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Tag:Jerry Hinnen
Posted on: February 7, 2012 5:24 pm
 

State rep. wants Gamecocks-Tigers required by law

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

With every signal coming out of SEC HQ indicating the league is highly unlikely to follow the ACC's lead and pursue a nine-game league schedule, the 116-year intra-state rivalry between South Carolina and Clemson isn't in any immediate danger of being interrupted by the league's recent expansions. But one Palmetto State legislator has decided he'd rather not take any chances.

South Carolina state representative Nathan Ballentine has proposed that state law require the Gamecocks and Tigers to meet each year on the gridiron, continuing the nation's second-longest continuously played college football rivalry. The proposal will be examined by House lawmakers Wednesday, the State reports.

"I had a constituent bring it up to me, asking whether it was state law that these two teams play. It's not," said Ballentine, a South Carolina graduate from Lexington, S.C. "With all the conference realignment, we just wanted to make sure this annual game continues ... You saw Texas and Texas A&M ... No one wants to see that happen here to our two universities where families enjoy the annual game, and it's great for our economy."

Remarkably, the series has apparently been saved once already by state congressional fiat--according to Ballentine, no game was scheduled between the two teams in 1952 until the legislature stepped in.

But that's not argument enough for officials at either school, who agreed that the legislature's intervention at this stage is unnecessary. 

"Clemson would prefer to not have to legislate this issue," Tiger athletic director Terry Don Phillips said, "as I cannot conceive of a realistic scenario that would prohibit Clemson and South Carolina from continuing our football series."

Which makes us wonder--was this all a grand plot on Ballentine's part to prove to the two schools that they can agree on something? After the epic war of (misattributed) words between Dabo Swinney and (not actually) Steve Spurrier following this year's Gamecock beatdown, could the two programs have needed the reminder not to travel down the road of public in-fighting and back-biting that poisoned the rivalry between the Aggies and 'Horns?

To answer those questions: no, it wasn't, and no, they didn't. But as college football fans, we can understand Rep. Ballentine wanting to play it safe all the same.

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Posted on: February 7, 2012 2:34 pm
 

Report: ACC expansion to net bump in TV deal

Posted by Jerry Hinnen



The ACC's decision to expand with Pitt and Syracuse has reportedly paid off with a substantial addition to their television contract's bottom line--though if the addition was substantial enough to justify the drawbacks of that expansion may be debatable.

The Sports Business Journal reported Monday that in the wake of the addition of the Panthers and Orangethe ACC has been able to "reopen" its recently signed contract with ESPN and negotiate a $1 million to $2 million annual increase for each of its now 14 member schools. Under the revised contract, each ACC member "can expect at least $14 million to $15 million a year," an increase from the current $13 million. The overall value of the contract is expected to increase from $155 million per season to north of $200 million.

The increase would bring the ACC nearly on par in annual distribution revenue with the Big 12, which the SBJ estimates currently averages $15 million per school, with the SEC at $17 million and the Big Ten and Pac-12 at $21 million.

But those figures illustrate why the ACC's expansion may not have provided enough buck for its bang. All four of those leagues should see their TV revenues increase in the near future, the Big 12 and SEC through their own expansion-induced negotiations and the Big Ten and Pac-12 through growing profits from their in-house networks. When the dust from the current round of expansion settles, the ACC is likely to still trail four of the five other BCS conferences (though they may have pulled closer to the Big 12, depending on how that league's negotiations go).

There's other downsides to the expansion, too. For one, the revised contract reportedly won't kick in until Syracuse and Pitt become active members of the league, which may not take place until 2014-2015 and certainly won't be in 2012-2013. In exchange for the boost to the contract, ESPN is also expected to exact a not-insignificant price: a three-year extension of what was already a 12-year deal, meaning the ACC won't be able to enter a full contract negotiation until 2026. (If the Big Ten and Pac-12 networks continue at their expected rates of growth, how wide will the gap be between those conferences and the ACC 14 years from now?) 

And though a potential $2 million per season is certainly nothing to sneeze at, shuttling not just the football team but volleyball, baseball, tennis (etc.) teams to West Pennsylvania and upstate New York on an annual basis will add to the travel budget. Then there's the fewer games between traditional ACC rivals in both football and basketball (though the nine-game gridiron schedule will help) and increased difficulty for any individual team to earn a championship ... all for a financial windfall that at Clemson equals not much more than a single assistant coach.

Is it worth it? Given that the ACC couldn't really stand pat as those other four BCS leagues pushed the financial gap even wider, John Swofford and Co. probably didn't have any choice. But the first time we watch Georgia Tech play at Heinz Field instead of Death Valley or the Orange disrupt what would have been a Duke-North Carolina ACC Tournament final, we're going to wonder.

