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A&M, UCLA both add New Mexico to future schedules

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Texas A&M and UCLA announced Wednesday that their 2017 opener had been moved from Saturday to Sunday.  As it turns out, that wasn’t the only scheduling news connecting the two football programs.

As part of a release announcing seven games being added to its future schedules, New Mexico confirmed that two of those contests will include A&M and UCLA.  Both of those games, obviously, will be on the road, with the Lobos traveling to College Station Sept. 18, 2021, and to Pasadena and the Rose Bowl Sept. 13, 2025.

In its release, the school wrote that “[t]he game in College Station has a guarantee of $1,100,000 and 450 complementary tickets,” while “[t]he game in Pasadena has a guarantee of $1,200,000 plus 2,000 complementary tickets that UNM can sell for extra revenue.”

The last and only time New Mexico and UCLA squared off was in the 2002 Las Vegas Bowl, a 27-13 win for the Bruins.  UNM and A&M actually completed a home-and-home series relatively recently, with the Aggies winning both games played in the 2008 (28-22) and 2009 (41-6) seasons.

In addition to the future Power Five games, a continuation of the long-running rivalry with UTEP will be extended.  UNM will play in El Paso in 2021, then host UTEP in 2022.  Those two games will mark the 79th and 80th contests in the regional rivalry.

A&M-UCLA opener in 2017 moved from Saturday to Sunday

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Grab your calendars as there’s been a change to your opening(ish) weekend college football agenda.

Texas A&M road trip to UCLA is one of a handful of high-profile games that will help launch the 2017 season Labor Day weekend.  The game, which will be played at the famed Rose Bowl, had been originally scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 2.  However, it was announced Wednesday that the game will be pushed back to Sunday, Sept. 3.

The game will kick off at either 7:30 or 8 p.m. ET, with the actual time being determined at a later date.

This year’s game will serve as the back-end of a home-and-home series between the two schools.  The Aggies claimed a 31-24 win over the Bruins in overtime last season in College Station.

The 2017 season will actually commence the weekend of Aug. 26 with five games featuring FBS teams, including Stanford against Rice in Australia and Colorado State opening their new on-campus stadium against Oregon State.  The first full weekend kicks off the following Thursday — Ohio State-Indiana highlights that day’s lean slate — and continues with a handful of games the next day — hello Colorado-Colorado State, Washington-Rutgers and Utah State-Wisconsin among others.

The first full Saturday features the likes of Alabama-Florida State, Florida-Michigan, West Virginia-Virginia Tech, LSU-BYU, Louisville-Purdue, Cal-North Carolina, Maryland-Texas and South Carolina-North Carolina State squaring off Sept. 2.

A&M-UCLA is the only Sunday game, while Tennessee and Georgia Tech will close out the weekend at the brand-new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta Labor Day night that Monday.

SEC Media Days 2017 Schedule Released

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Few things signal the transition from offseason into preseason quite like the annual gathering in Hoover, Alabama every summer that is SEC Media Week Days.

Now we not only have the dates for the annual press tour, but who’s going on what day. The conference has released the full schedule for the 2017 edition of SEC Media Days and it goes as follows:

Monday, July 10

Arkansas’ Bret Bielema, LSU’s Ed Orgeron, Tennessee’s Butch Jones

Tuesday, July 11

Florida’s Jim McElwain, Georgia’s Kirby Smart, Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen, Vanderbilt’s Derek Mason

Wednesday, July 12

Alabama’s Nick Saban, Kentucky’s Mark Stoops, Missouri’s Barry Odom, Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin

Thursday, July 13

Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, Ole Miss’ Hugh Freeze, South Carolina’s Will Muschamp

Things are still subject to changes between now and mid-July but it’s pretty safe to start making plans if you want to hang out by the escalators in the lobby. The names of the players from each school who will be attending have not been announced yet, but that news should come out later in the summer.

At first glance, it seems like a pretty jammed week. New Tigers coach Ed Orgeron leads off on Monday while SEC East favorites Florida and Georgia headline Tuesday (and don’t discount Dan Mullen getting asked about Ole Miss issues either). The conference king and local legend Nick Saban will be the attraction on Wednesday while Gus Malzahn, Hugh Freeze and Will Muschamp bat cleanup on Thursday.

Nearly three dozen teams show interest in Clemson grad transfer

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It was expected there would be a significant market for a Clemson defensive lineman leaving the Tigers as a graduate transfer. Suffice to say, that is indeed the case.

This past week, Dabo Swinney‘s football program confirmed that Scott Pagano would be leaving the team and transferring elsewhere. The head coach also revealed that the tackle would “probably” end up at a West Coast school to finish out his career.

Teams in that part of the country are indeed interested in the one-year rental, as are myriad others as 247Sports.com is reporting that 32 made contact with the lineman in the hours after his impending pending departure was announced. Arizona State, Cal, Oregon, USC, Washington and Hawaii are among the teams out west who have expressed interest.

A handful of Power Five programs further east have expressed interest as well, including Arkansas, Baylor, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisville, LSU, Maryland, Nebraska, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Purdue, Texas and Texas A&M. Group Five teams that have shown interest include Charlotte, East Carolina, FAU, FIU, Louisiana Tech, Memphis, SMU, Temple and Utah State.

Coming out of high school in Hawaii as a four-star 2013 recruit, Pagano was rated as the No. 24 tackle in the country and the No. 2 player at any position in the state. Pagano started 13 games the past two seasons, four of which came in 2016.

Michigan, SEC earn most invites to NFL’s Scouting Combine

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The annual Underwear Olympics has a new individual “champion” and a familiar one when it comes to the dominant conference.

The NFL Wednesday announced the 330-plus players who will partake in the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis later this month.  Michigan saw 14 of its former players receive invitations, the most of any individual school.  The only others in double digits were Alabama and LSU with 10 apiece.

The conference of the latter schools, the SEC, paced all leagues with 66 invitations.  The ACC was next with 60, followed by the Big Ten’s 51 and the Pac-12’s 46.  The Big 12 lags far behind the other Power Fives with just 19 players on the receiving end of invitations, just ahead of the best the Group of Five has to offer, the AAC’s 18.

In addition to those in double figures already mentioned, there were eight schools that have eight or more players heading to the combine: Clemson, Miami, Texas A&M and USC with nine each, Arkansas, Florida, Florida State and Ohio State with eight apiece.

Below is the conference-by-conference breakdown of the invites:

AAC — 18
ACC — 60
Big 12 — 19
Big Ten — 51
Conference USA — 11
Independents — 5
MAC — 11
MWC — 11
Pac-12 — 46
SEC — 66
Sun Belt — 5