6/13 - What To Know (What About Kansas?)

Posted Jun 13, 2010

The interesting news items you should know ... June 13

What You Should Know

June 13

By Alex Bausch 

Big 12 leftovers to Conference USA?

Conference USA has hired former Big 8 commissioner Chuck Neinas as a consultant to help guide it through the impending conference realignment. Why would they do this? Well, Dan Wolken of the Memphis Commercial Appeal suggested that the schools left behind by the disintegration of the Big 12 – and right now that COULD be Iowa State, Kansas and Kansas State – would be prime C-USA targets. "All four of the potential Big 12 left behinds were once members of the Big 8, where Neinas has deep connections, including hiring the athletic directors at Colorado and Kansas," Wolken writes. (Neinas Sports Services was used to vet AD candidates when Mike Bohn and Lew Perkins were hired.)

Kansas to draw interest from Big East

According to Teddy Greenstein of The Chicago Tribune the Jayhawks are definitely on the radar of Big East officials, and as a basketball power with a middling football team, KU would be a good fit (geography aside). After the conference expansion game ends, most people believe the Big East will be basketball heavy conference, with mediocre football. Basically, that's what Kansas is currently (despite its hiring of Turner Gill). Greenstein's full tweet: "Source tells me: Kansas and other Big 12/Pac-10 'rejects' would draw interest from Big East." For me, it is hard to see the Big East having interest in Baylor (even though they made it to the Elite Eight last year), Iowa State or Kansas State. But perhaps if it needed some closer partners for the Jayhawks to play, then the others left out would make sense.   

Irish, Big Ten still dancing around issues

There have been some Big Ten expansion theories operating under the assumption that Notre Dame will only join the Big Ten if it absolutely has to as a result of major re-shuffling across the country. However, according to Pete Thamel of the New York Times, if the Fighting Irish were to join the Big Ten, they would prefer that the league be limited to 12 teams, because of revenue sharing. This could put the Big Ten in an interesting spot. Will the league wait to see if it can convince Notre Dame, with the promise not to expand further, or will it instead go forward without the Irish, hoping that they'll join in later once more conference expansion chips have fallen? It's a tough call, and one the conference might have to make relatively soon, depending on quickly the Pac-10 gets its expansion plan together. Another day and still we have more questions than answers.

Florida uneasy about FSU, Miami joining SEC

The Orlando Sentinel's Andrea Adelson dives into the question of whether Florida would want to get in the way of potential in-state SEC expansion candidates Miami and Florida State. She mentions how only nine of the 12 SEC presidents would need to sign off on an invitation to a new team, so the Gators' objection alone couldn't stop anything. Even if Florida could prevent the offers from going out, however, Adelson thinks it might not be in their best interest to do so. She writes: "While the Gators are huge rivals to FSU and Miami, and wouldn't want their rivals to start raking in the cash they rake in from the SEC, what good would blocking both schools do them? There are other attractive options out there, but the SEC would increase its footprint into South Florida and bring in two football powers that are regaining their national rep. Virginia Tech is attractive for expansion into Virginia; North Carolina as well. Are they more attractive than Miami and FSU? Are Clemson and Georgia Tech more attractive than UM and FSU? I would say no."

Case against Pittsburgh

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette stated that, following Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany's comments that the league is not interested in expanding its television footprint in Pennsylvania, it is looking as though the University of Pittsburgh might not receive an invitation to join an expanded Big Ten. The Big Ten's first focus seems to be on Notre Dame, followed by Nebraska and Missouri out of the Big 12, followed by Rutgers or Syracuse out of the Big East. Because expansion is being driven by TV revenue, and Pitt wouldn't provide much more than what Penn State already does for the Big Ten Network, it's hard to see how the Panthers would be among the first choices to be invited. Once, again these are valid points, but that's all they are. Points. Does the Big Ten think along these lines or some other way remains a question. Yes. Still another question in the great game of conference expansion.   

Syracuse Key For ND

According to Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com, the key to whether or not Notre Dame will join the Big Ten lies with Syracuse. Excuse me? The reason is that, assuming the Big Ten takes Missouri and Nebraska from the Big 12 (which is pretty much going to happen ) and a Big East team like Pittsburgh or Rutgers (most likely candidates) or Syracuse departure would put that league's future in jeopardy. This would directly affect the Irish, because they are members of the Big East for all sports but football. Under this scenario, would Notre Dame consider joining forces with the Big Ten with an eye for other sports. This makes sense, although the Big East could end up saving itself by adding a team or two from the remains of the Big 12 (were that league to disband following Pac-10 and Big Ten expansion). Also, a Big East-ACC merger isn't totally out of the question, in the event that the SEC rips some teams away from the ACC, such as Miami, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Florida State. The question is, how far will Notre Dame let things play out before making a decision on what to do? Presumably, the Big Ten would be glad to wait for as long as the Irish needed, but if the school felt it was about to be left out in the cold, it could choose to act.   

What about KU?

