Five years ago today, Nebraska kicked off realignmageddon

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It may be hard to believe, but it was five years ago today Nebraska made the decision to leave the comfortable surroundings of the Big 12 for the Big Ten. A lot has happened in the years since.

Looking back on everything that happened during the realignmageddon (I made that word up, and it fits well in this discussion) phase of college football, it is still crazy to think about how much changed. Nebraska’s move to the Big Ten was just one domino in the process that eventually led to expansion in every conference, the destruction of one in football and the near dismantling of another. It was a crazy time we all lived in, yet here we are to tell the stories of how it all went down.

The Big Ten became a conference with 12 14 members while the Big 12 managed to play with 10. Maryland and Rutgers are now Big Ten members alongside Nebraska.

The Pac-10 was on the verge of becoming the Pac-16, depending on how much you trust some of the reports at the time. But just days after Nebraska joined the Big Ten, Colorado was added to the Pac-10 as the 11th member.

The Big East was a temporary home to three members that never played a single game in the conference; Boise State, San Diego State and TCU. Meanwhile, the conference underwent a complete makeover by becoming the American Athletic Conference after the core of its basketball membership left and took the Big East banner with them.

Texas A&M and Missouri were expected to be nothing in the almighty SEC, but A&M benefitted as Johnny Manziel became a household name and the Tigers reached two straight SEC championship games in short time. It’s even more ironic because Missouri once attempted to take the lead in keeping the Big 12 together and rejected multiple SEC rumors before giving in and accepting their fate.

Florida State and Clemson to the Big 12 never panned out, nor West Virginia to the ACC or SEC. But the Mountaineers did claw their way out of the Big East and to the Big 12. UConn meanwhile, well, at least they have their new rivalry with UCF to look forward to.

We were talking about Congress getting involved with saving the Big 12. Some lawmakers did get involved elsewhere.

The WAC, at least in football, was given an obituary courtesy of their regional neighbors from the Mountain West Conference, which managed to add and hold on to two BCS busters (Boise State and Hawaii — you forgot Hawaii played in a Sugar Bowl, didn’t you?) while losing two others (Utah and TCU). BYU also decided to celebrate its independence as a program as well after being left out of the power conference expansion phases in the west and southwest.

Dan Beebe.

It was a crazy time for college football fans. The realignment era shook the traditional conference molds just about everywhere, tossing geographical ties by the wayside with traditional rivalries in pursuit of increasing television revenue. Many of these moves, quite literally, have paid off as new media deals continue to skyrocket and conference revenue shares continue to increase. Oh, and we got a College Football Playoff out of the whole thing too.

From time to time I will be asked when the next shift in realignment will happen. We may see some subtle changes at times, but the power conferences look to be settled and there is no need for any to expand. That includes the Big 12. But expansion should never be out of the question, and if realignment taught us anything it is simply that anything can happen.

There is always a domino to fall waiting to be lined up.

Clemson DT Xavier Kelly announces entry to transfer portal

Clemson redshirt junior Xavier Kelly will leave Clemson as a graduate transfer.
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Defensive tackle Xavier Kelly will no longer be a part of the Clemson football program. The redshirt junior announced he has entered the NCAA transfer portal and will look for another school to wrap up his collegiate career.

“I have never shied away from hard work or a challenge. My time at Clemson was a challenge that I happily accepted, [and I] worked hard to be the best defensive lineman, teammate and student I could be,” Kelly said in a statement shared on his Twitter account on Saturday afternoon.

“With this being said, I have decided to enter the transfer portal and continue my football career elsewhere. It is an honor to be able to say that I graduated from Clemson. Clemson will always have a special place in my heart.”

Kelly was listed third on the Clemson depth chart for one of the team’s two defensive tackle positions. Kelly appeared as a backup option behind freshman Tyler Davis and redshirt sophomore Jordan Williams. Kelly appeared in 10 games in the 2019 season and recorded a total of six tackles with credit for half of a sack. Kelly did not play in either of Clemson’s game sin the College Football Playoff.

In 2016, Kelly was involved in a moped accident that resulted in stitches. Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables said at the time Kelly was not wearing a helmet when somebody crashed into his moped.

By entering the transfer portal, Kelly is free to have contact with any other college football program interested in recruiting him. As a graduate transfer, Kelly will be able to use his final year of eligibility in 2020 and will not have to sit out the 2019 season.

