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Non-Schedule Games Important for Notre Dame’s Title Hopes

By now, Notre Dame fans know which games are most critical to the Irish’s hopes of running the regular season table this fall. Michigan State, Stanford, Miami, and Southern California are the marquee matchups featured on the 2016 docket for the Irish. If the Irish take care of business in these games, there will not be much debate about their place in the College Football Playoff picture.

However, should the Irish stumble along the way, style points will be at a premium. A few games not featuring a team in all-gold helmets will play a large part in the Irish’s ability to gain style points.

September 3rd – USC Trojans vs. Alabama Crimson Tide

The first week of the season features perhaps the most important game of the year in terms of Notre Dame’s strength of schedule. This matchup between the Trojans and Crimson Tide will be played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. USC is projected to finish at or near the top of the Pac-12, along with fellow Notre Dame opponent, Stanford. A win for the Trojans would validate the Pac-12 and deliver a blow to the SEC. This would be huge for the Irish, who have plenty of opportunity to prove themselves against Pac-12 opponents, but lack a matchup against the SEC. At season’s end, a debate between Notre Dame and Alabama for playoff positioning could be settled by how each performs against a common opponent.

October 29th – Michigan at Michigan State

On the day Notre Dame hosts the Miami Hurricanes at Notre Dame Stadium, there is another major midwest college football game that has plenty of bearing on Notre Dame’s path to the playoff. With Ohio State reloading after losing numerous starters, the Wolverines and Spartans figure to be the two teams contending for a spot in the Big Ten title game. Outside of Michigan State, Michigan and Notre Dame have no common opponents. In fact, Notre Dame’s game against Michigan State is the only time the Irish will face a Big Ten opponent this season. For this reason, Michigan State dominating the Big Ten would once again be beneficial for the Irish.

November 25th – TCU at Texas

Despite losing Josh Doctson and Trevone Boykin to the NFL, the TCU Horned Frogs still figure to be a contender for the always wide-open Big 12. This game, which takes place the day after Thanksgiving, is a potential trap game for the Horned Frogs. If Notre Dame takes care of Texas in the first game of the season and the Longhorns can steal a late-season game against the Horned Frogs, the Irish will certainly have a decided tiebreaker against teams from the Big 12. Much like the situation with Michigan State, Notre Dame’s only game against a Big 12 opponent comes against Texas. If Charlie Strong’s team can surprise college football experts, Notre Dame benefits.

Other games that should gain considerable notice from Irish fans include Florida State at Miami (October 8th) and Ohio State at Michigan State (November 19th). With a pseudo-Atlantic Coast Conference schedule, Notre Dame should have plenty of opportunities to demonstrate its worth against ACC opponents. If Urban Meyer’s Ohio State team can pick up where it left off last season, however, the matchup with the Spartans in East Lansing is arguably more important than the aforementioned Michigan – Michigan State matchup.

Whatever the case, Notre Dame has plenty of opportunities to add wins against opponents from many of the Power 5 conferences to their resume. If the Irish take care of business at home (with the exception of the game against USC, all of their marquee matchups take place in South Bend), Notre Dame just may find its way into the College Football Playoff for the first time since its inception.

Featured image is courtesy of wikipedia.com. 

Way-Too-Early Schedule Game: Notre Dame Edition

Well, it’s that time of the year. Summer is upon us and it’s almost okay to start dreaming of the college football season. Yes, it is only June, and still way too early for a legitimate top 25 and too early to count anyone out – or in, for that matter – of the national championship race.

Where does that leave us, you ask? I think it puts us in the perfect place to play everyone’s favorite game, the schedule game.

Over the course of this column I’m going to take a look at each of the 12 opponents Notre Dame will be facing during the 2016 regular season, give a quick breakdown and background information, and make a “way-too-early” pick on the game. Sound simple enough? Good!

Week 1 at Texas – Sunday, September 4 – Austin, TX

In a rematch of last season’s opener, Notre Dame will travel to the University of Texas to take on the Longhorns to begin the season. Last year, the Irish smoked Charlie Strong’s squad 38-3 in South Bend. Just as there was last year for Texas, there is a quarterback competition heading into camp. The difference between Notre Dame’s QB battle and Texas’ is the talent level. The pressure is building on Strong at Texas, and I don’t expect the Notre Dame game to help ease any of it.

