Skip to content

NCAA board ‘overwhelmingly’ approves Power Five autonomy

NCAA Men's Final Four - Practice Getty Images

A day that the haves hoped would come, and the have-nots have dreaded, is finally here.

As expected, the NCAA Division I Board of Directors voted overwhelmingly to approve autonomy for the Power Five conferences — ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC, as well as Notre Dame — in the division.  Beginning Oct. 1, the NCAA stated in its release, those five conferences can begin passing legislation that only affects themselves and doesn’t involve the Non-Power Five leagues.

The reason for the nearly two-month gap between board approval and implementation is simple: “[t]he proposed governance redesign legislation is subject to a 60-day override period as specified in the current legislative process. For the board to reconsider the change, at least 75 schools must request an override. Generally, reconsideration occurs at the next scheduled board meeting, set for Oct. 30.”

It’s widely expected that any who oppose autonomy will be able to get anywhere close to the 75 schools necessary for an override.

“I am immensely proud of the work done by the membership. The new governance model represents a compromise on all sides that will better serve our members and, most importantly, our student-athletes,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said. “These changes will help all our schools better support the young people who come to college to play sports while earning a degree.”

So, what does autonomy mean? For Power Five football players, additional money, benefits and (some) voting power, including but not limited to:

— the full cost of attendance above what a scholarship currently covers. That could be, depending on the school, $2,000 additional dollars a year to football players to upwards of $5,000 or more annually.
— two student-athletes will have seats on the new legislative council, which will be responsible for day-to-day operations of the division. Additionally, as the release states, “[t]he legislative process for these 65 schools, which could begin as early as Oct. 1, includes three student-athlete representatives from each conference who will vote on rule changes within those conferences.”
— extended medical benefits and coverage, including post-career.
— “unlimited scholarships,” meaning a player could return to the university at any time and finish up his degree, free of charge.
— benefits for a player’s family, including money for road trips to see their son/grandson/brother/nephew play in important games or postseason games.

These potential changes, mind you, aren’t exclusive to Power Five programs; any and all FBS programs could adopt them at any given time after October 1. The financial cost to the non-Power Five, though, would make it prohibitive to all but a handful of the mid-majors, although the AAC is looking at implementing some combination of those initiatives in order to keep the haves in their sights.

Here’s one more thing: even with all of these changes, the scholarship limits — 85 at any one time — will not change. As had been the case in the past, the top programs won’t be able to stash players on their rosters to keep them out of another program’s hands. The same players that were available to the non-Power Five on the recruiting trail before will be made available to them moving forward.

One thing that might change? Power Five transfers who before would look toward a mid-major for additional playing time might think twice about giving up the benefits — both now and in the future — and moving on to another school.

The ramifications of all of this are, at the moment, unknown and won’t be known for some length of time. What is certain is that the game of college football will likely never be the same again. Whether that’s good or bad remains to be seen.

Permalink 13 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: American Athletic Conference, Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 12 Conference, Big Ten Conference, Conference USA, Independents, Mid-American Conference, Mountain West Conference, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Pac-12 Conference, Rumor Mill, Southeastern Conference, Sun Belt Conference, Top Posts
yo

Louisville backfield shows promise in Friday spring game

The reviews are coming in from Louisville’s Friday night spring scrimmage, and it seems to paint a familiar picture. The offense has players to make some good things happen. The defense should be pretty solid. The offensive line seems to be a bit of a question mark Bobby Petrino will have to either hope comes together or sees some development in the summer before the season kicks off.

Quarterback Reggie Bonnafon completed 15 of 19 passes for 238 yards and a touchdown and rushed 10 times for 37 yards and another touchdown while playing the entire first half. While reading too much into spring games can be unwise, this seemed to be a strong suggestion which direction the quarterback position is heading at Louisville. It will be Bonnafon’s job to lose according to the experts following the Cardinals.

The running game should be in for a good season as well, and Brandon Radcliff will once again be leading the charge on the ground. On Friday night the leading Louisville rusher carried the football seven times for 57 yards and three TDs. No worries in the Louisville backfield. It is the offensive line that seems to be the most questionable spot for the Cardinals.