Bob Shoop and Brian Jean-Mary join Michigan coaching staff, Jay Harbaugh promoted to special teams coordinator

Brian Jean-Mary and Bob Shoop are the newest members of Michigan's coaching staff.
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Michigan has officially introduced two new defensive assistants to the staff. Brian Jean-Mary and Bob Shoop were added to the defensive side of the coaching staff on Saturday as Michigan continues to retool its coaching staff this offseason.

According to the release from Michigan on Saturday, Shoop will take on the role of safeties coach for the Wolverines. Jean-Mary will serve as linebackers coach. In addition, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh promoted his son, Jay Harbaugh, to special teams coordinator. Harbaugh will continue to coach the running backs as well.

“I am excited about the addition of Brian and Bob to our defensive coaching staff,” said Harbaugh. “Brian and Bob are well-respected, experienced coaches who represent great fits for the University of Michigan. Both coaches have experience coordinating some of the best defenses in the country, and their development of all-conference and future NFL players throughout their careers will benefit our program and student-athletes. Michigan Football looks forward to having Brian, Bob and their families join the University family.”

Jean-Mary joins the Michigan program after three seasons with former USF head coach Charlie Strong at USF. Jean-Mary has been a longtime assistant under Strong, coaching with Strong at Louisville and Texas prior to USF.

Shoop previously was the defensive coordinator at Mississippi State. This will mark a return to the Big Ten for Shoop. Shoop previously coached at Penn State under James Franklin. Shoop went to Penn State with Franklin after three seasons at Vanderbilt. Shoop left Penn State for Tennessee after the 2015 season and coached the Vols defense for two seasons for former Tennessee head coach Butch Jones. Shoop and Penn State also carried on a bit of a legal squabble over Shoop’s contract and his exit from the Nittany Lions. Shoop took a job at Mississippi State when Joe Moorhead was hired (in the same coaching carousel that saw a coaching change at Tennessee and the hiring of Jeremy Pruitt, a former defensive coordinator himself).

Joe Burrow reportedly passing on Senior Bowl

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow will not attend the 2020 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, according to a report.
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LSU quarterback Joe Burrow will reportedly be passing on the opportunity to play in next week’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. Ben Baby, who covers the Cincinnati Bengals for ESPN, reported the Burrow Senior Bowl news, via Twitter, Saturday morning.

The Senior Bowl is the highest-regarded college football all-star game and is the last major offseason event on the NFL Draft schedule before the annual scouting combine. Many of the nation’s top seniors will arrive in Mobile, Alabama next week to begin a week of workouts instructed by coaches from the NFL. This year’s Senior Bowl teams will be coached by the staffs from the Cincinnati Bengals and Detroit Lions.

The Bengals own the top draft pick in this year’s NFL Draft, and they just so happen to be a team many believe might draft Burrow to inject some life into the Bengals offense. The Lions own the No. 3 overall pick. The Senior Bowl is attended by scouts and coaches from around the NFL, and with the top tier of seniors typically at the Senior Bowl, the whole week is a terrific opportunity for seniors to impress their future employers.

Of course, Burrow not playing in the Senior Bowl will be made out by some to be a negative on his draft profile, but that should not be the case. Burrow admitted to playing the national championship game against Clemson with a rib injury. Coming off a historic season that saw Burrow break the NCAA record for most passing touchdowns in a single season (and doing so in the SEC), missing out on the Senior Bowl shouldn’t be a concern. The Heisman Trophy winner has done more than enough to raise his draft stock for 2020 off the wild successes of the 2019 season. Burrow will still get a chance to focus on the scouting combine and decide what’s best for him in Indianapolis.

LSU students will go to class on Saturday to make up for national title game

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LSU students who got to skip class for the national title game (and the ensuing celebrations…) were hit with a dose of reality returning to Baton Rouge on Friday.

According to an announcement from the university, classes that were cancelled on Monday and Tuesday for the championship game have been rescheduled. As a result, students will have to go to class on Saturday, Jan. 25 and Saturday, Feb. 8.

So yes, Saturdays in the fall have resulted in a few Saturdays of work in the spring.

The school had received a bit of criticism when it was announced that classes were cancelled on the dates surrounding the championship game. While the practice has happened elsewhere, the nature of the game being less than an hour from campus in New Orleans certainly made things unique for the Tigers and their large fan base.

While some students no doubt had hoped that the classes at the time were indeed cancelled, it turns out they were in fact just being rescheduled. Going to school on a Saturday probably isn’t what many had in mind when signing up for the spring semester but there’s probably not a soul in purple and gold will take issue with the change given that it comes as a result of hoisting the ultimate football trophy on Monday night in the Big Easy.