WAY-TOO-EARLY-PREDICTION – Notre Dame 35 – Texas 17

Week 2 vs Nevada – Saturday, September 10 – South Bend, IN

Unlike last year, the Irish won’t open up the home portion of their schedule with a marquee opponent. While that isn’t meant to be a knock on the Wolf Pack, it’s the truth. Nevada projects to be a borderline bowl team this season and Notre Dame has higher aspirations than that level. The strength of the Wolf Pack will be their offense, specifically the backfield made up of Penn State transfer Akeel Lynch and James Butler. Nevada very may well have a nice season, but I doubt that this game is one of their highlights.

WAY-TOO-EARLY-PREDICTION – Notre Dame 42 – Nevada 20

Week 3 vs Michigan State – Saturday, September 17 – South Bend, IN

The third week of the season may be Notre Dame’s first real test. Michigan State is coming off of a College Football Playoff appearance and the Spartans have won two out of the last three Big Ten titles. Yes, last year took a lucky bounce at the Big House and a sick Zeke Elliott at The Shoe to get their two biggest wins, they were wins nonetheless. Sparty should be heading into 2016 ranked in the top 25. It will certainly be interesting to see who replaces Connor Cook under center for the Spartans. MSU will open the season with Furman at home followed by a bye week before their trip to South Bend. A night game at Notre Dame Stadium will be the first real test for this young team.

WAY-TOO-EARLY-PREDICTION – Notre Dame 27 – Michigan State 20

Week 4 vs Duke – Saturday, September 24 – South Bend, IN

While the Blue Devils are traditionally known for their success on the hardwood, they have been much improved on the gridiron lately as well. The Blue Devils are coming off a win in last year’s New Era Pinstripe Bowl, however their team is not without its share of question marks. The biggest one of these may be the quarterback position. Last year the offense was driven by Thomas Sirk. Sirk was due to return to the helm this season, however he ruptured his Achilles for the second time during offseason conditioning drills in February. It is unknown if Sirk will be back and how effective he will be. If he is unable to play look for Parker Boehme to fill in. Just like their brothers on the hardwood, I think the Blue Devils will struggle with Notre Dame on the gridiron.

WAY-TOO-EARLY-PREDICTION – Notre Dame 38 – Duke 17

Week 5 at Syracuse – Saturday, October 1 – East Rutherford, NJ (MetLife Stadium)

Syracuse is entering a new era with Dino Babers taking over as head coach of the Orangemen. This season looks as if it is going to be a rebuilding year for Cuse, and a win against Notre Dame is highly unlikely. It would be surprising to see Syracuse in a bowl game, with many schedule predictions having them at or around four total wins. Notre Dame certainly shouldn’t be one of them.

WAY-TOO-EARLY-PREDICTION – Notre Dame 35 – Syracuse 3

Week 6 at North Carolina State – Saturday, October 8 – Raleigh, NC

For the second time in the first six weeks the Irish will be taking on the Wolfpack, although this breed is based in Raleigh, NC. NC State has the task of replacing Jacoby Brissett who graduated last year. Last season, the Wolfpack scored 33.2 points per game with Brissett in control. I would look for that number to drop a little bit, although I do think new offensive coordinatior Eliah Drinkwitz will do a good job keeping that number around 30. This is a tough spot for Notre Dame. The Irish haven’t recently played that well on the road (cough Virginia 2015 cough) and the Irish could be caught looking ahead to Stanford. I think this game is much closer and tougher than people think.

WAY-TOO-EARLY-PREDICTION Notre Dame 31 – NC State 28

Week 7 vs Stanford – Saturday, October 15 – South Bend, IN

Stanford-Notre Dame has quickly become one of my favorite rivalry games in college football. Since the rain-soaked overtime classic in 2012 this series has produced some extremely memorable games, including last year’s Stanford victory at the end of the regular season on a last second field goal. I think this game could certainly be another classic in this rivalry. If Stanford figures out how to replace departed QB Kevin Hogan in the first six weeks, then I see no reason why this shouldn’t be a great game.