Blair Kerkhoff of The Kansas City Star throws out the possibility that Kansas could find refuge in the Big East as he ponders the fate of the four Big 12 schools that apparently will be left behind in the great Pac-10, Big Ten raid. KU has two things going for it, the first is it is a basketball power, and the Big East is first and foremost a basketball conference. The second is athletic director Lew Perkins used to be AD at Connecticut, so he is vastly intimate with all of the power players in that league. Don't underestimate that. Working against the Jayhawks, obviously, is distance. The closest Big East school to Lawrence is Louisville, which is about 520 miles away. However, if the Big East adds Memphis, which has been mentioned and could happen, it would put a rival school less than 400 miles from Kansas. However, a question facing KU is the fate of in-state rival Kansas State. The two schools have expressed solidarity, much like the Texas schools and Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

June 3

Pac-10 Network on the way?

Will there be a Pac-10 Network announced at the Pac-10 spring meetings? It is unclear what this would mean to the alliance between the Pac-10 and the Big 12 (though perhaps that will remain strictly a scheduling rather than a TV alliance). Also, University of California's chancellor Robert Birgeneau alluded to a major announcement coming out of the Pac-10 meetings. Birgeneau said he would be "surprised if something did not happen that revolutionized college athletics." It's unclear if Birgeneau was referring to a TV network or expansion, which he said is a possibility in the near future and that the Pac-10 is considering "a couple of schools, at least one of which meets the academic standards of the rest of the Pac-10." Was this a jab at Utah, which is not a member of the Association of American Universities? (The other oft-mentioned Pac-10 target, Colorado, is an AAU member.) Or is the Pac-10 considering a second school that has not been mentioned much? 

Big Ten over SEC for Texas?

Rumors about Texas keep on going. Will the Longhorns stay in the Big 12? Become independent? Join the SEC? Some other option? It may only be third on Texas' list of options -- behind remaining in the Big 12 and, perhaps, going independent -- but it sounds as if the Longhorns might be more willing to go to the Big Ten than the SEC. "We're going to be a player in whatever happens," athletic director DeLoss Dodds told Mike DeArmond of The Kansas City Star. "We're watching what's happening with the Big Ten, probably to a lesser degree to the Southeastern Conference. If the landscape is going to change, we're going to be a part of it and be a viable part of it. Texas will come out of it in good shape." Now, one could argue that Dodds is paying more attention to the Big Ten because that conference has officially said it is exploring expansion, while the SEC has only said that it would react if necessary.

How long before Charest transfers?

So, let the speculation begin: Now that redshirt freshman Nathan Scheelhaase has been named Illinois' starting QB (he still has to hold onto the job until the season starts in August), it seems only a matter of time before sophomore Jacob Charest -- the favorite going into spring ball -- packs his bags and leaves Champaign. The problem for Zook and company with three QBs (Charest, Scheelhaase and true freshman Chandler Whitmer) bunched so tightly together, at least one of them clearly is a long shot to ever start for the Illini. Which one will it be? It's only a matter of time until we find out.

Man pleads guilty in OSU assault case

According to a report by the Associated Press, a Largo man has pleaded guilty to felony battery for assaulting Ohio State linebacker Tyler Moeller at a bar last summer. The report stated that the defendant Ralph Gray Decker did not speak at a court hearing Wednesday. However, his attorney, Sean McQuaid, stated that Decker has always expressed "a sincere level of regret and concern" for Moeller and apologized to Moeller's mother. The sentencing will come for the 28-year-old in August. Decker will reportedly pay $11,000 in restitution for Moeller's medical bills. Moeller was attacked while on vacation with his family, he suffered a fractured skull and a serious brain injury. Moeller, missed all of last season, has been seeing at Ohio State practices, but not participating in them. Ohio State did not comment.

No Brown Bros. package on Rocky Top

According to ESPN's Joe Schad twitter account, on Wednesday morning that the package deal for two Brown football players to Tennessee will not happen. "I'm told LB Arthur Brown sticking with KSU plan; Tennessee not an option," Schad also tweeted that Bryce Brown will resolve his status shortly. "I'm told Bryce Brown should have final decision next week; move to KSU or stay at Tennessee, which he is still welcome to do," So it sounds as if the package deal is still alive, but only for Bill Snyder and Kansas State. 

June 2

Nebraska's Paul ticketed for public urination

For the second time in 14 months, Nebraska's top wide receiver is being charged with an alcohol related offense. According to Lincoln Police, Niles Paul was ticketed on suspicion of alcohol possession by a minor and urinating in public. Katie Flood, who is the spokesperson for the Lincoln Police, said an officer spotted the 20-year-old Paul urinating on a fence at 1:23 a.m. Friday. Then there was a preliminary breath test that measured Paul's blood alcohol at .104. Earlier in his career, Paul was suspended for the balance of spring practice in April 2009 after his arrest on suspicion of drunken driving. However, Paul was not charged with a DUI. The end result, he pleaded guilty to reckless driving and being a minor in possession of alcohol. Good work Nebraska.

