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Report: OU Sooners Ready To Move West

For SEC and Texas A&M fans hoping that a union between the two would go smoothly… it looks like you’re out of luck.

Baylor slowed down the process last week by threatening to sue the SEC (and maybe even Mike Slive) if the Big 12 blew apart.  At this point, Iowa State and Kansas also appear to be holding out when it comes to waiving their rights to sue.

The best case scenario for getting things back on track was for the Big 12 to pull together and agree to carry on as a unit.  In other words, if Oklahoma agreed to stay, Baylor wouldn’t start filing lawsuits.

Well, according to — the Rivals site covering Texas — Oklahoma will apply for Pac-12 membership by the end of the month.  As has been made clear throughout this recent wave of realignment talk, if OU goes, so too will Oklahoma State.

According to “a source close to OU’s administration” has told that the school’s board of regents is “fed up with the instability in the Big 12.”

This comes one day after The Oklahoman — and former Charleston Post & Courier beatwriter Travis Haney — reported that OU and OSU might not get as cushy an offer from the Pac-12 as they received last year before the league expanded by two.  “A Southeastern Conference official” also told the paper over the weekend that the league “expects Texas A&M eventually to be cleared to join the SEC.”

If the report is true — big if — we could be looking at a month-long game of chicken.  A&M and the SEC might try to wait out Oklahoma and the Pac-12.  Even though A&M wants to move yesterday, it would probably be in the school’s best interest to let OU make the first move.

If Oklahoma announces a move first, then Baylor might have a new target for Ken Starr’s legal team.  And that might further protect the Aggies and the SEC.

However, knowing that potential lawsuits and time and money and headaches are on the horizon for anyone moving first, it’s likely that we’re in for a long staring contest.

If Oklahoma really is preparing to leave, then this whole mess could be decided by who blinks first — the Sooners or the Aggies.

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Clowney Qualifies At Carolina, But Some Fans Upset Over Garcia’s Return

Late last evening, word leaked out across the South Carolina campus that top signee Jadeveon Clowney had qualified academically.  The all-everything defensive end will be expected to have a major impact on Ellis Johnson’s defense this fall.

So that leaves Cock fans to celebrate two pieces of great news, right?  Tuesday Clowney got cleared and just a day earlier quarterback Stephen Garcia had been reinstated to Carolina’s team.  S’all good, yes?

Not according to Travis Haney of The Charleston Post & Courier who blogs the following about Garcia’s return:

“… there has been a lot of backlash about Steve Spurrier having no backbone in allowing Garcia to return.

Fans — mostly of other teams, but some Gamecocks fans — are bitter about the decision to allow Garcia back on the team, at least enough at this juncture to work out with his teammates.  They see a 23-year-old who has been suspended five times in his career, including twice this spring.

But I’m not certain that those people are really taking into account what the suspensions are for.  As I’ve said, if those suspensions were criminal in nature, we would be having this conversation.  Garcia would be gone, playing elsewhere or in the working world.

Instead, the past two lapses have been team-oriented deals.  Hardly reason for dismissal, even if we’re long past ‘he-should-have-known-better’ territory.”

Our only comment on this development is as follows: It’s odd to see a group of fans upset over the fact that one of their own stars has been reinstated after a few drinking/behavior issues when at so many schools across the country fans are often angered by the dismissal of players who violate actual laws.

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Spurrier: “Garcia Will Probably…”

Last night, speaking to a Gamecock booster club, Steve Spurrier inched closer to saying that suspended quarterback Stephen Garcia will definitely be back with Carolina by the fall.

“Stephen Garcia will probably…” said Spurrier before pausing.  Then he finished, “Well, he’s got a chance of coming back.”

Travis Haney of The Charleston Post & Courier is reading the tea leaves and his view is as that Garcia will be reinstated on a “probationary basis just before June, so he can begin summer workouts with his teammates.”

Haney adds, “That’s what I gather, from those I’ve spoken with and just taking a daily temperature of the situation.”

