Texas A&M-to-SEC rumors can be put to bed… for now


For those who haven’t heard, there was a minor spectacle circulating the rumors and message boards today that Texas A&M was all but finished packing their bags and on their way to the SEC — the only remaining question at the time being how long the Aggies would hold up a certain “one finger salute” on the way out the door.

Well, according to a very, very credible beat writer, those bags can stay put for just a little bit longer.

In multiple tweets, San Antonio Express-News and Houston Chronicle beat writer Brent Zwerneman said that previous A&M-to-the-SEC rumors are largely unfounded, and for the time being, the Aggies are a proud member of the Big 12.

“High-ranking A&M official just told me there have been ‘no precipitating events that have led to today’s rumors & speculations’ about SEC.

“High-ranking A&M official also said there will be ‘no imminent announcement or anything of that matter’ concerning the SEC.

“A&M official was mum on whether something might happen with the SEC at some point, citing Ags’ general unhappiness with the Big 12 right now.”

For those of you who sing the Aggie War Hymn with great pride, we’ll allow you to take a few moments to digest this bit of news.

Better? No? Okay, well, we tried.

For the past several weeks, whispers that A&M was on its way to the SEC  in light of their supposedly re-aroused hatred for everything “tu” and the Longhorn Network have slowly been making their way through the college football rumor mill, so it was only a matter of time before something like this came to the top.

We’ve been told that A&M officials and those from the SEC have been in occasional contact since June of last year, but obviously, the Aggies do not control their conference affiliation destiny.

Unless SEC commissioner Mike Slive pulls the trigger right away, it might be time to temper those A&M-to-the-SEC rumors. We’re not saying it couldn’t happen, but the puppet master isn’t residing in College Station.

Was Washington loss the beginning of the end of the Steve Sarkisian era at USC?

Steve Sarkisian

Steve Sarkisian’s win totals in his six previous seasons are both a positive and a negative.

On one hand, he resurrected a moribund Washington program that went 0-12 under Ty Willingham in 2008 and took them to four consecutive bowl games from 2010-2013. He won nine games his last year in Seattle, then led a talented-yet-thin USC team to a nine-win season and AP No. 20 finish in 2014.

Those are good accomplishments. But the flip side of the argument is Sarkisian has never won double-digit games in a season, something that’s a necessity to keep one’s job at USC. The Trojans’ 17-12 loss to Washington last night — at home, no less — means the road to 10 wins and a Pac-12 title will be awfully difficult.

And worse yet, there are plenty of arguments to be made Sarkisian doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt and a little more time in Los Angeles to turn things around (#SarkAfterDark, his drunken rant at a booster event, certainly doesn’t help). The reaction from national media to last night’s loss looked like this:

Mandel, in his column, argued USC is right where it was two years ago with Lane Kiffin as its coach. And there’s this embarrassing thought, that looks more and more like a truth, for Pat Haden:

This one, however, was the most damning by far for many reasons, most notably that it came at the hands of Sarkisian’s old team. The sense among many Washington fans nearly two years ago was that the Huskies managed to upgrade coaches when the school lured Chris Petersen from Boise State upon Sarkisian’s departure to USC.

They were right.

USA Today’s Dan Wolken similarly wrote that USC needs to drop Sarkisian and bring in Chip Kelly from the Philadelphia Eagles.

This is the state of USC, and it may not get better. The Trojans start a brutal three-game stretch next Saturday at Notre Dame in primetime, then welcome Utah to Los Angeles the next week. A Halloween trip to Berkeley to face Jared Goff and Cal finishes it up. There’s a very real chance USC, for all its talent and all its hype, limps into November with a 4-4 or 3-5 record.

Sarkisian will have to engineer and sustain a major turnaround in these coming weeks, otherwise he’ll give Haden all the ammo he needs to unceremoniously jettison him after two years.

Starting Navy S Kwazel Bertrand undergoes surgery, likely out for season

Kwazel Bertrand, Jacobi Owens
Associated Press
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Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.

Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.

“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”

Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.