Alabama HC Nick Saban prefers for OC Lane Kiffin to remain with the team through the College Football Playoffs.
Kiffin is reportedly close to being named head coach of Houston. "We're very supportive of Lane in terms of him having an opportunity to be a head coach again after the great job that he did for us," Saban said. "So hopefully [the Houston job] or some other opportunity will work out well for him so he gets the opportunity to be a head coach again." Asked if Kiffin would be with the Tide on Dec. 31 for the Peach Bowl against Washington, Saban said: "I think he'll want to finish the season with us but I can't speak to that right now because we haven't discussed something that is a hypothetical situation to this point. And I'm not going to answer any more questions about hypothetical situations." If the reports are true, we should know of Kiffin's future plans in the next day or two.
Transferring USC redshirt junior QB Max Browne will visit Pittsburgh this weekend.
We like the fit. The Panthers prefer pro-style quarterbacks and will have an opening under center next year following Nathan Peterman's graduation. Browne was the nation's No. 1 pro-style passer in 2013, per the 247Sports Composite rankings. Last week, Browne announced that he won't stay with the Trojans through their bowl game. Instead, he's turned his attention to the transfer process, which became inevitable after he lost his job to Sam Darnold after three games. A graduate transfer, Browne is eligible to play immediately wherever he winds up.
Florida HC Jim McElwain indicated that the team does not plan on burning the redshirt of freshman QB Feleipe' Franks.
While Florida has had its issues at quarterback this season, both Austin Appleby and Luke Del Rio (shoulder) are expected to be available as signal-calling options for Florida's Outback Bowl showdown with Iowa. With Appleby and Del Rio in the potential playing-fold, there is no real need for the Gators to burn Franks' redshirt. The 6-foot-6, 219-pounder ranked as ESPN 300's No. 65 overall prospect for the 2016 cycle and figures to battle it out for 2017 starting honors over the offseason.
ESPN's Brett McMurphy passes along that NCAA president Mark Emmert's preference is for an eight-team Playoff.
Emmert would like to see an expanded Playoff in order to allow for all five Power 5 conference champions to be included in the field. Penn State, who won the Big Ten title with a thrilling victory over Wisconsin this past weekend, was left out of the Playoff proceedings in favor of Pac-12 champ Washington on Sunday. Whether Emmert's desire for an expanded Playoff actually leads to an expanded Playoff remains to be seen. The size of the field figures to be discussed in more substantive depth this offseason.
Multiple outlets are reporting that USF has entered negotiations with former Texas HC Charlie Strong to fill their vacant head-coaching position.
With Willie Taggart off to Oregon earlier this week, South Florida has been quick to move forward in their coaching search. Roy Cummings of Florida Football Insiders writes that the Bulls have "zeroed in" on Strong, who was fired by Texas at the end of the season following a 5-7 campaign. Cummings relays that Strong and USF could reach agreement by this weekend.
Former Baylor HC Art Briles is suing three school regents and a vice president for libel.
Per the Associated Press report, Briles is "accusing [the associated parties] of falsely stating he knew of reported assaults and alleged gang rapes by players and didn't report them." In addition, his lawsuit alleges that Baylor officials conspired to prevent him from landing another head-coaching job. The university has yet to issue comment on this lawsuit. Briles was terminated in May as part of an organizational shakeup in response to the school's sexual assault scandal.
Multiple outlets are reporting that Western Michigan and HC P.J. Fleck are nearing agreement on a contract extension.
Contract terms are not yet known, but the Detroit News' Tony Paul hears that he will receive a raise from the $800,000 he is currently making annually. Fleck rowed the Broncos out to a 13-0 record this season and was considered a hot candidate for the coaching carousel, but it appears at this juncture that he will back at Western Michigan come the start of the 2017 season.
ESPN's Craig Haubert noted that Texas A&M four-star 2017 verbal LB commit Anthony Hines possesses "all the traits you look for in a linebacker prospect."
Hines committed to the Aggies at the beginning of December. Haubert writes that the 6-foot-3, 230-pounder could play either inside or outside linebacker depending on how Texas A&M would like to utilize him, writing that he has the requisite size, smarts and athleticism to fit either position. Hines ranks as ESPN 300's No. 1 linebacker in the 2017 class and their No. 84 overall prospect.