Cincinnati could be close to landing Kiel

According to Tom Groeschen of the Cincinnati Enquirer, former five-star quarterback Gunner Kiel has been on Cincinnati’s campus the past two days and took in the Bearcats scrimmage on Saturday at Paul Brown Stadium. A source told Groeschen that the Bearcats believe they have a good shot at landing the former Notre Dame signal-caller, who is transferring after one season in South Bend.

Of course, Tommy Tuberville is looking to put his stamp on the Cincinnati program after arriving from Texas Tech. The former Red Raiders head coach took over the Bearcats from Butch Jones, who left to fill the Tennessee opening. Being able to land a talent such as Kiel, who was committed to Indiana and LSU before deciding to attend Notre Dame, is a risk that Tuberville is apparently willing to take.

There had been whispers that major schools might not have the strong interest as they had in Kiel last offseason because he had made multiple verbal commitments during the recruiting process before landing at Notre Dame. But, of course, coaches will always be willing to take risks on talent.

If things fall through at Cincy, here are some other possible landing spots for the former top pro-style quarterback in the Class of 2012.

Tennessee: The Vols are the biggest name on this list, and Kiel would get to play for a coach in Jones who comes from an offensive background. Tyler Bray is moving onto the NFL, so the Vols have competition this offseason for the starting quarterback job between rising junior Justin Worley and redshirt freshman Nathan Peterman. Freshmen Joshua Dobbs and Riley Ferguson arrive on campus this summer, and there were a lot of recruiting analysts who believed that Dobbs is a very underrated prospect. However, there are rumors that Kiel is intrigued by new Vols offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Mike Bajakian. And if Kiel truly believes in his abilities to be a major-college starting QB, he should embrace any challenges from fellow signal-callers on the roster.

Vanderbilt: Commodores head coach James Franklin did his best to land Kiel in 2012, but the program instead was able to sign Patton Robinette. This past February, the ‘Dores then added Chad Kanoff and Johnny McCrary. So the QB depth chart has certainly changed in Nashville since Franklin lost out on Kiel. However, if Franklin was enamored with Kiel once, perhaps he can be intrigued again no matter how many quarterbacks he will have on board.

Ball State: With Indiana still feeling scorned by Kiel, the Cardinals would give Kiel that in-state option if he decides to remain in the Hoosier State. And current starter Keith Wenning will be moving on after this coming season.

Miami (Ohio): The RedHawks would provide Kiel with a solid MAC program that has just produced future NFL draft pick Zac Dysert.

The JUCO route: If Kiel elects to play at a junior-college in 2013, he could possibily re-energize his recruitment with a big season and avoid getting rusty as he wouldn’t have to sit out a second consecutive season. However, if he goes to a junior-college program then he would lose a year of learning a new playbook, coaching staff and teammates.

Top 25 uncommitted prospects in the Class of 2013

Recruiting is front and center in the world of college football as National Signing Day approaches on Wednesday. And, as we know, recruiting is the lifeblood of a program.

I have been tracking some of the top prep players in the Class of 2013 throughout the summer, fall and winter, and some have already given a pledge. However, many of the biggest programs in America continue to hotly pursue the top talents who have yet to make up their minds.

Today, let’s take a look at the final Top 25 uncommitted list, with new names added to take the place of those top athletes who have given their verbal. Of course, keep in mind that nothing is official until each prep player sends in his Letter of Intent.

CLICK HERE to see my list of the Top 25 uncommitted prospects in the Class of 2013, as first published at the National Football Post.

Klein deserves the Heisman Trophy

While Johnny Manziel and Manti Te’o are certainly deserving of the award, I believe that Collin Klein has put together the most consistent season of the three Heisman Trophy finalists.

We will find out tonight who will take home the hardware, but I made the case for the Kansas State quarterback this week at the National Football Post as well as on Campus Insiders.

NFP article

Email dave.miller@nationalfootballpost.com or follow me on Twitter at Miller_Dave

Cal hires Dykes

California has hired Sonny Dykes as its new head coach, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Dykes will replace Jeff Tedford, who was fired after a 3-9 season in Berkeley.

Dykes recorded a 22-15 mark in three seasons at Louisiana Tech, and he oversaw a high-powered offense that was reminiscent of the “Air Raid” offense he learned from Hal Mumme at Kentucky and over seven seasons at Texas Tech with Mike Leach.

