Perfect 10: UT’s Dodds doesn’t see need to expand Big 12

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When Ben noted over the weekend that one unnamed member of the Big 12 was pushing hard against expanding the conference, it didn’t exactly take a rocket surgeon to deduce just who that unnamed member might be.

Thanks to DeLoss Dodds, we now have further evidence that Texas simply doesn’t want to mess with expansion.

In a conversation with Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com, the Big 12 commissioner UT athletic director confirmed that, yes, he really doesn’t feel the need to add members to the Big 12’s current roll.

I don’t think it needs to expand,” Dodds told the website. “It certainly can expand because there will be people that will want to be a part of it. That’s another good thing. …

“We could expand to some number. You name the number — 12, 14, 16. We could expand but the question is ‘do we need to expand?’ In my mind 10 is perfect because you play everybody in football and there is a double-round-robin in basketball.”

One of the “negatives” when it comes to a 10-school conference is that it can’t hold a league championship game and thus loses out on revenue most other leagues receive.  According to Dodds, and with a four-team playoff system looming not too far off on the horizon, the size of his school’s conference and the lack of a title game will actually serve as an advantage for the Big 12.

“When we get into whatever system we get in for a championship, I think those coaches that play in a conference championship are going to say ‘What in the world are we doing?'” Dodds asked rhetorically.

Of course, Dodds is referring to a high-ranked team from Conference X losing in a league title game to a lower-ranked opponent, thus potentially costing that conference a spot in what will be a very limited playoff field.

Dodds’ comments on expansion come a couple of weeks after a high-ranking Florida State official very publicly stated that the school should listen to overtures from the Big 12.  The AD attempted to tap the brakes on such speculation in the days after those comments from FSU’s board chairman, saying that the Seminoles are a long ways away in both distance and prospects of joining the conference.

Dodds also allowed that the Big 12 has held conversations with Notre Dame the past two years about housing the Irish’s Olympic sports — “They could put some football here,” Dodds added for ominous effect — as well as stating that he would be fine with a four-team playoff that consisted of the four highest-ranked teams or the four highest-ranked conference champions.

Interestingly, the Big Ten, Pac-12, ACC and, today, the Big East have all come out in favor of the conference champs model, leaving the SEC as the lone member of “The Big Six” publicly in favor of taking the four highest-ranked teams regardless of their standing as conference — or divisional — champs.  That 4-1 tally is, of course, pending an official, non-Texas stance on the part of the Big 12.

In the end, that — not the threat of expansion — might be the biggest piece news to emerge the past week or two, not only for the impact it would have on how a playoff field is filled, but for what it could do to a certain football program’s very staunch, pro-independent stance on conference affiliation.

UNLV bringing all-you-can-eat ticket packages to college football

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It’s a tremendous challenge getting fans to come out to the stadium these days. When (nearly) every game is on TV, why go to the stadium when you have to miss out on the six other games on TV plus you have to deal with spotty in-stadium plus having to fight through traffic and parking and obnoxious fans to your left and right — and, oh yeah, you still have to pay for your tickets and concessions on top of all that.

UNLV has now eliminated one of those objections.

Borrowing a page from baseball, the Rebels have introduced an all-you-can-eat ticket package. For just $79, fans get tickets to UNLV’s games against UTEP (Sept. 8), Fresno State (Nov. 3) and Nevada (Nov. 24) while gaining access to all the hot dogs, nachos, popcorn and soft drinks they can stomach.

“It’s a great way for your family to enjoy first-class entertainment and create a memory for an affordable price,” UNLV athletics director Desiree Reed-Francois told the Las Vegas Sun.

Season ticket holders will also have the option of adding the all-you-can-eat option for $30 a ticket — which works out to $5 per ticket per game.

The move feels more like a promotion that will keep on-the-fence ticket buyers in the stadium rather than brining new people out, but Reed-Francois is determined to increase attendance as UNLV plays its penultimate season in the 47-year-old Sam Boyd Stadium. The Rebels drew 17,449 fans per game to the 35,000-seat stadium.

“I’m told all of the time that this isn’t a football town,” she said. “We’ll flip that (opinion). There’s an opportunity for football in this town.”

Wisconsin QB Alex Hornibrook wins Manning Passing Academy throwing competition

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It won’t affect the scoreboard one whit come September, but Wisconsin got a nice little victory on Saturday.

