For those not familiar with HEB Grocery Company, it’s a grocery giant founded in Kerrville, Texas, in 1905 by a man named Florence Butt. H-E-B now owns nearly 400 stores stretching across south and central Texas and central Mexico. H-E-B essentially owns the San Antonio area and leases back to its million-plus residents, so it makes sense that when UTSA and Texas State wanted to brand their rivalry, they turned to H-E-B.
Starting this season, the UTSA-Texas State series will now be known as the H-E-B I-35 Showdown
Cue the AD boilerplate!
“We’re thrilled that H-E-B has become the title sponsor for the I-35 rivalry football games between UTSA and Texas State,” UTSA Associate Vice President/Director of Athletics Lynn Hickey said. “No matter the sport, both fan bases always show up in strong support when the Roadrunners and the Bobcats get together on the playing fields. This newly-branded name for the football games this season and next will only add to the rich history between the two schools.”
“It is great to have H-E-B supporting the I-35 football series between Texas State and UTSA,” Texas State Director of Athletics Larry Teis said. “H-E-B has a great relationship with the state of Texas and both universities. We have continued to play UTSA in other sports and the rivalry is strong for our student-athletes and fans.”
The two schools are natural gridiron rivals. They sit just 50 miles apart — connected by Interstate 35, of course — and compete for athletes and regular students alike. The Roadrunners and Bobcats have been Olympics sports rivals for years, primarily as members of the Southland Conference. Each football program is (obviously) in FBS now and have met only once, a 38-31 UTSA win in 2012, since the Roadrunners’ program launched in 2011.
The series will resume Sept. 23 in San Marcos, with Texas State making a return visit to San Antonio on Sept. 22, 2018.
I think we can all agree with this: it’s about damn time.
Since the St. Petersburg Bowl was launched in 2008, it’s undergone several name changes, from the magicJack St. Petersburg Bowl (2008) to the St. Petersburg Bowl presented by Beef O’Brady’s (2009) to the Beef O’Grady’s Bowl (2010-13) to the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl (2014). Now, the game that’s been known as the St. Petersburg Bowl the past two seasons is set to undergo its most glorious name change yet as Brett McMurphy is reporting that it will now be known as the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl.
See, absolutely and utterly glorious. In a similar vein, move over Poulan Weed-Eater Bowl as we have a new king wearing the “Greatest Bowl Game Name Ever” crown.
Bad Boy Mowers bills itself as “delivering the finest cut lawn care professionals and serious landowners demand;” the fact that the home of the bowl game, Tropicana Field, utilizes Shaw Sports Turf as its playing surface merely serves to add to the greatness of the name. And from where does Gasparilla come? McMurphy describes it as “an attempt to make the bowl seem more regional for the Tampa Bay area since the annual Gasparilla Parade is held each year in Tampa.”
The name change for the game, which pits teams from the AAC and Conference USA against each other, is expected to officially be announced Monday.
In the relatively brief history of the Conference USA championship game, there has never been a rematch of the previous season’s title game. If all goes according to plan as predicted by the media, that could change in 2017.
Western Kentucky and Louisiana Tech were each the clear favorites to win their respective divisions in the Conference USA preseason media poll released today. Both programs received 20 first-place votes to easily be named the preseason favorites in the Conference USA divisions, setting the stage for a potential rematch in the Conference USA championship game at the end of the season. Western Kentucky is the two-time defending Conference USA champion, and Louisiana Tech has played in two of the last three title games, so it was hardly a shock to see both programs be named the preseason favorites by the media.
UAB returns to the football field this season, and the preseason poll suggests it will be a rocky return. The Blazers were picked to finish last in the West Division. After Louisiana Tech, UTSA picked up seven first-place votes to come in second in the preseason poll. Southern Miss, now a year removed from playing for the conference championship, received the last remaining first-place vote in the West Division.
Western Kentucky failed to gobble up all of the first-place votes in the East Division as well. Middle Tennessee received four votes, while Old Dominion picked up three. Marshall also received a first-place nod from the voters. New FBS program and conference member Charlotte was picked last in the East, as expected. Lane Kiffin‘s FAU Owls were picked to finish in fifth place.
Here’s how the preseason media poll in Conference USA looks. No picks for conference champion were made.
