Nick Saban

Tide on 2015 schedule hole: ‘Right now we’d take anybody’

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The 2014 season has yet to even kick off, and Alabama’s athletic director already has one eye planted firmly on 2015.  Or, more specifically, the glaring hole in the Tide’s 2015 schedule.

Alabama currently has Wisconsin, Louisiana-Lafayette and, reportedly, an FCS opponent for that season and… well, that’s it.  Thanks to the SEC opting to remain at an eight-game conference schedule, the Tide is desperately seeking a fourth non-conference opponent for 2015.

“We’ve called everybody we know,” AD Bill Battle told CBSSports.com. “Right now we’d take anybody.”

Presumably that “anybody” would include a second FCS opponent, although, with the new College Football Playoff set to commence this season and strength of schedule expected to play a part in it, the program would likely prefer to avoid that particular pastry if at all possible.

Of the 115 teams that will play at the FBS level in 2015 — we’re excluding the 14-team SEC for obvious reasons — less than 40 would be able to accommodate the Tide’s scheduling Hail Mary.  With that in mind, below are the 10 FBS conferences — and independents — and the teams that have openings on their 2015 schedules:

AAC: East Carolina, Houston, SMU, Tulane, Tulsa, UCF, UConn, USF
ACC: Georgia Tech, Miami, North Carolina State, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Wake Forest
Big 12: none
Big Ten: Penn State
Conference USA: Charlotte, FAU, FIU, Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee State, North Texas, Rice
Independents: BYU
MAC: Bowling Green, Buffalo,Central Michigan, Western Michigan
MWC: Air Force, Colorado State, Hawaii, New Mexico, San Diego State, San Jose State
Pac-12: Arizona, Stanford
Sun Belt: Louisiana-Lafayette, Texas State

It’s highly unlikely that any of the teams in the Power Five conferences would jump at the opportunity to play the Tide as they all have games already scheduled against the power leagues, just as it would be unlikely UA would look at a game from that group with Wisconsin already on the schedule.  If you take that as gospel, the field of possibilities is sliced to less than 30 at the FBS level.

Of that remaining group, 15 already have two games scheduled against Power Five conferences.  Those from non-Power Five conferences are, normally, loathe to schedule more than two of those types of games.  In fact, just five schools — Central Michigan, Hawaii, Troy, UT-San Antonio, Western Kentucky — have three games against the Power Five on tap for 2015.

That would seemingly leave a pool of just 10 teams that might be open to facing Alabama: Houston (Louisville), UCF (South Carolina), Charlotte (none), FIU (Indiana), Air Force (Michigan State), New Mexico (Arizona State), Louisiana-Lafayette (BCS team TBA), Texas State (Florida State), Tulsa (Oklahoma) and UConn (none).

BYU would seem like an option, although the Cougars are looking for another home game that season and, as the Salt Lake Tribune writes, “there’s no way on God’s green earth that Alabama would agree to travel to Provo.”

So, yes, it appears that, one, the Tide’s AD has quite the Battle on his hands and, two, whoever ends up becoming UA’s 12th game will likely realize quite the financial windfall for its athletic department.

One final note: Alabama and Colorado State announced in 2012 that it had scheduled a two-game series, both in Tuscaloosa, for the 2013 season as well as either 2015 or 2017.  Why 2015 is not an option for CSU is something we’re attempting to have answered through official channels, although the fact that CSU also has Power Five games against Colorado and Minnesota — on the road — on its 2015 schedule could very well explain that part of the equation.

UPDATED 6:26 p.m. ET: According to TideNation.com, Alabama is in discussions with Southern Miss about filling out the former’s 2015 schedule.

The only problem with that?  Southern Miss’ non-conference schedule is already filled that year: home games against Mississippi State (9/5) and BYU (10/17), road games vs. Appalachian State (9/19) and Nebraska (9/26).  The Conference USA school would have to drop one of those four games, and it would seem very likely that the home games are untouchables — unless UA offered a guarantee above the $1.4 million payout Southern Miss is getting this year for its trip to face the Tide in Tuscaloosa.

The most likely game to be lopped off the Golden Eagles’ slate is App. State.  Not only would it be the lesser of the buyouts — which UA may pick up anyway for the favor they’d be doing — but it also coincides with an open date on the Tide’s 2015 calendar.

Report: Baylor regents set to oust Ken Starr as president by month’s end

WACO, TX - OCTOBER 17:  Baylor University President Ken Starr runs onto the field with students before the Baylor Bears take on the West Virginia Mountaineers at McLane Stadium on October 17, 2015 in Waco, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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It appears that the first domino in Baylor’s sordid sexual assault scandal is about to tumble.  Whether the biggest one, football-wise, is far behind remains to be seen.

According to a report from Chip Brown of HornDigest.com, Baylor’s Board of Regents are expected to part ways with president Ken Starr by the end of the month, if not sooner.  The report of Starr’s impending ouster comes less than a week after another damning Outside the Lines report in which further allegations of sexual assault and/or violence committed by Bears football players were, essentially, swept under the rug.

In one new allegation from the most recent report,  an alleged victim who was a BU student at the time claimed she was assaulted twice by her boyfriend, a BU football player.  She claimed that even as Starr and head football coach Art Briles were aware of her claims, the unidentified player was never disciplined by either the football program or the university.

