College football’s most powerful man will return for one more year in charge of the most powerful conference. Mike Slive, commissioner of the SEC for 12 years, told AL.com he intends to remain in his position for another year.
“I’ve got too much going on,” Slive said to AL.com. “I’ve got the (SEC) Network to work on. I’ve got football scheduling to solve. We’ve got the NCAA restructuring. We’ve got a lot of important issues to take care of. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
Earlier in the day it was announced the SEC Network will be carried nationally by DISH as part of a mega deal between the satellite provider and Walt Disney Company. The network launches on August 14, just in time for the upcoming college football season. The SEC Network was announced last summer and is the latest project to be seen through from start to finish by Slive. During Slive’s run as commissioner the conference has also been involved with the college athletics realignment with the additions of Texas A&M and Missouri and the conference has emerged as a dominant power in the later stages of the BCS Era. through it all the SEC has improved in marketability and that means more money to be split among SEC institutions.
So what does Slive want to come back for in 2014 in to 2015? Aside from a nice paycheck and the formal launch of the SEC Network (it’s a pretty big deal if you have not figured it out), Slive will oversee the SEC as college football moves form the BCS Era to the College Football Playoff. Stumping to put SEC schools in the best possible position will be on the to-do list, although Slive will not have a part in the selection process for the new playoff format. His opinions will certainly merit attention through the media. Slive is one of the key influential voices in the game of college football, rivaled by Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany. The idea of future expansions within the SEC and the entire realignment scene now drying up, it would be unlikely to see Slive dabble in the realignment game any more over the next season.
This is not to say Slive will have an easy job ahead of him through the end of the 2014-2015 calendar, because every commissioner’s job is loaded on a daily basis. For now, ensuring the future stability of the SEC brand will be his main job, and that looks to be a relatively low-pressure task.
Illinois has an immediate addition to its quarterback room. Or its wide receivers room, depending on how things play out.
Pete DiNovo confirmed to the Tampa Bay Times Monday that he has decided to transfer to the Illini. The acknowledgment comes a month after DiNovo decided to transfer from Central Florida.
As a graduate transfer, DiNovo would be eligible to play immediately this season. Per the player, a former high school teammate and former high school coach currently at Illinois played a role in his decision.
“I couldn’t be happier with the way everything turned out,” DiNovo told the Times. “I can come up here and learn from Lovie (Smith) and everyone else on the coaching staff.”
DiNovo began his Knights career as a quarterback — he replaced Blake Bortles as UCF’s starter before being quickly replaced himself — before being moved to wide receiver before being moved back under center this offseason. How the Illini will use DiNovo, who has an eye on a career in coaching after his playing days are over, remains to be seen.
Not surprisingly, UTEP will stay in-house following its in-season dismissal of one of its coordinators.
The Miners confirmed Sunday that offensive coordinator Brent Pease had been fired. A day later, the football program announced that Brian Natkin has been given the keys to the offense by Sean Kugler and will call the plays moving forward.
Natkin began the season as special teams coordinator and tight ends coach. He was an All-American tight end at UTEP a decade-and-a-half ago and became a full-time assistant at his alma mater in 2011.
Through three games, UTEP ranks second-to-last nationally in total offense at 204.7 yards per game and in yards per play (3.89). The Miners are also 125th (out of 130 teams) in scoring at 13 points per game.
The promotion of Natkin also means there will be some additional adjustments to Kugler’s staff. Wide receivers coach Chuck Veliz will take over Pease’s other role as quarterbacks coach, while safeties coach Don Yanowsky assume Natkin’s duties as special teams coordinator.
Natkin will continue in his role as tight ends coach.
Oregon State quarterback Jake Luton was taken away on a stretcher after a tackle left him motionless on the Reser Stadium turf on Saturday.
Family members were called to the field, where medical professionals stabilized an apparently unconscious Luton and removed his face mask. The game continued, of course, as Oregon State lost to Washington State 52-23 despite Luton’s 179 passing yards and 22 rushing yards.
Luton tweeted on Saturday night that he’ll “be back.”
Luton has since been discharged from the hospital, according to The Oregonian, though his father posted a message stating Luton was probably dealing with a “thoracic spine fracture.”
Oregon State is off Saturday before hosting Washington on Sept. 30.
A pair of wrist injuries will cost two Tennessee players the rest of their respective seasons.
Wide receiver Juaun Jennings and linebacker Cortez McDowell will miss the rest of the season, head coach Butch Jones announced Monday.
Jennings left Tennessee’s Labor Day victory over Georgia Tech in the second quarter after absorbing as he collected a catch over the middle, his third of the game. Jennings did not return to the game and will not for the rest of the season, forcing the 2-1 Volunteers to move forward without their top returning pass-catcher.
Additionally, McDowell was lost during the Vols loss to Florida on Saturday.
The McDowell injury is particularly brutal for Tennessee because it leaves Big Orange without all three of its protected starters at linebacker. Middle linebacker Darrin Kirkland, Jr., has already undergone season-ending surgery, and strongside linebacker Austin Smith injured his knee during the final week of fall camp.
On top of that, safety Todd Kelly, Jr., did not make the trip to Gainesville and could be lost for the season. Kick returner Evan Berry did not play against Florida either.
Oh, and Tennessee lost to Florida on a Hail Mary after having a first-and-goal inside the final minute.
Other than that, though, everything’s going great in Knoxville.