Updated: Deal dead between June Jones, Sun Devils

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UPDATED 6:03 p.m. ET: Leigh Steinberg, agent for Jones, posted the following on his blog regarding the negotiations with Arizona State, and what’s been rumored as a pulled offer on the part of ASU.  The headline?  “Bizarre Experience in Negotiating”:

“Just had one of the most bizarre endings to a set of productive discussions to bring a client to a new situation. Everything was set, few tweaks left, and the principal decision maker yanks the deal w/no real explanation.”

UPDATED 5:14 p.m. ET: Jones-to-ASU is officially dead according to one high-ranking ASU official.

June Jone is not going to be our coach. The process continues,” said Steve Patterson, ASU’s Chief operating officer, in comments made to Fox 26 Sports in Houston.

No reason was given for the sudden and unexpected change from where talks were headed Wednesday morning.

UPDATED 4:48 p.m. ET: That process of hammering out the final details of a contract?  There’s apparently been a snag to the talks that threatens to scuttle Jones’ expected move to the desert.

On Twitter, Doug Haller of the Arizona Republic writes that ASU “has broken off talks (for now) with SMU coach June Jones.”  Schad tweeted that “[a] contractual agreement between June Jones and Arizona State has not been completed and now it may not be at all.”  For what it’s worth, we have been unable to confirm the talks have actually hit a snag.

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As Ben noted Tuesday, and amid rumors he was being wooed by Arizona State, the agent for SMU head coach June Jones was quoted as saying his client was “happy” in his current situation and no announcement was imminent.

Ladies and gentlemen, a day later we give you reason No. 3,784 why you should never believe anything an agent says publicly this time of the year.

A source with knowledge of the situation has confirmed to CFT that the hiring of Jones by the Sun Devils is indeed imminent and could be announced as early as today.  CBS Sports.com and ESPN.com‘s Joe Schad are also reporting that Jones will be ASU’s next head coach.

The two sides are currently in the process of hammering out the final details of a contract, or were as of late this morning.  How soon all of the i’s are dotted and t’s crossed will determine when the official announcement is made.

Jones would replace Dennis Erickson, who was dismissed by the school following a late-season collapse that saw the Sun Devils lose their last four games and a shot at a berth in the inaugural Pac-12 championship game.

After taking Hawaii to a BcS game during his nine years with the Warriors, Jones returned to the mainland in 2008 to take over at SMU.  A one-win first season with the Mustangs gave way to 22 wins the past three years and the football program’s first three bowl berths since being hit with the death penalty in the mid-80s.

Army on cusp of rare back-to-back bowl seasons for first time since 1984-85

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Army is taking on Temple on Saturday afternoon with a chance to punch the first postseason bowl ticket of the 2017 season. Other teams may already be bowl eligible, but Army will be the first team to have a chance to accept an invitation to a bowl game on Saturday if they can manage to get by the Temple Owls.

Army has a spot waiting for them in the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth as long as they are bowl-eligible this season. At 5-2, the Black Knights can start making their bowl plans as soon as they win one more game. If they do clinch their bowl eligibility on Saturday, it will be the first time Army will go to back-to-back bowl games for the first time since the 1984 and 1985 seasons. Army played in and won the short-lived Cherry Bowl in the 1984 season and the Peach Bowl in the 1985 season. After going to the Heart of Dallas Bowl last season for their first bowl trip since the 2010 season, Jeff Monken and his program are looking to make going to a bowl game a regular thing.

Army defeated Temple in the season opener a year ago, and Monken is aware that can be a motivating factor for Temple despite these Owls being a much different team from the AAC champions of last season.

”This is a tough football team that won their conference last year,” Monken said. ”They’ll have a ton of confidence and they feel as though they have to come in and win this game. We had the chance to come out with a win at their place, and I’m sure they’d love to return the favor.”

