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Tag:non-BCS
Posted on: April 7, 2011 11:47 am
Edited on: April 7, 2011 12:41 pm
 

Sun Belt to add new member?

Posted by Jerry Hinnen 

The 2011 offseason doesn't nearly so expansion-mad as the summer of 2010, but thanks to the Sun Belt, it look like we might have some intrigue after all.  

According to this report in the Miami Herald, the current nine-team conference (and 10-team league once provisional program South Alabama becomes a full FBS member) is on the verge of adding a new, as-yet-unidentified 11th future member (emphasis added): 

The conference has entertained expansion overtures from multiple programs in recent months, and the league has expressed keen interest in at least one of those candidates, The Miami Herald has learned.

Sources close to the situation would not specify which school is atop the list of contenders, but the pool of potential programs is relatively shallow when the conference’s top two criteria are factored in.

The Sun Belt would only consider universities with an established Football Bowl Subdivision program currently aligned with another conference. And the conference would want any new member to fit into its geographical footprint.

“We’re not afraid to expand if there’s someone out there who will add value to the league, but we’re not going to expand just to reach some arbitrary number,” Sun Belt commissioner Wright Waters said. “I think we’ve got to find people who bring value to the conference.”

The report is correct that limiting candidates to current FBS programs within the Sun Belt's geographical footprint doesn't leave room for a whole lot of options. And in fact, barring a surprise defection out of Conference USA, there seems to be just one: Louisiana Tech.

Located hundreds of miles from its closest geographic neighbors, the Shrveport-based school has always been an odd fit in its current home in the WAC. Given the WAC's short straw in the expansion battles and impending plunge to the basement of the FBS (not to mention the possibility of losing its automatic NCAA Tournament berth in men's basketball), Tech's switch to the Sun Belt would make sense from any number of perspectives: better level of competition, substantially reduced travel costs, local rivalries with schools like the SBC's UL-Monroe and Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns, and all the recruiting advantages that those benefits would bring.

Meanwhile, the Sun Belt would be getting a firmly-established FBS program with a long history of producing high-quality teams, NFL players, and upsets of neighboring power schools (not to mention the aforementioned in-state conference rival for its Louisiana programs). Tech to the Sun Belt would appear to be a win-win on all sides.

That's not to say it's a certainty. Several schools in Conference USA also fit within the SBC's geographic footprint if they wanted out of C-USA for whatever reason, and if the league decided that footprint was wider than we'd expect, they could theoretically re-adopt former Sun Belt members New Mexico State or Utah State. And even if the school receiving "keen interest" from the league is Tech, it's far from a done deal.

But in any case, the move would make so much sense for both the Bulldogs and the SBC it would be a surprise if they weren't considering it. And if it's a move that indeed comes to pass, we'll have yet more confirmation that the Belt has decisively left the WAC behind as the FBS's bottom-barrel conference.

Posted on: April 6, 2011 7:46 pm
Edited on: April 7, 2011 3:01 pm
 

Nevada's Division I status in jeopardy?

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Nevada will be joining the Mountain West in 2012, but thanks to some budget cuts the school's athletics department is facing, it's possible that the school may no longer be a Division I program by the time 2012 gets here. According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, athletic director Cary Groth announced that the school is facing a $1.5 million cut in state-appropriated funds that could "change the face of the department."

The cuts, which are part of a proposed $59 million university-wide budget reduction at UNR, could threaten Nevada's ability to maintain Division I status or force the department to cut another sport. The reduction is contingent on the state legislature's final higher education budget and board of regents deliberations.

"I would say maintaining the integrity of a Division I program is our main focus right now," Groth said. "We're right on the line of a few things as is."

In the past three years, the Wolf Pack's state-appropriated funds have decreased from $7.054 million to an estimated $3.817 million for the 2012-13 fiscal year.

To put that cut in perspective, Nevada's annual budget for its athletic department is $20 million, so it's a 7.5% reduction in the schools' budget. The easiest way for Nevada to find some extra money, aside from cuts to the athletic department staff, would be to reduce scholarships or cut sports. There are problems with that plan, though. First off, the school already cut its ski team in 2010, and it's at the Division I minimum of six men's sports already. Which means that whatever sport was cut, it would have to be one of the eight women's teams, which would cause a problem with Title IX.

As for scholarships, in order to maintain Division I status, a school must award $4 million annually in scholarships. Nevada currently hands out $4.6 million, and while that leaves $600,000 of wiggle room, Groth said she doesn't want to get too close to the minimum.

Hopefully a move to the Mountain West would help bring more money to Nevada's athletic department, but the Wolf Pack has to get there first.

