Arkansas Razorbacks

AUSTIN, TX - OCTOBER 04:  Jake Raulerson #50 of the Texas Longhorns at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on October 4, 2014 in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Once committed to UCLA, Ex-Texas C Jake Raulerson tweets a move on to Arkansas

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The long, strange journey of Jake Raulerson has apparently come to an end, but not before one final little twist.

After it was announced in January that the Texas graduate transfer would be moving on to UCLA, it was reported earlier this month that he wouldn’t be a Bruin after all as he wasn’t admitted into his two preferred graduate programs at that school. Subsequent to that, Raulerson posted on Twitter that he had been accepted into SMU’s business program, leading most to assume that the Mustangs would be his new home.

What’s that saying about the word assume? Again on his Twitter account, Raulerson revealed Wednesday that he has been accepted into Arkansas’ business school, seemingly confirming that SMU now had some competition for his services both academically and athletically.

Less than a day after that posting, Raulerson took to the same social media site Thursday to announce that he will be finishing (presumably) his collegiate career with the Razorbacks.

The acceptance letter and decision to transfer to the Hogs came after an extended visit to Fayetteville by the offensive lineman last week. Along with UA and SMU, North Carolina had also been believed to be a potential landing spot.

Raulerson started five games in 2014 (four at center, one at guard), then played in eight games this past season. Exiting the 2015 regular season, Patterson was viewed as the favorite to win the starting center job for the Longhorns in 2016.

Not only will Raulerson be eligible to play immediately at Arkansas, but he will be eligible to play in 2017 as well.

Ex-Arkansas RB Denzel Evans’ transfer to Kansas ‘as done as it’s gonna be’

Denzell Evans
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While it’s not officially official, all signs are pointing to Denzel Evans continuing his collegiate career in the Big 12.

Back in early May, Evans opted to transfer out of the Arkansas football program in a search of a better opportunity at playing time.  Now, a month later, the running back has indicated to Matt Tait of the Lawrence Journal-World that, barring something unforeseen, he will transfer to Kansas and play for the Jayhawks.

“It’s as done as it’s gonna be without me signing,” he said of moving on to the Jayhawks. “I just want to focus on school, develop my game and be ready to go when I touch down in Lawrence.”

Evans will need to complete 18 credit hours in the two summer sessions at Arkansas in order to graduate from UA.  H would then be eligible to play immediately at KU in 2016, and would have two seasons of eligibility remaining.

Evans hopes to be on campus and on the field with his new teammates for the start of summer camp in early August.

The past two seasons after redshirting as a true freshman in 2013, Evans had played in 15 games.  Evans rushed for 84 yards on 13 carries in his Razorbacks career; 48 of those yards and six of the carries came in the fourth quarter of an Oct. 31 win over UT-Martin this past season.

Evans, a three-star 2013 signee, scored a pair of rushing touchdowns in the spring game last month.

Arkansas adds New Mexico State to 2017 slate

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - OCTOBER 25:  Head Coach Bret Bielema of the Arkansas Razorbacks raises his arms after a made field goal during a game against the UAB Blazers at Razorback Stadium on October 25, 2014 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Razorbacks defeated the Blazers 45-17.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
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To avoid the rush, go ahead and mark your calendars now and plan accordingly.

In a press release, Arkansas announced that they have reached an agreement on a 2017 game against New Mexico State.  The game will, of course, be played in Fayetteville and is set to kick off Sept. 30, although an exact kickoff time and television network have yet to be announced.

The Razorbacks and Aggies have met five times previously, with the Hogs winning all five by a combined score of 251-67.  The “closest” game came in 2003, a 48-20 UA victory.

The last meeting came in 2004, the first in 1977.  All five of the games have been played in either Fayetteville or Little Rock.

Previously, UA had announced two non-conference games for the 2017 season — home matchups with FCS Coastal Carolina (Nov. 4) and TCU (to be determined).  The latter is the second half of a home-and-home series, while UA will begin a home-and-home with Michigan the following year.

