Posted on: August 31, 2011 3:00 pm
Edited on: August 31, 2011 3:44 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Texas A&M announced Wednesday it would apply to join "another conference," a conference that even the tubeworms living without sunlight at the bottom of the Pacific could tell you* is the SEC. The Aggies will certainly-as-certainly-gets make 13 for Mike Slive's league, and since a 13-team conference with one 6-team division and one 7-team division is the college football equivalent of a table with one leg an inch too short, expect the SEC to find a 14th team sooner rather than later.
The question begged by A&M's arrival is this: why now? During Expansionpalooza 2010, Slive and the SEC seemed more than happy to stand pat with the same 12 teams and two divisions that have made them the sport's proverbial 500-pound gorilla, the elephant no one has proven capable of shoving out of the room. But come 2011, when the Aggies called griping about the changes in their neighborhood, Slive was happy to ask them to move into his.
Ask many fans and pundits, and they'll tell you the A&M invite is Slive's preemptive strike against Larry Scott and the Pac-12 and Jim Delany and the Big Ten, the two commissioners and conferences that -- the argument goes -- are poised to usher in the era of 16-team "superconferences," wresting away control of the sport ... if Slive doesn't beat them to the punch.
But adding Texas A&M isn't about what Scott and Delany might have in the future. It's about what they have right now.
Namely, it's about the television networks that those conference have or will have, and that the SEC version that Slive shortsightedly passed on when he signed the league's current deals with CBS and (more to the point where the league network is concerned) ESPN. While the Big Ten Network's revenues skyrocket and the Pac-12's TV revenues are set outdo the SEC's even before the league's network starts airing, the SEC is scheduled to earn the exact same amount in TV money in 2023 they are today ... when the league's contract is already below market value.
Whether the SEC's expansion will give them enough re-negotiation leverage to either get an SEC network off the ground -- or just keep pace with the Pac-12 in base contract value -- remains a matter of conjecture. But if any expansion choice could do it, you'd think Texas A&M would. The Aggies expand the league's "footprint" into Texas, have close ties to the major-major Houston market, have a massive alumni base, and have traditionally been a highly competitive, nationally relevant football program.
But even the Aggies might make not that much of an impact on the SEC's bottom line. Former CBS Sports president Neal Pilson told CNBC this week that "there are smart people at both ESPN and CBS and I would anticipate that they foresaw this type of contingency ... if there's any adjustment to the TV deals, I would anticipate that it would be a very modest adjustment." Pilson wouldn't even guarantee that after A&M's addition, the SEC's per-school revenue distribution would match what it is now.
That may be selling the Aggies short. But it nonetheless speaks to why even after the A&M-SEC marriage, the age of the 16-team superconference is not yet upon us. Conference expansion isn't as simple as adding a team, sitting back, and watching the bottom line swell; that team has to add enough value to offset the significant division of league profits by 13 (and then, inevitably, 14) rather than 12. There's other substantial drawbacks, too: increased travel costs, fewer games for current members against their existing rivals**, stiffer competition for the league's limited number of national broadcasts (and, you know, championships).
Which is why "superconferences" likely remain firmly in the distant -- rather than the near -- future. If it takes adding Syracuse and Rutgers for the Big Ten to get up to 16 teams, why would they bother? If the new-look Pac-16 includes the likes of Fresno State or even Boise State -- still not exactly a major-market media powerhouse -- that's not exactly going to force Slive's hand. And assuming the SEC's "gentleman's agreement" not to expand into current SEC states is still intact, who would Slive pull for teams No. 15 and 16? The current whispers are that if Virginia Tech stands by its ACC man (as they say they will), the SEC could look at N.C. State--a member that would give the SEC the Raleigh TV market but (with all due respect) wouldn't have Scott and Delany crying into their respective beers.
The one scenario that could overturn the whole apple cart is Texas deciding to listen to Scott's overtures this go-round and dragging the likes of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State with them. But given the Longhorns' already-substantial investment in the Longhorn Network, here's a guess that neither they nor ESPN is going to like sharing their rare live content with the partially Fox-owned Pac-12 Network. And if the Longhorns either stay committed to the Big 12 or go independent, the Pac-12 could add some value by snapping up the Sooners and Cowboys ... but again, are there enough schools out there to justify going to 16?
