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Big East Has Talked To BYU, Fresno State, And UNLV

According to CBSSports.com’s Dennis Dodd, new Big East commissioner Mike Aresco has either reached out to or had informal conversations with BYU (football independent), Fresno State (MWC), and UNLV (MWC).  The league and schools have spoken about bringing their football programs to that revolving door of a conference.

In theory, the Big East will have 13 schools playing football by 2015.  Barring more changes — ha! — the league’s football roster will include Connecticut, Memphis, South Florida, SMU, Cincinnati, Temple, San Diego State, UCF, East Carolina, Houston, Boise State, Tulane and Navy.

The Big East’s schools are all looking to move up the food chain and make more money.  The league itself is trying to hold on as a football conference because that sport is what drives television revenue.  But it’s hard to hold on as a league when everyone in the league is either new, looking to get out, or — remarkably — both.

Poor Aresco.  When he accepted the role of Big East commissioner in August he might as well have been taking the wheel from Titanic’s captain Edward Smith.  No one’s had more reason to cry since this guy:

 

The Crying Indian – full commercial – Keep America Beautiful

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Tight End Clear Commits To Texas A&M

Arizona Western Community College tight end Cameron Clear has committed to Texas A&M.

Arizona Western coach Tom Minnick confirmed the commitment to ESPN RecruitingNation.

“He’s an SEC kid,” Minnick said. “He’s a big, physical, good-looking kid that everybody wanted. He did a great job for us blocking and we use our tight ends a ton.”

Clear played in 12 games for Tennessee as a freshman in 2011 before he was dismissed from the team in May following an arrest on a felony theft charge. Clear pleaded guilty to an amended charge of misdemeanor theft in July.

Clear chose Texas A&M over offers from Kentucky, Mississippi State, Oklahoma and San Diego State.

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Tyler’s Take: The Road To 72

Tyler B.

With the Big-12 vs. SEC bowl game starting in 2014 it’s clear Mike Slive, President of College Football, decided to use his middle finger to draw a line in the embarrassingly messy sandbox of college football to let everyone know he will indeed draw when his hand is forced. And after Slive appointed Chuck Neinas as his Vice President, ironically, an “enemy” of his less than a year ago, he ensured this summer and beyond  will feel like a nuclear winter for certain conferences and about a third of all existing FBS football schools. An even bigger issue, without a streamlined version of college football in place when the BCS contract expires could the NCAA be the next superpower left out in the cold?

You mean… college football completely divorces itself from the NCAA? Absolutely.

1)      Conference expansion.

2)      Conference title games.

3)      Birth of the BCS.

4)      Billion-dollar TV contracts.

5)      Conference realignment that makes no sense.

The last 20 years has given us plenty of evidence about where this sport has been heading, so it’s almost comical that the NCAA is going to get caught with their pants down on this issue. I mean they might as well wake up one morning and chant “ICEBERG DEAD AHEAD!” right before college football as we know changes forever.

The absence of NCAA leadership during a time period when college football has grown exponentially has proven that nobody in Indianapolis is remotely capable of captaining a ship this size. The NCAA is fantastic at monitoring a few insignificant and impermissible phone calls to teenage recruits in the off-season, but clearly not at running a billion-dollar industry. And in its defense nor should it.

Doesn’t COMPANY XZY (the winning bidder) that will govern college football with departments specializing in finance, consulting, management and common sense sound like a better alternative than the NCAA? It does to me.

When it comes to the creation of super conferences I have two questions:

1)      How long will it take?  I believe football super conferences will be announced within 18 months, however, this date is moving because the fluidity of the FSU situation.  But with now with the Big-12/SEC partnership, does it even matter what FSU does? FSU leaving for the Big-12 today would be just like leaving for the SEC in just a few short years.

 

2)      Will the NCAA be a part of the super conference? I say it’s 80/20 the NCAA remains in charge, but just the threat of losing college football has to scare the NCAA enough to take/talk action.

 

Will someone make copies of the current NCAA rule book and sell it to the highest bidder – a private company – so they can run the sport? What can the NCAA do if JP Morgan wants to partner up Deloitte and a few other companies to buy college football? They bypass the NCAA and meet with the AD’s of the five major football conferences to buy and run college football. How hard is that? And with a private company running college football how much political red tape would be removed the second the contract is signed?

The NCAA losing college football is a far-fetched idea I understand, but business is business and a billion-dollar industry doesn’t go unnoticed on Wall Street. And as each year passes the bottom line becomes more and more important than coaches, players and teams. Does this sound any different than a Fortune 500 company?

Something to think about: Does the NCAA hand out scholarships? Is the BCS title the same as the NCAA title? From the most simplistic view, what does the NCAA do besides govern when it comes to college football?

