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ISU A.D. Pollard Quells Expansion Talk In The Big 12… For Now

For all the rumblings of Florida State and Clemson joining the Big 12 — remember when that went from done deal to joke and back to done deal a couple of weeks ago — some representatives of the quickly-stabilizing league have made it clear they’re not interested in growing.  At least not in football.

Comments from multiple Big 12 reps suggested that Notre Dame would be the exception to the “let’s not expand yet” rule, even if it meant accepting the Irish in all sports but football.

But ADs like Texas DeLoss Dodds and outgoing interim commissioner Chuck Neinas have said 10 teams is just right.  Iowa State AD Jamie Pollard – the chairman of the Big 12′s athletic directors — has been very outspoken at the Big 12 meetings regarding his league’s desire to stand pat:

 

“We think we’re positioned extremely well.  I don’t think there is anything that has transpired that would (make) us talk about that anytime in the near future.  At the same time I think it’s important to say our heads aren’t buried in the sand…

We appreciate the position we’re in by not having a championship game.  Our champion can get (to a playoff) with one less game.  It’s a good position to be in.

The first time somebody’s best team gets knocked out of a four-team playoff because they lost their championship game to a 7-5 team or 8-4 team, we’ll see how long they want to keep a championship game,”

 

That makes perfect sense.  For now.  But if a new playoff drives big name schools to start banging on the door begging for entry into the Big 12, expect Pollard and his cronies to reverse field quicker than Barry Sanders.

That said, it should be clear at this point that there was never any done deal to bring Florida State, Clemson or anyone else to the Big 12.  That still might happen, but reports of a completed agreement with buyouts already drawn up were nothing more than conjecture.

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SEC Headlines – 5/31/12

1.  When the SEC and Big 12 announced their bowl partnership two weeks ago, it was only a matter of time before Chuck Neinas league sided with the SEC on a playoff format featuring the four best teams in the country, too.

2.  After beating up on everyone else, this writer says SEC coaches are now beating up on one another.

3.  Arkansas’ John L. Smith wants to be more than an interim coach in Fayetteville.

4.  It sounds like the Razorbacks really will be getting some new football uniforms this year.

5.  Folks in Oxford believe Hugh Freeze is building Ole Miss football the right way.

6.  Florida basketballer Will Yeguete is fully recovered from a fractured foot.

7.  Billy Donovan expects one-and-done Gator Bradley Beal to be a top six pick in the NBA draft.

8.  Georgia’s AD and coach say even if the league went to a nine-game football schedule, the Georgia Tech game would remain on the Dawgs’ schedule.  (Finally, someone in the SEC showing some guts today.)

9.  The New Orleans Hornets won the NBA draft lottery last night… and the rights to take Kentucky’s Anthony Davis.

10.  The transfer of Damontre Harris from South Carolina to Florida is finally official (even though everyone’s been talking about it for days).

11.  Tennessee AD Dave Hart isn’t commenting on a string of burglaries at the Vols’ athletic dorm.

12.  Florida’s Donovan says “on paper,” the basketball Vols are “the best team in this league going into this season.”  (Has he seen Kentucky’s roster?)

13.  Season-ticket sales at Missouri “are as high as they’ve ever been in our history.”

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LSU’s Miles Believes The Big 12 Will Expand

Earlier today we linked you to a story in which interim Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas asked why no one believes him when he says his league isn’t looking to expand.  Well, maybe he can ask Les Miles because LSU’s coach clearly doesn’t believe him.

According to Matt Hayes of The Sporting News:

 

 

 

Does that mean Miles is right and the Big 12 will definitely expand?  Of course not.  What it means is that like so many of the rest of us, Miles does seem to see the proverbial writing on the wall.

At this point, most people would be surprised if the Big 12 didn’t add at least two new schools with one of those being Florida State.

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Welcome To The Big 12: TCU Drug Bust Nets Some Footballers

For the past few months, Big 12 officials have been trying to convince the world that they’d actually improved their league by replacing Texas A&M and Missouri (major combined media markets and AAU-member schools) with TCU and West Virginia respectively.  Wonder how happy interim commish Chuck Neinas is today with the news that a major drug bust has resulted in the arrests of 17 students and our Horned Frog football players at Texas Christian?

The six-month sting operation caught students selling marijuana, cocaine, Ecstasy and prescription drugs.  Yikes.

Ultimately, we’re talking about four members of an 85-man football squad.  It’s 17 students on a campus of 9,500-plus.  And to be honest, this kind of thing could have happened at any institution… including Mizzou, A&M or any other SEC school.

But it didn’t.  It happened at TCU.  It happened on the campus of the Big 12′s shiny, new toy.  It happened at the school that’s supposed to be the perfect replacement — the perfect upgrade! — to Texas A&M.

Nope.  Neinas probably isn’t too pleased to see this story in the day’s news cycle.  Not at all.

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Slive Expects Changes To BCS System

Speaking with Tony Barnhart on his CBS Sports Network show, SEC commissioner Mike Slive said that he believes change — in some form — is coming to the BCS system:


“I do think we are gonna see changes.  And I don’t think those changes will be tweaks — that’s the term that we always use.  I think there will be changes.  We’re gonna begin to focus in on all these issues over the next six to nine months with the idea that — no holds barred — that we need to take a look at the entire structure and see what kind of changes need to be made.”