WAY-TOO-EARLY-PREDICTION Notre Dame 21 – Stanford 17

Week 8 – BYE

They won’t win, they won’t lose. Not much to see here.

Week 9 vs Miami – Saturday, October 29 – South Bend, IN

This game hasn’t gotten much run yet, but I definitely think that this will be one of the best games on Notre Dame’s schedule. I think Miami is set to return to a product similar to their glory years, with Mark Richt at the helm. This is a tremendous opportunity to not only kick-start that resurgence for the Canes, but also to reignite the rivalry between Notre Dame and The U. Junior QB Brad Kaaya is one of the more underrated signal callers in the country. This is a game Notre Dame very well could lose. The biggest thing I think they have in their favor is that they are coming off the bye week. Truthfully, I think this one could go either way, and is a start to bringing back one of college football’s most missed rivalries.

WAY-TOO-EARLY-PREDICTION Notre Dame 21 – Miami 20

Week 10 at Navy – Saturday, November 5 – Jacksonville, FL (EverBank Field)

Going from one rivalry that college football misses to one of my absolute favorites. Obviously the reasoning for this rivalry are more for off-the-field traditions rather than the competitive play on the field, but the respect shown between Notre Dame and Navy is one of my favorite things to witness. This year the game shouldn’t be as close as it has been in recent years. Navy lost Keenan Reynolds to graduation and he will arguably be the program’s biggest loss since Roger Staubach. Notre Dame shouldn’t have any problem with the Midshipmen.

WAY-TOO-EARLY-PREDICTION Notre Dame 34 – Navy 14

Week 11 vs Army – Saturday, November 12 – San Antonio, TX (Alamodome) SHAMROCK SERIES

I don’t think that this game will be very competitive. Truthfully, I think that the most interesting part of this will be seeing how Notre Dame looks in their yet-to-be-released alternate uniforms. The Irish have yet to lose a Shamrock Series game, and I would be stunned if this is the first.

WAY-TOO-EARLY-PREDICTION – Notre Dame 41 – Army 9

Week 12 vs Virginia Tech – Saturday, November 19 – South Bend, IN

What does life after Frank Beamer look like for the Hokies? By this point in the season we will know the answer to that. Justin Fuente is in to replace Beamer as head coach. Fresh off coaching first round NFL draft pick Paxton Lynch at Memphis, Fuente will have his work cut out for him in deciding between Brenden Motley, Jerod Evans, and Dwayne Lawson to run the offense. Evans is a junior college transfer and many expect him to win the job. I think this is a game that Notre Dame should win, but it is one I could see them looking past with the date with USC the following week.


Week 13 at Southern Cal – Saturday, November 26 – Los Angeles, CA

If all goes according to my predictions (it likely won’t), Notre Dame will be entering this showdown in LA unbeaten, just like in 2012. That being said, I don’t think that this matchup turns out the same as it did in Brian Kelly’s third year on campus. In my opinion, USC is one of the most underrated teams in the country and this game will ultimately decide which of these teams heads to the final four and which doesn’t. I give a slight edge to Southern Cal at home, but I feel as if this one truly is a toss up.

WAY-TOO-EARLY-PREDICTION Southern Cal 24 – Notre Dame 21

I think Notre Dame will be very good this year and on the cusp of playoff contention once again. There are obviously a few games I think could be trap games as well as a few games I think are going to be toss ups. I could be right, I could be wrong, I guess we will find out in November how I did.

Big 12 Links: Bishop, Briles and $1 Billion

On Monday, Baylor hired former Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe after firing Art Briles .Grobe resigned from Wake Forest two years ago after spending 13 years there. Following this announcement, Baylor’s athletic director Ian McCaw resigned after he was placed on probation. The president of Baylor Ken Starr has also resigned.

Some people need to learn to keep their mouths closed. Staley Lebby, the daughter of Art Briles and also the wife of Baylor’s running backs coach spoke in her father’s defense via Facebook Thursday. Lebby said that her father’s firing was a “media witch hunt” and said that her father is a “man of incredible character”. It surprises me that her dad let her speak up on this matter and to do it on Facebook seems a little unprofessional to me.

