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Arkansas Finalizes Football Contract With Texas Tech

handshake-good-backlitArkansas AD Jeff Long is giving longtime Razorback fans a taste of history.  He’s also giving new coach Bret Bielema added recruiting opportunities in the state of Texas.

Arkansas and Texas Tech announced yesterday that they had finalized a home-and-home series for 2014 (in Lubbock) and 2015 (in Fayetteville).  Just a few weeks ago the Hogs announced a home-and-home series with TCU for 2016 and 2017.  In 2021, the Razorbacks are scheduled to play Texas.

Toss in the annual Texas A&M clash in Arlington and the Lone Star State is fast becoming Arkansas’ home away from home.  That’s good news for a program located in a state that produces very little high-end football talent.  It’s also good news for the old-timers out there who still miss the Hogs’ old Southwest Conference rivals.

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Big Ten’s Delany On Realignment: “Schools On The Perimeter Haven’t Held Together”

us-mapWith the Big Ten holding meetings in Chicago this week, microphones and cameras have been thrust into the face of commissioner Jim Delany.  Matt Hayes of The Sporting News relates Delany’s reaction to the question of why it’s been important for the Big Ten to add schools located in contiguous states:

 

“You look at those on the outside (of conferences), and things don’t always hold together.  Schools on the perimeter haven’t held together.  Arkansas was on the perimeter in the Southwest Conference and eventually left for the SEC.  Nebraska was on the perimeter in the Big XII (away from multiple schools in Texas), Maryland was on the perimeter in the ACC (away from multiple schools in North Carolina).  It’s not a coincidence that these things happened.  But again, I don’t think anyone could have predicted what has happened.”

 

To quote Alice Cooper, these words he speaks are true.  Schools farther from the hub of a league — Nebraska, Missouri and Colorado were not adjacent to the six Big XII schools in Texas and Oklahoma, Maryland was not adjacent to the six ACC schools in the Carolinas and Georgia — are more likely to be lured away by other conferences.

Obviously, other factors are involved other than geography.  In Maryland’s case, the issue was money.  In Nebraska and Texas A&M’s case, weariness of Texas’ domination of league politics played a role.  League strength and wealth also matters as no schools in the Big Ten or SEC — periphery or not — have toyed with leaving their current homes.

At MrSEC.com, we are not believers in fly-over conferences.  If schools on conference borders are more likely to switch leagues, what does that tell you about schools located in states that share no borders with conference mates?  It brought down the expanded Big East and it will likely bring down the reconstituted American Athletic Conference as well (though smaller leagues have an easier time pulling it off because most big leagues aren’t after small schools).  But when it comes to West Virginia’s place in the Big XII?  Unless the Big XII expands, that marriage likely won’t last beyond the current grant of rights agreement.  This is also another reason we believe the Florida State administration was ultimately wise to gauge the SEC’s interest and then sign on to stay put.  Had FSU (or Clemson or Virginia Tech) jumped to the Big XII they’d be just as much of an outside as West Virginia.

As for the SEC schools on the periphery, you can stop worrying.  The SEC makes too much money, has too much strength, and its schools work together too well for Texas A&M, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, or South Carolina to look elsewhere.

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Hogs Line-Up Home-And-Home Series With TCU

TCU-horned-frogLast month, new Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said that he and the Razorback program were in negotiations with old Southwest Conference rival Texas Tech for a home-and-home series.  While those games are still a possibility, the Hogs have gone ahead and locked in two contests with another old SWC foe.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported yesterday that TCU and Arkansas have agreed to a home-and-home series that will send the Razorbacks to Fort Worth in 2016.  The Horned Frogs will then visit Fayetteville in 2017.  Barring a bowl matchup in the coming seasons, the 2016 game will mark the first meeting between the squads since Arkansas left the Southwest Conference in 1991.

With Texas A&M is now in the same division with Arkansas.  TCU is already on the books for a pair of non-conference games.  And the Razorbacks are still working to lock in two games with Texas Tech.  It’s apparent that Bielema and staff have quickly come to understand just how important the state of Texas will be in their recruiting efforts moving forward.

As for the rest of us, who doesn’t like a matchup between the Hogs and Frogs?

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WOW Headlines – 5/1/13

Police say suspended LSU RB Jeremy Hill can be seen on cell phone video beating a man at a bar and then celebrating with high-fives
Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson says DE Dee Ford is the “only pass rusher” who created the pressure he’s looking for this spring
Alabama QB AJ McCarron will be the honorary pace car driver at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday
Former Rutgers G Eli Carter will transfer onto Florida’s basketball team
Florida G Braxton Ogbueze is transferring away from the school
The city of Atlanta has released renderings for a proposed $1 billion stadium that will house the NFL’s Falcons and the SEC Championship Game
LSU is discussing a pair of neutral-site football games with Wisconsin
Arkansas is discussing a home-and-home football series with old Southwest Conference rival Texas Tech
Follow the SEC all year long at MrSEC.com

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Mizzou And A&M Get An Atlanta Welcome To The SEC

Last evening, Missouri and Texas A&M enjoyed a little Southern hospitality from the folks in Atlanta.  According to Mark Bradley of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, officials from both schools were surprised by the turnout of “nearly 1,000″ Aggie and Tiger fans who showed up at Buckhead’s JW Marriott for the event.

