Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby raised a few eyebrows late last week when he told the Austin-American Statesman that preliminary discussions about an alliance with the ACC and possibly as many as two other conferences over scheduling/marketing/TV were underway.
While there are no real legs underneath the project yet, it’s an alternative to conference expansion in which the Big 12 could gain more exposure and brand recognition in markets it wouldn’t normally occupy without actually adding members. Another way to do that is bowl agreements.
Bowlsby said Tuesday that the Big 12 is looking into tie-ins with the Capital One Bowl and Russell Athletic Bowl, both of which will have slots available after next season. Not so coincidentally, the Big Ten, SEC and ACC have ties to those bowls, respectively.
“California, Florida, and Texas comprise more recruits than the whole rest of the country combined,” Bowlsby said. “That’s been a shortcoming of our bowl lineup in the past, and we need to fix it if we can.”
From the sound of it, a Big 12 partnership with one or more conferences is a ways off; a bowl agreement in talent-rich Florida, on the other hand, is a simpler way to expand the Big 12’s footprint. It could eventually work out that a partnership with another conference and bowl tie-in go hand in hand (see: Sugar Bowl). There are a lot of options on the table.
The Big 12 continues to insist to anyone who asks that the conference is perfectly content with 10 members, though Bowlsby adds that his office is always monitoring the college athletics landscape. That’s a pretty standard answer, but right now the Big 12 is looking to expand its footprint without actually expanding its membership.
(Hat tip: Kirk Bohls, Austin-American Statesman)
One of the biggest open secrets in all of college football has been confirmed (?) by a person who purportedly had a front-row seat to the spectacle.
Shortly after Rich Rodriguez was fired following the 2010 season, Michigan put on the full-court press to land Les Miles as his replacement. It was known at the time that then-UM athletic director David Brandon and other school officials flew down to Baton Rouge to meet with Miles, who played his football for the Wolverines in the mid-seventies and was an assistant at his alma mater a decade later.
The open secret many still swear by? That on that trip south Brandon had offered the job, along with a significant raise to what he was making at LSU, to Miles, who ultimately decided to turn it down and stay with the Tigers.
During a radio interview Wednesday, Skip Bertman, LSU athletic director from 2001-2008, confirmed that version of events
“Les Miles turned that job down for more money at Michigan. He turned it down,” Bertman told the ESPN Radio affiliate in Baton Rouge. “He would never say that because he’s a very humble guy. But I was there; he turned it down.”
Renowned Michigan historian John Bacon, however, disputes not only the 2011 claim, but the 2007 claim by Kirk Herbstreit and one made in 2014 as well.
The football program hired Rodriguez in 2007 and Brady Hoke in 2011, then stuck with Hoke through a rough 2014 season that had Miles-to-Ann Arbor speculation flying yet again. Ultimately, though, the university finally landed its Michigan Man in Jim Harbaugh. I’m thinking that’s working out just fine for the program, regardless of how exactly things transpired with Miles in the past.
Tributes to Nebraska punter Sam Foltz and former Michigan State punter Mike Sadler have seemingly been a weekly occurrence across college football the first four weeks of the season, and the players’ conference will get on board in Week 5.
A commemorative coin will be used to honor both Foltz and Sadler at all seven Big Ten games this weekend, the league announced Wednesday. As this is the first full weekend of conference action, the coins, with Foltz on one side and Sadler on the other, will be used for the coin flip prior to each league matchup.
The Cornhuskers have decided to use the coins for the remainder of the season.
Folks and Sadler were killed in a July car accident on their way home from a kick camp in Wisconsin. LSU kicker Colby Delahoussaye was injured in the wreck, but is kicking this season for the Tigers and honoring both by wearing special cleats.
Below are the coins that will be used, courtesy of the Big Ten:
At least from Alabama’s side of it, the door’s not completely shut on Blake Barnett‘s future being in Tuscaloosa.
Earlier Wednesday, a report surfaced that Barnett had decided to leave the football program and transfer out. In meeting with the media a short time later, Nick Saban confirmed that Barnett had “expressed some concern about his future” at a meeting earlier in the day.
The head coach said he “didn’t know” when asked if Barnett, who lost the starting quarterback job to true freshman Jalen Hurts earlier this year, was still a part of the team, although he made it clear that the redshirt freshman was still welcome in the locker room if he changes his mind.
“Blake is a fine young man,” Saban said. “He’s done a great job with his program, and we’d love to see him be a part of the program in the future, but we also want him to do what’s best for him.”
Barnett, who started the opener against USC but held on to the job for just tw series, was a five-star 2015 recruit who 247Sports.com rated as the No. 2 pro-style quarterback in the country. The California high school product originally committed to Notre Dame in November of 2013 before decommitting from the Irish in June of the following year.
Fortunately for both Brandon Powell and Florida, common sense in the league office prevailed.
In the fourth quarter of UF’s loss to Tennessee, Powell was flagged for an unsportsmanlike call and ejected from the game for seemingly throwing a punch at a Vols player. Because of SEC rules, Powell was also set to be suspended from the first half of this Saturday’s game against Vanderbilt.
The conference, however, overturned the suspension upon review, no doubt determining that Vols safety Rashaan Gaulden performed a flop of such magnitude that it would’ve made an international soccer star stand up and cheer, then bow down and claim they’re not worthy.
“We’ve received word that he’ll go,” head coach Jim McElwain said Wednesday. “Nothing from there, so he was full go from Monday afternoon on.”
Powell is currently second on the team with 15 receptions for 145 yards and two touchdowns.