This week it came out why Robert James Castaneda was kicked off of the Texas Tech football team in May. Castaneda told investigators that he took a gun safe with at least seven weapons in it. He also took a television and a camera from a home in Lubbock Texas in December. Castaneda was arrested on Friday and was released on a $5,000 bond. If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison.

After 20 seasons at Texas, Augie Garrido, the winningest coach in college baseball history, is out. Texas had its first losing season since 1998 and will miss the post season for the third time in five years. Augie will still be around the university as a special assistant to the athletic director. Garrido has been honored six times as the national coach of the year and will be inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame in July.

Michael Bishop, former Kansas State quarterback, is up for the College Football Hall of Fame. Bishop is one of the 75 players and six coaches on the ballot. Bishop led the Wildcats to two 11-win seasons in 1997 and 1998 and led the Wildcats to their first number 1 ranking in history. Bishop has been honored in the Kansas State Ring of Honor, Kansas Sports Hall of Fame and the K-State Athletics Hall of Fame. Mark Simoneau and coach Bill Snyder are two Wildcats that have been honored already in the College Football Hall of Fame. Bishop is up against some very tough competition on the 2017 ballot. Eight players who played on Big 12 teams. I am not sure if this year is the year he will be voted in, but hopefully it will happen soon.

Baker Mayfield will not play an extra year at Oklahoma. The Big 12 voted on the walk-on transfer rule for Mayfield this week at the Big 12 meetings. The vote ended in a 5-5 tie that means it did not pass. Bob Stoops was not happy about the decision that was made. Stoops stated “ I’m incredibly disappointed the rule change proposal wasn’t passed today at the big 12 meetings. I hope the conference will reconsider its decision and put the welfare of the student athletes first. It only makes sense for the Big 12’s rules to be consistent with those of the NCAA when it comes to non-scholarship walk-on student-athletes. “ Mayfield could transfer and play at a school in another conference in 2017 as a graduate transfer if he wanted. If he ends up doing this it will not look good for the Big 12. If I were a transfer athlete looking for a school this decision would make me not choose a school in the Big 12. As of yesterday the Big 12 voted to change a transfer rule for walk-ons that would allow them to change schools within the conference and not lose a year of eligibility.

This week the Big 12 administrators are going to be presenting information that will show that the Big 12 Conference can earn at least $1 billion dollars if it decides to expand. This money would come from TV rights contracts they would gain from the expansion. This amount would be if the Big 12 decided to expand by four teams, which I don’t see happening. If it only expanded with two teams then they would gain around $500 million dollars. This won’t help the current Big 12 teams but it would make sure that the conference wouldn’t fall behind the other Power 5 conferences like the direction it is currently going in.


Will History Repeat Itself with the Southwest Conference and Big 12?

The reason for college football expansion all starts with the state of Texas. In 1982, SMU finished second in the polls. This was the last time a Southwestern Conference team competed for a national title.

What really hurt the Southwestern Conference was the constant NCAA violations. The last eight Southwestern Champions lost their bowl games. They didn’t have any powerhouses anymore because the NCAA went after them because of how dirty they were.

Arkansas, one of the three teams (Arkansas, Baylor and Rice) not hit by sanctions, left for the SEC to gain part of their television deal and to get out of a dying conference due to the constant punishments handed down by the NCAA.

Once Arkansas left, the remaining members of the Southwestern Conference had to get a fresh start to help their image and become prominent once again. The SEC expanded in 1990 from 10 to 12 teams. In the same year the Big Ten added Penn State and in 1991 the ACC expanded to nine teams by adding Florida State.

With all of these conferences expanding, they also added television deals with major television companies. While all of this was going on Texas became desperate and decided to leach on to a conference so they could become prominent again in the eyes of the nation.

Fast forward to 2010. What caused Texas A&M, Colorado, Missouri and Nebraska to want to leave the Big 12? The state of Texas, once again. Texas came into the Big 12 making demands, creating television deals and looking out for its own well-being before every other team in the conference.

