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Mizzou-to-SEC chatter continues to grow

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In addition to future changes to the BcS, SEC commissioner Mike Slive reiterated a stance Tuesday that his conference has taken over the past several weeks: the SEC will be just fine adding Texas A&M and staying with an unbalanced 13 members for the time being.  Being the sage commissioner that he is, however, Slive didn’t slam the door shut on future movement.

“We anticipate being a 13-team league in 2012-13,” Slive said during a teleconference yesterday. “First, there are no institution currently under consideration by the SEC presidents and chancellors. And secondly, we have not received any application of any institution other than Texas A&M.”

Based on the rumors and speculation regarding a potential 14th member being added sooner rather than later, it was wise for Slive to add the “anticipate” qualifier.

The Kansas City Star and PowerMizzou.com are both reporting that the University of Missouri Board of Curators could meet as early as next Tuesday, and that the meeting will likely involve discussion of the school’s future conference affiliation.  Both before and after the Big 12 had been “saved from extinction”, Mizzou has been connected to other conferences, most notably the SEC this time around.  At a press conference the day after the Pac-12 announced it would not expand beyond its 12 current members, UM chancellor Brady Deaton refused to publicly affirm their loyalty to the Big 12.

A source with knowledge of Mizzou’s thinking told CFT five days ago that “the SEC hasn’t been taken out of play“; another source told the Star around the same time that joining another conference “is something that we’re very open to.”  Per our source, nothing’s changed on that front, with Mizzou-to-SEC talk possibly coming to a head — and a resolution — by the end of next week.

And, as if to add another layer of intrigue to the situation, Twitter has been all abuzz over a private plane that took off from Columbia, Mo. — home of the University of Missouri — Tuesday evening and landed in Birmingham, Ala. — home of the SEC offices.  After a stay of just over four hours, the plane headed back to Columbia.

Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News, one of the most connected writers in the country when it comes to the expansion front, wrote Wednesday that, according to his sources, the Big 12 is already making contingency plans to get back to 12 members with or without Missouri.  BYU, Boise State, Louisville and West Virginia, all rumored to be a part of an expanded Big 12, are mentioned by Wilner as potential candidates for expansion.

Wilner also tosses in a financial nugget to explain why the SEC would look to consider adding Mizzou as well as A&M: “The schools [would] add 11 million TV homes to the league’s footprint. At $1 per in-market subscriber per month … and this is all back-of-the-napkin conjecture … that would be more than $100 million per year — just from Mizzou and A&M.”  Such numbers are derived from the SEC possibly creating a network similar to that of the Pac-12’s regional setup.

Auburn adds FCS starting lineman as graduate transfer

AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 12: Running back Peyton Barber #25 of the Auburn Tigers dives for the end zone during overtime in their game against the Jacksonville State Gamecocks on September 12, 2015 at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama. The Auburn Tigers defeated the Jacksonville State Gamecocks 27-20. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
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Another graduate transfer has made a move, albeit with a slightly different bent than most others.

Auburn confirmed Wednesday that Casey Dunn has been added to Gus Malzahn‘s football roster.  The center comes to The Plains as a graduate transfer, which makes him eligible for the 2017 season.

He also comes to Auburn from Jacksonville State, an FCS school that would’ve made him immediately eligible aside from the grad transfer exception.  Oh, and his new position coach is excited to have him in the personnel fold as well.

The past two seasons, Dunn was an FCS All-American.  While Dunn comes to the Tigers as a center who started 27 games at that position for the Gamecocks, he could play anywhere along the interior of the Tigers’ offensive line.

Malzahn is also very familiar with Dunn’s talent as the lineman started for the JSU squad that took him to overtime in 2015.

Longtime Wake Forest assistant completes Charlotte’s coaching staff

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 12:  Head coach David Bailiff of the Rice Owls and head coach Brad Lambert of the Charlotte 49ers meet to shake hands following Rice's victory over Charlotte at McColl-Richardson Field at Jerry Richardson Stadium on November 12, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images)
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Earlier this week, Brad Lambert added a longtime Power Five assistant to his Charlotte coaching staff.  Not long after, he has added another.

