Updated: Big 12 reportedly looking to oust Beebe Thursday

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Shortly after the Pac-12 decided that it would not expand any further, Associated Press reports came in that Texas and Oklahoma, the two schools which ultimately hold the decision-making power for the Big 12’s future,  were planning a pow-wow to discuss a possible five-year contract of sorts to stay in the conference.

It appears that idea has spread to include the remaining seven members of the Big 12, as a teleconference over Big 12 stability has been scheduled for Thursday, the Tulsa World reports.

Among the ideas that will reportedly be discussed to ensure long-terms stability in the conference will be the replacement of current commissioner Dan Beebe, high-ranking Big 12 sources tell the TW. Additionally, former Big 8 commissioner Chuck Neinas has had his name thrown around as a possible replacement.

The report states Big 12 CEO’s will also attempt to make one final push to keep Texas A&M in the conference. That, however, appears to be a sailed ship. The Aggies made it clear yesterday that, despite what happened in the Big 12, there were no plans to stay beyond this season.

As a nine-member league, the Big 12 seems to, once again, be on the hunt for replacements. BYU’s name continues to trend, along with TCU and Air Force. All three have been reportedly mentioned as favorites by Oklahoma president David Boren.

(Writer’s note: The desire to maintain a 10-or-12-team Big-12 is understandable; the conference must be at least 10 members to avoid financial penalties with their TV deal that goes into effect next year . However, this was a conference that, not 24 hours ago, looked to be on the verge of extinction. Equal revenue sharing and addressing the Longhorn Network seem like bigger issues that should be addressed first — see below.) 

TCU was reportedly in New York last night in a meeting with Big East officials about its own conference future. As far as we can tell — which isn’t far at all — the Horned Frogs are a committed member of the Big East. Air Force has been mentioned by the Big East as a possible football-only member.

It’s also no guarantee that BYU would join the Big 12, given it’s very, very recent question marks. As a football independent, the Cougars can control every aspect of their destiny.

But the Big 12’s destiny may not be signed and sealed on Thursday during the teleconference. Texas AD DeLoss Dodds told Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News that Big 12 AD’s plan to meet next Tuesday and Wednesday in Dallas in what will surely be another meeting over the details of conference stability.

How the LHN will fit into that discussion, and the one tomorrow, is yet to be seen. Dodds added that UT still has no plans to share any third tier TV rights (i.e., the LHN) with any other members of the Big 12.

But equal revenue sharing for first and second-tier TV rights is still apparently on the ballot. The TW indicates that Oklahoma has submitted an equal revenue proposal for Thursday’s meeting. The Sooners, as you’ll recall, were still publicly undecided on such a proposal several weeks ago.

As I stated (very) early this morning, the Big 12 can survive, but it will take more than band-aid medicine. There are deep bruises that cannot be fixed without major reform by all parties.

Otherwise, expect to see the same conference drama a year from now.

UPDATED 9:22 p.m. ET: Dennis Dodd of CBSSports reports that the Big 12 is indeed looking to oust Beebe as soon as Thursday and that former Big Eight commissioner Chuck Neinas would take over.

Billion dollar club: Ohio State, Texas, Oklahoma named most valuable CFB programs

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Alabama is No. 1 in just about every college football poll… except one.

That would be the Wall Street Journal’s annual ranking of college football programs. While you might think that the paper gives Clemson the edge instead, you have to know that they are not examining teams’ performance on the field in 2017, but rather their overall evaluation. Much like Forbes does in ranking NFL franchise values, WSJ attempted to find out how much college football programs were worth and came to the conclusion that Ohio State reigns supreme in the sport with a nearly $1.5 billion sticker price.

The Buckeyes’ value shot up nearly 60% in just a year so you can thank a College Football Playoff appearance and that huge new Big Ten television package for boosting their bottom line. The WSJ came to the conclusion by citing a study performed by Ryan Brewer, an associate professor of finance at Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus.

Not far behind Ohio State and still in the billion dollar club were Big 12 rivals Texas and Oklahoma. The Longhorns were an annual mainstay atop estimates like this for years but the team’s recent malaise on the field seems to have held them back lately. While the SEC did not have a team crack the 10 figure mark (shockingly), the league did make up half of the top 10. All said, the most valuable conference in college football averaged nearly $523 million per team overall.

