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Report: Aggies on their way to the SEC

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It’s still very, very early, and the details are very, very sketchy, but it appears that the weeks of speculation and rumors of Texas A&M moving on to the SEC are beginning to take some infant steps toward fruition.

AggieYell.com is reporting that Texas A&M has been invited, and has accepted, a spot to join the Southeastern Conference.

But hold your horses, folks.

While it’s entirely possible that the Aggies are moving on to the SEC, the formal announcement may not come for a few weeks.

Chris Level of RedRaiderSports — a man with some serious shoe leather — tweeted “Just got off the phone with AggieYell.com’s Jeff Tarpley. Aug 22nd is the day when A&M confirms they are headed to the SEC according to him.

“Bottom line is, everyone needs to focus on Monday, August 22nd. That is the first time anything can be official when it comes to the Aggies.

Interestingly, Aug. 22 is the same day the NCAA will hold a meeting to discuss the legality of airing high school games on institutional and conference networks.

A source has told us “[A&M move is] Not a done deal. If it becomes official, won’t happen for another week at earliest. Big ‘if’ though.”

An A&M official could neither confirm nor deny the report to us.

At this point, the general feeling is that talks between A&M officials and the SEC — we’ve been told there has been occasional contact between the two for the past year — are solid enough that A&M President R. Bowen Loftin and AD Bill Byrne feel a formal offer is coming and could go to their Board of Regents to discuss the matter further.

(Note: one suggestion would be changing the words to your War Hymn. Just sayin’)

Any new items for the Regents to discuss has to be placed on the agenda three days prior to a scheduled meeting.  And, unless it’s a special case, the new agenda has to be made public.  In other words, everybody should know no later than Aug. 19 whether the A&M is bolting for a new conference.

Assuming, of course, that Aug. 22 is the day A&M plans to announce the move. If there’s a move.

The recent report also begs the question of who else could be joining the SEC. A&M has been flamboyant about their possible new home, but SEC Commissioner Mike Slive has been, on the contrary, fairly quiet.

We are confident tipping on the point of certainty that the SEC would not solely invite A&M. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Florida State and Clemson are just a few of the programs being thrown around the rumor mill.

But we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. Word on the Big 12 street earlier was that if A&M were to leave, the Big 12 was fully prepared to move on as a nine-team conference — at least for the next few years.

That’s down the road, though, and this developing story is a day-to-day ordeal. At some point, however, we should expect to see some more certainty from it.

(Big thanks to John Taylor for contributing to this piece)

UPDATED 9:15 p.m. ET: And then there’s Chip Brown‘s report labeling Aug. 22 as “D-Day” for the Big 12:

There’s no agreement in principle, nothing,” Texas A&M System spokesman Jason Cook told OrangeBloods.com.

More from OB:

Two sources said the SEC presidents are being gathered Saturday in an emergency meeting to address the possible addition of Texas A&M.

The sources said the Aggies’ nine-member regents board is leaning toward leaving the Big 12 and are being fueled by a lack of confidence in the current configuration of the league – i.e. the relationship between Texas and ESPN (the Longhorn Network) and how it could negatively impact the rest of the members.

Record-breaking QB one of two coaches hired by New Mexico State

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Doug Martin‘s 2017 on-field coaching staff will have a decidedly familiar feel to it, even as it’s in some ways brand-new.

New Mexico State announced that two coaches have been hired by Martin, Chase Holbrook and Kai Brown.  The former will serve as tight ends coach, the latter as defensive ends coach.

Holbrook spent the 2016 season as a quality control coach for Mike Leach at Washington State.  A former NMSU quarterback, he still owns the school’s single-season and career records for passing, passing attempts, completions, touchdowns, total offense and total touchdowns.

Brown was a graduate assistant the past three seasons for the football program.

“We are really excited about Chase coming back to New Mexico State,” Martin said. “Having a former great quarterback that has his name written all over the Aggie record book will have a huge impact on us taking that next step. Chase really believes and cares deeply about the football program here. To have a coach of his talent join our staff makes us a better program immediately. …

“Kai has been a very loyal hard working coach for us as a GA and it gives me great pride to add him to our staff in a full time role. He brings a lot of enthusiasm to our program and has a great relationship with our players.”

This will be both coaches’ first foray into full-time coaching responsibilities at the FBS level.