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Garcia Still Likely To Return To Carolina

Assuming the wife of South Carolina’s athletic director is good with it, Gamecock quarterback Stephen Garcia still appears to be on the verge of rejoining Steve Spurrier’s team. 

Travis Haney of The Charleston Post & Courier reports that Spurrier said yesterday that Garcia might return on a “probationary” basis.  The coach also said the QB’s current suspension is “not permanent.”

People close to the Carolina program believe Garcia will be allowed back onto the team by next month.

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Garcia’s Status Still A Question Mark For USC

The forecast for South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia is still cloudy these days.  A decision on the senior’s status — and that’s a decision that will impact the entire SEC East race — isn’t coming anytime soon.

Travis Haney of The Charleston Post & Courier reports today that Steve Spurrier said on a post-spring teleconference the following:

* The decision on Garcia will be made by Spurrier, AD Eric Hyman and Carolina president Harris Pastides.

* The decision will likely come “sometime during the summer.” 

* “We’ll see how he’s reacting to certain issues.”

* Garcia has been given guidelines.  “We’ll see how he follows those.”

* The coach has kept in touch with Garcia during his current suspension.

* The QB is just two classes shy of graduation and — notice this — Spurrier said, “With his degree in hand, obviously he’s eligible to play anywhere in the country.”

* He then said, “Hopefuly it’ll work out that he’ll get back with us with a lot better attitude than he’s ever had.”

Meanwhile, Cocks’ quarterbacks coach GA Mangus says that Garcia has been throwing with receivers Tori Gurley and Alshon Jeffery.  “He’s doing everything,” the coach said.  “Based on what I’ve been told, he’s been throwing with those guys on a daily basis.  He’s doing all the things, just like I’ve asked him.”

Mangus believes Garcia’s efforts are telling.  “If a guy comes over there and throws with his teammates every single day, and is going to class every day, I’m assuming his plans are to come back.”

He also made it clear that many of Garcia’s teammates are still fond of him.  “The kids love Garcia.  Garcia is a Velcro-type guy.  The kids like hanging out with him.  If I was 22, I’d hang out with him.”

If Garcia once again stumbles or if Carolina’s administration decided he’s out of chances, Mangus believes Connor Shaw will be ready for action.  “I think by the end of the summer, Connor’s going to be ready to play.  Connor’s a kid that I think is ready to take the next step.”

In the end, Haney writes that: “Mangus joked that he has no idea what makes Garcia tick, but that Shaw ‘is from our planet.’”

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SEC Headlines – 4/8/11 Part Three

1.  Four Kentucky basketballers will take their time before making NBA decisions.

2.  UK’s big-armed freshman quarterback Maxwell Smith says he’s so far behind starter Morgan Newton in knowing the Cats’ offense that “it’s not even funny.”

3.  This writer says benching Stephen Garcia is the best option at South Carolina.

4.  This writer says the Gamecocks are “not as united” in their support of Garcia as a few tweets might’ve indicated.  (Great read from Travis Haney of The Charleston Post & Courier.)

5.  Cuonzo Martin says Top 50 player Chris Jones no longer wants a release from his signed letter of intent at Tennessee.

6.  Receiver Justin Hunter is working on his short routes to go along with his long-ball game.

7.  This writer says Vol fans should hope for slight progress in Derek Dooley’s second season.

8.  James Franklin wants Vanderbilt to hold another scrimmage tomorrow… if his team isn’t too beat up to do it.

9.  If you aren’t familiar with Vandy’s new coach yet, here’s video of him talking about yesterday’s practice.

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USC’s Clowney Welcomed To Columbia With A Frisking

Early this morning, the nation’s top football signee Jadeveon Clowney was frisked by Columbia, South Carolina police in the Five Points area of town.

A spokesperson for the Columbia PD told WIS-TV that they do have reports of officers being called to “a couple of bars” in the Five Points district last night, but those reports are not yet available.

(Click the headline for a bigger view of Clowney’s frisking.)

According to Travis Haney of The Charleston Post & Courier, Clowney was not detained and the reason for the search was not immediately known.  Carolina students — aware of who Clowney is — “were booing and becoming upset” as their star signee was being frisked outside a bar called The Salty Nut Cafe.

Clowney is not yet officially enrolled at South Carolina.

Soon after her son picked South Carolina, Josenna Clowney told the following:  “I really like Clemson.  I think that’s the best place for him.  I’m not disappointed he’s going to South Carolina.  I need to make sure he knows that there’s a lot of stuff to get into and he don’t need to be down there (in Columbia) fooling around.”

Wonder what she’s thinking this morning?

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Wednesday Recruiting Roundup

Here are some recruiting headlines in the middle of your week.

-Alabama signee Cyrus Kouandjio is going for a starting position this fall.

-Did Tennessee get a steal with its commitment from tailback Imani Cross?

-Bryan Fischer handed out some 2011 recruiting Oscars earlier this week.

-South Carolina’s in-state recruiting efforts have paid off, writes Travis Haney.

-This athlete from Apopka (Fla.) High School should be a prospect to watch in 2012.

-Florida tight end Kent Taylor will have plenty of options in his recruitment.

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Focus On In-State Recruits Pays Off For Cocks

Steve Spurrier has finally accomplished one of the most important challenges he faced when he took over the South Carolina program in late-2004 — he’s luring the state’s top talent to Columbia.

Since joining the SEC, Carolina has seen Palmetto State prospects head in droves to Clemson (in-state, too, of course), Georgia and Tennessee.  But Spurrier has helped to build up a wall around the state’s Western border.  The Dawgs and Vols don’t go into Carolina like they used to… and Clemson is no longer landing the state’s A-1 top prospects.

Sorry Tiger fans, but you know you’d have loved to have gotten Marcus Lattimore last year and Jadeveon Clowney his past signing day.

Carolina AD Eric Hyman told Travis Haney of The Charleston Post & Courier that “five or six years ago you could not have imagined South Carolina signing the top-ranked player in the country.”  No, you couldn’t have.  Five or six years ago, Clowney would have gone to Clemson, if he’d stayed in state at all.

Departing recruiting coordinator Shane Beamer said, “We’ve been trying to tell guys they don’t have to leave the state to win championships.”  At long last, that message is being heard.

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Reaction To Clowney Choosing South Carolina

South Carolina received the perfect closing to its 2011 class on Monday when defensive end Jadeveon Clowney from Rock Hill, S.C., signed with the Gamecocks.

Clowney is the sixth defensive lineman to choose South Carolina in the 2011 class. Several of those players, including Clowney and defensive tackles Kelcy Quarles and Phillip Dukes, are expected to play right away.

The nation’s eyes were watching on Monday as Clowney, who was also celebrating his 18th birthday, announced his college choice on ESPN’s “SportsCenter.”

The nation also reacted the hoopla had ended and Clowney’s decision was known. Here’s a look at what was said following Clowney’s announced.

1. South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said he’s excited to land Clowney and the fans should be, too.

2. Travis Haney of the Charleston Post and Courier has an interesting Q&A with Clowney’s mother, Josenna Clowney.

3. People upset about the attention on Clowney shouldn’t be, writes Andy Staples. That style of announcement is the norm.

4. Staples also looks at the courtship of South Carolina to keep Clowney from choosing Clemson or Alabama.

5. South Carolina moved up to No. 12 in the team rankings thanks to Clowney’s addition to the class.

6. Dennis Dodd looks at the process and attention paid to Clowney, who now has plenty of pressure on him to succeed at the next level.

7. If you missed it, the New York Times wrote about Clowney’s eligibility concerns. Many people around Clowney on Monday said they expect him to qualify this fall.

8. Spurrier was one of those people. He said Clowney is in better academic shape than a lot of South Carolina’s signees.

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