TCU AD: ‘schools like FSU, Clemson, Miami trying to get in’ Big 12

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Ever since the chairman of Florida State’s Board of Trustees very loudly and openly acknowledged an interest in listening to overtures from the Big 12, officials from that conference, from new commissioner Bob Bowlsby to de facto commissioner DeLoss Dodds, have attempted to, at least publicly, shove the expansion toothpaste back into the tube.

Leave it to the new kid on the conference block to make all of that public posturing moot.

By way of the esteemed Chris Level of 104.3 FM in Lubbock, and appearing at breakfast in that city Wednesday morning, TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte, whose school will not become an official member of the Big 12 until July 1, confirmed that the Big 12 had received interest from several schools.  Specifically, Del Conte mentioned current ACC members Florida State, Clemson and Miami as schools “trying to get in” the Big 12.

Del Conte subsequently attempted to clarify his remarks, claiming in a comment to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he “was referring to [the] rumor mill, not confirming schools’ interest in [the] Big 12.”

Regardless of what the AD “meant”, this is not exactly new news as all three of those schools have been speculated on as possibilities if/when the Big 12 expands over the past month.  Conte, though, is the first official from a current/future Big 12 member we’re aware of to publicly and specifically confirm it, regardless of how the words are finessed after the fact.

Conte’s inclusion of FSU in even exploratory talks with the Big 12 directly contradicts what the Tallahassee school’s president, Texas’ athletic director and the Big 12’s commissioner have stated in the past couple of weeks, that there have been no talks between conference officials and that school “that they’re aware of” winkwink nudgenudge.

While Conte was the initial spiller of the beans, so to speak, he’s not exactly in favor of expansion taking place — right now.

“From my standpoint of right now, I want to say ‘let’s take [a] breath‘,” Del Conte, by way of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, said during a radio interview earlier today. “We are in a position of strength. Let’s not rush into anything. We know expansion has to happen. It may not be for a while. We are in the catbird seat right now. We don’t need to rush it. You are excited all of these teams want into the Big 12 and two years ago it was going to disintegrate.”

The fact that there have been discussions with other schools regarding potential membership is far from an earth-shattering development.  The fact that an official connected to the conference, though, is comfortable enough to broach the subject in public — and after denials of discussions have come from other, more senior league officials — could very well mean this expansion “thing” has more, stronger legs than some would’ve ever believed.

Lincoln Riley to earn $3.1 million a year as OU head coach

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Lincoln Riley won’t be paid nearly as much as Bob Stoops was as Oklahoma’s head coach, but he’ll earn significantly more than he did as the Sooners’ offensive coordinator.

Oklahoma approved and released Riley’s new deal on Tuesday, a 5-year contract that pays him $3.1 million annually and rises $200,000 a year. Stoops made $5.5 million in his last season, according to USA Today, while Riley earned $900,000 as offensive coordinator.

Perks include 25 hours of private airplane use, not one but two private golf club membership, and bonuses ranging from $25,000 for winning Big 12 coach of the year honors to $250,000 for a national championship.

Riley is 3-0 in his young tenure, already proving himself to be a tremendous bargain for the Sooners.

SEC releases 2018 schedule

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The SEC released its 2018 slate on Tuesday, beginning the weekend of Sept. 1 and running through the SEC Championship on Saturday, Dec. 1. It would be entirely pointless to break down winners and losers of the ’18 slate considering we don’t really even know who’s good yet in 2017 — other than Alabama — and we especially don’t know who will be good in ’18 — other than ‘Bama, of course.

But we can point out some dates that look interesting as we sit here on Tuesday, Sept. 19, the year of our Lord 2017. And, no, intra-divisional games don’t count, since they are played every year.

  • Auburn vs. Washington — Sept. 1 (at Atlanta)
  • Alabama vs. Louisville — Sept. 1 (at Orlando)
  • LSU vs. Miami — Sept. 1 (at Dallas)
  • Tennessee vs. West Virginia (at Charlotte)
  • Clemson at Texas A&M — Sept. 8
  • Vanderbilt at Notre Dame — Sept. 15
  • Florida at Mississippi State — Sept. 29
  • Tennessee at Auburn — Oct. 13

Consult the full schedule here. 

Louisville-Ole Miss 2021 Chick-fil-A Kickoff opener made official

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After reports had signaled it, it’s a done deal.

The “it” in this case is Louisville opening the 2021 season against Ole Miss, with the two programs confirming Tuesday that they will square off in one of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff games that year.  The game will be played at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, although a date and kickoff time are still to be determined.

The 2021 game will mark the first-ever meeting between the football teams.  Each has made one previous appearance in the Kickoff Game, Louisville in 2015 (31-24 loss to Auburn) and Ole Miss in 2014 (35-13 win over Boise State).

“To have the opportunity to play in this game again for the second time is a huge win for our program,” Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich said in a statement. “We are honored to be welcomed back by the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, which is a tremendous testament to our loyal fan base, who helped pack the stadium in 2015. Our fans have a great history of traveling, and to have the opportunity to play a great program like Ole Miss in this brand-new facility will certainly be a hot ticket for the fans. Gary Stokan and the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl group do a tremendous job with this game and we appreciate them selecting Louisville for what has become the premier game to kick off the season.”

“We are thrilled to once again be part of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff. We always set the goal to end the regular season in Atlanta, so it’s only fitting that’s where we begin it,” Jurich’s Ole Miss counterpart, Ross Bjork, said in his. “With our strong alumni base in Georgia, Rebel Nation will arrive in full force to experience this premier matchup in the nation’s finest new stadium. In addition, the Atlanta market is a key recruiting area for our staff, and this trip offers a tremendous opportunity to compete in front of those prospects.”

Earlier this month, it was confirmed that Alabama and Miami would square off in the other Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game the opening weekend of the 2021 season.

Oregon hopeful leading receiver will be back soon

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There could be some good news on the injury front for Oregon.  Maybe.

Charles Nelson suffered a lower-leg injury in UO’s win over Wyoming in Week 3.  At the time, it was thought that the injury wasn’t as serious as it initially looked.  Monday, Willie Taggart indicated that it wasn’t, although the head coach fell short of declaring the senior wide receiver ready to go for the Pc-12 opener against Arizona State in Week 4.

“Hopefully he’ll be back here soon and be ready to go,” the head coach said according to The Oregonian.

Nelson’s 15 catches for 243 yards are tops on the Ducks through the first three weeks of the 2017 season.  He also has a rushing touchdown on one of his six carries.