When even adding A&M to go from 12 to 13 isn't a hands-down slam-dunk for the SEC -- and given that it's a backwards-looking desperation move motivated by the need to repair an earlier mistake, not a forward-looking "gotta do it" type of decision, how can it be? -- the guess here is that no, those schools are not.
14 may indeed be the new 12, but 16 remains what 14 was when the SEC first expanded in 1992--a number major college football will probably reach at some point in the future, but one that's not more than an intriguing hypothetical in the present.
*Trust me, I asked them. They added they were sick of hearing about expansion and scandal and just wanted the season to start.
**In the particular case of A&M and the SEC, this doesn't apply to LSU and Arkansas; the Tigers and Razorbacks have more history with A&M than they do many of their current SEC brethren.
Tags: Big 12, Big Ten, Big Ten Network, Boise State, ESPN, Fox, Fresno State, Jerry Hinnen, Jim Delany, Larry Scott, Longhorn Network, Mike Slive, N.C. State, Neal Pilson, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Pac-12, Pac-12 Network, Pac-12 Network, Rutgers, SEC, SEC expansion, Syracuse, Texas, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech
Posted on: August 31, 2011 2:42 pm
Edited on: August 31, 2011 2:43 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
It seems that Beamerball is open to players of all genders, as on Monday Lauren Luttrell tried out to be the Hokies' placekicker. Luttrell, of course, is female.
She kicked for Spotsylvania High last year and is a converted soccer and volleyball player who just began kicking field goals in the spring of 2010. Luttrell must have been pretty impressive at her try out, too, because although she won't be kicking for the Hokies this season, Frank Beamer did say that he has invited her back to practice with the team next spring.
“Right now it’s kind of tough to come out there and get a lot of attention. Things are happening so fast right now,” Beamer told the Washington Post. “But I was impressed with her and we’ll bring her back out there in the spring.”
Now if Luttrell does end up kicking for Virginia Tech, she will not be the first female to do so for a college football team. Though previous instances have had mixed results. Kathy Ireland was a very successful placekicker for the Texas State Armadillos in the movie Necessary Roughness -- whatever happened to Sinbad anyway? -- but that was fiction and doesn't really count.
There was also Katie Hnida who kicked for New Mexico after leaving Colorado due to some uncomfortable situations.
Posted on: August 22, 2011 6:39 pm
By Eye on College Football Bloggers
Occasionally the Eye on CFB team convenes Voltron-style to answer a pressing question regarding the wild, wide world of college football. This week's topic:
The preseason AP poll is out and there's a few differences-of-opinion between the media and the Coaches' Poll. Which of those opinions does the AP have right--or wrong?
Adam Jacobi: I'm still extremely leery of putting Texas A&M and Oklahoma State in the top 10 (top nine, even, I suppose), but considering that this was the case in the coaches' poll too, I guess the Aggies and Cowboys are there to stay (until they lose).The AP left Penn State out of the Top 25, and though the Nittany Lions are really 27th instead of 25th (i.e. not that big of a difference), I'm perfectly fine with that. I don't see their candidacy for the Top 25 lasting past the Alabama game, or reinvigorating itself at very many other points in the season. JoePa is notorious for slow-playing his quarterback situations--remember when Daryll Clark wasn't named starter until a week or two before the '08 season, then won Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year?--but I'm completely unsold on both Robert Bolden and Matt McGloin at this point, and thus unsold on PSU too. I find it interesting that Arkansas only dropped from 14th in the coaches' poll to 15th in the AP after Knile Davis went down. I think the actual impact of his injury is going to be much more substantial. Agree?
Tom Fornelli: I'm not as surprised by Arkansas only dropping a spot, because I believe in our own Brett McMurphy's ballot he said that the Knile Davis injury occurred after ballots had to be sent in. Had the injury happened a few days earlier, I believe Arkansas would have found itself closer to 20th.
AJ: Facts are for weenies, Tom.
TF: I do agree with your sentiments on Oklahoma State and Texas A&M. While I'm more confident in Oklahoma State, I'm just not sure that either is a top 10 team at the moment, and if the preseason poll is supposed to be an educated guess on how things will look at the end of the season, then I am really hesitant about boththose teams being in the top ten. One of them, maybe. But both? No.
Another team that I feel is ranked too high right now is Florida State. I understand that the Seminoles got back on the right track last season under Jimbo Fisher, but this is still a team that lost four games last season and sent its starting quarterback off to the NFL. I'm not knocking E.J. Manuel or anything, but a four-loss team with a new quarterback suddenly vaults into the top six in both polls? Am I the only one who thinks this doesn't make sense?
