Nick Saban

2013 spring practice dates

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The curtain on the 2012 season fell just a little over a month ago, but teams are already in the process of gearing up for the 2013 season with the annual college football rite of spring.

As was the case last year, Army will be the first to both open its allotted set of 15 spring practice sessions in mid-February and hold its annual spring game in early March.  While a handful of schools will also open the spring in either February or April, most of the rest will do so in March.

This year, just one program — Georgia State — will be conducting its final spring practice at the FCS level before jumping up to the FBS.  The Panthers will move to the Sun Belt Conference in the first year after the retirement of head coach Bill Curry.

There are, however, more than a dozen teams that will be holding one last spring practice as “members” of one conference before officially moving to a new one July 1:

— Pittsburgh and Syracuse (from the Big East to the ACC)
— UCF, Houston, Memphis and SMU (from Conference USA to the Big East)
— Louisiana Tech and UT-San Antonio (from the WAC to Conference USA)
— FAU, FIU, Middle Tennessee State and North Texas (from the Sun Belt to Conference USA)
— Utah State and San Jose State (from the WAC to Mountain West)
— Texas State (from the WAC to the Sun Belt)
— Idaho and New Mexico State (from the WAC to football independents)

Below the jump is a list of the start dates for each individual school plus the date of its spring game, separated by conferences.  Some programs have yet to announce their spring dates, so we will add them to this list as they become available:

ACC

Boston College: first practice — Feb. 28; spring game — April 13
Clemson: first practice — March 6; spring game — April 13
Duke: first practice — March 4; spring game — April 13
Florida State: first practice — March 20; spring game — April 13
Georgia Tech: first practice — March 25; spring game — April 19
Maryland: first practice — March 2; spring game — April 12
Miami: first practice — March 2; spring game — April 13
North Carolina: first practice — March 6; spring game — April 13
North Carolina State: first practice — March 24; spring game — April 20
Virginia: first practice — March 16; spring game — April 2
Virginia Tech: first practice — March 27; spring game — April 20
Wake Forest: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 20

BIG EAST

Cincinnati: first practice — March 5; final practice — April 13 (no spring game)
Louisville: first practice — March 20; spring game — April 13
Pittsburgh: first practice — March 5; spring game — April 12
Rutgers: first practice — March 26; spring game — April 27
Syracuse: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 20
Temple: first practice — March 22; spring game — April 20
UConn: first practice — March 11; spring game — April 20
USF: first practice — March 20; spring game — April 13

BIG TEN

Illinois: first practice — March 5; spring game — April 12
Indiana: first practice — March 2; spring game — April 13
Iowa: first practice — March 27; spring game — April 27
Michigan: first practice — March 16; spring game — April 13
Michigan State: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 20
Minnesota: first practice — March 27; spring practice — April 27
Nebraska: first practice — March 2; spring game — April 6
Northwestern: first practice — Feb. 27; spring game — April 13
Ohio State: first practice — March 5; spring game — April 13
Penn State: first practice — March 18; spring game — April 20
Purdue: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 13
Wisconsin: first practice — March 9; spring game — April 20

BIG 12

Baylor: first practice — March 1; spring game — April 6
Iowa State: first practice — March 26; spring game — April 20
Kansas: first practice — March 5; spring game — April 13
Kansas State: first practice — April 3; spring game — April 27
Oklahoma: first practice — March 5; spring game — April 13
Oklahoma State: first practice — March 11; spring game — April 20
TCU: first practice — March 1; spring game — April 6
Texas: first practice — Feb. 21; spring game — March 31
Texas Tech: first practice – March 24; spring game — April 20
West Virginia: first practice — March 10; spring game — April 20

CONFERENCE USA

East Carolina: first practice — March 18; spring game — April 20
Houston: first practice — March 4; spring game — April 12
Marshall: first practice — March 26; spring game — April 27
Memphis: first practice — Feb. 28; spring game — April 6
Rice: first practice — March 6; spring game — April 5
SMU: first practice — March 25; final practice — April 20 (no spring game)
Southern Miss: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 20
Tulane: first practice — Feb. 13; spring game — March 9
Tulsa: first practice — March 5; spring game — April 6
UAB: first practice — March 27; spring game — April 27
UCF: first practice — March 13; spring game — April 13
UTEP: first practice — March 4; spring game — April 10

INDEPENDENTS

Army: first practice — Feb. 12; spring game — March 8
BYU: first practice — March 4; spring game — April 5
Navy: first practice — March 18; spring game — April 12
Notre Dame: first practice — March 20; spring game — April 20