Schedule stacked against Tide

The current SEC schedule is not a mutual friend to the defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide. The Tide's last six SEC games are being played against opponents that are coming off of a bye week. Tony Barnhart of the Atlanta Journal Constitution strongly believes that this topic should come up in this week's SEC meetings and that the SEC may decide to grant Alabama some relief by moving around a game or two. Barnhart also writes adds that this will require other schools being willing to switch up their schedules. Good luck Bama. I don't really see Auburn wanting to help the Tide by switching its schedule. It looks as though one game will be changed, at most, meaning the Crimson Tide will have to get even more prepared to take their opponents' best shots this season.

Texas or bust for SEC

So have you heard about conference expansion? The conference in the best position? The SEC? The conference is considered almost unanimously as the nation's most competitive and it doesn't appear to be at serious risk of losing any of its members to other leagues in expansion. (Those Arkansas-to-the-Big 12 rumors don't appear to have much weight to them and should stop after you finish reading this sentence.) But if the Big Ten were to expand in a significant way, either to 14 or 16 teams, the SEC might choose to respond. John Adams of GoVolsXtra.com writes in a column that the SEC should make a strong push toward adding Texas and Oklahoma, if the Big Ten does choose to expand. Adams point is that an SEC with the Longhorns and Sooners on board would be virtually untouchable. Game. Set. Match. Best Conference in America, hands down. However, Adams believes that an annexation of Texas and Texas A&M would be more likely, and A&M certainly wouldn't be a bad consolation prize. Assuming the SEC does choose to expand, it may very well look West, not East, as some plans (featuring ACC teams Miami, Florida State, Clemson and Georgia Tech joining the SEC) have previously been suggesting.

Miller choice to have ripple effect

Top quarterback prospect, Braxton Miller, will announce his college decision Thursday, June 3. According to Bucknuts.com Miller has already made his choice, and that his final two schools are Florida and Ohio State. Miller, who is from Ohio, has long been seen as the Buckeyes' successor to Terrelle Pryor, and seeing as how the Gators already have a 2011 Watch List QB signed in Jeff Driskel, it will be nothing short of shocking if Miller doesn't pick Ohio State. His decision could have a ripple effect on other top QB prospects. Teddy Bridgewater who might receive more attention from Alabama now that Miller is off the Crimson Tide's board and Bubba Starling who could choose Notre Dame soon.

Meyer explains why he took leave

According to a report by Andy Staples, doctors have diagnosed Florida head football coach Urban Meyer with esophageal spasms, which can cause chest pain. The pain and the fear of the unknown were impacting Meyer's quality and way of life. At the SEC meetings on Tuesday, Meyer seemed relieved to close the book on 2009. On a side note, stories similar to this always remind me that football is a game. Even though sometimes it seems much bigger than that. l

May 28

The College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2010 was announced Thursday by Archie Manning, chairman of The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame. The 12 first-team All-Americans and two coaches added to the Hall are …

Dennis Byrd, defensive tackle, North Carolina State (1964-67); Ronnie Cavenes, center, Arkansas (1962-64); Ray Childress, defensive line, Texas A&M (1981-84); Randy Cross, offensive guard, UCLA (1973-75); Sam Cunningham, running back, Southern California (1970-72); Mark Herrman, quarterback, Purdue (1977-80); Clarkston Hines, wide receiver, Duke (1986-89); Desmond Howard, wide receiver, Michigan (1989-91); Chet Moeller, defensive back, Navy (1973-75); Jerry Stovall, H-back, LSU (1960-62); Pat Tillman, linebacker, Arizona State (1994-97); Alfred Williams, linebacker, Colorado (1987-90).

The newest hall of fame coaches are Barry Alvarez of Wisconsin (118-73-4 for a .615 winning percentage) who coached at Wisconsin from 1990-2005. And Gene Stallings who coached at his alma mater, Texas A&M (his overall record was: 89-70-1; .559) from 1965-71 and at Alabama from 1990-96.

The future inductees were selected from a national ballot of 77 candidates and more than a hundred nominees.

There are several steps to becoming a nominee for the College Hall of Fame. First, a player must have received First Team All-America recognition by a selector organization that is recognized by the NCAA and used to comprise its consensus All-America teams.

Second, the player must be out of college football for ten years before they become eligible for consideration.

Third, post-college work is included. So what you do after college is taken into account, and not just what you did on the field.

According to the National Football Foundation website, "a player must have proven himself worthy as a citizen, carrying the ideals of football forward into his relations with his community and fellow man. Consideration may also be given for academic honors and whether or not the candidate earned a college degree."

The fourth and final criteria for players are that they must have played their last year of intercollegiate football within the last 50 years. So this more recent class must have played College Football before 1960. In addition, players who are playing professionally and coaches who are coaching on the professional level are not eligible until after they retire.

Coaches can become eligible three years after retirement or right after they retire from coaching if they are at least 70 years old. (Joe Pa: You should be OK).

Active coaches become eligible at 75 years of age. Coaches need to be head coaches for a minimum of 10 years and coached at least 100 games with a .600 winning percentage.

