Report: SEC, A&M would nix bowl game vs. Texas


One of the casualties of conference expansion was Texas-Texas A&M, the long-running and heated in-state rivalry that was first played in 1894 and played every year from 1915-2011. Since A&M officially left for the SEC in 2012, neither side has been inclined to reignite the rivalry with a non-conference series.

Hopes were raised, however, when it became clear as the 2014 season moved along that there was the possibility the Aggies and Longhorns could meet up in the postseason. It appears, though, those hopes were a false one.

Citing a pair of sources close to the situation, Chip Brown of is reporting that an A&M-UT bowl game this year will not happen because “apparently the Aggies –- or perhaps the SEC on the Aggies’ behalf –- [will make] sure there will be no postseason matchup of two of college football’s most bitter divorcees.” Per the report, the SEC has made it clear to bowl games with SEC-Big 12 tie-ins that the conference “won’t support a Texas vs Texas A&M postseason matchup” because, Brown writes, “A&M has too much to lose from a potential loss.”

As the theory goes, A&M is the top dog in recruiting in the state of Texas and playing UT in a bowl game, with the possibility of a loss, could potentially cause damage to the Aggies on that front.

The SEC has tie-ins to a handful of bowls, including the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl, the game most connected to the resumption of the rivalry.

“The regional significance of the bowl is already compelling for fans, and then when you consider a matchup like Texas and Texas A&M, if that does happen, that would really be outstanding for fans, our community and the two schools,” Texas Bowl president Jamey Rootes said Sunday after UT reached six wins. “Fortunately Texas has gotten bowl-eligible to be in the conversation. There are some exciting scenarios coming to light, and certainly Texas and Texas A&M is one.”

One Sir Mix-A-Lot-sized but, however, is that the SEC has the ability to place teams in whichever bowl it wants.  If it sees the potential for damage to its brand or one of its members, it can nix the matchup.  That, according to Brown, is precisely what the SEC intends to do if such a matchup is put on the table.

Even columnists in the state see the downside of a postseason clash for both sides, but especially for the College Station bunch. From the Dallas Morning NewsKevin Sherrington:

As for A&M, a lot of the fizz has gone out of the buzz over the SEC move, but it’s still been an unqualified success. Even with TCU and Baylor in the CFP conversation, the Aggies can still claim #WRTS [We Run This State] if they want. But the proposition becomes infinitely more problematic if Texas beats them. The SEC affiliation doesn’t seem quite so cool if a Big 12 team still rules.

That’s too bad, as a TAMU-UT postseason matchup, in the state of Texas, would have turned any otherwise lower-tier bowl into must-see TV. Instead, we will likely, provided the report is accurate, get something along the lines of UT-Florida or UT-LSU — a couple of nice possibilities featuring “name” programs that don’t carry a fraction of the bitterness an in-state squabble featuring the recent divorcees would.

Penn State AD hired search firm to negotiate new James Franklin contract

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Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour appears to really be a fan of a particular search firm. So much so she hired one to do part of her job and recommended them to a rival school to boot.

Those are a few of the takeaways after reporter Andy Wittry decided to dig a little deeper into the recent Michigan State coaching search. This included a freedom of information request for emails to Spartans athletic director Bill Beekman that uncovered several gems.

While there were the notable ‘fan suggests hiring XYZ coach’ type emails, there was also a note that Barbour sent along to her counterpart in East Lansing:

“Sorry to hear about Coach Dantonio’s decision to retire,” the Nittany Lions AD wrote. “As I think we’ve discussed in the past, we have been partnered with Chad Chatlos and Ventura Partners for the last three plus years, utilizing them as our search consultant on all head coaching searches as well as a number of upper level administrator hires.

“Although we have not had to do a football search at Penn State during my time, frankly Chad and I have prepared for a football search on several occasions and he most recently served as our negotiator for Coach Franklin’s latest extension. He is/was fantastic.”

MSU did use a search firm to eventually hire Mel Tucker and spent six-figures with DHR International.

Beyond it being fascinating (and to some PSU fans, perhaps concerning?) that one AD would recommend a particular person to work with to a division rival, it’s notable that Penn State brought in outside help to lock their head coach up with a new deal.

The school confirmed on Feb. 26 that James Franklin had agreed to an extension worth over $35 million over the next six years.

