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Missouri’s Pinkel Not Happy With Contract Talks For His Assistants

gfx - they said itHow’s this for a turnaround?  This time a year ago many a Missouri alum was thinking it was time for head coach Gary Pinkel to hit the bricks.  One 12-2 season, SEC East title and Cotton Bowl title later have changed things considerably in Columbia.  Now the head coach is secure enough to let it be known that he’s not happy with how long it’s taking MU to re-work the contracts of his assistant coaches.

Mizzou AD Mike Alden had said that Pinkel and crew might land raises after 2013′s surprising top 10 finish.  Asked about the contract situation last week, Pinkel said:

 

“It’s a slow process.  We’re disappointed to this point, but we’ll see where it goes.”

 

Most coaches don’t make those kinds of statements, folks.  This shows that Pinkel feels he’s standing on terra firma these days… as he should be.  Honestly, it was silly for Pinkel to have been put on any kind of a hot seat following an injury-plagued 2012 anyway.  Especially considering the fact that he’d already turned the Mizzou program from a trash heap to a top 25 contender every year.

Ah, but no one likes complainers.  And you can bet that Alden would have preferred his coach not use the word “disappointed” to discuss the ongoing contract talks between the school and its coaches.

Pinkel had a big year and he should have some goodwill.  He and his coaches should be rewarded, too, as that’s pretty much how the game is played these days.  But the coach should also be careful not to quickly use up the equity the Tigers’ impressive 2013 campaign has afforded him.

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SEC Bowl Projections 12/8/2013

stacks-of-bowls1-150x138With Auburn’s victory over Missouri Saturday, the Tigers appear headed to Pasadena to face Florida State in the BCS title game.  Where are the likely destinations for the rest of the bowl-eligible SEC teams?  Here’s a roundup of the projections. Bowl selections will be revealed tonight on ESPN.

1. Alabama: Sugar Bowl with Oklahoma a likely opponent.

2. Missouri: Capital One, Outback or Cotton. Jerry Palm says Cotton Bowl with Oklahoma State a likely opponent.

3. South Carolina: Capital One or Cotton.  Outback Bowl unlikely since Gamecocks played there last year and four times since 2001.

4. Texas A&M. Likely headed to Atlanta to play in Chik-fil-A Bowl. Outback also a possibility.

5. LSU: Cotton or Outback most likely.  If Missouri ends up in Cotton Bowl, LSU could go to Outback or Gator Bowl.

6. Georgia: Chik-fil-A or Gator.  Decision may hinge on what the Outback Bowl does.

7. Ole Miss: Music City Bowl in Nashville a likely destination.

8. Mississippi State.  Liberty Bowl or  BBVA Compass Bowl. Report this week indicated Liberty Bowl was likely.  

9. Vanderbilt: If Mississippi State goes to Liberty, Commodores likely headed to BBVAA Compass Bowl.

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A&M Flip-Flops Again On Value Of Manziel’s Heisman

Follow-UpOn November 1st, Bloomberg.com posted a story concerning the overall monetary value of Johnny Manziel’s Heisman win to Texas A&M University.  In it, the school claimed the award had brought in only about $20,000.  Several A&M officials made it clear in the report that Manziel’s win meant little in terms of sponsorship money, broadcast deals, ticket purchases, building campaigns, and even merchandise sales.

Yesterday, on November 4th, we pointed out the nonsense of those claims.  We also showed you that A&M had launched a post-Heisman campaign to cash in on Manziel’s win.  We showed you a number of Heisman-related items available for sale at Texas A&M’s official online store.  We also stated that it’s our belief A&M was trying to duck claims — correct claims — that it had profited from its player winning the trophy.  Obviously, all schools benefit from such exposure.

Today, on November 5th, Brent Zwerneman of The Houston Chronicle decided to dig into the exact same story from the exact same angle.  He basically recounts all of the things that we pointed out yesterday.  Like us, he even included a link to the original Bloomberg.com story.  Now, Zwerneman — whose work we link to all the time — didn’t feel the need to point out that another site — ours — had been the first to make these points or to ask these questions, but, hey, we get that a lot.  We drive business to other sites via links.  They refuse to return the favor.  Now we could be petty and call someone out for this — oh, wait, whoops — but instead we’ll link you right to The Chronicle’s piece… because Zwerneman’s done a good job of advancing the story.