May 27

Big East Network won't save the league

Big East Commissioner John Marinatto revealed Tuesday at the Big East meetings that creating a Big East Network could be in works. The idea is "on the table." However, the new venture wouldn't be able to begin broadcasting until after the league's current TV deals expire following the 2012-13 school year. So basically the promise of added revenue (if the network even projects to be profitable) from the Big East's owning its own network won't keep teams from leaving if the Big Ten comes calling sometime this year. Something else to keep in mind is that Marinatto seemed to appeal to Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany's softer side by saying, "Jim is the curator for the Big Ten, but moreover, he's one of the curators for all of the community (of) intercollegiate athletics in general. So he's not letting something like that happen by accident. Of all people, he looks at the big picture more than anyone." Basically this means: Jim, you're a nice guy. Please don't put me out of a job by killing my league.

Stoops: OK with changing leagues

Though his comments probably weren't intended to be interpreted this way, Bob Stoops certainly sounded as if he was fine his Sooners leaving the Big 12 if push came to shove. "We may end up going somewhere else. I don't know," Stoops said during a Sooner Caravan stop in Tulsa. "We'd probably be in a pretty good position. We'd be pretty attractive. We've had great TV success. We've had an 85,000, sold-out stadium. We've been a player in the BCS most years. So I would think we'd add something to somebody if that was the case." The coach was quick to point out, however, that he had no input into the school's future conference affiliation. "Whatever President (David) Boren and (athletic director) Joe Castiglione think is best," Stoops said, "we'll play wherever they want us to play." 

Big 12 leftover to join MWC

Here's a scenario offered by a "clued-in friend" of Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Randy Galloway: The SEC takes Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State (heard this rumor before). The Big Ten takes Missouri and Nebraska (which is almost a foregone conclusion). The Pac-10 takes Colorado and Utah (makes sense if the Pac-10 expands). That leaves five Big 12 schools searching for a conference, and the Mountain West will be only too happy to oblige, taking three of them—Kansas, Kansas State, and Texas Tech. (Note: That thump you heard on the ground was every Kansas basketball fan fainting….) The MWC's divisions would then be: Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, New Mexico, TCU, Texas Tech in the Mountain Division; BYU, Kansas, Kansas State, San Diego State, UNLV, Wyoming in the Pacific Division. The changes from the MWC's current nine-team lineup: the addition of three Big 12 schools plus Boise State; the loss of Utah. Odd men out? Iowa State and Baylor. Which is kind of ironic, since then Texas Gov. Ann Richards, Bears alum, supposedly insisted that the about-to-be-born Big 12 take her alma mater over TCU back in 1994.

KU: six staffers linked to 'inappropriate' $1M ticket sale

According to a report by the Associated Press, The University of Kansas said Wednesday that a scam by six university employees included the "inappropriate" sale of $1 million worth of men's basketball and football tickets during the past five years. The investigation said five Kansas athletics staffers and a consultant, none of which are currently employed by KU, sold or used at least 17,609 men's basketball tickets, 2,181 football tickets and a number of parking passes and other passes for personal purposes. poses.

Zook hottest seat in country?

ESPN The Magazine's Bruce Feldman puts Ron Zook atop his list of the 10 coaches on the hottest seats this year. Feldman writes: "The Zooker has had one big year, when he led the Illini to the Rose Bowl and they lost to the USC Trojans. But after that it's been frustration. In five years, the Illini have been to only that one bowl game. He wouldn't be cheap to dump, but can the program afford to keep him around if he doesn't somehow respond with a strong season? Last summer, there was lots of enthusiasm for the 2009 season, but the Illini proved to be one of the biggest duds of the year, going 3-9. This offseason, Zook (21-39 at Illinois) had to clean house on his staff -- never a good sign of coaching stability. He's now breaking in a new QB and needs some receivers to emerge and four of their first six games are going to be very rough. Uh-oh." Zook's status is even more tenuous because athletic director Ron Guenther, who brought him back for the 2010 season, also is in danger of losing his job. With a new university president and chancellor to be named sometime this year, the school may also want to start over with a new AD, who would have no problem letting Zook go.

May 26

Michigan sanctions itself for breaking rules

Michigan admitted to a series of violations Tuesday, releasing self-imposed sanctions that the school hopes will draw the approval of the NCAA. It will take awhile, however, even months, before the NCAA issues its own final penalties on the matter.

Big Ten in better shape than SEC

The SEC is considered to be in good shape heading into potential conference expansion. For one, it's unlikely that any of the league's teams will defect to other conferences (unless you are in the camp that believes that Arkansas would opt to join the Big 12, something that is becoming an increasingly unlikely proposition). Second, the conference figures to be in the mix to swipe ACC teams like Miami, Florida State, Georgia Tech and Clemson, if indeed, the SEC decides to expand in response to the Big Ten and other conferences. However, Kirk Bohls of The Austin American-Statesman offers up his opinion on the plans of the Big Ten and commissioner Jim Delany, and he thinks that one option could shoot the Big Ten past the SEC. According to Bohls: "I'm thinking No. 1 on the Big Ten's wish list would be to add Notre Dame, as well as Texas and A&M, and build a 14-team empire that even the SEC could not touch." At this point, it doesn't seem as though any of those three teams will end up in the Big Ten, but that could change once the first expansion chips begin to fall. After, the first chip falls there could be a huge domino effect.

