Rich Rodriguez

Arizona and Mississippi State to clash in 2022 and 2023

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The SEC’s new scheduling policy forces all members to schedule one game per year against a school from another power conference. Where Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Kentucky all have ACC rival partners to make things easier, schools like Mississippi State need to think a little more outside the box. In 2022 and 2023, that non-scheduling requirement will be fulfilled with a series against Arizona, from the Pac-12.

Arizona and Mississippi State announced a home-and-home series scheduled in 2022 and 2023, marking the first games scheduled in the new series. Arizona will host Mississippi State in 2022 and Mississippi State will host the Wildcats in 2023. The specific dates for the games have not been determined just yet.

According to, Arizona is the only team from a power conference currently on the non-conference schedule for Mississippi State through 2023, but that will be sure to change with the new scheduling policy. The Pac-12 has no non-conference scheduling requirement to guarantee games against power conference opponents for its members, but with strength of schedule to become a factor in the College Football Playoff it is certainly good to see schools looking for opponents from other premiere conferences when available.

“We’re excited to announce this competitive series for our future football schedules,” Arizona Athletics Director Greg Byrne said in a statement about the scheduling news. Byrne also happens to be a former AD at Mississippi State, which may have helped in putting this series together. “The opportunity to play an SEC opponent will be a great addition to our schedule for our program and our fans.”

Arizona has a small history with SEC opponents, and it has not been a favorable one. The Wildcats are 1-5-1 all-time against SEC schools dating back to 1968. Two of those games were bowl games. Arizona’s last game against a team from the SEC was in 2006, a 45-3 loss to LSU. In 2003 LSU pounded Arizona 59-13 as well. The lone win against an SEC school for Arizona came on September 11, 1976 with a 31-19 victory against Auburn.

Mississippi State’s history against the Pac-12 is even more limited, with just three games dating back to 1977. The Bulldogs are 1-2 against the Pac-12. The lone win came on September 10, 1977 against Washington.

Butch Jones labels rumor of ‘physical altercation’ with Vols player ‘absolutely ridiculous’

ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Head coach Butch Jones of the Tennessee Volunteers yells at Marquez North #8 during the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on September 27, 2014 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Already in the crosshairs for his 2-3 team’s late-game failures, Butch Jones now finds himself under increasing scrutiny for something that allegedly happened a couple of months ago.

The website, which features such respected journalists Tony Barnhart and Mike Huguenin among others, reported earlier today that the Tennessee head coach was involved in what was described as a “physical altercation” with senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder during summer camp this past August.  The source close to the program added that practice film that day captured the alleged incident, although it’s unclear if that tapes still exists.

From the site’s report:

The incident occurred during fall camp, about the time that news started to come out about a few offensive linemen who were considering stepping away from the program. Crowder walked off the practice field one day and missed a day or two of practice, and Brett Kendrick and Dylan Wiesman were said to be contemplating their futures. Sources say the players’ actions stemmed from an incident between Jones and Crowder.

The website also made a Freedom of Information request seeking any correspondence between the university and the Crowder family be turned over, but writes that UT “administrators said any sort of letter or correspondence that may or may not have happened was covered under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.”

Monday, Jones labeled what began as message-board speculation that he had struck one of his Vols players as “absolutely ridiculous.” The Knoxville News Sentinel contacted Crowder’s father, with the paper writing that “he had no comment and did not want to give validation to message boards.”

At least publicly, the university has yet to address the allegations.  Jones will get yet another chance to address the speculation with the media in the very near future.

Tulsa loses second-leading receiver to season-ending injury

NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 14:   Wide receiver Keevan Lucas #2 of the Tulsa Golden Hurricane just misses a pass against the Oklahoma Sooners September 14, 2013 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. The Sooners defeated the Golden Hurricane 51-20.  (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
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One of the most productive pass-catching duos in the country has been cut in half.

Tulsa head coach Philip Montgomery confirmed Tuesday that Keevan Lucas sustained a torn patellar tendon  in the third quarter of Saturday’s loss to Houston.  As a result, the wide receiver will miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

“He’s such an emotional leader for us and such a great kid,” the first-year coach said. “We’ll have to make a few adjustments offensively and move some people around and try to make sure we’ve got guys in the right spot but also guys who will step up and be ready to play.”

Lucas is currently second on the team with 26 receptions and 409 receiving yards, behind Keyarris Garrett‘s 33 and 539. His five receiving touchdowns, though, are tops on the team.

Montgomery expects Lucas to be healthy enough to participate in spring practice next year.