club.

    Located between the 30’s on the east side of the stadium, the ESC will attempt to provide a VIP experience that last from pre-game tailgating to the final whistle.

    Here’s an artist’s rendering of what the ESC will look like inside the stadium:

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    And outside:

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    And from above:

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    For the architects among us:

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    Check out the full site here.

  • FootballScoop’s best prediction of the year

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    Last night on FootballScoop Radio we opened up the lines and Twitter to questions. Most were questions came from fans wanting to know about candidates for the remaining openings on college football, but the best one we got was a text from a coach asking what we felt was our best prediction of the year. We didn’t have time to get to that one on the air last night so I figured I’d put it out there this way today.

    The first thing that came to mind was the very day that June Jones announced he was stepping down at SMU way back on Sept. 8, I wrote that Chad Morris would be hired:

    I expect Chad Morris to be offered and to accept the position.  I also expect Morris to deny interest in the position until he is offered the job. Morris has quietly sought out other jobs, most recently he pushed for the Vanderbilt opening which went to Derek Mason, and this is one he will push hard for. Morris would love the opportunity to return to Texas and the bravado that comes with being a head ball coach in Dallas. Morris would thrive in this environment and would interact well with Mustang boosters. In my opinion, Hart has plenty of time and will perform his diligence but I believe Morris is likely on top of the list already and won’t be surpassed.

    But after thinking it through due to the complexity of the variables involved, and the precision with which we nailed this one like a laser-guided bomb dropped from 50,000 feet…

    In August, USA Today’s Dan Wolken (who does a very good job covering the sport) offered this piece:

    10 college football coaches poised to emerge as hot hires

    Wolken listed:

    1. Mark Hudspeth

    2. Pat Narduzzi

    3. Tom Herman

    4. Rhett Lashlee

    5. Matt Wells

    6. Matt Campbell

    7. Brent Venables

    8. Tony Levine

    9. Joey Jones

    10. Mike Norvell

    After reading Wolken’s piece I tweeted:

    I went on to tweet that he had a list of very good coaches, but my perspective was that some of those were in the right spot for them for a while. (Example: Rhett Lashlee – an excellent offensive mind but is in a very good place with Gus in this capacity for a while.)

    Fast forward to today and, yep, seven out of 10 are in the same spot they were. Tom Herman and Pat Narduzzi moved up for head coaching positions at Houston (took Tony Levine’s spot) and Pitt.

    After Wolken and I exchanged some public tweets about our wager and thoughts we continued the conversation via DM where I took it a step further and told him that I thought Tom Herman and Pat Narduzzi were the two most likely to get jobs, and I told him that the buzz within the profession was the unless Tony Levine had an incredible season at Houston…that he would be out.

    That, my friends, is called 10 for 10. Like a bald eagle, often discussed, rarely seen in public.

     

  • The College Football Playoff’s big dilemma

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    The inaugural College Football Playoff was perfect. Semifinals at the Rose and Sugar bowls, the title game a week and a half later at football’s most spectacular modern venue, it was the epic conclusion the greatest regular season in sports deserved – and had the ratings to prove it.

    After 145 years in waiting, college football finally had its postseason figured out. Surely the new schedule will continue into perpetuity, right?

    Wrong. It’s never that easy with this sport.

    The great underreported fact of the new College Football Playoff system is that the semifinals are only slated to be on New Year’s Day every three years. Because they are God’s gift to football, the Rose and Sugar bowls signed contracts with ESPN locking them into the New Year’s Day evening and night time slots before the CFP came into existence. Either unable or unwilling to negotiate them out of those slots, the CFP semifinals will rotate around the Rose and Sugar bowls and not the other way around.

    Here is this season’s schedule, via the CFP’s official website:

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    Playing the semifinals on New Year’s Eve rather than New Year’s Day has always been a terrible idea to everyone except CFP executive director Bill Hancock and the bowl executives involved. These were the same people that refused clung to the lie that a playoff would ruin the bowl system right up until the BCS’s dying day. Visionary thinking isn’t a collective strength.

    New Year’s Eve isn’t the football-and-couch cultural holiday that New Year’s Day is. Many businesses treat it like a regular work day. Imagine the crisis Oregon fans would have felt three weeks ago when the Rose Bowl kicked off at 2 p.m. PT while they’re still at work. Similarly, picture the conflict at many households along the Eastern portion of the country when midnight strikes and the Sugar Bowl is in the beginning of the fourth quarter.

