Posted on: September 3, 2011 8:16 pm
Edited on: September 3, 2011 9:57 pm
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott admitted for the first time during this latest round of conference upheaval that his league has been contacted by prospective members.
"I will say schools have reached out to us," Scott said Saturday shortly before the start of the LSU-Oregon game here. "We are not doing anything proactively."
Scott was speaking approximately 90 minutes after an Oklahoma source was quoted as saying the school's "sole focus" was moving to the Pac-12. The story broke Saturday in the The Oklahoman and stated that Texas, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State could also be part of the move to the Pac-12.
The commissioner said he was not aware of the report but reiterated that, "schools have called us. We certainly are going to listen."
Cut through the language and it seems that the Big 12's days are numbered. Texas A&M is expected to be formally invited to the SEC next week. Oklahoma has been leaning toward the Pac-12. It's doubtful that the 15-year-old league could survive with the loss Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M.
"If you can't fix Big 12, you might as well go west," Boone Pickens, Oklahoma State's billionaire benefactor, told an Oklahoma City reporter.
Events of the last 36 hours may have put college athletics at the brink of one of the most significant points in its history. Oklahoma president David Boren said Friday his school would not be a "wallflower" as it surveys conference membership. Boren added that Oklahoma's future could be clearer by as early as Monday. At no time during those comments did he pledge loyalty to the Big 12. A Pac-12 expansion to 16 teams could usher in the era of the super conference in college athletics.
The Pac-12 locking up Texas and Oklahoma, two of the most famous brands, in college sports would almost assure it. There already has been speculation that the combination of the new Pac-12 agreement ($3 billion, 12 years with ESPN/Fox) and the new Pac-12 Network could mean an annual $30 million to each member school.
Other conferences -- notably the SEC and Big Ten -- would almost have to react to the Pac-12's move.
"I've also been clear," Scott reminded, "that there will probably be further expansion at some stage."
The Pac-12 controls the option to reopen that lucrative contract for negotiations if membership changes, Scott said. He added that he and the Pac-12 won't be the guys who alter the current college conference structure.
"If there is any suggestion whatsoever that our conference is being predatory that's just wrong," he said. "We've not had expansion as an initiative, as an agenda, for us at all. If there were any conversations going on, you can be sure there are not any we initiated."
That's likely legalese for staying with the process. Three weeks ago SEC presidents met to discuss Texas A&M's move to the conference. They were reminded by lawyers during that meeting the conference could not appear to be pursuing the Aggies at the expense of collapsing the Big 12.
The then-Pac-10 was definitely proactive last year when it pursued six Big 12 schools last year in a bold attempt to move up to 16 teams in preparations for negotiating a new TV deal. It settled on Utah and Colorado to expand to 14. That deal is now in place.
The biggest complication seems to be folding Texas and its network into the Pac-12. Texas and ESPN have an exclusive $300 million deal with the Longhorn Network. Scott said any such deal would have to be folded into the Pac-12 distribution model. The Pac-12 Network consists of six regional networks.
Texas mostly likely would have to renegotiate its deal and possibly share money with Pac-12 members were it to join the Pac-12.
Posted on: July 26, 2011 2:52 pm
DALLAS -- Mike Leach says he was told the Big 12 would not credential him for the league's media days Tuesday, the same day as Texas Tech was scheduled to appear for interviews.
League spokesman Bob Burda explained that after XM asked for a credential on Sunday he suggested that it would have been "awkward" for Leach to appear Tuesday. He then asked Leach's producer if there were alternatives to Leach showing up in person at the Westin Galleria. Leach is already in town to promote his book Swing Your Sword and says he was supposed to do his XM satellite radio show onsite from the Westin Galleria, "until I was told otherwise."
That news about Leach was first tweeted by CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy on Monday.
Leach says he was told about the situation by XM producer Matt Fishman. When shown a text from Leach saying the former Tech coach was supposed to do the show from here, Fishman would not comment further.
Leach added, "He [Fishman] told me he heard from the conference ... They didn't want it to be awkward for Tech."
Burda said, "We didn't say he [Leach] couldn't come."
"I was told not to go," Leach said when reached by phone. "That's indisputable. I got a call yesterday and told not to go."
In a text, Leach said, " ... yesterday I was told the conference would not give me a credential because tech was going to be there."
When informed of Burda's comment, Leach texted, "That is not what I was told. You can ask Matt Fishman ... I was supposed to do the radio show on site there until I was told otherwise yesterday."
Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville and three players appeared at the media days Tuesday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Leach is in the process of suing the Texas Tech, ESPN and a P.R. firm hired by ESPN analyst Craig James. He was fired in December 2009 after a clash with the Tech administration.
