A couple of items on a sunny Thursday in the capital city:
Some of you have not been too excited about going to Birmingham. Would a matchup against a top-25 team make the trip more tempting?
The Birmingham News’ Jon Solomon, former State sports writer and unofficial Papajohns.com Bowl historian, reports on his blog today that No. 15 Pittsburgh remains in the running for the Big East’s bid in Birmingham.
If Pitt loses to Cincy this weekend in what amounts to the Big East championship game, the Panthers look like they could be USC’s opponent Jan. 2 at Legion Field. If Pitt upsets the Bearcats and gets the conference’s automatic BCS berth, the South Florida-UConn winner likely would be the choice for the Papajohns.com.
–There have been a couple of online reports today saying Ellis Johnson is a candidate for the defensive coordinator openings at Florida State and Georgia.
It’s not surprising schools would be interested in Johnson, who has added to his already impressive resume during his two years in Columbia.
And while Johnson certainly will listen if other schools call, I’d be surprised if he were to leave. Johnson, a Winnsboro native whose wife is from Columbia, cited a desire to be closer to home and log more time in the South Carolina state retirement system when he left Arkansas after just a few weeks to join Steve Spurrier’s staff in January 2008.
Now, depending on what Georgia and Florida State are paying – Monte Kiffin money? – the salary increase might outweigh the retirement benefits.
Johnson has two years left on his deal that pays him $350,000 a year, the most among Gamecock assistants.
Even before Johnson’s name was mentioned in connection with the FSU and Georgia openings, Spurrier said earlier this week he wanted to get more money for his assistant coaches.
My guess is Johnson stays in Columbia, and gets an extension and a raise.