After the stunning departure of Bret Bielema for Arkansas, Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez quickly inserted himself as the Badgers' figurehead head coach for the Rose Bowl.
"I don't want this to be about me," Alvarez said at the time. "I want this to be about the players. I want to give them as good an opportunity to win the Rose Bowl as we possibly can."
The university announced today that the College Football Hall of Fame coach, three Rose Bowls while patrolling the sidelines for Wisconsin, will be paid $118,500 for his month-long return to coaching. In sum, Alvarez will make $203,500 this month: $195,000 for his coaching duties (90 percent of Bielema's monthly salary) and $8,500 for his athletic director duties. The $203,500 figure represents a $118,500 increase from Alvarez's regular athletic director salary. He can earn an additional $50,000 if the Badgers defeat Stanford on Jan. 1. The money for Alvarez's bump in pay is generated from Bielema's $1 million buyout.
"We weighed the factors involved, including the unique circumstances that developed less than a month before the game, the challenges of the job, the marketplace and his strength as a coach and concluded that this is a reasonable arrangement," said Wisconsin Board President Brent Smith.
In other coaching bonus news, Jeremy Fowler of CBSSports.com reported today that recently departed Northern Illinois coach will miss out on a $100,000 bonus for leading Northern Illinois to the Orange Bowl. Don't shed a tear for Doeren, though, as he received a raise from $400,000 to $1.8 million in leaving for N.C. State.
Nick Saban is in line for the biggest bonus of all BCS-bound coaches. The Crimson Tide head coach could make $400,000 with a win over Notre Dame. Louisville's Charlie Strong will receive a total of $291,667 for leading the Cardinals to the Sugar Bowl. Will Muschamp is due a bonus of $100,000, while Chip Kelly will get $50,000, Bill Snyder will receive $40,000 and Jimbo Fisher will earn $20,000. Fisher will root for major rankings chaos to benefit is 12th-ranked Seminoles, as he could earn an extra $100,000 if Florida State finishes in the top 5.
The contracts for Notre Dame's Brian Kelly and Stanford's David Shaw are not public.
Notre Dame provided some great footage from the locker room and sidelines of last night's win over USC.
The video opens with Brian Kelly's halftime address to his team. The Fighting Irish led 16-10, and you can see on Kelly's face how close they are to 12-0. "Alright men, this is it," Kelly said. "This is it! Play the last two quarters together and play to the last second. That's who we are. Be who we are.
"You've got a great opportunity. Go seize the moment. Let's go play."
The video then picks up at Notre Dame's goal line stand and shows the post-game celebration on the field.
Kelly enters the locker room to cheers from his players and a kiss from Joe Theismann.
"You put yourself in the history books," Kelly told his team. "Our want and desire to win football games is unparalleled, and it's because of great players and a great coaching staff."
Here are the coaches whose work jumped out to us as the best across college football for Week 13.
Head Coaches of the Week - Brian Kelly, Notre Dame and Urban Meyer, Ohio State: Thirteen weeks ago, 124 FBS teams were unbeaten and now only two are left standing. Each coach led his team to an emotional win and each team showed the mark of a true winner, growing more focused with every step closer it got to the finish line. Meyer's Buckeyes started the day by playing an inspired defensive effort to choke out Michigan, not allowing the Wolverines to cross midfield in the second half. Kelly's Fighting Irish went on the road and played like the better team for all 60 minutes against USC. Notre Dame's offense threw for 217 yards, ran for 222 yards and never turned the ball over. The defense limited USC to a lone field goal in the second half, and its exclamation point, of the game and the season, came in a goal line stand with two minutes left.
Offensive Staff of the Week - Florida: The Florida offense has been far from effective for much of this season but the Gators came up big when it mattered the most on Saturday in defeating Florida State, 37-26. The Seminoles brought in college football's best run defense and Florida ran for 244 yards, its third-best performance of the season. Florida State brought in the nation's best total defense and Florida accumulated 398 yards, more than it gained against Bowling Green, Missouri, Louisiana - Lafayette and Jacksonville State. Brent Pease's group scored 37 points, three times what Florida State normally allows. Florida State led the nation in third down defense, allowing opponents to compete 25 percent of their opportunities. Florida converted over half of its third downs (8-of-15). Florida State allowed the fewest first downs in college football. Florida gained 21, one more than Florida State.