Big East schools shouldn't be too worried

According to Dave Curtis and Matt Hayes of The Sporting News, the Big East conference could be in danger of disbanding if conferences like the Big Ten and SEC decide to expand. However, the Big East schools left behind might still be in decent shape. "If multiple leagues choose to grow, the Big East might be in trouble," Curtis and Hayes write. "Bad news, right? For the league, yes. But not necessarily for the teams left behind." Curtis and Hayes argue that the teams that aren't picked up by the Big Ten could be picked up by the ACC, a conference that stands to lose schools like Miami, Florida State, Georgia Tech or Clemson if the SEC tries to match the Big Ten in the expansion game. Under at least one scenario, one that other writers have predicted as well, the individual Big East teams would be fine, and perhaps in even better shape if they joined a merged ACC-Big East super-conference. The worst possibility for the league and its teams, however, would be a scenario in which the Big Ten only expands to 14 teams, but robs all three from the Big East, and that the SEC and ACC decide to stand pat. Under this scenario, both the Big East Conference and its member schools would have serious cause to hit the panic button.

Starling South Bend bound?

According to Steve Wiltfong of IrishSportsDaily.com, highly touted and ESPNU 150 Watch List quarterback Bubba Starling will be visiting the Notre Dame on June 4-5. According to Wiltfong it will be Starling's third trip to South Bend in three months. Numerous recruiting databases have Notre Dame as a co-leader for the Starling sweepstakes—currently tied with Nebraska. Some other schools that could get Starling are Alabama, Oklahoma and Kansas.

Seantrel Henderson may start as a USC freshman

According to Michael Lev of the Orange County Register, the USC Trojans have no plans to redshirt prized offensive tackle recruit Seantrel Henderson this season. Lev writes: "Given the lack of OL depth, they might not have a choice." New Trojans Head Coach Lane Kiffin has talked during spring practices about not expecting too much too soon out of Henderson. Kiffin pointed out potential variables like Henderson's fitness and work ethic of which the team won't have a full understanding until he arrives on campus.

May 25

ND Legend: Irish staying put

Until the conference expansion business is official, there will continue to be rumors about whether or not the Big Ten will add a school or multiple schools. The first alternative is that the Big Ten does nothing. At this point, the story of conference expansion or realignment has been covered so obsessively that it would be a bit of a letdown if Big Ten Conference leader Jim Delany stands pat. But the possibility is there because, as The Sporting News states, adding teams "would water down" the Big Ten. More cable revenue is a plus, although people have to want to buy subs, and the only team other than maybe Texas that could make that happen is Notre Dame. "Notre Dame doesn't want anyone dictating to them what they can and can't do," Notre Dame legend Paul Hornung told SN. "(The media) wouldn't even think of it if it weren't for a damn story. It's not even feasible. They're not going to change (expletive). Why would you change when you're sitting on top of the world? They'll go backwards." Typical Notre Dame answer. And he has a point.

Court denies Florida State NCAA appeal

According to a story reported by the Associated Press, The Florida Supreme Court has rejected the NCAA's appeal of a judge's order to release records on academic cheating at Florida State. Today, the justices unanimously refused to hear the case. The ruling follows an October decision that denied "the NCAA's emergency motion that sought to block the release of records." A judge had deemed the files were public records in a lawsuit filed by The Associated Press and other news media. The report goes on to say that they were part of a disciplinary case against Florida State that resulted in knocking 12 victories off the record of former football coach Bobby Bowden as part of the school's penalty. The NCAA stripped the school of wins in 10 sports. This is all because FSU athletes cheated on an online music test.

Case for Pittsburgh & the Big Ten

Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette made a case for and against Pittsburgh joining the Big Ten. Some of the points that he made were that the school resembles the current members of the Big Ten—Pittsburgh is a large, public university with strong academic and research programs that is located geographically in Big Ten country. He then makes a point that the factor that is driving expansion—money—does not trend in the Panthers' favor. That's because adding Pittsburgh would not introduce a new market into the Big Ten network the way a teams like, say Rutgers or Missouri. Penn State already provides the TV audience that Pittsburgh would, and it's debatable as to whether or not the Panthers' current profile in football is big enough to drum up interest in other markets.

Allegations could hurt Rich Rod

According to ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg the University of Michigan is anxious to address the allegations of rules violations brought against it by the NCAA, and to move past them. However, the potential damages of these violations could haunt the university and especially head football coach Rich Rodriguez for the rest of this upcoming season. Joe Schad noted on Monday that the final ruling on this matter might not be handed down until the middle or end of the 2010 season. Schad says that that is significant because, in theory, if the Wolverines were having a bad season, the Michigan brass could decide to use these violations as an excuse to fire Rodriguez with cause, which would not require the school to pay Rodriguez a buyout. Basically, they would use any excuse to fire Rich Rod. But if Michigan starts off 7-0 or something along those lines, the thoughts of firing Rodriquez will go out the window. Gotta love college athletics—winning cures a lot of ills. 