Chip Patterson: I think voters are remembering the way Florida State finished their season (an impressive performance in a 44-33 loss to Virginia Tech without Ponder, and knocking off the SEC runner-up in the Chick Fil-A Bowl) rather than looking at the team that lost back-to-back games to N.C. State and North Carolina. The Seminoles have their eyes set on returning to the top five, and arguably have their best team since 2005. Ponder's health issues have had Manuel on constant stand-by over the last two seasons, and the junior has a 4-2 record as a starter. The Seminoles have a pair of scrimmages on the schedule before facing top-ranked Oklahomain Tallahassee on Sept. 17. I expect that game will reveal a lot about both teams, and the outcome could shift the landscape in the hunt for the national title.
But to the question at hand: how bout them 'Neers? After the Big East was shut out of the coaches' version, West Virginia snuck into the AP poll to keep the conference from being absent in all four of the final 2010 and preseason 2011 polls. With Dana Holgorsen at the controls, it's entirely deserved. But unfortunately, WVU was in the same position last year and dropped from the polls after losing to LSU in September. The Bayou Bengals visit Morgantown on Sept. 24 this year, so we'll see if the Mountaineers can get revenge with their new homefield advantage.
Jerry Hinnen: Though FSU looks a hair too high to me, I'm more interested in who the AP jumped over them: Boise State. The coaches were more skeptical about the Broncos, placing them No. 7, behind both the 'Noles and Stanford.The AP bumped them up to fifth, just behind the consensus top four.
And that's the right call. Because of the torrent of hype for what was expected to be Chris Petersen's best team last year, the popular conception of the Broncos seems to be that their national title window has passed. And that probably was Petersen's best team, given the strength it wielded at receiver and corner that doesn't return this year. But with Kellen Moore, Doug Martin, a stack of gifted linemen, and one of the nations's stingiest run defenses, this year's Broncos could still give last year's a run for their money. Plus, here's the kicker: the schedule sets up even better for a chance at a crystal football than it did last year. Potential SEC East champ Georgia could give the Broncos the high-profile scalp they need to force their way into the conversation, with TCU another possible 10-win victim to boost the profile. There doesn't appear to be any road ambush waiting a la Nevada last year, either, unless San Diego State is better than we're expecting.
Bottom line: if the Broncos get past Georgia, this is a team that should finish much closer to (as in, ahead of) the AP's ranking than the coaches'--and yes, finish higher than either FSU or Andrew Luck's Cardinal, who may feel the loss of both Jim Harbaugh and top-notch defensive coordinator Vic Fangio more keenly than most expect.
Tags: ACC, Alabama, Andrew Luck, Arkansas, Big East, Boise State, Chick-Fil-A Bowl, Chris Petersen, Daryll Clark, Doug Martin, E.J. Manuel, Florida State, Georgia, Jim Harbaugh, Jimbo Fisher, Kellen Moore, Knile Davis, LSU, Matt McGloin, N.C. State, Nevada, non-BCS, North Carolina, Oklahoma State, Penn State, Robert Bolden, San Diego State, Stanford, Texas A&M, Vic Fangio, Virginia Tech, West Virginia
Posted on: August 15, 2011 12:52 pm
Edited on: September 2, 2011 1:53 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
As part of our ACC Preview, Adam Aizer, J. Darin Darst, and I sat down to take a look at the season ahead in the league. The ACC is a league with a lot of individual talent, but few teams that really stand out on the national level. We discuss the possible shift of power from the Coastal Division to the Atlantic Division, as well as the chances of Florida State reclaiming the conference. I throw an obnoxious amount of support behind Miami as a sleeper, and we run through Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and make our pick for the ACC Championship Game.
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Posted on: August 15, 2011 7:55 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
As part of CBSSports.com's season preview, we offer this blogger's selections for the Preseason All-ACC Team.
EJ Manuel, Jr., Florida State - Manuel has been handed the keys to arguably one of the best Seminole teams in nearly a decade, and the first-year starter has already had several opportunities to grow comfortable with the 57 returning letterman. Manuel was impressive filling in for the injured Christian Ponder in the ACC Championship Game (44-33 loss to Virginia Tech) and the Chick Fil-A Bowl (26-17 victory over South Carolina), and completed 67.3 percent of his passes as a two-year reserve. Manuel also has the ability to burn defenses with his feet, making him especially dangerous in the red zone.
