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.

Ohio State OL Matthew Burrell transferring from Buckeyes

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For the third time this offseason, Ohio State has lost an offensive lineman to transfer.

The latest to leave the trenches in Columbus is Matthew Burrell (pictured, right), with the rising redshirt junior taking to Instagram to announce that, “after prayer and thought, I will be transferring from OSU.” While no specific reason for the decision to transfer was given, the lineman’s placement on the depth chart likely played a significant role.

A four-star member of the Buckeyes’ 2015 recruiting class, Burrell was rated as the No. 7 guard in the country and the No. 4 player at any position in the state of Virginia.  The past two seasons, the lineman had seen action in a total of 25 games, including 12 this past season.

In addition to Burrell, OSU offensive linemen Jack Wohlabaugh (HERE) and Kevin Feder (HERE) have all left the program since the end of the 2017 regular season.

UCF police go all in on national championship campaign

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Look, I get it. I know exactly how this game is played. They do it so that people like me will write about it and people like you will read it. It’s all a ploy to make everyone on campus puff their chests out just a little bit further and to keep their name on our lips just a little bit longer.

But doggone if it isn’t working.

More than three months after claiming its 2017 national championship, UCF has found a way to keep itself relevant, this time by having the campus police department get in on the act.

AD Danny White already committed to pay national championship bonuses for coaches who are no longer in the school’s employ, but that’s not even the end of this. There’s still a ring ceremony that is (or at least should) be forthcoming, and the banner reveal at Spectrum Stadium that’s surely coming at the 2018 season opener.

If you’re going to go all in on a publicity campaign, it’s best to go all the way in. As UCF has done here.

NCAA tables proposal that would allow players to play in up to four games and retain redshirt

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The NCAA’s Division I Council on Wednesday tabled a proposal that would allow players to compete in up to four games and retain their redshirts. Championed by AFCA executive director Todd Berry, the rule was touted as a necessary change in an era where teams play 14- and 15-game seasons.

The rule would allow redshirting players to replace injured players without personal cost to their careers. Presently, a coach with dwindling numbers at a given position is put in between the rock and the hard place of burning an innocent player’s redshirt or putting players at risk of injury through overuse.

Here’s how the NCAA presented the news:

The Council tabled a proposal that would allow football student-athletes to participate in up to four games per year without using a season of competition. Proponents argue that late-season injuries and other factors often require student-athletes who hadn’t played all season to burn a year of eligibility for a small number of games. Others wonder whether the proposal could be applied to other sports, as well, whether the number of games in the proposal is appropriate, and whether the timing of the four games matters.

It is not clear what opposition exists to the rule, though Big 12 commissioner, Council member and noted fear-mongerer Bob Bowlsby posited in January that teams could, for some unexplained reason, hold their best players back until the final four games of the season.

“I think it’s got a lot of merit,” he said, “but there are some hooks in it. I don’t know how comfortable people are with, suddenly in the last three games and a bowl game, you go from being a guy who’s on the scout team to [a prominent role].”

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The proposal is not all dead, as Miracle Max would say. The Council will now turn the tabled proposal over to the Football Oversight and Student-Athlete Experience Committees for discussion and feedback solicitation.

Former four-star Miami WR Dionte Mullins transfers to FCS Alabama State

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A little over five months after leaving a Power Five program, Dionte Mullins has stepped down a rung or two on the college football ladder.

A tweet earlier this week indicated that Mullins is now a member of the Alabama State football program.  Now, the wide receiver is listed on the FCS program’s official website as one of its 2017-18 football signees and is shown on the Hornets’ online roster.

In mid-November, Miami announced that Mullins “is leaving the football program to pursue more playing time opportunities at another program.”

As the Hornets play at the FCS level, Mullins will be eligible to play immediately in 2018.  Including the upcoming season, the receiver will have two years of eligibility remaining as well as a redshirt season to use if necessary.

A four-star member of the Hurricanes’ 2016 recruiting class, Mullins was rated as the No. 50 receiver in the country and the No. 37 player at any position in the state of Florida.  After playing in three games as a true freshman, Mullins had seen action in all eight games last season before leaving. He finished his UM career with four catches for 53 yards, all of which came this season.