Quarterbacks were sacked nine times in the spring scrimmage, with 23,187 fans in attendance. It should be noted only nine offensive linemen dressed for the spring scrimmage, but reinforcements are on the way through Louisville’s Class of 2015 and some junior college transfers. There will be more bodies to plug in, but how quickly Louisville finds some cohesiveness up front will ultimately determine what kind of season the Cardinals could have in the fall.

There are far fewer reasons for concern on the defensive side of the football. Louisville played very well on defense last season, and it looks as though it should be a strength of the team once again in Petrino’s second season back with the program.

“I really think we’ll have a dominant defense,” Petrino said. “That defensive front and linebacking corps is very physical and very strong. They made it real hard on our second offense.”

Louisville’s season will kick off on September 5 against Auburn in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff in Atlanta.

Permalink 0 Comments Back to top

Paul Johnson happy Georgia Tech survived its spring game

Capital One Orange Bowl - Mississippi State v Georgia Tech

Nobody got hurt. Well, nobody got hurt Friday night. That is exactly what Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson wanted from the spring game in Atlanta Friday night. Rain held the attendance to just about 4,000 fans (most of them looking for cover from the elements), but Johnson will take it with no additional players having injury concerns as spring draws to a close.

“You know, it was a typical spring game — at least we got it in and the weather cooperated,” Johnson said. “Nobody got hurt that I know of — or at least seriously — which is what you hope for.”

Unfortunately for Georgia Tech, the Yellow Jackets took some hits leading up to the game. C.J. Leggett, believed to be a potential starter for Georgia Tech’s B-back position, may lose the entire 2015 season due to a torn knee ligament revealed by an MRI this week.

”He’d been working hard,” Johnson said. ”I feel bad for him, but you’ve got to go with the next-man-up mentality.”

Leggett’s injury comes after another possible B-back option, Quaide Weimerskirch, has undergone foot surgery. The good news is Georgia Tech saw Marcus Allen have a good outing, running 14 times for 77 yards.

“I was proud of Marcus Allen,” Johnson said after the game. “I thought he played hard, did some good things, and made some plays. So (it was a) good (night) for Marcus.”

Justin Thomas will  be Georgia Tech’s quarterback in the fall, so Johnson took drastic measures to ensure he left the spring scrimmage in one piece. He played in just three series Friday night, and he attempted and completed one pass for 21 yards. He was also off limits from contact, just as he has been all spring.

Georgia Tech, the defending ACC Coastal Division champions, opens the 2015 season at home in Bobby Dodd Stadium on Thursday, September 3 against Alcorn State.

Permalink 0 Comments Back to top

Clemson and Duke baseball teams played football during rain delay

Clemson v Duke baseball (football)

Clemson and Duke football teams have wrapped up their respective spring practice schedules already, but on Friday the school’s baseball teams served up some spring football action of their own.

With a rain delay forcing the baseball field at Clemson to be covered by a tarp for an extended period of time, players from Clemson’s and Duke’s baseball teams decided to kill the idle time by playing some football. After all, rain does not stop football from being played.

There were even a couple of nice plays to witness too!

Clemson and Duke do not meet on the football field this fall, unless the two match-up against each other in the ACC Football Championship Game.

Permalink 1 Comment Back to top

Ohio State, Alabama, Notre Dame (& so many more) spring football on tap for Saturday

Ardarius Stewart, Nick Perry

Get ready for a jam-packed day of spring football from coast to coast. If you have nothing better to do than sit inside and get a college football fix — and who would blame you — then you have plenty of options working for you on Saturday.

Defending national champion Ohio State will be among many big names in action on Saturday. Others include Alabama, Notre Dame (on NBC Sports Network), Auburn, LSU Penn State, Texas, Missouri and Mississippi State. And that’s just a fraction of the total teams wrapping up spring practices on Saturday.

Those with the services available will be able to watch college football, in a somewhat scaled down fashion, from noon through the whole afternoon and into the night with the Big Ten, SEC and Pac-12 having network coverage. Same goes for Texas and Notre Dame. Some of you might even get to see North Texas, if you are really hardcore about your spring football fix.

If you are looking to see how to plan your day, here are the TV listings for spring games on April 18, as well as a list of schools playing spring football games without listed TV coverage.

ON TV

Games carried by SEC Network will be carried on alternate channels where available. Games appearing on Big Ten Network will also be available on the mobile network, BTN2Go. Pac-12 Network coverage will also be available through Pac-12.com.