Here’s the overall top 10 teams and how much they’re worth per the report:

  1. Ohio State – $1,510,482,000
  2. Texas – $1,243,124,000
  3. Oklahoma – $1,001,967,00
  4. Alabama $930,001,000
  5. Louisiana State – $910,927,000
  6. Michigan – $892,951,000
  7. Notre Dame – $856,938,000
  8. Georgia – $822,310,000
  9. Tennessee – $745,640,00
  10. Auburn – $724,191,000

Boise State QB Brett Rypien cleared to play vs. Virginia, unclear if he’ll start

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Boise State got their starting quarterback back.  Whether he’ll be back to starting remains to be seen.

Bryan Harsin confirmed Wednesday that Brett Rypien has been cleared to play in Friday’s game against Virginia.  Rypien sustained a head injury in the first quarter of the Washington State loss in Week 2 and didn’t return, then was sidelined for the Week 3 win over New Mexico as well.

While there has been no confirmation from the school, it has been reported that Rypien sustained a concussion.

“Brett has been practicing, he’s been cleared,” the Broncos head coach said according to the Idaho Press Tribune. “He’s good. He’s been back in the mix and there’s no issue there.”

Left unsaid is whether he or Kansas transfer Montell Cozart will get the start against the Cavaliers.  In his first start for the Broncos, Cozart directed an offense that finished with its lowest yardage output (264) in five years.  Individually, Cozart produced solid stats in the win as he completed 15 of his 19 passes for 137 yards while adding 71 on the ground.  He also accounted for three touchdowns — two passing, one rushing.

Regardless of who starts, Harsin acknowledged that both Cozart and Rypien will play in the non-conference game.

Shawn Eichorst’s firing at Nebraska increases heat on Mike Riley

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If Mike Riley wasn’t feeling the pressure to win before, he certainly is now.

Thursday afternoon, Nebraska announced that Shawn Eichorst, the man responsible for firing Bo Pelini as head football coach and hiring Riley as his replacement, has been ousted from his position as athletic director at the university.  The move is effective immediately.

Eichorst was hired by NU in October of 2012, and still has $1.7 million remaining on a contract that runs through June of 2019.  The university will be responsible for paying Eichorst that entire amount.

“Shawn has led Nebraska Athletics in many positive ways, but those efforts have not translated into on-field performance,” chancellor Ronnie Green said in a statement. “Our fans and our student-athletes deserve leadership that drives the highest levels of competitiveness, as well as excellence across all facets of Husker Athletics.”

The fact that the chancellor mentioned lack of on-field performance should be especially worrisome for Riley.

The Cornhuskers won at least nine games in each of the seven seasons under Pelini.  His last two seasons, they finished a combined 18-7.  In Riley’s two-plus seasons, they’ve gone 16-13, including a 1-2 stumble out of the gate this year.

The move to fire Eichorst comes less than a week after Nebraska lost 21-17 to Northern Illinois at Memorial Stadium.

That loss marked NU’s first defeat at home to a Group of Five team since falling to Southern Miss in 2004.  That was the first year of the Bill Callahan reign in Lincoln, a season that would finish with a 5-6 record; that was the program’s worst since going 3-6-1 in 1961.

The NIU loss was also the first time, ever, that the Cornhuskers have lost to a team from the MAC, either at home, on the road or on a neutral field.

USC optimistic Uchenna Nwosu will play against Cal

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Already battered by injuries on defense, USC may have avoided what would’ve potentially been a significant loss on that side of the ball.

Uchenna Nwosu suffered a sprained MCL in his knee during USC’s double-overtime win over Texas in Week 3.  After being held out in the early part of the week, the linebacker, armed — or kneed as the case may be — with a brace, returned to practice Wednesday.

Afterward, head coach Clay Helton seemed optimistic about Nwosu’s availability for the Week 4 game against Cal, their first road trip of the season.

Nwosu is currently second on the team in tackles with 20, while his seven pass breakups rank second nationally.  He’s started the first three games of the season for the Trojans after starting every game in 2016.

That brings us to the end of the positive injury news portion of the program as fellow linebacker Porter Gustin is very unlikely to play against the Golden Bears.  Gustin, who leads the Trojans in sacks with three, has been dealing with a surgically-repaired big toe.  While it didn’t keep him out of the Texas game as expected, he was sidelined again at practice Wednesday.

Additionally, defensive end Rasheem Green (ankle) and slot cornerback Ajene Harris (knee) are questionable for the road trip to Berkeley after sitting out practice yet again.