The American Athletic Conference is expected to vote on a proposal to invite Wichita State to join the conference on Friday. If approved, the AAC would add Wichita State as a full member, with the notable exception of football, as the Shockers have not stepped foot on a football field since discontinuing the program in 1986. If accepted into the AAC, do not expect this to spur the reviving of the program.
As fun as it would be to see Wichita State attempt a comeback in college football, and it seems that idea has been on the minds of some recently, the economics simply are not in favor of such a move at this time. For starters, the travel just within the conference would be a burden that would take a toll on the initial benefits to joining the AAC in other sports. But starting up a program with the intent to play FBS football is a serious commitment that must be planned out well in advance. That is not to say it should not be an option if the school has the inkling in the future, but for right now that is simply not in the cards.
Wichita State has done its homework over the years about a possible return to football. In 1992, the university conducted a feasibility study and determined it needed $24 million in stadium renovations in order to comply with 1-A football regulations at the time. Five years later it was determined it would cost $11 million to revive the football program and a handful of women’s sports. A year later, in 1998, the university’s advisory board recommended reinstating football following a 15-month study, but the recommendation failed to lead to a football comeback. In 2006, the mayor of Wichita proposed using public funds to help revive the program, only to drop the plan less than a month after suggesting it. And as recently as in 2012, the formation of a club football team was made with the intent of paving a path back to a full program rebirth at Wichita State. Here we are five years later and nothing has come of that either.
There is also the fact the AAC is not in need of adding any football members. The most recent addition of Navy as a football-only member brought balance to the conference lineup with a full 12 members. Unless the AAC loses a school to another conference, the need to fill a spot in the football lineup is non-existent for the foreseeable future. The Big 12’s flirting and teasing with AAC members without ever extending a formal invite to the conference made sure of that.
Wichita State should also be mindful of the experiences other programs are currently having in the evolving college football landscape. Idaho just became the first FBS program to drop down to the FCS. New Mexico State is left in isolation as an independent after being cut loose as a football member of the Sun Belt Conference. UMass was recently let go by the MAC and some members of the UMass community would prefer to see the program follow Idaho’s lead and return to the FCS.
Simply put, unless Wichita State has some serious funding behind the launch of a revived football program, the timing and climate is just too unsettling to consider such an option.
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.