Everything is bigger in Texas, including the stadiums

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With Baylor getting a new football stadium and Texas A&M underway with a massive stadium renovation, the Texas Longhorns are looking to join the fun. The home of Texas football is still the largest stadium in the state, and the university appears to be interested in keeping it that way.

According to a report by Sports Illustrated, Texas has asked PricewaterhouseCoopers to conduct a study to review the possibility of adding a section of seats to the south end of Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. The discussions are purely in the initial stages according to Texas athletic director Steve Patterson, but there should be little standing in the way of the project becoming a reality in a short period of time.

Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium was opened in 1924 with a capacity of 27,000 fans. Over the years the stadium has undergone 11 different upgrades, with the most recent coming prior to the 2009 season. Today the stadium has a listed seating capacity of 100,119 according to Wikipedia. That number will be eclipsed by the time Texas A&M is finished with stadium renovations to Kyle Field. Texas A&M’s stadium renovations will be completed before the 2015 football season.

Texas A&M’s Kyle Field had a seating capacity of 82,589. By the time the stadium renovations are completed the Aggies will be able to play in front of 102,500 fans. Baylor closed Floyd Casey Stadium at the conclusion of the 2013 season. The old football home could host  50,000 fans when the tarp was taken off. This season the Bears, defending Big 12 champions, will move in to the brand new McLane Stadium, which will seat 45,000 but will be expandable to 55,000. TCU recently reconstructed and renovated Amon G. Carter Stadium, expanding the seating capacity from 32,000 to 45,000. The Houston Cougars are moving in to a new stadium this season as well, leaving the 32,000-seat Robertson Stadium for the brand new 40,000-seat Houston Football Stadium. Texas Tech completed a minor upgrade to Jones AT&T Stadium before the 2013 season to expand the seating capacity to 60,862.

The funding for such a project at Texas should be easy to come by for texas, if the university decides to move forward with such a project. Knowing how valuable the football program is to the university, the financial incentive should be enough to convince anyone with a vote to vote in favor. With the incoming cash flow from donors and an exclusive television contract with the Longhorn Network, funding the project should be of little concern.

Former LSU QB Brandon Harris announces commitment to UNC

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Former LSU quarterback Brandon Harris has found himself a new home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Harris announced via Facebook and Twitter he has chosen to commit to North Carolina.

“Obviously, it has been an important time for me, looking for a great situation and another opportunity to grow as a young man and as a student as well as a football player,” Harris said in his statement. “After my [official] visit this weekend to the University of North Carolina, I’m going to get that opportunity. With that being said, I’m fully committed to UNC this upcoming year and I look forward to the opportunity to play for coach [Larry Fedora] and UNC.”

Harris will be eligible to play for UNC immediately this fall after graduating from LSU this summer, and the timing may not be better for Harris. UNC is losing its starting quarterback (Mitch Trubisky) to the NFL and has a wide open spot to fill in the starting lineup as a result. But the job will not automatically go to Harris upon his arrival at UNC after missing out on spring practices at North Carolina.

Harris played in just four games last season, in which he passed for 139 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions. Since the season-opener against Wisconsin, Harris was reduced to backup duty and did not play in any of LSU’s seven final games of the 2016 season, including the bowl game against Louisville. Harris announced his decision to transfer in February, which was pretty much expected given how last season played out amid a coaching change.

Report: Foot injury puts Georgia WR Riley Ridley on sideline for spring

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Georgia wide receiver Riley Ridley has not been practicing this spring, but it has nothing to do with his offseason misdemeanor from a couple of weeks ago. Instead, a foot injury appears to have sidelined Ridley for the spring.

According to a report from Gridiron Now, Ridley has been out due to the foot injury. When the foot injury occurred is not reported. Even if his foot was not injured, it remains unknown if Ridley would be participating int he spring, at least at this point. Georgia head coach Kirby Smart has said Ridley will be internally disciplined for his misdemeanor pot possession from earlier this month.

“He’ll receive discipline,” Smart said. “We are very disappointed in his decision. We do not condone that behavior. I think Riley is going to learn a valuable lesson from this mistake.”

When Ridley may be available again remains unknown, as does what exactly the punishment to him will be from Smart. A one-game suspension is the expected result for Ridley according to the university’s student-athlete handbook.

USF DB Hassan Childs in stable condition after overnight shooting incident

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USF defensive back Hassan Childs was injured in a shooting incident overnight. Fortunately, Childs is currently said to be in stable condition, according to USF.

“We are deeply concerned that an incident occurred overnight in which one of our guys, Hassan Childs, was injured in a shooting,” a statement from USF head coach Charlie Strong said. “Thankfully, Hassan is in stable condition and being well cared for, and no one else was injured. There is an ongoing investigation of the incident and we are in the process of gathering further information.”

The shooting took place off campus, but details about the incident have not been reported.

Childs played in eight games for the Bulls last year. He recorded 16 tackles and returned two punts for three yards in a backup role.

Turner Field on schedule to be ready for Georgia State season opener

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The Atlanta Braves opened the doors to their brand new baseball stadium over the weekend to fans as the baseball team gets ready to open the 2017 season in their new digs. Meanwhile, at the old home of the Braves, Georgia State University is moving along according to schedule in downsizing and renovating Turner Field to serve as the permanent home of the football program. So far, so good, as the university fully anticipates the stadium will be ready to go for the season opener on August 31 against Tennessee State.

The job that’s being done is incredible,” Athletic Director Charlie Cobb told 11Alive. “Each and every time I walk in, I see something new being done.”

Renovation and construction at Turner Field got started in February. The entire project will be done in phases as the university plans to develop around thew football stadium for an expanding university. As far as the stadium goes, the seating capacity will be retrofitted to hold a capacity of 23,000 fans. That will be the first phase of the master plan, with a second phase to complete building the rest of the stadium and add additional seating for fans.

“We plan on doing some unique things capturing the history of the stadium, but also creating a football facility that speaks to Georgia State,” Cobb said. “One of the stories we want to tell is the fact that it went from being an Olympic venue, to the home of the Braves, and now to the home of Georgia State. I think we can write that third chapter.”

Georgia State previously played its home games in the Georgia Dome, the now former home of the Atlanta Falcons of the NFL. The Falcons are also moving into a new football stadium this season. The Falcons’ new home at Mercedes-Benz Stadium will also welcome some college football action to the stadium this season with the annual Chick-fil-A Kickoff will move to the new stadium from the Georgia Dome. This year’s Chick-fil-A Kickoff features Alabama and Florida State on September 2 and Georgia Tech and Tennessee on September 4. The SEC Championship Game and the Peach Bowl will also be hosted in the new stadium and the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship Game will be played there on January 8, 2018.

Georgia State may have their new home, but perhaps one day they will get to play in the new stadium too.