2012 spring practice dates

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The 2011 season is still somewhat visible in the rear-view mirror, and already preparations for the 2012 season are set to commence in earnest.

All 124 Div. 1-A (FBS) programs — UMass (MAC), South Alabama (Sun Belt), Texas State (WAC) and UT-San Antonio (WAC) will make the jump to big-boy football this season — will begin spring practice at some point this month and next — some West Coast schools such as Oregon State won’t start until April — culminating in the respective program’s spring game.

Army has already begun using their allotted 15 spring sessions, while Texas, TCU, Texas Tech and Duke are among the handful of schools that start in February as well.  The vast majority, however, will begin spring practice next month.

Below the jump is a list of the start dates for each individual school plus the date of its spring game, separated by conferences.  Some programs have yet to announce their spring dates, so we will add them to this list as they become available:

ACC

Boston College: first practice — Feb. 18; spring game March 31
Clemson: first practice — March 7; spring game — April 14
Duke: first practice — Feb. 21; spring game — March 31
Florida State: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 14
Georgia Tech: first practice — March 26; spring game — April 20
Maryland: first practice — March 10; spring game — April 21
Miami: first practice — March 3; spring game — April 14
North Carolina: first practice — March 14; spring game — April 14
North Carolina State: first practice — March 23; spring game — April 21
Virginia: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 14
Virginia Tech: first practice — March 28; spring game — April 21
Wake Forest: first practice — March 1; spring game — April 14

BIG EAST

Cincinnati: first practice — March 1; spring game — April 14
Louisville: first practice — March 21; spring game — April 14
Pittsburgh: first practice — March 15; spring game — April 14
Rutgers: first practice — March 20; spring game — April 28
Syracuse: first practice — March 20; spring game — April 21
Temple: first practice — March 12; spring game — April 14
UConn: first practice — March 20; spring game — April 21
USF: first practice — March 21; spring game — April 21

BIG TEN

Illinois: first practice — March 7; spring game — April 14
Indiana: first practice — March 3; spring game — April 14
Iowa: first practice — March 24; spring game — April 14
Michigan: first practice — March 17; spring game — April 14
Michigan State: first practice — March 27; spring game — April 28
Minnesota: first practice — March 21; spring practice — April 21
Nebraska: first practice — March 10; spring game — April 14
Northwestern: first practice — March 3; spring game — April 14
Ohio State: first practice — March 28; spring game — April 21
Penn State: first practice — March 26; spring game — April 21
Purdue: first practice — March 6; spring game April 14
Wisconsin: first practice — March 22; spring game — April 28

BIG 12

Baylor: first practice — March 6; spring game — April 14
Iowa State: first practice — March 20; spring game — April 14
Kansas: first practice — March 27; spring game — April 28
Kansas State: first practice — April 4; spring game — April 28
Oklahoma: first practice — March 8; spring game — April 14
Oklahoma State: first practice — March 12; spring game — April 21
TCU: first practice — Feb. 24; no spring game
Texas: first practice — Feb. 23; spring game — April 1
Texas Tech: first practice –Feb. 17; spring game — March 24
West Virginia: first practice — March 11; spring game — April 21

CONFERENCE USA

East Carolina: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 14
Houston: first practice — March 21; spring game — April 13
Marshall: first practice — March 27; spring game — April 28
Memphis: first practice — Feb. 22; spring game — March 31
Rice: first practice — March 6; spring game — March 30
SMU: first practice — April 2; no spring game
Southern Miss: first practice — March 5; spring game — April 14
Tulane: first practice — Feb. 22; spring game — March 24
Tulsa: first practice — March 6; spring game — April 7
UAB: first practice — March 28; spring game — April 21
UCF: first practice — March 13; spring game — April 14
UTEP: first practice — Feb. 28; spring game — April 6

INDEPENDENTS

Army: first practice — Feb. 13; spring game — March 9
BYU: first practice — March 5; spring game — March 30
Navy: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 14
Notre Dame: first practice — March 21; spring game — April 21

MAC

Akron: first practice — March 20; spring game — April 21
Ball State: first practice — March 27; spring game — April 21
Bowling Green: first practice — March 16; spring game — April 13
Buffalo: first practice — March 20; spring game — April 14
Central Michigan: first practice — March 13; spring game — April 14
Eastern Michigan: first practice — March 13; spring game — April 15
Kent State: first practice — March 27; spring game — April 21
Miami: first practice — March 28; spring game — April 28
Northern Illinois: spring practice — March 28; spring game — April 21
Ohio: first practice — March 27; spring game — April 21
Toledo: first practice — March 14; spring game — April 13
UMass: first practice — March 27; spring game — April 28
Western Michigan: first practice — March 16; spring game — April 14