The annual Manning Passing Academy came to a close on Saturday with the Air It Out competition among the camp’s counselors, which was comprised of a who’s who of returning college quarterbacks. Among a group that included Penn State’s Trace McSorley, Missouri’s Drew Lock, UCF’s McKenzie Milton, Washington’s Jake Browning, Georgia’s Jake Fromm, Alabama’s Jalen Hurts and others, Badgers quarterback Alex Hornibrook was the only player able to hit the golf cart streaking down the right sideline.

Hornibrook, a rising junior, completed 198-of-318 passes (62.3 percent) for 2,644 yards (8.3 per attempt) with 25 touchdowns against 15 interceptions, good for a 148.61 efficiency rating, which rated 24th nationally. He led the Badgers to a 13-1 record, a Big Ten West championship, an Orange Bowl victory over Miami and a No. 7 final ranking in the AP poll.

LSU graduate transfer CB Terrence Alexander set to join team Monday

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LSU graduate transfer cornerback Terrence Alexander is set to get his purple-and-yellow stripes on Monday, according to Nola.com.

Alexander announced his intention to graduate transfer from Stanford to LSU in the spring, but the thing about graduate transfers is that you have to graduate before you can play. Alexander earned his degree from Stanford last Sunday, clearing him to play for LSU this fall. (Stanford operates on the quarters system, pushing its graduation ceremonies a month later than schools that follow the semester system.)

A New Orlean native, Alexander played in only one game in 2017 after suffering a season-ending injury in the opener against Rice. He appeared in 13 games as a reserve in 2016.

He figures to compete for the open cornerback spot opposite All-America candidate Greedy Williams against sophomores Kary VincentJontre Kirklin and Mannie Netherly. Kristian Fulton would be included in that group, but he remains suspended by the NCAA.

Father of USC freshman WR dubbed the ‘Lavar Ball of college football’

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The basketball world got to know LaVar Ball quite well the last few years. If there is a college football of that on the horizon, the LA Times seems to think they found him.

John Brown, the father of USC Class of 2018 wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, has drawn comparisons to LaVar Ball for a variety of reasons that include the demand and vision for excellence in professional sports for his son. St. Brown was a five-star recruit for the Trojans in the most recent recruiting cycle, according to his Rivals profile. He was also ranked as the top recruit in the state of California and the top wide receiver in the nation. That alone brings reason to expect big results for St. Brown at USC.

The genes are certainly running in the family. John Brown is a former championship body builder. St. Brown’s oldest brother is former Notre Dame wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown. Osiris St. Brown, the middle son in the family, will be a redshirt freshman this fall at Stanford. With so much talent in the family, John Brown may be tapping into his inner Lavar Ball by suggesting Amon-ra could play in the NFL right now.

This is, of course, a ridiculous thought considering that even the most talented college freshman still have a long way to go to be ready to compete at the high level the NFL demands. But where Brown differs from Ball is he expects his sons to have to earn any accolades that may come their way.

“I’m going to request [USC head coach Clay Helton] put his butt at the bottom of the charts and see what he’s made of,” John said in a featured story published by the LA Times this week. “Make him fight. Sharpen the knife.”

John even goes so far to suggest Amon-ra has his eyes on making some unprecedented (and likely impossible) college football history.

“He’s serious about everything,” John says.

Ask Amon-ra what his goals are for his first year with the Trojans. With an unblinking, straight stare he will tell you, “I want to win the Heisman. All three years.”

All three years, eh? Putting aside the prediction that Brown is already predicting his son is jumping to the NFL after his junior season (an idea that is not at all far-fetched if St. Brown plays out the way recruiting experts and USC expect he will), we have to smile at the historic bar Brown is setting for his son.

Only one player has ever won the Heisman Trophy twice (Ohio State’s Archie Griffin in 1974 and 1975). It is also worth noting the last wide receiver to win the Heisman Trophy was Michigan’s Desmond Howard in 1991. Tim Brown of Notre Dame (1987) and Johnny Rodgers of Nebraska (1972) are the only other receivers to win the award since the Heisman Trophy was first presented in 1935. This may not go down in the history books alongside Beano Cook predicting two Heisman Trophy awards for former Notre Dame quarterback Ron Powlus (which never came close to happening, of course), but that does set the bar high for Amon-ra’s personal goals.

Brown may lay the foundation for athletic success for his sons, but fortunately for the college football world, he seems to be far more tolerable than LaVar Ball.