TUSCALOOSA, AL – OCTOBER 27: Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide looks on against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 27, 2012 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
The Sun Belt is consolidating its membership to the south and east, but its postseason profile has struck far out west.
The conference has announced an affiliation with the Arizona Bowl, bringing the New Orleans-based league’s bowl roster to five.
The inaugural Arizona Bowl infamously could not find two conferences to pit against each other, so Nevada and Colorado State faced off in an all-Mountain West affair. That embarrassing scenario will be avoided moving forward as the Sun Belt will play opposite the Mountain West from 2016-19.
The 2016 Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl will be played on Dec. 30. Time is still to be determined, but organizers think an afternoon kick will lead to a better experience. “If you were at the game last year, the suites were packed,” bowl organizer Ali J. Farhang told the Tucson Citizen. “It was warm and comfortable. If we can get that kind of environment in the stadium too …”
The 2015 game kicked at 5:30 p.m. local time, with a temperature of 44 degrees. This year’s game will kick off between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
One of the more interesting subplots to follow as Baylor moves into the post-Art Briles era will be the reaction from recruits and current players.
Speculation exists the NCAA will — or at least should — allow current Bears out of their scholarships without penalty, similar to how the NCAA treated Penn State players in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. But, for now, the NCAA has offered no such provision, and as such players are still bound to remain at Baylor or sit out a year.
On Friday night, wide receiver K.D. Cannon announced he will remain in Waco for what will most assuredly be his final season as a collegian. A rising junior, Cannon caught 50 passes for 868 yards and six touchdowns, and figures to gobble up much of the 74 grabs, 1,363 yards and 20 touchdowns Corey Coleman left behind.
Running back Terence Williams made a similar proclamation as well on Friday. A rising sophomore, Williams rushed 88 times for 556 yards and three touchdowns in 2015.
While current players are compelled to remain in Waco, recruits are under no such obligation. An already light 2017 class has seen two defections with decommitments from three-star offensive lineman Jayden Peevy and four-star tight end Kedrick James, a Waco product.
It may also be a matter of time before the prize of this year’s class, four-star quarterback Kellen Mond, succumbs to an avalanche of pressure to leave as well.
Caught somewhere in between the current and future Bears is the class of 2016, players who have inked themselves to Baylor but have yet to enroll in the school. The top two players from the Bears’ 17th-ranked class have publicly wavered on their desire to play for Baylor. Actually, that’s a bit of an understatement; one player has wavered, and one has outright refused to report.
Four-star offensive lineman Patrick Hudson, the second-ranked offensive lineman in Texas, tweeted Friday he is reconsidering his stance with Baylor.
Meanwhile, four-star running back Kameron Martin will not enroll according to Max Olson of ESPN.
Whether Baylor grants Martin’s release will perhaps set a precedent for other 2016 Bears who may be inclined to join Martin but have not spoken out yet.
One thing is certain, though: the mess in Waco is only just beginning to sort itself out.
Here’s how wacko, bonkers, crazy college sports has gotten in the past half-decade, and more specifically the money taken in by the SEC and Big Ten: the ACC saw its revenue jump by nearly $100 million in 2014-15 — and they’re worried about falling behind.
Whereas a decade ago simply making $100 million as a conference would’ve been cause for a clicking of heels in Greensboro, the ACC’s jump from $302.3 million in 2013-14 to $403.1 million in 2014-15, according to tax documents obtained by USA Today, is met by concern of just how in the heck they’re going to match the SEC’s $527.4 million and the Big Ten’s $448.8 million without what those two leagues have — a TV network.
The ACC has seen revenues jump nearly $170 million in two years, and the 2014-15 jump was thanks in large part to a $30 million exit fee played by Maryland in leaving for the Big Ten.
Commissioner John Swofford saw his pay grow along with his conference’s, from $2.1 million and change to just under $2.7 million.
The ACC was the final Power 5 to release its financials for the 2014-15 fiscal year, and with all five out we now have a full picture of how the schools stack up on a per school basis (full shares only):
- SEC: $32.6 million*
- Big Ten: $32.4 million
- ACC: $25.8 million*
- Pac-12: $25.1 million
- Big 12: $23.4 million^
* – Splitting difference between highest and lowest distributions, as listed by USA Today
^ – Does not include third-tier payments such as Longhorn Network
When Jim Harbaugh goes on vacation, he does it big.
The world’s most notable khaki pants aficionado went to France last summer and, as was well-publicized at the time, brought the entire Michigan roster to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., for a spring break football trip.
According to the Detroit News, that trip cost Michigan’s football program nearly $350,000.
That $348,553 figure represents nearly 10 percent of the entire athletics budget at Coppin State, according to the most recent figures on record from USA Today, the lowest in Division I.
Michigan, meanwhile, spent over $151 million on athletics — and that figure will only go up considering the month-long satellite camp tour Harbaugh has planned for his staff in June.