Butch Jones leaving CMU to coach Cincinnati

According to Central Michigan beat writer Drew Ellis of the Mt. Pleasant Morning Sun, Butch Jones is negotiating with Cincinnati to become its next head football coach.

If Jones reaches a deal, he will replace Brian Kelly, who left the Bearcats following a 12-0 season in 2009 and a Big East Championship. Kelly left Cincinnati to take over the head coaching position at Notre Dame.

Jones replaced Kelly at Central Michigan after Kelly left CMU to become head coach of the Bearcats following the 2006 season, when he won a Mid-American Conference title.

In three years as head coach, Jones has won two MAC titles and just recently led the Chippewas into the top 25 rankings for the first time in school history.

ESPN.com is also reporting that Jones is heading to Cincinnati.

If you’re Cincinnati, why not go back to the same well? CMU produced Kelly and Jones had an even better track record in Mt. Pleasant, so it makes sense that the Bearcats tabbed him to run their program.

Jones did a hell of a job at CMU, especially with the development of quarterback Dan LeFevour. This past season, the Chippewas ranked 33rd in the nation in total offense and 17th in scoring offense. They averaged over 33 points per game and Jones runs a spread offense similar to the one Kelly does, so he should make a smooth transition. He’ll also love working with quarterback Zach Collaros, who much like LeFevour, runs well.

While this is disappointing news for the Central Michigan program, at least Jones didn’t hide the fact that he was moving on to a bigger program. Kelly ditched his team right before a bowl game (sound familiar Cincinnati?) to coach the Bearcats, where as Jones has been upfront about the situation. With LeFevour graduating and Jones moving on, the Chippewas have to rebuild for next season.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

LeFevour sets college football TD record as CMU wins MAC Championship

Central Michigan won its third MAC Championship in four years on Friday after beating Ohio 20-10 at Ford Field in Detroit. In the victory, Dan LeFevour set college football’s record for combined touchdowns passing, rushing and receiving with his 147th and 148th career scores.

LeFevour’s touchdown mark is just one of many college football records that he now holds. He has the MAC record for total offense, passing yards and completions, and he’s also the only quarterback to pass for more than 12,000 yards and rush for more than 2,500. To put things into perspective, he has more rushing yards than Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy, as well as more passing yards than Tebow.

LeFevour might not be first round material, but much like Tebow he does have a place in the NFL. He’s a natural athlete, has good size and can run. Given that he played in the spread while at CMU, he may struggle learning the nuances of the pro game. But again, he holds plenty of value for a team that runs the Wildcat formation and considering that he’s a smart kid and a hard worker, over time he could develop into a solid pro.

As for CMU, coach Butch Jones has done a wonderful job taking over the team after Brian Kelly left the program in the lurch to coach at Cincinnati. It’ll be interesting to see if Davis stays in Mt. Pleasant after this season, because other schools (Marshall) will no doubt be in hot pursuit of his services.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Tennessee’s next head coach: Cincinnati’s Brian Kelly?

Brian KellySince Phillip Fulmer made the decision to step down at the end of the year, speculation has run rampant on who will replace him as the next head coach at the University of Tennessee. While The Oregonian suggests that Oregon State’s Mike Riley could be in line for the position, I’ve got another name to keep your eye on: Cincinnati’s Brian Kelly.

Five years ago, Kelly was a nobody winning multiple Division II championships at little old Grand Valley State in Grand Rapids, Michigan. From there, he was hired at Central Michigan University, which had won more than three games only once in the previous four seasons. After finishing with a 4-7 record in 2004 (his first year in Mt. Pleasant) and 6-5 in 2005, Kelly led the Chippewas to a MAC Championship in 2006 before jetting to Cincinnati before coaching CMU in the 2006 Motor City Bowl.

In his first season at Cincinnati, Kelly led the Bearcats to their second ever 10-win season (first since 1949) and a top 25 ranking. He was named Big East Coach of the Year and currently has the Bearcats ranked 19th in the nation despite having to play a total of four different quarterbacks this season due to injury.

