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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.

Colorado QB Sefo Liufau hurt as Washington takes halftime lead in Pac-12 title game

SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 02:  Jake Browning #3 of the Washington Huskies runs with the ball against the Colorado Buffaloes during the Pac-12 Championship game at Levi's Stadium on December 2, 2016 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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Colorado’s unlikely road to the Pac-12 title may have gotten a little bit harder on Friday night.

Buffaloes starting quarterback Sefo Liufau suffered a lower leg injury midway through the first quarter and missed most of the half as the unlikely South Division champions trailed Washington 14-7 in the Pac-12 Championship Game.

Liufau eventually headed to the locker room before the whistle at the end of the second quarter but it’s possible he will return to the game.

Backup Steven Montez did lead the team down on a scoring drive shortly afterward (capped off by a Phillip Lindsay touchdown run) but was under pressure on nearly every snap by the Huskies’ pass rush.

His counterpart similarly didn’t have much luck against Colorado’s stingy defense either. Washington signal-caller Jake Browning finished the half just 4-of-12 for 38 yards but the Huskies didn’t bat much of an eye by doing what they wanted on ground — rushing for 148 yards behind the tough running of both Myles Gaskin and Lavon Coleman.

It should make for a fantastic second half from the Bay Area as both teams harbor hopes of making it into the College Football Playoff after capturing a Pac-12 title.

Row The Boat! Western Michigan captures MAC title over Ohio and states Group of Five case

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 02: Trevor Sweeney #25 of the Western Michigan Broncos celebrates causing a first half fumble on a kick return with teammate Leo Ekwoge #33 while playing the Ohio Bobcats during the MAC Championship on December 2, 2016 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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Still perfect. Still rowing.

Western Michigan completed a dream undefeated regular season on Friday night and captured the school’s first MAC Championship since 1988 with a 29-23 win over Ohio.

The Broncos led from wire-to-wire on Friday night but struggled to complete drives with touchdowns against a stingy Bobcats defense on a night where they needed all the style points they could get. WMU is the College Football Playoff’s highest ranked Group of Five team but are in a neck-and-neck battle with Navy for a bid to the Cotton Bowl this season.

Even if the final margin wasn’t what head coach P.J. Fleck wanted, he nevertheless was excited at the way his team played defensively in holding Ohio to just 213 yards on the night. The normally prolific offense had their moments too, with quarterback Zach Terrell finishing with 301 yards, two scores and two interceptions.

One of those touchdown passes from Terrell went to wide receiver Corey Davis, who continued to press his case that he’s a first-round pick in the spring. The pass-catcher scored the team’s first touchdown back in the second quarter on a 70-yard scamper and the all-time leader in FBS receiving yardage finished his MAC career with 155 yards on nine catches.

The Bobcats tried to use their normal formula of running the ball and playing defense to control the clock but failed to do much of the former. The team finished with just 37 yards on the ground (and 251 overall) but did manage to make things interesting with three second half touchdowns and a late drive that could have taken the lead but instead ended with a game-sealing interception.

That wasn’t exactly the kind of high-flying #MACtion game the conference record 45,615 fans at Ford Field were looking for, with many of them sporting WMU colors as the school looks ahead to Sunday and whether or not they’re headed to a New Year’s Six Bowl at the end of the month.

On Friday night however, they just had to soak in the remarkable run the Broncos are on and row that boat all the way to a championship.

Report: Les Miles not in the mix in Purdue head coaching search

BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 28:  Head coach Les Miles of the LSU Tigers look on during the game against the Texas A&M Aggies at Tiger Stadium on November 28, 2015 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
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One of the bigger storylines of this offseason is the annual coaching carousel and where former LSU head coach Les Miles will land.

The longtime coach has stated he wants to coach again in 2017, and has plenty of credentials — over 100 wins, SEC and national championships — but where he will find a fit is one of the bigger mysteries.

A lot of folks have noted that he could be in the running for the Purdue job (Miles is a Big Ten man at heart) but it appears that will not be the case. According to Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel, a source told him to cross Miles’s name off of Purdue’s list.

There are not a ton of big openings at the moment so with the Boilermakers reportedly off the table, it might be a long offseason for the former LSU coach. Western Kentucky’s Jeff Brohm and Western Michigan’s P.J. Fleck have been the two biggest names mentioned with the Purdue search but it appears unlikely any movement happens before this weekend.

Thamel also mentions Miles could be in the mix at Houston, which would be fascinating given his years at Oklahoma State and over a decade spent a few hours East in Baton Rouge. Either way, it looks like the carousel has a few more spins left in it this month.

Colorado denies Mike MacIntyre is interviewing at Baylor this weekend

BOULDER, CO - NOVEMBER 19:  Head Coach Mike MacIntyre looks on from the field during the second quarter against the Washington State Cougars at Folsom Field on November 19, 2016 in Boulder, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
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Colorado plays Washington on Friday in the Pac-12 Championship Game but that hasn’t stopped the coaching carousel from taking a break.

Rumors have circulated that Buffaloes head coach Mike MacIntyre is a candidate at Baylor and that he would be interviewing with the Bears either today or tomorrow. Colorado’s sports information director wanted no part of those reports continuing to flourish however, and took to Twitter to vehemently deny them.

That is… quite the denial.

At the same time, you can understand why Baylor wants to speak with MacIntyre give his credentials for turning around the program, his moral values and the fact that he was just named the Walter Camp Coach of the Year.

If it’s not meant to be however, the school will no doubt be turning to other candidates this weekend, possibly including fellow Pac-12 coach Sonny Dykes at Cal.