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SEC reveals 2014 conference schedule

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Just in time for the start of the 2013 season, the SEC has looked ahead to next year and unveiled its slate of games for the 2014 season.

Highlighting that schedule release are several cross-division matchups, beginning with Texas A&M traveling to South Carolina Aug. 28 to open the 2014 regular season.  Another must-see game includes the Aggies, with LSU taking a trip into College Station Thanksgiving weekend.  That Thursday night matchup will  be the first football game televised on the new SEC Network.

The final crossover games to note — aside from the protected ones — next season involve Florida, and it’s brutal: Alabama hosting the Gators Sept. 20, with UF hosting LSU three weeks later.

“The SEC Presidents and Chancellors have committed to a review of football scheduling to be completed in time for preparation of the 2016 schedule,” commissioner Mike Slive said at the spring meetings. “The objective of this review is to develop a scheduling format for the 2016 season and beyond, which will be in the best interests of the conference. The conference’s current 6-1-1 scheduling format will continue until a new format is approved by the conference membership.”

Other notes from the schedule  release before getting to the full slate of games:

— A&M will have just three conference games in College Station in 2014 (Ole Miss, Missouri and LSU).  The fourth will be played in Dallas against Arkansas.

–For the first time in over two decades, Tennessee and Florida won’t meet on the third Saturday in September.  In 2014, the Vols-Gator matchup will take place Oct. 4 in Knoxville.

— Georgia will avoid playing Alabama in the regular season — the teams squared off in the 2012 SEC championship game — for the sixth year in a row, having last played the Tide in 2008 (41-30 loss).

— A&M-USC and Missouri-Arkansas are the other permanent crossover games beginning with this schedule release.

— The in-state Kentucky-Louisville rivalry game will be played on the final weekend of the regular season beginning in 2014.  That will be the Cardinals first year in the ACC.

After the jump is the complete list of 2014 conferences games, both week-to-week and team-by-team.

Week-by-Week

Aug. 28
Texas A&M at South Carolina

Aug. 30
Arkansas at Auburn

Sept. 6
Ole Miss at Vanderbilt

Sept. 13
Kentucky at Florida
Georgia at South Carolina

Sept. 20
Florida at Alabama
Mississippi State at LSU
South Carolina at Vanderbilt

Sept. 27
Texas A&M vs. Arkansas (Dallas)
Tennessee at Georgia
Vanderbilt at Kentucky
Missouri at South Carolina

Oct. 4
Alabama at Ole Miss
LSU at Auburn
Florida at Tennessee
Vanderbilt at Georgia
South Carolina at Kentucky
Texas A&M at Mississippi State

Oct. 11
Alabama at Arkansas
Auburn at Mississippi State
LSU at Florida
Georgia at Missouri
Ole Miss at Texas A&M

Oct. 18
Texas A&M at Alabama
Georgia at Arkansas
Missouri at Florida
Kentucky at LSU
Tennessee at Ole Miss

Oct. 25
Alabama at Tennessee
South Carolina at Auburn
Mississippi State at Kentucky
Ole Miss at LSU
Vanderbilt at Missouri

Nov. 1
Arkansas at Mississippi State
Auburn at Ole Miss
Florida vs. Georgia (Jacksonville)
Kentucky at Missouri
Tennessee at South Carolina

Nov. 8
Alabama at LSU
Texas A&M at Auburn
Florida at Vanderbilt
Georgia at Kentucky

Nov. 15
Mississippi State at Alabama
LSU at Arkansas
Auburn at Georgia
South Carolina at Florida
Kentucky at Tennessee
Missouri at Texas A&M

Nov. 22
Ole Miss at Arkansas
Vanderbilt at Mississippi State
Missouri at Tennessee

Nov. 27
LSU at Texas A&M

Nov. 29
Auburn at Alabama
Arkansas at Missouri
Mississippi State at Ole Miss
Tennessee at Vanderbilt