Texas did everything in its power to keep Texas A&M and the rest of the conference down by creating the Longhorn Network. Texas got rid of the prop 48 or partial qualifying players that the Big 8 once had. Texas also attacked Nebraska’s Association of American Universities status causing a major rift between the two schools. With Nebraska and Texas A&M both feeling wronged they began to looking to leave the Big 12 Conference. With two major players in the Big 12 looking to get out Missouri and Colorado began searching for safer conferences to align with.

So once the second wave of conference realignment started the Big 12 lost four members. Colorado to the Pac 12, Missouri and Texas A&M to the SEC and Nebraska to the Big Ten. The Big 12 was then forced to look for less nationally predominate teams to keep its head above water, taking in West Virginia and TCU to help the conference survive.

This third wave of conference realignment threatens the Big 12 yet again with rumors of Kansas and Oklahoma going to the Big Ten, with West Virginia rumored to go to the ACC and Texas not budging on their money losing Longhorn Network. What conference will want to deal with Texas and all of its conference imploding tendencies regardless of their television deals? Texas has been in two conferences, one has dissolved and the other on the verge. What will happen next?


New Bevo, Old Baylor

On Tuesday Baylor finally responded to the reports that Ken Starr has been fired from Baylor University. As of the latest report they still have not made a decision on whether or not they will fire Starr. The spokeswomen for Baylor, Tonya Lewis, said, “we will not respond to rumors, speculation or reports based on unnamed sources, but when official news is available, the University will provide it. We expect an announcement by June 3.” It is speculated that President Starr and athletic director Ian McCaw will be losing their jobs, but head football coach Art Briles will not. It will be interesting to see if it was just a rumor, but for the sake of Baylor I hope it isn’t.

The University of Texas has selected a new Longhorn steer mascot. The school had to select a new mascot because Bevo XIV, who was on the Texas sideline since 2004, passed away in October 2015. The mascot will be introduced for the 100th anniversary season of its first appearance. The longhorns will play Notre Dame on September 4, the first appearance of Bevo XV.

Nothing has been made official yet but from the sound of it Wil Grier will be able to play for West Virginia the first game of the 2017 season. Grier is enrolled at West Virginia but due to testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs he may not be able to play until mid season. According to Holgorsen this might change. Holgorsen said, “I fully anticipate him being eligible for the opening game of the 2017 season.” If there is a will there is a way. I wouldn’t be surprised if somehow the NCAA waives the rest of his suspension and lets him play the full season with the Mountaineers.

Bev Kearney sued Texas for at least one million dollars in damages in 2013. Kearney was the head track coach and had a romantic relationship with one of her sprinters over a decade earlier. It has taken so long for her to get justice because the University has been appealing the issue. Kearney is saying she was more harshly punished because she is black. A white male football coach did the same thing and was only reprimanded, not fired. Kearney is seeking statements from Mack Brown, former athletic director DeLoss Dodds, former school president Bill Powers and current women’s athletic director Chris Plonsky. The statements they will write are on how exactly they handled the situation at the time it was brought to their attention. This case has been swept under the rug recently due to the Baylor scandal, but it will be interesting to see what happens.

Sylvester Turner an alumni of the University of Houston believes that when Oklahoma comes to town on September 3, the Cougars will beat the Sooners by “14, or possibly 21 points.” Did I mention Sylvester Turner is also the mayor of Houston? He has turned a lot of heads by making this statement and has also provided some locker room motivation for the guys in Norman. The Cougars are coming off of a really great season, but I have a feeling the Sooners will be ready for them, especially after that comment.

As the time draws near, it looks less and less likely that the Big 12 presidents are going to vote against the Big 12 expansion. After all of the schools that have sold themselves to try to get into the Big 12 it looks like they will all be disappointed. Apparently, after six years, the Big 12 is not in the “decision-making” stage, so it probably won’t ever be. If no expansion happens I think the Big 12 will fall apart in the next couple of years and Oklahoma will be the first school to leave.


Big 12 Satellite Camps

The Big 12 has been in the news for one subject the past few months .I don’t know about you, but I am ready for the Big 12 meeting to be over. As we all know there are other subjects in regards to college football but with all Big 12 fans they have been swept under the rug. One of those subjects being satellite camps.