So now onto the Super Conferences… What I wrote below is pretty much identical to the article I posted on this very site back in August. Only now it makes a lot more sense.

What does a season look like with FBS 72 teams?

  • Four 18-team conferences, each with two divisions of nine.
  • 12 regular season games.
  • Every team in the division is played.
  • Three rotating teams from the opposite division (home and home two-year series).
  • One out of conference game is played and it’s a conference vs. conference challenge.
  • Divisional winners play title conference games.
  • NCAA tournament is created with 8 teams — Title game winners of the four conferences and four at-large teams selected by rankings.
  • Highest seeds host first and second round games.
  • Title game location goes to the highest bidder.
  • Any team with a winning record is eligible for a bowl game bid against any bowl eligible team.

How do we get to 72?

Step 1: If a team didn’t average more than 30,000 fans for home games it doesn’t deserve to play with the big boys. End of story. I removed several BCS schools and Independents:  Washington State (24,000), Army, Navy, Duke (23,000), and Iowa State. But feel free to swap “borderline” teams that did/didn’t make the cut: Navy (32,653), Army (31,667), UCF (39,314), East Carolina (49,665), San Diego State (34,133), UTEP (29,350), Houston (31,100), and So. Miss. (29,400).

Step 2: Schools that don’t make the cut are “demoted” to the FCS. (There will be revenue sharing from the new league of 72 schools to help those schools who got cut.) These new FCS schools realign in a shocking fashion… by sitting down at a table and looking at a map. Either that or they shut down their football program.

Who goes where?

ATLANTIC #1

1)      North Carolina

2)      N.C. State

3)      Wake Forest

4)      East Carolina

5)      Virginia

6)      Virginia Tech

7)      Vanderbilt

8)      Tennessee

9)      West Virginia

ATLANTIC #2

1)      UCONN

2)      Boston College

3)      Maryland

4)      Syracuse

5)      Rutgers

6)      Penn State

7)      Pittsburg

8)      Cincinnati

9)      Louisville

SOUTH #1

1)      Miami

2)      Florida

3)      Florida State

4)      South Florida

5)      Georgia

6)      Georgia Tech

7)      Clemson

8)      South Carolina

9)      Kentucky

SOUTH #2             

1)      Alabama

2)      Auburn

3)      Ole Miss

4)      Miss. State

5)      LSU

6)      Arkansas

7)      Oklahoma

8)      Oklahoma State

9)      Missouri

MIDWEST #1

1)      Notre Dame

2)      Purdue

3)      Illinois

4)      Northwestern

5)      Ohio State

6)      Michigan

7)      Michigan State

8)      Minnesota

9)      Wisconsin

MIDWEST #2

1)      Iowa

2)      Indiana

3)      Kansas

4)      Kansas State

5)      Nebraska

6)      Texas

7)      Texas A&M

8)      Baylor

9)      TCU

WEST #1

1)      Colorado

2)      Air Force

3)      BYU

4)      Utah

5)      Arizona

6)      Arizona State

7)      USC

8)      UCLA

9)      Stanford

WEST #2

1)      Cal

2)      Utah

3)      Oregon

4)      Oregon State

5)      Washington

6)      Hawaii

7)      Texas Tech

8)      Boise State

9)      Fresno State

Will this happen? I think college football will look something similar to this within a decade. Either way, during the past two years there has been no better place in the sports world when it comes to college football expansion coverage. I think our John Pennington would write a 1,000 page novel on this in about 24 hours if needed…

Tyler B. works as a communications specialist for a Louisville, Kentucky company.  A lifetime SEC fan – long before it became “acceptable” to cheer for every team in the conference – he plans on writing several books about college football that have a fantastic chance of never being written. 

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Kentucky Writer Notices That Bama’s Counting Saban’s Vacated Wins

And away we go. 

John Clay of The Lexington Herald-Leader has noticed that Alabama’s media guide and official website credit Nick Saban for five wins in 2007 that were actually vacated by the NCAA in 2009 due to a multi-sport text book scandal at the school.

By getting involved in the John Calipari situation, the NCAA has opened itself up to dozens of these types of issues.  While the Michigans and Southern Cals of the world are abiding by NCAA rules, several schools like UMass, San Diego State and — apparently — Alabama are not.

Unless the NCAA wants Kentucky fans and a bevy of anti-NCAA media types blistering the governing body for favoritism, it will have to start sending out letters to Tuscaloosa, Amherst, San Diego and various points in between.

It looks like Calipari’s record can also be referred to as “Pandora’s Box.”  And the NCAA opened it.

Ironically, the vacation of old victories is really a pretty light sentence when you think about it.  Fans don’t like the measure, but it beats the heck out of recruiting restrictions, scholarship limitations or postseason bans.