Tennessee needs a confident, offensive-minded leader and Kelly fits the bill. Many in the Mt. Pleasant area hate him for the way he left CMU in the lurch after winning the MAC Championship in 2006, but the fact of the matter is that he made that program relative again (the Chips are going for their third straight MAC title this season). He was the one that converted Joe Staley (who is currently starting for the 49ers right now) from tight end to offensive tackle, and also the one who recruited Heisman candidate Dan LeFevour. And the job Kelly has done at Cincinnati in his two years has been remarkable to say the least.

When talking to people who have worked with him in the past (like Mt. Pleasant Morning Sun columnist and Central Michigan beat writer Drew Ellis, who is a close friend of mine), you get the impression that Kelly is a cocky, but confident coach. The Vols need someone headstrong that can turn the program around in only a few short years. No offense to Riley or any other candidate Tennessee may consider, but Kelly has won everywhere he’s gone and he seems like a coach that can light a fire under that program’s ass.

No. 17 Ball State’s season on the line vs. Central Michigan

Nate DavisNo. 17 Ball State puts its season on the line Wednesday night in Mt. Pleasant when they take on MAC rival Central Michigan at 7:00PM ET.

I know, I know – it’s MAC football. Who cares right?

Most will look at this game and shrug it off as just another useless game in the middle of the week, but the ramifications for both teams are pretty high and it should make for an exciting game. First and foremost, Ball State is 10-0 and trying to prove that its an elite program, although if last week’s performance against Miami of Ohio was any indication, the Cardinals are who we think they are – a great MAC team, but one that would get destroyed by the likes of any team ranked ahead of them in the polls.

Meanwhile, the Chippewas are 8-2, but more importantly (at least to them), they’re 6-0 in the MAC. A CMU victory would not only be a huge upset, but it would also catapult the Chips into first place in the MAC West Division and a chance to win the conference for the third straight year. This isn’t just a MAC game – it’s the MAC game of the year.

The Cardinals have essentially steamrolled their competition this season, but also haven’t played any truly tough opponents, unless you consider Navy and Indiana as tough. They did crush Northern Illinois – who has vastly improved this season – 45-14 on November 5th, but the Huskies are still far from an elite team right now.

An upset might be in order tonight. At one point this season, CMU quarterback Dan LeFevour was considered a candidate for the Heisman Trophy but an ankle injury sidetracked his season. He led the Chips to win over NIU last week and appears to be healthy again.

The key in this game, however, will be whether or not CMU’s defense can slow down Nate Davis and the BSU offense, which is averaging close to 40 points a game. The Chips certainly have the offense to compete with the Cardinals, but their no-huddle approach only gets BSU’s explosive passing attack back on the field quicker. And CMU has been known to allow opponents to sneak back into ball games in the second half (see their game at Northern last week as proof), which certainly would spell disaster against a solid Cardinal team.

Either way, football is being played on a Wednesday night. And not only that, but a team is actually unbeaten and ranked…and is playing on Wednesday night. You can’t ask for more.

Quick Hit Observations from College Football Week 12

USC-Stanford– Raise your hand if you thought Stanford would upset USC again when the score was tied 17-17 at halftime. (Hand raised.)

– Not that a ton of people care about Conference USA, but what a statement by Houston. I don’t know what was more impressive, the fact that the Cougars scored 70 points or that they held Tulsa to only 30 points.

– Iowa’s Shonn Grenne (30 carries, 211 yards in a 22-17 win over Purdue) is a legit Heisman candidate for 2009.

– What happened to Kansas? I realize they didn’t play any of the top teams in the Big 12 last year, but they’re better than 6-5 aren’t they?

– They might have won 34-7, but Penn State’s win over Indiana was the least impressive 34-7 victory in some time.

– One of the more underrated rivalries in college football is Georgia-Auburn. And the Tigers easily have one of the more underrated defenses in the nation.

– Early upset watch for Week 13: Nevada over Boise State. The Wolf Pack’s offense is good enough to keep pace with the Broncos’ explosive attack and Boise hasn’t faced a tough opponent all year. (Unless you consider when they faced Oregon and their fourth string quarterback a tough opponent.)

– Worst…Michigan…season…ever.

– Underrated game of the week: No. 14 Ball State at Central Michigan next Wednesday.

– College football fans were cheated by not getting to see Beanie Wells run for a full season. He was amazing against Illinois.

– How about Troy hanging with LSU in Baton Rouge? Had they not turned the ball over three times, the Trojans could have pulled off one of the best upsets in college football this season.

Related Posts