“This is like walking into a bowl game,” A&M’s Kevin Sumlin said.  “Or the Final Four.”

“(Joining the SEC) is huge for our fans,” Mizzou’s Gary Pinkel said.  “It’s been good for ticket sales, and it’s been very, very good for recruiting… Recruiting in the SEC has been nothing but positive for us.  Everyone believes the SEC plays the best football, and to high school kids there’s no question who’s the best… This leagues is like the NFL — every week you’ve got to play well.”

Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin said his school’s move to the SEC goes further than just football:

 

“We haven’t had a good national stage so one of the drivers for me was the recognition that the SEC provides a lens through which the world can see Texas A&M, not simply for athletics, but for its many dimensions.  We think this is going to be a great boost for the brand, if you will, for Texas A&M and puts us on a national stage like we haven’t been before…

The SEC has always been a conference where everybody shared equally and everybody had the same voice.  That wasn’t always the case in the Big 12 or before it, the Southwest Conference.  We find this to be the way to achieve long-term stability.  The SEC is an old conference and it’s going to be around a long time longer.”

 

Even SEC vets like Georgia president Michael Adams and commissioner Mike Slive walked away impressed by the turnout.

“They’re amazed… I’m amazed,” said Adams.  “What a turnout said the commissioner,” who invited the Aggies and Tigers on hand to travel and experience more SEC fever at road stops across the league:

 

“What you’re seeing tonight is the kind of pride and passion — the pride and the passion — shared by the fellow members of the SEC.  And we hope that each of you will visit the traditions on other SEC campuses in the coming years and experience first hand a Saturday between the hedges, a night under the lights in Baton Rouge, a game in The Swamp and a visit to the Grove, just to name a few.

We look forward to reliving old rivalries and developing new ones in the years ahead.”

 

Those games will come soon enough.  They will inevitably be followed by the name-calling, the conspiracy theories, and the hate that goes with sharing an athletic conference with rivals.  But for now, MU and A&M officials and fans continue to enjoy a warm reception into their new league.  And behind the scenes, they’ve already found that the SEC has more of an arm-in-arm spirit than the conference they just left behind.

 

UPDATE — Eric SanInocencio has posted a photo gallery from last night’s party at the SEC’s official website.

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Baylor’s Protests Even More Sickening When Put In Historical Context

A few things that you know by now:

1.  Texas A&M is heading to the SEC at some point.

2.  That point would have been last week had Baylor not leaked threats that it would sue the SEC (and perhaps even commissioner Mike Slive) for tortious interference.

3.  Legal experts don’t think the Baylor has much hope of winning such a suit.

4.  We at MrSEC.com have said from the beginning that BU’s move is simply a stall tactic designed to try and keep the Big 12 alive.

If you read this site regularly, you know that we’ve also often pointed out how Baylor had no worries about the common welfare or the end of “good ol’ Texas footbawl” when it skedaddled from the SWC to the Big 12 in the mid-90s, leaving Houston, Rice, SMU and TCU to fend for themselves.

Well Texas A&M fans have dug up a story from The Houston Chronicle dated February 24th, 1994.  Here’s what Thomas R. Powers — chairman of Baylor’s board of regents — had to say about BU’s own conference jump at the time:

“We are certainly saddened by the demise of the Southwest Conference.  I think it was something that was going to happen sooner or later.  We certainly wish those who did not receive an invitation (to join the Big 12) well.  I feel sure they are fine institutions and they will find a place in some other program that will be appropriate for them.”

It should also be noted that Baylor was the first school from the SWC to vote on and accept an invitation to join the Big 12.

Yet now that Baylor is being left behind rather leaving others, school president Kenneth Starr is threatening lawsuits to the left and lawsuits to the right.  What a pathetic show.

Anyone else need a vomit bag?

(And to those who’ve come here and “corrected” us for suggesting that Baylor twisted arms politically to enter the Big 12 in the first place… read the above story written on the day BU’s vote went down.  And then go get your shinebox.)

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Report: Lyles Asked Texas A&M For Cash To Sign LSU’s Peterson

Auburn pay-for-play scandal?  Check.

Tennessee drug testing scandal?  Check.

LSU pay-for-play scandal?  Hey, that’s new.

First things first, before some imbecile types, “You love this kind of story,” know that we started this site to talk about SEC sports… not off-field scandals, allegations, accusations, tree-poisonings, etc.  So, no, we don’t love this kind of story. 

