Larry Scott listening to schools interested in Pac-12

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I have to say this: it sure would be nice to sit down and actually watch and enjoy the first full weekend of college football.  Instead, there are additional signs pointing toward a thermonuclear version of conference apocalypse that simply can’t go unmentioned.

In the latest and most significant development, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott acknowledged that he has fielded calls from unnamed schools — one rhymes with “Schmoklahoma” — that have expressed an interest in joining his conference.  One thing Scott’s making perfectly clear, however, is he’s the one on the receiving end of phone calls from interested parties, not the other way around.

I will say schools have reached out to us,” Scott told reporters before the start of the LSU-Oregon game. “We are not doing anything proactively… schools have called us. We certainly are going to listen. …

“If there is any suggestion whatsoever that our conference is being predatory that’s just wrong. We’ve not had expansion as an initiative, as an agenda, for us at all. If there were any conversations going on, you can be sure there are not any we initiated.”

Earlier today, the Daily Oklahoman reported that Oklahoma’s sole focus is now on the Pac-12.  If the speculation comes to fruition, OU would make the first move to the Pac-12, causing a ripple effect that would bring Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech along with them, leaving the Big 12 with five schools and almost no shot at survival — especially after the Big Ten grabs Missouri as part of a counteroffensive to the Pac-12 morphing into the Pac-16.  And then Jim Delany reaches into the Big East before convincing Notre Dame to shed its football independence to get to 16 members.  And then the SEC responds as well, getting to 16 by swallowing up three schools from the ACC, forcing that conference and some of what’s left of the Big East and Big 12 to merge.

Such developments — well, maybe not those specific developments — would come as no surprise to Scott.

“I’ve also been clear,” Scott said, “that there will probably be further expansion at some stage.”

Of course, at one point last year Scott, after flying to a handful of Big 12 cities, thought he had the OU-UT-OSU-TT quartet all but signed, sealed and delivered before the then just-a-dream Longhorn Network played a significant role in scuttling those grandiose expansion dreams.  This time, the LHN isn’t expected to pose an obstacle to adding Texas.  Rather, this time it appears as if it’ll be up to the school in Norman to (mercifully) put the final bullet in the head of the Big 12.

Arizona State, Mississippi State ink home-and-home

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Arizona State and Mississippi State on Tuesday announced a home-and-home series to be played in 2024-25. Arizona State will host the first game in Tempe on Sept. 7, 2024, and the clubs will meet in Starkville on Sept. 6, 2025.

The Sun Devils and Bulldogs have never met previously.

The Arizona State trip is not Mississippi State’s only upcoming trek from the Deep South to the Southwest. The Bulldogs also lined up a visit to Arizona in 2020 and Texas Tech in 2029. Mississippi State will open the 2024 season against Eastern Kentucky and visit Southern Miss the week after its Arizona State visit, on Sept. 14. The Bulldogs have no other games lined up in 2025 as of yet, according to FBSchedules.

Likewise, Mississippi State is not the Sun Devils’ lone upcoming SEC opponent. Arizona State has a home-and-home with LSU on the docket for 2026-28, per FBSchedules. The Mississippi State games complete both of the Sun Devils’ non-conference schedules for these respective seasons. Arizona State opens with Wyoming and visits Texas State in 2024, and hosts Northern Arizona and Texas State in 2025.

UCLA lands Texas Tech graduate transfer OL Justin Murphy

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Help is on the way for Chip Kelly‘s offensive line. One graduate transfer offensive lineman has the Bruins on his list, but another has already pulled the trigger for UCLA.

Texas Tech graduate transfer Justin Murphy on Tuesday committed to UCLA in a post on his Twitter account.

A native of Belton, Texas, Murphy signed with Texas Tech in 2014 and made four starts at right guard as a redshirt freshman. He again started four games at right guard in ’15 before moving out to tackle, where he started another four games. But after battling a series of knee injuries, Murphy announced in the middle of the 2016 season he had medically retired from the game.

After sitting out 2017, Murphy announced in March he planned to make a comeback.

UCLA remarkably started the same offensive linemen in all 13 games last season, but tackle Kolton Miller entered the NFL draft, guard Najoee Toran and center Scott Quessenberry graduated.

Toledo posts, then deletes, tweet offering to change mascot to Shrek

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There are plenty of annoying trends on Twitter, but perhaps the worst is the “I’ll do X if this gets retweeted X-thousand amount of times.” I blame Wendy’s.

But blanket policies are never a good way to go through life, and an exception was made on Tuesday when Toledo offered to change its mascot from a rocket to Shrek with 500,000 retweets.

Sadly, some dreams are simply too beautiful to live in this fallen world, and the tweet was outed to be a hoax. “We are definitely not changing the school mascot to Shrek,” Toledo media relations specialist Christine Billau told USA Today. “The tweet was meant to be fun, but it caused too much of a distraction.”

Meanwhile, Bowling Green gleefully hopped on the dog pile with both elbows pointed out.

UMass grad transfer lineman narrows choices to Auburn, UCLA, USC

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It’s not yet known to where Jack Driscoll will transfer, but the field has been significantly narrowed.

Earlier this offseason, Driscoll decided to transfer from UMass.  Tuesday, the offensive tackle confirmed to Rivals.com that he’s down to three schools as a potential landing spot — Auburn, UCLA and USC.

Neither football program will have to wait long for a decision as Driscoll expects to make an announcement Wednesday.  Driscoll had taken an official visit to all three of the campuses prior to whittling down his transfer to-do list.

“It will come down to one of those three schools,” the lineman told AuburnSports.com. “I feel like all three of the schools would be a good fit.”

Driscoll will graduate from UMass early next month, and will be eligible to play immediately in 2018 at whichever program he selects.  The upcoming season will be the first of two years of eligibility the 6-5, 294-pound lineman has remaining.

After starting eight games as a redshirt freshman in 2016, with most of those starts coming at left guard, he started all 12 games in 2017.  All of those starts this past season came at right tackle for the football-independent Minutemen. He was named to Phil Steele’s All-Independent first team while he earned second-team All-Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) honors for good measure.