Defensive Staff of the Week - Kent State: No defense filled the box score quite like Jon Heacock's Golden Flashes in topping Ohio 28-6 on Friday. Kent State returned a fumble and interception for touchdowns in building a 21-0 first-quarter lead. The Golden Flashes created a total of four fumbles on the day, sacked Bobcats quarterback Tyler Tettleton eight times and forced Ohio to punt nine times. Kent State held an Ohio offense that has run for 210 yards per game and 4.5 yards per carry to just 107 yards and 2.1 yards per carry. Ohio's 339 yards were its third-fewest of 2012 and, most importantly, its six point output was its worst of the season.
Special Teams Unit of the Week - Notre Dame: On a night when Notre Dame moved the ball everywhere except the red zone, sophomore kicker Kyle Brindza came up huge for the Fighting Irish. He hit 5-of-6 field goals, including a career long 52-yarder, the second longest field goal in school history, just before the half to give Notre Dame a 16-10 lead at the break. Ben Turk boomed three punts for a net average of 44.3 yards, and the Irish coverage units neutralized the explosive Marqise Lee and Robert Woods in the return game. George Atkinson III also returned a kickoff 39 yards, setting up Brindza's fifth field goal to put the Irish up by two scores, 22-13, with 5:58 to play.
Call of the Week - Mark Tommerdahl and Sonny Dykes, Louisiana Tech: The Bulldogs didn't win the game, but they do win our Call of the Week with a beautiful fake field goal call of Saturday night's game with San Jose State. Trailing 17-6 in the second quarter, Louisiana Tech lined up for a 33-yard field goal when holder David Gru grabbed the snap and ran left, directly at the oncoming edge rusher. Gru then shoveled it forward to Malon Lee (who had lined up as the right wing), who raced in for a 15-yard touchdown. A bit of a read option type look, nice design.
According to Brian Kelly, precision is the most important trait of teams that are successful in the red zone.
Without the ability to stretch the field vertically, windows become smaller, and quarterbacks need to be more precise with the football when trying to fit the ball into narrow windows.
"You have to have 'precision.' That's not a word that's thrown around very easily in our room right now. Precision is not what we have yet." Kelly explained.
"I've had quarterbacks that were precise and could read things quickly and then it was easy down there. It was like shooting fish in a barrel."
In their 46 red zone trips, the Irish have come away with points 35 times (76%) with 21 of those trips resulting in touchdowns. That ranks 96th nationally. The other three undefeated teams (Alabama, Kansas State and Oregon) all rank in the top 22 nationally in red zone conversions, and Louisville, the nation's best red zone team, has come away with points in 38 of their 39 red zone trips (97%).
With their three remaining games against Boston College (away), Wake Forest (home) and USC (away), there's no doubt that their precision will need to improve in order to finish the season undefeated.
On Saturday, Notre Dame had to rally back from a 20-6 deficit and put up two touchdowns in the fourth quarter (including a two points conversion following a missed PAT) to send the game overtime before escaping with a triple overtime win against Pitt.
The ball bounced Notre Dame's direction a handful of times, the defense came up big when it needed to, and Pitt had a handful of great opportunities to escape South Bend with a win, but the Irish successfully dodged a few bullets and came out on top when it mattered the most.
If you ask Brian Kelly, his 9-0 Fighting Irish didn't get lucky on Saturday. The way that he sees it, winning teams make the most of their opportunities and earn everything they get.
"Most of the time you're making your luck and you're playing through some rough spots. I've never had a team that's won because it was lucky. But I've had many teams that were fortunate because they were good football teams and they found a way to win." Kelly told reporters yesterday during their weekly teleconference.