Mississippi Sate, 12 p.m., SEC Network (Alternate)

Notre Dame, 12:30 p.m., NBC Sports Network

Ohio State, 1:30 p.m., Big Ten Network

Auburn, 2 p.m., SEC Network (Alternate)

California, 2 p.m., Pac-12 Network

LSU 2 p.m., SEC Network+

Texas, 2 p.m., Longhorn Network

Alabama, 3 p.m. SEC Network (Alternate)

North Texas, 3 p.m., CS Live

Oregon State, 4 p.m., Pac-12 Network

Penn State, 4 p.m., Big Ten Network

Missouri, 5 p.m., SEC Network (Alternate)

Illinois, 6 p.m., Big Ten Network

YOU HAVE TO BE THERE TO SEE IT

Southern Miss, 2 p.m.

Tulane, 10:00 a.m.

Army, 11 a.m.

Akron, 1 p.m.

Colorado State, 1 p.m.

Georgia Southern, 1 p.m.

Pittsburgh, 1 p.m.

Purdue, 1 p.m.

Western Michigan, 1 p.m.

Buffalo, 2 p.m.

Indiana, 2 p.m.

Louisiana Tech, 2 p.m.

Middle Tennessee, 2 p.m.

Oklahoma State, 2 p.m.

SMU, 2 p.m.

Tulsa, 2 p.m.

UCF, 2 p.m.

UTSA, 2 p.m.

Western Kentucky, 2 p.m.

Ball State, 3 p.m.

Houston, 3 p.m.

East Carolina, 2:30 p.m.

UNLV, 3 p.m.

Virginia, 6 p.m.

On a related note, keep in mind Nebraska and Michigan are leading the way in spring game attendance so far. The top 10 should change given some of the powerhouse names in action this weekend.

Permalink 2 Comments Back to top

DA drops assault charges against starting Colorado DL Josh Tupou

The University of Colorado football team takes on the Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors at Folsom Field in Boulder on Sept. 20, 2014.

A month ago Colorado defensive lineman Josh Tupou was charged for assault following a house party turning ugly. Those charges have now been dropped by the Boulder County District Attorney’s office.

Tupou was charged for suspicion of second-degree assault, two counts of third-degree assault, criminal mischief, trespassing and reckless endangerment last month after a brawl unfolded at a house that also had $300 to $700 in damages. Tupou turned himself into Boulder police after a warrant for his arrest had been issued. So what was it that led to all of the charges being dropped off?

Mistaken identity.

At a hearing earlier this month a lawyer representing Tupou claimed his client was charged as a result of a mistaken identity. How many 6′-3″ 325-pound guys are there that could be mistaken for Tupou anyway? Whatever the case, the defense stood tall in court and the district attorney agreed to drop the charges against the starting defensive linemen.

With no charges against him anymore, Tupou’s status remains unchanged at Colorado, which should allow him to continue starting on the line for the Buffs when the season gets started.

Permalink 0 Comments Back to top

Mendenhall sees BYU playing way into power conference within three years

Bronco Mendenhall

Good old Charlie Brown has a history of standing by the mailbox waiting for a Christmas card, a Valentine’s Day card, an invite to a New Years party invitation or pretty much anything by his mailbox. Nothing ever comes his way. It’s getting to the point where of all the coaches in college football, BYU’s Bronco Mendenhall may the Charlie Browniest because he may be waiting for an invite to a power conference that may never find its way to a mailbox at BYU.

Mendenhall met with some members of the media Friday and once again addressed questions regarding BYU’s future as a football program. Judging by the quotes offered by the head coach of the Cougars, the sight is still set on inclusion in a power conference at some point down the line.

“I hate to be pinned down, but if someone were to force me, I’d say three years. It has to happen within three,” Mendenhall said to Greg Wrubell, who does BYU football play-by-play. “Could it go longer than (three years)? Yes, it could. Is it desirable to me, to go longer than that? The answer is no.”

Mendenhall explained he still feels there are more realignment changes to come that could benefit BYU in some way. Those realignment changes may be a bit more difficult to see now with power conferences gaining more power through autonomy and possible deregulation of conference championship games a possibility. BYU’s best hope seems to be possible expansion in the Big 12 to return to 12 members, but as we have discussed time and time and time again, this does not seem to be a top priority for the conference. And if the Big 12 did expand, it is more likely the conference would have a desire to move east.