MOUNTAIN WEST

Air Force: first practice — Feb. 24; no spring game
Boise State: first practice — March 12; spring game — April 14
Colorado State: first practice — March 21; spring game — April 21
Fresno State: first practice — Feb. 27; spring game — March 25
Hawaii: first practice — March 20; spring game — April 28
Nevada: first practice — March 30; spring game — April 21
New Mexico: first practice — March 24; no spring game (subject to change)
San Diego State: first practice — Feb. 21; spring game — March 18
UNLV: first practice — March 12; spring game — April 20
Wyoming: first practice — March 21; spring game — April 21

PAC-12

Arizona: first practice — March 5; spring game — April 14
Arizona State: first practice — March 13; spring game — April 21
Cal: first practice March 13; no spring game
Colorado: first practice — March 10; spring game — April 14
Oregon: first practice — April 3; spring game — April 28
Oregon State: first practice — April 3; spring game — April 28
Stanford: first practice — Feb, 27; spring game — April 14
UCLA: first practice — April 3; spring game — May 5
USC: first practice — March 6; spring game — April 14
Utah: first practice — March 20; spring game — April 21
Washington: first practice — April 2; spring game — April 28
Washington State: first practice — March 22; spring game — April 21

SEC

Alabama: first practice — March 9; spring game — April 14
Arkansas: first practice — March 14; spring game — spring game — April 21
Auburn: first practice — March 21; spring game — April 14
Florida: first practice — March 14; spring game — April 7
Georgia: first practice — March 20; spring game — April 14
Kentucky: first practice — March 21; spring game — April 21
LSU: first practice — March 2; spring game — March 31
Mississippi State: first practice — March 21; spring game — April 20
Missouri: first practice — March 6; spring game — April 14
Ole Miss: first practice — March 23; spring game — April 21
South Carolina: first practice — March 13; spring game — April 14
Tennessee: first practice — March 26; spring game — April 21
Texas A&M: first practice — March 31; spring game — April 28
Vanderbilt: first practice — March 16; spring game — April 14

SUN BELT

Arkansas State: first practice — March 14; spring game — April 14
FAU: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 14
FIU: first practice — March 2; spring game — March 30
Louisiana-Lafayette: first practice — Feb. 28; spring game — March 30 or 31
Louisiana-Monroe: first practice — March 5; spring game — March 24
Middle Tennessee State: first practice — March 17; spring practice — April 14
North Texas: first practice — March 26; spring game –April 21
South Alabama: first practice — Feb. 15; spring game — March 24
Troy: first practice — March 18; spring game — March 31
Western Kentucky: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 14

WAC

Idaho: first practice — March 22; spring game — April 20
Louisiana Tech: first practice — March 16; spring game — April 14
New Mexico State: first practice: March 29; spring game — April 28
San Jose State: first practice — March 6; spring game — April 13
Texas State: first practice — Feb. 25; spring game — March 31
UT-San Antonio: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 15
Utah State: first practice — March 27; spring game — April 28

Colorado AD says Denver won’t be option for future CU-CSU games after 2020

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Colorado and Colorado State are scheduled to wrap up their current scheduling agreement in 2020, and the future of the in-state rivalry remains in question beyond that. Both schools are in talks to continue the series beyond 2020 once scheduling vacancies are available, but there is no target date currently in sight. What is known, however, is any such scheduling arrangement will not include games being played in Denver if Colorado’s athletics director has his say.

We won’t have any future games in Denver with CSU in any kind of new relationship,” Colorado athletic director Rick George said in a story published by The Daily Camera.  George did state he and his counterpart at Colorado State, Joe Parker, share an interest in keeping the series going on in the years beyond the current deal in place.

As it stands right now, Colorado State will host the final game in the current arrangement in 2020. No games will be possible in 2021 and 2022 because Colorado’s non-conference schedule is currently booked. The Buffs will face UMass, Texas A&M, and Minnesota in 2021 and TCU, Air Force, and Minnesota in 2022. Colorado currently has scheduling vacancies in 2023 and beyond, making 2023 the earliest possible year the series could be rekindled. The concern, at least for Colorado, will be overexerting the strength of schedule with games against TCU and Nebraska already lined up in 2023.

“With this College Football Playoff game now, there’s a lot of discussion on strength of schedules,” George said. “We certainly don’t want to over-schedule ourselves, but at the same time, we want to be in a position as we continue to compete on a yearly basis for championships, we want to be in the conversation. We don’t want the schedule to be a deterrent to us longer term.”