Posted on: July 12, 2011 10:48 am
NCAA Football 12 is out today and I'm jacked. Hope the feeling is mutual because college football needs a break. The sport has been dipped in controversy, cheating, lawyers and courts too long this offseason. We need us some cfb even if it is from a PS3.
Quick background: For those of you who don't know, NCAA Football 12 is a video game. It is more addicting than 30 Rock depicting the thrills, detail and game day experience. This year's edition is the best yet. The Coaching Carousel function puts coaches on the hot seat. The new version includes the ability take the BCS out of the equation. That fantasy alone should be worth the $60 price. A MAC team can play in the Rose Bowl. The Big East can be kicked out of the BCS.
Think of the possibilities:
--Can't wait to play Ohio State in "shame" mode. That's assuming I can navigate my way through the "having a conscience" function to access the Buckeyes.
--Miami (Ohio) in the Rose Bowl. The RedHawks have never won a national championship in anything. Ever. This streak goes back a couple of centuries to when the school was founded. This being a video game is it possible Paul Brown (Class of '30) could jump on the dog pile if Miami beats USC for the national championship?
--Will asking the game to assemble the current membership of the WAC crash my PS3? Don't even try to sort out Legends and Leaders.
--If the Big East is cut out of BCS will West Virginia start an ugly rumor about the game's creator having a "reputation of being a partier"?
--Mascot mode must: Delanys vs. Slives.
--There has to be a seven-on-seven function where gamers start with $10,000 in funny money and can pay it out to players any way they want. Will Lyles could narrate the tutorial.
--In light of the upheaval at Ohio State and deadlines for the game's production I'm really interested in who will be coaching the Buckeyes. Mike Leach is available.
--Need input, gamers: Jordan Jefferson on EA: Cotton Bowl version or spring-game version?
--Does Texas Tech include Craig James on the sidelines or not?
--Where's the Pac-12 Network button?
--It seems only fitting that Mark Ingram graces the cover of this year's game. A tailback who won the Heisman in 2009 is pimping a fantasy version of the 2011 season marketed as NCAA 12.
Some things never change. In what might be an EA first, it is featuring a player whose school is currently on probation. Since 1987, Bama has been involved in more major football infractions cases (three) than national championships (two).
In this offseason of sleaze, there are some things you can't escape.
Posted on: March 7, 2011 11:13 am
Edited on: March 7, 2011 11:28 am
Pat Knight has been fired as coach at Texas Tech, the school just confirmed. Knight will coach through the Big 12 tournament this week.
The son of Bobby could not survive his second losing season in the last three years in Lubbock. Pat took over in 2007-08. His teams never made the NCAA tournament. His 2009-10 team went to the NIT quarterfinals. This season's team is 13-18 heading into Wednesday's first-round Big 12 tournament game against Missouri.
Pat succeeded his father in 2008. Bobby had gone 138-82 in six-plus seasons. He took the Red Raiders to four NCAA tournaments, the last in 2007.
Pat was almost the antithesis of his bullying father. He was humble, articulate and went out of his way to be expansive with reporters. Obviously, one of the names that will come up to replace him is former Texas A&M and Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie.
Pat's firing comes only a few days after Kirby Hocutt was hired as Texas Tech's new athletic director.
Posted on: January 6, 2011 8:27 pm
Edited on: January 7, 2011 12:24 am
PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz. -- Auburn isn't going to lay down. That much is official as the Tigers try to deal with the most explosive offense in the country.
Oregon averages 49.33 points per game according to the NCAA, No. 1 nationally. More to the point, Oregon scores those points quickly. The Ducks are 103rd in time of possession (27:59 per game). That figures out to an average of 1.76 points per minute of possession. Only 21 of 91 scoring drives this season lasted more than 2:43.
That leaves a lot of defensive tongues dragging. Chip Kelly's offense is so effective that basketball types have become interested with its pace. Kelly talks regularly with Oregon women's coach Paul Westhead (The Guru of Go). Representatives from the Houston Rockets and Portland Trailblazers visited Kelly and the Ducks in the offseason.
"We're not going to do that," Auburn defensive coordinator Ted Roof said Thursday at the BCS championship game press conferences. "We're going to line up and play."
There is an NCAA rule that prohibits such tactics.
"Most likely the officials will warn the team, 'Get up, get up or you'll be penalized,' " before a penalty according to Dave Parry, the national coordinator of officials.
Opponents going European soccer on the Ducks -- aka diving -- started in September during a game at Arizona State.
"It's kind of like a World Cup game here with the crowd and these injuries," Kelly said at the time.