Monken took over the Army football program in 2014 after a successful run as head coach of Georgia Southern, then a powerhouse FCS program. His run at Army took a couple of years to get going, but Army has shed their losing ways under his watch, and that was highlighted by a long-awaited victory over Navy in last season’s Army-Navy Game. Picking up a win against Temple will continue to prove Army is continuing to improve as a program, and that also means Monken will potentially be finding himself on the radar in the coaching rumor mill. The Nebraska job has had some people mentioning Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo, but perhaps Monken would be a name to keep an eye on as well. As long as that means Army is winning games, so be it.

Keep in mind this would not be the first time Army would have back-to-back bowl eligible seasons since the mid-1980s. The Knights have had winning seasons on multiple occasions since last going to back-to-back bowl games, but the bowl game picture was quite different in the 1980s than it is today. With an oversaturation of bowl games available to schools today, Army stands a much better chance of going to a bowl game this season even with just six or seven wins than they would have 30 years ago.

Ohio State unveils alternate helmet for Penn State game

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Contrary to previous internet uniform rumors, Ohio State’s alternate helmet for their big division showdown with Penn State next week is far closer to home to the traditional Ohio State look than some of the outside-the-box helmet designs that had been floating around in various rumor mills in Ohio State circles lately.

Ohio State is rolling out with an alternate gray uniform, for some reason (recruiting!), next week when the Buckeyes host Penn State. And to keep the look from head to toe, Ohio State will wear a gray helmet with a slightly abstract pattern seemingly mimicking camouflage.

Two years ago when Ohio State hosted Penn State, the Buckeyes took the field in an all-black uniform. The Buckeyes have also worn all-white uniforms (excluding the helmet) for road games against Michigan and Penn State in recent seasons.

Penn State, barring any unforeseen announcements, will stick with their traditional all-white look for the road game. Although, Penn State did wear a specially designed uniform this season a few weeks ago. It’s a new era, so never say never.

Ohio State is off this week. Penn State hosts Michigan Saturday night. The Buckeyes and Nittany Lions meet in Columbus next Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Big Ten lines up Thursday and Friday night football for 2018

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The Big Ten is planning ahead to buckle down and try to make Thursday night and Friday night football a thing in the conference. After breaking the ice on Thursday and Friday night football in the 2017 season, the conference has officially moved five games on the 2018 conference schedule to Thursday and Friday nights.

Purdue will host Northwestern in the Big Ten season opener on Thursday, August 30, marking the second straight season the Big Ten will kick off the college football season with a Thursday night football game. Indiana hosted Ohio State in a Thursday night season opener this season. The opening week of the season will continue the following night with Michigan State hosting Utah State and Wisconsin hosting Western Kentucky on Friday, August 21, 2018. This will mark the second straight season Wisconsin will open the season at home on a Friday night in Camp Randall Stadium. The Badgers hosted Utah State on Friday, September 1 this season.

The three games on Thursday and Friday night in the opening week of the 2018 season keeps the Big Ten on the primetime lineup on various TV partners between ESPN, FOX Sports, and the Big Ten Network, although the programming specifics will come later on. But the idea of adding games to Thursday and Friday nights has been designed to add programming to TV partners and add content across all partner networks as part of the latest contracts with ESPN and FOX, along with the Big Ten Network.

The Big Ten has moved two additional games Friday nights next season as well. Illinois will host Penn State on Friday, September 21, 2018. Minnesota will host Indiana on Friday, October 26, 2018.

In statement, Mark Dantonio says LJ Scott’s ‘status will be affected for Saturday’s game, but he will play’

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At least on the field, LJ Scott‘s latest boneheaded misstep won’t prove too costly.

Thursday, it was reported that Scott was arrested Wednesday for the seventh time in the last year and a half for driving on a suspended license or similar offense.  There was some question as to whether this latest off-field incident will cost the running back playing time for Michigan State’s game this weekend against Indiana.

In a statement, head coach Mark Dantonio said it would. Kinda.  Sorta.

In what has been a lengthy process, LJ Scott now has a valid driver’s license, free of any restrictions. He has resolved the matter completely, and has paid a price, both financially and publicly. His status will be affected for Saturday’s game, but he will play.

Scott currently leads the Spartans with 408 yards rushing and is tied for tops on the team with three rushing touchdowns.  He’s coming off a career-high 194 yards in last Saturday’s win over Minnesota.