The 49ers announced in a release that Keith Henry has been hired by Lambert as his running backs coach.  The 49ers’ coach at that position last season, Damien Gary, will shift to wide receivers.

Henry and Lambert (pictured, left) were on the same staff at Wake Forest, so they have a previous working relationship.

“Keith brings a lot of experience to our program,” said Lambert in a statement. “Having coached on both sides of the ball, he brings an added dimension of a defensive perspective to our offense. We’re really glad he’s coming on board with us. He’s a North Carolina native who’s played in North Carolina and has recruited for many, many years in North and South Carolina. That will be a huge benefit to our program with the relationships he’s built over the years.

“He’s been very successful and been a part of winning football at Ohio, Wake Forest and Catawba.”

Henry spent 11 seasons with the Demon Deacons (2001-11). He coached on the defensive side of the ball for the first 10 years before spending his final season with the ACC school as special teams coordinator.  His last job on the offensive side of the ball came as wide receivers coach at Ohio in 1996.

ECU won’t be hiring ex-Purdue interim HC charged with drunk driving

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - NOVEMBER 19: Interim coach Gerad Parker of the Purdue Boilermakers looks on against the Wisconsin Badgers in the second quarter of the game at Ross-Ade Stadium on November 19, 2016 in West Lafayette, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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An off-field incident involving alcohol has unofficially cost an assistant coach a job.

It had been reported that Gerad Parker, who served as Purdue’s interim head coach last season, decided to leave his new job at Cincinnati to take another at East Carolina. That reported move was complicated after reports surfaced that, following a going-away party in West Lafayette early Tuesday morning, the coach was pulled over and charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

Parker had been expected to take over the wide receivers coach job at ECU; Wednesday, multiple reports indicated that the Pirates are moving on from the coach in light of the recent development.

In a tweet that has since been deleted from his Twitter account, Parker apologized. “I’m sorry to all my friends and family,” the coach wrote. “Thanks to all that have reached out and shown support.”

Parker would’ve replaced Phil McGeoghan, who left ECU in late January for a job with the Buffalo Bills. ECU’s search for a replacement will continue.

Kentucky OC Eddie Gran gets contract extension and raise

LEXINGTON, KY - AUGUST 30:  The Kentucky Wildcats take the field before the game against the Tennessee- Martin Skyhawks at Commonwealth Stadium on August 30, 2014 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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After making some changes to the coaching staff this offseason, Kentucky is locking in offensive coordinator Eddie Gran for the next few seasons. Kentucky has signed Gran to a contract extension good through the 2019 season, according to The Courier-Journal.

According to the reported contract extension, Gran will be paid $825,000 in the 2017 season and will be given a $25,000 raise each of the next two seasons. A buyout cost of $150,000 per years is also added to the contract should he leave for another job during that span. Gran was originally under contract through the 2018 season, so his new deal tacks on an extra year in Lexington. The extended contract also bumps Gran’s pay by $175,000 compared to his previous contract.

Kentucky may have finished the 2017 season ranked 9th in the SEC in total scoring, but the Wildcats bumped up their average points per game by roughly six points in 2016 compared to the 2015 season. Kentucky also had the SEC’s third-most productive rushing attack with an average of 234.15 rushing yards per game and 30 rushing touchdowns. Only Auburn and Alabama had better averages and touchdown totals (and Alabama had two more games to pad the stats).

Kentucky has room to improve in the passing game after finishing the 2016 season ranked 13th in passing offense in the 14-team SEC. Kentucky also had an SEC-high 28 turnovers lost in 2016, with 16 fumbles and 12 interceptions thrown.

Gran joined the Kentucky program last year after a three-year stint at Cincinnati as offensive coordinator. Gran has previously been an assistant at Florida State, Tennessee, Auburn, and Ole Miss as well.