Adventures-of-Pinocchio

Mizzou AD writes letter reassuring school’s commitment to Big 12

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With Texas A&M’s official announcement that it would withdraw from the Big 12 to pursue another conference affiliation (i.e. the SEC) earlier today, many have already wondered/speculated/fantasized about how the move would affect the college football landscape over the course of the foreseeable future.

In other words, would the conference realignment apocalypse that never quite came to fruition last summer begin to take shape now?

Regardless of what may or may not happen elsewhere in the country, the now nine remaining members of the Big 12 conference have pledged — even throughout this entire A&M drama — that their loyalty remains in their current home. To reinforce that notion, a search committee has already been established to find a replacement for A&M; Notre Dame, Arkansas and BYU are reportedly on the shortlist.

But one member of the current Big 12 is still a question mark: Missouri.

Yes, yes, we know they’ve denied talking to the SEC. There’s even a nice letter below written by Mizzou AD/professional rumor debunker Mike Alden about the commitment the Tigers have to the Big 12.

And, in case you were wondering, yes, we’re talking about those Tigers.

But Missouri is one of the few remaining Big 12 members who are valuable enough to be plucked by another conference. They have a presence in both the St. Louis and Kansas City media markets, they’re a good academic institution and they field a competitive football team.

But, Alden insists MU is content on staying right where they are. Here’s his letter below:

Dear Tiger Fans:

As you are likely aware, Texas A&M has informed the Big 12 Conference that they will be making application to another league for their future athletic conference affiliation. That announcement was made this morning in a letter to the Big 12 from President R. Bowen Loftin of Texas A&M.

With the impending departure of the Aggies, where does the Big 12 Conference stand on its future? Dan Beebe, as our Commissioner, is focused on maintaining the Big 12 as a strong and viable league in college athletics. Dan and his leadership team at the Conference Office are working to expand the schools in our league and they have taken an aggressive approach in this manner. As you might imagine, those workings by the league offices are highly confidential and require a great amount of research, coordination and focus.

Dr. Brady Deaton, who is our Chancellor at Mizzou, is the current Chair of the Board of Directors of the Big 12. I know that Dr. Deaton, myself and all of us at Mizzou are committed to working hard to keep the Big 12 a strong and successful conference*. We look to Commissioner Beebe and the Big 12 staff to develop and implement the plans necessary for the future.

Rest assured that the Mizzou “brand” is extremely strong nationally**. We are the flagship institution of the State of Missouri with nearly 6 million residents who passionately follow our University and the Tigers. As a proud member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, we are equally proud of the national recognition Mizzou Athletics has received for our academic, social and competitive accomplishments. Our success wouldn’t be possible without the great support of our students, faculty, staff, alumni and fans.

The landscape of college athletics continues to evolve, and we will collaborate with the Big 12 staff leadership to guide that direction of our league. Thanks for your patience, understanding and support.

Go Tigers!

(*note: unless the SEC calls)

(*note: strong enough for the Big Ten, SEC, Pac-38, whoever wants us!)

I’ll give Alden credit, though. Even in writing he kept a straight face longer than I did.

Stanford WR Francis Owusu to miss game against Washington with concussion

PASADENA, CA - NOVEMBER 28:  Running back Francis Owusu #6 of the Stanford Cardinal carries the ball against the UCLA Bruins at the Rose Bowl on November 28, 2014 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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Stanford will be without one of their top weapons ahead of a Pac-12 showdown with Washington.

Cardinal head coach David Shaw announced on Monday that receiver Francis Owusu suffered a concussion last week against UCLA and he will miss the team’s upcoming game on Friday in Seattle.

“He’s doing much better,” Shaw told ESPN. “If it was up to him, he’d play next week, but that’s not up to him.”

Owusu took a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit from defensive back Tahaan Goodman late in Saturday’s comeback win over UCLA. The play was reviewed but not considered targeting by Pac-12 referees, something that Shaw told reporters he would ask conference officials about.

“I know that Francis Owusu was not technically a ‘defenseless player,'” said Shaw. “But knowing the era we’re in — where we’re in the mode of trying to make this game safer, trying to take helmet hits out of the game, and trying to protect the players who play this wonderful, physical sport — in the spirit of where we are in the football world right now, you should throw a flag. It should be penalty. The initial contact was helmet-to-helmet.”

Owusu has just two catches for 15 yards on the season but the senior is one of the Cardinal’s veteran options at receiver. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, who caught the game-winner at the Rose Bowl on Saturday, and Jay Tyler are expected to fill Owusu’s shoes in the offense.

No. 7 Stanford takes on No. 10 Washington in a battle of Pac-12 unbeatens that could be for a spot in the conference title game and the College Football Playoff. If nothing else, the game should determine who wins the Pac-12 North in 2016.