2014 SEC Football Schedule (Conference Games Only)
Team-By-Team

ALABAMA
Sept. 20 – FLORIDA
Oct. 4 – at Ole Miss
Oct. 11 – at Arkansas
Oct. 18 – TEXAS A&M
Oct. 25 – at Tennessee
Nov. 8 – at LSU
Nov. 15 – MISSISSIPPI STATE
Nov. 29 – AUBURN

ARKANSAS
Aug. 30 – at Auburn
Sept. 27 – vs. Texas A&M (Dallas)
Oct. 11 – ALABAMA
Oct. 18 – GEORGIA
Nov. 1 – at Mississippi State
Nov. 15 – LSU
Nov. 22 – OLE MISS
Nov. 29 – at Missouri

AUBURN
Aug. 30 – ARKANSAS
Oct. 4 – LSU
Oct. 11 – at Mississippi State
Oct. 25 – SOUTH CAROLINA
Nov. 1 – at Ole Miss
Nov. 8 – TEXAS A&M
Nov. 15 – at Georgia
Nov. 29 – at Alabama

FLORIDA
Sept. 13 – KENTUCKY
Sept. 20 – at Alabama
Oct. 4 – at Tennessee
Oct. 11 – LSU
Oct. 18 – MISSOURI
Nov. 1 – vs. Georgia (Jacksonville)
Nov. 8 – at Vanderbilt
Nov. 15 – SOUTH CAROLINA

GEORGIA
Sept. 13 – at South Carolina
Sept. 27 – TENNESSEE
Oct. 4 – VANDERBILT
Oct. 11 – at Missouri
Oct. 18 – at Arkansas
Nov. 1 – vs. Florida (Jacksonville)
Nov. 8 – at Kentucky
Nov. 15 – AUBURN

KENTUCKY
Sept. 13 – at Florida
Sept. 27 – VANDERBILT
Oct. 4 – SOUTH CAROLINA
Oct. 18 – at LSU
Oct. 25 – MISSISSIPPI STATE
Nov. 1 – at Missouri
Nov. 8 – GEORGIA
Nov. 15 – at Tennessee

LSU
Sept. 20 – MISSISSIPPI STATE
Oct. 4 – at Auburn
Oct. 11 – at Florida
Oct. 18 – KENTUCKY
Oct. 25 – OLE MISS
Nov. 8 – ALABAMA
Nov. 15 – at Arkansas
Nov. 27 – at Texas A&M

OLE MISS
Sept. 6 – at Vanderbilt
Oct. 4 – ALABAMA
Oct. 11 – at Texas A&M
Oct. 18 – TENNESSEE
Oct. 25 – at LSU
Nov. 1 – AUBURN
Nov. 22 – at Arkansas
Nov. 29 – MISSISSIPPI STATE

MISSISSIPPI STATE
Sept. 20 – at LSU
Oct. 4 – TEXAS A&M
Oct. 11 – AUBURN
Oct. 25 – at Kentucky
Nov. 1 – ARKANSAS
Nov. 15 – at Alabama
Nov. 22 – VANDERBILT
Nov. 29 – at Ole Miss

MISSOURI
Sept. 27 – at South Carolina
Oct. 11 – GEORGIA
Oct. 18 – at Florida
Oct. 25 – VANDERBILT
Nov. 1 – KENTUCKY
Nov. 15 – at Texas A&M
Nov. 22 – at Tennessee
Nov. 29 – ARKANSAS

SOUTH CAROLINA
Aug. 28 – TEXAS A&M
Sept. 13 – GEORGIA
Sept. 20 – at Vanderbilt
Sept. 27 – MISSOURI
Oct. 4 – at Kentucky
Oct. 25 – at Auburn
Nov. 1 – TENNESSEE
Nov. 15 – at Florida

