Chuck Neinan

Neinas talks FSU, Notre Dame following bowl announcement


Yesterday’s announcement that the Big 12 and the SEC were joining forces to create a new bowl game was tangible evidence that the college football landscape is indeed changing.

When and exactly how — looking at you, realignment — remains to be seen. But change doesn’t solely have to mean conference affiliation, either. If anything, the news was a symbol that major conferences are willing and able to dictate the terms of their postseason in a way that brings revenue back to where it belongs: with member institutions.

Where things get a bit convoluted is trying to figure out what this means for the likes of Florida State and Notre Dame. Depending on the day, the tides and/or who you ask, Florida State is either looking to escape the ACC, or remains perfectly content.  Now that the ACC is on the outside looking in, though, the pressure could escalate for the Seminoles to make a move.

Does that mean FSU is the Big 12’s newest member? Not necessarily, acting Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas told the Austin-American Statesman.

“We did before,” Neinas said, referring to interested parties in general. “Who? Maybe some old folks, maybe some new ones. Have we had any conversations with Florida State? No.”

Keep in mind that while Neinas and Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds have publicly stated there’s no interest (today) in expanding, let alone FSU, there is at least one account of the Big 12 reaching out to the ‘Noles. How accurate that account is remains unknown.

As for Notre Dame, the other school having its name tossed around? Neinas reaffirmed what many already believe.

“I don’t think Notre Dame is going to join a league,” Neinas said. “They’re in the process of extending their contract with NBC. No, I don’t see any pressure on them.”

While the effects of the Big 12-SEC bowl game have the potential to be as monumental as any playoff, it’s the latter that still determines Notre Dame’s independent status. A playoff consisting of the four highest-ranked conference champions would obviously have a much greater impact on Notre Dame’s conference affiliation — or, lack thereof — than what the Big 12 and SEC decide to do independently.

The point is that as long as Notre Dame’s chances for inclusion in college football’s new postseason don’t diminish, don’t expect them to join a conference.

Yes, that means the Big 12 too.

Starting LB C.J. Johnson reveals surgery on social media, Ole Miss confirms

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Ole Miss will be without a starting piece of its defensive puzzle for an extended period of time, both the player and the school revealed Tuesday.

With rumors swirling about his condition, C.J. Johnson confirmed on his personal Twitter account late this morning that he will be undergoing surgery at some point in the not-too-distant future.  The linebacker sustained an injury to his left knee in last Saturday’s loss to Florida and did not return to the contest.

Subsequent to that posting, Ole Miss confirmed that Johnson underwent surgery earlier in the day to repair a torn meniscus in his knee.  The procedure and rehab will sideline Johnson for a period of 4-6 weeks.

At the low-end of the prognosis, Johnson would miss the next four games — New Mexico State, Memphis, Texas A&M, Auburn — and return for the Nov. 7 game against Arkansas.  The high-end would have him sidelined until the regular-season finale against Mississippi State.

Johnson had started all five games at middle linebacker for the Rebels.  He started 26 games at defensive end the past three years before moving to linebacker.

Butch Jones labels rumor of ‘physical altercation’ with Vols player ‘absolutely ridiculous’

ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Head coach Butch Jones of the Tennessee Volunteers yells at Marquez North #8 during the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on September 27, 2014 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Already in the crosshairs for his 2-3 team’s late-game failures, Butch Jones now finds himself under increasing scrutiny for something that allegedly happened a couple of months ago.

The website, which features such respected journalists Tony Barnhart and Mike Huguenin among others, reported earlier today that the Tennessee head coach was involved in what was described as a “physical altercation” with senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder during summer camp this past August.  The source close to the program added that practice film that day captured the alleged incident, although it’s unclear if that tapes still exists.

From the site’s report:

The incident occurred during fall camp, about the time that news started to come out about a few offensive linemen who were considering stepping away from the program. Crowder walked off the practice field one day and missed a day or two of practice, and Brett Kendrick and Dylan Wiesman were said to be contemplating their futures. Sources say the players’ actions stemmed from an incident between Jones and Crowder.

The website also made a Freedom of Information request seeking any correspondence between the university and the Crowder family be turned over, but writes that UT “administrators said any sort of letter or correspondence that may or may not have happened was covered under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.”

Monday, Jones labeled what began as message-board speculation that he had struck one of his Vols players as “absolutely ridiculous.” The Knoxville News Sentinel contacted Crowder’s father, with the paper writing that “he had no comment and did not want to give validation to message boards.”

At least publicly, the university has yet to address the allegations.  Jones will get yet another chance to address the speculation with the media in the very near future.