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Posted on: February 7, 2012 1:53 pm
 

Ohio St.'s Gee to Bielema: 'Get a life'

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

From calling mid-majors the "Little Sisters of the Poor" to asking Jim Tressel not to fire himOhio State president Gordon Gee has not exactly been one to keep his mouth out of the headlines over the past 12 months. And he may not be for the next 12 months, either, judging by this interview with OSU student newspaper The Lanternin which he tells Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema to "get a life."

Bielema infamously accused new Buckeye head coach Urban Meyer of using "illegal" recruiting "tactics" and asked Badger athletic director Barry Alvarez to voice his complaints to Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany on his behalf. Gee emphatically stood up for Meyer in the Lantern interview, calling him the "finest in the country" and "the greatest affirmation of the quality of this institution."

When asked directly about Bielema's comments, Gee was every bit as emphatic.

"We hired the best coach and we went out and got the best kids so get a life," Gee said.

Ah, Signing Day: that magical time of the college football calendar that can lead the president of the third-largest university in the country to publicly call out a coach within his own conference using an insult from a 36-year-old Saturday Night Live sketch.

Gee also referred to the NCAA investigation into Tressel and the Buckeye football program that resulted in its 2012 bowl ban as a "yearlong colonoscopy."

We now fervently await Gee's next pledge to cease discussing matters related to football.

HT: MGoBlog. 

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Posted on: February 6, 2012 5:04 pm
 

Stanford's Tarver hired as Raiders' D-coordinator

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Hiring Jim Harbaugh from Stanford worked out fairly well for the San Francisco 49ers, we'd say. So it's no surprise the Niners' Bay Area counterparts have gone to the same well to fill their defensive coordinator vacancy.

The Oakland Raiders announced Monday that they have hired Cardinal co-defensive coordinator Jason Tarver as their own new DC. Tarver spent only one season in Palo Alto, having spent the previous six as the 49ers' outside linebackers coach.

The Raiders will no doubt be expecting that experience with the Niners to count for more than his time with the Cardinal. Despite his title, Tarver yielded defensive play-calling duties under David Shaw to fellow co-coordinator Derek Mason, making the 2012 season with the Raiders Tarver's first in full charge of the defense. And though the Cardinal's total defense numbers were impressive -- 2nd in the Pac-12, 28th nationally -- Stanford's hyperefficient, clock-draining offense had a lot to do with that; the Cardinal finished 59th in the FBS and 5th in the Pac-12 in yards allowed on a per-play basis.

All the same, nearly every coach to receive some kind of recent promotion on or from the Stanford staff has proven himself worthy and able, whether it's Harbaugh at San Francisco, his offensive coordinator Greg Roman, or Shaw with the Cardinal. So Tarver's promotion may be a win for both sides--the Raiders and new head coach Dennis Allen get some of that Stanford magic coaching dust and Tarver's NFL experience, and Shaw gets to keep plenty of defensive continuity with the retention of Mason.

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Posted on: February 6, 2012 3:58 pm
 

NIU gains, loses new coordinator in 24 hours

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Rutgers assistant P.J. Fleck appeared to have had the softest of landings after Greg Schiano took the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coaching job--only to spurn his alma mater after less than 24 hours for what he may feel is an even softer landing.

A former star receiver for Northern Illinois, Fleck was announced as NIU's offensive coordinator Thursday after former OC Matt Canada took the same job with Wisconsin. The job would have been his first as a coordinator, and would have put him in charge one of the nation's most productive offenses in a program and city with which Fleck is highly familiar. 

But Fleck was nonetheless in the post for less than a day, as according to the Chicago Tribune, he called NIU head coach Dave Doeren Friday morning to tell him he was resigning the position. A source told the Tribune that Fleck's reasoning in the call with Doeren was that he "wasn’t comfortable with the coordinator’s role." 

But while we don't doubt that discomfort may have played a role, Fleck's reasoning may have also been influenced by the presence of a second job opportunity, one alongside his old boss in the NFL. According to reports, Fleck will instead sign on as the new Tampa Bay wide receivers coach, the same position he enjoyed in Piscataway with the Scarlet Knights. Fleck worked with Schiano for the past two seasons.

Despite putting his program back at square one, Doeren (pictured) was philosophical about Fleck's decision, at least in print.

“Everything happens for a reason and the result of this will make NIU Football even better,” he said.

We don't blame Doeren for taking that approach. But finding a candidate with Fleck's resume who's as likely to say yes at this late date will be a challenge for a program like NIU, no doubt making this kind of decision from one of their own doubly hard to take. 

