Arkansas Razorbacks

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Ex-South Carolina RB David Williams transfers to Arkansas

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David Williams may have left the SEC East, but, as it turns out, he’s not leaving the conference altogether.

On his Twitter account Friday, Williams announced that he has decided to continue his collegiate playing career at Arkansas.  The move comes five months after he decided to transfer from South Carolina.

As he graduated from USC this past December, he’ll be eligible to play immediately in 2017.  The upcoming season will be his final year of eligibility.

Williams’ 239 yards rushing and three rushing touchdowns were third on the team and tied for third, respectively, this season.  He also had nine receptions for 72 yards coming out of the backfield.

The Philadelphia high school product, who started six games the last three years, finished the USC portion of his career with 794 yards and five touchdowns on 187 carries as well as 27 catches and 264 yards receiving.

The Razorbacks have lost a pair of running backs this offseason, precipitating the need to bolster the backfield with a graduate transfer.  Another neck injury in early May prompted UA’s leading rusher, Rawleigh Williams, to retire from the sport, while Juan Day left the program as a grad transfer a couple of weeks later.

Arkansas AD quiets hot seat talk for head coach Bret Bielema

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Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema is one game under .500 overall and just 10-22 in SEC play since arriving in Fayetteville. Add in a disappointing ending to the 2016 season and many Razorbacks fans have been clamoring to put the fifth-year coach on the hot seat as a result of the team’s struggles.

No so fast, says the school’s athletic director and former College Football Playoff Selection Committee chairman Jeff Long.

“Bret is the leader of our program,” Long told SEC Country at the league’s spring meetings. “The leader is more than just winning games — and I know some fans don’t wanna hear that. Trust me, it doesn’t mean we aren’t competing with every fiber of our being to win in the toughest conference and the toughest division of that conference. But when you look at what Bret’s doing, we’re building a program that’s built on an outstanding foundation.”

While that’s not exactly a bang-on-the-table-type of claim that Bielema will be in charge in 2018 and beyond, it’s a pretty strong statement as far as AD-speak goes. The program was certainly a mess following the tenures of Bobby Petrino and John L. Smith and the former Wisconsin coach has righted the ship quite a bit since then.

Of course, all coaches are judged by wins and losses and Bielema hasn’t quite hit the high level many in the fan base want at this stage — especially when it comes to conference play. Given what a meat-grinder the SEC West is on an annual basis, it’s going to be difficult to find the kind of success that many want but at least for Bielema it appears he has the backing of his AD for the foreseeable future.

Auburn AD banging the drum for a Tigers move to SEC East, Mizzou shift to West

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Tuesday, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey laid talk of a potential Auburn move from the SEC West to the East at the feet of the media. A day later, that university’s athletic director picked up the talk and ran with it. Hard.

After months of chatter on the subject, Jay Jacobs met the issue head-on at the conference’s spring meetings Wednesday, with the AU AD banging the drum very loudly for his football team to move from the West to the East and Missouri taking their place in the division.

While it makes sense football-wise for most involved, Jacobs cited the demographics of the student population at large as one of the reasons he will push for a divisional adjustment.

“It makes more sense for Auburn from the standpoint of the demographics of our students, not our student-athletes,” the athletics boss said according to 247Sports.com‘s Brandon Marcello. “Six or eight years ago, I looked at all the demographics. Most of all our students come from Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina, Kentucky, a few from Mississippi, very few from Louisiana.

“Since we went to the national championship twice we’ve got more geographical students from all over the place but still the majority of our students come from the southeast.”

The Opelika-Auburn News lays out the geographical argument, as it in reality relates to athletics budgets that are impacted by more than football specifically, very succinctly:

If you look at SEC universities laid out on a map, Auburn is closer to SEC East schools Georgia, Florida South Carolina, Tennessee and Vanderbilt than it is to SEC West schools such as Arkansas, LSU and Texas A&M.

Missouri is closer to all three of those schools than it is to the ones located in the Eastern Time Zone.

Jacobs is expected to broach the West-to-East subject with Sankey this week as the conference’s ADs talk shop with the commissioner, although it won’t be on the official agenda.

As for the the Iron Bowl as well as the annual matchup with the team Between The Hedges as part of any potential move? “[T]he bottom line is … we’re going to keep playing Georgia and we’re going to keep playing Alabama,” Jacobs said.

