Money Key

Mizzou holds the key to Big 12’s future?


In acknowledging that it appears to him that Texas A&M was likely leaving the Big 12, Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds told the Austin American-Statesman Friday that nine members would be a solid option for the conference, although 10 would be optimum.

What Dodds didn’t address was a scenario in which A&M and another current Big 12 member left, leaving the conference with just eight schools.  Based on one report, such a turn of events could very well be the death knell (wait, haven’t we heard that dirge before?) for the Big 12.  Again.

According to the Daily Oklahoman, and citing Oklahoma University sources, if Missouri were to leave for the SEC as has been rumored, any optimism that the Big 12 could survive the departure of A&M would be gone if Mizzou left as well.  The good news for those inclined to maintain at least a semi-viable Big 12 is that Mizzou earlier today vehemently denied that they are currently involved in any discussions with any other conference about leaving their current league.

“No, no, no,” Mizzou athletic director Mike Alden said when asked if there was any veracity to an ESPN report that had his school headed to the SEC. “There’s nothing [to the report]. … We haven’t been in discussions with anybody.”

Again, you should take these public denials for what they’re worth, which is next to nothing.  But, it appears that, at least for now, Mizzou is committed to the Big 12.

And, if they’re ultimately not and they jump ship to the SEC?  The Oklahoman writes that, if the Big 12 were to splinter, an “OU official said he assumes that OU would move to the Pac 12 Conference, probably to be joined by Oklahoma State and Kansas among others.”

Of course, before the Sooners head out west with others in tow, the first domino — that being the A&M-to-the-SEC talk coming to fruition — has to fall.  How many more would tumble after that remains very much in doubt.  And, if this report is accurate, could very well come down to a school that was publicly embarrassed in their pursuit of a spot in the Big Ten just a year ago.

Steve Spurrier discusses retirement; Gamecocks name Shawn Elliott interim coach

Steve Spurrier

Odds are pretty good Steve Spurrier has coached his final game as the Head Ball Coach, but Spurrier let it be known he is not going to go away quite as easily as you might think. Spurrier addressed the media today as South Carolina made its transition between coaches official. Spurrier noted he is resigning as head coach, but he is not necessarily retiring. As previously reported, Shawn Elliott will take on the role as interim head coach of the Gamecocks effective immediately.

The first thing Spurrier wants to remind everybody is he is not retiring. This is simply a resignation from his current position. Spurrier left the door open to possible options down the road for him in his post-coaching career. The idea of Spurrier walking away from the football world never to be heard from again is a startling one, so it is good to know he is not going to let that happen.

“College football is a game of recruiting, as well know,” Spurrier said when assessing why it was right for him to leave his job now. “That’s another reason I need to move on. I don’t know if coaching is completely over or not. It is fun being on a team. I might be a consultant for someone. I doubt if I’ll be a head coach again, but who knows?”

Spurrier said he realized Sunday the time to walk away was now and explained he always knew he would need to step aside the moment he saw himself holding the program back. That echoes the sentiment he has shared over the years, especially when asked about coaches like Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden as they each got up in the years. This season South Carolina is off to a 2-4 start, so the writing was on the wall for Spurrier, who also said it was in the best interests for all if an inevitable change was handled immediately.

“We’ve slipped. It’s my fault. I’m the head coach,” Spurrier said of South Carolina’s recent struggles.”We haven’t lost it. We’ve got a dang good team.”

“Our team is not in shambles despite what some might say,” Elliott said when he was given a chance to speak to the media. “We’re going to do everything we can to make the University of South Carolina proud of this football program.”

Elliott will now have the rest of the season to show what he can do as a head coach, and he knows this will be a bit of an open audition for the job as South Carolina starts searching for its next head coach.

Mark Dantonio quickly tosses aside South Carolina discussion

Mark Dantonio

Michigan State has become a national power under the coaching of Mark Dantonio. The grizzled and confident coach has put together a master plan in East Lansing and has taken the Spartans to the top of the Big Ten along the way, capturing a Big Ten title and victories in the Cotton Bowl and Rose Bowl as well as in-state dominance over the Michigan Wolverines. Danotnio is preparing his Spartans to take on the Wolverines this week, but with the new vacancy opening up at South Carolina following the sudden retirement of Steve Spurrier, Dantonio has already been presented with the question about his thoughts on coaching at South Carolina.

He did not seem all that interested in discussing the vacancy when meeting with Michigan State media this morning.

“Coach Spurrier’s had an outstanding career there, it’s alma mater, and we’re here to talk about Michigan,” Dantonio said when asked about it today. Video below from the Big Ten Network

Dantonio played defensive back for the Gamecocks in the mid 1970s, which helps make Dantonio an interesting name to mention in any coaching future discussion out of Columbia. While Dantonio may have played at South Carolina for Jim Carlen, Dantonio grew up in Ohio and has coached the bulk of his career within Ohio and the Big Ten. He is also one win away from picking up his 100th career coaching victory, 81 of which have come at Michigan State.