Slive also said that he believes the plus-one idea that he once put forth will once again be discussed, stating that “the climate has changed to some degree.”

You can watch the full clip here:




We noted on the morning after the Alabama-LSU rematch was announced that we believed a plus-one format would likely begin to gain traction in conferences that had — to that point — not favored such a plan.

Not long after our post on that topic, Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas confirmed our suspicions by saying that he was in favor of a plus-one format getting some discussion.

Now Mike Slive states that he believes he’ll have a lot more support for a plus-one when the BCS commissioners talk about matters in the coming months.

We continue to feel that there’s enough money on the table, enough hollering from the media, and enough dissatisfaction among conference commissioners to finally push through the closest thing to a college football playoff we’ll likely ever see.  (Just be sure to call it a plus-one and not a “playoff.”)

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A Quick Dose Of Friday Missouri News

And still we wait.

With Missouri trying to extricate itself from the Big 12 as painlessly as possible, those in the SEC are believed to be sitting back, waiting, and planning for what could be a 13- or 14-school athletic season in 2012-13.

The ball is in the court of the Big 12 and Mizzou.  It’s likely for that reason that talk of expansion and Missouri has cooled in SEC circles.  Not cooled in a negative way toward the Tigers, just cooled because there’s really nothing new to say.

Any leaks on the MU-Big 12 breakup are likely to come from the Show-Me-State of the state of Texas at this point.  So what’s being said to the west?

1.  Blair Kerkhoff of The Kansas City Star writes that Missouri will have to become “more NFL-like” if/when it lands in the Southeastern Conference.  The writer believes that the Tigers will need to get more defensive in their approach.

“To me, proof positive came in the national title game for the 2008 season.  Oklahoma, which had scored 60 points in each of its final five regular-season games, mustered 14 in a 10-point loss to Florida.

Strong defense and power running games win the SEC.  This is not Missouri’s modus operandi.”

There’s one notable exception to that rule.  Arkansas.  Bobby Petrino’s spread offense is a pass-first attack with a complimentary ground game.  And no one will confuse one of his Razorback defenses to date with the ’85 Bears.

As we’ve pointed out here before, if Gary Pinkel’s system can help 3-star players play like 4- and 5-star players — as is the case with Petrino’s — then Mizzou might be just fine as a passing-centric spread team.

(Sidenote — Tommy Tuberville — now at Texas Tech — tells Kerkhoff that the Big 12 has better quarterbacks and receivers, but the SEC has better linebackers.)

2.  Jeff Gordon of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that the Tigers will have to recruit better, expand their football stadium from 70,000 to 85,000, and “boost the size of its fan base by another 25% or so” in order to compete in the SEC.

3.  Vahe Gregorian — also of The Post-Dispatch — sums up the current wait in a short, poorly headlined post.  “Mizzou still awaits word from the SEC,” is the title to the piece, implying that Mike Slive’s league has teased MU to the point of leaving the Big 12 without giving them a final go-ahead.

The actual piece just breaks down where things appear to stand at the moment.

“… the crux is Mizzou wanting to leave for 2012 with no legal complications and minimal exit fees, and that cause may be helped by the conference indicating it plans to be without Missouri and interim Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas’ spoken stance that it would be “viable” without Mizzou.

Yet, the withdrawal perhaps is complicated by the Big East intending to jam West Virginia for 27 months after notice, per Big East bylaws.”

We continue to hear that the Big 12 is playing hardball and refusing to do much negotiating when it comes to Missouri’s exit fee which is believed to be — on paper — between $26-30 million dollars.

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SEC Headlines – 11/2/11 Part One

1.  Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas says he fully expects West Virginia to be in his league in 2012.  He also said his league can work with 11 teams next fall if Missouri stays.

2.  Florida and Vanderbilt battling for… bowl eligibility.  (Ever think you’d see that?)

3.  Injuries continue to haunt the Gators.

4.  Georgia’s kick coverage unit needs some fixing.

5.  Once reliable kicker Blair Walsh could use some help, too.

6.  Receiver Matt Roark’s big night against MSU (13 catches for 116 yards) helped restore his confidence.

7.  John Calipari wants his team to be physical and play good defense in tonight’s exhibition opener against tiny Transylvania.  (Shouldn’t that game have been scheduled for Halloween?)

8.  South Carolina will need to get pressure on Arkansas’ Tyler Wilson this weekend.

9.  Here’s an odd fact: Carolina is 7-1 and ranked in the BCS Top 10… but the Gamecocks have not scored first in a single game this season.

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SEC Headlines 10/29/2011 Part Two

1. Never to early to start getting ready for LSU-Alabama.  At the Rama Jama restaurant, they’ll start stocking up on supplies Monday.

2. How are Alabama players spending this Saturday? Taking it easy.

3. Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Florida in the Top10 preseason basketball rankings. More here.

4. Basketball practice or hockey? Cuonzo Martin’s “Get Tough” campaign.

5. “The divorce papers between Missouri and the Big 12 remain unsigned.”