Dykes led Louisiana Tech to a 9-3 this fall, including a thrilling 59-57 loss to Texas A&M. He should be able to build an exciting Golden Bears offense, especially because of the type of offensive talent that he’ll be able to land in Berkeley.

Email dave.miller@nationalfootballpost.com or follow me on Twitter at Miller_Dave

Malzahn to be named new Auburn head coach

Auburn is going back to the past to bring its program a brighter future, as multiple reports have the Tigers hiring Gus Malzahn as its next head coach.

The news was first reported by Arkansas State Scout affiliate AStateNation.

The Arkansas State head coach will return to the Plains after previously serving as the Tigers’ offensive coordinator. He leaves Jonesboro after one season. The Red Wolves are 9-3 overall and 7-1 in the Sun Belt.

Malzahn was hired in 2009 as offensive coordinator at Auburn after successful stints as OC at Tulsa and Arkansas, and in his first year took the Tigers from 104th to 16th in total offense. In 2010, with Cam Newton at quarterback, the unit ranked 7th in the FBS as the Tigers won their first national championship since 1957.

He will now be bringing the up-tempo no-huddle offense back to The Plains and the SEC.

Email dave.miller@nationalfootballpost.com or follow me on Twitter at Miller_Dave

Bielema leaving Wisconsin for Arkansas

As first reported by Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports, Bret Bielema will leave Wisconsin to become the head coach at Arkansas.

The Badgers head coach, who led his team to a Rose Bowl berth for the third straight time, was never mentioned as a possible replacement for John L. Smith with the Razorbacks.

Hogs athletic director Jeff Long did a wonderful job of keeping Bielema’s name under wraps during this search, although it is unknown how high Bielema was on Long’s list of potential candidates.

An announcement will reportedly come today, but Bielema is not expected to be introduced until Wednesday.

It is almost a certainty that Bielema will not lead the Badgers in the Rose Bowl, although he may choose to do so. However, it seems unlikely, especially because there’s a lot of work to be done in Fayetteville with the Razorbacks coming off such a disappointing season.

With Dave Doeren just being hired at N.C. State, will the Badgers possibly look to Pitt head coach Paul Chryst to replace Bielema? He was the longtime offensive coordinator for the Badgers who was hired away by the Panthers last offseason.

Email dave.miller@nationalfootballpost.com or follow me on Twitter at Miller_Dave

Kent State’s Hazell is new top choice at Purdue

With Cincinnati’s Butch Jones no longer interested in the opening at Purdue, the Boilermakers have set their sights on Kent State’s Darrell Hazell to take over in West Lafayette.

Hazell, who once had the Golden Flashes as high as No. 17 in the BCS rankings in his second year with the school, was an assistant at Ohio State under Jim Tressel from 2004 to 2010, so he has prior experience in the Big Ten.

Email dave.miller@nationalfootballpost.com or follow me on Twitter at Miller_Dave

Updated 2012-13 Bowl Projections

As we anxiously await the unveiling of the full 2012-13 college football bowl schedule, I have posted my latest projections at the National Football Post.

I currently have Northern Illinois barely getting into the Top 16 of the final BCS standings, but it will be a close call. If the Huskies get in, they will go to the Orange Bowl and play Florida State.

2012-13 Bowl Projections

As we enjoy Championship Saturday and the final weekend of the college football regular season (with the exception of the annual Army-Navy game next week), let’s take a look at the possible postseason matchups for the 2012-13 bowl season.

I will revisit these projections after all of Saturday’s games as I try to determine where your team may or may not be headed for the holidays. And on Sunday night, all of the matchups for December and January will be revealed.

Projections subject to change

Key

* Replacement team for a conference that does not have enough bowl-eligible teams.

Notes

The champions of specific conferences are contractually committed to certain bowls — unless they are No. 1 or No. 2 in the final BCS standings…

ACC = Orange; Big Ten = Rose; Big 12 = Fiesta; Pac-12 = Rose; SEC = Sugar

If a bowl loses a host team to the title game, then the bowl gets first choice at a replacement team. The rest of the selection order for 2012-13 is: Fiesta, Sugar andOrange.

If BYU is bowl-eligible, it will play in the Poinsettia Bowl.
If Army is bowl-eligible it will play in the Military Bowl.
If Navy is bowl-eligible, it will play in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.

