DeLoss Dodds

Perfect 10: UT’s Dodds doesn’t see need to expand Big 12

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When Ben noted over the weekend that one unnamed member of the Big 12 was pushing hard against expanding the conference, it didn’t exactly take a rocket surgeon to deduce just who that unnamed member might be.

Thanks to DeLoss Dodds, we now have further evidence that Texas simply doesn’t want to mess with expansion.

In a conversation with Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com, the Big 12 commissioner UT athletic director confirmed that, yes, he really doesn’t feel the need to add members to the Big 12’s current roll.

I don’t think it needs to expand,” Dodds told the website. “It certainly can expand because there will be people that will want to be a part of it. That’s another good thing. …

“We could expand to some number. You name the number — 12, 14, 16. We could expand but the question is ‘do we need to expand?’ In my mind 10 is perfect because you play everybody in football and there is a double-round-robin in basketball.”

One of the “negatives” when it comes to a 10-school conference is that it can’t hold a league championship game and thus loses out on revenue most other leagues receive.  According to Dodds, and with a four-team playoff system looming not too far off on the horizon, the size of his school’s conference and the lack of a title game will actually serve as an advantage for the Big 12.

“When we get into whatever system we get in for a championship, I think those coaches that play in a conference championship are going to say ‘What in the world are we doing?'” Dodds asked rhetorically.

Of course, Dodds is referring to a high-ranked team from Conference X losing in a league title game to a lower-ranked opponent, thus potentially costing that conference a spot in what will be a very limited playoff field.

Dodds’ comments on expansion come a couple of weeks after a high-ranking Florida State official very publicly stated that the school should listen to overtures from the Big 12.  The AD attempted to tap the brakes on such speculation in the days after those comments from FSU’s board chairman, saying that the Seminoles are a long ways away in both distance and prospects of joining the conference.

Dodds also allowed that the Big 12 has held conversations with Notre Dame the past two years about housing the Irish’s Olympic sports — “They could put some football here,” Dodds added for ominous effect — as well as stating that he would be fine with a four-team playoff that consisted of the four highest-ranked teams or the four highest-ranked conference champions.

Interestingly, the Big Ten, Pac-12, ACC and, today, the Big East have all come out in favor of the conference champs model, leaving the SEC as the lone member of “The Big Six” publicly in favor of taking the four highest-ranked teams regardless of their standing as conference — or divisional — champs.  That 4-1 tally is, of course, pending an official, non-Texas stance on the part of the Big 12.

In the end, that — not the threat of expansion — might be the biggest piece news to emerge the past week or two, not only for the impact it would have on how a playoff field is filled, but for what it could do to a certain football program’s very staunch, pro-independent stance on conference affiliation.

Heisman Trophy odds see change at the top

Leonard Fournette
Associated Press
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There is a new preseason favorite for the 2016 Heisman Trophy, at least as far as Bovada is concerned.

The betting service Tuesday listed LSU running back Leonard Fournette checks in with the best odds at 9/2. He moved ahead of Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, whose odds went from 9/2 in January to 5/1 now.

Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey’s odds moved to 11/2 while Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett, Florida State running back Dalvin Cook and Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield are all at 12/1.

Several players were added to the board since January, including UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen (16/1), Alabama running back Bo Scarbrough (20/1) and Baylor quarterback Jarrett Stidham (28/1).

The group of newcomers also includes both of the competitors to be Notre Dame’s starting quarterback. DeShone Kizer and Malik Zaire are both set at 28/1.

Oklahoma DB facing charges after early morning arrest

NORMAN, OK - OCTOBER 3:  Safety Hatari Byrd #4 and cornerback Jordan Thomas #7 of the Oklahoma Sooners take the field before the game against the West Virginia Mountaineers October 3, 2015 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. Oklahoma defeated West Virginia 44-24.(Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
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Oklahoma defensive back Jordan Thomas was arrested early Thursday morning and stands accused of three offenses.

Cleveland (Oklahoma) County sheriff arrest records show the 20-year-old Thomas was booked at 2:45 a.m. on charges of assault and battery, public intoxication and interference.