    - Honey, get over here. The ball’s about to drop!
    - Hang on, it’s 3rd-and-6!

    That is the scene the College Football Playoff’s leaders envisioned when they debuted the new system a year and a half ago. It’s one of the things Hancock is most proud of about the new system. “It will be interesting for the next two seasons with the semifinals on New Year’s Eve,” Hancock told Bleacher Report. “It will absolutely change New Year’s Eve in this country. When we go to New Year’s Eve parties, they better have a television because we’re going to have to be watching college football.” Again, relying on him for visionary thinking was our fault, not his. One of the people who sees a crisis ahead is John Skipper, the most powerful man at the most powerful media company in sports. In today’s Sports Business Journal, John Ourand and Michael Smith outline the pressure ESPN is putting on the CFP to move its semifinals from Thursday, Dec. 31 to Saturday, Jan. 2. “Sources say that senior network executives as high up as ESPN President John Skipper are pushing for the change as a way to get better television ratings, but the CFP is unwilling to make such a move because it is committed to the original plan to hold tripleheader bowl games, including the semifinals, on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day,” they write. “We’ve started a new tradition and we don’t want to back away from it now,” Hancock retorted.

    ESPN signed a 12-year contract paying nearly $500 million a year for rights to the CFP a little over two years ago, a fact the Worldwide Leader is likely to remind Hancock and his cohorts of in their negotiations.

    According to SBJ, the Playoff is also battling on another front, and this time it’s with the NFL. The league has eyed the possibility of expanding its playoffs from 12 to 14 teams for a while, and many within the media believe that expansion could come as soon as 2015. Since expanding to 12 teams in 1990, the NFL has staged its Wild Card weekend with two games on Saturday (one evening, one night) and two on Sunday (one afternoon, one evening).

    There is room in the schedule to play a third game each day, but the SBJ writes the league would rather extend Wild Card weekend into Monday night, which, for next season at least, would be a direct conflict with the Jan. 11 College Football Playoff championship. “Sources say NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell initiated a series of high-level meetings with some of the CFP’s most influential commissioners, including the SEC’s Mike Slive and the Big Ten’s Jim Delany,” Ourand and Smith write. “Goodell approached the commissioners to discuss the potential impact an NFL playoff expansion would have on the CFP championship game.”

    As foolhardy as the CFP is to cram its semifinals into New Year’s Eve, it is in the right on this issue. “We picked Monday night because it was open and it was the best night for our game. We announced that in June 2012,” Hancock said. “We established that our game was going to be on Monday night for 12 years.” Expanding the playoffs is nothing more than a ploy to line its coffers with more television money.

    Sunday night is the most valuable piece of real estate in television, so an extra Wild Card game in that time slot feels like a lock. The only reason the NFL would push into Monday night – and create a competitive disadvantage for the winner, with one less day to prepare for a divisional game the following weekend – would be to drive a higher price from the networks.

    College football and the NFL have for decades enjoyed a symbiotic relationship as two halves of America’s favorite sport. But with more money at stake than ever, and with a stated goal of driving annual revenues to $25 billion by 2027, the NFL has shown there is no toe it won’t step on in its chase for a dollar.

  • Butch Jones is close to hiring his new offensive coordinator

    When Mike Bajakian accepted the opportunity to go back to work for Lovie Smith and likely work with the number one pick in this year’s draft as the quarterbacks coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers it presented Butch Jones with an opportunity to reevaluate and adjust his staff. Sources in the profession tell FootballScoop that Butch will wrap up a small number of interviews, likely three or four, early this week and we expect a hire to occur in the next 48 hours.

    Last night, Butch joined Scott on FootballScoop radio to discuss his search, the opening at Central Michigan (where Butch won 27 games in 3 years….losing only 3 total conference games in three seasons) and how he mentors young coaches and who he has looked to for professional guidance.

    Although Butch doesn’t get specific about particular names, what you do hear him say is he’s looking for best fit with his staff. Things are already moving in the right direction at Tennessee, this is a time to add on to that, not to rock the boat. We expect the hire to be someone Butch is very familiar and comfortable with.

    As always, we’ll keep you posted on The Scoop as more develops.