6. “Right now, we have our house in order,” said Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas.

7. Game 7 of the World Series could be why Missouri stayed mum on Friday.

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No Word On A Mizzou Move At Big 12 Meeting

The Big 12 board of directors meeting has come and gone but it appears there was no news regarding the Missouri Tigers.  In fact, Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas told The Kansas City Star that MU did not withdraw from the league nor did it notify the league that it plans to do so.

PowerMizzou.com – the rivals site covering Missouri — writes that their writers “had been told my multiple sources that Missouri planned to present a conditional withdrawal from the Big 12 Conference on Monday.  At this point in time, it appears that did not occur.”

The Big 12 put out a statement that included the following line:  “Additionally, a strong desire for the University of Missouri to maintain its Big 12 affiliation was expressed.”  That’s for the University of Missouri, not by the University of Missouri.

We — like just about everybody else at this point — still believe that Missouri will move to the SEC by the end of the week.  But as is the case with anything involving politics and money… never say never.

Clearly, Missouri and the SEC are taking their time on what Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin called a 100-year decision.  They won’t rush into something just because and fans and media are tired of waiting.

That said, the MU administration whiffed so badly in the PR game last summer — publicly angling for a Big Ten invite only to be passed over for Nebraska — that Tiger fans are no doubt growing very weary of the school’s leadership.

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Missouri To The SEC “Inevitable And Imminent”

Last summer, when rumors swirled that the SEC was talking to Oklahoma and Texas A&M, many fans bemoaned the fact that the SEC might just become too tough to survive.  This fall, as rumors have heated up that Missouri will fill the slot once set aside for OU, many fans are bemoaning the fact that the SEC might be adding a team that they perceive to be a cupcake.

Mike Slive just can’t win.  (Aside from his bank account, of course.)

Well, it looks like those people who feel Mizzou isn’t good enough, isn’t Southern enough, or just isn’t something enough had better grab their crying towels ’cause all signs point to a Missouri-SEC marriage.  Soon.

 

1.  The New York Times reported late last night that “a university official with direct knowledge of the situation” called MU’s decision to apply for SEC membership “inevitable and imminent.”  The source said that Missouri expects “no problems” when it comes to gathering enough votes to enter the league.

That likely means that Missouri will be slotted in the SEC’s East Division.  Alabama — and it’s believed Tennessee — would not okay a Missouri application unless their Third Saturday in October rivalry were saved.  Either Bama — and Tennessee? and others? — will be outvoted or the league has assured everyone that Mizzou will go East.  Originally, it looked as though Auburn would move to the East and Missouri would stay in a more natural West alignment.

Reports from the Show-Me State have said that Missouri has no real preference in the matter, which we find surprising.  It would make sense for Missouri to land in the West in order to fire up a new rivalry with Arkansas and to keep a Big 12 rivalry alive with Texas A&M… which would also allow the Tigers to continue to recruit the state of Texas heavily.  The Tigers’ football success in recent years has been fueled by a Gary Pinkel-created Lonestar State pipeline.  If the Tigers land in the East, they will have to recruit Florida and Georgia more often.  (We assume that Arkansas would be made the Tigers’ permanent cross-divisional rival.)

Surprisingly, a quick look at the map shows that Missouri really isn’t that much farther from East Division schools than it is from those in the West.

 

2.  Orangebloods.com – the Rivals site covering Texas — reported Monday that three sources “close to the situation” have told that site that the Tigers are ready to depart the Big 12 for the SEC.  Orangebloods’ sources have said that MU may try to join the SEC for 2012-2013 rather than wait an extra year as interim Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas suggested last week.

Neinas’ comments regarding a 2013-14 departure for Mizzou were viewed by this site as nothing more than posturing.  If the Tigers go, the Big 12 will try to hit them with a sizable exit fee.  The best way to drive that penalty up is to claim that Missouri is somehow doing more damage to the league by leaving with such short notice.  Of course, the Tigers are likely to announce their plans only about a month after Texas A&M announced their own exit.  (Ironically, if Missouri announces a move on Thursday, it will have been 16 days from the time the school granted chancellor Brady Deaton the power to look around to the day MU makes an announcement of departure.  A&M also took 16 days to complete that exact same route.)

If Missouri joins the SEC — and we expect it will — we believe the Tigers will do so next summer along with Texas A&M.

 

3.  We mentioned Thursday above because The Kansas City Star reported last night that that day may be D-Day for the Tigers.  Yesterday, the school’s board of curators released an agenda calling for a closed executive session at 3:35pm on Thursday.

 

4.  On person not interested in all this expansion talk is Nick Saban.  Asked Monday about the possible end of the Alabama-Tennessee rivalry, Saban didn’t hold back.  ”Now we’re worrying about playing Missouri rather than Tennessee some time down the road.  I could give a s— about all that, excuse my French.  I mean, come on, let’s talk about (this week’s) game.  What year are we talking about when we’re not gonna play Tennessee — 2025?  I’m just hoping I can still go to the lake then, still walk around and go on a pontoon boat ride.”

The Birmingham News has video of the exchange right here.

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