Conference USA East Division
- Western Kentucky (20 first-place votes)
- Middle Tennessee (4)
- Old Dominion (3)
- Marshall (1)
- Florida Atlantic
Conference USA West Division
- Louisiana Tech (20)
- UTSA (7)
- Southern Miss (1)
- North Texas
LSU has come to an agreement to host UTSA in 2020, according to FBSchedules.com. LSU will pay UTSA $1.4 million for the privilege, the report states.
The date of the game be Sept. 5, 2020, the lid lifter on the ’20 campaign for both teams, and pit longtime LSU assistant and current UTSA head coach Frank Wilson against his old club.
It will, naturally, be the first meeting between the Tigers and Roadrunners and UTSA’s first game ever against a traditional SEC opponent. UTSA visited Texas A&M last November — a 23-10 Aggies victory — and will play at Kyle Field again in 2019.
UTSA also has visits to Memphis and Texas State on its 2020 non-conference slate — three road trips in four weeks to open the year.
The UTSA game completes LSU’s Texas-centric 2020 non-conference schedule. The Bayou Bengals will host Texas the week after UTSA, and then head to Houston’s NRG Stadium a week after that to face Rice. They’ll complete their non-SEC schedule at home opposite Nicholls State on Oct. 3, a game that was supposed to open the 2020 season until the UTSA game bumped it backward, according to a copy of the contract obtained by FBSchedules.
The recruiting violations have officially come home to roost for one FBS assistant coach.
The NCAA announced Friday that Bo Davis was found by the Committee on Infractions to have “acted unethically when he provided false or misleading information about impermissible recruiting contacts.” In late April of last year, reports surfaced that Davis was expected to resign or be fired as Alabama’s defensive line coach after the school opened an inquiry into possible NCAA violations on the recruiting trail. The nature of the violations were not revealed, but the NCAA had launched investigations into the matter and Alabama opened its own corresponding inquiry.
A day later, the Tide announced that Davis had, ahem, “submitted his letter of resignation.”
In its decision, which you can read in its entirety HERE, the NCAA detailed Davis’ recruiting violations:
- Between December 1, 2014, and January 31, 2015, the athletics representative, who was the mother of a then Alabama football student-athlete, contacted the head football coach at the high school to arrange a meeting. Once the athletics representative arrived at the high school, she asked to meet with four football prospective student-athletes (prospects 1, 2, 3 and 4 respectively). The athletics representative initially met with the four prospects for approximately 10 to 15 minutes and [Davis] later joined the meeting for approximately 15 to 20 minutes. The impermissible contact lasted a total of 25 to 35 minutes, occurred at least six months prior to the permissible timeframe for an off-campus contact with prospect 3 and at least 18 months prior to the permissible time frame for off-campus contacts with prospects 1, 2 and 4.
- During his September 23, 2015, and April 25, 2016, interviews with the enforcement staff and institution, [Davis] provided false or misleading information when he denied knowledge of the athletics representative’s involvement with and her presence during [Davis’] visit to the high school detailed in Violation No. 1. In both interviews, [Davis] denied seeing the athletics representative at the high school and denied that she had any involvement in his visit outlined in Violation No. 1-a. [Davis’] statements are in direct contradiction to information reported to the institution and enforcement staff by two involved football prospects and the high school’s head football coach, as well as some of [Davis’] own statements during his May 2, 2016, interview.
Because of the violations as well as being untruthful with investigators, Davis has been slapped with a two-year show-cause penalty. Davis contested the length of the penalty, but “the panel determined the penalty was appropriate because the former assistant coach had a responsibility as a part of the NCAA membership to provide truthful information during the investigation and he failed to do so during the interviews.”
Davis will be barred from all off-campus recruiting activities during the two years the show-cause is in place. He was hired in late February by UT-San Antonio as the football program’s defensive line coach. It’s unclear what if any impact the NCAA’s decision will have on his employment.
Additionally, the NCAA found that Alabama “committed Level III recruiting violations when a second former assistant football coach had impermissible off-campus contact with a recruit during an evaluation period and members of the football staff impermissibly allowed a prospect’s youth football coach to attend a recruiting visit at the prospect’s home.” The names of those involved weren’t revealed.
Alabama self-imposed penalties related to those activities, placing recruiting restrictions on those involved; disassociating itself from “a representative of the institution’s athletics interests” (a booster; and fining itself $5,000. The NCAA has accepted those self-imposed penalties, and will not add to them.