BYU’s plan for independence was one that seemed to have some support at the time of leaving the Mountain West Conference, a decision Mendenhall still stands by without hesitation. But since choosing to go independent in football a lot has changed around the college sports world. More realignment changes happened and power conferences were given more power, which BYU may not have seen coming at the extent it has.

“I absolutely think it was worth it,” Mendenhall said. “I think it was the right move at that time. Independence is more difficult than the MWC was.” But even Mendenhall knows what BYU needs to do in order to make any serious pitch to the Big 12 or Pac-12 (or any other power conference).

“At some point, (P5) inclusion has to happen…best way I know to do it is play our way in, and that’s what I have chosen to do,” Mendenhall says.

If nothing else, these are comments you want to hear from BYU’s coach. What else is he suppose to say? BYU would benefit more from being a part f a power conference like the Big 12 than being an independent at a time when power conferences are soaking up more and more revenue compared to other conferences (and independents). Did BYU make a mistake leaving the Mountain Wets Conference? That is debatable, and we know where Mendenhall stands.

Permalink 5 Comments Back to top

Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list includes Wright, Oakman, Nkemdiche, Bosa & more

USC v Arizona Getty Images

You know we are starting to turn a page toward the next college football season when spring games are in the air and some award gets an early jump on watch list season. Today the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation got award watch list season underway with 42 players being named to the watch list for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, which is awarded to a defensive player based largely on performance on the field and character.

Six players on this year’s first watch list were on the watch list for the trophy last season. Duke’s Kelby Brown, Michigan State’s Shilque Calhoun, Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves, West Virginia’s Karl Joseph, Notre Dame’s Jaylon Smith and Oklahoma’s Eric Striker are among the players represented. Other prominent names for the award on the watch list include Baylor’s Shawn Oakman, Robert Nkemdiche of Ole Miss, Ohio State’s Joey Bosa, and Arizona’s Scooby Wright III. The watch list includes a total of 37 players from power five conferences, with the Big Ten leading the way with 10 players.

2015 LOTT IMPACT TROPHY WATCH LIST

LB Kevin Anderson, Stanford

DB Dante Barnett, Kansas State

LB Joe Bolden MichiganDB

DB Briean Boddy-Calhoun, Minnesota

DL Joey Bosa, Ohio State

LB Kelby Brown, Duke

DL DeForest Buckner, Oregon

S Michael Caputo, Wisconsin

DE Shilque Calhoun, Michigan State

S Jeremy Cash, Duke

S Su’a Cravens, USC

LB Leonard Floyd, Georgia

CB Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech

DB Nate Gerry, Nebraska

DL Adam Gotsis, Georgia Tech

LB Deon Hollins, UCLA

DB Dylan Haines, Texas

CB Vernon Hargreaves, Florida

DB Ryan Janvion, Wake Forest

DB Jonathan Jones, Auburn

S Karl Joseph, West Virginia

LB Bronson Kaufusi, BYU

S Derrick Kindred, TCU

DB Jordan Lomax, Iowa

DL Dean Lowry, Northwestern

LB Blake Martinez, Stanford

LB Viliami Moeakiola, Arizona State

LB Calvin Munson, San Diego State

DT Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss

LB Jared Norris, Utah

DE Shawn Oakman, Baylor

DE Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State

LB Joshua Perry, Ohio State

LB Reggie Ragland, Alabama

DB Jalen Ramsey, Florida State

DE Sheldon Rankins, Louisville

LB Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame

DB Weston Steelhammer, Air Force

LB Eric Striker, Oklahoma

LB Jeremy Timpf, Army

LB Scooby Wright III, Arizona

DT Anthony Zettel, Penn State

Permalink 4 Comments Back to top

San Diego wants Navy and Notre Dame to visit in 2018

Notre Dame v Navy Getty Images

The city of San Diego hopes to lure Navy and Notre Dame to the west coast for a future match-up between the two football rivals, and it is not at all out of the question this could become a reality.

Representatives from the San Diego Bowl Games Association and Navy are currently in the negotiation stages of arranging a future game between the Midshipmen and Irish to be played in San Diego in 2018. The game would be played in Qualcomm Stadium, which currently hosts San Diego State home football games as well as the NFL’s San Diego Chargers (well, until they leave for Los Angeles).