And please remember what site has been saying for months that the SEC is in danger of becoming the old Southwest Conference.  (That’d be us.)


ESPN.com is reporting today that “Texas-based football trainer” Willie Lyles — who is already under investigation for $25,000 Oregon’s athletic department paid him — told Texas A&M that “it had to ‘beat’ $80,000 if it wanted to sign recruit Patrick Peterson in 2007.”  That according to a former Aggie coach. 

Wow.

We’re not talking about a radio host making claims, folks.  This is a former BCS-level assistant coach.

Peterson, of course, signed to play at LSU where he starred before leaving early for the NFL this spring.  He is currently the #1 player on Mel Kiper’s list of draft prospects.

“A few days after the kid’s visit (to College Station), Will calls and says, ‘If you want this kid, there are other schools that want this kid as well.  They’re willing to pay a certain amount of money, around the $80,000 mark,’” former A&M cornerbacks coach Van Malone said. 

“He said that was something we were going to have to beat as a university to be able to obtain the services of this kid.”

Peterson originally committed to Miami before signing with LSU.

Malone is now an assistant coach at Tulsa.  Lyles and Peterson would not give ESPN comments for their report.  But Peterson’s father did speak, telling ESPN: “This is my first time hearing this.  This is a shocker.  It could have happened.  It could have come out of (Lyles’) mouth, that’s what happens.  These guys try to make money on their own, they are kind of like escort services.  That’s what I call them, escort services.”

Malone claims that he told Lyles that A&M didn’t pay for players.  He also said that he told Peterson — the player, not the father — that Lyles was trying to sell his services.

Patrick Peterson Sr. says he has no connection to Lyles, though he does admit to having talked to him at various football camps.  “It’s like Cam Newton, same thing.  These guys — they are trying to get paid.  You have to be careful who you talk to, who you deal with it.  I just know him from the camps.”


Question: How many LSU fans have spent the past six months claiming that Auburn must’ve paid Newton because his father was asking for cash elsewhere?  In other words, if he wanted $180,000 from Mississippi State, why would he go to Auburn for free?

Now, irony of ironies, Auburn fans will likely use that same argument in regards to Peterson.  If someone was selling him to Texas A&M for $80,000, why would he go to LSU for free?

And that, my friends, is why we continually warn against pointing fingers at other schools’ programs.  Eventually what comes around goes around.

Especially in the seedy world of college football and basketball recruiting.

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In Case You Missed It…

Earlier today we posted a couple of stories that you might have missed:

* Josh Ward posted our final SEC recruiting rankings.  (We’re still not sure why everyone else posted their rankings hours after signing day… when a number of players were yet to actually choose their colleges.)

* The SEC could be in danger of destroying itself Southwest Conference-style if some of the recent school-to-school and fan-to-fan animosity isn’t quelled.

* It’s time for MSU ex-players John Bond and Bill Bell to either spill the beans on what they know about the Cam Newton situation… or stop teasing the media with the possibility that they have dirt to share.

We also invite you to follow us on Twitter by clicking here…

And on Facebook by clicking here.


Finally, an admission.  At some point during the day, I personally went from writing “Al from Dadeville” to writing “Al from Dadetown.”  Why?  No clue.  Could be that I saw the documentary “Dadetown” again recently.  Or could just be a sign that my mind is wilting at 40.

Or it could be that we’re a site unlike any other covering the SEC.  For example, most SEC sites produce just one or two stories per day.  Those folks have plenty of time to catch every misspelling, every missing apostrophe.

A couple other SEC sites provide 10 or so stories a day, but those sites’ stories are usually about three sentences long.  You don’t get a lot of info from them, but you do give them a pageview for their records every time you click on their blurbs.

We’re different.  Depending on the day, we provide anywhere from 15 to 30 stories per day.  When we say stories, we mean it, too.  Multiple paragraphs even.  And that doesn’t even count the 40 to 100 links we bring you each day.  Or the stat-based analysis pieces.

In other words, we’re doing more around here.  We try to bring you all of the most-interesting stories from around the league with a solid explanation of the events thrown in, as well as our own unbiased, unaffiliated opinions on those events.

Trying to put all of that together every day, well, unfortunately we’ll have the occasional typo.  (Proof readers are welcome as long as you’d like to work for free!)  We don’t like typos and we try to catch ‘em, but that’s part of the give and take of this site.

We could give you fewer stories and have more time left over for proofing.  We could give you a few more stories and keep them all short which would also give us more hours for proofing.  Or we could keep things as they are and hope that if we leave off a quotation mark (or go from writing Dadeville to writing Dadetown) you won’t take too many shots at our journalistic integrity.

We think we’ll keep things as they are.  And we’ll continue to try to do our best for you.  But you can expect the occasional misspellling.  See what I mean?

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