Make or Break season for Friedgen?

The Orlando Sentinel continued its look at college coaches who they believe are on the hot seat. The next coach up is Ralph Friedgen of Maryland. While he got off to a good start at Maryland, Friedgen has cooled off considerably lately, and his team earned an abysmal 2-10 record last season. The Terps won only one game against a FBS opponent (they also needed overtime to beat James Madison, a 6-5 FCS team). Not quite what the doctor ordered. What will it take for Friedgen to keep his job beyond this year? For starters, a win in the season-opener over Navy. Also, a win in its third game against West Virginia would bode well for the Terps. Conference play should be the real test for Friedgen. It has been said if the Terrapins can make it into the top half of the ACC, Friedgen should be in good shape. Anything less than that, however, and Friedgen could be sweating things out at season's end. Similar to Rich Rod (see article above) Friedgen needs to get off to a good start, beat his rivals, win a conference that he isn't expected to and he will be fine.

May 21

Trojans could lose '04 title

According to Steve Wieberg of USA Today, if the NCAA deems USC's violations serious enough and rules that Reggie Bush was ineligible, USC would be forced to forfeit all of the games it won during the Bush era. That might include USC losing its 2004 BCS championship. There is a provision in the BCS rules that calls for schools' BCS appearances and titles to be vacated if a school is found guilty of major violations and sanctioned by the NCAA. Since the NCAA doesn't have an official I-A championship, it can't strip USC of a title, but the BCS can (and apparently would). However, BCS executive director Bill Hancock said the BCS will do nothing until the end of the NCAA process, including all appeals. Then the BCS's Presidential Oversight Committee would make the ultimate decision. It is unclear if the title would then be awarded to someone else or just left vacant. You may be wondering about Bush's '05 Heisman. That also could be in jeopardy, but that ruling would be made by the Heisman Trophy Trust. No comment has been made by the Heisman governing body.

Texas could go independent

Matt Hayes of The Sporting News thinks that if the Big 12 disintegrates, which some believe it might, Texas might try its hand at Notre Dame-style independence. Hayes points out this comparison would work if Notre Dame didn't join the Big Ten. He believes that the Longhorns would have to give up too much power to join the Big Ten or the SEC. Texas has two qualities that Notre Dame has to go independent: a national following and deep pockets. Hayes concludes: "There's too much money and too much potential -- you better believe college football-hungry FOX would be interested in a Notre Dame-type deal with an independent Texas -- available to ignore the possibility of independent status." http://www.sportingnews.com/college-football/article/2010-05-20/hayes-mailbag-gilbert-reason-for-longhorns-remain-optimistic

Michigan-Notre Dame series in question

Expansion or no expansion, one of college football's marquee matchups seems no longer to be automatic. Remember back in 2007, when Michigan athletic director Bill Martin and Notre Dame AD Kevin White both announced the 20-year extension of the football series between the Wolverines and Irish? The original plan of uninterrupted games for the next 25 seasons changed to accommodate a two-year hiatus in 2018 and 2019. This might not be the case, according to new Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon. "We don't really have a contract right now," Brandon said. "We announced we had kind of reached a meeting of the minds for a 20-year extension with the potential for a two-year hiatus, but that was never codified into a contract."

Head of BCS: Congress should not run college football

According to the Associated Press, the head of the Bowl Championship Series believes that Congress should stay out of the college football business. The executive director of the BCS is Bill Hancock. He responded Thursday to a letter from two U.S. Senators who are unhappy about the way the sport determines its champion. Hancock stated "decisions about college football should be made by university presidents, athletics directors, coaches and conference commissioners rather than by members of Congress." Well put, Mr. Hancock, well put. h

Rivalries in Big Ten in jeopardy?

As the Big Ten considers expansion, stakeholders are already entertaining scheduling issues. At stake is how the league would maintain rivalries such as Ohio State-Michigan, Michigan State-Michigan, Wisconsin-Iowa just to name a few. Illinois AD Ron Guenther called the prospect of divisions and scheduling "more complex" than the decision regarding which schools the Big Ten might add. "Is it 12? Is it 14? Is it 16?" he asked. "And dividing how that works for all of your sports, not just football and basketball." Wisconsin AD and former coach Barry Alvarez said of the possible structure: "It's as far as you want to let your imagination go. (But) we're not far enough along to think about laying all that out." Another issue if natural rivals are in the same division, they couldn't meet in the conference title game (for example, Michigan and Ohio State or Northwestern and Illinois).

May 20

Conference Expansion could hurt playoff

Tony Barnhart of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution takes a view contrary to the many who have suggested that "superconferences" will eventually lead to a college football playoff. "I think if expansion comes in a big way it moves us further away from a playoff than ever," writes Barnhart. One theory among those that believe a playoff is inevitable is that four, 16-team "superconferences" will secede from the NCAA and create their own revenue-generating playoff, keeping all the additional money for themselves. That actually goes along with Barnhart's saying that the BCS schools don't want to share additional revenues with non-BCS schools. The difference being, in Barnhart's thinking that the superconferences will not leave the NCAA.