Zwerneman writes that “based in part on a fan outcry that the athletic department suddenly seemed to be downplaying Manziel’s financial impact on the school,” — what could have caused a fan outcry yesterday? — A&M PR man Jason Cook went to the fan website TexAgs.com — look, a link for them, too — and posted the following comments in the messageboard area:

 

“Foremost, this story was not a result of a press release or any behind-the-scenes strategy.  The reporter contacted us over six weeks ago with a thesis that Texas A&M is ‘making millions’ off Johnny Manziel.  As our fans know well, we are in the middle of a perfect storm in which many things — SEC move, Coach (Kevin) Sumlin, Johnny, the Texas economy, enrollment growth, law school — have all come together to elevate the Texas A&M brand.  Johnny has certainly been a major component and catalyst of our tremendous growth… No one denies this fact.”

 

Actually, the quotes from the Bloomberg.com story looked a lot like denials, but we’ll tackle that in a minute.  Cook continued:

 

“The reporter asked us for all kinds of data — licensing, football ticket sales, donations, media valuations, etc — which we provided.  We tried to communicate to the reporter that with so much change happening at one time, it’s hard to attribute our growth to any one factor.  Many factors are all working together.

Several weeks went by and the reporter asked me about the infamous (courtesy of the Darren Rovell tweets) football fundraiser dinner in which a donor paid $20k to sit at Johnny’s table.  I explained the situation to the reporter, particularly that we had many football players who were sitting with donors that evening under the same pretenses.  These dinners are quite commonplace in college athletics.  As you read in the article, that $20k was entirely misrepresented.  We all know that Johnny’s impact has truly been immeasurable.”

 

Well, not completely immeasurable.  As Zwerneman points out — links for everyone! – in January the school put a value of $37 million on the media exposure Manziel’s Heisman would bring to A&M.

Read the rest of this entry »

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MSU’s Mullen Finally Asked About Egg Bowl Rivalry; Handles It Well

MSU MEDIA DAYSKudos to Tom Murphy of The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for asking the toughie that we’ve all been waiting for.  Murphy asked Dan Mullen about “the in-state dynamic” created by Ole Miss’ current momentum.

Mullen smiled and responded:

 

“I think it’s sparking the rivalry even more.  I think it’s gonna make Thanksgiving night an even bigger game. 

When I got hired the other school in our state they had gone to the Cotton Bowl and won the Cotton Bowl.  And we came up from a team that wasn’t doing very well and won a couple in a row (against Ole Miss) and now we’ve been going to the New Year’s Day bowl games the last couple of years.  And now they come up and they’re starting to create some stir.

Certainly when you go around the state of Mississippi it will make Thanksgiving night this fall a pretty important day throughout the whole state.  Not just an important day in the state of Mississippi, I think it’s gonna draw a lot more attention to it nationally.  How important that rivalry is and how big that rivalry is to everybody in our state.”

 

Mullen’s answer was as good as Murphy’s question.  No coach likes having to say good things about their rival and Mullen doesn’t even like saying his rival school’s name.  But he still credited Ole Miss for creating “some stir” and then he wisely took the opportunity to push the Egg Bowl rivalry which, in turn, pushes his own program.

A younger Mullen might not have handled that question quite so well.  But there were no barbs or suckerpunches.  Just a good answer from a guy with a smile on his face.

Credit to Murphy for the question.  Credit to Mullen for his answer.

Watch video of Dan Mullen at SEC Media Days.

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Florida’s Bowl Costs Show Why Major Conferences Are Changing The System

empty_pocketsWhen the SEC and Big XII announced that they would be partnering up to create their own new “Champions Bowl,” it marked a new day in the history of college football’s bowl system.  A good day for conferences and schools.  A bad day for bowl games.

Eventually, the Sugar Bowl beat out the Cotton Bowl to become the “Champions Bowl” (which will first be played in 2014).  The top teams from the SEC and Big XII not already in the College Football Playoff will meet in New Orleans.  For the first time, the vast majority of revenue from a bowl game will go to the leagues, not the game.

More conferences are now mulling whether or not to create their own games or — as the SEC and Big XII have done in New Orleans — partially take over an existing one.  So why make such a massive shift in the college football bowl structure?  Just look to this past year’s Sugar Bowl.

In January an 11-1 Florida team was invited to New Orleans to play Louisville.  The Gators appeared no more excited about facing the Cardinals than their fans did about watching that game.  Louisville won the contest.  Few UF fans showed up in the Superdome to witness it.

