Updated: Rutgers, Syracuse could play twice if WVU bolts Big East

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UPDATED 9:40 p.m. ET: With West Virginia apparently nearing a deal to move on to the Big 12 this year, the Big East would be left with just seven football teams, each of which would be forced to scramble to schedule another game.

Florida State feels your pain, y’all.

But one answer doesn’t require that much looking. Sources close to the situation told the Newark Star-Ledger that Rutgers and Syracuse could play twice in 2012 in a home-and-home series.

Obviously, Florida International wasn’t available twice for their annual game against the Scarlet Knights.

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As we’ve been indicating over the past week, the Big East and West Virginia could be nearing a resolution to their dueling litigation that would allow WVU to join the Big 12 in time for this upcoming season.

While that’s far from confirmed, it sounds like it’s getting close.

Brett McMurphy of CBS Sports reports that WVU is nearing a buyout with the Big East worth… wait for it… at least $20 million that would “resolve all issues between both parties.

For what it’s worth, another buyout number, a significantly less $11 million, has been mentioned as well.

The Big East has been hard-headed about letting WVU leave the conference before the 27-month waiting period as mandated by the conference bylaws, which, it should be noted, WVU reaffirmed last October as part of a unanimous vote. On the contrary, WVU and the Big 12 have stated, almost as though a fact, that the Mountaineers will be participating in the Big 12 this season.

The reported $20 million buyout, if indeed the number settled upon, would be double the buyout the Big East agreed upon with the inclusion of Navy as a football-only member. Acting Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas told West Virginia MetroNews last week that the Big 12 might help WVU with the buyout if necessary.

McMurphy reports the buyout “is believed to be contingent on the Big East being able to get a replacement for West Virginia in 2012 and certainly could increase if it had to play with only seven members in 2012. It’s unknown if that $20 million figure includes the $5 million West Virginia paid upon notifying the Big East last October it was bolting to the Big 12.”

A tweet from Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News said that Boise State was feeling pressure to join the Big East in 2012. Boise State’s president later said it would be “too late” for that.

Earlier today, the Big East announced that Memphis would be the newest all-sports member starting in 2013.

The Big East and WVU have been participating in non-binding mediation since last month. Coincidentally (not), a status conference is scheduled for tomorrow, Feb. 9. Last week, the Big 12 released its 2012 schedule to its TV partners out of requirement, but has yet to release those schedules publicly.

Arkansas starting QB Austin Allen could miss another couple weeks

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It appears Arkansas will be without its starting quarterback for a while longer than just one week.

An injury to his right (throwing) shoulder in the Week 6 loss to South Carolina knocked Austin Allen out of the game.  After some initial uncertainty in the week leading up to the Week 7 game against top-ranked Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Allen was indeed ruled out for what turned into a 41-9 loss.

With No. 21 Auburn up next, Bret Bielema all but ruled the senior out of the Week 7 matchup.  Additionally, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has reported that Allen could miss up to three more weeks after being sidelined last weekend.

“If it came to a point later in the week where he could practice Thursday, I think there’s merit to (Allen returning this week),” Bielema said. “Where he’s at right now, I’d say we’re still a couple of weeks away, but Austin is a guy who surprises a lot of people and if he can go and do things, it’s a positive for us.”

Should the three-week timeline come into play, he would miss the AU game as well as contests against Ole Miss and Coastal Carolina before returning for the road trip to LSU Nov. 11.

If Allen is indeed sidelined, Cole Kelley (pictured) would again take his place.  Making his first career start, the redshirt freshman completed 23-of-42 passes for 200 yards, one touchdown and one interception on the road against the vaunted Crimson Tide.

Butch Jones says the most Butch Jones quote of all time

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It’s become a theory among some in the media that Butch Jones is conducting a social experiment or participating some sort of performance art. While that’s the more charitable and fun interpretation, I tend to think the Tennessee head coach is just frighteningly insecure and, thus, fighting for every inch of public approval he can in a likely doomed attempt to keep his job.

That approach has backed him into some verbal corners that, in the long run, make his job more difficult on himself.

I’m talking about the “Champions of Life” quote of last season or, in February, actually stating that he didn’t want 5-star players, he wanted 5-star hearts.

This season has seen Jones go on an odd rant blaming the media for negative recruiting and saying Tennessee had one of the best bye weeks ever last week.

It wasn’t one of the best bye weeks ever, because Tennessee lost at home to South Carolina, 15-9. And you’re not going to believe Jones’s explanation for why Tennessee loss. Scratch that. You will believe his explanation, and that’s the problem here, isn’t it?

Here’s the full quote.

Jones is 33-24 in his four-plus seasons in Knoxville, and 14-21 in the SEC. Those numbers will likely fall to 33-25 and 14-22 after Saturday, when the Vols face No. 1 Alabama. The end is likely near.

And here’s the grand irony of Jones’s everything’s-sunny-here p.r. strategy: his attempt to keep his job by stating blatantly cliche quotes in the state of the obvious will live on much longer than Jones’s actual tenure. Two and three years from now, when Jones is working on someone else’s staff or sitting on his buyout money, the next time an on-the-hot-seat coach says his team won the game everywhere except the scoreboard, we’ll see he Pulled a Butch.

Houston Nutt settles lawsuit with Ole Miss

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Houston Nutt wanted money and an apology from Ole Miss. He’ll have to settle for the second of the two — and a largely different future for the program he used to lead.

It was Nutt’s lawsuit, remember, which exposed the documents that led to a Mississippi State fan finding Hugh Freeze‘s call to a Tampa escort service, which led to Freeze’s resignation, which led to… we have no idea what it will lead to, but, whatever that future is, it will be wildly different than if Freeze was still the Rebels’ coach.

Nutt amended his lawsuit in August to seek simply an apology from Ole Miss, and that apology finally came on Monday.

Each side released their own bitter, short statements.

Nutt will go on, with his apology but without any monetary compensation, while Ole Miss will play out the string of this season, hire a new coach, and move into a future that will be immeasurably different that the one it would have lived had it apologized to Nutt in the first place.

Washington loses LT Adams, CB Miller for the season

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No. 12 Washington’s loss to Arizona State was a disaster on the field — for more reasons than one.

The Huskies not only put their College Football Playoff hopes in danger — they’ll need to sweep their next six games, including a finishing kick that calls for games against No. 22 Stanford, No. 15 Washington State and, presumably, No. 11 USC, two of them away from Seattle. But the road to get there became noticeably more difficult after losing two starters.

Left tackle Trey Adams suffered a torn ACL in his right knee, and cornerback Jordan Miller sustained a broken ankle. Head coach Chris Petersen confirmed Monday that both will be lost for the season. Miller is the third Husky this season to suffer a broken ankle.

The Seattle Times noted that Washington is also without another starting corner in Byron Murphy, who is expected to return later this year from a broken foot. The Huskies are expected to replace Miller with either a pair of true freshmen or a converted running back.

But Adams may be the bigger loss for the Huskies. A junior, Adams was widely expected to be a first round pick in this spring’s NFL Draft. It’s the second straight season Washington has lost a key player in the trenches to a season-ending injury; a year ago, it was linebackers Joe Mathis, who finished one sack away from the team lead despite playing in only seven games, and third-leading tackler Azeem Victor.