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 FBSchedules.com, 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.
This is something you don’t see all too often.
Donovan Franklin (pictured, No. 26) tweeted out late Tuesday night that, “[a]fter careful consideration I am happy to announce that I have decided to continue my academic and athletic career at the University of Kansas.” Franklin had spent the past two years at the United States Military Academy at West Point, playing his college football for the Army Black Knights.
It’s unclear what led the slotback to leave the service academy and head to the Big 12 school.
Franklin was a two-star prospect coming out of high school in Maryland in Army’s Class of 2015. After playing in two games in 2016, he carried the ball one time for seven yards this past season.
The 5-9, 185-pound Franklin was listed as a defensive back coming out of high school, and could assume such a role yet again with the Jayhawks. That likely won’t happen this season, however, as it’s expected he will have to sit out the 2018 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules.
That whole thing where Oklahoma landed a graduate transfer from Notre Dame? Never mind. Pretend it never happened.
April 15, a little over a week after he announced his transfer from Notre Dame, Jay Hayes took to Twitter to confirm that he had committed to continuing his collegiate playing career at Oklahoma. Ten days later, the defensive lineman has done an about-face, taking to the same social media service to announce that he is flipping from OU to Georgia.
“This is it!” the lineman wrote, presumably meaning there will be no more flipping.
As a graduate transfer, Hayes will be eligible to play immediately for the Bulldogs in 2018. This will be the lineman’s final season of eligibility.
Hayes, a four-star member of the Irish’s 2014 recruiting class, played in 26 games for the Irish over the last three seasons, including starts in all 13 games at defensive end in a 2017 season that saw him record 27 tackles and a sack.
At least in this graduate transfer battle, the SEC has gotten over on the Pac-12.
Tuesday, Jack Driscoll, who decided to transfer from UMass earlier this offseason, confirmed that he had narrowed his potential landing spots down to three — Auburn, UCLA and USC. A day later, the offensive lineman took to Twitter to announce that he will be enrolling at AU and continuing his collegiate playing career with the Tigers.
Driscoll will graduate from UMass early next month, and will be eligible to play immediately in 2018 on The Plains. The upcoming season will be the first of two years of eligibility the 6-5, 294-pound lineman has remaining.
After starting eight games as a redshirt freshman in 2016, with most of those starts coming at left guard, he started all 12 games in 2017. All of those starts this past season came at right tackle for the football-independent Minutemen. He was named to Phil Steele’s All-Independent first team while he earned second-team All-Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) honors for good measure.
North Carolina’s addition of a player from another Power Five program.
On his personal Twitter account earlier this week, Antonio Williams announced that he would be transferring to UNC. A couple of days later, the Tar Heels confirmed that the running back has joined Larry Fedora‘s football program.
Williams will have to sit out the 2018 season because of NCAA rules. Beginning with the 2019 season, however, he will have two seasons of eligibility that he can use at the ACC school.
Earlier this offseason, Williams had opted to transfer from Ohio State.
A four-star member of the Buckeyes’ 2016 recruiting class, Williams was rated as the No. 7 running back in the country and the No. 5 player at any position in the state of North Carolina. Williams ran for 318 yards and three touchdowns on his 63 carries the past two seasons; 290 of the yards and all three scores came this past season as he was the third back in a rotation that included Freshman All-American J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber, who led the Buckeyes in rushing as a redshirt freshman in 2016.
Both Dobbins and Weber return this season, which was likely a trigger for Williams’ move from Columbus.