Tennessee and Utah State fans will have to wait just a little longer for the start of the 2014 season. The wait for Chuckie Keeton‘s anticipated return will also have to wait one more day. The season opener between the Vols and Aggies will be played on Sunday, August 31 instead of the originally scheduled Saturday, August 30. The game will be televised on the brand new SEC Network, giving the new network an extra game in an exclusive time slot to share with subscribers of the network.
“This will be a unique and exciting weekend for our city and our state,” said Tennessee head football coach Butch Jones in a statement released by the university. “We’re also excited about being one of the schools featured on the first weekend of SEC Network football telecasts, and we are looking forward to this tremendous opportunity.”
College football on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend is nothing new, and with the addition of another cable sports network it is likely we will see more games moved to Sunday time slots for years to come. This will be the seventh time Tennessee has played a game on a Sunday, according to a release from Tennessee. This will be just the second time a football game has been played on a Sunday in Neyland Stadium.
Utah State will be far from a pushover for the Vols of course. Utah State is coming off a division championship and a bowl victory over Northern Illinois this past season, and the Aggies will welcome back the athletically talented Keeton at quarterback. Keeton is a bit of a dark horse Heisman Trophy candidate and will look to make a big statement in his return to the field after having his 2013 season end early due to an injury. Utah State has generally been a strong defensive team as well, so the Vols will have to be at their best to score the Sunday home victory in the season opener.
It’s possible Dave Doeren‘s life would feel completely different right now if he had a better kicker in 2016.
In this reality, Doeren is 25-26 after four seasons in Raleigh, coming off back-to-back 7-6 seasons following his 8-5 breakthrough of 2014. But if his Wolfpack could kick last year, Doeren is most likely riding high after an 8-4 regular season buoyed by a win over Clemson in Death Valley. Because not only did NC State lose that game on a late field goal whiff, the Pack also suffered a 33-30 loss to East Carolina in which it endured two missed field goals.
NC State’s two kickers combined to hit only 9-of-17 tries last fall, good for 121st nationally, and ranked 104th with a 93.3 percent conversion rate on 45 extra points. And the situation wasn’t getting better this spring.
To rectify that situation, NC State announced the addition of kicker Carson Wise. A graduate transfer from Division II Carson-Newman, Wise will have two years of availability for the Wolfpack.
Wise connected on 21-of-31 field goals and 97-of-101 PATs last season, numbers that, on their face, do not represent massive changes from what NC State posted last season. But Doeren is banking on Wise as a solution for NC State in 2017.
“I’m excited to have Carson join the family,” Doeren said in a statement. “He is a talented player who should be a great addition to our special teams as we look for him to handle our field goal and kickoff duties this fall.”
Remember how we talked about it’s impossible to follow sports and ignore politics? Not long after John Swofford released a statement on how a North Carolina law would effect ACC sporting events, the Arkansas legislature passed a bill that will do the same in the SEC.
The Arkansas House voted 71-20 to allow its state colleges and universities to exempt themselves from a law that greatly expands venues permitting concealed-carry handguns. Until the passing of SB724 today, guns would have been permissible inside Razorback Stadium, among other places.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey released a statement earlier this week urging state lawmakers to remove sporting venues from the bill. “HB 1249 creates concerns for the Southeastern Conference and its member institutions,” he said. “It remains our collective desire to provide a safe environment for student-athletes, coaches, officials and fans, and will continue to closely monitor the status of this legislation.”
Passing the bill was made more complicated by the involvement of the NRA, according to Rep. Jimmy Gateway.
The bill must now head back to the Senate before it can receive final approval from Governor Asa Hutchinson.
It’s pretty much impossible to keep politics out of the sports page today. SEC commissioner Greg Sankey was forced to release a statement on Tuesday urging Arkansas state legislators to exempt Razorbacks sporting venues from a bill that would greatly expand areas allowing concealed-carry handguns, and now ACC commissioner John Swofford has been forced to wade back into political waters.
North Carolina’s state legislature brokered a deal Thursday with new governor Roy Cooper to repeal House Bill 2, the controversial law requiring persons within Tar Heel state borders to use public bathrooms matching their gender at birth. The “bathroom bill” cost the state a reported $3.76 billion in revenue, and some of that lost revenue related directly to college football.
Following the NCAA’s lead of revoking the state’s championship event hosting privileges due to HB2, the ACC moved its football championship game from Charlotte to Orlando (the men’s basketball tournament was previously booked for Brooklyn), a move that cost the conference itself money as well.
Thursday’s repeal of HB2 is more complicated than simply yanking the bathroom bill (this is where I’ll direct you to a much more appropriate place to digest the political news of the hour than a college football blog) and, as such, Swofford’s statement is appropriately nuanced.
The ACC is still undecided where this December’s title game will be played, and Swofford will kick that decision upstairs to the league’s presidents.
Oklahoma offensive tackle Christian Daimler will pursue a transfer, according to a message posted to his Twitter account Thursday.
As a fifth-year senior, Daimler qualifies as a graduate transfer and will be eligible immediately. “I could not be more excited about what my future holds,” Daimler wrote. “Wherever I end up I know that I will always be a Sooner and for that am I so proud. This University [sic] will forever remain close to my heart. Boomer Sooner.”
If that name does not immediately ring a bell, you are forgiven. Daimler appeared in three games as a Sooner, all over last season.
Hailing from Houston, Daimler, who stands 6-foot-7 and is listed at 321 pounds, was a 3-star recruit when he signed with Oklahoma over Texas A&M, Arizona State and Colorado, among others.