LSU defensive end Davon Godchaux suspended after domestic battery arrest

BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 08:  Davon Godchaux #57 celebrates a defensive stop with Kwon Alexander #4 of the LSU Tigers against the Alabama Crimson Tide during a game at Tiger Stadium on November 8, 2014 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
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Ed Orgeron’s first order of business after being handed the interim head coaching title at LSU?

Suspending a starter.

The school announced on Monday that defensive end Davon Godchaux was suspended indefinitely after being arrested over the weekend as the result of an incident with his girlfriend.

NOLA.com reported that Godchaux was booked Monday morning by the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s office on charges of false imprisonment and domestic abuse battery/child endangerment. He was released after posting a $20,000 bond.

Godchaux is accused of getting into an altercation with his girlfriend and preventing her from leaving their apartment with their 10-month old child.

The defensive end has been responsible for two sacks on the season and 20 tackles over four games. Frank Herron is expected to take Godchaux’s place on the Tigers’ first-team defense.

Reports: Florida hires Mississippi State’s Scott Stricklin as new athletic director

FILE - In this Jan. 28, 2016, file photo, Mississippi State athletic director Scott Stricklin congratulates Dominique Dillingham following the team's NCAA college basketball game against Tennessee in Starkville, Miss. A person familiar with the search says Florida has hired Stricklin as its new athletic director. Stricklin replaces Jeremy Foley, one of the most tenured sports executives in the country. Foley is retiring Saturday after 40 years with the Gators, including the last 25 in charge of Florida's athletic program. The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because Florida has an announcement and introductory news conference planned for Tuesday, Sept. 27. (AP Photo/Jim Lytle, File)
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One athletic director is making a rare intra-conference move to take the same position at a rival school.

As first reported by USA Today, Mississippi State’s Scott Stricklin is set to be announced as the new athletic director at Florida on Tuesday.

The move ends a lengthy search by the Gators to replace longtime AD Jeremy Foley, who officially retires at the end of the week but is remaining at the school to help fundraise.

The Florida athletic director’s job is considered to be one of the most plum in all of college sports. That may be the biggest reason why Stricklin, who graduated from Mississippi State in 1992, would make the rare move to leave his alma mater for another position in the SEC. He has been in charge of the Bulldogs since 2010 and also made stops at Tulane, Baylor and Kentucky before coming back to Starkville.

Stricklin is well-regarded in most circles for his moves to upgrade MSU facilities during his time as athletic director. The Gators recently announced plans for over $100 million in capital improvements so you can bet that the school’s new athletic director will hit the ground running starting on Saturday.

FSU’s Jimbo Fisher, Houston’s Tom Herman both deny being contacted by LSU

TALLAHASSEE, FL - SEPTEMBER 12: Head coach Jimbo Fisher of the Florida State Seminoles looks on against the South Florida Bulls in the first half at Doak Campbell Stadium on September 12, 2015 in Tallahassee, Florida. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Les Miles has barely been out of a job for 24 hours and already the rumors have begun connecting other head coaches to his old job at LSU.

Not surprisingly, one of the most prominent names being mentioned is former Tigers assistant and current Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher.

“I’m not talking about LSU. No I haven’t [had contact] and I’m not talking about it,” Fisher told reporters on Monday. “We’re talking about North Carolina.”

The 12th-ranked Seminoles play the Tar Heels on Saturday.

Fisher spent seven years at LSU and was the offensive coordinator for Nick Saban during the 2003 national championship season in Baton Rouge. He recently won a national championship at Florida State in 2013 and has 71-15 career record.  Many have labeled Fisher one of the Tigers’ top targets in their coaching search but he is far from the only prominent name that has been mentioned recently for the job.

Houston coach Tom Herman, who has seemingly heard his name come up for every major coaching opening the past 18 months, also denied being contacted by the school. A report had surfaced shortly after Miles was fired saying that said school representatives had already made contact with the Cougars coach.

“I can say unequivocally nobody has contacted me,” Herman said after practice, according to the Houston Chronicle. “I can spend my time getting upset and going on radio shows and tweeting things out and all that stuff, but at the end of the day it’s not going to stop. I just let them do and say whatever they want to say.”

Stanford head coach David Shaw also issued a strong denial about him potentially leaving the Farm for LSU as well.

With such a big time job opening up this early in the year, you can expect plenty of these types of reports linking somebody with LSU and then a prompt denial from said coach. It seems like it’s going to be a long season for the Tigers on the field and an even longer for those following the team’s coaching search.

It’s probably safe to say the only person who won’t deny any interest in the job or being contacted about the opening is LSU’s current interim coach Ed Orgeron, who was introduced at a press conference Monday afternoon.