To much fanfare, the Big Ten recently inked a major extension to its TV deals with ESPN and Fox. To much consternation, the Big Ten also revealed some Friday night broadcasts will be included as part of those 9-figure paychecks.
In a conference that fancies itself the Ivy League of FBS, Friday night games were welcomed about as warmly as if the Ivy League itself selling its naming rights to McDonald’s.
Northwestern was slated for two of the eight Friday games in 2017, but Wildcats head coach Pat Fitzgerald revealed Monday Northwestern will instead play none. From the Chicago Tribune:
But Fitzgerald’s 2017 team also received what the coach called “great news” — it will not have to play two Big Ten games on Friday night.
In November the Big Ten announced it had added Friday night games, including NU at Maryland (Oct. 13) and Michigan State at NU (Oct. 27).
Fitzgerald has been strongly opposed to Friday games because they can detract from high school football and disrupt his players’ class and practice schedules. Many NU fans also were outspoken in their opposition, citing Friday work schedules, traffic and the inability to have enough time to tailgate.
The league listened, with a Big Ten source saying it heard from university leadership at Northwestern regarding all the “unintended consequences” that accompany Friday night games.
It’s not clear how Friday work schedules and traffic affect Northwestern fans when the team is in College Park, Md., as they were scheduled to be on Oct. 13. It’s also not clear how the Big Ten couldn’t have seen the “unintended consequences” of football games on weeknights coming before they made the announcement.
Nevertheless, Northwestern will not play on Fridays this year and the earth will continue to spin on its axis.
A pair of teams from the Big Ten and Pac-12 have decided to combine forces for a little camping action this summer.
During an interview Thursday, UCLA head coach Jim Mora revealed that his coaching staff as well as Michigan’s will work a football camp together in a couple of months. The camp will take place in June on the UCLA campus.
Mora’s counterpart at U-M, in case you were wondering, is expected to take part as well.
“We’re going to have a camp,” Mora told the Rich Eisen Show by way of mlive.com. “Michigan is going to send some of their coaches out, (Jim) Harbaugh is coming out – we’re going to do a combined camp with Michigan. It’s going to be fun.”
Interestingly, there is a very recent coaching connection between the two programs to add to the summer marriage.
The past two seasons, Jedd Fisch had served as the quarterbacks coach/wide receivers coach/passing-game coordinator for the Wolverines. In early January, it was announced that Fisch would be the Bruins’ new offensive coordinator. He’ll also serve as quarterbacks coach.
Football could turn into futbol at Texas A&M’s Kyle Field this summer.
The Dallas Morning News is reporting that the venue is on the short list to host English Premier League giants Manchester United and Manchester City for a stateside derby on July 20th this summer.
“We firmly believe Texas A&M is a world-class university, so you’re bringing world-class Premier League soccer teams to the campus,” Aggies senior associate athletic director Kevin Hurley told the paper.
For college football fans not aware, the two teams are some of the biggest soccer clubs in the world and annually stage a Manchester derby (think home-and-home series) several times a year for supremacy in the large, industrial English city. The upcoming game between the two in the United States is set to be part of the International Champions Cup, which has hosted several other major clubs from across Europe in matches at college football stadiums ranging from the Big House at Michigan to Oregon’s Autzen Stadium.
Perhaps most interestingly, the DMN notes that Texas’ Memorial Stadium was originally in the running to host the game but organizers had to look elsewhere because of scheduling issues. The Longhorns and Aggies used to have one of the best rivalries in all of college athletics so it just makes sense for the two to have a bit and a back-and-forth when it comes to hosting a rivalry of a different kind.
Houston’s NRG Stadium (home of the Texans) is also reportedly in the mix but playing a soccer game at one of college football’s loudest venues seems like the no-brainer choice on novelty alone. It would be worth going to alone to see A&M fans explain ‘Gig’em’ and the ’12 Man’ to those from across the pond.
When you think of legendary head coach Bear Bryant, the Alabama Crimson Tide typically comes to mind. After all, that’s where he solidified his status on the Mount Rushmore of college football and had the most success of any coach not named Nick Saban.
Some outside the South may not realize it though, but Bryant really developed his reputation running a football team at another SEC and only some fans would be able to guess that came during his eight seasons at Kentucky. During his tenure in Lexington, Bryant guided the Wildcats to their first SEC football title (in 1950) and saw unprecedented success (before or since) on the gridiron at the school that included several top 10 finishes. Now it appears that connection to UK could play a role in landing a budding 2019 recruit.
Per AL.com, Paul Tyson was the latest player to receive a scholarship offer from Mark Stoops and his staff and, while that name might not ring a bell, it turns out that Tyson is the great-grandson of one Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant.
The 6-foot-4, 210-pound signal-caller from Hewitt-Trussville High is not yet considered a blue-chip recruit but 247Sports is reporting that several power programs (including Alabama) are interested in him. Tyson didn’t even start for the varsity team last season but given his good size and good genes, it’s safe to say he could see his stock explode over the coming years.
The real question is though, if the Crimson Tide come along with an offer, would the quarterback be able to turn down a chance to play in Tuscaloosa? As with everything in recruiting, we’ll have to wait until pen meets paper on National Signing Day.
Spring practice has wrapped up at Nebraska and a pair of offensive lineman are on their way out of the program for greener pastures in the Cornhuskers old home of the Big 12.
First up on the moving van is offensive lineman Zach Hannon, who announced on Thursday he will transfer to Kansas. The Kansas City native is a graduate transfer so he should be able to play right away with the Jayhawks.
He’s not the only offensive lineman pursuing a graduate transfer from Lincoln however, as Dwayne Johnson also announced his intention to earn his diploma next month and move on to a Big 12 school — in this case Texas Tech.
The back-to-back departures is a bit of a blow to the Cornhuskers depth along the offensive line but neither was expected to start in 2017 for the team. Johnson appeared in only two games during his Nebraska career while Hannon played in only 15 contests with most of the snaps on special teams. Each faces a big learning curve at their new stops given that both of those Big 12 schools run some version of the Air Raid offense but the move does give them both a fresh start in 2017.