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TCU moves forward with $100 million expansion of Amon G. Carter Stadium

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If it seems like TCU just moved into renovated Amon G. Carter Stadium, that’s because they sort of have after the new place was opened back in 2012. After a six-year pause however, the Horned Frogs are putting the shovels back in the dirt to complete the next phase of upgrading their longtime home by announcing a $100 million expansion that will see an entire new deck built with loads of luxury boxes.

“This is more than just a football project, this facility will be used to the benefit of all 21 of our sports, our campus community and Fort Worth,” athletics director Jeremiah Donati said in a release. “It’s an appropriate expansion, with all the cutting-edge technology, to what is already the finest football stadium in the country. Our fans will enjoy an unrivaled game-day experience.”

Per the school:

The Amon G. Carter Stadium expansion project calls for two new levels of luxury seating above the current upper deck on the east side of the stadium. The new Legends Club and Suites will include 48 loge boxes with two private clubs, over 1,000 club seats and 22 luxury suites. There will also be a 100-foot outdoor balcony overlooking Frog Alley, the TCU campus and downtown Fort Worth as well as vast additional premium space that can be used for outside events on game days. Additionally, a new video board will be installed in the north end zone.

Completion is expected to be complete before the 2019 season gets underway and, as you could expect, the bulk of the work will be done when the Horned Frogs are not playing football games there this year. The expansion is mostly centered on all those luxury boxes as the stadium capacity will increase by just a few thousand people to 47,000 when the project is complete.

Big 12 announces record $364.87 million in revenue, distributes $36.5 million per school

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Remember when the Big 12 was all doom and gloom about surviving as a conference? You’d never know that by looking at their balance sheet.

Following league-wide meetings in the Dallas area on Friday, the Big 12 announced a record $364.87 million in total revenue for the 2017-18 fiscal year. That includes an impressive $36.5 million per school distribution that doesn’t include so-called “third tier rights” such as money from the Longhorn Network given to Texas (~$15 million) or regional deals with Fox Sports that several other schools like Oklahoma have.

Those figures are firmly middle of the pack for the Power Five, ranking behind the SEC and Big Ten but the distribution per school is several million more than what the Pac-12 and ACC dole out. It helps there’s only 10 members in the conference, which is one reason why the number is so high per school despite taking in far less total revenue than, for example, the Pac-12’s $509 million last year.

All told though, it’s a 6.4 percent increase from last year and would have been even higher had the Sugar Bowl not been a semifinal game in the College Football Playoff — which, according to commissioner Bob Bowlsby, resulted in a roughly $40 million loss that was partially offset by revenue from the first ever Big 12 Championship Game.

Between getting back that bowl money next season and increases in television money coming their way, it goes without saying that another nice increase will be headed toward the schools during the upcoming year. Life, it appears, isn’t so bad as the smallest Power Five league after all as long as those checks keep coming in.

Alabama-Louisville, Penn State-Pitt, Ohio State-TCU all booked for primetime

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The early season primetime schedule is starting to come together. On Wednesday, ESPN announced the first three games that will be the spotlight game of the week for ABC’s Saturday Night Football. Perhaps not so surprising, Alabama and Ohio State each make an appearance in the first three weeks.

ABC’s Saturday Night Football broadcasts will begin in Orlando, Florida for the Camping World Kickoff between defending national champion Alabama and Louisville. The matchup between the Crimson Tide and Cardinals will be played on September 1 with the standard start time for the broadcast at 8:00 p.m. ET. ABC will also broadcast the following day’s game in Arlington, Texas between Miami and LSU at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Also in Week 1, NBC will air Notre Dame’s home game against Michigan beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET. The opening weekend of college football will conclude on Monday, September 3 with Florida State hosting Virginia Tech at 8:00 p.m. on ESPN.

Week 2 will take ABC to western Pennsylvania for the in-state rivalry game between Pittsburgh and Penn State. It will be the first time the two schools have kicked off under the lights since the mid-1980s. In Week 3, ABC heads back to Arlington for the matchup between TCU and Ohio State. A year after Urban Meyer pointed out his concerns about playing so many night games, it is possible the Buckeyes will be playing at least two night games away from home in September. In addition to the game against TCU in Arlington, Ohio State’s road game at Penn State feels like a near lock to appear in primetime. Penn State could also be playing three primetime games in September with the Pitt road game, a Friday night game at Illinois, and the hypothetical home game against the Buckeyes.

More kickoff times will be confirmed at later times, but FOX has reportedly already selected a handful of games to broadcast this season. FOX has claimed this season’s Ohio State-Michigan, Oklahoma-Texas, and Michigan-Michigan State games. Of those three, the most likely to be placed in primetime on FOX would be the Michigan-Michigan State game, with the other two traditionally being played in the afternoon. FOX is expected to also grab a Week 2 matchup between Stanford and USC for a possible primetime broadcast. Another option might be Oklahoma’s home game against Chip Kelly and UCLA.

But the schedule is now starting to get some kickoff times locked in, which means the season will be here sooner than you may realize.

Two Big 12 schools in play for Notre Dame transfer Nick Watkins

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Nearly three weeks after leaving Notre Dame, Nick Watkins‘ future is quickly coming into focus.

According to Adam Rittenberg of ESPN.com, Watkins will take an official visit to West Virginia this week.  Additionally, the cornerback is expected to take unofficial visits to Houston, SMU and TCU at some point before the calendar turns to June.

Speaking of next month, Rittenberg reports that Watkins hopes to have a transfer destination decided on by the beginning of June.

As a graduate transfer, the defensive back will be eligible immediately at whichever FBS school to which he transfers for his final season.

Watkins played in 35 games the past four seasons for the Fighting Irish, including a dozen this past season.  In 2017, Watkins set career-highs with 29 tackles and eight passes defensed.

Watkins’ entire 2016 season was wiped out by a broken arm sustained in spring practice, leading to a medical hardship waiver that gave him another year of eligibility.

Big 12 Coordinator of Football Officials Walt Anderson resigns to be full-time in NFL

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Big 12 fans will have to learn a new name to curse at when officials blow a call in a game this fall.

Speaking at Big 12 spring meetings in Arizona on Wednesday afternoon, Commissioner Bob Bowlsby confirmed that the conference’s Coordinator of Football Officials Walt Anderson has submitted his resignation and will no longer be involved with the league. A replacement is expected to be found over the coming months and announced later this summer.

Anderson had been pulling double-duty for years in splitting his time between the Big 12 and the NFL, where he was a recognizable face on Sundays. He was hired last fall to be a full-time official with the league office but continued to perform his duties at the college level.

That arrangement didn’t last long.