Conference expansion coming to… the MAC?

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Way back in September, Eastern Michigan athletic director Derrick Gragg was quoted as saying that “the MAC is going to try to extend invitations to one or two institutions in the next year or two.”

A little over two months later, it appears Gragg was on the correct path.

According to the Boston Herald, and citing several unnamed sources, UMass plans to move from their current level at Div. 1-AA (FCS) and into Div. 1-A (FBS).  If they do make the jump, they would then make the MAC their conference home.

Under the current plan that appears to either be in motion or on the verge of being set in motion, UMass would play as a provisional Div. 1-A school in 2011 and 2012, then become a full-fledged Div. 1-A member in 2013.

A MAC spokesman told the Herald that the conference is exploring adding UMass to their current roster of 13 schools, while athletic director John McCutcheon said “it would be premature” to say that the Minutemen are moving up a level, but that the school will “continue to evaluate where we are with our program.”

One more tidbit regarding this UMass situation: if they do move to Div. 1-A, they would look to play several home games at Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots.  Their current home stadium seats just 17,000 fans, which, as noted by the paper, would be unacceptable at the next level.  Unless it occurred at Miami, where it would then be known as an average-sized 2010 home crowd.

Reports: Miami hiring Lance Guidry from Tulane as DC

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
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Miami is hiring Lance Guidry, who was defensive coordinator at Marshall last season and recently accepted the same position at Tulane, to lead its defense, two people with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press.

The people spoke on condition of anonymity because a deal was still being finalized between Guidry and Miami.

The 51-year-old Louisiana native was hired way from Marshall by Tulane just last month. Now he’ll replace Kevin Steele on Mario Cristobal‘s staff at Miami. Steele is reportedly on his way to Alabama to become Nick Saban‘s defensive coordinator after holding that position for one season with the Hurricanes.

Alabama has yet to make the hiring of Steele and offensive coordinator Tommy Rees official. Rees had been assistant at Notre Dame.

Tulane announced the hiring of Guidry on Jan. 23 to replace Chris Hampton, who left the New Orleans-based school to join Oregon’s staff as an assistant coach.

Guidry’s defenses at Marshall ranked third in the nation in yards per play this season (4.56) and 26th nationally in 2021 (5.14 ypp).

Iowa-Northwestern set for Wrigley Field in November

Nikos Frazier/Journal & Courier/USA TODAY NETWORK
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CHICAGO — Wrigley Field will host a college football game for the third time since 2010 when Iowa plays Northwestern next season.

Northwestern and the Chicago Cubs announced that the Wildcats’ home game will be played Nov. 4.

Northwestern played Illinois at Wrigley in 2010 in the MLB ballpark’s first college football game since 1938, and the Wildcats hosted Purdue there in 2021.

Wrigley Field has a long history of hosting football games. The Chicago Bears played there from 1921 to 1970 before moving to Soldier Field. The old Chicago Cardinals also played at Wrigley, as well as DePaul until its program folded in 1939.

Northwestern had been scheduled to play Wisconsin at Wrigley in 2020, but the game was moved to Ryan Field in Evanston because of the COVID-19 pandemic.