Big East releases 2012 schedule

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With departure of West Virginia to the Big 12 and addition of Temple finalized, the Big East has released its 2012 schedule much to the anticipation of a dozen of you.

(Hey, we’re proud of ya for sticking by your team)

A few things that pop out when glancing over the schedule:

This year’s non-conference slate provides plenty of opportunities, once again, for the Big East to prove its worth. Granted, Syracuse’s Sept. 8 meeting against USC at MetLife Stadium in NJ may not be much of a contest — seeing as the Trojans look to be preseason BCS championship material and all — but the Orange do get the Trojans practically in SU’s backyard.

The biggest priority for the Big East should be, as it is every year, to be competitive with the ACC. Non-conference games against Florida State, Miami, Virginia Tech, Maryland, North Carolina and North Carolina State all provide valuable opportunities.

There will be plenty of eyes on Temple this year to see how the Owls do in their first year in the Big East since being given the hoot boot in 2004. Temple gets four conference home games this year — always a plus — and the home stretch looks on paper to be favorable.

Then again, the Big East is has been unpredictable and filled with parity in recent years (the conference spins it as “wide open”; Bill Stewart called it the “black and blue league.” We’re not that gullible). Overall, the schedule looks pretty balanced, with no one team getting a real advantage over the other. However, the conference does like to back-load games that could potentially decide the conference’s BCS bid. Louisville, Rutgers, Syracuse and Cincinnati all look to be in that mix.

Anyway, without any further delay, here’s how the schedule shakes out:

CINCINNATI
Thu., Sept. 6 PITTSBURGH
Sat., Sept. 15 Delaware State
Sat., Sept. 29 vs. Virginia Tech (FedEx Field, Landover, Md.)
Sat., Oct. 6 Miami (Ohio)
Sat., Oct. 13 Fordham
Sat., Oct. 20 at Toledo
Sat., Oct. 27 at LOUISVILLE
Sat., Nov. 3 SYRACUSE
Sat., Nov. 10 at TEMPLE
Sat., Nov. 17 RUTGERS
Fri., Nov. 23 USF
Sat., Dec. 1 at CONNECTICUT

CONNECTICUT
Thu., Aug. 30 Massachusetts
Sat., Sept. 8 North Carolina State
Sat., Sept. 15 at Maryland
Sat., Sept. 22 at Western Michigan
Sat., Sept. 29 Buffalo
Sat., Oct. 6 at RUTGERS
Sat., Oct. 13 TEMPLE
Fri., Oct. 19 at SYRACUSE
Sat., Nov. 3 at USF
Fri., Nov. 9 PITTSBURGH
Sat., Nov. 24 at LOUISVILLE
Sat., Dec. 1 CINCINNATI

LOUISVILLE
Sat., Sept. 1 Kentucky
Sat., Sept. 8 Missouri State
Sat., Sept. 15 North Carolina
Sat., Sept. 22 at Florida International
Sat., Sept. 29 at Southern Mississippi
Sat., Oct. 13 at PITTSBURGH
Sat., Oct. 20 USF
Fri., Oct. 26 CINCINNATI
Sat., Nov. 3 TEMPLE
Sat., Nov. 10 at SYRACUSE
Sat., Nov. 24 CONNECTICUT
Thu., Nov. 29 at RUTGERS

PITTSBURGH
Sat., Sept. 1 Youngstown State
Thu., Sept. 6 at CINCINNATI
Sat., Sept. 15 Virginia Tech
Sat., Sept. 22 Gardner-Webb
Fri., Oct. 5 at SYRACUSE
Sat., Oct. 13 LOUISVILLE
Sat., Oct. 20 at Buffalo
Sat., Oct. 27 TEMPLE
Sat., Nov. 3 at Notre Dame
Fri., Nov. 9 at CONNECTICUT
Sat., Nov. 24 RUTGERS
Sat., Dec. 1 at USF

RUTGERS
Sat., Sept. 1 at Tulane
Sat., Sept. 8 Howard
Sat., Sept. 15 at USF (date subject to change)
Sat., Sept. 22 at Arkansas
Sat., Oct. 6 CONNECTICUT
Sat., Oct. 13 SYRACUSE
Sat., Oct. 20 at TEMPLE
Sat., Oct. 27 Kent State
Sat., Nov. 10 Army
Sat., Nov. 17 at CINCINNATI
Sat., Nov. 24 at PITTSBURGH
Thu., Nov. 29 LOUISVILLE

USF
Sat., Sept. 1 Chattanooga
Sat., Sept. 8 at Nevada
Sat., Sept. 15 RUTGERS (date subject to change)
Sat., Sept. 22 at Ball State
Sat., Sept. 29 Florida State
Sat., Oct. 6 at TEMPLE
Sat., Oct. 20 at LOUISVILLE
Sat., Oct. 27 SYRACUSE
Sat., Nov. 3 CONNECTICUT
Sat., Nov. 17 at Miami (Fla.)
Fri., Nov. 23 at CINCINNATI
Sat., Dec. 1 PITTSBURGH

