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

Division II, Division III and NAIA title games set while FCS heads into semifinals

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Outside of a thrilling Army-Navy game and the Heisman ceremony, it was an empty Saturday at the highest level of college football.

But no so at the lower levels.

The divisional playoffs are cranked into high gear. Let’s take a brief look at where everything stands in each division.

FCS

Top-seeded and defending champion James Madison needed a last-second field goal to survive visiting Weber State, 31-28, on Friday night, while No. 5 seed South Dakota State routed New Hampshire, 55-14.

On the other side of the bracket, No. 2 seed and winner of five of the last six national titles North Dakota State walloped Wofford, 42-10 in Fargo. No. 6 seed Sam Houston State outlasted upstart Kennesaw State, 34-27, to send the Bearkats into their fifth semifinal game in the last seven years.

Semifinals: No. 5 South Dakota State at No. 1 James Madison — 4:30 p.m. ET Saturday, ESPNU; No. 6 Sam Houston State at No. 2 North Dakota State — 8 p.m. ET Friday, ESPN2.

Division II

No. 4 seed West Florida traveled north and upset top-seeded Indiana (Pa.), 27-17 on Saturday, to send the Argonauts into their first championship game. No. 2 seed Texas A&M-Commerce fended off the option attack of No. 3 Harding (Ark.), 31-17, putting the Lions in their first title game as well.

National championship: No. 2 Texas A&M-Commerce vs. No. 4 West Florida — 6 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN2 at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kan.

Division III

In a similar dynamic to FCS, the defending champion is on a collision course with the traditional champion. In the first semifinal, defending champion Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas) blanked Brockport (N.Y.), 24-0. The Crusaders will make their third trip to the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl, looking to win their second title.

In the other semifinal, Mount Union (Ohio) overcame a 21-10 deficit to beat Wisconsin-Oshkosh, 43-40. The Purple Raiders will play in their 20th Stagg Bowl — all of them coming since 1993, and 19 of them since ’96 — with a shot at their 13th national championship. However, Mount Union has won just — “just” — two national championships since 2009.

National championship: Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas) vs. Mount Union (Ohio) — 7 p.m. ET Friday on ESPN at Salem Stadium in Salem Va.

NAIA

The NAIA was off this weekend, taking a break in between last week’s semifinals and Saturday’s national championship. Defending champion Saint Francis (Ind.) out-gunned previously-undefeated Morningside (Iowa) 43-36 in the first semifinal, while Reinhardt (Ga.) held off undefeated Southern Oregon, 37-34 in double overtime.

National championship: Saint Francis (Ind.) vs. Reinhardt (Ga.) — 6 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN3 at Municipal Stadium in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Minnesota lands commitment from 6-foot-8, 395-pound offensive tackle

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P.J. Fleck is going to need a bigger boat.

Minnesota has landed a commitment from the largest recruit on record, as 6-foot-8, 395-pound offensive tackle Daniel Faalele has committed to the Gophers. Faalele made the announcement on his Twitter page on Saturday night.

A 3-star recruit, Faalele is rated as the No. 29 offensive tackle in the country, according to 247Sports. He listed 20 offers, including from the likes of Alabama, Georgia, Michigan and LSU.

As the story goes, Faalele did not find football; football found him. He was discovered by a recruiter from Hawaii working out at a gym in his native Melbourne, Australia. He attended a Michigan satellite camp in Australia and played this season — his first season in pads — at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

In making the trip from the Land Down Under to the Land of 10,000 Lakes, Faalele will be joined by a pair of IMG Academy teammates in offensive lineman Curtis Dunlap, Jr., and quarterback Zack Annexstad, who also committed to Minnesota on Saturday.

Those pledges now give Minnesota the 26th best recruiting class in the country and the sixth best in the Big Ten — but the No. 1 class in the Big Ten West — in the 247Sports Composite rankings.

Minnesota’s class may not be the best in the country, but it’s among the biggest — both in size (the Gophers have 25 pledges thus far) and stature.

Texas A&M suspends DT Zaycoven Henderson amid felony gun charges

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Texas A&M defensive tackle Zaycoven Henderson was suspended amid multiple felony charges on Saturday.

As detailed by Ben Baby of the Dallas Morning News, witnesses say Henderson pointed a rifle at one person outside College Station’s Campus Village Apartments and threatened to kill two others and allegedly threw the gun out of a fleeing car as police arrived on the scene. The car was later tracked down by College Station officers, who discovered marijuana in the car.

He was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, tampering with evidence and marijuana possession. The first charge is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in a prison. The second is a third-degree felony and the third is a misdemeanor.

He was booked into the Brazos County (Texas) jail at 9 a.m. on Sunday morning.

Texas A&M has suspended Henderson indefinitely, which really only lasts one game as the senior from Longview, Texas, was set to close his Aggies career in the Belk Bowl against Wake Forest on Dec. 29 (1 p.m. ET, ESPN).

Henderson made 35 tackles with five TFLs and 2.5 sacks in 12 starts this season. He was honored as a member of Texas A&M’s senior class at the annual team banquet earlier this weekend.

UCLA reportedly hires Paul Rhoads as defensive backs coach

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Chip Kelly has reportedly hired one of the most respected men in the business to his staff. According to a report from Sports Illustrated‘s Bruce Feldman, Paul Rhoads is on his way to Westwood to coach UCLA’s defensive backs.

Rhoads spent the past two seasons at Arkansas, the first as defensive backs coach and the second as defensive coordinator in addition to his duties with the secondary. He’s best known, of course, for his 7-year run as the head coach at Iowa State, where he took the Cyclones to three bowl games and created this viral moment before any of us knew what “going viral” went.

In addition to Arkansas, Rhoads also owns defensive experience at Auburn, Pittsburgh, Iowa State, Pacific, Ohio State and Utah State.

UCLA finished last season ranked 74th in pass efficiency defense, yielding a 57.1 percent completion rate for 7.3 yards per attempt with seven interceptions against 18 touchdowns.