MAC

Akron: first practice — April 2; spring game — April 27
Ball State: first practice — March 26; spring game — April 20
Bowling Green: first practice — March 13; spring game — April 12
Buffalo: first practice — March 26; spring game — April 20
Central Michigan: first practice — March 12; spring game — April 13
Eastern Michigan: first practice — March 12; spring game — April 14
Kent State: first practice — April 2; spring game — April 27
Miami: first practice — March 25; final practice — April 26 (no spring game)
Northern Illinois: spring practice — March 20; spring game — April 13
Ohio: first practice — March 12; spring game — April 13
Toledo: first practice — March 14; spring game — April 12
UMass: first practice — March 26; spring game — April 20
Western Michigan: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 20

MOUNTAIN WEST

Air Force: first practice — Feb. 26; final practice — March 20 (no spring game)
Boise State: first practice — March 11; spring game — April 13
Colorado State: first practice — March 26; spring game — April 20
Fresno State: first practice — Feb. 25; spring game — March 23
Hawaii: first practice — March 20; spring game — April 27
Nevada: first practice — March 28; spring game — April 20
New Mexico: first practice — March 26; final practice — April 27 (no spring game)
San Diego State: first practice — Feb. 25; spring game — March 23
UNLV: first practice — March 4; spring game — April 12
Wyoming: first practice — March 26; spring game — April 27

PAC-12

Arizona: first practice — March 2; spring game — April 13
Arizona State: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 13
Cal: first practice — Feb. 25; spring game — March 23
Colorado: first practice — March 7; spring game — April 13
Oregon: first practice — April 7; spring game — April 27
Oregon State: first practice — April 1; spring game — April 26
Stanford: first practice — Feb. 25; spring game — April 13
UCLA: first practice — April 2; spring game — April 27
USC: first practice — March 5; spring game — April 13
Utah: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 20
Washington: first practice — March 5; spring game — April 20
Washington State: first practice — March 21; spring game — April 20

SEC

Alabama: first practice — March 16; spring game — April 20
Arkansas: first practice — March 10; spring game — April 20
Auburn: first practice — March 27; spring game — April 20
Florida: first practice — March 13; spring game — April 6
Georgia: first practice — March 2; spring game — April 6
Kentucky: first practice — March 18; spring game — April 13
LSU: first practice — March 14; spring game — April 20
Mississippi State: first practice — March 21; spring game — April 20
Missouri: first practice — March 12; spring game — April 20
Ole Miss: first practice — March 6; spring game — April 13
South Carolina: first practice — March 5; spring game — April 13
Tennessee: first practice — March 8; spring game — April 20
Texas A&M: first practice — March 2; spring game — April 13
Vanderbilt: first practice — March 15; spring game — April 13

SUN BELT

Arkansas State: first practice — March 11; spring game — April 13
FAU: first practice — March 18; spring game — April 20
FIU: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 20
Louisiana-Lafayette: first practice — March 11; spring game — April 20
Louisiana-Monroe: first practice — Feb. 25; spring game — March 23
Middle Tennessee State: first practice — March 23; spring practice — April 20
North Texas: first practice — March 20; spring game – April 13
South Alabama: first practice — Feb. 28; spring game — April 6
Troy: first practice — March 21; spring game — April 20
Western Kentucky: first practice — March 22; spring game — April 20

WAC

Idaho: first practice — March 22; spring game — April 9
Louisiana Tech: first practice — March 15; spring game — April 13
New Mexico State: first practice: April 1; spring game — May 4
San Jose State: first practice — Feb. 19; spring game — March 23
Texas State: first practice — March 1; spring game — April 6
UT-San Antonio: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 14
Utah State: first practice — March 19; spring game — April 20

Jim Harbaugh is looking forward to seeing Chief Osceola and Renegade at the Orange Bowl

TALLAHASSEE, FL - SEPTEMBER 15:  Chief Osceola, mascot of the Florida State Seminoles plants a spear at midfield prior to a game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Doak Campbell Stadium on September 15, 2012 in Tallahassee, Florida.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh and Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher got together for a joint press conference in Miami today as the two coaches prepare to face one another in the Orange Bowl on December 30. Harbaugh said he is looking forward to the matchup but seemed to be much more interested in getting a chance to witness one of the pregame traditions of Florida State; Chief Osceola riding on Renegade and planting a spear in the turf.

“I’ve never been to a game at Florida State,” Harbaugh said. “I’ve always wanted to go there and see what that atmosphere was like in person. This will be as close as I’ve ever been to that. I’m excited for that. I know I’m going to get some chills when that Appaloosa comes riding out there.”

Of course, this isn’t exactly a home game for the Seminoles, so sometimes pregame traditions are put on ice for the bowl season. Knowing this, Harbaugh made his case and made sure everyone listening knows just how cool he thinks it is.