SYRACUSE
Sat., Sept. 1 Northwestern
Sat., Sept. 8 Southern California (MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.)
Sat., Sept. 15 Stony Brook
Sat., Sept. 22 at Minnesota
Fri., Oct. 5 PITTSBURGH
Sat., Oct. 13 at RUTGERS
Fri., Oct. 19 CONNECTICUT
Sat., Oct. 27 at USF
Sat., Nov. 3 at CINCINNATI
Sat., Nov. 10 LOUISVILLE
Sat., Nov. 17 at Missouri
Fri., Nov. 23 at TEMPLE

TEMPLE
Fri., Aug. 31 Villanova
Sat., Sept. 8 Maryland
Sat., Sept. 22 at Penn State
Sat., Oct. 6 USF
Sat., Oct. 13 at CONNECTICUT
Sat., Oct. 20 RUTGERS
Sat., Oct. 27 at PITTSBURGH
Sat., Nov. 3 at LOUISVILLE
Sat., Nov. 10 CINCINNATI
Sat., Nov. 17 at Army
Fri., Nov. 23 SYRACUSE

Illinois boots three players charged with home invasion and robbery

Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images
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Illinois head coach Lovie Smith has dismissed three players charged with home invasion and robbery. Offensive linemen Darta Lee and Howard Watkins and tight end Zarrian Holcombe have all been dismissed from the program, according to a statement.

Lee and Holcombe were previously suspended by Smith for violations of team rules. Watkins had also been indefinitely suspended following the initial allegations. All three players claimed the incident that led to the charges was nothing more than an innocent prank, but the authorities and Smith didn’t seem willing to buy that claim.

Each player faces a mandatory prison sentence of 4-15 years on each count against them if found guilty.

Report: Conference USA to air at least 15 football games on Twitter in 2017

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Conference USA is in a position where it needs to think outside the box and look to stay ahead of the curve in a changing TV landscape. It appears to be ready to air games on Twitter in 2017.

A report from The Virginian-Pilot says broadcast company STADIUM will air at least 15 football games involving Conference USA teams this fall. STADIUM is the result of a recent merger between the American Sports Network, 120 Sports and Silver Chalice (which also owns Campus Insiders and the online ACC Digital Network). The ASN had owned the broadcast rights to Conference USA games through the end of the 2017-2018 sports season that will carry over to the STADIUM deal (allowing for Conference USA basketball games to be aired on Twitter as well). It was announced earlier this month STADIUM intended to broadcast Conference USA games on Twitter, but it was unknown how many games might make it to the networking service. STADIUM reportedly has an interest in continuing to air Conference USA contests beyond the next athletic season.

Conference USA still has broadcast deals with ESPN and CBS Sports in effect as well, so don’t expect the premiere matchups in the conference to be aired on Twitter. However, by sharing the games online, Conference USA is hoping to reach a wide-spread audience and have the opportunity to be a trending topic. It could work, as Twitter would make sure the game is given a steady feed to allow for a pleasant viewing experience and fan interaction in real time.

Conference USA saw TV revenue take a big hit over the last year. Last summer, Conference USA’s television revenue reportedly dropped to just $2.8 million for the entire conference following realignment changes. Finding a home on a streaming platform now would be key for the conference’s future stability.

Alabama DC Jeremy Pruitt named son after former Tide linebackers Reuben Foster and Ryan Anderson

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
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It is not at all uncommon for children born in the state of Alabama to be named after Alabama football legends, but it is not every day you see a child of an Alabama coach receives a name inspired by former Alabama football players.

Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt announced the birth of his new son, Flynt Anderson-Foster Pruitt, on Twitter. Alabama fans will likely already know the connection to the new child’s name, as used the last names of two former Alabama football players to create the middle name of Anderson-Foster; Ryan Anderson and Reuben Foster.

Maybe this is more common than I’m aware of, but regardless of how often a coach names a child after former players, this is a testament to the relationship the Pruitt family established with both former Alabama linebackers. And now there will be a bond for years to come between the coach and his family and Anderson and Foster.

Helmet sticker to Al.com.

Wisconsin’s season tickets for 100th anniversary of Camp Randall are a thing of beauty

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The Wisconsin Badgers are gearing up for their 100th season playing home football game sin Camp Randall Stadium. As part of the season-long celebration, Wisconsin put some brilliant artistic detail into their season tickets for the 2017 season.

Each ticket to a home Wisconsin game is designed like a retro-style program. These are beautifully done and mimic the style of a program cover from decades past. I’m particularly fond of the program cover for the Purdue game, which features Wisconsin’s Bucky floating in space with a ship with the Purdue logo nearby. Is that a space train? The Band Day program for the game against Florida Atlantic also looks fantastic.

These tickets will surely be must-have collectibles for Wisconsin fans. If Wisconsin wants to make a few extra bucks, then blowing up these images and selling them as posters may be a good decision as well. And I wouldn’t put it past Wisconsin to suit up in a retro-style uniform for at least home game this season in Madison.