SEC expands conduct policy for transfers, not incoming freshmen

NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 13:  Greg Sankey the new commissioner of the SEC talks to the media before the quaterfinals of the SEC Basketball Tournament at Bridgestone Arena on March 13, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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Jeffery Simmons caught what many considered an undeserved — and wholly unacceptable — break from Mississippi State Thursday.  A day later, the five-star 2016 signee caught a break from his conference for good measure.

In April of last year, the SEC voted to ban member institutions from accepting transfers who had been disciplined for serious misconduct at his previous school, with that defined as sexual assault, sexual violence and domestic violence.  As the SEC wrapped up its annual spring meetings Friday, and as had previously been expected, the conference announced that it will be expanding that policy to include “dating violence, stalking or conduct of a nature that creates serious concern about the safety of others.”

Additionally, the expanded policy will require schools to perform background checks on any transfer before they are permitted to practice or play with the team.  Those checks are expected to satisfy what’s described as the SEC’s “minimum due diligence expectations.”

However, the new policy still only applies to transfers; incoming freshmen are not subject to the policy.  That, though, could change, especially in light of the Simmons situation in Starkville.

“I can envision a continuing dialogue that looks at what we’ve done on serious misconduct relative to transfers, and the question will be asked is that sufficient?” commissioner Greg Sankey said. “Should we remain there? That doesn’t predict outcomes, but I envision that will be a conversation topic going forward. But I never anticipated that we were done.

“This conference has been wrestling with the issue, and it’s not easy. I hope people can appreciate that. It’s not as if this is done in a sterile environment, and I think that’s an important conversation. I said that last year, and I’ve said that this year. There’s a point at which the legislation concluded for this week, and we’ll see what the future might hold without prediction.”

Bret Bielema’s Big Ten-SEC challenge would be awesome, but not likely

LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS - NOVEMBER 23:  Head Coach Bret Bielema of the Arkansas Razorbacks points to a official during a game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at War Memorial Stadium on November 23, 2013 in Little Rock, Arkansas.  The Bulldogs defeated the Razorbacks 24-17.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
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A few years back the Big Ten and Pac-12 reached an agreement to organize a conference-wide scheduling agreement in which 12 members of the Big Ten would take on all 12 schools f the Pac-12 on an annual basis. The concept is similar to one the Big Ten has in basketball with the ACC, but the idea never became a reality as the Pac-12 backed out of the deal before it could ever materialize on paper. Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema hopes to revive the idea with the hope of having the SEC and Big Ten work out an agreement to have a similar conference-wide competition during the regular season.

“I thought was just so cool to see crossover games at the beginning of the year,” Bielema said at SEC Spring Meetings in Destin, per Al.com. “Let the commissioners come together and decide who’s playing them or an outside source. Have the Big Ten and the SEC go together on two different weekends, seven teams … It would be an awesome thing for everybody involved.”

It would be awesome. Too bad it will never happen, in all likelihood. SEC commissioner Greg Sankey brushed aside the idea, refusing to discuss hypotheticals, although he praised Bielema for his outside-the-box thinking.

“We generally call those bowl games,” Sankey said, “but I appreciate the creative thought that’s out there. … The First Amendment is alive and well in Destin, Florida.”

Because of the nature of college football scheduling, it could take at least a decade to put together any such scheduling arrangement, if not more. There are simply too many scheduling philosophies from both sides that get in the way, such as the Big Ten using a nine-game conference schedule compared to the SEC’s eight-game conference schedule, already existing crossover rivalry games against schools from the ACC for a handful of SEC programs and the all important need to guarantee a minimum number of home games per season by each member of a power conference. But it’s a great concept and it would work out great in a non-existent NCAA Football game. It just will never happen in real life unless we see a complete breaking off of the power conferences to their own model, which would likely involve the Big 12, Pac-12 and ACC.

Imagine annual matchups between schools like Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, Michigan, Nebraska and LSU, Penn State, Florida, Wisconsin and Arkansas (Bielema Bowl). It would sure be a lot of fun, but we’ll just have to keep dreaming instead.