Also watch for: Expect another big year from Maryland quarterback Danny O'Brien, though it will be hard to replicate last year's numbers without Torrey Smith. Also the competition between Jacory Harris and Stephen Morris at Miami could elevate the game of the to-be-named starter.
Montel Harris, Sr., Boston College - Harris was the ACC's leading rusher in 2010 (1,243 yards) despite missing the final two and half games of the season. If Harris can stay healthy, he should have a chance to chase down the ACC career rushing record. Currently, Harris sits 15th and needs just 1,003 yards (approx. 80-85 yards/game) to become the conference's all-time leading rusher.
Lamar Miller, Soph., Miami - Storm Johnson's departure has left the Hurricanes rushing attack primarily in the hands of Miller and junior Mike James. There have been nothing but good reports on the duo, with Miller in particular drawing praise from teammate Sean Spence. "Lamar is one of the fastest backs in the ACC and the nation," Spence said. Miller's ranking nationally is debatable, but he should be one of the most impressive backs in the conference.
Also watch for: Florida State's trio of Chris Thompson, Jermaine Thomas, and Ty Jones combined for 1,862 yards and 17 TDs in 2010 and all return. Clemson will likely be giving Andre Ellington (5.8 ypc in 2010) more touches in Chad Morris' up-tempo system, and Roddy Jones will try to be the sixth straight Yellow Jacket to rush for 1,300 yards or more in a season.
Conner Vernon, Sr., Duke - In 2010 Vernon led the ACC in receptions per game, and should see similar production this season with Sean Renfree much more comfortable under center. Despite a rocky start, the Blue Devils passing game began clicking in the second half of the season. Along with teammate Donovan Varner, Vernon is a big reason optimism is on the rise in Durham.
Dwight Jones, Sr., North Carolina - An All-ACC Honorable Mention selection in 2010, the 6-foot-4 Jones will quickly be a go-to target for new starting quarterback Bryn Renner. Jones is a threat as a possession receiver, but also has shown the ability to make a big play after the catch. Against Virginia in Charlottesville, Jones turned a short slant into an 81 yard touchdown on his way to a 198 yard outing. Jones is looking to continue the momentum from the second half of last season into his final year with the Tar Heels.
Also watch for:Questions with new quarterbacks makes selecting wide receivers difficult, but there is no reason believe that Virginia Tech wide receiver Jarrett Boykin and Clemson's DeAndre Hopkins won't be able to shine with a new signal caller. Virginia's Kris Burd is another sleeper to watch at this position.
C Tyler Horn, Sr., Miami - Horn has taken on a leadership role with this unit and this team since Al Golden's arrival. The redshirt senior was one of the many players selected by Golden and the staff to spend practices as coaches, and has become a mentor to to touted DL Anthony Chickillo. Golden has complimented his efforts, and it looks like he will hold off redshirt freshman Shane McDermott after a fierce battle for the starting spot.
OG Brandon Washington, Jr., Miami - A 1st Team All-ACC pick in 2010, Washington is arguably the most talented piece of the Hurricanes front line. Washington has been moved around because of injuries, but has never failed to deliver regardless of position. Whoever wins the Jacory Harris/Stephen Morris battle will be happy to be playing behind Washington.
OG Jonathan Cooper, Jr., North Carolina - Cooper believes that this offensive line unit is the best North Carolina has had since he arrived in Chapel Hill. What the junior guard did not mention is that he is probably one of the critical pieces in their success. Cooper can play either guard or center, and will be looked to as one of the leaders in the trenches.
OT Blake DeChristopher, Sr., Virginia Tech - Missing training camp because of a strained left pectoral shouldn't slow down DeChristopher too much this fall. He has been a three-year starter and All-ACC pick in 2010. A crucial piece to protecting new quarterback Logan Thomas.
OT Andrew Datko, Sr., Florida State - The 6-foot-6, 321 pound tackle is determined to make his senior year count, playing his last season alongside David Spurlock and Zebrie Sanders. Datko is considered the most talented of the group, and will be needed to be productive and keep EJ Manuel on his feet and healthy.
Also watch for:You could argue that Clemson center Dalton Freeman and Georgia Tech guard Omoregie Uzzi both belong on this list, and a strong case could be made for Virginia Tech guard Jaymes Brookes. One to watch this season is JUCO transfer Jacob Fahrenkrug at Florida State. If the 307-pound guard lives up to expectations it could make an already talented Seminole offense even better.
