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AAC may add Wichita State, but revival of football program would be shocking

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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.

Twice-arrested Nate Howard dismissed by Mizzou

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Not surprisingly, Nate Howard‘s time at Missouri has come to an unceremonious end.

Thursday evening, Howard (pictured, No. 88) tweeted a missive that, along with some emojis, read “Once a Tiger Always a Tiger! farewell Mizzou Nation!” Not long after, the football program confirmed that Howard has been dismissed from Barry Odom‘s team.

Per the school, Odom will actively help the former Tiger find a new college football home.

In June, the defensive lineman was charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana and no vehicle registration. The controlled substance charge is a felony. For that, he was indefinitely suspended.

While still on suspension, Howard was arrested on an out-of-county warrant related to his failure to appear on a speeding ticket this week. That proved to be the final straw for Odom.

A three-star member of the Tigers’ 2015 recruiting class, Howard was rated as the No. 7 player at any position in the state of Missouri. He played in 11 games as a true freshman, recording 12 tackles and two tackles for loss.

While his playing time dipped to four games last year, he exited spring practice this year in line to claim a starting job this season.

For ‘personal reasons,’ starting BYU LB Francis Bernard will redshirt the 2017 season

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BYU’s linebacking corps has taken a significant and somewhat unexpected hit on the brink of the start of a new season.

The football program announced Thursday that Francis Bernard (pictured, No. 13) will miss the 2017 season because of what were described as unspecified “personal reasons.” The linebacker, at least for now, is scheduled to return as a playing member of the Cougars as a fourth-year junior in 2018.

Despite not playing in games, the school stated in its release that “the 6-foot-1, 240-pound outside linebacker will continue to participate in all team practices, meetings and activities during the upcoming season.”

“The fact that he is still around means we will still have his presence here,” senior captain Fred Warner said according to the Daily Herald. “We lift each other up. Anytime we face any adversity, we are all there for each other. We’re a tight-knit group.”

Bernard started 12 games for the Cougars last season. His 80 tackles in 2016 were third on the team.

Rutgers declares war on Washington, comes armed with jacuzzi for fans

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Rutgers will open up the 2017 season at home against defending Pac-12 champion Washington on Friday, September 8, and the Scarlet Knights are declaring war on the Huskies. In a somewhat awkward promotion for the season opener, Rutgers is advertising the game as the “War Before the Shore,” thus encouraging fans to come out to the game before enjoying their Labor Day weekend down at the Jersey shores in the final weekend of the summer.

The first 5,000 fans attending the game will be handed a rally towel complete with the “War Before the Shore” logo designed for the game. In addition, students attending the game will walk away with a tank top that reads “Rutgers The State Football Team of New Jersey.” Students will also receive a pair of sunglasses to go with their new tank top, if they are among the first 2,000 fans to walk through the gates of the student section. The student section will also feature a temporary jacuzzi.

But if that’s not enough to entice fans to come out and enjoy a football game, Rutgers will fill the areas outside the stadium with volleyball courts, food trucks, carnival rides and boardwalk games to keep a shore feeling going.

Washington defeated Rutgers 48-13 in the 2016 season opener. The Huskies went on to win the Pac-12 and play in the College Football Playoff. Rutgers struggled through a 2-10 season in the first season with Chris Ash as head coach. Rutgers lost home games to No. 4 Michigan 78-0 and No. 9 Penn State 39-0 last season. If this season plays out on a similar note, Rutgers may want to add some more hot tubs.

Texas TE Andrew Beck out 6-8 weeks with broken foot

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On Wednesday in practice, Texas tight end Andrew Beck went down with a foot injury. Texas later announced the injury was a broken foot, and it will cost Beck some playing time at the start of the year.

This is the second time this offseason Beck has been sidelined with a lower body injury. He also sat out of spring practices with a broken foot. It has been unconfirmed if the injury is to the same foot or not. Whatever the case may be, Beck will be out of action for the next six to eight weeks at the minimum. Going off of that timeline, the earliest Beck might be available would be for the Big 12 opener against Iowa State in Ames, Iowa on Thursday, September 28. That is six weeks out from now. The two weeks after that will be games against Kansas State and Oklahoma.

The Longhorns will have to figure out who to trust at the tight end position now. The leading candidate may be Syracuse graduate transfer, Kendall Moore. Moore started four games for the Orange in 2014 and 2015, so his starting experience is limited. Moore just joined the Texas program at the end of July and was immediately thought to be a potential starter in the event Beck suffered a setback with his foot. The depth at the tight end position is not quite where Herman would ideally like to have it, but the Longhorns may be able to survive the first part of the season with their heads above water until Beck is able to return.