Eight or nine conference games? That is the question facing the SEC with the additions of Missouri and Texas A&M in 2012.
And, not so unexpectedly, it will remain a question for the foreseeable future.
SEC athletic directors met for seven hours in Nashville earlier Wednesday, and the shape of future football schedules was one of the items on the agenda. Alas, Jon Solomon of the Birmingham News reports, no final decision was made on whether those future SEC football slates will include eight or nine games.
“There was thoughtful and collegial discussion by the group about several different concepts,” SEC spokesman Charles Bloom said in a statement.
At least at this point in time, a nine-game football schedule has little support among the membership for myriad reasons, with the ADs at Georgia and Tennessee being the lone known exceptions.
Adding another conference game would mean taking away one of the non-conference pastries that litter big-time football program’s schedules, ostensibly making it harder to become bowl-eligible; if the NCAA makes the rumored move to require seven wins in order to qualify for a bowl, that argument becomes a moot point. Then there are those who argue over the inherent unfairness of a nine-game schedule giving some teams five conference home games in a given season while others would only have four, although over time each member would be affected equally and negate any “unfairness”.
The reality is there really is no “good” reason for the conference to not add a game to its conference schedule to go along with its expanded membership. Or, as the always outstanding Mr. SEC.com put it in his must-read take on the situation, “the only reason not to go to a nine-game slate is pure cowardice.”
Not a lot of gray area there, and for good reason.
A season that will likely end up with LSU parting ways with its head coach will reportedly end with one of the Tigers’ most dangerous threats in the passing game on the sidelines as well.
While there’s been no confirmation from the school, LSU’s student newspaper, the Daily Reveille, is reporting that Travin Dural will undergo surgery this week for a right hamstring tear. As a result, the wide receiver will miss the regular-season finale against Texas A&M as well as a bowl game.
Dural sustained the injury in last weekend’s loss to Ole Miss that seemingly sealed his head coach’s fate. The receiver tweeted the following after the reports surfaced.
Dural is tops on the Tigers in averaging 19 yards per reception, and his 28 catches for 533 yards and three touchdowns are second on the team. The 6-2, 203-pound Dural led the Bayou Bengals last season with 37 catches for 758 yards and seven touchdowns.
A redshirt junior, Dural is expected to make himself available for the 2016 NFL draft. The recovery time for his procedure will be 3-4 months, which puts his availability for the February NFL combine decidedly in doubt.
Fullbacks are a dying breed in college football. So for those who appreciate when one of the sport’s finest positions is actually on the field (yours truly included), it’s tough when one goes down to injury.
Especially just before his team’s biggest games of the season.
Just ahead of a date with Notre Dame and the Pac-12 Championship, Stanford fullback Daniel Marx will miss the remainder of the Cardinal’s season with what the program is describing a “lower leg injury.”
“It’s tough,” Stanford head coach David Shaw told ESPN Tuesday. “Daniel has had a phenomenal year. This is a guy who is going to play on Sundays. He’s that good — a very versatile football player.”
A sophomore, Marx has not rushed the ball this season, but he does have three receptions for 25 yards to his credit. Far more importantly, he’s paved the way for Christian McCaffrey to accumulate 260 carries for 1,546 yards and seven touchdowns.
Headed into a showdown against No. 4 Notre Dame with the Cardinal’s College Football Playoff hopes hanging by the thinnest of threads, Marx’s absence will be missed.
Stanford will turn to senior Chris Harrell in Marx’s stead.
“We have a lot of faith in Chris,” Shaw said. “We have a combination of guys we may use at that position. Chris has prepared as a starter.”
Mark Richt is deep in preparations for his 15th game against downstate rival Georgia Tech. He’s also closing in on the end of a hectic, disappointing regular season, one in which many questions about his job status have arisen.
Combine those two facts and add in some uncomfortable questions and you get a feisty, possibly paranoid Richt.
“Who made you ask that question?” Richt said when asked about his job status, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I know you didn’t think of that one. My focus is beating Georgia Tech right now. That’s my answer to you.”
Then another arrived, this time from the hometown Athens paper. “Then I probably won’t answer it, I can tell you that,” Richt said when appraised of the nature of the question. “So go ahead.”
It is worth noting, according to the AJC, Richt provided those terse answers through smiles and a chuckle.
“My focus right now is Georgia Tech,” Richt finally answered. “Who made you ask that one?”
Richt then attempted to head off another job question before learning the inquiry was actually about the Bulldogs’ offensive line.“You’re gonna ask the same one? We can end this thing as fast as you want,” Richt said. “I’m here to talk about the game.”
Georgia plays Georgia Tech Saturday. By Sunday, Richt will have to find a new reason to avoid answering questions about the only subject fans care to hear.
The fourth set of College Football Playoff rankings were released Tuesday night, and Clemson is No. 1 for the fourth consecutive week. Alabama remained second, and Oklahoma leapt from seventh to third after winning their second consecutive game against a top-20 team. Iowa moved up a spot from fifth to fourth, and Michigan State jumped from No. 9 to No. 5 after its massive road win over Ohio State.
Ohio State fell from third to eighth due to that loss. Baylor passed the Buckeyes for No. 7 following their decisive win at then-No. 6 Oklahoma State, and Notre Dame dropped from fourth to sixth after a close win a Boston College.
Washington State, Mississippi State, UCLA, Toledo and Temple jumped into the rankings, while LSU, Houston, Memphis, USC and Wisconsin fell out.
The full rankings:
5. Michigan State
6. Notre Dame
8. Ohio State
11. Oklahoma State
13. Florida State
14. North Carolina
18. Ole Miss
20. Washington State
21. Mississippi State