This post was originally slated for the day the Kain Colter-led NU union story exploded. Now, nearly two weeks later, it still has relevancy, but I thought we could use a way to forget about the sting that was this weekend’s crushing home loss to Nebraska, putting the major brakes on an incredible three week NU men’s basketball run. The men return to action Wednesday night at Michigan State’s Breslin Center, a venue on par with the Kohl Center as far as NU’s success (one total win in the building).
Last night there was more bad news. Wildcat Report.com’s Louie Vaccher reported that 4-star 2014 QB commit, Clayton Thorson, broke his leg (fibula) when he came down on it “funny” during a church league basketball game in Wheaton Friday night. Thorson, a 6-4, 197 pound MVP of the Semper Fidelis All-American game, is the highest rated Rivals recruit (#136) in the 2014 class. Ugh.
Obviously, the national story of the day is SEC Defensive Player of the Year, Michael Sam, announcing he is gay. The Missouri LB is breaking new ground by coming out in advance of the NFL Draft.
Today, we get you up to speed on some off-season college football news of more Northwestern 2014 relevance.
Let’s dive in….
- Kudos to Adam Rittenberg for this feature on ESPN.com about the salary arms race going on among B1G football coaches. With James Franklin’s recent deal ($4.25 million per year), there are now at least four coaches (Urban Meyer, Brady Hoke, Kirk Ferentz as well) who are at or above the $4 million per year mark. There is no news yet on Mark Dantonio’s pay raise (reportedly was at $1.9 million-ish), who could become the fifth. This, should Fitz have a good year, would likely mean more good things for him, even though his current deal is through 2020.
Cal (Ryan Field, August 30)
- Tragedy struck Cal this past weekend when news broke that 21-year-old senior DE, Ted Agu, died after collapsing during conditioning drills. Anything else below is pretty irrelevant in light of this horrible news. We’re with you in spirit Cal community.
- When I read this ESPN “Big shoes to fill” feature on the Pac-12, I felt much better seeing how many key skill players Cal is losing, starting with RB Brendan Bigelow and WR Richard Rogers.
- On the flip side, expect Cal’s defense to get a major upgrade -instantly. Dykes recently hired Art Kaufman as his new defensive coordinator. The Tommy Tuberville protege, has been known for instant turnaround jobs at the likes of Ole Miss, Texas Tech, North Carolina and last year at Cincinnati.
Penn State (‘Cats play @Penn St. on 9/27)
- The Nittany Lions got the commitment of a 4-star WR, Saeed Blackwell, who decommitted from Rutgers to pledge his future to new head coach, James Franklin.
- Franklin is making friends in the Keystone State by doing a Jerry Kill-like state tour to make sure that the Nittany Lions have the flag planted in the backyard. Franklin and staff have secured SEVEN commitments in just a few weeks since taking the job.
- Buyout buzz. The cost to Penn State for adding James Franklin to its staff was a $1.5 million check to Vanderbilt, plus base pay of $4 million per year with a bunch of escalators built in to the contract.
Minnesota (@ Minnesota October 11)
Indiana (Do not play)
- Kevin Wilson addressed his defensive woes (103rd in FBS) by hiring Wake Forest DC, Brian Knorr. It’s an obvious statement, but if IU could even get to slightly average on defense they become this year’s Minnesota.
Wisconsin (Ryan Field, Oct. 4)
- Be afraid. Gary Andersen appears to have a Jimmy John’s recruiting class with some freakishly fast signees in his first full class as the head man in Madtown.
Michigan (Ryan Field, Nov. 8)
- The Wolverines deep-sixed offensive coordinator, Al Borges, as we’ve discussed. They also are setting the bar with near $1 million coordinator salaries. Brady Hoke went and nabbed Alabama’s Doug Nussmeier to be their DC. No word yet on his salary.
Notre Dame (@ Notre Dame Nov. 15)
- The ‘Cats will not be facing TE Troy Niklas who is departing early for the NFL.
Illinois (Ryan Field, Nov. 29)
- The buzz in Champaign surrounds QB transfer Wes Lunt. We’ll explore this with The Champaign Room in a few weeks.