- Teams in bold have already accepted bowl bids

Non-BCS bowls

Dec. 15 New Mexico: Nevada (MWC No. 4/5) vs.Arizona (Pac-12 No. 7/WAC)

Dec. 15 Famous Idaho Potato: Utah State (WAC) vs.Toledo (MAC No. 3)

Dec. 20 Poinsettia: San Diego State (MWC No. 2) vs. BYU (BYU)

Dec. 21 Beef ‘O’Brady’s: Tulsa (C-USA) vs. *Ball State (Big East No. 6)

Dec. 22 New Orleans: Louisiana-Lafayette (Sun Belt No. 1) vs.East Carolina (C-USA)

Dec. 22 Maaco: BoiseState (MWC No. 1) vs.Washington (Pac-12 No. 5)

Dec. 24 Hawaii: Fresno State (MWC/WAC) vs. SMU (C-USA)

Dec. 26 Little Caesars: Northern Illinois (MAC) vs. *Western Kentucky (Big Ten No. 8)

Dec. 27 Military: *Ohio (ACC No. 8) vs. *San Jose State (Army)

Dec. 27 Belk: Cincinnati (Big East No. 3) vs. N.C. State (ACC No. 5)

Dec. 27 Holiday: UCLA (Pac-12 No. 3) vs.Texas Tech (Big 12 No. 5)

Dec. 28 Independence: *Middle Tennessee (SEC No. 10) vs. *Louisiana Tech (ACC No. 7)

Dec. 28 Russell Athletic: Rutgers (Big East No. 2) vs. Virginia Tech (ACC No. 3)

Dec. 28 Meineke Car Care of Texas: Minnesota (Big Ten No. 6) vs. Baylor (Big 12 No. 6)

Dec. 29 Armed Forces: Rice (C-USA) vs. Air Force (MWC)

Dec. 29 Kraft Fight Hunger: Arizona State (Pac-12 No. 6) vs. Navy (Navy)

Dec. 29 Pinstripe: Syracuse (Big East No. 4) vs. West Virginia (Big 12 No. 7)

Dec. 29 Alamo: Oregon State (Pac-12 No. 2) vs. TCU (Big 12 No. 3)

Dec. 29 Buffalo Wild Wings: Oklahoma State (Big 12 No. 4) vs.Michigan State (Big Ten No. 4/5)

Dec. 31 Music City: Duke (ACC No. 6) vs. Vanderbilt (SEC No. 7)

Dec. 31 Sun: Georgia Tech (ACC No. 4) vs. USC (Pac-12 No. 4)

Dec. 31 Liberty: UCF (C-USA No. 1) vs. *Bowling Green (SEC No. 8/9 or Big East)

Dec. 31 Chick-fil-A: Clemson (ACC No. 2) vs. Georgia (SEC No. 5)

Jan. 1 Heart of Dallas: Purdue (Big Ten No. 7) vs. *Iowa State (C-USA)

Jan. 1 Outback: Northwestern (Big Ten No. 3) vs.South Carolina (SEC)

Jan. 1 Capital One: Texas A&M (SEC No. 2) vs.Michigan (Big Ten No. 2)

Jan. 1 Gator: Wisconsin (Big Ten No. 4/5) vs. Mississippi State (SEC No. 6)

Jan. 4 Cotton: Texas (Big 12 No. 2) vs. LSU (SEC)

Jan. 5 BBVA Compass: *Louisiana-Monroe (Big East No. 5/C-USA) vs. Ole Miss (SEC No. 8/9)

Jan. 6 GoDaddy.com: Kent State (MAC) vs. Arkansas State (Sun Belt No. 2)

BCS bowls

Jan. 1 Rose: Nebraska (Big Ten) vs. Stanford (Pac-12)

Jan. 1 Orange: Florida State (ACC) vs. Louisville (at-large)

Jan. 2 Sugar: Florida (SEC) vs. Oklahoma (at-large)

Jan. 3 Fiesta: Kansas State (Big 12) vs. Oregon (at-large)

Jan. 7 BCS national championship (Miami): Notre Dame (BCS No. 1) vs. Alabama (BCS No. 2)

Email dave.miller@nationalfootballpost.com or follow me on Twitter at Miller_Dave