Florida sold fewer than 7,000 of the 17,500 tickets that were allotted to the school.  “Allotted” is an interesting word when it comes to bowl talk.  While it sounds like a gift of some sort, the reality is that Florida was on the hook to buy each of those 17,500 tickets.  Meaning the school had to eat about 10,000 tickets.  And that played a large role in Florida losing $840,000 for its trip to last season’s Sugar Bowl.

Some reward.

As it negotiates new contracts with all of its existing bowl partners — and potential new bowl partners — the SEC is pushing for lower ticket guarantees.  That change has already been built into the new playoff.  The major bowls in the College Football Playoff will require only 12,500 tickets to be sold rather than the 17,500 required by the Sugar Bowl.

Once the new SEC/Big XII co-owned Sugar Bowl launches after next season, the leagues will have a working model to represent their vision a new conference-bowl relationship.  That will give the biggest conferences even more leverage over the bowls and — if the game’s a money-maker — even more incentive to rejigger the entire college football bowl system.

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Ready For The First “College Football Playoff” Title Game At Cowboys Stadium?

cfb playoff logosThe FBS presidents have decided on a name for their new college football playoff — the College Football Playoff.  No, that’s not the most imaginative name in the world, but if the product is something everyone wants there’s no need for a flashy name.  And just about every college football fan in America has wanted a College Football Playoff at one time or another.

The powers-that-be have also decided on the site of the first title game — Arlington, Texas’ Cowboys Stadium.  Sources reported to ESPN that Tampa actually put together a better than expected bid before losing out to Jerry Jones’ palace.  “It was closer than a lot of people thought it would be.”

You can actually vote for the new playoff logo — and they’re also rather bland — at CollegeFootballPlayoff.com.  (For some reason, the logo that looks like a throwing star ranks ahead of the classier, Logo #2.)

More info leaking from the FBS presidents’ meeting in Pasadena:

 

*  The six bowls making up the playoff rotation will be: the Rose Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, the Orange Bowl, the Fiesta Bowl, the Chick-fil-A Bowl (welcome to the big time), and the Cotton Bowl.

*  No city will host the title game and a semifinal in the same year, so the Cotton Bowl won’t host a semifinal game in the first year of the playoff’s existence (the 2014 season).

*  The semifinal rotation will progress as follows: Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl (January 1st, 2015), Orange Bowl and Cotton Bowl (December 31st, 2015), Fiesta Bowl and Chick-fil-A Bowl (January 1st, 2016), rinse, wash and repeat in that order through the 2026 playoffs.

*  The title games will all be played on Mondays — January 12th, 2015, January 11th, 2016, January 9th, 2017, and so on.

*  In the years the Orange Bowl (ACC versus highest-ranked SEC/Big Ten/Notre Dame), Rose Bowl (Big Ten versus Pac-12) and Sugar Bowl (SEC versus Big XII) are not part of the semifinal rotation, they will get the highest ranked team from their existing partners.

*  The playoff selection committee will determine the matchups for the other bowl when they are not part of the rotation.

 

This information is expected to be officially announced today.

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Ex-Hog RB Davis Isn’t Buying Ex-Coaches’ “They Quit” Claims

gfx - they said itOnce ex-Arkansas assistants Bobby Petrino, Paul Haynes, and ex-interim head coach John L. Smith suggested to The Sporting News that some members on the 2012 Razorbacks quit, it was only a matter of time before one of those players responded.  Ex-Razorback running back Knile Davis — a player named as a potential quitter by the story’s author – took to Twitter with these comments:

 

“The same guys who sacrificed their time and freedom.  The same guys who gave their blood sweat and tears for that hog on the side of that helmet.  The same guys who skipped an opportunity of a life time by not entering the draft and came back knowing the risk.  The same guys that battled to get a win in the liberty bowl in the freezing cold.  The same guys that battled to get the schools first BCS birth in the Sugar Bowl.  The same guys that fought and won the Cotton Bowl.  These same guys quit on one of the most anticipated seasons in Arkansas history?!  I don’t think so.  Not these guys.  Not my guys.  #HAWG 4 LIFE”

 

For guys like Davis who are working to improve their draft stock, the ex-coaches’ comments couldn’t have come at a worse time.  Davis won’t just be asked by NFL scouts about his rehabbed foot.  He’ll also be asked about his heart.

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“Out Of Jail” And “Off Twitter”: OU DC Mike Stoops Offers Advice To Johnny Manziel, Then Apologizes

gfx - they said itFrom gratuitous insult to late-night apology, the age of instant media was on full display Friday.

