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.
USC may look a lot different on offense without quarterback Sam Darnold, leading rusher Ronald Jones and star receiver Deontay Burnett on the field but the man calling the plays will still be around Troy in 2018.
According to both ESPN and Sports Illustrated, the Trojans have signed offensive coordinator Tee Martin to a multiyear extension that will keep him in Los Angeles for the foreseeable future sporting the cardinal and gold.
“I’m just excited to be here at USC, where the future is so bright, and working for somebody the caliber of Clay Helton,” Martin told ESPN. “There were some other opportunities, but you don’t leave USC for a lateral move. I want to help us get to that next level, and everything is in place here to do that.”
While Martin was expected to get into the mix at his alma mater of Tennessee when that job opened up this offseason, nothing serious ever happened with the former Vols quarterback who won the first ever BCS national championship some 20 years ago. He did however interview to become the Oakland Raiders head coach several weeks ago despite the team hiring Jon Gruden in the richest coaching deal in the sport’s history.
Martin has been with the program since 2012 when he was hired by Lane Kiffin. This will be his third season at USC as offensive coordinator, where he also serves as one of the team’s top recruiters. The Trojans are coming off a Pac-12 title last year that saw their offense average 484.1 yards per game and rank 13th in total offense among the FBS ranks.
One of the lasting impacts of former Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds was a now infamous quote when he quipped that the Longhorns were not just keeping up with the Joneses, UT was the Joneses of college athletics. While some may take offense to that characterization, there’s no denying it when you look at the program’s bank account.
USA Today obtained Texas’ financial report to the NCAA for the 2017 fiscal year and not surprisingly the 40 Acres reeled in the most money (and spent it) in the country. Just how much did the cash cows bring in? Well, the Longhorns became the first department to cross the $200 million threshold in both operating revenue and operating expenses and setting a new benchmark in the process.
The report stated that UT brought in nearly $215 million in annual operating revenue last year and had total operating expenses of $207 million, big increases from 2016 when the school had “only” $188 million in revenue. Despite all that cash, the department actually had a deficit in 2017 though. While you may be incredulous at that fact given the figures involved, turns out the reason is because the athletic department made a $10.3 million transfer to the university proper that put them in the red instead of the black.
Technically, Big 12 rival Oklahoma State reported $241 million in revenue back in 2006 to be the first to cross the $200 million barrier but that was mostly the result of accounting practices that involved what USA Today describes as nearly $165 million in gifts from booster T. Boone Pickens for facility upgrades at the school.
Some other interesting figures from the report via the paper:
- Ticket revenue was up $11.6 million to a total of $72.5 million, a figure that is more than any other school by nearly eight figures.
- $42.4 million of the revenue was attributed to football (up from $37.4 million in 2016).
- Severance pay at the school increased $5.7 million to a total of $9.2 million. $7.1 million of that latter figure was the result of Charlie Strong being fired by the school and his and his staff’s associated buyouts.
Pretty impressive to see all that burnt orange turn into green last year. Now just imagine how quick that cash register will be ringing if Tom Herman can guide the football team to a season that finishes better than 7-6.
One of the more infamous figures from this year’s national championship game has officially found a new home.
Earlier this week, it was reported that linebacker Mekhi Brown, who drew a personal foul for punching a Georgia player in the title game shortly before going after a ‘Bama staffer on the sidelines, would be transferring to Tennessee State. Friday, the FCS school confirmed that Brown is one of four transfers from FBS programs who have been added to its football roster.
Prior to his departure, Brown had appeared in 12 games in 2017 as a redshirt sophomore for the Crimson Tide.
The other three FBS transfers added are linebacker Christion Abercrombie (Illinois), quarterback Demry Croft (Minnesota) and defensive back John Robinson IV (UConn). As TSU is an FCS program, all four players will be eligible to play immediately in 2018.
Brown’s nationally-televised outburst notwithstanding, Croft is actually the most noteworthy of the additions. In his last year with the Gophers, Croft started the last six games of the regular season. Perhaps the most noteworthy moment of his Gophers career, though, was posting a negative quarterback rating in a mid-November loss to Northwestern two weeks before he decided to transfer.
Croft will have two seasons of eligibility left.
Abercrombie, who has three years of eligibility, played in 11 games in 2017 for the Fighting Illini. Robinson played in five games last season for the Huskies, and he too has three seasons of eligibility at his disposal.
Nearly three weeks after leaving Miami, Darrion Owens has found himself a new college football home.
Friday, Houston confirmed that it was officially added Owens to second-year head coach Major Applewhite‘s roster. As the linebacker joins the Cougars as a graduate transfer from The U, he can immediately bolster UH’s defense in 2018.
This coming season marks the Florida native’s final season of eligibility.
Owens joined the Hurricanes as a three-star 2014 recruit. 247Sports.com had him rated as the No. 30 outside linebacker in the country.
After playing in 12 games as a true freshman, Owens opened 2015 as a starter but suffered a season-ending ACL injury in Week 2. The past two seasons, Owens played in 25 games. In 13 games in 2017, he was credited with 35 tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss.
In announcing Owens’ transfer from The U, head coach Mark Richt stated that, after the two had talked, “he informed me that he feels his best opportunity to get the most playing time would be at another school.”