A school spokesperson told The Tulsa World the department is aware of and monitoring the situation.

Thomas, who reportedly has been released on bond, was second on the Sooners with nine pass defended last season and was credited with 46 tackles. He had five interceptions.

The World notes Thomas has been in trouble both with the law and the team previously.

Thomas was jailed in Grady County before last year’s Orange Bowl after failing to appear in court following a traffic citation.

The junior also has faced issues on the team. He missed the first quarter of the 2015 opener against Akron and the entire Tulsa game for undisclosed disciplinary reasons.

The Sooners won the Big 12 last season and made the College Football Playoff.

They are expected to be contenders again this season and have a showdown with Ohio State looming in Norman on Sept. 17.

Joker Phillips among Urban Meyer’s new hires at Ohio State

GAINESVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 25:  Head coach Urban Meyer of the Florida Gators is congratulated by head coach Joker Phillips of the Kentucky Wildcats at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 25, 2010 in Gainesville, Florida. Florida defeated Kentucky 48-14 for Meyer's 100th career victory.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
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Ohio State has quietly added Joker Phillips and Brian Knorr — two experienced college coaches — to Urban Meyer’s staff.

Although the athletics department has not made an announcement yet, Phillips is listed in Ohio State’s employee directory as a sports program associate with the working title of “Football QC – kicking,” which presumably means he is a quality control assistant for the Ohio State kicking game.

Knorr is listed simply as an athletics intern.

Of the two, Phillips is the more experienced. Now 53, he began his coaching career as a G.A. at Kentucky, his alma mater, and eventually spent six seasons as a full-time receivers coach for the Wildcats in the early 1990s.

He also coached at Minnesota, Notre Dame and South Carolina before returning to Lexington as an assistant and eventually rising to head coach in 2010.

The Wildcats went just 13-24 in his three seasons, and he spent last year as wide receivers coach of the Cleveland Browns. He also spent a season coaching receivers at Florida, where he was found guilty of a level two recruiting violation.

Knorr was most recently the defensive coordinator at Indiana. He spent two seasons in Bloomington after six at Wake Forest.

A Kansas native, he played quarterback at Air Force and previously worked in the Buckeye State as an assistant to Jim Grobe and then Frank Solich at Ohio University from 1995-2004.

The Hoosiers ranked last in the Big Ten in scoring defense and total defense last season, and he was replaced by Tom Allen in January.

Texas’ plunder of Baylor’s recruiting class continues

SAN ANTONIO, TX - DECEMBER 30:  Texas Longhorns mascot Bevo wears a harness in honor of head coach Mack Brown during the Valero Alamo Bowl against the Oregon Ducks at the Alamodome on December 30, 2013 in San Antonio, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Make that four new additions to Texas’ 2016 recruiting class in late June.

The school announced Wednesday that Patrick Hudson, an in-state offensive lineman from Silsbee, has signed a financial aid agreement and is expected to enroll in Austin in July when the second summer session begins.

Hudson is a four-star prospect and the 50th-best player in the country according to 247Sports’ composite rankings.

He signed with Baylor in February but was granted a release from his letter of intent after a report accusing members of the school and athletics department of mishandling accusations and incidents of sexual assault delved the school into controversy.

J.P. Urquidez and brothers Devin and Donovan Duvernay also signed with the Longhorns in the past week.

“We’re really excited to have Patrick joining our program,” Texas coach Charlie Strong said in a release. “Patrick coming to Texas, along with J.P. and Donovan earlier this week, are tremendous additions to an already impressive class of 2016. Patrick and J.P. are two big, physical, talented linemen, and Donovan is an explosive athlete who has played on both sides. We’re looking forward to getting them on campus and working with the team.”

Urquidez is also a four-star offensive lineman while Devin Duvernay is a four-star receiver and Donovan Duvernay is a three-star athlete per 247Sports.

Texas’ class is ranked seventh nationally and No. 1 in the Big 12 as Strong looks to put a rocky start to his tenure behind him and return the Longhorns to national prominence.

They start the season with a visit from Notre Dame on Sept. 4.