Why should Army count as a power conference opponent for SEC?


Army football has had just one winning season since 1997, yet starting in 2016 the SEC will recognize a game against Army in the same way it would a game against Ohio State, Texas, USC or Florida State. Starting in 2016 the SEC’s non-conference scheduling requirement will go into action, requiring SEC schools to schedule at least one game each season against another school from a Power 5 conference (ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 or even the SEC). Notre Dame was always expected to fulfill that requirement, but on Thursday the SEC decided games against BYU and Army will also count. Notre Dame makes sense given its place among the powers in college football today. BYU even makes a decent case. But Army?

This is not meant to be critical of anyone involved with the Army football program. We all know it has been difficult to keep the football program going through life as an independent and with the different approach the military academy takes to recruiting compared to other programs. The same goes for Navy and Air Force. And perhaps it is unfair to single out Army when the SEC scheduling requirement also approves of games against programs like Wake Forest and Iowa State and Purdue. But independents are unique, which is why this whole concept of a non-conference scheduling requirement seems to address a concern in a positive way but is somewhat puzzling in its execution.

Navy will no longer be an independent but is incredibly similar to Army in terms of football identity. The biggest difference between the two is Navy has been far more superior on the football field. Since 2003, Navy has had just one losing season, but the Midshipmen are shipping out to the American Athletic Conference, abandoning independence starting this fall. Because of that, Navy will not count toward meeting the SEC’s power conference scheduling requirement. Neither does Boise State. Or Colorado State. Or Air Force. But Army (7-15-2 all-time against the SEC) does?

Lumping the three football independents together is unfair anyway. Each program is run differently, with different resources and different philosophies and requirements. Notre Dame has a power conference connection with its affiliation and scheduling arrangement with the ACC. Based on on-field performance, you can make a case BYU should be given similar treatment. Army, a team that lost on the road against an FCS program (Yale) last fall, does not deserve to be included in this mix at this time.

One suggestion I would offer the SEC and ACC is to organize some four or five-year review of non power conference opponents and develop a metric to determine which teams should be considered for satisfying the non-conference scheduling requirement. This could also be used to weed out the dead weight in some power conferences as well.

Note: The ACC does not recognize a game against army as a power conference opponent. Not yet at least.

Miami fires offensive coordinator Josh Gattis after 1 season

josh gattis fired
Reinhold Matay/USA TODAY Sports

CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Miami fired offensive coordinator Josh Gattis on Friday, ending the former Broyles Award winner’s time with the Hurricanes after only one season.

The school announced the move in a one-sentence press release, with no other detail: “Josh Gattis has been relieved of his duties as offensive coordinator, Miami head football coach Mario Cristobal announced Friday,” read the release, sent from a university spokesman.

The Hurricanes went 5-7 in Gattis’ lone season. He was brought in by Miami only a few weeks after winning the 2021 Broyles Award – given to the nation’s top assistant coach – while serving as Michigan’s offensive coordinator and helping the Wolverines reach the College Football Playoff.

But Miami’s offense, for a number of reasons, failed to meet expectations in 2022. Part of that was injuries; starting quarterback Tyler Van Dyke battled a shoulder injury, and the Hurricanes turned to Jake Garcia – who has since transferred – and Jacurri Brown for much of the season.

Miami scored 100 points in its first two games last fall, overpowering Bethune-Cookman and Southern Miss. The Hurricanes averaged only 18.3 points the rest of the way, and finished the year 5-0 in games where the defense allowed no more than 14 points – but 0-7 when opponents scored more than 14.

Miami was 86th nationally in total offense last season, averaging 367.1 yards per game, and 97th in scoring offense.

Gattis played at Wake Forest and worked at North Carolina, Western Michigan, Vanderbilt, Penn State, Alabama and Michigan before coming to Miami.

Audit: LSU discovered $1M overpayment to Kelly in 2022

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

BATON ROUGE, La. – LSU accidentally overpaid Tigers football coach Brian Kelly by $1 million during the first year of a 10-year, $100 million contract, but discovered the error and has moved to correct it, the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s office said Wednesday.

Kelly was overpaid $1,001,368 in supplemental payments in 2022 because duplicate payments made both to Kelly’s LLC and to the coach directly.

The double payments began in May and continued until LSU officials detected the errors in November.

“LSU management and the head football coach have enacted an adjusted payment schedule so the amount of overpayment will be recouped by the conclusion of fiscal year 2023,” the Legislative Auditor’s report stated.

Kelly, who previously coached at Notre Dame for 12 seasons, was hired by LSU after the 2021 season, when the Tigers went 6-7 for its first losing season since 1999.

LSU exceeded expectations in Kelly’s first season in Baton Rouge, winning the SEC West Division and finishing 10-4 after a 63-7 victory over Purdue in the Citrus Bowl.