Report: Big East has ‘reached out’ to Fresno State, UNLV

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The BIG EAST is like Taylor Swift.

Sure, the BIG EAST was cute once, but it can’t keep a partner for more than a few months because once in a committed relationship — or, for this analogy, when a school agrees to become a partial or full member subject to an exit fee — that significant other realizes the BIG EAST is insane and wants to spend every waking moment together and get married and have babies but wait it doesn’t have a lucrative TV deal and oh God what have I done I think we should see other people, maybe?

So, the BIG EAST writes a radio-friendly lament (re: lawsuit) and moves on to someone else because it has the attention span of SHINY THINGS! 

(Also, it needs inventory. Like, real bad.)

In this case, BIG EAST  commissioner Mike Aresco has “reached out” to Fresno State and UNLV, according to a report from CBSSportsDennis Dodd. There have also reportedly been “informal conversations” between the BIG EAST and BYU, a second-year football Independent. Because the Big East is losing a sizable chunk of its basketball programs that are actually worth anything, the need to beef up its football brand is even more pressing. From Dodd’s report:

“Aresco is aggressively trying to assemble a group of football-playing schools to keep under the Big East banner. The problem: Uncertainty on all fronts. The Big East doesn’t how – or even if – it will proceed in football. The 10-team Mountain West hasn’t made a move to expand because of its uncertainty in its TV contract with CBS. The 10-year contract runs through the 2015 season, paying what is believed to be $8-$12 million per year. However one source said conference schools are hoping to gain control of some second- and third-rights (or games).

The BIG EAST has put an extra emphasis on combining programs in sizable markets (Houston, San Diego, etc) and with solid reputations (Boise State, ECU), hoping and praying the glue holds long enough for the product to be packaged with a giant red bow.

Right now, BIG EAST football isn’t a real desirable gift because of all the uncertainty. But, dammit, they’re trying.

Minnesota losing CB Ken Handy-Holly to transfer

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Heading into spring practice, Minnesota will find its defensive secondary a bit thinner than it was when the curtain fell on the 2017 season.

A school spokesperson confirmed to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that Ken Handy-Holly has been granted a release from his scholarship. 247Sports.com had previously reported that the safety was looking to transfer to be closer to family in Jackson, Ala.

A three-star member of the Gophers’ 2017 recruiting class, Handy-Holly was rated as the No. 38 safety in the country and the No. 28 player at any position in the state of Alabama. Only one signee in Minnesota’s class that year, offensive tackle Blaise Andries, was rated higher than Handy-Holly.

Because of injuries, Handy-Holly was pressed into action as a true freshman. He made his collegiate debut in a Sept. 30 loss to Maryland, and went on to play eight games total this past season.

In that action, Handy-Holly was credited with 12 tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

Arkansas QB Cole Kelley pleads guilty to DWI

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An off-field situation for one playing member of the Arkansas football program that began during the 2017 regular season has taken yet another step toward winding its way to a conclusion.

According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Cole Kelley pleaded guilty Wednesday to driving while intoxicated.  While the quarterback was sentenced to 90 days in jail, 89 of those days were suspended while he was given credit for time served for the other.  Additionally, the Democrat-Gazette wrote, the 20-year-old Kelley “was also ordered to complete an alcohol safety class and pay $720 in fines and court costs.”

Kelley was arrested for DWI and reckless driving in November of last year. A day after the arrest, Kelley was indefinitely suspended by the football program and missed UA’s Week 12 game; he was subsequently reinstated after serving what amounted to a one-game suspension.

Austin Allen started the first five games of the 2017 season before going down with a shoulder injury. Kelley replaced him and started the next four, with a healthy Allen returning to his starting role for the remainder of the year.

On the season, Kelley completed almost 58 percent of his 151 passes for 1,038 yards, eight touchdowns and four interceptions.  The rising redshirt sophomore is expected to compete for the starting job in 2018 under new head coach Chad Morris.

Report: Steve Spurrier Jr. leaving WKU for job at Wazzu

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With coaching holes throughout his Washington State staff to fill thanks to significant offseason poaching, Mike Leach has added a very famous college football surname.  Reportedly.

According to the Bowling Green Daily News, Steve Spurrier Jr. is leaving Western Kentucky to take a job under Leach at Wazzu.  The son of College Football Hall of Famer Steve Spurrier just completed his first season as the Hilltoppers’ quarterbacks coach.  He also held the title of assistant head coach under Mike Sanford.

It’s unclear what specific title Spurrier Jr. will hold at Wazzu.

Prior to his one season at WKU, and one season as an off-field staffer at Oklahoma, Spurrier Jr. had been an assistant on his father’s South Carolina staff for 11 seasons.  During his time with the Gamecocks, he served at various points as wide receivers coach (2005-15), passing-game coordinator (2009-11) and co-offensive coordinator (2012-15).

Spurrier Jr., who played wide receiver at Duke, has also spent time during his coaching career as receivers coach at Oklahoma (1999-2001) and with the Washington Redskins (2002-03).

Ex-Texas All-Big 12 defensive tackle takes DL coaching job at Baylor

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Baylor’s latest coaching addition is a very familiar name in the state of Texas.

BU confirmed Wednesday evening that Frank Okam has been added to Matt Rhule‘s coaching staff.  Okam, who was a Freshman All-American and two-time All-Big 12 defensive tackle at Texas from 2004-07, will coach the Bears’ defensive line.

“Frank is a living embodiment of everything the young men in our program should want to accomplish,” the head coach said in a statement. “He’s a college graduate, an All-American, a Big 12 champion, a national champion, a NFL draft pick and then he continued life after football earning his master’s degree from Rice and is now one of the top young football coaches in the country.

“We are excited to have Coach Okam on staff and for him to mentor our defensive line group and help take them to the next level.”

The 32-year-old Okam, who went to high school in Dallas, spent the past four seasons at Rice, the last two as the Owls’ line coach.  This will mark Okam’s first coaching job at a Power Five program.