The city of San Diego’s interest in hosting Navy should come as no surprise, given the Navy has multiple bases right in and around San Diego. Anytime Navy is in San Diego, it is a good draw. Add Notre Dame to the mix, and you have the makings of an attractive match-up put on by the San Diego Bowl Games Association.

“We’ve had a wonderful relationship with Navy over the years and we would like to continue that in any way possible,” Mark Neville, executive director of the San Diego Bowl Games Association, told The Capital Gazette. “Hosting an amazing and historic rivalry game such as Navy-Notre Dame would be a huge coup and a great spectacle for our city.”

Navy does not host Notre Dame in its own stadium due to limited capacity. Instead, the Midshipmen typically host Notre Dame in Baltimore or Landover, but Navy has transplanted the game to other cities before. Notre Dame has never played in San Diego. Arranging the game would require having to work with San Diego State and the Mountain West Conference as well, to ensure the stadium would be available for a game between Navy and Notre Dame.

The odds of this coming together are probably pretty good, so get ready San Diego. Navy and Notre Dame are (probably) coming to your city.

Permalink 9 Comments Back to top

Jimbo Fisher feeling good about Sean Maguire at QB

Idaho v Florida State Getty Images

Coming out of the spring at Florida State it is pretty clear the successor to Jameis Winston will be Sean Maguire. Head coach Jimbo Fisher has not made a final decision on the quarterback position just yet and has suggested the competition will carry over into the summer leading up to the start of the season, but Maguire has not done anything to be ruled out of the mix and nobody else on the roster has done anything to grab the starting job from him. For now, Fisher seems comfortable moving forward in the post-Winston era with Maguire leading the offense if he had to start the season tomorrow (he doesn’t, by the way)

I feel very good about Sean,” Fisher said Thursday at the Seminoles’ booster event in Panama City Beach according to The Orlando Sentinel. “Sean had a great spring, we have to play well around him. I like where he’s at right now.”

Maguire got off to a rough start in Florida State’s spring game last week, including an interception returned for a touchdown by early enrollee Derwin James. In the spring game, Maguire completed 22 of his 44 pass attempts for 289 yards, and he was picked off twice. Fisher seemed willing to give Maguire a bit of a pass for the performance in the spring game.“First drive [of the second half] was OK, missed a couple balls on overs late, we should have flattened one out a little bit. As he started to press a little bit, the high throw, if you look on the interception, the ball was snapped on his ankles, he picks it, raises up, makes the right read and tries to dump it over. Until we get that fixed nobody is going to play quarterback.”

“First drive [of the second half] was OK, missed a couple balls on overs late, we should have flattened one out a little bit,” Fisher explained. “As he started to press a little bit, the high throw, if you look on the interception, the ball was snapped on his ankles, he picks it, raises up, makes the right read and tries to dump it over. Until we get that fixed nobody is going to play quarterback.”

Rest assured, Florida State will have a quarterback when the 2015 season kicks off September 5 at home against Texas State. And it will very likely be Maguire lining up under center.

Permalink 3 Comments Back to top

Big Ten’s freshman ineligibility is not bad in concept, but is anybody on board?

Jim Delany

The Big Ten had an idea that was not received particularly well, but in good old Big Ten fashion the conference is moving forward in stubborn fashion. An idea proposed by the Big Ten this offseason revolved around making freshmen ineligible in football and basketball. The world laughed. Jim Delany did not blink. In a 12-page document shared by the Big Ten, the conference argues freshman ineligibility would help to fix the balance between academics and athletics.

In the document sent by Delany and the Big Ten, which also addressed some formal responses to previously stated criticisms of the idea, the plan would also involve increasing the number of scholarships available in football and basketball, which seems like a nice incentive to try to lure some on board with the Big Ten’s motives. How would the Big Ten compensate for the added costs of additional scholarships? The same way the Big Ten and power conferences can solve many of their problems; revenue from TV and media rights deals from the College Football Playoff and the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Of course.

There does not seem to be a whole lot of public support for this concept developed by the Big Ten, but at least Delany and his crew can say they tried doing something right with regard to academics. In theory it is not a bad idea, but it is not one that will be easy to sell to programs and presidents around the college football world enough to carry much weight. It may be a losing battle, but the concept is not entirely to blame. It is more the fact the Big Ten’s idea could just as easily turn into a negative recruiting pitch, and don’t think a school from another power conference would take advantage of that.

