It’s been a few weeks coming, but Georgia State will officially join the Sun Belt beginning in the 2013-14 academic year, the school announced today.
“On behalf of the presidents and chancellors of the member institutions of the Sun Belt Conference, I am pleased to welcome Georgia State University home to the league that it helped start in 1976,” said Sun Belt Conference President and Troy University Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins in a statement. “The Sun Belt Conference has never been stronger athletically, academically or financially, and today we took action that makes us even stronger. For the Sun Belt Conference– the best is yet to be!”
Georgia State was a founding member of the Sun Belt Conference, but left the conference in 1981. The school began play in football in 2010 under head coach Bill Curry.
“The addition of Georgia State to the Sun Belt Conference provides further strength for our league and is the beginning of a new era for GSU that will unquestionably be a time of great success for the Panther athletic program,” added Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Karl Benson. “We strongly believe that the addition of GSU will continue to help the Sun Belt Conference in its rise to prominence.”
The move has been worked through the rumor mill for the past several weeks. Upon taking over as SBC commissioner in February Benson said expansion would be one of his first priorities. Less than a week later, GSU announced it had hired a consulting group to explore the feasibility of a FBS jump. GSU is currently a member of the Colonial Athletic Association at the FCS level.
The announcement also comes as Conference USA and the Mountain West are exploring a merger. Though no official announcement has been made on that front, the MWC’s cable channel, “The Mtn”, has closed. A newly merged conference between C-USA and the MWC could also expand; several Sun Belt schools are expected to be targets of that expansion, including Middle Tennessee, FIU and North Texas.
Sun Belt member FAU said late last month it has not received an invite to any new conference.
Texas and Texas A&M can’t seem to get together to renew their rivalry on the football field, but the two programs still find their scheduling paths crossing every now and again.
Texas and Rice announced in separate press releases Thursday afternoon that the two schools have reached an agreement on a new three-game series that will renew the in-state rivalry yet again. The first game of that series will be played at NRG Stadium in Houston on an undetermined date in 2019. The final two games will be played in Austin during the 2021 and 2023 seasons.
The 2019 game on Rice’s end will replace a previously-scheduled matchup with A&M. According to Rice, A&M requested a release from that game because of a scheduling conflict.
The Longhorns and Owls have met 94 times previously, the most recent coming just this past season. Those 94 games represent the most Rice has ever played against a single opponent.
UT owns a 72-21-1 edge in the all-time series. The Owls only win in the series since 1965 came in October of 1994.
Yesterday we noted that Sonny Dykes had likely landed the man that will help direct Cal’s offense in 2016. Today we get the confirmation.
In the expected press release, Cal confirmed that Jake Spavital has been added to Sonny Dykes‘ staff as offensive coordinator. Additionally, Spavital will coach a Golden Bears quarterbacks room that will be without leading passer Jared Goff for the first time since the 2012 season.
Spavital replaces Tony Franklin, who abruptly left the program last month to take the same job at Middle Tennessee.
“Jake is one of the brightest young coaches in college football and he is a tremendous addition to our coaching staff,” Dykes said. “We were looking for someone to join our coaching family that shares our vision and has a similar offensive philosophy to what we have used to produce some of the nation’s top offenses for nearly two decades. Jake has gained a tremendous amount of experience by working with some of the top coaches in the game, while he has tutored some of the best quarterbacks in college football history. Both will pay huge dividends for us.”
Spavital had spent the past three seasons at Texas A&M, first as co-offensive coordinator in 2013 and then as coordinator in 2014 and 2015. He also coached quarterbacks all three seasons.
In early January of this year, it was announced that the two parties were “mutually parting ways.”
For the Tennessee faithful in the audience, it appears you can finally breathe a sigh of relief.
On National Signing Day eight days ago, UT received a commitment from Jonathan Kongbo, one of the top junior college prospects in this year’s recruiting class. While Kongbo had committed to the Vols, he hadn’t yet sent the university a signed National Letter of Intent binding him to the football program; that meant other programs could continue to pursue the highly sought after defensive end.
Any ongoing pursuit from rival schools has unofficially come to an end, however, as Wes Rucker of 247Sports.com, citing a source close to the player’s recruitment, is reporting that Kongbo has indeed sent his signed NLI to the university. The delay reportedly involved Kongbo’s father.
Kongbo had signed the letter, but his father had not. Tennessee was able to announce him as a signee because he had signed his financial aid agreement.
Kongbo told SEC Country earlier this week that his father was out of town and he was waiting for him to return to sign and send the letter.
Rivals.com rated Kongbo as a five-star prospect coming out of Arizona Western Community College in Yuma. Not only that, but both Rivals and 247Sports’ composite rankings had the lineman rated as the No. 1 JUCO prospect in the country.
In addition to UT, Alabama, Florida State, Ole Miss and USC were finalists for the 6-6, 260-pound end.
A move that has been two months in the making has been confirmed by one of the principles involved.
In an interview with The Oklahoman, Barry J. Sanders confirmed that he will be transferring into the Oklahoma State football program and playing his final season of college football with the Cowboys. Sanders will graduate from Stanford this summer; as such, he will be eligible to play immediately for OSU in 2016 after he arrives this June.
In early January, Sanders confirmed his intention to transfer from the Cardinal after receiving a release from his scholarship. That confirmation came a month or so after speculation began growing that Sanders, the son of Heisman-winning OSU legend Barry Sanders, was considering a move to his father’s alma mater, talk that prompted Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy to address the issue.
As the younger Sanders will be following in some rather sizable Stillwater shoes, he discussed the move with his father before deciding to become the second Barry Sanders to have his name on an OSU uniform.
“His message to me was to keep an open mind,” Sanders told the newspaper. “I think that he would have wanted me to look at more schools. He definitely didn’t want me to make a decision without considering other options. What I told him was that this was something I’ve been thinking about for some time. I just knew this was the right decision and the right fit for a variety of different reasons.
“So when I kind of explained my reasons behind it, he was pretty comfortable with it and he’s just as excited as I am.”
Sanders was a four-star member of the Cardinal’s 2012 recruiting class, rated as the No. 9 running back in the country and the No. 2 player at any position in the state of Oklahoma. He chose Stanford over, among others, Alabama and the Big 12 OSU.
The last three seasons, Sanders has rushed for 672 yards (5.8 yards per carry) and five touchdowns. He’s also caught 12 passes for 89 yards and averaged 9.5 yards on 10 punt returns.