“I want to see that. That’s one of the cool things,” Harbaugh said. “We have cool things and other teams have cool things, but that is right up there as one of the coolest things.”

Fortunately for Harbaugh, he will indeed get a chance to witness this pregame routine in person. Florida State Associate Athletics Director Jason Dennard said on Twitter Chief Osceola and Renegade will make the trip to Miami from Tallahassee.

Houston reportedly closing in on a head coach; Kiffin and Miles still being considered

TUSCALOOSA, AL - APRIL 18:  Offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin of the Alabama Crimson Tide watches action prior to the University of Alabama A Day spring game at Bryant-Denny Stadium on April 18, 2015 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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The Houston Cougars are reportedly hoping to have a new head coach named as soon as this coming weekend. As expected, Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin and former LSU head coach Les Miles are among the final candidates being considered for the job.

One candidate no longer to be in the mix, according to a report from Joseph Duarte of The Houston Chronicle, is Oklahoma offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley. That should be good news for Oklahoma, as it likely means Riley will be back in Norman for at least one more season to run the offense (and with Baker Mayfield coming back for 2017, the Sooners offense should continue to rack up some big numbers).

As noted by Duarte, five total candidates were vetted by Houston for the head coaching job. Kiffin, Miles and interim Houston coach Todd Orlando and offensive coordinator Major Applewhite along with Riley all were checked by the university as a decision is approaching.

KD Cannon promised Matt Rhule Baylor will beat Boise State in Cactus Bowl

WACO, TX - SEPTEMBER 12:  KD Cannon #9 of the Baylor Bears at McLane Stadium on September 12, 2015 in Waco, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Baylor introduced new head coach Matt Rhule in a press conference setting today, and it would seem Rhule has already gotten some opportunities to speak to his new players in Waco. One player in particular delivered a promise to the new Bears head coach. Baylor wide receiver KD Cannon reportedly made a bowl game guarantee to Rhule.

Baylor started the season with a 6-0 record but dropped their last six games to enter the bowl season at just 6-6. The Broncos of Boise State finished the season with a 10-2 record and second in the Mountain Division behind Wyoming in the Mountain West Conference. Boise State has won six bowl game sin the last seven seasons between head coaches Chris Petersen (now at Washington) and Bryan Harsin.

Personally, I’m still trying to figure out how many people thought pairing Boise State and Baylor in a bowl game would be a good idea, considering the unfortunate story surrounding former Boise State and Baylor player Sam Ukwuachu. We can focus plenty on the non-controversial stuff leading up to the Cactus Bowl, but that is one story that cannot be totally overlooked either, especially given the current state of the Baylor football program.

Baylor and Boise State have never faced each other in football. The two will play in the Cactus Bowl in Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona on Tuesday, Dec. 27.

Mark Emmert thought “Penn State’s season was spectacular”

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JULY 23:  NCAA president Mark Emmert speaks during a press conference at the NCAA's headquarters to announce sanctions against Penn State University's football program on July 23, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The sanctions are a result of a report that the university concealed allegations of child sexual abuse made against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who was found guilty on 45 of 48 counts related to sexual abuse of boys over a 15-year period. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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There was a certain irony in seeing Penn State win and celebrate a Big Ten championship in Indianapolis on Saturday night. Penn State, five years after the horrifying revelations of the Jerry Sandusky scandal ripped through the program, university, and community, was slammed hard by the NCAA, whose offices are located in Indianapolis with sanction terms that were thought to be crippling for the program at the time in the summer of 2012.

So, with Penn State clinching the Big Ten title in the home city of the NCAA headquarters, what did NCAA President Mark Emmert have to say about it?

I thought Penn State’s season was spectacular,” Emmert said while taking questions at the Learfield Intercollegiate Athletics Forum in New York on Wednesday: “What coach [James] Franklin has done there, I think, is very, very impressive.”

Emmert has been criticized by many who have taken issue with the NCAA getting involved with any decisions regarding Penn State’s football program in the aftermath of the Sandusky fallout following the release of the Freeh Report, which the NCAA used in place of its own in-depth investigation.

“It’s great to see it bounce back and do well,” Emmert said of Penn State’s 11-2 season. “While people will occasionally say those sanctions were meant to cripple the university, that’s not true at all. I’ve always said and always believed Penn state is a wonderful university, because it is, and secondly it’s got great sports traditions.”

Emmert may say the sanctions dropped on Penn State were never meant to cripple the university, but that is exactly what a four-year postseason ban and a massive reduction of available scholarships (reduced to 15 per year as opposed to the typical 25) is intended to do. Regardless, Emmert had nothing but praise for Penn State’s 2016 season.

“How can you not be pleased that they’re playing good football again? That’s very good stuff.”