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  • Fitz: “I’m going to get fired as a coach before I get fired as a dad or a husband.”

    PatFitzgerald

    We’ve been consistent on this site in saying that there are things in life more important than football, and family is at the top of that list. It’s about having the proper perspective on life, and few have a better perspective on life than Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald.

    In an interview with WGN Radio in Chicago, Fitzgerald touched on balancing family and football.

    “It’s a challenge,” he said. “It takes a very special, special wife, and my wife Stacy is amazing. She’s very independent. I think she should get a C.O. or whatever license to be able to drive the bus that she has to drive with all these kids going to sporting events. I’m just very thankful she and the boys allow me to be a mentor and a person that develops young men with 112 other guys. It’s kind of crazy, you feel like you’ve got 115 kids.”

    While many coaches from previous generations treated football and family like the government treats church and state, Fitz’s generation sees it differently.

    “We have a blast. It’s a great family profession. It starts with leadership in our athletic department. (Athletics director) Jim Phillips allows us to have balance as coaches. I really think that’s important. I’m going to get fired as a coach before I get fired as a dad or a husband. I think the previous generation in my profession did not break that way, and Coach (Gary) Barnett and Coach (Gary) Walker were definitely family men. I think I was raised the right way in this profession.”

    With five bowl trips (and counting) since 2008, Fitzgerald isn’t in danger of being fired by Northwestern any time soon. And it’s safe to say he’s signed a lifetime contract with his wife and three sons as well.

  • Week 10 Best Bets – The FootballScoop staff weighs in

    We had our first fence post week in Week 9, going 1-1-1 as a staff. Zach hit Georgia Southern blowing out Georgia State, Doug missed on Alabama -17 at Tennessee, and Scott pushed on Mississippi State +14 at Kentucky.

    Scott: washington-state.120 over usc.120

    I like Washington State getting 9.5 vs USC on a cool and potentially wet afternoon on the Palouse. It’s hard to believe that Mike Leach’s team is 2-6 right now; but I don’t see them quitting and there always seems to be something in Sark that brings out the beast in Wazzu. I see this as a final possession type game. Don’t know if they win the game outright or not, but I really like Washington State plus 9.5.

    Doug: odu-logo over vanderbilt.120

    Vanderbilt’s only two wins this season have come against UMass (by 3) and Charleston Southern (by one). ODU doesn’t have the same offensive firepower that they did last year, but they won’t need all of it to cover the spread as +7 dogs to the Commodores. I wouldn’t be surprised if the flat out won this one.

    Zach: auburn.120 over ole-miss.120

    I’m concerned that Ole Miss couldn’t beat LSU despite the tigers placing the win in their hands multiple times, and the Rebels aren’t running the ball like teams that compete for SEC championships usually do. Meanwhile, I think Auburn is really, really good, and I think they come away with a 7-10 point win.


     

    This season: Scott (3-5-1), Doug (3-6), Zach (5-3-1)

  • Photos: Northern Illinois unveils Huskie Stadium stadium renovations

    Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 8.45.31 AM

    Northern Illinois has worked to position itself as the Boise State of the Midwest, and has lived up to that self-appointed billing by winning on the field with four straight MAC West titles and two conference crowns and by lining up a national non-conference schedule. Boise State built its brand by doing both of those.

    Next comes facilities, and the Huskies announced a new grand master plan on Thursday

    “This is a launching point for Huskie Athletics,” athletics director Sean T. Frazier said in the announcement. “Now that we have the plan, we will move forward with the evaluation of the projects to determine our priorities. I know that I’m excited for the next steps because we have the passion, the drive and the determination to make it happen, and it’s going to be outstanding.”

    The master plan will touch about every corner of the Northern Illinois athletics campus, with football’s Huskie Stadium at the top of the list. “Three areas of Huskie Stadium are addressed, with the East Side receiving a major makeover with premium suites and club seating, the creation of a new South Endzone, and phased improvements to the West Side,” reads the release.

    Capacity presently sits at 24,000. No official figures have been released, but the new project figures to boost that figure above 30,000.

    The East side:

    NIU east

     

    East side interior:

    NIU east 2

    West side:

    NIU west

     

    South side:

    NIU south

     

    As a point of reference, here is Huskie Stadium in its current form:

    Huskie Stadium

    A timetable for construction was not listed in Northern Illinois’ press release.

     

     

     

  • Chip Kelly: “I’m not Mr. Miyagi, just tell me if they can go or not”

    ChipKellysideline

    Chip Kelly is a lot of things; an innovative offensive mind, a very successful head coach, and bluntly honest with the media.

    One thing that Chip Kelly is not is Mr. Miyagi.

    “Just tell us who’s up, who’s down, and who can go…that’s all it is” Kelly told reporters on what he looks for from the Eagles’ training staff.

    When a reporter asked about all the detailed information, like sleep patterns, that he has access to, and why he doesn’t want specifics details from the training staff he responded by explaining, “I can affect their sleep habits. I can’t affect their injury though.”

    “If a guy tears a muscle, I’m not Dr. Miyagi, I can’t put my hands together, rub them together, and touch his leg and make it all better…so just tell me who can play and who can’t play.”

    “I’m really good at deciphering what we can control, and what we can’t control, and we can’t control that, so let’s go play.”

  • Dave Brandon has resigned as Michigan’s AD

    AnnArbor.com

    AnnArbor.com

    There was really only one conclusion to be reached when word out of the Michigan football beat circuit reported Friday morning that the Wolverines would hold a Friday afternoon press conference to discuss athletics director Dave Brandon.

    They weren’t gathering the press together to announce a contract extension.

    Moments later, ESPN’s Brett McMurphy dropped the hammer.

    Simply put, it’s been a disastrous fall for Brandon. On top of the football team’s 3-5 start, there was the Coke-for-free tickets fiasco, the Shane Morris fiasco, and the sarcastic email fiasco. For a guy whose approval rating has been on a steady decline for the past 18 months, it was too much to overcome – especially when maize and blue mega-donor Stephen Ross announced he wouldn’t interfere with Brandon’s employment status one way or the other.

    We wrote earlier this week that sources close to high-level football coaches – coaches Michigan would certainly want to talk to – would be interested in the job, as long as Brandon was gone. And now that shoe has dropped.

    New Michigan president Mark Schlissel is admittedly unfamiliar with managing a major athletics department, leading one to believe the Brandon’s replacement will be one that has total control over that side of the university. We said yesterday that Oklahoma athletics director Joe Castiglione is the name to keep in mind here.

    For what it’s worth, the other name that coaches tell us has been actively working on the job is Warde Manuel (UConn’s AD).

    Listen below (Brandon audio begins around the 14-minute mark):

    Michigan’s press conference is set for 1:30 p.m. ET. We’ll have more updates as they become available.