Texas could get its own network

Tom Shatel of The Omaha World-Herald makes a case that the Big Ten offers a spot to Texas. in order to get the Longhorns to join the conference: "Would the Big Ten be willing to let Texas start its own TV network?" Would the other league members get a cut of Texas Network's revenue, or would Texas not get any of the conference's TV money? For that matter, if Texas' addition forces Notre Dame to join, does the Longhorns' getting their own network mean that the Irish would be allowed to keep their NBC deal?

Tressel's wife has heart surgery

The Associated Press is reporting that Ohio State head football coach Jim Tressel's wife is recovering from surgery to repair a heart valve. According to the AP, Ellen Tressel had the operation at the Cleveland Clinic on Tuesday in hopes of improving blood flow through the heart. She most likely will leave the hospital this weekend. Jim Tressel plans to stay with his wife for the remainder of the week and into the weekend. Tressel is missing the Big Ten meetings which are taking place in Chicago this weekend.

BYU denies RB Unga's request to be readmitted

The Associated Press is reporting that BYU officials have declined have declined Harvey Unga's request to be readmitted for the fall semester. Unga is a former running back for the Cougars, and he withdrew from classes in April. The reason: saying he had violated the school's strict honor code. He hoped to complete his degree and play his final season this fall. According to head coach Bronco Mendenhall, Unga "made finishing his degree at BYU a high priority." Unga is BYU's all-time leading rusher.

Gophers file report about recruit Henderson

According to Joe Schad of ESPN.com, Minnesota has filed a report to the NCAA in regards to the recruitment of in-state football player Seantrel Henderson. Henderson, one of the top recruits in the nation this year, chose to play offensive tackle at USC. Henderson was also considering Minnesota, Miami, and Ohio State. As some high end recruits have done in the past Henderson decided to delay his signing until after national signing day. As opposed to other recruits, Henderson did it because he was concerned about the sanctions facing USC.

May 19

Delany: Expansion decision still ‘months away'
Finally, after all the speculation about the Big Ten expansion, the Big Ten finally made a statement. And it's no surprise. Jim Delany, the Big Ten commissioner, speaking at the conference's spring meetings Tuesday in Chicago, said that no expansion is seen in the short term. He provided a few specifics about the league's expansion study, but reiterated that it's nowhere near a conclusion. He said the Big Ten is still gathering information and doing research. He said the conference is sticking with its plan of 12-18 months (starting on December 15, 2009) to announce any decisions. Delany is most likely to announce any changes on the Big Ten Network and not allow it to be over a radio station, to a newspaper, or on the internet.

Will Notre Dame stay independent?
While the Big Ten meetings kicked off Monday in Chicago and continue through Wednesday there still is a lot of talk about what the conference should do and what it will do in terms of potential expansion. Popular speculation is that Notre Dame is the most logical 12th team, and landing the Irish also would have the largest impact on the league. That's just speculation. All the facts coming from ND is that the Irish just doesn't seem like an option. According to the Associated Press, Notre Dame Officials will look into all different options, if and when the dominoes start to fall. As opposed to other schools, money is certainly not an issue for Notre Dame. The AP reported that Notre Dame receives about $15 million annually from its NBC TV contract. Notre Dame also receives $1.3 million a year if it doesn't qualify for a BCS berth and $4.5 million if it does. Simply because Notre Dame is not in a conference, they get to keep all that money.

No Big Ten title game?
Yes you did read that correctly. So, the Big Ten is going to add a 12th team and not have a conference championship game? That's a possibility as the Big Ten meetings continue Tuesday in Chicago. University of Illinois coach Ron Zook told The Chicago Tribune that the Big Ten doesn't need the extra money that comes from playing a conference championship game."When the SEC went to the championship game, the thing was about money," Zook said. "We have a different animal (because of) the Big Ten Network." Zook maybe right in that the Big Ten doesn't need the money is the Big Ten expansion isn't just about money is it? Doesn't it want to be center stage along with the Big 12 and SEC when they have their championship games? What about that extra long layoff in between the last regular season game and the bowl game? (Note to Alex: The Big Ten can have an outright champion based on regular season results.)

A Case for Georgia Tech to SEC
Tony Barnhart of the Atlanta Journal Constitution writes that several Georgia Tech alums he knows would leave the ACC for the SEC "in a New York minute." But that was likely before the ACC landed its sweet TV deal on Monday with ABC/ESPN for a cool $155 million. Although that's still about a $4 million gap from what the Yellow Jackets would stand to gain in the SEC. Still the historic rivalries alone seem reason enough to return: Georgia, Tennessee, Auburn and even Alabama were long-time bitter rivals in the SEC.

