For Sooners, spinning is winning

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On Sept. 3, and citing a university source, the Daily Oklahoman reported that Oklahoma’s sole focus was on a move from the Big 12 to the Pac-12.

Nearly three weeks later?  Psyche!  Gotcha!  Buuurrrn!!!

Less than 24 hours after the Pac-12 announced  it would not expand beyond its current membership, thus blocking OU’s expected conference move westward, what’s being a called a high-ranking OU source told the same paper that the OU/Oklahoma State coalition wanted people to think they were seriously eyeing the Pac-12 when all along they were working in tandem to keep the conference together.  No, seriously, that’s how they’re framing this situation.

“But frankly, we [OU/OSU] wanted the impression out there that we might go to the Pac-12 because that gave us some leverage,” the source told the paper, apparently with a straight face and everything. “We were using that as leverage to say, ‘Hey, you want us to stay? Let’s have some of these reforms.'”

My head… all this spinning… when will the room… stop…

For the record, the word leverage was used six times in that piece.  As someone on Twitter opined, if you have to tell someone you have leverage, you don’t.  Or, as one Pac-12 official said in an email, “that’s was the best laugh I’ve had all day.”

Regardless of how the story is being “framed” in Norman and Stillwater, and regardless of how laughable this double-agent, James Bond spin is, there does appear to be one consistent theme in the here and now: there will need to be some significant concessions made in order to keep OU satisfied, although most of the leverage they were attempting to gain was likely lost when the Pac-12 made its announcement last night.  As has previously been reported, there are a handful of concessions the Sooners, and presumably OSU as Mini-Me to OU’s Austin Powers, are seeking in order to add some stability to the conference.

Among the changes: removing of Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe; adopting common rules for individual networks like the Longhorn Network; phasing in revenue sharing from primary television rights; and requiring a commitment of rights of more than five years from conference schools, which would commit all of their game revenues to the Big 12 during that time and make moving to another league difficult to impossible.

On the issue of revenue sharing, UT athletic director DeLoss Dodds stated today that athletic directors had already approved last spring the equal sharing of Tier 1 and Tier 2 revenues among all conference members; the presidents of the universities have yet to sign off on that item.  One thing Dodds made clear, however, was that sharing revenues earned from The Longhorn Network, which falls under Tier 3 rights, is nonnegotiable.  It’s believed that’s not a major concern of OU as the school has already been working on creating its own network.

The issues surrounding the LHN mainly revolve around the televising of high school football games or highlights, as well as UT’s desire to broadcast an additional football game — a conference game — per season.

Nine of the conferences members, with the obvious exception of Texas A&M, will hold what’s being called a stability teleconference Thursday to begin the process of hashing out the issues that need to be resolved before the Big 12 can begin to move forward.

Lamar Jackson given key to city of Florida hometown

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Before he was a Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson was still the greatest football player to come out of Pompano Beach, Fla.

Jackson played for Boynton Beach High School, where he was a 4-year starter, but became the first player ever from the city of 99,000 people just north of Fort Lauderdale to win the Lou Groza Award High School Player of the Year in 2014.

He then matriculated to Louisville where he, of course, won the most prestigious individual award in sports just two years later.

Over the weekend, Jackson was given the key to his hometown.

Thank you to the city of pompano beach key to the city🔑🔑🙏🏾🙏🏾

A post shared by Lamar Jackson (@new_era8) on

Jackson completed 230-of-409 passes for 3,543 yards with 30 touchdowns against nine interceptions while rushing 250 times for 1,571 yards and 21 touchdowns as a sophomore for Louisville in 2016.

Former Michigan AD Jim Hackett named Ford CEO

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Both of Michigan’s two most recent athletics directors traded their maize and blue for the suits of corporate America. Dave Brandon left Ann Arbor for Toys ‘R’ Us in relative disgrace. Jim Hackett left Michigan a hero and has now taken the reins of another Michigan institution.

The former Michigan interim AD on Monday was named the CEO of Ford Motor Company.

“We’re moving from a position of strength to transform Ford for the future,” executive chairman Bill Ford said in a statement. “Jim Hackett is the right CEO to lead Ford during this transformative period for the auto industry and the broader mobility space. He’s a true visionary who brings a unique, human-centered leadership approach to our culture, products and services that will unlock the potential of our people and our business.”

After successfully completing the coup to bring Jim Harbaugh home, Hackett will now be in charge of leading a company of 202,000 employees from its Dearborn, Mich., headquarters.