Moving to a nine-game conference schedule — and this is without even discussing eliminating divisions entirely as well — would easily facilitate an Auburn move to the East as well as limit, if not completely erase, the concerns over losing long-time rivalries across the league. Of course, we all know adding another league game will likely gain very little if any traction, at least not for the foreseeable future.

After all, you gotta continue to have those cupcakes as part of your Deep South college football diet.

Brad Nessler to make SEC on CBS debut with TCU-Arkansas game

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It seemed to be forgotten during Verne Lundquist‘s (deserved) year-long farewell tour last season, but CBS had a top-shelf broadcaster in Brad Nessler waiting in the wings.

Lundquist has now exited stage left, and it’s Nessler’s turn to stand in the spotlight.

CBS announced Tuesday its broadcast schedule for the 2017 season…. well, as much as it could. Twelve of the 19 games CBS will broadcast this fall remain unfilled, but we know Nessler will make his debut in Fayetteville, Ark., as Arkansas hosts TCU on Sept. 9. He’ll call Tennessee at Florida the next week before the schedule moves into TBD territory until the Georgia-Florida game on Oct. 28.

(No offense to Nessler, but it sure would be nice to hear Uncle Verne’s call to a Southwest Conference reunion in Frogs-Hogs.)

Nessler will work alongside analyst Gary Danielson and sideline reporter Allie LaForce. CBS will once again call the Army-Navy Game and the Sun Bowl in addition to its SEC slate.

TCU and Arkansas resumed their series last season for the first time since Arkansas left the SWC after the 1991 season; the Hogs won the game 41-38 in double overtime. TCU’s visit will be its first trip to Fayetteville since 1988. Arkansas leads the all-time series 44-23-2.

Rimington watch list details list of returning centers

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It’s the dead time of the college football calendar, which means it’s time for this sport’s oldest, most antiquated tradition: watch lists.

First one in line is the Rimington Trophy, given to the best center in college football. And to help voters narrow down their choice for when voting picks up six months from now, the Rimington has helpfully provided this watch list of essentially every returning starting center in college football.

The 2017 list includes (deep breath):

– Aaron Mitchell, Fresno State
– Alan Knott, South Carolina
– Alac Eberle, Florida State
– Antonyo Woods, Florida Atlantic
– Asotui Eli, Hawaii
– Austin Doan, Central Michigan
– Austin Golson, Auburn
– Austin Schlottmann, TCU
– Billy Price, Ohio State
– Blaise Fountain, New Mexico
– Brad Lundblade, Oklahoma State
– Brad North, Northwestern
– Bradley Bozeman, Alabama
– Brendan Moore, Maryland
– Brian Allen, Michigan State
– Bryce Holland, Army
– Cameron Ruff, South Florida
– Chandler Miller, Tulsa
– Coleman Shelton, Washington
– Colton Prater, Texas A&M
– Danny Godloveske, Miami (Ohio)
– Dennis Edwards, Western Kentucky
– Drew Keyser, Memphis
– Erick Wren, Oklahoma
– Evan Brown, SMU
– Frank Ragnow, Arkansas
– Gabe Mobley, Georgia State
– Garrett McGhin, East Carolina
– Jake Bennett, Colorado State
– Jake Hanson, Oregon
– Jake Pruehs, Ohio
– James Daniels, Iowa
– James O’Hagan, Buffalo
– Jesse Burkett, Stanford
– John Keenoy, Western Michigan
– Jon Baker, Boston College
– Julian Good-Jones, Iowa State
– Keoni Taylor, San Jose State
– LaVonne Gauthney, Akron
– Levi Brown, Marshall
– Luke Shively, Northern Illinois
– Mason Hampton, Boise State
– Matt Hennessy, Temple
– Mesa Ribordy, Kansas
– Michael Deiter, Wisconsin
– Nathan Puthoff, Kent State
– Nick Allegretti, Illinois
– Nick Clarke, Old Dominion
– Reid Najvar, Kansas State
– Ryan Anderson, Wake Forest
– Sam Mustipher, Notre Dame
– Scott Quessenberry, UCLA
– Sean Krepsz, Nevada
– Sean Rawlings, Ole Miss
– Sumner Houston, Oregon State
– T.J. McCoy, Florida
– Tanner Thrift, Baylor
– Tejan Koroma, BYU
– Tim McAullife, Bowling Green
– Trey Martin, Rice
– Will Clapp, LSU
– Will Noble, Houston
– Zach Shackelford, Texas

Exhale.

Got all that?

Ohio State’s Pat Elflein claimed the honor last season.