ESPN, Rose Bowl reach TV extension through 2026

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One of college football’s most valuable bowls just signed an extension with the World Wide Leader.

And, lo and behold, it aligns perfectly with the 12-year playoff approval from the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee.

In a release, ESPN announced an extension with the Rose Bowl, Big Ten and Pac-12 to broadcast the game through 2026. Why is that important? The release states “Whatever is determined to be the exact post-season bowl rotation as part of the future format, ESPN will have the rights to the Rose Bowl Game each year.”

The terms of the extension were not released, but recall from the other day the Sporting News report claiming a college football playoff could generate upwards of $500 million annually. That projection will depend in part by how the semifinals and championship game are packaged to networks. TSN also reported ESPN will have first refusal rights, but NBC, Fox and CBS could potentially bid on some or all of the available product.

The Rose Bowl currently negotiates its own TV contract separate from the other major BCS bowls, so no matter what happens with TV negotiations, ABC/ESPN will keep the Rose Bowl for the next 12 years. As part of the playoff approval, two semifinal games will rotate among six bowls, though which six have yet to be determined. Still, anticipate that the Rose Bowl will be one of them.

In such a case, the numbers would indicate the Rose Bowl would host a semifinal game four times over the 12-year life of the playoff deal. However, Dennis Dodd of CBSSports writes “there is speculation that the Rose could host as few as two national semis during that period, thus preserving its preferred traditional matchup more often.”

In a statement yesterday, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said he was pleased with the approval of a four-team playoff because it preserved both the regular season and the conference’s relationship with the Rose Bowl, two important factors to the league’s president’s and chancellors.

Coincidence? I think not.

Illinois boots three players charged with home invasion and robbery

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Illinois head coach Lovie Smith has dismissed three players charged with home invasion and robbery. Offensive linemen Darta Lee and Howard Watkins and tight end Zarrian Holcombe have all been dismissed from the program, according to a statement.

Lee and Holcombe were previously suspended by Smith for violations of team rules. Watkins had also been indefinitely suspended following the initial allegations. All three players claimed the incident that led to the charges was nothing more than an innocent prank, but the authorities and Smith didn’t seem willing to buy that claim.

Each player faces a mandatory prison sentence of 4-15 years on each count against them if found guilty.

Report: Conference USA to air at least 15 football games on Twitter in 2017

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Conference USA is in a position where it needs to think outside the box and look to stay ahead of the curve in a changing TV landscape. It appears to be ready to air games on Twitter in 2017.

A report from The Virginian-Pilot says broadcast company STADIUM will air at least 15 football games involving Conference USA teams this fall. STADIUM is the result of a recent merger between the American Sports Network, 120 Sports and Silver Chalice (which also owns Campus Insiders and the online ACC Digital Network). The ASN had owned the broadcast rights to Conference USA games through the end of the 2017-2018 sports season that will carry over to the STADIUM deal (allowing for Conference USA basketball games to be aired on Twitter as well). It was announced earlier this month STADIUM intended to broadcast Conference USA games on Twitter, but it was unknown how many games might make it to the networking service. STADIUM reportedly has an interest in continuing to air Conference USA contests beyond the next athletic season.

Conference USA still has broadcast deals with ESPN and CBS Sports in effect as well, so don’t expect the premiere matchups in the conference to be aired on Twitter. However, by sharing the games online, Conference USA is hoping to reach a wide-spread audience and have the opportunity to be a trending topic. It could work, as Twitter would make sure the game is given a steady feed to allow for a pleasant viewing experience and fan interaction in real time.

Conference USA saw TV revenue take a big hit over the last year. Last summer, Conference USA’s television revenue reportedly dropped to just $2.8 million for the entire conference following realignment changes. Finding a home on a streaming platform now would be key for the conference’s future stability.

Alabama DC Jeremy Pruitt named son after former Tide linebackers Reuben Foster and Ryan Anderson

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It is not at all uncommon for children born in the state of Alabama to be named after Alabama football legends, but it is not every day you see a child of an Alabama coach receives a name inspired by former Alabama football players.

Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt announced the birth of his new son, Flynt Anderson-Foster Pruitt, on Twitter. Alabama fans will likely already know the connection to the new child’s name, as used the last names of two former Alabama football players to create the middle name of Anderson-Foster; Ryan Anderson and Reuben Foster.

Maybe this is more common than I’m aware of, but regardless of how often a coach names a child after former players, this is a testament to the relationship the Pruitt family established with both former Alabama linebackers. And now there will be a bond for years to come between the coach and his family and Anderson and Foster.

Helmet sticker to Al.com.

Wisconsin’s season tickets for 100th anniversary of Camp Randall are a thing of beauty

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The Wisconsin Badgers are gearing up for their 100th season playing home football game sin Camp Randall Stadium. As part of the season-long celebration, Wisconsin put some brilliant artistic detail into their season tickets for the 2017 season.

Each ticket to a home Wisconsin game is designed like a retro-style program. These are beautifully done and mimic the style of a program cover from decades past. I’m particularly fond of the program cover for the Purdue game, which features Wisconsin’s Bucky floating in space with a ship with the Purdue logo nearby. Is that a space train? The Band Day program for the game against Florida Atlantic also looks fantastic.

These tickets will surely be must-have collectibles for Wisconsin fans. If Wisconsin wants to make a few extra bucks, then blowing up these images and selling them as posters may be a good decision as well. And I wouldn’t put it past Wisconsin to suit up in a retro-style uniform for at least home game this season in Madison.