The man whom Hackett hired thinks Ford made a great move.

“I absolutely think (it’s a good fit),” Harbaugh told MLive. “He brings a tremendous wealth of experience and he has tremendous leadership skills. He believes in — the way I put it — in building a ball team. And he does it with a really high intellect. He cares about people, he listens.”

This is not Hackett’s first foray as a business CEO. He previously served as CEO of Steelcase in Grand Rapids, Mich., from 1994-2014.

Rimington watch list details list of returning centers

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It’s the dead time of the college football calendar, which means it’s time for this sport’s oldest, most antiquated tradition: watch lists.

First one in line is the Rimington Trophy, given to the best center in college football. And to help voters narrow down their choice for when voting picks up six months from now, the Rimington has helpfully provided this watch list of essentially every returning starting center in college football.

The 2017 list includes (deep breath):

– Aaron Mitchell, Fresno State
– Alan Knott, South Carolina
– Alac Eberle, Florida State
– Antonyo Woods, Florida Atlantic
– Asotui Eli, Hawaii
– Austin Doan, Central Michigan
– Austin Golson, Auburn
– Austin Schlottmann, TCU
– Billy Price, Ohio State
– Blaise Fountain, New Mexico
– Brad Lundblade, Oklahoma State
– Brad North, Northwestern
– Bradley Bozeman, Alabama
– Brendan Moore, Maryland
– Brian Allen, Michigan State
– Bryce Holland, Army
– Cameron Ruff, South Florida
– Chandler Miller, Tulsa
– Coleman Shelton, Washington
– Colton Prater, Texas A&M
– Danny Godloveske, Miami (Ohio)
– Dennis Edwards, Western Kentucky
– Drew Keyser, Memphis
– Erick Wren, Oklahoma
– Evan Brown, SMU
– Frank Ragnow, Arkansas
– Gabe Mobley, Georgia State
– Garrett McGhin, East Carolina
– Jake Bennett, Colorado State
– Jake Hanson, Oregon
– Jake Pruehs, Ohio
– James Daniels, Iowa
– James O’Hagan, Buffalo
– Jesse Burkett, Stanford
– John Keenoy, Western Michigan
– Jon Baker, Boston College
– Julian Good-Jones, Iowa State
– Keoni Taylor, San Jose State
– LaVonne Gauthney, Akron
– Levi Brown, Marshall
– Luke Shively, Northern Illinois
– Mason Hampton, Boise State
– Matt Hennessy, Temple
– Mesa Ribordy, Kansas
– Michael Deiter, Wisconsin
– Nathan Puthoff, Kent State
– Nick Allegretti, Illinois
– Nick Clarke, Old Dominion
– Reid Najvar, Kansas State
– Ryan Anderson, Wake Forest
– Sam Mustipher, Notre Dame
– Scott Quessenberry, UCLA
– Sean Krepsz, Nevada
– Sean Rawlings, Ole Miss
– Sumner Houston, Oregon State
– T.J. McCoy, Florida
– Tanner Thrift, Baylor
– Tejan Koroma, BYU
– Tim McAullife, Bowling Green
– Trey Martin, Rice
– Will Clapp, LSU
– Will Noble, Houston
– Zach Shackelford, Texas

Exhale.

Got all that?

Ohio State’s Pat Elflein claimed the honor last season.

Miami OT Sunny Odogwu leaving The U as graduate transfer

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Miami’s offensive line is losing a key piece up front this coming season. On Monday, the Miami program announced the departure of offensive tackle Sunny Odogwu, a starter at right tackle.

Despite having started 14 games for the Hurricanes, it seems Odogwu is looking for a better opportunity to start with another FBS program.

“Sunny and I had a good conversation, and he informed me that he feels his best opportunity to get the most playing time would be at another school,” Miami head coach Mark Richt said in a released statement. “Sunny has been a great teammate and leader for this program, and we will miss him.”

Odogwu is coming off surgery for a right knee injury late last season. After starting 12 games for the Hurricanes, Odogwu was forced to miss Miami’s bowl game and later was limited in spring practice drills. Odogwu had to undergo surgery for a right knee injury late in the 2015 season as well.

Odogwu has already graduated from Miami, so he will be eligible to play immediately next fall with another FBS program as a graduate transfer. Tyree St. Louis appears to have a stranglehold on the starting job at right tackle for the Hurricanes moving forward after a good showing in the spring.