Bob Stoops, Kevin Sumlin

Stoops, on blowback from A&M slate criticism: ‘where am I lying?’


In the latest instance of (insert non-SEC coaches’ name here) criticizing what’s perceived to be the SEC’s cupcake-like non-conference schedules, Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops called out Texas A&M for its upcoming pastry slate of out-of-conference games.

Aggies head coach Kevin Sumlin subsequently issued a public challenge to Stoops and OU: “if he wants to play us again we’ll take him up on that.” Stoops stated at his press conference today that he hasn’t picked up the phone, but also didn’t back down from his recent assault on the SEC.

When asked about A&M specifically and the SEC in general not taking kindly to the shots, a feisty Stoops fired back.

“Well, get over it,” the coach said bluntly. “And again, where am I lying?”

Of course, when it comes to A&M in 2014, he’s not lying in the least. A non-conference slate of FCS Lamar, Rice, SMU and Louisiana-Monroe screams “diabetic’s worst nightmare.” In his criticisms, though, Stoops is being disingenuous at best and cherry-picking at worst.

While this year’s slate features opponents slathered in icing, A&M also has future non-conference games scheduled against Arizona State (2015), UCLA (2016, 2017) and Oregon (2018, 2019). Hell, that might even match what OU has in the future: Ohio State (2016, 2017), UCLA (2018, 2019), Nebraska (2021, 2022). In fairness, the Sooners are also looking to rework a previously-scheduled home-and-home against LSU.

Another point Stoops, for obvious reasons, glosses over is A&M’s 2014 conference slate.  At home, TAMU will tangle with LSU, Missouri and Ole Miss, while they will travel to South Carolina, Mississippi State, Alabama and Auburn.  Four of those teams are in the preseason coaches’ poll Top 25; at various points in the season, some combination of the seven could see themselves in the Top 25.  OU?  Their non-conference schedule consists of Tennessee (not even remotely a Top 25 team), Louisiana Tech (4-8 last season) and Tulsa (3-9); in the Big 12, three of the Sooners’ opponents — at Baylor, at Kansas State, Texas — are currently ranked.  Whether UT deserves it or not is debatable, while either Oklahoma State or Texas Tech — or both — could spend time in the rankings at some point.

In other words, and Stoops’ shots notwithstanding, things aren’t actually as they appear to be in the OU coach’s world.

Oh, and there’s also this: Aggies 41, Sooners 13 in the Cotton Bowl following the 2012 season.  So, yeah, there’s that.

Vols ‘very confident there was no inappropriate conduct’ between Butch Jones, player

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 11:  Head coach Butch Jones of the Tennessee Volunteers watches the action during a game against the Chattanooga Mocs at Neyland Stadium on October 11, 2014 in Knoxville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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In the midst of reports that he had a physical altercation with one of his Tennessee players during summer camp this year, Butch Jones labeled the speculation “absolutely ridiculous.”

Apparently, his bosses agree with the head coach.

At a board meeting Thursday, UT-Knoxville chancellor Jimmy Cheek stated that he and athletic director Dave Hart had done their “due diligence” in investigating the accusations that Jones and senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder were involved in some type of physical skirmish during practice this past August.  The end result of interviews with Jones, coaches and players was the conclusion that there was nothing to the reports and message-board rumors.

“There’s been a lot of rumor and misinformation on social media and message boards about an alleged incident during football practice,” Cheek said according to‘s Wes Rucker. “It’s not our practice to respond to rumors, but I thought it was important to let you know that we’ve done our due diligence and Dave Hart and I are very confident there was no inappropriate conduct with any players or coaches.”

Shortly after Cheek spoke at the board meeting, Crowder took to Twitter with a series of missives that speaks around the issue.

Michigan’s keeping ‘fingers crossed’ for leading rusher’s availability

De'Veon Smith
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Michigan played without its leading rusher in Week 5.  The Wolverines are hoping there won’t be a repeat in Week 6.

De'Veon Smith sustained a lower-leg injury in the Week 4 win over BYU and didn’t travel with the team for last Saturday’s win over Maryland.  Smith has been practicing with his teammates throughout the first few days of this week, and head coach Jim Harbaugh is guardedly optimistic that the running back will be available for what’s turned into a huge Big Ten matchup with Northwestern Saturday in the Big House.

“He’s practicing and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he’s going to stay good and be ready to play,” Harbaugh said during a radio appearance Thursday morning. “But we’ll (keep) looking at that every day.”

Despite essentially missing a game and a half, Smith currently leads the Wolverines with 331 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. He’s added four receptions for 35 yards and a touchdown coming out of the backfield the first four games.

Should Smith be unable to go again, the Wolverines have three other backs with at least 100 yards on the ground: Ty Isaac (187, 7.2 yards per carry), Drake Johnson (125, 4.2 ypc) and Derrick Green (100, 3.3 ypc).

In addition to Smith, Harbaugh is hopeful Channing Stribling will be available this weekend as well.  The starting cornerback didn’t play against the Cougars because of injury