The Big Ten is still far from the point of forming this ideas as an actual proposal to place a vote on. It may never even get that far. For now, the Big Ten continues to spread the word about the idea and gather feedback. If they are getting any positive feedback, from where exactly is it coming?

Permalink 9 Comments Back to top

Is Baylor pumping out system QBs? Bryce Petty doesn’t think so

Bryce Petty

Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty is moving on to the NFL, where he has a chance to be the second first-round quarterback drafted out of Baylor under head coach Art Briles. The first was Robert Griffin III. Petty may not be receiving the hype quarterbacks like Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota are receiving for a number of reasons. One of those reasons is Petty is labeled by some as a system quarterback from his time spent at Baylor, and that scares some people.

With the NFL Draft coming up, Petty is not afraid of addressing the idea he may be a system quarterback. He doesn’t see it that way.

“You’re dealing with hypotheticals when you say he can’t transition because of the system he plays in,” Petty said during a radio interview on ESPN (transcribed by The Dallas Morning News). “If you look at a spread vs. a west coast, it’s still a system. It’s not that I couldn’t do the things you’re asked to do in the NFL, that’s just not we were asked to do.”

Petty played at Baylor at a time when the Bears were essentially taking to the air and playing an up-tempo style of offense. It worked, with Petty guiding the Bears to two straight Big 12 championships, and appearances in two New Years Six bowls (Fiesta Bowl and Cotton Bowl). Along the way Petty was generally viewed as a player who would put up heavy passing stats without establishing much of a profile for the pro game. Whether that is fair or not may be answered best by seeing what Petty does later in the NFL. If he wins, who will care about Petty’s label?

“At the end of the day, it’s whatever gets you Ws, whether it’s defense or offense or field goals,” Petty added. “At some point you’re going to have to score points. People want to see that, no one wants to see a 6-3 game where everyone’s running the whole game.”

At Baylor the focus shifts to the next starting quarterback. Will Seth Russell, who tossed four touchdowns in Baylor’s spring scrimmage a few weeks back, also receive the label of system quarterback?

Permalink 5 Comments Back to top

The truth revealed about Michigan’s 100,000 crowd streak

Utah v Michigan Getty Images

For 258 consecutive games, the University of Michigan has claimed a crowd of over 100,000 fans have packed into Michigan Stadium to watch the Wolverines play football. As if Coca-Cola ticket promos were not enough to tarnish that number, a new report says the school gave away as many as 62,879 free tickets in 2014 just to keep that somewhat meaningless record going.

The Detroit News reports Michigan’s increased number of comp tickets accounted for 8.9 percent of the stadium’s attendance in 2014, which is up from 2.8 percent in 2013. In Michigan’s final home game of the season against new Big Ten member Maryland, the school handed out approximately 17,000 free tickets according to the report. That helped push the attendance for that game to just over 101,000. That would be the smallest crowd in Michigan Stadium since a 1995 home game against Memphis. But hey, that Big Ten’s presence in the east makes up for this, right?

Every school gives away a certain number of tickets for free, so Michigan is certainly not the first to resort to this tactic nor will they be the last. As the focus on attendance issues continues to spread around the sports world, including the college level, teams and schools have to find ways to generate interest in coming to a game. Sometimes free tickets can do just that. We also have to remember just how rough it was for Michigan last season. The team was not very good and Brady Hoke was pretty much a lame duck coach. Hoke is gone, and there have been changes above as well.

The good news is things look to be on the upswing since the hiring of new head coach Jim Harbaugh. Ticket sales are already increasing and season tickets now have a waiting list for the first time in years. The Harbaugh hype appears to be generating a buzz around Ann Arbor, and the issues regarding attendance should diminish as a result in 2015. This spring Michigan saw one of its biggest spring crowds in over two decades, ranking them second this spring in spring game attendance behind only Nebraska heading into the weekend.

Permalink 16 Comments Back to top

Mark Dantonio wants a midnight madness atmosphere for spring game

Mark Dantonio

Stop us if you have heard this before, but Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio wants 50,000 fans to attend the spring game for the Spartans next weekend. You know, just like he did last year at this time.