Geroge has previously expressed his interest in continuing the series if it could be agreed to play the games on campus sites instead of neutral fields. George has said it is not in Colorado’s best interest to continue the series. His latest statements about the strength of schedule keep in line with that logic. Having a potentially very good Group of Five program on top of previously announced games against power conference opponents in addition to a nine-game Pac-12 schedule becomes quite challenging. Having a less threatening opponent from the FCS provides a better chance to keep making money on a home game and increasing the chances for a win to rely on.

Colorado and Colorado State have faced off 88 times since 1893, with the Buffs holding a 64-22-2 edge in the all-time series. Colorado won last year’s meeting in Denver by a score of 44-7 for its most lopsided victory in the series since a 47-7 victory in Boulder in 1956. Colorado and Colorado State have played annually since 1995.

Mark Richt tweets his best wishes to Georgia

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A new college football season is just about here (there will be actual college football played this week), and Miami head coach Mark Richt has plenty to look forward to with the Hurricanes. A show at coaching Miami to its first appearance in the ACC Championship Game is right in front of him, but Richt spent a quick moment on Twitter to extended his best wishes to his former program; the Georgia Bulldogs.

Richt recruited the majority of the players currently on Georgia’s roster, and by all accounts, Richt had as healthy a relationship with Georgia’s players than any coach could hope to have. With that in mind, there is no shock in seeing a coach of one program offer this kind of warm and fuzzy feeling to his former program. This is also not the first time Richt has wished Georgia well under new head coach Kirby Smart. In May 2016, Richt was praised for his classiness toward Smart and Georgia for the upcoming season just months after being fired.

Georgia parted ways with Richt following the 2015 season despite a long and successful tenure as head coach (although without as many SEC titles as some would have liked, and a lack of national title appearances during a run that saw the SEC dominate the BCS era). Richt was quickly hired by Miami, and this season Richt is expected to help lead the Hurricanes forward another step toward national prominence.

If there is a college football god watching from the skies above, then we will be blessed with a bowl matchup between Miami and Georgia. Richt said in December 2015 that he believes the two programs are on a collision course for a national championship.

There is a solar eclipse tomorrow, but Nick Saban has work to do

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Stores may be sold out of special solar eclipse glasses for what some are dubbing the Great American Eclipse on Monday, but Alabama head coach Nick Saban may be more likely to be found in his office preparing for a mega matchup to open the season next week.

Besides, Saban has seen how an eclipse works already because he is a devoted fan of The Weather Channel.

“I watch the Weather Channel every day,” Saban said Saturday, according to AL.com. “They’re already saying what it’s going to look like in every city in America. So, what’s going to be significant? Watch the Weather Channel and you’ll see what it’s going to be like in Portland, Oregon.”

That Saban sure is a curmudgeon, isn’t he? But that’s part of the legacy of Saban. Unless the eclipse can help Alabama win a game against Florida State in Atlanta next week, Saban has little time to worry about such nonsense. Otherwise, it is business as usual for Saban and Alabama. However, Saban will allow his players to take advantage of what is, for some, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“We’ll set it up so if the players want to go out there and get some sunglasses, I guess they can,” Saban said.

The eclipse is having a slight impact on some football practices around the country, including in the NFL. The Tennessee Titans, for example, have modified their practice schedule for Monday due to the eclipse and will organize a team party around the event.

“I thought what a cool thing to do, but then I thought I’d like them to finish practice and give them time to put the glasses on and really enjoy the experience,” Titans head coach Mike Mularkey said (per ESPN.com). “I wanted to be on the field when it happened, as a team, I thought it’d be a neat memory for these guys.”

Clearly, Mularkey is not watching the Weather Channel on a daily basis.

Kansas surprised four walk-ons with scholarships at Royals-Indians game

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There has been no shortage of videos and stories about walk-ons at various college football programs receiving scholarships by surprise. It is an annual tradition around college football during the offseason, and the fun and pure joy of the moment never gets old.

The Kansas Jayhawks took the game to a whole new level, and a whole new playing field this weekend.

Kansas took its football team out on Friday night to enjoy a Major League Baseball game between the Kansas City Royals and Cleveland Indians. During the course of the game, four walk-on players — defensive end Mazin Aqi, offensive lineman Beau Lawrence, punter Cole Moos, and running back Reese Randall — were shown sitting next to each other on the video screen in Kauffman Stadium. As they were shown on the screen, a message popped up congratulating them on being awarded a scholarship.

Video of the players soaking in the moment and realizing they had just had their lives changed was captured by the Royals.

It sure beats the heck out of a stadium proposal.