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Posted on: February 5, 2012 2:18 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2012 2:24 pm
 

Rice signs player with heart condition

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Many of the stories that emerge during National Signing Day don't exactly paint college football -- and its recruiting process, specifically -- in the best of lights. The story of Rice and head coach David Bailiff's signing of Bryan, Texas defensive end David Wilganowski is not one of the stories. 

A 6'4", 230-pound standout for Bryan's Rudder High school, Wilganowski accepted Bailiff's scholarship offer last June and committed to play for the Owls. But as Houston TV station KHOU reports, come Wilganowski's senior season his recruitment was the least of his worries--he collapsed during a September game and nearly died on the field. He was later diagnosed with the heart condition Long Q-T syndrome and had a defibrillator implanted in his chest, ending his football career.

At many schools, Wilganowski likely would have had to find another way to pay for his college education. But Bailiff honored his offer all the same, and Wednesday Wilganowski signed his letter of intent to receive his full football scholarship from the Owls. Though his exact role is still to be determined, Wilganowski said he expects to help with the defensive line.

“I’m going to be a part of the team, but a different part of the team,” he said.

For his part, Bailiff said the decision was simply a matter of showing his recruits the same commitment he expects of them.

“We ask young men to keep their word to us, you know we say we’re going to be with them through thick or thin," he said. "I think it’s a good practice that you keep your word."

So do we--which is why it's a shame that stories like Wilganowski's are the rarity rather than the exception come Signing Day.

HT: GTP. 

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Posted on: February 3, 2012 8:08 pm
 

Home of Michigan WR Hemingway burglarized

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

A month ago, now-former Michigan wide receiver Junior Hemingway was enjoying one of the greatest moments of his life. Sadly, he's now likely suffering through one if its worst.

CarolinaLive.com reported that Hemingway's Conway, S.C. family home was burglarized Friday morning, with the thieves knocking down the front door and stealing nearly $5,000 worth of goods. Among the items missing were a large screen television and -- most painfully -- many of Hemingway's mementos from his Wolverine career, including jerseys and bowl rings.

"The sad thing is, this stuff just can't be replaced," Hemingway father Kenneth Hemingway said. The incident marks the second time in four months the home has been burglarized.

The one silver lining: the thieves left Hemingway's Sugar Bowl MVP trophy untouched on the home's living room coffee table. Hemingway won it with 2 highlight-reel receptions for 63 yards and Michigan's only two touchdowns of the 23-20 win, leading to a memorably emotional postgame interview.

Hemingway was not in Conway at the time of the burglary, as he's currently training in Atlanta for the upcoming NFL Draft combine and Michigan's Pro Day. According to NFLDraftScout.com, Hemingway ranks as the No. 46 wide receiver prospect in the 2012 draft and is not currently projected to be drafted.

Anyone with information on the burglary is asked to call Horry County law enforcement tip line available at CarolinaLive.com.

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Posted on: February 3, 2012 7:20 pm
 

Boise State: 'too late' for 2012 move to Big East

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Boise State announced last December that its impending move to the Big East wouldn't take place until 2013. But with West Virginia still caught in limbo between its old league and its leap to the Big 12, the San Jose Mercury-News'Jon Wilner reported this week that the Broncos might still be considering an offer to step directly into the Mountaineers' scheduling shoes should WVU extricate itself in time for the 2012 season.

Boise president Bob Kustra told the Idaho Statesman Friday that he had "heard those rumors." But he stated firmly that any move for this coming season is already off the table.

"It's too late. I can't imagine how anyone can pull that off," he said. "We would never want to pull it off in a fashion that dealt shabbily with our existing partners in the Mountain West. I don't think that could ever work."

If the Mountaineers succeeded in joining the Big 12 by this fall -- and with a 10-team schedule already released to the conference's television partners, the expectation both in the Big 12 offices and Morgantown is that they will -- the Big East will be set to play out the 2012 season with just seven members: Cincinnati, South Florida, UConn, Rutgers, Louisville, Syracuse and Pitt. (The Orange and Panthers have both announced their intentions to join the ACC and are scheduled to leave in 2014, but both could look to leave next year if the Mountaineers are successful in their attempt to bolt early.)

Once 2013 hits, the Big East will receive a substantial boost in the form of five new members, the Broncos included. But for 2012, facing the ugly prospect of just six conference games and a matter of weeks in which to find a nonconference replacement for the Mountaineers, it's understandable if John Marinatto would like to see BSU make a last-gasp switch. Unfortunately for him, it seems like Kustra and the Broncos aren't in quite such a hurry.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com