George Bryan, Sr., N.C. State - Bryan earned 1st Team All-ACC honors after pulling in 35 catches for 369 yards and 3 touchdowns in 2010. The big target could see a lot of action this fall, as the most experienced receiver for new starting quarterback Mike Glennon. When Glennon sees pressure from opposing defenses, you can bet he'll be looking for No. 84 underneath.
Also watch for:The conference is a little thin at tight end, but Clemson's Dwayne Allen and Virginia's Colter Phillips are two players to keep an eye on. Virginia Tech tight end Chris Drager is making the move back to offense after playing DE in 2010, though his primary task may be focused more on run/pass blocking.
DE Brandon Jenkins, Jr., Florida State - Jenkins is a relentless pass rusher who leads a talented unit in Tallahassee that made of habit of bringing down quarterbacks in 2010. Jenkins finished sixth in the nation with 13.5 sacks, and the return of eight defensive starters should help him follow up 2010 with another impressive campaign this fall.
DE Quinton Coples, Sr., North Carolina - After causing havoc at DT last season (10.0 sacks ranked him third in the conference behind Da'Quan Bowers and Brandon Jenkins), Coples will move to defensive end in 2011. Teams won't be surprised by Coples this year, but North Carolina's depth and talent on the defensive line will make it difficult to scheme specifically against the All-ACC senior.
DT Tydreke Powell, Sr., North Carolina - Expectations are high for Powell, who was one of the few defenders to start all 13 games in 2010. Powell has the body of a run stopper, but said in the offseason he has focused on moving faster and becoming more of a pass rusher. If he adds that aspect to his game it will make that talented unit a nightmare for opposing offensive lines.
DT Marcus Forston, Jr., Miami - Forston has returned from a knee injury ahead of schedule, and could end up having a big impact on the field for the Hurricanes this season. Golden has been high on Forston since camp started, and if he can stay healthy the standout defensive lineman could finally deliver the type of season many have waited for from the top-ranked recruit.
Also watch for: Clemson will once again will have a strong defensive line with Andre Branch and Brandon Thompson, and Maryland's Joe Vellano was a 2nd Team All-ACC selection a year ago.
Luke Kuechly, Jr., Boston College - Kuechly might not only be the best linebacker in the ACC, but possibly the best in the nation. The unanimous All-American selection in 2010 is currently the NCAA active leader in tackles per game, averaging 13.1 tackles across his 26 career starts. There is no reason to think that "Boy Wonder," as they call him, will do anything other continue dominating on the defensive side of the ball.
Sean Spence, Sr., Miami - After a 2nd Team All-ACC selection in 2010, Spence has returned as the "clear-cut leader" on defense. Fellow linebacker Jimmy Gaines went so far as to call Spence "Mr. Miami." He is one three Hurricanes on the Nagurski Award Watch List, given to the nation's top defensive player. From making plays in coverage to getting stops behind the line of scrimmage (16.0 tackles for loss in 2010), Spence can have an impact all over the field for Miami.
Kenny Tate, Sr., Maryland - Maryland finished fourth nationally in turnover margin last season, with some of the credit going to Tate - who led the ACC in forced fumbles. Tate makes the move from free safety to linebacker this season, and can be found on most individual award watch lists for defenders.
Also watch for: Florida State weakside linebacker Nigel Bradham is expected to have a big season, and Virginia Tech's Bruce Taylor was a second team All-ACC pick in 2010.
CB Jayron Hosley, Jr., Virginia Tech - All-ACC and All-American in 2010, Hosley is arguably the most talented secondary player in the league. Hosley might not see as much action now that he's not playing opposite Rock Carmichael, but his impact will still be felt.
CB Xavier Rhodes, Soph., Florida State - Rhodes broke out a season ago, combining with teammate Greg Reid for 33 defended passes. His efforts earned him a Freshman All-American nod and 2nd Team All-ACC. The Seminoles' secondary is a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks, and Rhodes is a big reason why.
S Ray-Ray Armstrong, Jr., Miami - There is a lot of hype around Armstrong, who is coming off a 2nd Team All-ACC season in 2010. He picked off three passes and is the second-leading returning tackler for the Hurrcanes, trailing only Sean Spence. Armstrong is also on the watch list for the Nagurski Award.
S Eddie Whitley, Sr., Virginia Tech - Whitley is the second-leading tackler back for the Hokies, and will be an important part of trying to turn around a defense that statistically did not live up to Bud Foster's recent standards. The Hokies have depth problems in the secondary, and Whitley should get plenty of chances to make plays as the only senior slated to start.
Also watch for: Virginia cornerback Chase Minnifield could be set to have a big year, as could N.C. State's Earl Wolff. Sleeper pick for a big season is Duke's Matt Daniels..
K Dustin Hopkins, Jr., Florida State
P Dawson Zimmerman, Sr., Cemsoni
KR/PR David Wilson, Jr., Virginia Tech
Also watch for: Duke placekicker Will Snyderwine was the media's selection for Preseason All-ACC, and Greg Reid has a chance to cause some damage returning kicks for Florida State.
As always, let us know what you the think about the selections in the comment section below. Also be sure to click on over to the Conference Preview for more coverage on the ACC
Tags: ACC, All-ACC Team, Andre Branch, Andre Ellington, Andrew Datko, Blake DeChristopher, Boston College, Brandon Jenkins, Brandon Thompson, Brandon Washington, Bruce Taylor, Bryn Renner, CBSSports.com All-ACC Team, Chase Minnifield, Chip Patterson, Chris Drager, Chris Thompson, Clemson, Colter Phillips, Conner Vernon, Dalton Freeman, Danny O'Brien, David Wilson, Dawson Zimmerman, DeAndre Hopkins, Duke, Dustin Hopkins, Dwayne Allen, Dwight Jones, Earl Wolff, Eddie Whitley, EJ Manuel, Florida State, George Bryan, Georgia Tech, Greg Reid, Jacob Fahrenkrug, Jarrett Boykin, Jayron Hosley, Jermaine Thomas, Joe Vellano, Jonathan Cooper, Kenny Tate, Kris Burd, Lamar Miller, Luke Kuechly, Marcus Forston, Maryland, Matt Daniels, Miami, Mike Glennon, Montel Harris, N.C. State, Nigel Bradham, North Carolina, Omoregie Uzzi, Preseason All-ACC Team, Preseason All-Conference Team, Quinton Coples, Ray-Ray Armstrong, Roddy Jones, Sean Spence, Ty Jones, Tydreke Powell, Tyler Horn, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Will Snyderwine, Xavier Rhodes
Posted on: August 12, 2011 3:09 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
As the Texas A&M-to-the-SEC expansion rumors reach critical mass, the inevitabe follow-up question becomes: if the Aggies really are No. 13, who's No. 14?
According to Virginia Tech athletic director Jim Weaver, it won't be the Hokies. Speaking to the Louisville Courier-Journal, Weaver said the school would "politely decline" any hypothetical offer to join the SEC. His reasoning:
"Virginia Tech has always wanted to be in the Atlantic Coast Conference and I would think that’s where we’re going to stay, because it’s the right thing and the best thing for our university" ...
"[W]hen you realize the travel involved and so on, we’re virtually in a ‘bus league’ right now. The SEC would cause other travel issues. Certainly there is (increased) revenue involved (with joining the SEC). But I just feel like, and this is me talking – I haven’t talked to the president or any of that – Virginia Tech would politely decline, because we’re very happy to be in the Atlantic Coast Conference.”Of course, it's very easy to say that now when (as Weaver points out up front) any invite from Mike Slive is entirely hypothetical. With the SEC still not even having reached the point of extending the Aggies an invitation -- per both CBSSports.com's Tony Barnhart as well as other media sources -- it's fair to assume the league's decision on it's next expansion target is still a good ways off. If Slive ever did come calling, would Weaver still be so devoted to the ACC?
Maybe. As Weaver points out, the ACC has its advantages for the Hokies. (If Florida State did wind up the SEC's 14th school, the Hokies might be poised to dominate the league in football the way, well, they've already dominated it.) So we'll take him at his word for now.
But if the SEC's interest in Tech does heat up, we have a feeling Weaver will have to repeat himself -- probably multiple times -- before we rule the Hokies out entirely.
Posted on: August 12, 2011 11:35 am
Edited on: August 12, 2011 6:43 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
With the back and forth regarding Texas A&M's possible jump to the SEC, there is one more piece of the puzzle worth considering.
If the Aggies do make the leap, who would be the primary target for spot No. 14?
The popular belief is that SEC expansion would first involve an increase to 14 teams, then eventually finish at 16. Because the shrinking Big 12 and their displeasure with Texas and the Longhorn Network, Texas A&M leaving would not be a huge shock. But once you start to look at candidates for that fourteenth spot is where things get messy. According to a report in the Palm Beach Post, the rumors of Florida State making the jump as well are "real."
Tom D'Angelo cited a source close to FSU who confirmed that the discussions are getting more serious. D'Angelo also writes that the other candidates being mentioned for SEC expansion are Clemson, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State.
Some believe that Florida would try to block the Seminoles from joining the SEC, and South Carolina would do the same for in-state rival Clemson. Adding the nearby foe to the SEC presents all kinds of new recruiting challenges, after the Gators and Gamecocks have been able to use the "all-mighty SEC" card in years past.
The Florida State-SEC rumors have swirled before, and when the Seminoles were owning the ACC it seemed like the program was too big for the conference. But Florida State, seeking their first ACC title since 2005, sputtered for a big in the last half-decade. Still, with head coach Jimbo Fisher at the helm there is a buzz in Tallahassee again. Seminole fans believe that they have big-time college football right in their backyard. You know who else has big-time college football in their backyard? The SEC.
A Florida State exit would be a crippling blow to ACC football, as would Clemson or Virginia Tech. Clemson and Florida State hang their hat on success from the 1980's and 1990's, while the Hokies have dominated the conference since their arrival in 2004. From the national perspective, these are some of the teams that give the ACC clout. Losing any one of them to the SEC would send the conference into an unexpected scramble to keep their membership at 12 teams for the ACC Championship Game.
UPDATE: Florida State President Eric Barron talked to the Associated Press about the FSU-to-SEC rumors on Friday saying "I don't think there is anything to talk about right now. I don't speculate when there's no conversation." ACC President John Swofford also said that he has received "no indication from any of our 12 presidents that they have any intention of being affiliated with any conference other than the ACC."
For more conference drama, keep it here at the Eye on College Football
Posted on: August 10, 2011 3:30 pm
Edited on: August 10, 2011 3:32 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
Training camp is underway in college football, with teams all over the country getting a better idea of what to expect from the upcoming season. Along with the help of CBSSports.com's Rapid Reporters, here is a collection of recent observations from Virginia Tech.
- The Hokies, who seem to be dealing with injuries at key positions every year, got bitten again early with All-ACC offensive lineman Blake DeChristopher straining his left pectoral. DeChristopher's expected recovery time was initially announced as 4-6 weeks, which would make him available sometime in September. DeChristopher was already back on the practice field this week, but wearing a blue non-contact jersey. Running back Dominique Patterson is out "a couple weeks" with a sprained ankle, quarterback Mark Leal (groin) and wide receiver D.J. Coles (hamstring) have been held out of practice and are "doubtful" for Saturday's scrimmage.
One point of concern from the injury reports are in regards to star cornerback Jayron Hosley. Hosley participated in Tuesday's practice, but was wearing a non-contact jersey. CBSSports.com's Sean Bielawski reports that the injury is "not considered serious." [Rapid Reports]
- Speaking of Hosely, his presence on the field will be a necessity for the Hokies defense. The lockdown corner is coming off a fantastic 2010 campaign, and will have an impact when every opposing quarterback drops back to pass. First-year starting cornerback Kyle Fuller knows that playing opposite Hosley will lead to plenty of looks his way.
"Teams aren't going to want to throw to Jayron [Hosley]," Fuller said. "So I think I'm going to have a lot of opportunities to make some plays this year." [Rapid Reports]
- Obviously the top question for the offense for many is how Logan Thomas will perform stepping in to a position that ACC Player of the Year Tyrod Taylor had his hands on for four years. Beamer offered some early comparison that should encourage doubting Hokie fans.
"I think he's got a lot of the same qualities as Tyrod," Beamer said. "I think he's smart. He's competitive. He works hard. I think he's a very natural leader, great character. So, he's got a lot of the same things as Tyrod, except about four inches taller." [Rapid Reports]
- Beamer also weighed in on the Twitter debate, explaining why he will not follow the likes of Boise State, South Carolina, and Kansas in banning Twitter use during the season.
"I think you educate your kids, and then they're responsible for their actions," Beamer said. "People have got to make good decisions. Part of us as coaches is to help kids get to the position where ether make good decisions." [Rapid Reports]
For more daily updates from Virginia Tech training camp follow Sean Bielawski's Rapid Reports and the ACC Blog.