The practice became so common that Oregon fans began booing each time there was an opponent injury -- legitimate or not.
"The fake injuries, the cramps, that's stuff that sometimes can really kill our drives and sometimes really motivates us," Oregon receiver Jeff Maehl said. "We put our foot on the pedal even more ... It's becoming a strategy for other teams. If that's the route they want to take, that's part of the game. It shows a lot of mental weakness."
Oregon comes into the game fourth nationally averaging 79.25 plays per game. The top three are all from the Big 12 -- Oklahoma (86.5), Texas Tech (81) and Texas A&M (80.75).
"Hopefully my wind can hold up," said Auburn All-American defensive tackle Nick Fairley. "That's one thing we're not going to do ... fake an injury to slow them down."
Auburn's best chance is to stop Oregon on first down. That's when the Ducks offense faces the same challenge as a conventional unit, converting second- and third-down and long. Cal's lollygagging worked but so did the fact that it had effective back seven that allowed it to cover receivers one-and-one and devote the rest of the defense to the run. The Bears held Oregon to season lows in points (15) and points (317) in the Ducks' 15-13 victory.
Posted on: November 28, 2010 9:19 am
Edited on: November 28, 2010 1:06 pm
It looks like the biggest college football Sunday, well, until next week when the BCS bowls are announced. At issue today:
--Let the Miami speculation begin. Randy Shannon’s firing means a wide net will be cast. As Gregg Doyel pointed out, Miami pretty much has said player conduct isn’t an issue anymore. Miami fired a fine man who had recruited good players and good citizens.
Forget that, it’s time to find a football coach. Miami’s legacy is so deep that a rule has been named after it. Well, it doesn’t have an official name but next year points will be taken off the board for excessive celebration during a play. I’ve written about …
Anyway, to the speculation:
Miami needs a head coach. Miami needs an offensive coach. Miami needs a coach with quarterback experience. That doesn’t necessarily mean a former quarterback (Mark Richt?) but it does mean one who can coach (and recruit) quarterbacks.
My short list in no particular order:
Dana Hologorsen, Oklahoma State offensive coordinator – No, he’s not a head coach but he’s the reason the top three offensive players in the Big 12 play for Oklahoma State (Brandon Weeden, Kendall Hunter, Justin Blackmon).
Mike Leach, Key West resident-- He’s laying low in the Keys filing lawsuits until the next big thing comes along. If Miami wants to go 180 degrees from Shannon then this is their man. Note to Miami, though: Bring representation. This former lawyer is legally armed and dangerous.
Charlie Strong, Louisville - Defensive guy. Definitely not a quarterback guy. Strong, though, is known as a great recruiter who could get Miami back on track in a hurry. That pretty much goes for whoever Miami hires. We’re talking the ACC, here.
Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech -- He’d come in a heartbeat. He loves Miami, knows how to recruit there. Tubs has two national championships rings from Miami. Is he too old though, 56, for Kirby Hocutt’s tastes?
Greg Schiano, Rutgers -- Here’s what you have to ask yourself – Has Rutgers dragged Schiano down? He led it to unprecedented heights but the Knights will miss their first bowl in five years this season. Or, are Miami’s resources just waiting to be tapped by an energetic former Hurricane assistant. Schiano has recruited South Florida for years.
Mark Richt, Georgia -- His name is automatic given his ties to the program (former quarterback) and success at Florida State and Georgia. But how does Richt go from the hot seat at Georgia to a hot candidate at Miami in just a few weeks?
--Other issues today: Three-way ties in the Big Ten and Big 12 have to be settled for BCS berths.
Oklahoma is expected to slip past Oklahoma State (and Texas A&M) in the Big 12. Wisconsin is expected to grab the Rose Bowl berth ahead of Ohio State and Michigan State.
In Oklahoma’s case, it’s fitting that the final Big 12 game (in this configuration) could be OU and Nebraska in the Big 12 title game. It’s that rivalry (among others) that was altered when the Big 12 was formed.
TCU seemingly has clinched a Rose Bowl berth, at least, after destroying New Mexico. The Horned Frogs’ regular season is done. It’s difficult to project them falling out of the No. 3 spot in the BCS.
Posted on: October 31, 2010 5:01 pm
Brian Kelly never could have foreseen his first few months on the job at Notre Dame.
The scope of the rebuilding job is obviously bigger than anyone imagined. His quarterback Dayne Crist, the triggerman for his offense, is out for the year. The defense was a chronic problem before he arrived. The results had been spotty even before Saturday's embarrassing 28-27 loss to Tulsa.