It started on an Oklahoma City sports talk show where Sooners defensive coordinator Mike Stoops was the guest.  Stoops had some glowing comments for Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and his performance in the Aggies 41-13 Cotton Bowl victory. “I’ve seen a lot of football players play a lot of different styles with guys, but never seen anything like that in my whole life.”

But Stoops decided to ratchet things up  a notch and that’s where it got interesting.

 

“They’re gonna be tough to deal with. If they can keep him out of jail or keep him eligible, he’s gonna be pretty good.

“If they can keep him off the Twitter, he might win three or four Heismans. He’ll have that type of ability.”

 

As expected, the twittersphere/blogosphere exploded and the comments went viral. Stoops comments alluded to  an incident over the summer where Manziel was charged with disorderly conduct and having a fake drivers license and some photos on his Twitter account where Manziel hasn’t been shy about celebrating the good life in the wake of his Heisman Trophy win.

News of Stoops’ comments apparently made its way to Manziel who posted a picture and a note on Twitter:

 

“Great visit to the hospital today in Connecticut made a ton of new friends. Hopefully this picture passes compliance..”

 

By late night Friday night, Stoops was backtracking. Through an OU spokesman, Stoops wanted everyone to know he had the “utmost respect for Texas A&M and Johnny Manziel.”

Manziel, it should be noted, had 516 total yards against Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl, including an FBS bowl record 229 rushing yards.

You can listen to a podcast of the interview here.  The part about Manziel is at the end.

 

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SEC Headlines – 1/7/13

headlines-monBCS Title Game

1.  Will the weather play a role in tonight’s Alabama-Notre Dame showdown?

2.  Brent Musberger says “Tide versus Irish” is “the ultimate matchup in college football.”

3.  Tonight’s game could make for record television ratings.  (We bet it will.)

4.  This writer doesn’t believe Notre Dame’s destiny is any match for Bama’s dynasty.

5.  More experts weigh in with their picks.

6.  Bama is the biggest BCS title game favorite in a decade.

7.  Brian Kelly and Nick Saban want their teams to seize the day.

Football

8.  LSU could be losing as many as eight juniors early to the NFL.

9.  Ole Miss has some post-bowl-victory momentum heading into 2013, but quarterback Bo Wallace will have shoulder surgery this week.

10.  Texas A&M assistant Clarence McKinney made a good case for becoming the Aggies’ offensive coordinator with his Cotton Bowl play-calling.

11.  Florida’s depth takes a hit as quarterback Jacoby Brissett decides to transfer.

12.  Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray will return for his senior season in Athens.  (No surprise: Mark Richt is pleased.)

13.  Chris Wilson is leaving Mississippi State’s staff to become UGA’s new defensive line coach.

14.  Record-setting receiver Jordan Matthews will return to Vanderbilt for his senior season.

Basketball

15.  Meet the SEC’s Players of the Week.

16.  Banged up Auburn is getting ready to face healthy LSU in hoops.

17.  Rick Ray says his Mississippi State team is headed in the right direction.

18.  Florida’s Kenny Boynton had a breakout game against Yale yesterday.

19.  Tennessee’s Jeronne Maymon will officially miss the entire 2012-13 season with a medical redshirt.

Extras

20.  Mike Slive wants the value of scholarships reviewed (so the SEC and the other big conferences can start offering full-cost-of-tuition schollys).

21.  A Cleveland sportscaster still believes Saban’s name is running through the mind of the Browns’ new owner.

22.  Get ready for the bowl schedule to change when the new college football playoff launches in 2014.

 

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Cotton Bowl Domination; Johnny Manziel And Texas A&M Crush Oklahoma

postgame-linksTexas A&M 41 – Oklahoma 13

1. Johnny Manziel rushes for 229 yards – an FCS record for a quarterback in a bowl game. Aggies set Cotton Bowl record with 633 total yards.

2. “Manziel made the Heisman jinx look like a silly concept.”

3. Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops on Manziel: “Best player I’ve ever played.”

4. Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops: “Johnny Manziel is everything he was billed to be.”

5. Oklahoma writer: “Thank God for conference realignment.”

6. Fort-Worth Star Telegram Writer: “The Sooners had talked before this Cotton Bowl about “making it personal” and debunking the alleged myth of SEC superiority. They failed miserably.”

7. Aggies finish the season with over 7,000 yards of offense - Manziel over 5,000.

8. Complete video highlights of the game can be found here. A special Johnny Manziel highlight reel is below.

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