Nick Saban

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

Georgia raises ticket prices following Kirby Smart hire

ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 28: A general view of the Sanford Stadium before the game between the Georgia Bulldogs and the LSU Tigers on September 28, 2013 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
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Running a college athletics department is only getting more expensive, so attending a college football game will only get more expensive. Or, at least attending a Georgia game will.

Bulldogs president Jere Morehead and athletics director Greg McGarity revealed Thursday per-seat donations would rise an average of 17 percent for priority season ticket holders beginning in the 2017 season.

“It’s in anticipation of things that are ahead,” McGarity told the Athens Banner-Herald.

Cost-of-attendance scholarships bumped that line item up $766,000, and other costs across the department added an additional $5.3 million to the budget. All this while Georgia is building a new indoor facility and replacing Mark Richt and his staff while hiring Kirby Smart and his new staff.

“Those projects are going to be expensive,” Morehead said. “The cost of operating our athletic program each year continues to rise particularly as you look at the enhancements that are being provided to our student-athletes and to the support that we’re providing our student-athletes.”

The bump in prices will raise an extra $2.5 million for Georgia, and represents the first time Bulldogs fans have been asked to ante up since 2005.

“We wanted to be respectable in the increase to not price people out of a certain area but we did feel like we needed to make an adjustment,” said McGarity. “We want to continue to encourage people to come to games. We’ve got our work cut out to make sure (that happens).”

Ohio State to host Tulane in 2018

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 6:  The Ohio State Buckeyes kickoff to the Virginia Tech Hokies at Ohio Stadium on September 6, 2014 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
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The Fighting Frites are heading to the Horseshoe.

Ohio State and Tulane announced a one-time game to be played in Columbus on Sept. 22, 2018.

“Tulane enhances and completes a non-conference schedule in 2018 that already includes Power 5 conference teams TCU and Oregon State,” Ohio State deputy AD Martin Jarmond said in a statement. “The Green Wave is part of a fine American Athletic Conference, which produced a New Year’s Day 6 bowl winner last year [Houston over Florida State in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl], so its first trip to Ohio Stadium should be exciting for our students and fans.”

The two teams have never met previously. Tulane last faced a Big Ten team on Sept. 27, 2014, a 31-6 loss at Rutgers. Ohio State last faced an American Athletic Conference program in the 2014 opener, a 34-17 Buckeyes win over Navy in Annapolis, Md.

We are excited for the opportunity to play Ohio State, one of the premier programs in the country,” Tulane executive associate athletics director Brandon Macneill said in a statement.  “Our coaching staff and players, along with our fans are eager to play against the very best and this should be a great game.  There will be a significant number of Tulanians from around the country joining us at the Horseshoe.”

Adding Tulane completes Ohio State’s 2018 non-conference schedule; the Buckeyes host Oregon State on Sept. 1 and visit TCU on Sept. 15. Tulane still lacks two games for 2018 but is slated to visit Georgia Tech on Sept. 8.

Georgia AD apologizes for giving Ludacris everything he demanded for spring game concert

Greg McGarity
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The University of Georgia paid Ludacris $65,000 to perform a concert at Georgia’s spring football game, and now the athletics director is apologizing for catering to every demand made by the artist.

In a meeting with the Georgia athletic board of directors, athletics director Greg McGarity offered an apology for giving in to a lengthy list of demands from Ludacris, which included condoms and alcohol.

“I do want to take this opportunity to apologize to our board for mistakes we made with certain aspects of the details of an entertainment agreement,” McGarity said, according to The Athens Banner-Herald. “Few things in my professional life have bothered me more than this situation. There are no reruns in life so we need to turn the page, learn from our mistakes and do everything we can to make sure errors of this nature do not reoccur.”

Georgia set a school attendance record for its spring game with an estimated total of 93,000 fans coming out for the first spring game under new head coach Kirby Smart. Of course, more than a few of those fans were encouraged to come out to see Ludacris perform, so it all worked out well for Georgia even if some people were not happy with the goods supplied to him during his stay.

“Some more than others as far as different age groups,” McGarrity said of the people expressing their displeasure with Georgia’s hospitality. “It was all over the map. I think there were a lot of things that came into play.”

Auburn RB Roc Thomas apparently heading to Jacksonville State

AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 6: Running back Roc Thomas #9 of the Auburn Tigers runs the ball in for a touchdown as offensive linesman Jordan Diamond #76 of the Auburn Tigers blocks safety Forrest Hightower #12 of the San Jose State Spartans on September 6, 2014 at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama. Auburn defeated San Jose State 59-13.  (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
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Auburn running back Roc Thomas is possibly looking to join one of the top programs from the FCS ranks. Reports today surfaced suggesting Thomas is looking to transfer to Jacksonville State, although another report says he has yet to ask Auburn for a request to transfer.

During a radio interview, Jay G. Tate of AuburnSports.com said Thomas is likely on his way to Jacksonville State…

As that message was spreading around the college football landscape, largely under the ominous storm cloud from Waco, Texas, SEC Country updated their report by saying Thomas has not yet made a request to transfer from Auburn. That may have been accurate, but may not suggest a transfer to Jacksonville State is off the table. It could just be a matter of semantics, where Thomas is set to join the Jacksonville State program but still must go through the formalities of transferring from Auburn.

Thomas does have two years of eligibility remaining.