Cal hires La. Tech’s Dykes as coach
• California has hired Louisiana Tech coach Sonny Dykes in hopes that the offensive mastermind can revive a program that struggled in recent years under the fired Jeff Tedford.
Athletic director Sandy Barbour announced the hire Wednesday night. Dykes will be formally introduced at a news conference today.
Dykes had a 22-15 record with the Bulldogs, averaging 35.9 points and 452.5 yards per game in his tenure. He takes over a Cal team that went 3-9 this past season and missed a bowl for the second time in three years.
• Rutgers University is suing the Big East Conference, trying to avoid paying an exit fee. Rutgers is trying to avoid a $10 million hit for leaving en route to the Big Ten. Big East bylaws state a school must give 27 months’ notice and pay a $10 million withdrawal fee. The lawsuit, filed in Middlesex County Superior Court on Wednesday, says the Big East selectively enforced the rules. Rutgers claims some schools did and some did not have to give notice or pay the fee on their way out of the embattled conference. The Big East allowed Syracuse, Pittsburgh, West Virginia and TCU to leave the league before the 27-month period had run its course.
• Florida International fired head coach Mario Cristobal on Wednesday, a somewhat surprising move that came nearly two weeks after FIU finished an injury-filled season with a 3-9 record. Cristobal was told by athletic director Pete Garcia of the decision in a morning meeting, one that caught both the sixth-year coach and his team by surprise.
• California wide receiver Keenan Allen will skip his senior season to enter the NFL draft. Allen said in an announcement through the school on Wednesday that he is grateful for his time at Cal and feels ready to take the next step to the NFL. Allen finishes his career as the school’s all-time leader with 205 receptions. He ranks third with 2,570 yards receiving and seventh with 17 touchdown catches.
• Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert has won the John Mackey Award that goes to college football’s best tight end. Coming into the season, Eifert was regarded as the best receiver for the Fighting Irish and drew extra attention from opposing defenses. Nonetheless, Eifert had 44 receptions for 624 yards and four touchdowns as the top-ranked Irish finished the season unbeaten. His reception late in the game against Michigan iced a 13-6 Notre Dame victory.
• South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney has won the 2012 Ted Hendricks Award, becoming the first sophomore chosen as the nation’s top defensive end. Clowney set a school record for sacks (13), tackles for loss in a season (21½) and sacks in a single game (4 ½ vs. Clemson).
Senden takes lead in Australian Open
• John Senden shot a 6-under 66 today to take the early lead in the Australian Open, with Englishman Justin Rose two strokes back along with Kim Felton. Adam Scott opened with a 72. After practicing with a traditional putter during the week, the Australian used his usual broom-handle putter that he anchors to his chest — a move that is expected to be banned in 2016 in a proposed rule change. Defending champion Greg Chalmers and Tom Watson, making his first start in the event since winning in 1984, were among the afternoon starters.
— From wire reports