Big Ten, Pac-12 suspend non-conference agreement

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Well, this is depressing.

In a joint press release sent out Friday, the Big Ten and Pac-12 announced that they were suspending the non-conference scheduling agreement announced in late December of last year.

The agreement called for each of the 12 members of the Pac-12 to face a member of the 12-school Big Ten in football beginning in 2017.  The scheduling pact would also extend to other sports within the leagues.

Statements by the respective conference commissioners can be read below, but the gist is that a handful of Pac-12 schools reportedly had reservations about the agreement because the league plays a nine-game slate — that’s been rumored for some time. The Big Ten, on the other hand, only plays and eight-game conference schedule.

It’s a disappointing move for fans, and you can kiss the “playoff will force stronger scheduling” argument goodbye.

Anyway, here are the statements:

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott:
“After extensive deliberation and consultation with member institutions, television partners and others,
the Pac-12 and Big Ten have decided not to pursue the previously announced plans for enhanced
scheduling collaboration across all sports at this time. While we continue to value our close relationship,
particularly our partnership in the Rose Bowl, the Pac-12 came to the conclusion that it’s in our
best interests to maintain our 9-game conference schedule and maximum flexibility in out-of-conference
scheduling. Thus, the Pac-12 decided not to lock into the proposed mandatory 12-game
schedule in football.”

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany:
“We are disappointed to announce today that the Big Ten Pac-12 strategic collaboration announced
jointly in December 2011 unfortunately will not be consummated. We recently learned from Pac-12
Commissioner Larry Scott that the complications associated with coordinating a non-conference football
schedule for 24 teams across two conferences proved to be too difficult. Those complications,
among other things, included the Pac-12’s nine-game conference schedule and previous nonconference
commitments.

“A great effort was made by both conference staffs to create football schedules that would address the
variety of complexities, but in the end, we were just not able to do so.

“While everyone at the Big Ten is disappointed by the news, we look forward to continuing the historic
partnership that we have with the Pac-12 and to working together on other matters in the future.”

For ‘personal reasons,’ starting BYU LB Francis Bernard will redshirt the 2017 season

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BYU’s linebacking corps has taken a significant and somewhat unexpected hit on the brink of the start of a new season.

The football program announced Thursday that Francis Bernard (pictured, No. 13) will miss the 2017 season because of what were described as unspecified “personal reasons.” The linebacker, at least for now, is scheduled to return as a playing member of the Cougars as a fourth-year junior in 2018.

Despite not playing in games, the school stated in its release that “the 6-foot-1, 240-pound outside linebacker will continue to participate in all team practices, meetings and activities during the upcoming season.”

“The fact that he is still around means we will still have his presence here,” senior captain Fred Warner said according to the Daily Herald. “We lift each other up. Anytime we face any adversity, we are all there for each other. We’re a tight-knit group.”

Bernard started 12 games for the Cougars last season. His 80 tackles in 2016 were third on the team.

Rutgers declares war on Washington, comes armed with jacuzzi for fans

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Rutgers will open up the 2017 season at home against defending Pac-12 champion Washington on Friday, September 8, and the Scarlet Knights are declaring war on the Huskies. In a somewhat awkward promotion for the season opener, Rutgers is advertising the game as the “War Before the Shore,” thus encouraging fans to come out to the game before enjoying their Labor Day weekend down at the Jersey shores in the final weekend of the summer.

The first 5,000 fans attending the game will be handed a rally towel complete with the “War Before the Shore” logo designed for the game. In addition, students attending the game will walk away with a tank top that reads “Rutgers The State Football Team of New Jersey.” Students will also receive a pair of sunglasses to go with their new tank top, if they are among the first 2,000 fans to walk through the gates of the student section. The student section will also feature a temporary jacuzzi.

But if that’s not enough to entice fans to come out and enjoy a football game, Rutgers will fill the areas outside the stadium with volleyball courts, food trucks, carnival rides and boardwalk games to keep a shore feeling going.

Washington defeated Rutgers 48-13 in the 2016 season opener. The Huskies went on to win the Pac-12 and play in the College Football Playoff. Rutgers struggled through a 2-10 season in the first season with Chris Ash as head coach. Rutgers lost home games to No. 4 Michigan 78-0 and No. 9 Penn State 39-0 last season. If this season plays out on a similar note, Rutgers may want to add some more hot tubs.

Texas TE Andrew Beck out 6-8 weeks with broken foot

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On Wednesday in practice, Texas tight end Andrew Beck went down with a foot injury. Texas later announced the injury was a broken foot, and it will cost Beck some playing time at the start of the year.

This is the second time this offseason Beck has been sidelined with a lower body injury. He also sat out of spring practices with a broken foot. It has been unconfirmed if the injury is to the same foot or not. Whatever the case may be, Beck will be out of action for the next six to eight weeks at the minimum. Going off of that timeline, the earliest Beck might be available would be for the Big 12 opener against Iowa State in Ames, Iowa on Thursday, September 28. That is six weeks out from now. The two weeks after that will be games against Kansas State and Oklahoma.

The Longhorns will have to figure out who to trust at the tight end position now. The leading candidate may be Syracuse graduate transfer, Kendall Moore. Moore started four games for the Orange in 2014 and 2015, so his starting experience is limited. Moore just joined the Texas program at the end of July and was immediately thought to be a potential starter in the event Beck suffered a setback with his foot. The depth at the tight end position is not quite where Herman would ideally like to have it, but the Longhorns may be able to survive the first part of the season with their heads above water until Beck is able to return.

Foot injury puts Georgia CB Malkom Parrish on sideline

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With the start of a new college football season just around the corner, Georgia suddenly has a concern in the defensive secondary to address. Senior Malkom Parrish reportedly suffered a foot injury that will require surgery. As a result, his status for the start of the season is now in question.

The news of the injury surfaced Thursday after reporters noticed Parrish had been missing from practice for a second straight day. Seth Emerson of Dawg Nation reported the injury was a broken bone, according to an anonymous team source. Georgia has not commented on the injury status at the time of this writing. Taking the place of Parrish on the practice field was Aaron Davis, who normally plays a safety position for the Bulldogs.

Georgia’s defense returns a loaded unit of starters from last season, including Parrish. His absence from the defense for whatever amount of time he may miss could be critical if recovery time extends deeper into the season. Georgia opens the 2017 season at home against Appalachian State and continues the next week on the road against Notre Dame.