At least six women, and perhaps more, have claimed to have been sexually assaulted or physically abused by BU football players from 2009-16.  In late March of this year, a woman filed a lawsuit against Baylor in which she claims she was raped by a Bear football player, Tevin Elliott, and that the university was “deliberately indifferent to complaints by student victims of rape.

In 2014, Elliott was convicted of sexually assaulting another different BU student at a party in 2012 and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Another former Bear football player, Sam Ukwuachu, was convicted of sexually assaulting a BU student in October of 2013 following the Homecoming win over Iowa State and was sentenced to 10 years felony probation.  In December of last year, the victim in that case reached a settlement with the university.

Given the spate of negative headlines, some have begun to wonder just how long Briles, 65-37 since taking over in 2008, can survive as the Bears’ coach.  Based on Brown’s report, it appears that is indeed the case as the regents are seemingly prepared to make Starr the one and only public sacrificial lamb.

The three dozen members of the Baylor regents board are preparing to blame Starr – not football coach Art Briles – for failed leadership during the ongoing scandal over how the school handled reports of rape and assault made against five BU football players

The only thing that is clear, according to sources, is that Starr – not Briles – is going to be the fall guy for the school’s inaction

Sources said Briles, who has revived a moribund football program by winning at least 10 games in four of the past five years, including two Big 12 titles and a Heisman Trophy (Robert Griffin III in 2011), will continue as football coach, barring any evidence turning up that Briles was engaged in a coverup. 

Brown’s closing quote is the most damning when it comes to the current climate in Waco.

“The feeling is if the board got rid of Art (Briles), they’d be sitting in a $300 million mausoleum instead of that new football stadium.”

Yep, just win, baby.  Just when you thought this story couldn’t get any more sickening…

Newest Bevo to make debut for Texas vs. Notre Dame

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The news wasn’t so positive on the mascot front for LSU Monday.  Tuesday, there’s a little more uplifting news on that front coming from Texas.

UT has announced that the university has identified the next longhorn who will serve as the school’s live mascot.  Bevo XV is in the midst of training for the job, and will make its debut  when the football team does for the 2016 season — Sept. 4 at home against Notre Dame in one of the most anticipated games in a highly-anticipated opening weekend.

“Bevo has embodied Longhorn pride and Texas spirit for 100 years,” UT president Gregory Fenves said in a statement. “He is part of our campus culture and has watched our football team’s successes for decades. I’m looking forward to seeing Bevo XV in his place of honor on the field this coming season.”

“We are excited to kick off the upcoming athletics season by introducing the newest edition of one of our most beloved traditions at The University of Texas,” a statement from athletic director Mike Perrin began. “It’s also appropriate to unveil Bevo XV during this 100th anniversary year. We all look forward to meeting Bevo XV in September.”

Bevo XV replaces Bevo XIV, who died in October of 2015.  Three days prior to the longhorn’s death, it was announced that he had been diagnosed with bovine leukemia.

The debut of Bevo XV coincides with the 100th anniversary of Bevo’s first appearance at a Longhorns football game.

BC suspends Troy Flutie following drunk-driving arrest

CHESTNUT HILL, MA - SEPTEMBER 26:  Troy Flutie #16 of the Boston College Eagles makes a pass during the first quarter against the Northern Illinois Huskies at Alumni Stadium on September 26, 2015 in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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Not surprisingly, one member of the Boston College football team is being sent off on a forced sabbatical.

Monday, BC announced that Troy Flutie has been indefinitely suspended from the program.  The move came a few hours after his arrest on alcohol-related charges was made public.

After hitting a curb with a vehicle very early Saturday morning, Flutie was ultimately arrested and charged with operating a vehicle under the influence of liquor, possession of an open container of liquor while driving and being a person younger than 21 in possession of liquor.  He was also issued a citation for a marked lanes violation.

The school said that the quarterback/wide receiver faces “additional university sanctions pending the outcome of the court proceedings” as well.

Flutie began his BC career as a quarterback and, after redshirting as a true freshman, played in eight games in 2015. He completed 24-of-49 passes for three touchdowns and an interception during his limited action.  Because of injuries at the position, Flutie was one of four Eagles quarterbacks to attempt at least 42 passes last season.

This spring, Flutie,the son of former BC wide receiver Darren Flutie and nephew of 1984 Heisman winner Doug Flutie, was moved to wide receiver.

Social media post indicates ex-Miami FB Walter Tucker’s headed to FIU

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - NOVEMBER 01:  Walter Tucker #44 of the Miami Hurricanes takes the field during a game against the North Carolina Tar Heels  at Sun Life Stadium on November 1, 2014 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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While Walter Tucker has left Miami, it doesn’t appear he’l be leaving the state of Florida.

On social media over the weekend, Walter Tucker, by way of Matt Porter of Palm Beach Post, has indicated that he will continue his collegiate playing career at FIU. That football program has not announced one way or the other the fullback’s connection to the football program.

In his Instagram post, Tucker, in addition to revealing his father has cancer, posted a photo of himself superimposed over FIU’s football stadium as well as the hashtags “#FIUNATION,” “#PANTHERNATION.” and “#PANTHERPRIDE.”

 

It’s unclear if Tucker would be eligible to play immediately in 2016 with the Panthers.

Tucker played in 32 games the past three seasons, mainly on special teams. He carried the ball three times for eight yards in 2015, and caught one pass for eight yards the year before.

In February, new Hurricanes head coach Mark Richt announced that Tucker had decided to transfer from The U.