Michigan to announce self-imposed penalties
According to numerous sources, the University of Michigan will respond on May 24 to different NCAA's allegations against its football program and announce self-imposed penalties. Michigan had 90 days to respond to the report which was sent to the university on Feb, 22. According to one report, the university will respond to the NCAA's "notice of allegations" with self imposed penalties. The NCAA report contained five alleged violations against Coach Rich Rodriguez and the football program. According to Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon, the final stages are still being put on the response before it's sent to the NCAA. The final step in the process will be in August when they will appear before the NCAA committee on Infractions. Further penalties could be assessed then.

May 18

Rutgers makes sense for the Big Ten

According to The Wall Street Journal, Rutgers would be a good fit for the Big Ten. Rutgers isn't the sexy move for Big Ten expansion, such as Notre Dame. But one thing that Rutgers brings to the table is the New York Market. Also, the Wall Street Journal states that the tri-state area has nine million cable subscribers. This would mean much more revenue for the Big Ten to share among its members. A benefit for Rutgers would be it might be able to keep in-state talent, because it would get the opportunity to play against teams such as Ohio State and Penn State as opposed to teams such as South Florida and Cincinnati.

Expansion could open doors for TCU, SMU

In recent weeks there have been numerous reports of schools switching conferences. Almost all of those reports have been about schools such as Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado, Rutgers, and Notre Dame joining other conferences. In other words, "big boys" joining other "big boys" conferences. According to Kate Hairopoulos of The Dallas Morning News, if some of these schools do join other conferences, it could open doors for schools such as TCU of the Mountain West, and SMU of Conference USA.

Buckeyes, looking at prospects for 2011

Even though they haven't started practicing for the2010 season, the Ohio State Buckeyes are looking at the 2011 season when they will need to have a replacement for Terrelle Pryor. The main target for Ohio State is Braxton Miller who goes to Wayne High School in Huber Heights, Ohio. Ohio State, however, isn't the only school that is pursing Miller. Miller is a cousin of former Ohio State receiver Dee Miller, who played at OSU during the late 1990s. Braxton Miller is rumored to be leaning toward the Buckeyes but he hasn't said which school is his top choice. And rumors are that Alabama and Florida are in the mix.

Move to Big Ten could hurt Nebraska recruiting

Since Bo Pelini has been the coach at Nebraska, he has signed 22 recruits from Texas. A reason for this is because some of the Nebraska assistants are familiar faces in the Texas high school football scene. Brian Christopherson of The Lincoln Journal Star asks a very important question: If Nebraska moves to the Big Ten will they still be able to get those same Texas prospects? How many of them are going to want to leave Big 12 country? It's a very interesting question, and it's worth an answer because 11 rosters in the Big Ten don't have a combined 50 players from Texas. This is not to say that there isn't talent in other states, but some schools such as Missouri and Nebraska bank on the Texas pipeline for the recruiting, and if they leave the Big 12, will they be able to get those Texas prospects?

USC Kiffin makes $4.4 Million annually

According to ESPN.com Pac-10 blogger Ted Miller, Lane Kiffin is earning more than $4 million per year, compared to the $2.375 million he made annually at Tennessee. Miller also posts out that the cost of living in Los Angeles is "94.2 percent higher than in Knoxville," which means Kiffin may actually have taken a slight pay cut. His dad, Monte, is earning "around" $2 million annually, while last year he made $1 million at Tennessee.

MAY 15

Miami, Notre Dame to renew rivalry

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that traditional rivals the University of Miami and Notre Dame University are close to signing a deal for a three game series starting in 2012. The first game of the series would be at Soldier Field in 2012 and continuing with a home-and-home likely in 2014 and 2016. The two schools have not played against each other since 1990.

Alabama, Nike extend contract to 2018

According to the Tuscaloosa News, the University of Alabama and equipment/apparel provider Nike have agreed to an extension of an agreement through the 2018 season. According to the University of Alabama, the deal could be worth around 30 million dollars over seven years. Alabama and Nike first made a deal in 2002.

Oklahoma president believes Big 12 will stay together

According to the Associated Press, the University president David Boren expects Oklahoma to stay in the Big 12conference. Along, with Oklahoma, Boren believes that the other schools will stay in the conference and will not join other conferences such as the Big Ten and Pac 10. Boren was quoted as saying ""And I really think that the likelihood of any of the schools leaving the conference is really being blown out of proportion. I think the conference will stay intact."

Tuberville to use more balanced attack than Leach

According to the Dallas Morning News, new Texas Tech head coach Tommy Tubberville will try to make his offense more of a balanced attack, something that is quite different from Mike Leach's air attack. Over Tech's 13 games last season, the Red Raiders threw the ball 669 times. Tubberville hopes to reduce that number. Also, Tuberville believes that Tech needs to play more defense as well as put points on the scoreboard. "But we're going to play defense." 

Texas Tech wants Leach Case Thrown Out

The ever ending saga which is the Mike leach lawsuit took another turn today. According to a report done by the Associated Press, Attorneys for Texas Tech have told a judge that former Texas Tech head football coach Mike Leach shouldn't be able to sue the school. Texas Tech says state law gives it ‘sovereign immunity from Leach's lawsuit over his firing last year'. The school added that it also wants ‘administrators and regents stripped from the suit.'