Charlie Strong wants Texas A&M, but under the wrong circumstances

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Conference realignment has force the unfortunate end to a number of traditional college football rivalries, including Texas and Texas A&M. New head coach at Texas Charlie Strong has dropped the gauntlet the way many new coaches do today in attempting to fire up the momentum to see some of those rivalries resume. Unfortunately, Strong is somewhat misguided in how the series with Texas A&M should be brought back from the dead.

“You’d like to play it in a neutral site somewhere, where every year it’s in that spot, whether it’s Houston or Dallas,” Strong said in an interview with CBSSports.com.

A neutral site game? C’mon Coach Strong. Texas and Texas A&M deserves so much better than being played in a watered down pro football stadium, even if it were to be played in Arlington, home of one of the emerging super venues for college football.

Call me old-fashioned — I can take it — but it seems to me that if we were able to get Texas and Texas A&M back together again, then playing it in Austin or College Station should be the only way to go. Considering the tradition and passion that ignites when these two long time historic rivals get together, the sport would benefit much more from that than playing a game of this magnitude and hype in an NFL stadium. But hey, cash is king, right?

Consider it a compromise, or a last resort. The problem all schools face these days is expanded conferences are more and more looking to expand conference schedules and push conference schedules to nine games. The SEC is reviewing that possibility right now. Playing nine games makes it difficult for some teams to get in a preferred seven home games each season, which means sometimes some school is going to have to bite the bullet and budge. With the stadium sizes at Texas and Texas A&M, losing a home game any given year is noting either school would look forward to. But if a broadcast partner and the Dallas Cowboys or Houston Texans got involved with the planning and organization (and the funding), then it is a different story.

Strong knows that nothing will happen until his bosses figure something out though.

“It’s all about the two ADs getting together and getting that figured out,” Strong said. “When you look at it, it’s been such a huge rivalry game. … I think at some point it will get worked out.”

Right now the fans at Texas and Texas A&M both appear to be fine having gone their separate ways. That is a shame. Egos have gotten the best of both sides, but over time that will calm down and the Longhorns and Aggies will play again. And that will be a good thing.

Nick Saban, on QB controversy: ‘there isn’t one’

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Consider The Nicktator perturbed.  Again.

Jalen Hurts (pictured, right) helped lead Alabama to the national championship game as a true freshman last season and is seemingly the Crimson Tide’s unquestioned starter as we trudge toward summer.  Five-star 2017 signee Tua Tagovailoa (pictured, left), however, had an impressive first spring in Tuscaloosa, capped off with an excellent showing in the annual A-Day game this past weekend.

The true freshman passed for 315 yards and three touchdowns in what amounted to a glorified scrimmage, while the incumbent threw for 301 yards and a pair of scores.  Hurts also tossed the lone interception between the two on the day.

Tagovailoa’s showing throughout the 15 spring practice sessions had led some to wonder whether there could be a quarterback controversy brewing at ‘Bama.  According to Nick Saban, that’s just the media being the media.

“Jalen Hurts played a lot of good football for us last year, and he’s certainly made a lot of progress this spring,” the head coach said by way of al.com. “Even though all of you in the press are trying to make a quarterback controversy out of nothing, which is what you’re doing right now, there isn’t one.”

LOOK: Jim Harbaugh hooks Pope Francis up with Michigan helmet, pair of Jordans

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There’s a series of words I’d never imagined I’d string together in a headline.

As you may have heard, Jim Harbaugh has taken his Michigan football team to Italy for an offseason European vacation.  As part of the trip, the team is in the Vatican City today and took in the Pope’s Wednesday address to the masses in St. Peter’s Square — the players and athletic director Warde Manuel sat amongst the crowd while the head coach and his wife were seated on the same stage as Pope Francis.

Following the address, and after a wait of nearly a half-hour, Harbaugh was able to meet with and speak to His Holiness.  The coach didn’t come empty-handed, either, as Pope Francis was gifted with a Michigan football helmet and a pair of Air Jordans.  Michigan-themed, of course.

“This is as good as it gets,” Harbaugh said according to mlive.com after his meeting with the pope. “This has been the experience of my lifetime.”

Tulane turns to Jonathan Banks as starter at QB

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Last season, there was just one FBS team — Army and its triple-option (967) — that passed for fewer yards than Tulane’s 1,360.  Tulane’s team passing efficiency rating of 93.12 was 128th of the 128 teams at this level of football.  Their completion percentage of 42.2 was, again, 128th in the FBS.  Their 5.3 yards per attempt was… 127th.

This season, the Green Wave’s passing hopes in a run-heavy offense will likely land on the shoulders of a junior college transfer.

Throughout the spring, Jonathan Banks had taken the majority of reps with the first-team offense.  Tuesday, Willie Fritz confirmed that Banks will be his starter under center heading into summer camp and, presumably, for the program’s season opener against Grambling at home Sept. 2.

At least for now, Banks has staked his claim to the job after a competition that included Glen Cuiellette and Jonathan Brantley, the starter and backup, respectively, last season.

“He did a good job this spring picking things up,” the head coach said according to nola.com. “We evaluated practices 1 through 15 and I thought, for a guy coming into a new situation, he did a very good job. He provides us with both a passing and a running threat, which in our offense you need to have.

“We’re excited about his development.”

Drew O’Bryan leaves Western Kentucky, drops down to FCS level

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Another day, another FBS player has transitioned away from his first college football home.

On his personal Twitter account recently, Drew O’Bryan acknowledged his decision to transfer from Western Kentucky. Additionally, he announced his next destination for good measure — Eastern Kentucky.

The linebacker said he made the decision “[a]fter talking with my family and many prayers.”

As EKU plays at the Football Championship Subdivision level, O’Bryan will be eligible to play immediately for the Colonels in 2017.

O’Bryan was a two-star member of WKU’s 2016 recruiting class, rated as the No. 18 player at any position in the state of Kentucky. He took a redshirt as a true freshman.