All that pales in significance to the fact that media are openly speculating about his job security in the wake of death of videographer Declan Sullivan. After Saturday's game, Kelly surprisingly admitted it was his decision to go on with practice with Sullivan in the air.
"You have to be able to look at the weather conditions and find out whether you believe it's going to be a productive day, first," Kelly said. "We believed it to be productive, it was productive, obviously up until the tragedy."
No blaming, no scapegoating. For now, it's all on Kelly. That's almost an admission that Notre Dame is going to have to pay some kind of settlement after the tragic accident. Liability, in a sense has been decided.
While Sullivan's family released a touching statement over the weekend, can we safely assume that there is going to be some kind of lawsuit against the school at some point?
"Quiz is very adamant in our meetings about, 'Are we going in or out [for practice]?', Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said of football video coordinator Mark Quisenberry, 'and I'm only putting my tower up 20 feet if we go out.' "
Upon seeing that, a lawyer e-mailed me saying: "I would make Tressel my star witness."
* As USC took a third quarter lead over No. 1 Oregon Saturday night, an interesting possibility emerged. Had USC won, that would have whittled the last of unbeatens to four -- Auburn, Boise State, TCU and Utah. That also would have all but guaranteed one of those non-BCS schools playing for the national championship. A USC win would have meant the possibility of only one undefeated major-conference champion (Auburn). Assuming that at least one of the three non-BCSes went undefeated (TCU and Utah meet this week), one of them would probably move up enough in the BCS to play for the title.
For its champion, the SEC right now is mostly likely able to produce 1) an unbeaten Auburn, 2) a once-beaten Alabama or 3) the SEC East champion where each team in the division already has at least two losses. In scenarios 1) and 2) (assuming a USC win), the SEC would have a team in the BCS title game. In scenario 3) it wouldn't. In fact, it's possible that two non-BCS schools could play for the title.
* The motto in the Big Ten: Now we wait. We wait for the latest BCS standings each week to see how bad Michigan State's chances were damaged by the blowout loss to Iowa. The Spartans are now tied in the Big Ten standings with Ohio State (both are 4-1). The two don't meet this season which means if they tie, the next tiebreaker for the Rose Bowl -- or possibly the BCS title game -- is highest ranked team in the BCS. Prior to Sunday night's BCS release, Jerry Palm had Ohio State significantly ahead of the Spartans.
Wisconsin, 3-1 in the Big Ten, did not play this week. It has lost to Michigan State, and beaten Ohio State. Iowa, also at 3-1, hosts Ohio State on Nov. 20.
* Nebraska pulled into a tie in the Big 12 North with Missouri and now only has to win out to get to its second straight (and last) Big 12 title game. Nebraska's remaining schedule: at Iowa State, Kansas, at Texas A&M and Colorado. Missouri's remaining schedule: at Texas Tech, Kansas State, at Iowa State, Kansas. Anybody else notice that the road to the Big 12 North goes through Ames, Iowa? The plucky Cyclones host both Missouri and Nebraska.
Whatever happens this year at Nebraska, the Huskers are getting back to their roots. Taylor Martinez set the single-game quarterback rushing record against Kansas State. Roy Helu Jr. set the overall single-game rushing record (307 yards Saturday vs. Missouri). According to figures supplied by Big12sports.com, Nebraska's 860 yards on its 24 touchdown runs is more than 17 I-A teams have rushed for the entire season.
* The Pac-10's exclusive 90-day negotiating window with Fox Sports begins Jan. 15 according to Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott. The Pac-10 and Big 12 are the next conferences to get big paydays from their rightsholders. The ACC was the last to cash in getting a $1.86-billion deal from ESPN. That pales in comparison to the SEC's $3 billion deal finalized in July 2009 but is another indicator that college football has been undervalued in the market. That's one of the reasons Jim Delany created the Big Ten Network. It's also a reason the new Pac-12 is expected to significantly increase its media rights.
* For the first time since 1979, Florida and Georgia came into the Cocktail Party unranked. The Gators beat the Dogs for the 18th time in the last 21 meetings, 34-31 in overtime. If there was ever a time for Mark Richt and Georgia to get Florida, this was it. The Gators won't stay down like this for long. Urban Meyer called it one of his biggest wins. Florida remains in control of its own destiny in the SEC East.
* Joe Paterno needs one more win for his 400th after beating Michigan.
* Quote of the day from Virginia's John-Kevin Dolce after knocking Miami quarterback Jacory Harris out of the game: "When you chop the head of a giant, the rest of the body goes with it."
Posted on: October 18, 2010 12:40 pm
The former Texas Tech coaching star kind of expressed his interest in the Minnesota job on his Sirius satellite radio show Monday morning.