The playoff agreement is done — for now — which leaves only realignment rumors to be tossed against the offseason wall just to see if something sticks.
At the center of it all has been the Big 12. While conference officials have scoffed at, downplayed or otherwise denied ad nauseam that there’s any truth to expansion rumors involving Florida State, Clemson, Notre Dame, Miami or anyone else, there’s at least one piece of evidence that the Big 12 is interested in one particular program — though the name/reason shouldn’t come as a surprise at all.
Thanks to an open records request by The Oklahoman, a January memo sent out by interim Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas to the conference’s expansion committee said Notre Dame is the only school the league could add that would “enhance the… value for television.”
“Both representatives of ESPN/ABC and Fox Sports indicated that Notre Dame’s involvement with the Big 12 Conference would increase the value of the conference relative to future television and also improve the image of the conference nationwide,” Neinas explained.
You can read the rest of Neinas’ quotes HERE.
But Neinas’ memo shouldn’t come across as any sort of indicator that the Big 12 will be adding Notre Dame anytime soon. On the contrary, Neinas is confirming of what common sense tells us.
Even as a partial member — in other words, if the Irish maintain football independence, but schedule several Big 12 programs — Notre Dame would provide the Big 12 a bump in payout from the league’s first and second-tier rights holders, ABC/ESPN and FOX, because it’s an addition of quality inventory (don’t scoff) that those networks currently don’t possess. Currently, the league is on the verge of inking an extension with ABC/ESPN that would sync up with the FOX deal through 2025. The annual payout per school from that deal is reported to rise above $20 million.
So of course the Big 12 would jump on the opportunity. That could be said for any conference.
It’s more of a matter of whether Notre Dame wants to move its non-football sports from the Big East.
One of the most consistent pieces of Wisconsin’s passing attack, such as it is, will be on the shelf for the foreseeable future.
A UW official confirmed to madison.com that Austin Traylor sustained a right-arm injury in Saturday’s loss to Iowa. As a result, the tight end will be sidelined for the rather broad period of 4-8 weeks.
At best, Traylor could return for the Nov. 7 game against Maryland after missing contests with Nebraska, Purdue, Illinois and Rutgers. At worst, he’d miss the remainder of the regular season, but could return for a bowl game, and perhaps the Big Ten championship game if the Badgers were to earn another berth.
Because he’s already played in five games this season, Traylor would not be eligible for a medical hardship waiver if he were to miss the remainder of the year.
Traylor is tied for the team lead in receiving touchdowns with three while his 15.6 yards per reception is tops on the team. He’s third in receiving yards with 156 and tied for fourth with 10 receptions.
With each passing day, it appears Miami won’t be able to avoid one of the most talented and productive running backs in the country.
Thursday, Dalvin Cook returned to practice for the first time this week. Cook suffered a hamstring injury in the first quarter of Florida State’s win over Wake Forest this past Saturday, and had spent the previous two days of practice riding a bicycle while the rest of his teammates prepped for the in-state and conference rivalry game against The U this Saturday.
The Palm Beach Post wrote that Cook showed “no signs” of the hamstring injury that had some worried about his availability in Week 6.
Head coach Jimbo Fisher, who said Wednesday he doesn’t “ever count Dalvin out” because of his healing ability, will meet with reporters later this evening and could address Cook’s status for the weekend then. Or, he could play to keep the Hurricanes guessing, even as most assume the All-ACC back will be on the field.
Cook is far and away FSU’s leading rusher, with his 142.5 yards per game good for eight in the country and his six rushing touchdowns tied for 20th.