Cal turns to Fresno State to complete Justin Wilcox’s staff

EAST LANSING, MI - SEPTEMBER 14:  A member of the California Golden Bears spirit squad waves a team flag while standing next to the Bears' mascot in front of the Michigan State Spartans crowd on September 14, 2002 at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Michigan.  California defeated Michigan State 46-22.  (Photo by Danny Moloshok/Getty Images)
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In late December, Fresno State hired Tony Tuioti as part of Jeff Tedford‘s first coaching staff with the Mountain West program.  Two months later, Tedford’s former Pac-12 employer has poached said staff.

By way of a press release, Cal announced that Tuioti has been hired as Justin Wilcox‘s outside linebackers coach.  Tedford served as Cal’s head coach from 2002-12; Tim DeRuyter, Fresno’s head coach for five seasons before being fired and replaced by Tedford, is now Wilcox’s defensive coordinator with the Golden Bears.

“Tony has a tremendous resume that showcases his diverse skill set and abilities both on and off the field,” Wilcox said in a statement. “Not only is he an excellent coach, but the experience he has as a director of player personnel will be a tremendous benefit to us in the structuring and organization of our recruiting operation. Finding someone with a skill set as unique and diverse as Tony’s is challenging. We are fortunate that we have found that in Tony and are looking forward to his contributions to our program.”

“Working at Cal for a coach like Justin Wilcox was an opportunity I could not pass up,” a statement from Tuioti began. “I have a tremendous feeling about the positive direction Cal is headed, and I really wanted to be a part of that and contribute all I could to a football program with tremendous potential.”

In 2016, Tuioti worked as a football staffer at Michigan.  His last on-field job at the collegiate level came at Hawaii (2012-13, linebackers coach; 2010-11, defensive line).

Georgia raising money to build Devon Gales a home

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It’s been close to a year and a half since Southern football player Devon Gales fractured his C6 vertebrae when covering a kick at Georgia. While the two sides will forever be linked, Georgia has gone above and beyond its duties to help improve his life.

In addition to regularly visiting him in the hospital and paying for his parents’ travel to Georgia, the Bulldogs will now raise funds to build him a house.

Gales received an NCAA Sportsmanship Award at the Bulldogs’ basketball game on Saturday, and it was announced that the UGAAA will launch a “Drive to Build a Dawg House” for Gales and his family.

“Anybody can just their prayer for you and send you on your way, but they didn’t. They took me as one of their kids, not just as another player, but as one of their children,” Gales said.

To contibute, text (707) 204-1707 to donate $5 toward the fund.

Mike Gundy says Sugar Bowl loss to Ole Miss wasn’t on a “level playing field”

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 01:  Laquon Treadwell #1 of the Mississippi Rebels celebrates scoring a 14-yard touchdown against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the fourth quarter of the Allstate Sugar Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 1, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
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Mike Gundy originally blamed himself for Oklahoma State’s 48-20 loss to Ole Miss at the Sugar Bowl that closed the 2015 season.

Speaking at the AFCA Convention in Nashville last month, I heard Gundy explain to thousands of fellow coaches he felt he overtrained his Cowboys in preparation to play the physically imposing Rebels. The end result backfired. As I wrote for FootballScoop:

As Oklahoma State prepared to face No. 12 Ole Miss in the Sugar Bowl, Gundy pushed his players harder than usual in December practices. “They’re going to knock us off the ball and it’s not going to look pretty,” he remembers thinking. That strategy backfired on him, though, as the Rebels pounded Gundy’s team 48-20. Oklahoma State was out-rushed 207-63 and averaged only 6.7 yards per pass attempt to Ole Miss’s 9.9. “We weren’t physical and we were slow,” Gundy said.

But now Gundy thinks something else may have contributed to that 28-point spanking.

As he explained to the Tulsa World‘s Bill Haisten, Gundy said he couldn’t help but think of the Sugar Bowl when he learned of the NCAA’s charges against Ole Miss.

“The first thing I thought about was (OSU’s recent experience with the NCAA),” Gundy said, “and the second thing was the Sugar Bowl and my players and what they went through.”

He continued: “We’ll never know what we could have done in the Sugar Bowl if it was a level playing field. That is the truth. I’m not sure we would have won the Sugar Bowl, but we’ll never know.”