Hokie AD’s SEC comments cause fit to hit Twitter shan

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Over the past two days, both Maryland and Rutgers have officially announced they were moving their athletics programs from the ACC and Big East, respectively, to the Big Ten.  As is usually the case in these types of situations, those actual moves have spawned myriad speculative ones.

UConn or Louisville to the ACC.  North Carolina and Virginia to the Big Ten to create the first major superconference.  Florida State to the Big 12 (again).  And on and on and on it goes, with seemingly anyone with a morsel of information flinging it against the wall in the hopes that something will stick in the latest round of conference expansion.

And then there’s Jim Weaver.  The Virginia Tech athletic director, normally not one to verbally shoot from the hip, preferring to keep his athletic department’s cards close to the vest, caused quite the Twitter stir late Tuesday night with comments that may or may not have been taken out of context.

During a weekly call-in show on 101.7-FM in Southwest Virginia, Weaver was asked, David Teal of the Hampton Roads Daily Press wrote, “whether he thought the SEC would contact Tech if it wanted to start its own network.”

“I really haven’t thought about it because the discussion has just come about three or four days ago,” Weaver began, before adding, “I’d like to defer my comment for right now, but there may potentially be some interest.”

Those last five words were all it took for a social media maelstrom to erupt, with some taking the comment as Weaver acknowledging Tech’s interest in discussing a move from the ACC to the SEC.  On several levels the conjecture made sense as the Hokies have been connected to the SEC via the rumor mill going back to 2010 if not further.

An incredulous Weaver, though, attempted to clarify a short time later his school’s position on its conference affiliation.

“I just can’t believe people are misinterpreting what I said,” Weaver told Teal. “We’re not in discussions with anyone.  We’ve always wanted to be in the Atlantic Coast Conference. We’re there, and we’re pleased to be there. …

“There’s nothing happening in regard to Virginia Tech going anywhere. I don’t know how to say it any clearer than that.”

Those denials fall in line with Weaver’s stance from this past May, and pretty much any other time the Hokies have been brought up as a candidate for SEC expansion for that matter.  At least for now, it appears any Tech-to-the-SEC talk is just that, talk.  And fodder for the never-sleeping rumor mill.

Should the ACC splinter and fall apart?  Well, that’s another matter entirely, for Tech and everyone else in the ACC, Big East and beyond.

In advance of FBS move, Liberty announces 13 future match-ups

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Liberty doesn’t have a conference home, but the Flames aren’t letting a little logistical hurdle like that stop them from manifesting their destiny.

The school is moving up to FBS in 2018 whether FBS wants them or not, and the Flames on Wednesday took a major step forward by announcing 13 future games, primarily filling out schedules for the early years of the next decade.

“The announcement of these additional football series give Flames Nation a taste of our future football schedules,” Liberty AD Ian McCaw said in a statement. “We are close to completing schedules for our first five seasons of FBS football. I appreciate Mickey Guridy‘s diligent efforts is securing these agreements.”

The future games break out as follows:

Bowling Green
Oct. 3, 2020 — at Bowling Green
Sept. 2, 2023 — at Liberty

Marshall
Oct. 14, 2023 — at Marshall
Oct. 5, 2024 — at Liberty

Massachusetts
Nov. 2, 2019 — at UMass
Nov. 28, 2020 — at Liberty
Nov. 6, 2021 — at Liberty

NC State
Nov. 21, 2020 — at NC State

Troy
Sept. 11, 2021 — at Troy

UAB
Oct. 2, 2021 — at UAB
Sept. 10, 2022 — at Liberty

Liberty opens this season at Baylor, and will face 10 FBS foes in 2018, including trips to Virginia and Auburn.

Jasmin Hernandez reaches settlement with Baylor

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Jasmin Hernandez was not the first woman former Baylor football player Tevin Elliott raped, but she was the first one to go public. Hernandez, obviously, allowed her name to be used publicly, and with that put an identity on the sexual assault crisis at Baylor. And she was the first to insist Elliott be prosecuted.

Elliott has since been convicted and sentenced for his crimes, and on Saturday Hernandez reached a settlement with the people she accused of allowing Elliott’s assaults to happen.

Hernandez has reached a settlement with Baylor and requested former Bears AD Ian McCaw and former head coach Art Briles be removed from the suit.

“We’re moving on,” attorney Irwin Zalkin told the Waco Tribune. “Jasmin is very happy with that and pleased to be moving on with her life.”

“You kind of weigh the costs and benefits of continuing, and for her, it reached a point where she felt she could resolve the case and have some closure and move forward. It was the right time for her,” Zalkin told ESPN.

The settlement means Baylor has now reached settlements with seven plaintiffs; four Title IX suits with a total of 13 plaintiffs still remain.

McCaw, of course, has since moved on to become the AD at Liberty, while Briles — who admitted no wrongdoing in being removed from the Hernandez suit — said through an attorney he expects to coach in 2018.

Baylor, meanwhile, must now brace for the release of the Pepper Hamilton documents as ordered by a judge last week.

Oklahoma State puts up 1945 national championship signage at Boone Pickens Stadium

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Oklahoma State has decided that it was the 1945 national champion. It even has the photo to prove it.

While it is strange to name yourself a national champion more than seven decades after the fact, it is especially strange considering the banner comes significantly after Oklahoma State announced it is now the 1945 national champion. If you remember, Oklahoma State accepted the AFCA’s naming of the Pokes as the 1945 champions last year.

“After gathering all the pertinent information and doing our due diligence, it is the pleasure of our Blue Ribbon Commission of coaches to officially recognize Oklahoma State’s 1945 championship season with the AFCA Coaches’ Trophy,” AFCA executive director Todd Berry said at the time.

Known as Oklahoma A&M at the time, that ’45 Cowboys team was extremely good. They finished 9-0 on the year, opening with a 19-14 win at Arkansas, trucking Utah 46-6 in Salt Lake City, spanking Oklahoma 47-0 — the largest of OSU’s 18 wins over OU — and concluding with a 33-13 win over St. Mary’s in the Sugar Bowl.

The problem, though, is that the 1945 Army team hasn’t gotten any worse in the 72 years since. Led by College Football Hall of Famers Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis, the Black Knights allowed a sum of 35 points in their run to a 9-0 mark — and never more than seven points in any one game — with wins over four top-20 teams, including legacy programs in Eastern markets such as No. 9 Michigan, No. 6 Penn and No. 2 Notre Dame.

Oklahoma State doesn’t care, though. The signage is up, and you’ll have to bring your bayonets to take it down.

Kliff Kingsbury ‘not sure’ Da’Leon Ward will play this season

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Da’Leon Ward was the bell cow of Texas Tech’s running game the last month of the 2016 season.  With a new season fast approaching on the horizon, it seems highly unlikely he’ll do the same in the early portion of 2017 — if at all.

Ward has been a non-participant throughout the whole of Tech’s summer camp that kicked off earlier this month because of unspecified issues related to academics.  Kliff Kingsbury addressed the running back’s situation Tuesday, with the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal writing that the head coach’s “update sounded ominous, considering Tech’s second session of summer school ended” late last week.

In fact, Kingsbury allowed that, when it comes to Ward, he’s “not sure he’ll be back for this season or not.”

Last season, the sophomore led the Red Raiders with 428 yards rushing.  of that, 370 of the yards came in the last five games of the year.

Justin Stockton, whose 154 yards last season were fourth on the team, has been running with the first-team offense throughout camp.  Last season’s second-leading rusher, Demarcus Felton (354), is back for the 2017 season as well.