LEXINGTON, KY – OCTOBER 25: Dak Prescott #15 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs runs with the ball during the game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Commonwealth Stadium on October 25, 2014 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
It’s an open question right now as to whether or not Willie Taggart gets a third chance to turn Florida State’s football program around. But, in the event he doesn’t, Urban Meyer won’t be the target of the hypothetical coaching search.
And neither will Steve Spurrier, for that matter.
That’s on the authority of FSU AD David Coburn, who went on record with the Tallahassee Democrat Tuesday to dispute a FootballScoop report that Meyer would be the target of the search. (Full disclosure: I also work for FootballScoop.)
“If Coach were hit by a bus tomorrow, we would not target Coach Meyer, period,” Coburn told the paper. “I say that with all due respect to Coach Meyer, but we would not target Steve Spurrier either.”
Florida State is desperate to party like it’s 1999 again, to the point where Coburn didn’t throw out the prospect of paying Taggart’s $17-plus million buyout if Taggart doesn’t turn this season around. (The furthest Coburn would go on that point is this non-denial denial: “For the record, we have not been in contact with our Coach’s agent, period,” Coburn said.)
But they’re evidently not desperate enough to hire their former archnemesis.
The NCAA’s committee on infractions hit South Carolina for multiple sanctions stemming from violations by a former assistant coach, the organization announced Tuesday. The assistant was not named in the probe, but I reported at FootballScoop that former Gamecocks assistant Lance Thompson was the source of the probe.
The NCAA, South Carolina and Thompson engaged in a “negotiated resolution process,” in which the parties agreed Thompson texted a sophomore recruit following his official visit, and also sent a text notifying the recruit he would be at his high school the following day and would like to meet face-to-face.
NCAA rules prohibit coaches from texting recruits until their junior year, and from face-to-face off-campus visits until their senior year.
Thompson worked as South Carolina’s assistant head coach for defense and defensive line coach from 2016-18. He is now the defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator at Florida Atlantic.
A veteran college assistant, Thompson has coached at Georgia Tech (in two different stints), UCF, LSU, Tennessee, Alabama and Auburn in addition to South Carolina and FAU. He has been recognized for his work as a recruiter by ESPN and Rivals.
As part of the negotiated settlement, South Carolina has been hit with the following sanctions:
- A $10,000 fine.
- A prohibition of off-campus football recruiting activity during the first two weeks of the spring 2019 evaluation period and the first four weeks of the fall 2019 evaluation period.
- A reduction of football evaluation days by 12 for the 2018-19 academic year.
- A restriction on all telephone and text communications with football prospects for two weeks beginning Sept. 1, 2019.
- The head football coach may have only off-campus contact with 10 prospects during the fall 2019 contact period.
- One year of probation.
- One-on-one rules education for the head coach regarding NCAA contact and evaluation rules, completed in May 2019.
- The university ended the recruitment of the prospect.
Additionally, the assistant has been hit with a 1-year show-cause penalty. He will be suspended one game for the 2019 season and may not engage in off-campus recruiting during the fall 2019 evaluation period.
For decades, Florida avoided playing major non-conference games outside of the Sunshine State, citing their ongoing rivalry with Florida State and their annual Jacksonville game against Georgia.
The Gators still play Florida State every year, and they still play Georgia in Jacksonville on the first Saturday of November. But they’ve decided to stop letting that prevent them from playing interesting non-conference games across this great land.
“Attention ADs from the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 or Pac-12 … @ is looking to add additional Home-and-Home series against P5 opponents. Let’s connect and schedule quality games the fans want to see!” Stricklin tweeted Tuesday.
Unless Stricklin is willing to cancel on-the-books games for 2020 or ’21, the next opening Florida has on its schedule is 2026-27. The Gators will play Utah in 2022-23, Miami in 2024-25, Colorado in 2028-29 and Texas in 2030-31.
In 2032 and beyond, though, Stricklin’s schedule is wide open. And while Stricklin is throwing bottles into the proverbial ocean, let’s throw another note in there — it sure would be nice to see Florida go north, particularly to Lincoln, Madison, South Bend, Columbus, Ann Arbor or State College.
The Big 12 is in the midst of its 2019 season, but on Tuesday the league took a break to release its 2020 schedule.
The conference season will begin early, Sept. 12, with Kansas at Baylor. It will conclude at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, with the Big 12 Championship.
It would be the ultimate fool’s errand to wade through which games will determine the conference’s 2020 champion and which ones won’t a full year in advance, but we can go ahead and safely assume Oklahoma’s October will go a long way toward determining that. The Sooners’ October slate runs straight through what appear to be their top four challengers for the throne:
Oct. 3: vs. Baylor
Oct. 10: vs. Texas (at Dallas)
Oct. 17: at Iowa State
Oct. 24: vs. Oklahoma State
That last bit is interesting, as the conference has moved Bedlam to October for the first time since 2004. In fact, the Oct. 24 kick is the earliest since the two rivals met on Oct. 24, 1998; to find the last time Bedlam was played on a date earlier than Oct. 24, you’d have to go all the way back to Oct. 6, 1990.
It is worth noting, though, Bedlam has not been played in its traditional Thanksgiving weekend and/or final regular season weekend slot since the Big 12 revived its championship game two years ago. The 2017 game, a 62-52 OU win, was played Nov. 4, and last year’s 48-47 thriller occurred on Nov. 10.
The Big 12’s thinking appears to be the desire to avoid an immediate rematch between two likely contenders for the Big 12 Championship and, if that’s the case, the Thanksgiving weekend schedule is all the more puzzling as Oklahoma State will host Texas on Nov. 28. The Nov. 28 kickoff (or Nov. 27, if the game gets moved to Black Friday) will be the earliest in 35 all-time games between the ‘Horns and Pokes.
The full schedule can be found below: