Tag:Tom Fornelli
Posted on: August 8, 2011 12:20 pm

Austin Box is not forgotten at Oklahoma

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The photo above is a bit sad. That helmet sitting there alone with Bob Stoops hovering over it is the helmet of Austin Box, the Oklahoma linebacker who passed away in May after ingesting a lethal mix of painkillers.

The helmet will keep its spot during practice all season long, while Austin Box's locker will also remain untouched and his chair in the defensive meeting room will stay unoccupied for the duration of the 2011 season.

Hat tip: EDSBS 
Posted on: August 8, 2011 12:00 pm
Edited on: August 8, 2011 12:01 pm

Longhorn Network contract emerges

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Longhorn Network has caused a lot of problems within the Big 12 since its inception in January. Sure, the Big 12 secured a pretty good television deal for itself, but since the members of the conference have seen what Texas plans to do with its network, the relationship amongst the Big 12 schools has been tenuous at best.

The one sticking point that seemed to cause the most attention was the Longhorn Network's plan to televise high school games, a plan that has been tabled for a year, but has been anything but resolved. Well, thanks to The Midnight Yell, the full contract between Texas and ESPN has emerged, and there's a bit more in the deal that could be problematic for the Big 12.

Here are some highlights of the deal:

- ESPN has exclusive negotiating rights with Texas should the school no longer be a member of the Big 12. "In the event that UT determines not to participate in any athletics conference in one or more sports, UT agrees to provide ESPN a right of first negotiation of 60 days with respect to its television telecast rights.." ESPN also has 48 hours to match any offer Texas may get from somewhere else.

In other words, if the Big 12 does dissolve, Texas can still have its own network as an independent. It's also possible that Texas can just go independent in football and remain in the Big 12 for other sports.

- Texas will get about $11,000,000 a year from the network. And that number will increase by 3% annually until ESPN gets its money back from the original investment, at which point Texas' revenues from the network will rise significantly.

- If the Big 12 created its own network, Texas couldn't be a part of it.  "Neither IMG nor UT will during the Term and within the Territory i. participate in or permit the development of another "Longhorns Network" or similar network enterprise (regardless of name) related to UT" The terms of the deal are for 20 years, and the territory referred to his Texas. So if the Big 12 wants its own network and would want to feature Texas games, it's going to have to wait until 2031 to do so.

- ESPN will try to get rights to Texas high school state championship games. Obviously, this is part of the high school games deal that the Big 12 has decided to ignore for a year, but the contract states that ESPN agrees to try and get the rights for these games. Whether it will ever be allowed by the NCAA remains to be seen, but it's obvious that the Longhorn Network would love to televise these games.

Now, if you go over the contract in its entirety, a lot of what Texas wants to do makes sense. These are good business decisions for the school, and Texas has always been a school that knows how to get money out of its athletic department. Still, when going over the deal and looking at it from the perspective of another Big 12 school, it's easy to see why schools like Texas A&M aren't exactly thrilled with it.

It's essentially a lot of words and numbers that can be paraphrased with "We're Texas, and we're more important than the rest of you."
Posted on: August 5, 2011 11:39 am
Edited on: August 5, 2011 11:40 am

Iron Bowl helps catch deadbeat parents

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Helpful advice for any deadbeat parents out there. If you happen to get a letter in the mail saying you've won tickets to the Iron Bowl to see Alabama play Auburn this year, don't go pick them up. You're likely being set up to be arrested. My other advice would be to pay your child support.

Last Friday in Opelika, Alabama, local police set up such a sting in which they sent letters to parents who owed child support telling them to show up and claim the Iron Bowl tickets they just won. The police then put on a big show for each of the parents before getting them in a room and informing them they were being arrested for not paying child support. All while news cameras caught the entire thing.

Now, while I don't exactly have a problem with these people being arrested, I do have quite a few problems with the way the police went about all of this. If you have the ability to set up this entire thing, why not just arrest the people? Why go through all the trouble of setting up a ploy like this, then having the news cameras come in and shoot the entire thing. How much time and money was wasted to make sure this happened?

Then there's the fact that they're making these people into sympathetic figures. Yes, they deserve what they're getting, but it just feels wrong. If you want to do a news story on it, then call the local news and do the interviews with them after you've arrested everybody. There's no need to have the cameras in the room with you as you're doing it.
Posted on: August 4, 2011 4:30 pm
Edited on: August 4, 2011 4:31 pm

Future programs of the Longhorn Network

Posted by Tom Fornelli

On Thursday the new and controversial Longhorn Network announced a slate of programming that it will begin airing in the coming weeks. On the whole there's nothing all that groundbreaking in the lineup. There will be a show in which Mack Brown talks with Vince Young, Ricky Williams and Colt McCoy. There's also a look back at the 2005 national championship season, and your standard greatest games fare.

Being the visionary that I am, however, I decided to take a peak into my crystal ball to get a glimpse at what the Longhorn Network will be showing a little over a year from now. Let me tell you, there's going to be some must-see television going on.

High School Football - It's just like Friday Night Lights, except without a script, Connie Britton and every game ending on an unrealistic, last-second touchdown. What it will have, though, is plenty of Texas recruits.

The Departure - A five-part documentary series highlighting all the comings and goings in College Station as Texas A&M packs its bags and moves to the SEC.  You won't want to miss the episode where DeLoss Dodds and Bill Byrne run into each other at a local grocery store and let the expletives and produce fly.

Crying All Night with Don Beebe - A late night talk show that is shown every weeknight in which Don Beebe sits behind a desk and cries as his conference dissolves around him. His co-host DeLoss Dodds then consoles him while interviewing special guests!

Mack Daddy - Have you ever seen some of the lovely co-eds who call beautiful Austin, Texas home? Well now you have the chance to date them! Join Texas head coach Mack Brown as he hosts a game show that is a cross between The Match Game and Flavor of Love!

Major's Malfunctions - A refreshing family sitcom starring Texas co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite. While Major has his problems with Garrett Gilbert at work, the trouble doesn't really start until he returns home to his sassy wife and two small children!

Aggie Rehab - Hosted by Dr. Drew, former Texas A&M fans move into a house where together they all try and overcome their love of Texas A&M and turn their lives around. Incredibly moving, sad and uplifting all at the same time.

Call your cable operators now!
Posted on: August 4, 2011 3:25 pm

Penn State losing another quarterback?

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The drama that has surrounded the quarterback depth chart at Penn State since January will just not go away. On Thursday the school's student newspaper reported that quarterback Kevin Newsome may be on the verge of seeking a transfer from Penn State.
Newsome's father, Kevin Newsome Sr., said it's possible his son is transferring.

"We don't really have any set details of anything right now," Newsome Sr. said in a phone call. "It's possible. Right now, of course as you can imagine, we're just trying to work through some things, and sort a lot of things out."

Newsome came to Penn State as a four-star recruit out of the Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia, and was ranked the No. 4 high school quarterback in the class of 2009.
If you weren't already aware, following January's bowl loss against Florida, quarterback Robert Bolden announced that he wanted to transfer. Joe Paterno denied Bolden's request then, and now it's expected that Bolden will begin the season as the starter. Then last week Penn State found out that quarterback Paul Jones will have to sit out the entire 2011 season due to academic problems.

If Newsome decides to transfer, that will leave Penn State with Bolden and Matt McGloin and some huge question marks behind them. Though it is possible that Paterno can talk Newsome into staying if playing time is his main motivation for wanting to leave. While Bolden and McGloin have the experience, it's not as if either of them played spectacularly in 2010, and Newsome could still compete for the starting job this season.
Posted on: August 4, 2011 1:14 pm
Edited on: August 4, 2011 1:28 pm

Preseason Coaches Poll Reactions: Big 12

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The preseason coaches poll was released on Thursday morning, and while I'm not a big fan of polls in the preseason, at the moment I'm thrilled to see them. It's just a reminder of how close we are to the beginning of the season and now fans across the country finally have a reason to put a chip on their shoulder -- "My school gets no respect!" -- or feel an unearned sense of entitlement.

After persusing the poll, it's obvious that the Big 12 should puff its chest out a little bit. The last year has been filled with news of the conference losing teams, and even the last few weeks have stoked the fires of schools feeling like they're getting the short end of the stick in the Big 12 when compared to Texas, but the Big 12 has something that no other conference in the land can claim right now.

Three teams ranked in the top ten.

Let's take a look at who is ranked, who isn't, and whether or not they're in the right place.

#1 Oklahoma - I don't think it's shocking at all to find Oklahoma opening the season on top of the poll, as many predicted this is what would happen, and there's a good reason for it. Oklahoma finished 2010 ranked sixth, and unlike the five teams that were ranked ahead of them at the time, all the major players are back in Norman. Landry Jones will be getting a lot of Heisman hype as the offense should continue to put up a lot of points, and the Sooners defense should be one of the best units in the land. The real question here is whether or not Oklahoma can stay atop the polls. The preseason #1 doesn't have the greatest track record, and the Sooners have a tough schedule that includes road games against #5 Florida State and #8 Oklahoma State. Home dates against #9 Texas A&M, #21 Missouri and the annual battle with #24 Texas won't be a cakewalk either.

#8 Oklahoma State -  A top ten spot is well-deserved for the Cowboys based on what they did in 2010. Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon lit the air on fire last season as Oklahoma State finished second in the nation in passing yards per game and third in points per game. Both of those gentlemen are back, so the offense will be fine. What will really determine whether or not the Cowboys are deserving of this ranking and will finish the year in the top 10 is the defense. Offense alone can get you into the top ten, but you need a strong defense to stay there. We'll find out soon enough when Oklahoma State plays an early game against Arizona, and considering that the Cowboys play #9 Texas A&M, #24 Texas and Missouri all on the road this season, holding on to this spot or moving up is not going to be easy.

#9 Texas A&M - Based on how things finished for the Aggies last season, I get the hype. I truly do. Still, that doesn't mean I'm fully convinced the Aggies are a top ten team in 2011. Ryan Tannehill was a revelation for the Aggies after taking over for Jerrod Johnson, but will he be able to match his performance again now that teams will be ready for him? Can the defense replace Von Miller without a drop off? Those are pretty big questions to answer, and when you throw in a game against #14 Arkansas to go with the conference slate, and it's not insane to think this is a team that finishes the year closer to the 15-20 range than the top ten.

#21 Missouri - Missouri loses a bit from its 2010 squad on both sides of the ball, but this placing feels right. It won't be easy to replace Blaine Gabbert at quarterback, but nobody thought it would be easy to replace Chase Daniel either, and Gary Pinkel has proven that he knows how to find quarterbacks. Can James Franklin be that guy? We'll find out early when he Tigers go on the road to face Arizona State on the second Saturday of the season, but if the defense that allowed only 16.1 points per game last season can put up an encore performance, that would be a big help. I would be worried about road games against #1 Oklahoma and #9 Texas A&M though.

#24 Texas - You're going to hear a lot of folks saying that this is a reputation spot for Texas and nothing else. Those saying it will be correct, too, because there's no way you can say that Texas earned this spot with its play last season. That being said, I think it's entirely possible that when the dust settles on 2011, Texas will be ranked higher than this. Hell, the Longhorns may be the second-highest ranked team in the conference. I'm of the opinion that 2010 was an aberration and I don't think the offense can be as detrimental in 2011 as it was in 2010. Plus this is still a fantastic defense, and one that will keep Texas in every game, so if the Longhorns can win 8 or 9 games that reputation that got them to #24 in the preseason poll will only help push them up further as the year goes on.
Posted on: August 3, 2011 3:12 pm

You can vote for Wyoming's uniforms

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Here's what we know about Wyoming's opening game of the season against Weber State. The game will be on September 3rd, and it will be against Weber State. What we don't know is what uniforms that the Cowboys will be wearing during the game, but we could have a say in it.

Wyoming is holding a poll that allows fans to vote on which uniforms the school should wear in the season opener.
Head coach Dave Christensen and the University of Wyoming football team have invited Cowboy fans to help decide which uniforms UW will wear for the season opener on Sept. 3 against Weber State. Fans may vote for one of six uniform combinations and one of three helmets. Voting will conclude the week before the Weber State game, when a winner will be announced.
"Only six options?" says an obnoxious Oregon fan somewhere.

Personally I'd roll with the all brown option, including brown helmet, just because I can't think of any other team who wears nothing but brown. Plus, there's no yellow helmet, so the all-yellow option isn't available. Which is a shame.

Get to work on that, Wyoming.

Posted on: August 3, 2011 12:39 pm
Edited on: August 3, 2011 12:39 pm

Boise AD talks about abandoning blue uniforms

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Earlier this week it was announced that Boise State would not be allowed to wear all blue uniforms during home games on the school's blue turf now that it was a member of the Mountain West. As you'd expect, this decision didn't go over very well with a lot of Boise State fans, as they've felt that wearing all blue on a blue turf helps the team because it works as a sort of camouflage.

A theory I've never understood all that much because last I checked, you play football on a field at the same eye-level as your opponent, not from a blimp flying above the field. Sure, maybe the blue on blue made watching game film a bit annoying at times for opposing coaches, but on the field I don't see how it could have an impact.

Still, the Mountain West asked Boise State to abandon the practice, and being the new kid on the block, Boise State agreed. Though if you were to listen to Boise AD Bob Kustra talk about it, the school might not have made the same decision if it were joining the Mountain West now.

"One thing I think people have to understand is the Mountain West we were going to had TCU, BYU and the University of Utah sitting at the table," Kustra told the Idaho Statesman. "And when I first met with TCU’s, BYU’s and Utah’s presidents, it was a pretty inspiring moment. I knew I was sitting with the top dogs of that conference.

“When they come to you and give you a bottom line, a year ago, we didn’t have a lot of elbow room. There really wasn’t much give. If that same conversation were to take place this year, I’ll guarantee you we wouldn’t be talking about no blue uniforms on the blue turf unless somebody decides how to keep green uniforms off the turf in Fort Collins and any place else where there is such.

“People tend to forget it was a different context in which this decision had to be made and we had literally minutes in which to make it in. They were clearly doing their vote.”

In other words, Boise State didn't feel as if it were the big dog at the table last year when Utah, TCU and BYU were still around. Now that those schools are gone or on the way out, Boise State would have had a bit more of that "we'll do what we want because you really need us at the moment" leverage.

Either way, no matter the timing, this is a bit too much fuss over the color of a uniform to ever have.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com