Earlier this year the NCAA banned satellite camps. The Big 12 was not really news about the banned camps because the majority of the schools did not really give their opinion on the matter. The Big Ten was the main conference that spoke up about it. The SEC and ACC banned these years ago. Banning these camps effected the Big 12 more than people think. Satellite amps involved the NCAA football programs and their coaches co-hosting camps with lower division colleges or high schools outside of their home state.

When satellite camps became really popular when coaches found a loophole in the rule the NCAA made. The rule was that the schools were limited to hosting camps within fifty miles of their campus or within their home state. Satellite camps help coaches find players who have yet to be recruited and have some hidden talents that have yet to be discovered.

Many of the Big 12 coaches are glad that the ban was raised. One of the many reasons is that it helps the athletes that don’t necessarily have the means to travel to be seen by coaches at certain schools. Coach Beaty at Kansas stated “If we truly care about kids and what is best for them, and giving them great opportunities, I think (overturning the ban) is something we have to look at. Even though it has been overturned I agree. I really think that satellite camps benefit the kids because it gives them opportunities to show coaches how they play and practice. This is much better than sending them highlight videos, that some of the coaches do not even watch or showing up to camps at the university where there are many other players competing for coaches attention.”

Oklahoma and Oklahoma State host a lot of satellite camps in Texas so when they heard the news about banning them they were one of the most upset schools in the Big 12. Another school that would have been highly upset if the ban stayed was Texas. Texas, the past two years, did not hold camps in Texas. The Longhorns held camps in Florida in 2015 and Louisiana last year. Going to these states helped Strong gain many great recruits for Texas. Strong thinks that gaining strong recruits from different states will help Texas look solid for recruits in the state of Texas. Which is why this year the Longhorns decided to stay in Texas, which could mean major competition for Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Texas is trying its hardest to get back on top of the recruiting ladder in their home state, especially since Texas A&M is struggling in many aspects. Strong is really hoping that recruits in Texas will want to stay close to home and go to the more dominant school and not go to the schools who host satellite camps in Texas.

I am very pleased that the NCAA lifted the ban for satellite camps. Nothing will really change since the ban did not last long enough for any effects to really take place. It is good for the student athletes who will not have the opportunity to go to the college football camps that are offered at the Universities. Hopefully schools do not take advantage of these and they will last for a long time.


Not Enough Red Bull for Holgorsen

There have been some interesting things going on in the Big 12 recently. Obviously, expansion talk is still the number one topic in people’s minds, but there have been contract extensions being turned down, pay raises for coaches who maybe don’t deserve them and players getting kicked off of their teams, just to name a few.

ESPN Big 12 reporter Jake Trotter gave his opinion on the Big 12 expansion. Trotter thinks the Big 12 will expand. One of the main reasons Trotter thinks this is because the Big 12 will have a higher percentage of making the playoff if it has more teams competing and there is a championship game to be played. The best model was the old way  so they are trying to go back to it. Trotter also mentioned how difficult it is going to be to gain a television network when Texas isn’t even close to being 100 percent on board and getting rid of theirs in order to do so. Hopefully Texas will agree to switching soon, but I highly doubt it.

With football season quickly approaching the conference networks are announcing their prime time games. Since the Big 12 doesn’t have that luxury, writer Sean Cordy decided to make a list of what he thought the prime time games in the Big 12 should be. I don’t agree with some of the games on the list and here is why. He picked three games where Kansas is playing. How Kansas, who didn’t even win a game all season, can be picked for even one “prime time” game is beyond me. But I guess he thought these were the best games of the week. Kansas should be better this year but I don’t think it will be that competitive in only a year. I look forward to the day when the Big 12 has its own network just so we can see what the prime time games will be that season.

At the beginning of the 2015 season many people thought that Dana Holgorsen would lose his job. The season turned out to be a positive one after the Mountaineers finished the strong. After the season ended, the Athletic Director at West Virginia realized that he did not want to let Holgorsen go. The Mountaineers wanted to extend his contract but Holgorsen did not accept it. Holgorsen has two years left on his contract and will probably be offered another extension after next season, or after his contract is up. He needs to coach well these next two seasons or I don’t think West Virginia will take him back after he did this. I also don’t see another big name school picking him up, so he better hope for the best.