"I don't think that I've ever had a lucky football team, I think I've had a team that's gotten some breaks along the way, but generally those teams have earned them along the way." he added.
Over the next three weeks Notre Dame will travel to Boston College, host Wake Forest in South Bend, and then head to sunny southern California for their season finale against USC.
You may or may not be aware that Notre Dame will visit Oklahoma on Saturday night. It's the first time since 1966 that the Fighting Irish have traveled to Norman, and it's kind of a big deal. College GameDay will broadcast from the OU campus Saturday morning, and Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit will call the game to a national, primetime audience later that evening. The Oklahoman has called this game the second most anticipated Sooners home game in the Bob Stoops era.
Beyond the noise, Notre Dame wants Saturday's game to turn into a symbolic passing of the torch. Oklahoma has won one national championship under Stoops and has played for three more. Meanwhile, Notre Dame is looking to go 8-0 for the first time since 2002. A win on Saturday night would likely throw Notre Dame into the thick of the national title chase deep into November for the first time since 1993. The Irish's next three opponents (Pittsburgh, Boston College and Wake Forest) are a combined 8-12 before a trip to USC on Thanksgiving weekend to close the regular season.
But Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly doesn't just want to occupy Oklahoma's usual perch among the nation's elite for this season. Kelly wants his program to emulate OU's dedade-plus run of success well beyond this fall.
“We want that consistency,” Kelly told the Oklahoman. “Year in and year out, you know Oklahoma is going to be part of the conversation. And that's where we want to get our football program.
“We're nowhere near that yet. We think we're moving in the right direction; we're trending the right way. But I think the hallmark of great programs is that consistency, the consistency that we saw here for a number of years that we haven't seen; we want to be able to bring that back.
“That takes time, and that takes a lot of winning," Kelly continued. "And that's why there's so much pride and tradition in their program as well.”
Indeed, Oklahoma has been a model of consistency during Stoops' tenure. Seven conference championships. Eight BCS bowl apperances. Ten seasons of double-digit wins.
To his credit, Kelly does have Notre Dame's needle pointed in the right direction. After posting back-to-back 8-5 marks in his first two seasons at the helm for Notre Dame, Kelly has the Fighting Irish primed to boost its win total in year three, just like he did in previous stops at Central Michigan and Cincinnati. After winning 10 games in his first two years at Central Michigan, Kelly led the Chippewas to a 9-4 mark in Year 3. Likewise at Cincinnati, 10-3 and 11-3 records were bettered in Year 3 as the Bearcats finished the regular season 12-0. Success at Cincinnati ultimately led Kelly to Notre Dame.
Kelly's message to his program can be summed up as: "If you want to join 'em, beat 'em."
It's hard to believe we're sitting at the halfway point of the 2012 college football season. We could have sworn Labor Day was just a week or two ago. Regardless, 50 percent of the season is already in the books. Here's what we found noteworthy from Week 7 of the college football slate.
1. Move over Ohio, is New Hampshire the new Cradle of Coaches? Probably not, but this stat (courtesy of Bruce Feldman) is astounding: Coaches from the state of New Hampshire, Chip Kelly and Dan Mullen, currently sit at 12-0 so far this season. Not bad for a state with zero FBS programs and just one FBS signee in 2012.
2. Speaking of the Buckeye State, Ohio stands as the top state in college football right now. Urban Meyer is 7-0 and ranked No. 7 in the AP poll in his first season at Ohio State. Butch Jones is 5-0 and ranked No. 21 at Cincinnati. Frank Solich has Ohio at 7-0 and No. 25 in the AP. In fact, the MAC East standings read Ohio, Kent State (5-1, 3-0), Bowling Green (4-3, 2-1) and Miami of Ohio (3-4, 2-1) while Toledo also sits atop the MAC West at 6-1 and 4-0 in the league. Ohio's seven FBS teams are a combined 38-14. Oh yeah, and Mount Union is also 5-0 and has allowed only seven points all season.
