Big Ten, Pac-12 suspend non-conference agreement

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Well, this is depressing.

In a joint press release sent out Friday, the Big Ten and Pac-12 announced that they were suspending the non-conference scheduling agreement announced in late December of last year.

The agreement called for each of the 12 members of the Pac-12 to face a member of the 12-school Big Ten in football beginning in 2017.  The scheduling pact would also extend to other sports within the leagues.

Statements by the respective conference commissioners can be read below, but the gist is that a handful of Pac-12 schools reportedly had reservations about the agreement because the league plays a nine-game slate — that’s been rumored for some time. The Big Ten, on the other hand, only plays and eight-game conference schedule.

It’s a disappointing move for fans, and you can kiss the “playoff will force stronger scheduling” argument goodbye.

Anyway, here are the statements:

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott:
“After extensive deliberation and consultation with member institutions, television partners and others,
the Pac-12 and Big Ten have decided not to pursue the previously announced plans for enhanced
scheduling collaboration across all sports at this time. While we continue to value our close relationship,
particularly our partnership in the Rose Bowl, the Pac-12 came to the conclusion that it’s in our
best interests to maintain our 9-game conference schedule and maximum flexibility in out-of-conference
scheduling. Thus, the Pac-12 decided not to lock into the proposed mandatory 12-game
schedule in football.”

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany:
“We are disappointed to announce today that the Big Ten Pac-12 strategic collaboration announced
jointly in December 2011 unfortunately will not be consummated. We recently learned from Pac-12
Commissioner Larry Scott that the complications associated with coordinating a non-conference football
schedule for 24 teams across two conferences proved to be too difficult. Those complications,
among other things, included the Pac-12’s nine-game conference schedule and previous nonconference
commitments.

“A great effort was made by both conference staffs to create football schedules that would address the
variety of complexities, but in the end, we were just not able to do so.

“While everyone at the Big Ten is disappointed by the news, we look forward to continuing the historic
partnership that we have with the Pac-12 and to working together on other matters in the future.”

WVU wideout Dillon Spalding transfers to James Madison, will play against old team in Week 1

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In the NFL, you’ll often see teams sign a player who was just cut off another team the week or two before they wind up playing that opponent. We could sort of have a college football version of that scenario in the case of wide receiver Dillon Spalding.

The former West Virginia redshirt freshman announced on Twitter that he had committed to James Madison and would be transferring to join the team in 2019. The team’s opponent in Week 1? None other than the Mountaineers in Morgantown.

Of course any knowledge Spalding might bring with him is limited given that both JMU and WVU have new coaching staffs in place this year. The former three-star recruit is moving a little closer to his Lorton, Va. hometown and will have all four years of eligibility remaining between redshirting last season due to an injury and the drop down to the FCS level.

The Dukes have added a solid amount of FBS talent recently for new coach Curt Cignetti. In addition to Spalding, former Penn State wide receiver Brandon Polk joined the program this offseason and both will catch passes from ex-Pitt QB Ben DiNucci.

Wildcats see attendance spike after allowing beer and wine sales at Arizona Stadium in 2018

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Arizona posted a disappointing 5-7 campaign in Kevin Sumlin’s first season in Tucson but Arizona fans still came out and enjoyed themselves thanks, in part, to the school allowing beer and alcohol sales for the first time.

As the Arizona Daily Star reports, attendance for the Wildcats home football games actually ticked up last year an average of 2,804 people while incidents of ejections at the stadium did the same — though were below historic averages.

“We’ve been very pleased with the rollout across the board in Arizona Stadium and McKale,” athletic director Dave Heeke said. “This was really focused around a number of things that we’ve done in the area of fan amenities and food service, and beverage selection was a key component.”

Some 43 people were kicked out of seven home games at UA, which is double the 21 from 2017 but well below the numbers the school reported for seasons when they played in-state rival Arizona State. It seems that Territorial Cup contest was the biggest indicator of above-average ejections in a year though game-by-game data was not given.

“I really haven’t noticed an increase in any type of criminal behavior due to beer and wine sales,” UAPD spokesman Sgt. Sean Shields told the paper. “Obviously from year to year the ejections and different numbers change and they fluctuate, but it’s very hard to pinpoint the reason why those happen.”

The amount of revenue generated by beer and alcohol sales wasn’t detailed by the school but Heeke noted it covered the additional costs on game days and the profit overall wasn’t hugely significant. Still, it seems the atmosphere at Arizona Stadium was still enough to lure fans into their seats despite plenty of late starts and a football team that was largely up-and-down in 2018.

Ex-FAU defensive coordinator Tony Pecoraro joins Kansas staff in off-the-field role

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Not many people can say they worked for the very different styles of head coaches Lane Kiffin and Les Miles back-to-back but Tony Pecoraro certainly can.

The recently let go Florida Atlantic defensive coordinator has apparently landed a new gig in Lawrence as a senior defensive analyst, primarily serving under Jayhawks DC D.J. Eliott.

Pecoraro took over the Owls defense in 2018 after spending the previous two seasons running things on that side of the ball for Southern Miss. Things didn’t quite work out in Boca however as FAU couldn’t get off the field like they did in Kiffin’s first year and allowed 31.8 points per game.

The veteran coordinator, who has Power Five assistant experience from a stint at Florida State, was replaced at FAU by longtime Oklahoma State DC Glenn Spencer back in December.

Wisconsin unlikely to join trend of selling beer and alcohol at football games anytime soon

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Wisconsin fans are known to hold more than their own when it comes to enjoying an adult beverage or two before, during and after Badgers football games but they apparently will have to keep waiting for the opportunity to buy a cold one at Camp Randall on game days.

According to the Wisconsin State Journal, a decision on whether or not to allow beer/alcohol sales in the general seating sections of the stadium rests with school chancellor Rebecca Blank and that she is not inclined to change the status quo on such prohibition anytime soon.

“The university believes that there is already an atmosphere of energy and excitement around Badger game days,” a school statement to the paper read. “The addition of alcohol to general seating areas isn’t needed to improve that experience and could detract from it for our students and fans.”

Just in the last two months, Indiana, Rutgers and Illinois have turned on the taps for football games in 2019. That will result in fully half of Big Ten schools allowing such sales in general seating areas as a result this season and it’s turned into yet another lucrative revenue stream for those that have too.

Wisconsin appears resistant to the idea however, doing so in the face of declining attendance for games too. While it is certainly too early to remark ‘never say never’ when it comes to the Badgers, it’s pretty clear this trend isn’t making its way to Madison anytime soon.