Texas Football hasn’t made a statement on the football field in a while, until now. This time it has to do with coaching. After two losing seasons the regents decided to give pay raises to some of the assistant coaches. Yes, you read that right. To be an assistant coach at Texas, that must be the life. The assistant coaches that will receive raises are: Brick Haley the defensive line coach, tight ends and special teams coach Jeff Traylor, strength coach Pat Moorer, and new assistants Charlie Williams, Clay Jennings and Anthony Johnson.

The specific reason is unknown as to why three Texas Tech players were kicked off of the Red Raiders football team. Kliff Kingsburry, the Texas Tech head football coach said it was “due to failure to uphold student athlete expectations.” Sophomore linebacker Dakota Allen, sophomore offensive lineman Robert Castaneda and redshirt freshman offensive lineman Trace Ellison were the three Red Raider players involved.

Running back Alex Ross announced this week that after he graduated from Oklahoma this week he will be transferring schools. Ross didn’t make much of an impact these past two years because he was overshadowed. He did make a large impact in the Sooners’ kick return game though.  Ross will be able to play immediately for whatever school he chooses. As of Sunday, it has been reported that Ross made a visit to Columbia, Missouri to visit MU. The Tigers need a running back so this could be the perfect fit for Ross this coming season.


Big 12 Expansion is All Talk

Right now you may be tired of reading about expansion in the Big 12, but more and more is coming out about it every day. One of the most recent pieces of news that has come to a head is that Max Weizenhoffer, the Oklahoma board of regent’s chairman does not want the Big 12 to expand. He is not the only Oklahoma Chairman that doesn’t want this to occur. Oklahoma City Thunder chairman Clay Bennett is also against expansion.

President Bob Boren has a powerful influence on the other Big 12 presidents’ votes, but it sounds like he will not have the final say in the matter. Weizenhoffer said that “we just want to let him (Boren) know we don’t like it. If the expansion goes forward, it may get to the point where we may not be able to stop it.”

You can tell that Weizenhoffer is extremely against the expansion and thinks it is a bad idea, not only for Oklahoma but the other schools as well. He has stated that they, meaning the Big 12, are at a huge disadvantage compared to the other Power 5 conferences.

It has been said before that numerous Big 12 presidents (Oklahoma’s, West Virginia’s, Iowa State’s and Kansas’s) have all admitted to being in favor of expansion. Kansas State does not have a permanent president in place yet to discuss the matter. But, of course Texas isn’t saying a word about expansion.

Weizenhoffers argument is that expansion doesn’t make sense unless the Big 12 gains teams from other Power 5 conferences. It is impossible to gain such teams since the teams are bound together by a grant of rights and their conferences. I highly doubt the Big 12 is willing to pay or give the time to go to court to break the rights these teams have with their conferences.

The main talk of expansion teams surrounds Boise State, BYU, UCF, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Houston, Memphis and South Florida. All of these schools seem so small in size compared to all of the other schools in the Big 12 Conference. According to this article this is true. If the Big 12 sticks with what it has said before about adding teams with strong and large athletic crowds the schools that were mentioned will not be the best choice.

I have heard that there is a possibility to pick up Arizona State and Arizona. If the Big 12 were to do that it would be a much better choice. This way the Big 12 could gain major TV coverage, larger stadiums which equal larger crowds and more revenue for those teams and for the Big 12.  I am to the point where I am ready for an answer. June 3 cannot come soon enough.

Hopefully after these meetings there won’t be talk about expanding, or not expanding, for a while.  Hopefully the solution they come up with will be set in stone for a while and hopefully the majority of the people and schools will agree.


Expansion or No Expansion…That is the Question

Maybe it’s because I am a K-State fan, but this article made me laugh out loud. Does it really surprise anyone that no Kansas football players were drafted? De’Andre Mann, Taylor Cox and Larry Mazyck have been picked up in free agency. Mann signed with the Atlanta Falcons, Cox has been invited to Cowboys camp and Mazyck will be attending free agent tryout camp with the Houston Texans. It will be interesting to see if more KU players can make in impact in the NFL like Harris and Talib did this year. I just don’t really see players from these past few years making it very far considering what their record has been.