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It’s All Up To Mallett Now

Last week I wrote on this site and said on various radio stations across the Southeast that Ryan Mallett a) reminded me of Drew Bledsoe and b) would likely be a steal for someone in the draft if his head’s screwed on tightly.  Little did I know Mallett would wind up on Bledsoe’s old team, which also happens to be the one team in sports that I pull for above all others.

And personally I’m happy with New England’s decision to use a third-round pick on the former Arkansas quarterback.  His talent — aside from a very slow pair of feet — should’ve landed him a top 15 type of contract.  Instead, the Patriots got him with a pick they pilfered from Minnesota in last Fall’s surprisingly shrewd Randy Moss deal.  There’s really no potential downside for the Patriots. 

As for Mallett, while the folks back in the Natural State continue to focus on the negative press he’s getting, the QB has his future in his own hands now.  He’s landed in a place where he can carry the clipboard and back up a future Hall of Famer.  He can learn and study and develop and — perhaps — grow up without the pressure associated with being a team’s starter.

If Mallett walks the straight and narrow he should be able to parlay his big arm and his knowledge of the game into a solid professional career.  Think Aaron Rodgers.  The reigning Super Bowl sat behind Hall of Famer Brett Favre patiently for three seasons.  He worked, he studied, he grew.  He didn’t complain.  And he didn’t flake out.  Eventually, he got his own chance to shine.

If Mallett doesn’t keep his nose clean — pun intended — then he could go down in NFL annals as a cross between Ryan Leaf and a 6-foot-7 Eminem.  If he is the first guy out of the film room and the first guy off the practice field every day, he’s more likely to be Kevin O’Connell than Rodgers.

Who’s O’Connell?  He’s the last “heir apparent” to Tom Brady the Pats drafted with a third round pick.  The tall, stout, record-setting quarterback (sound familiar?) from San Diego State was drafted in 2008… and waived in 2009.

Harry King of ArkansasNews.com correctly states the following about New England’s latest third-round QB pick:


Immediately and officially, (Mallett’s) competition to back up Brady includes Brian Hoyer and Jonathan Crompton.  Unofficially, his competition is himself.


Exactly.

Patriots coach and football czar Bill Belichick is already a fan of Mallett’s.  So the quarterback starts his career with a clean slate.  If he keeps it clean and follows the Rodgers’ plan, his draft fall might not be such a bad thing in the long run. 

But if all the long-rumored issues turn out to be more than just rumored issues, he might someday realize that he’s have been better off staying in Fayetteville to do some more growing up.

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Miles-Michigan Rumors Heat Up

The facts: Les Miles met with Michigan officials last night.  That much has been confirmed by LSU officials.  A UM-painted jet landed in Baton Rouge yesterday afternoon and remained on the ground for five hours.  At that point, Michigan AD David Brandon returned to Ann Arbor.  Without Miles.

According to USA Today, LSU AD Joe Alleva met with Miles last night.  “LSU officials are talking with Coach Miles,” said associate AD Herb Vincent.  “They’re trying to keep him.”

Alleva said in a statement: “We continue to work with Coach Miles, and we remain committed to keeping him as the head coach of the LSU football program well into the future.”

The rumor: ESPN’s Joe Schad — who seems to run with a lot of one-source stories — reported that Miles would take the Wolverines’ job if it were offered.  (You might have heard that one a few dozen times during last night’s BCS Championship Game.)

It is still unknown whether or not Miles was offered the Michigan job last night. 

Yesterday he apparently told his players that he would listen to his alma mater out of respect, but he also told two of them, “I’m probably staying.”

“A high-ranking LSU official” told The New Orleans Times-Picayune, “Don’t worry, he’s not leaving.”

Asked by The Shreveport Times if LSU’s negotiations with Miles might kick into another gear — as they did in 2007 when Michigan was an option for the coach — Vincent said, “It’s similar to that.”

Reports indicate that Michigan is holding a team meeting for its squad this afternoon.  Whether or not they will meet their new coach at that meeting is anyone’s guess.

The Times-Picayune reports that LSU is offering to extend Miles’ contract past 2014.  The school is also willing to increase the coach’s buyout should he be let go.  Miles’ buyout — a massive figure once worth in the ballpark of $15 million — decreases after each season.

Tiger fan reaction to Miles’ possible departure has been split.

Meanwhile, Missouri’s Gary Pinkel declined an interview request from Michigan yesterday.  This could mean that he has no interest in the job… or that he knows the job is likely going to someone else.  The Detroit Free-Press lists Chris Peterson and Jon Gruden (of course) as candidates but says both are staying in their current jobs.  No mention of UM alum Brady Hoke of San Diego State by The Free-Press.

Miles is scheduled to be in Dallas today to speak at the American Football Coaches Association convention.  It’s possible that he could reconvene with Michigan reps there.