3. Arkansas seems to have put the wheels back on the wagon. One week after handling Auburn 24-7, the Razorbacks again looked like the top 10 team many expected to see in a 49-7 dismantling of Kentucky. No coach in the country could use a two-game winning streak more than the embattled John L. Smith. Yes, the wins came against teams that are a combined 0-8 in the SEC. But when you are 1-4, a two-game winning streak is a two-game winning streak.
4. Duke missed its first chance at bowl eligibility. David Cutcliffe's team jumped out in front of Virginia Tech 20-0 only to see the Hokies reel off the game's final 41 points. Duke's next three opponents (North Carolina, Clemson and Florida State) are a combined 16-4 until a date with 2-4 Georgia Tech in Atlanta on Nov. 17.
#Duke's David Cutcliffe reiterates Tuesday statement that #Hokies' Frank Beamer is the top coach in the country
5. Congrats to James Franklin and Vanderbilt for finally cracking the code to Florida's fourth quarter defense. After not allowing a point in any fourth quarter this season, Vanderbilt managed to register 10 points in the final frame on Saturday night. It wasn't enough to pull the upset as Will Muschamp's team improved to 6-0 with a 31-17 win. After being outscored 72-22 in fourth quarters last season, the Gators hold a 54-10 fourth quarter edge this season. Florida also claims come-from-behind wins over Texas A&M, Tennessee, LSU and Vanderbilt. Conditioning was clearly an emphasis of Muschamp in the off-season, and strength coach Jeff Dillman has definitely succeeded in transforming his team.
6. We're glad to see that Jerry Kill plans to coach again this Saturday. Kill suffered a seizure in his private locker room less than an hour after Minnesota's 21-13 loss to Northwestern on Saturday. Coach Kill was released from a Minneapolis hospital on Sunday morning.
7. Wisconsin has returned to form after a shaky start to the season. New offensive coordinator Matt Canada and interim offensive line coach Bart Miller have found their footing, and the Badgers' offense is back to its old ways. In a 38-14 win over Purdue, the Wisconsin offense rushed 57 times for 467 yards and four touchdowns. Starting tailback Montee Ball contributed 247 yards and three touchdowns on 29 rushes. After rushing for just 3.3 yards per carry over their first five games, Wisconsin is churning out 7.1 yards per attempt over its last two games. The Badgers are 5-2 and 2-1 in the Big Ten, a full two wins ahead of the pack of bowl-eligible teams in the Leaders Division.
8. Oregon will face an interesting challenge at Arizona State on Thursday night. In his first season in Tempe, Todd Graham has the Sun Devils sitting at 5-1 and ranked No. 24 in the Coaches Poll. Paul Randolph's defense is far and away the best unit in the Pac-12 on paper. Arizona State leads the league in total defense by nearly 60 yards per game over second place USC. The Sun Devils is giving up just 3.92 yards per play, nearly a full yard better than the rest of the conference. Randolph's unit also leads the conference in pass efficiency defense (4.86 yards per attempt), and its 3.23 yards per carry allowed is over a full yard better than Oregon's Pac-12 opposition to date. And then there's this: the last time Oregon traveled to the Grand Canyon State on a Thursday night was in 2007 when the No. 2 ranked Ducks lost to Arizona, 34-24. Chip Kelly and co. will hope history doesn't repeat itself this week. Scott and Zach from our staff will be at this game. More on this to come later in the week.
9. Notre Dame trailed for the first time this season on Saturday. The Fighting Irish actually trailed for a full quarter against Stanford after falling behind 10-3 at halftime; they didn't tie the game until a 24-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter. Brian Kelly's team trailed again 13-10 before scoring the game's final 10 points in a 20-13 overtime win. Bob Diaco's defense still has not (officially) surrendered an offensive touchdown in four full games.
10. Midweek action begins this week in college football. Starting with Louisiana - Lafayette at North Texas tomorrow night, we will have Tuesday or Wednesday night football all but one week through Thanksgiving.