For those hoping to see a renewal of one of college football’s most iconic rivalries, we strongly urge you to not hold your breath.
In an interview with Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express-News, Texas athletic director Steve Patterson was asked once again about the possibility of a game against hated in-state rival Texas A&M. And, once again, Patterson appeared to have absolutely no interest in rekindling the rivalry.
“Until there’s a case made that it makes sense to play a game against another school in the state of Texas, I don’t see us focusing on it,” the AD said.
Prior to the Aggies leaving for the SEC in 2012, the UT-A&M game had been played every year between 1915-2011 and 109 games total were played in a series that dated back to 1903. In the months after the Aggies left the Big 12, state lawmakers introduced a bill that would’ve compelled the two sides to resume the football series.
In early November of last year, amidst rumors that the rivalry could be renewed, an A&M spokesman put the kibosh on the talk, stating that “[w]e hope to play them again in a BCS or playoff game at some point.” In early March, new Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong stated he’d like to see the series played again, albeit at a neutral site.
For the time being, however, it doesn’t appear, sadly, that any of the key decision-makers on either side are interested in rekindling what once was one of the best rivalries in the sport.
In the midst of reports that he had a physical altercation with one of his Tennessee players during summer camp this year, Butch Jones labeled the speculation “absolutely ridiculous.”
Apparently, his bosses agree with the head coach.
At a board meeting Thursday, UT-Knoxville chancellor Jimmy Cheek stated that he and athletic director Dave Hart had done their “due diligence” in investigating the accusations that Jones and senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder were involved in some type of physical skirmish during practice this past August. The end result of interviews with Jones, coaches and players was the conclusion that there was nothing to the reports and message-board rumors.
“There’s been a lot of rumor and misinformation on social media and message boards about an alleged incident during football practice,” Cheek said according to GoVols247.com‘s Wes Rucker. “It’s not our practice to respond to rumors, but I thought it was important to let you know that we’ve done our due diligence and Dave Hart and I are very confident there was no inappropriate conduct with any players or coaches.”
Shortly after Cheek spoke at the board meeting, Crowder took to Twitter with a series of missives that speaks around the issue.
Michigan played without its leading rusher in Week 5. The Wolverines are hoping there won’t be a repeat in Week 6.
De'Veon Smith sustained a lower-leg injury in the Week 4 win over BYU and didn’t travel with the team for last Saturday’s win over Maryland. Smith has been practicing with his teammates throughout the first few days of this week, and head coach Jim Harbaugh is guardedly optimistic that the running back will be available for what’s turned into a huge Big Ten matchup with Northwestern Saturday in the Big House.
“He’s practicing and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he’s going to stay good and be ready to play,” Harbaugh said during a radio appearance Thursday morning. “But we’ll (keep) looking at that every day.”
Despite essentially missing a game and a half, Smith currently leads the Wolverines with 331 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. He’s added four receptions for 35 yards and a touchdown coming out of the backfield the first four games.
Should Smith be unable to go again, the Wolverines have three other backs with at least 100 yards on the ground: Ty Isaac (187, 7.2 yards per carry), Drake Johnson (125, 4.2 ypc) and Derrick Green (100, 3.3 ypc).
In addition to Smith, Harbaugh is hopeful Channing Stribling will be available this weekend as well. The starting cornerback didn’t play against the Cougars because of injury