TENNESSEE
Sept. 27 – at Georgia
Oct. 4 – FLORIDA
Oct. 18 – at Ole Miss
Oct. 25 – ALABAMA
Nov. 1 – at South Carolina
Nov. 15 – KENTUCKY
Nov. 22 – MISSOURI
Nov. 29 – at Vanderbilt

TEXAS A&M
Aug. 28 – at South Carolina
Sept. 27 – vs. Arkansas (Dallas)
Oct. 4 – at Mississippi State
Oct. 11 – OLE MISS
Oct. 18 – at Alabama
Nov. 8 – at Auburn
Nov. 15 – MISSOURI
Nov. 27 – LSU

VANDERBILT
Sept. 6 – OLE MISS
Sept. 20 – SOUTH CAROLINA
Sept. 27 – at Kentucky
Oct. 4 – at Georgia
Oct. 25 – at Missouri
Nov. 8 – FLORIDA
Nov. 22 – at Mississippi State
Nov. 29 – TENNESSEE

Mike Gundy says Sugar Bowl loss to Ole Miss wasn’t on a “level playing field”

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Mike Gundy originally blamed himself for Oklahoma State’s 48-20 loss to Ole Miss at the Sugar Bowl that closed the 2015 season.

Speaking at the AFCA Convention in Nashville last month, I heard Gundy explain to thousands of fellow coaches he felt he overtrained his Cowboys in preparation to play the physically imposing Rebels. The end result backfired. As I wrote for FootballScoop:

As Oklahoma State prepared to face No. 12 Ole Miss in the Sugar Bowl, Gundy pushed his players harder than usual in December practices. “They’re going to knock us off the ball and it’s not going to look pretty,” he remembers thinking. That strategy backfired on him, though, as the Rebels pounded Gundy’s team 48-20. Oklahoma State was out-rushed 207-63 and averaged only 6.7 yards per pass attempt to Ole Miss’s 9.9. “We weren’t physical and we were slow,” Gundy said.

But now Gundy thinks something else may have contributed to that 28-point spanking.

As he explained to the Tulsa World‘s Bill Haisten, Gundy said he couldn’t help but think of the Sugar Bowl when he learned of the NCAA’s charges against Ole Miss.

“The first thing I thought about was (OSU’s recent experience with the NCAA),” Gundy said, “and the second thing was the Sugar Bowl and my players and what they went through.”

He continued: “We’ll never know what we could have done in the Sugar Bowl if it was a level playing field. That is the truth. I’m not sure we would have won the Sugar Bowl, but we’ll never know.”

 

Kim Mulkey offers defense of Baylor amid sex assault scandal by encouraging assault

DENVER, CO - APRIL 03:  Head coach Kim Mulkey of the Baylor Bears reacts as she coaches in the second half against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the National Final game of the 2012 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship at Pepsi Center on April 3, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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Though she isn’t the most visible coach on Baylor’s campus, women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey is certainly the most accomplished. In her 17th season on campus, Mulkey has led the Lady Bears to two national championships, three Final Fours, eight Big 12 championships and a run of six consecutive Sweet 16 visits.

She has mostly remained silent through the school’s ongoing sexual assault scandal, but spoke up Saturday night after an 86-48 thrashing of Texas Tech that saw Baylor clinch its seventh consecutive conference championship and Mulkey secure her 500th win in Waco.

“If somebody’s around you and they ever say, ‘I will never send my daughter to Baylor,’ you knock them right in the face,” Mulkey said.

As you’ll see in the video below, the green and gold crowd greeted that line with applause.

“Because these kids are on this campus. I work here. My daughter went to school here. And it’s the damn best school in America.”

“I’m tired of hearing it,” Mulkey explained of the comments in the post-game press conference. “I’m tired of people talking on it on a national scale that don’t know what they’re talking about. If they didn’t sit in those meetings and they weren’t a part of the investigation you’re repeating things that you’ve heard. It’s over. It’s done. It’s a great institution, and I would send my daughter here, and I’d pay for anybody else’s daughter to come here. I work here every day. I’m in the know, and I’m tired of hearing it… The problems we have at Baylor are no different as any other school in America. Period. Move on. Find another story to write.”

