Headlinin’: Fresno State gives Pat Hill, his fu manchu the heave ho

Dr. Saturday

Making the morning rounds.

Happy trails, part one. After 15 years, Fresno State pulled the plug on head coach Pat Hill Sunday, one day after a 35-28 loss at San Diego State tied the school record for losses in a season Hill built a "giant killer" rep at Fresno over the first half of the decade, but never won so much as a share of a WAC title and hadn't come close since 2005. His final team dropped five of its last six en route to a 4-9 finish, including losses to Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State and San Jose State.

"We've been evaluating data after each season for the last several years and we saw a trend that was not reflective of us being able to pursue the goal of a conference championship," said FSU athletic director Thomas Boeh. "And our community was not responding any longer to the record that we had." [Associated Press]

Happy trails, part two. Sunday's other casualty: Colorado State coach Steve Fairchild, who got the axe from his new athletic director on the heels of CSU's eighth consecutive loss, a 22-19 flop against Wyoming that left the Rams at 3-9 for the third consecutive season. The Rams' only I-A/FBS wins came in September escapes against New Mexico (14-10) and Utah State (35-34 in double overtime), and they finished in a three-way tie for last place in the Mountain West for the second time in three years. [Denver Post]

They went to Garrick. On the other end of the spectrum, there's Arkansas offensive coordinator Garrick McGee, who was finally confirmed as UAB's new head coach on Sunday night — roughly 32 hours after Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino broke the news in a statement congratulating McGee on the job. McGee is a former starting quarterback at Oklahoma and has served as coordinator of the Razorbacks' high-powered offense for the last two seasons, replacing Petrino's brother, Paul. Considering UAB's prospects for a turnaround after seven consecutive losing seasons and a cold rejection in its bid to build an on-campus stadium, he is also a very brave man.

"I expect to win here and win the Conference USA championship," McGee said this morning. "I think when you're in a state that values the sport of football the way that this state does, then there should be no reason why we can't compete for the conference championship." [Birmingham News] {YSP:MORE}

Happy trails, part three. Senior quarterback Dayne Crist has announced plans to transfer from Notre Dame, ending a four-year trajectory from five-star heir apparent to Jimmy Clausen to clipboard-toting backup to Tommy Rees. In 2010, Crist started nine games before going down with a season-ending knee injury in an eventual loss to Tulsa that dropped the Irish's record to 4-5; Rees finished the season at the helm of a four-game win streak. This year, Crist won a preseason battle for the job, only to lose it less than three quarters into a turnover-filled loss to South Florida on opening day. Rees started the last eleven, going 8-3.

The early leader for Crist's talents appears to be Wisconsin, where he would be eligible to play immediately as a fifth-year graduate student — a scenario the Badgers should be quite receptive to. [Chicago Tribune, USA Today, Washington Post]

We're listening... "Chances are good" that San Diego State is the last piece of the puzzle in the Big East's westward movement, which is already expected to include Air Force, Boise State, Houston and SMU as part of its broader expansion efforts to keep an automatic BCS bid. The tallest hurdle for the Aztecs, a likely football-only member, will be finding a new conference home for the rest of their sports after they pull out of the burgeoning Mountain West/Conference USA alliance. [San Diego Union Tribune]

Quickly… Florida Atlantic hires Carl Pelini, as expected. … June Jones is "exploring" the Arizona State job. … Rich Rodriguez is getting the old band back together in Arizona. … Clemson ups the ante to keep its offensive coordinator in the fold. … Auburn fans take the hipster approach to a pair of division rivals playing for a national championship. … And I, for one, hope T. Boone Pickens follows through on this.

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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.

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