While it’s no shock to see a search firm involved in finding a new coach, it’s a bit unique to bring one in for a renegotiation with a current coach — something most AD’s handle internally with an opposing agent.

The close ties with Chatlos and Ventura Partners is also interesting given that Collegiate Sports Associates was the search firm that wound up helping the university find Barbour for her current role. Typically that leads to a bit of a quid pro quo where the same firm is used for other searches but the Nittany Lions have instead gone exclusive with another.

Take note, as well, that Barbour said she has prepared for a football search on several occasions. Perhaps that little nugget is the result of Franklin’s name popping up in connection to spots like Florida State and USC in recent months.

Instead he appears to be sticking around Happy Valley for several years to come with that hefty new salary that was recently negotiated.

Mel Tucker reportedly hiring Kansas State’s Scottie Hazelton as new Michigan State DC

New Michigan State DC Scottie Hazelton
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One of the best beards in college football is headed to Michigan State.

No, not the one on the face of Illinois head coach Lovie Smith, but rather that of Kansas State defensive coordinator Scottie Hazelton. Per The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman, the Wildcats assistant is leaving for the same position in East Lansing on Mel Tucker’s newstaff.

Hazelton spent just one season in the Little Apple after being hired by KSU’s Chris Klieman. The two briefly overlapped on the defensive staff at North Dakota State before reuniting in the Big 12.

In addition to a productive tenure leading the Bison’s defense at the FCS level, Hazelton has put together quite a diverse coaching career. That’s included coordinator stops at the NAIA, Division II and Division III levels as well as a season at Nevada in 2013 and a run at Wyoming from 2017-18. He also coached linebackers at USC in 2012 and did the same for the Jacksonville Jaguars during Gus Bradley’s tenure in Duval.

Now Hazelton will link up with Tucker as the final member of the MSU assistant ranks. The head coach has quite a large salary pool to work with and you can probably assume that had something to do with luring a Power Five DC so late in the typical hiring season. At K-State, Hazelton made $550,000 last year according to USA Today.

Either way, the bearded new defensive coordinator won’t have long to get acclimated to East Lansing as the Spartans begin spring practice on March 17.

Boise State shifts home-and-home with Wazzu back a few seasons

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A potential Nick Rolovich’s return to Boise State will have to wait a bit longer.

The former Hawaii head coach’s new school of Washington State announced on Thursday that they had agreed to a home-and-home with Fresno State for 2026 and 2027. One issue? Well, the dates given by the school happened to be the same as a previously scheduled home-and-home with another certain Mountain West school famous for its blue turf.

It turns out that there’s a reason for that. Per the Spokesman-Review, the two games against the Broncos have instead been shifted back a few years at the request of BSU brass. They will now take place in 2030 (Boise State) and 2031 (Pullman).

That leaves both programs with one non-conference opening in both those years as a result. The Broncos still have games against Oregon, BYU and East Carolina in 2026 and against Rice, USF and BYU again in 2027. Wazzu, meanwhile, takes on the aforementioned Fresno State both seasons and travels to Kansas State in 2026 and hosts Kansas in 2027.

Also notable is that the Spokesman-Review says that Rolovich’s 2020 debut will come against Utah State on Thursday, Sept. 3 instead of the previously set Saturday contest.

UCLA completes 2026 schedule by bringing Nevada to the Rose Bowl

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There’s been a flurry of Pac-12 and Mountain West matchups made public in recent days and UCLA added one more just under the wire this week.

The school announced on Friday that they had added Nevada to their 2026 schedule. The Wolf Pack will visit the Rose Bowl on Saturday, Sept. 19 that season.

This will surprisingly be just the second meeting between the two teams. The first also came at the Rose Bowl — an eventual 58-20 victory for the powder blue back in 2013.

With the addition of Nevada, the Bruins have now wrapped up their 2026 non-conference slate. The team also hosts fellow Mountain West power San Diego State that year and will travel to Georgia in a cross-country season opener.

On the flip side, the Wolf Pack are just getting started in their scheduling as this is the first game on the calendar that year. Jay Norvell’s squad is no stranger to taking on the Pac-12 though. In addition to this contest, the school will take on Cal in 2021 and USC in 2023.

Interestingly, both programs will open in Week 0 for this upcoming season. The 2020 campaign for UCLA kicks off against New Mexico State at home while UNR takes on UC Davis in Reno.