As a reminder, a lawsuit alleges 52 rapes were committed by Baylor football players under head coach Art Briles.

Arizona signee My-King Johnson set to become FBS’ first active openly gay scholarship player

TUCSON, AZ - NOVEMBER 25:  Head coach Rich Rodriguez of the Arizona Wildcats watches from the sidelines during the Territorial Cup college football game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Arizona Stadium on November 25, 2016 in Tucson, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Arizona signee My-King Johnson probably caught most Wildcats’ fans attention with his impressive name when it was listed among the 23 signees for the football program on National Signing Day.

The 6-3, 225 pound defensive end’s name is set to become a little more well known however.

In a story on Saturday in the Arizona Daily Star, Johnson confirmed that he would become the first active openly gay scholarship player in FBS when he enrolls over the summer down in Tucson.

“I do feel like when I say that, it can put a target on my back,” Johnson told the paper about going public with his sexuality. “But whatever.”

Johnson is far from the only gay athlete to play major college football but does appear to be one of the first to go public on the matter prior to suiting up for a major program. Missouri’s Michael Sam came out once he entered the NFL Draft. Just up the road in Tempe, where Johnson went to high school, Arizona State walk-on Chip Sarafin told his teammates in 2014.

From the Daily Star:

When Johnson told UA assistant Vince Amey about his sexuality while being recruited, the coach’s reaction — “We want you to be a Wildcat” — was exactly what he wanted to hear.

Johnson picked the Wildcats despite offers from numerous FBS programs, including many in the Pac-12. Perhaps coincidentally, he really jumped on the radar of the coaching staff when he sacked quarterback Rhett Rodriguez, an Arizona signee himself (and the son of head coach Rich Rodriguez), three times in a high school game.

It certainly seems as though Johnson is very comfortable telling his story to a wider audience than just his teammates and coaches by doing the interview with the Daily Star and the environment down in Tucson has been very welcoming to all the new attention that it will bring. As the Wildcats begin spring practice this month, chances are the coaching staff is probably just as excited about the prospect of Johnson making an instant impact on defense this fall after seeing plenty of issues on that side of the ball during a 3-9 campaign in 2016.

Central Michigan AD taking same position at Arizona

TUCSON, AZ - NOVEMBER 25:  Wide receiver Samajie Grant #10 of the Arizona Wildcats celebrates after scoring on a two yard rushing touchdown against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the fourth quarter of the Territorial Cup college football game at Arizona Stadium on November 25, 2016 in Tucson, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Arizona has its replacement for former athletic director Greg Byrne.

Central Michigan AD Dave Heeke is set to take the same position in Tucson with the Wildcats, the school announced Saturday afternoon.

“I couldn’t be more excited to be part of the Arizona Athletics family. It is truly an honor to be named the new Vice President for Athletics and have the opportunity to return to the prestigious Pac-12 Conference,” Heeke said in a release. “I want to thank Dr. Hart and those involved with the search process for their confidence in my ability to lead one of the premiere athletics departments in the country. This program is about excellence and we will continue to focus on achieving at the very highest level athletically and academically, while creating the finest experience in the country for our student-athletes.

Heeke has been in Mount Pleasant since early 2006 and found plenty of success with the MAC school across numerous sports. In football, he notably hired Butch Jones to replace Brian Kelly when the latter left for Cincinnati and has seen the Chippewas make a bowl game eight times during his tenure.

While he is a Michigan native, he’s no stranger to the way things operate out West having spent 18 years at Oregon. While he held a variety of roles in Eugene, he eventually became a senior associate athletic director with the Ducks before departing for CMU.

Arizona had a vacancy in their athletic leadership ever since Byrne left to become Alabama’s AD not long after the national title game in January.