Rumors surface once again connecting A&M, Sooners to SEC

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As the great Yogi Berra once opined, it’s déjà vu all over again.

In June of 2010 and in the midst of The Great Expansion Apocalypse That Really Wasn’t, rumors were flying across the vast expanses of the Internet — at around the same time a Texas-led coalition was rumored to be heading west to form the Pac-16 — that Texas A&M and Oklahoma would be leaving the Big 12 for the SEC.  Fast-word roughly 13 months, and those rumors have surfaced yet again.

Ahead of a Thursday closed-door, “informational”meeting of the A&M Board of Regents that will involve a discussion of The Longhorn Network, the Sporting News, citing unnamed sources, is reporting that TAMU as well as OU are so concerned over the network and the accompanying disadvantage that the schools could turn to the SEC if their fears aren’t satisfactorily allayed.  Additionally, weekly conversations have reportedly been taking place between A&M officials and the SEC according to 1620-AM in Omaha Wednesday evening.

There were no further details in TSN’s report regarding a potential A&M/OU jump to the SEC.

Shortly before TSN’s report as well as the Omaha radio stations addition to the rumor mill, Slive spoke to reporters and addressed the issue of expansion, and didn’t exactly slam the door shut on bulking up the nation’s top football conference.

“It is my job to make sure the SEC is the premiere league,” Slive said when asked about adding teams to the conference’s current 12-team lineup. “For me to exclude any action that would preclude that from happening would be inappropriate. …

“I can’t tell you what other people will do. I’m going to think about and do things that are in the long-term best interest of the SEC. That’s what I meant by what I said last time. If there’s a paradigm shift, we’re going to be strategic and thoughtful and we’re going to continue to be strategic and thoughtful. I’m going to leave it at that.”

The reason behind this latest round of rumors and the apparent renewed interest on the part of A&M and OU in the SEC is the Longhorn Network generally and the televising of high school games on that network specifically.  It’s doubtful anything meaningful or game-changing comes out of A&M’s regents meeting tomorrow, although the possibility of that occurring down the not-distant-road seems to be growing by the day.

Kind of like last year, actually.  You know, the whole déjà vu thing.

Florida’s statement on Jim McElwain’s death-threat claim is interesting, to say the least

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Maybe it’s nothing, maybe it’s something.  Regardless, it’s something that bears watching.

Losers of two in a row and off to a 3-3 start to the season,  Florida has underperformed and underwhelmed to say the least.  So much so, in fact, that head coach Jim McElwain indicated Monday that he, his family, his coaching staff and players have been subjected to death threats by unknown individuals.

The head coach went into no detail publicly regarding the nature of the threats.  Apparently, it was the same privately when discussing the situation with his employer.

OK then.

Again, it could be in the same neighborhood as naked shark humping — nothing. Bears watching, though, as one very outspoken member of the Florida media is very much already doing publicly about a situation that was apparently reported to the media before it was reported to the police or even the university.

LOOK: Arizona State to wear Pat Tillman-themed uniforms

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Pat Tillman is essentially the Knute Rockne of Arizona State football, the central figure that will be as important to the program 100 years from now as he is today. And while Notre Dame will wear Rockne-themed uniforms later this season, so, too, will Arizona State.

The program revealed Tillman-centric uniforms on Monday for their Nov. 4 game with Colorado, based on the uniform Tillman wore as a member of the U.S. Army while fighting in Afghanistan.

Tillman played linebacker at Arizona State from 1994-97 (he was named the Pac-10’s Defensive Player of the Year as a senior) and then spent four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals before the events of 9/11 inspired him to join the U.S. Army. He was a member of the Army Rangers before he was killed in action in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004, at age 27.

Arizona State unveiled a Tillman statue at Sun Devil Stadium at its season-opening win over New Mexico State.

“Pat spent his whole life trying to be the best person he could possibly be,” Kevin Tillman, Pat’s brother, said at the unveiling. “He didn’t focus on money, he didn’t focus on fame, he didn’t focus on a pretty statue. It was, ‘How can I make myself a better person in all these different facets of my life?’ And ASU gave him an opportunity to do that.”

Jim McElwain says family, players have received death threats over 3-3 start

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Florida has lost two in a row and is off to a 3-3 start, and that streak will probably reach three on Saturday after the Gators meet No. 3 Georgia. While everyone knows SEC fans are passionate about their football, some have taken Florida’s struggles too far.

How far? By threatening to kill the players and coaches.

“I think it’s a pretty good lesson for the way things are,” head coach Jim McElwain said, via Only Gators. “There’s a lot of hate in this world and a lot of anger. And yet, it’s freedom to show it. The hard part is, obviously, when it’s threats against your own players, death threats to your families, the ill will that’s brought upon out there. And yet, I think it’s really one of those deals that really is a pretty good testament to what’s going on out there nationally. There’s a lot of angry people, and in this business, we’re the ones you take the shots at. And that’s the way it is.”

In my experience, it seems people lodging death threats are far more serious about the threat part than the, uh, other. But that’s easy for me to say, I’ve never received one.

Report: Sam Darnold expected to return to USC in 2018

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Sam Darnold was appointed the No. 1 pick of the 2018 NFL Draft on the second day of 2017. As a redshirt freshman, Darnold torched Penn State to the tune of 33-of-53 passing for 453 yards with five touchdowns and one interception in a 52-49 Rose Bowl win.

One problem, though. Darnold hasn’t played like a No. 1 pick this season.

While he hasn’t been the most disappointing player on what’s turning out to be a disappointing USC team, Darnold has posted pedestrian numbers (for him): hitting 63.5 percent of his passes for an even eight yards per attempt with 17 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. He ranks 38th nationally in passing efficiency. This puts him, coincidentally, one spot ahead of former USC quarterback Max Browne.

On Monday, NFL Draft analyst Benjamin Allbright shared a report that Darnold is expected to return to USC next season.

Considering Ronald Jones could return next season and that Stephen Carr is just a freshman, the prospect of Darnold returning in 2018 has to take the sting out of a lost 2017 for Trojans fans.