Former Tiger coach and current Big Ten Network analyst Gerry DiNardo told The Baton Rouge Advocate that the Michigan job has changed since Miles was last in Ann Arbor.

“This coach will have to win a division, the conference championship game, the Rose Bowl and the national championship game,” DiNardo said.  “The new Michigan coach will be under more pressure than any other coach in its history.  That being said, it’s still a great job.”

Exchange Rose for Sugar and Michigan sounds exactly like LSU… minus the great recruiting base.

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Baseball Releases 2011 Schedule

Arkansas
Content provided by The Slophouse.

FAYETTEVILLE - Arkansas released its 2011 baseball schedule Tuesday.

The schedule features seven games against teams that made the College World Series a year ago, including defending national champion South Carolina. In addition to the Gamecocks, Arkansas will play LSU and Georgia – all three of which have played for the national championship the last three seasons.

Arkansas begins the season with 11 consecutive games at Baum Stadium, including weekend series against Delaware State, Utah and Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

There aren’t a lot of marquee nonconference match-ups this year, though Oklahoma does come to Baum Stadium for a midweek game in April. Arkansas also returns to playing regional games in Tulsa against Oral Roberts and Springfield against Missouri State. The Razorbacks didn’t play those games last season.

Arkansas returns to Dickey Stephens Ballpark in North Little Rock for the second consecutive year with a game against Memphis over Spring Break. The two teams will meet again the next night at AutoZone Park in Memphis.

Originally thought to be playing in a tournament at Petco Park in San Diego, the Razorbacks will play a four-game series against San Diego State in March. The Aztecs are coached by National Baseball Hall of Fame member Tony Gwynn.

While the full TV schedule hasn’t been released, the Razorbacks will face Florida on May 5 in the ESPNU SEC Baseball Thursday Night Game of the Week.

2011 Arkansas Baseball Schedule

Feb. 18         Delaware State

Feb. 19         Delaware State

Feb. 20        Delaware State

Feb. 25        Utah

Feb. 26        Utah

Feb. 27        Utah

March 1      McNeese State

March 2     McNeese State

March 4     Wisconsin-Milwaukee

March 5     Wisconsin-Milwaukee

March 6     Wisconsin-Milwaukee

March 10      San Diego State

March 11       San Diego State

March 12       San Diego State

March 13       San Diego State

March 15    Kansas

March 18      Auburn

March 19      Auburn

March 20      Auburn

March 22      Memphis#

March 23      Memphis%

March 25    Vanderbilt

March 26    Vanderbilt

March 27    Vanderbilt

March 29    Oklahoma

April 1            Alabama

April 2           Alabama

April 3           Alabama

April 6        Texas State

April 8        LSU

April 9        LSU

April 10      LSU

April 13         Missouri State

April 15       Mississippi State

April 16       Mississippi State

April 17       Mississippi State

April 19         Oral Roberts

April 22         Kentucky

April 23         Kentucky

April 24         Kentucky           

April 26      Saint Louis

April 29         Georgia

April 30         Georgia

May 1             Georgia    

May 3           SE Missouri State

May 4           SE Missouri State

May 5           Florida

May 6           Florida

May 7           Florida

May 13           South Carolina

May 14           South Carolina

May 15           South Carolina

May 17         Tennessee-Martin

May 19         Ole Miss

May 20        Ole Miss

May 21         Ole Miss

May 25-29     SEC Tournament^

June 3-5         NCAA Regionals

June 10-12     NCAA Super Regionals

June 18-29     College World Series

Bold denotes home games.

# Game played at Dickey Stephens Ballpark in North Little Rock

% Game played at AutoZone Park in Memphis

For more visit WholeHogSports.com. You can follow Matt Jones on Twitter @NWAMatt.

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Tom Murphy’s Top 25 Ballot

Arkansas
Content provided by The Slophouse.

Editor’s Note: Each week Tom Murphy of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette is one of 60 voters in the Associated Press Top 25. His ballot is published each Sunday in the Slophouse.

Tom Murphy AP Ballot, Nov. 14

1. Oregon

2. Auburn

3. LSU

4. Boise State

5. TCU

6. Wisconsin

7. Stanford

8. Ohio State

9. Arkansas

10. Alabama

11. Nebraska

12. Oklahoma State

13. Michigan State

14. Oklahoma

15. South Carolina

16. Missouri

17. Virginia Tech

18. Texas A&M

19. Iowa

20. Nevada

21. Mississippi State

22. Southern Cal

23. Northwestern

24. San Diego State

25. Arizona

For more visit WholeHogSports.com.

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Arkansas A Finalist For Nevada Lineman

Defensive end Sam Tai from Liberty High School in Henderson, Nev., has narrowed his college choice to Arkansas and UCLA, according to ESPN.com.

Tai has offers from schools such as Colorado, Colorado State, Fresno State and San Diego State.

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