The contract from Brad Underwood has been approved. Underwood will make a total of 6.3 million the next five years with a starting salary of $1 million for next season. This doesn’t include the incentives he will be receiving from the Big 12 and Oklahoma State if he wins. As I said in my article earlier this year, Underwood is a great coach and deserves a large contract. I am very happy he is in the Big 12 again, I just wish it was with a different team.

Memphis President M. David Rudd released a promotional publication on his twitter account. He is really pushing for his school to join the Big 12. I think this would be a very interesting move by the Big 12. I wouldn’t be opposed at all. Memphis is progressively getting better in football and, of course, is very good in basketball. It is also somewhat close to other schools so people would travel, which is always important. I am not sure how much people who actually make these decisions pay to twitter and make their decisions off of promotional videos.

Bob Bowlsby finally spoke up about when decisions are going to be made in regards to expansion. He said “we need to move ahead and make decisions. I just think we need to move ahead expediently.” At this point I am somewhat indifferent about what happens. I am just ready for them to make a decision and hope it is the bet one for the conference. It sounds like they will have a decision made in the next ten days.

The Big 12 needs votes from eight schools to expand. I have heard they currently only have votes from seven schools. I have never liked Texas, nor will I ever like Texas. I feel like Texas is a very selfish school. Texas wants to keep the Longhorn Network so the Longhorns are pressuring TCU and Texas Tech not to vote for expansion. So, instead of thinking about what is best for the Big 12, the Longhorns are just thinking about themselves and what their TV contract will do for them. The Longhorn Network has lost money the past few years. So in the long run Texas is losing money for something they are so adamant on keeping.


The Big 12 Network?

The time is quickly approaching where the Big 12 will finally figure out if it is going to expand or not. The three pro expansion schools have stated that the Big 12 needs to add a conference game, that it lacks at least 12 teams and that it needs a conference network.

With the NCAA changing its rules, it seems like on a yearly basis, the Big 12 is able to have a championship game without expansion. This of course means there would be a rematch of a game that has been played earlier in the season. We now know that the Big 12 can have a team represented in the college playoff even if it doesn’t have a championship game. Despite only having ten teams in the Big 12 the league has also been very successful in basketball and other sports despite what some people thought would happen.

It has been said that even if the Big 12 does expand there probably won’t be a TV deal until later down the line. The Big 12 has national attention, but the majority comes from Oklahoma and Texas in most sports and Kansas when it comes to basketball season. These schools have the largest appeal in the league because of their location, alumni size and history. These are the things that other Big 12 schools lack. This is one of the main reasons why other schools in the Big 12 conference would not be able to move to another conference if the Big 12 dissipated. I don’t fully agree that you need all of that in order to move conferences. I think that every school brings its own unique style to the conference and has a positive influence on the Big 12. Yes, the Big Ten may have a larger alumni base, history and more urban locations, but I still think the Big 12 can secure a TV deal.

The Big Ten is close to an agreement that would provide Fox with half of the conference television rights and would pay $250 million a year to the conference. Add this to the $8 million per year that the Big Ten schools get from the Big Ten Network and each league member would be getting about $44 million per season in television rights. This deal would give Fox a right to around 25 football games and 50 basketball games.

Adding two teams to the Big 12 isn’t a guarantee that any of the teams already in the conference are going to stay. It is rumored that if some Big 12 schools decide to leave, it would probably be Oklahoma, Texas and possibly Kansas. These teams would leave for enhanced revenues in the Big Ten or SEC. These conferences are a lot more stable and have a much better potential for growing bigger and stronger. The Big 12 is in a slump, so I wouldn’t blame those teams for leaving. It makes me wish my alma mater was sought after by other conferences. I don’t want to be the conference labeled as the conference that is “a cut above the American” when or if teams decide to leave. I hope for the Big 12’s sake it can figure something out and that teams will stay.