Dantonio has done wonders for the Spartan football program, establishing Michigan State as one of the top programs in the Big Ten and most recently coaching the team to a memorable victory in the Cotton Bowl. Michigan State is coming off back-to-back seasons with double-digit victories and has ended the season with a bowl victory four straight years under Dantonio. In that stretch Michigan State has played for the Big Ten title three times and won once. All of this comes while also dominating in-state Big Ten rival Michigan on the football field. Things are good at Michigan State, but Dantonio still feels a need to build around the program. His efforts have been aimed at juicing up the atmosphere at the spring game.

Last year Dantonio made a pitch to get 50,000 fans into Spartan Stadium for the annual spring game. An estimated 35,000 fans ended up showing for the spring game, which is far from a poor showing. But Dantonio wants to create an electric atmosphere, the kind perhaps more commonly seen in basketball. Michigan State being a school with a strong basketball background, that is not a bad way to strategize this effort.

We’re trying to create a midnight madness type of effect for our spring game,” Dantonio said, per MLive.com. “So I think it’s important that we engage our students and give them an opportunity to be out here and do some things that maybe other people don’t get to do all the time.”

Dantonio has high hopes for Michigan State, and they should not be considered unrealistic. Nebraska and Michigan are currently atop the spring game attendance rankings this season, and the Big Ten should be well represented again this weekend with Ohio State and Penn State wrapping up spring practices in front of perennially strong spring crowds. As far as Dantonio is concerned, Michigan State should be right in that mix (despite a considerably smaller stadium)

Michigan State’s spring game is scheduled for April 25 with a 2 p.m. eastern start time. The spring game will be carried live on Big Ten Network.

On a related note, here are the most up-to-date top spring game attendance numbers around the country this spring.

Permalink 6 Comments Back to top

Georgia Tech’s Orange Bowl rings brag about state championship

DeAndre Smelter

Rivalries in college football are awesome, although sometimes they cross a line. When those rivalries take place within the same state, there is just a little bit more at stake on the outcome of the annual meeting on the football field; a so-called state championship.

Georgia Tech celebrated its state championship by defeating SEC rival Georgia at the end of the 2014 season. The win helped catapult Georgia Tech into the Orange Bowl after a tough defeat against Florida State in the ACC Championship Game the following week. The Yellow Jackets went on to win the Orange Bowl against Mississippi State, who at one point in the regular season had been the top-ranked team in college football. As a result, players on Georgia Tech earned an Orange Bowl championship ring this spring. Just as we got a glimpse of Ohio State’s national championship ring yesterday, we also have a look at Georgia Tech’s hardware celebrating not only the Orange Bowl victory, but also its state championship.

Of course, Georgia Tech has a legitimate case to be made to be crowned state champions in the state of Georgia. Not only did the Yellow Jackets sting Georgia, but they also took care of Georgia Southern in September. Rather, Georgia Tech escaped Georgia Southern in a wild contest against the team that would go on to win the Sun Belt championship.

In 2015 Georgia Tech’s only in-state opponent will be the rival Bulldogs at the end of the regular season. Will they defend the self-proclaimed title of state champs?

Permalink 10 Comments Back to top

Alabama could be down as many as eight players for spring game

A'Shawn Robinson

Alabama’s spring game is Saturday, and head coach Nick Saban said Thursday that it will be something less than a full roster hitting the field at Bryant-Denny Stadium. In fact, eight players are expected to miss the game, and another is questionable.

The list: defensive lineman Jonathan Allen, defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson, outside linebacker Ryan Anderson, wide receiver Cam Sims, outside linebacker Denzel Devall, cornerback Cyrus Jones, offensive lineman Brandon Kennedy and running back Bo Scarbrough, while sophomore Hootie Jones is questionable.

“We’ve got probably more guys out for this game than we’ve had in the past, which again, creates an opportunity for some other players to player,” Saban told TideSports.com. “You’re always a little thinner in the spring without having the entire freshman class with you. We’ve got quite a few guys out of this game, but as I said before, it’s a great opportunity for some other guys to show what they can do and get out there and play and get some game-like experience.”

Alabama playing without half its defense and most of its freshman class is what rival coaches call “leveling the playing field.”

Permalink 6 Comments Back to top