Posted on: April 6, 2011 1:01 pm
Edited on: April 6, 2011 10:11 pm
 

TCU busts out some new duds

Posted by Tom Fornelli




Fresh off an undefeated season and victory over Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl, in which the Horned Frogs busted out some fancy new uniforms, TCU unveiled the jerseys it will begin wearing in the 2011 season. Which is also the last year TCU will spend in the Mountain West before moving on to the greener pasture of the Big East in 2012, where going undefeated may actually afford the school a chance to play for a national title.

As you can see by looking at the new duds - those are them up there in case you haven't figure it out - they are rather basic, especially when compared to what we've seen Nike come up with in recent years. Which means that I like them because I've always been a fan of a simpler, cleaner look. So if Oregon ever wanted me to play football for them, they'd have to pay my street agent a lot of money to get me (I'm kidding! Sort of).

What you can't see as well in the photo above, however, is that there has also been a change to TCU's helmets. That cute little horned frog that had been on the helmet in recent seasons, and had a rose dangling from its mouth in the Rose Bowl, is gone. Now it's just the TCU that is being displayed. Which is the one aspect of the new ensemble that I don't like.

I was a fan of that frog, darn it.

Both images courtesy of GoFrogs.com
Category: NCAAF
Posted on: April 1, 2011 5:48 pm
 

Friday Four Links (and a cloud of dust), 4/1

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Every Friday we catch up on four stories you might have missed during the week ... and add a few extra links to help take you into the weekend.


FOUR LINKS ...

1. National champions Auburn might not have enjoyed the HBO expose that aired this week, but they got plenty of love from more official channels, with the Alabama state House honoring Gene Chizik with a resolution and Cam Newton getting similar treatment from the legislature in his home state of Georgia. But for Auburn fans, the biggest honor of the week was the news that NASCAR driver Michael Waltrip will be driving this car at Talladega April 17 to commemorate the Tigers' achievement:



2. Sounds like Florida's going to have a friend in the broadcast booth this year as Jon Gruden attended Will Muschamp's first Gainesville coaching clinic and called the Muschamp-Charlie Weis coaching tandem "the best in college football." Also in attendance despite the rumors that he and Muschamp had not always seen eye-to-eye in Austin: former Texas offensive coordinator Greg Davis.

3. You may have seen this already:



Even if you haven't, you know that there is only one coach who would put up a motivational chart with a "World of the Uninvested" and a "Circle of the Untrustables." Houston Nutt explains the chart and its genesis to the Clarion-Ledger here.

4. Colorado quarterback Tyler Hansen doesn't sound like he's bearing any real grudge towards former head coach Dan Hawkins and his son, fellow (ex-)quarterback Cody Hawkins, but he does say Hawkins the Elder's handling of his son did include "a little nepotism." Which is why the whole situation sounds more than a little awkward.

... AND THE CLOUD

Jimbo Fisher is asking fans for their prayers and thoughts as his son Ethan battles an undisclosed health issue ... Former Texas Tech running back and Lubbock Avalanche-Journal guest columnist Baron Batch has a pretty amazing story to tell ... After $100,000 raises for each, Alabama coordinators Kirby Smart (defensive) and Jim McElwain (offensive) are earning a combined $1.36 milllion ... Speaking of contracts, Mike Locksley has renegotiated his New Mexico deal in a fashion that makes it easier for both parties to part ways ... Two reserve linemen for Michigan State have been knocked out of spring practice (and maybe longer) with injuries ... Marcus Davis, a backup safety at Oregon who'd transferred from Texas, has left the Duck program ... Colorado reported one secondary violation to the NCAA from their recent recruiting cycle, but since it's for feeding the 10-year-old brother of a visiting recruit, we doubt they're too ashamed about it ... Mississippi State has a new announcer for their radio broadcasts, always a big deal anywhere college football's a big deal ... Joe Bauserman is taking the first-team snaps at Ohio State quarterback while Terrelle Pryor recovers ... And here's video of Notre Dame's quarterbacks donning a helmet-cam for practice. Thus the indomitable sprit of the World League of American Football lives on.

Posted on: April 1, 2011 3:42 pm
Edited on: April 1, 2011 3:45 pm
 

Kelly: UM and ND to don throwbacks for matchup

Posted by Chip Patterson

The Michigan - Notre Dame matchup has gotten some extra hype this year, with the recent announcement that their Sept. 10 meeting in Michigan Stadium will be moved to primetime. It will be the first night game in the history of the storied rivalry, and the first true night game in the history of the Big House. Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly recently divulged some even more juicy details about the matchup, telling the media that both schools will be wearing throwback jerseys for the game. He stayed pretty mum on the look of the Irish (the report says Kelly hinted to the Joe Kuharich era -- 1959-62), but gave a pretty good description of how the Wolverines will look for the showdown.

"I'm just trying to help you guys piece together what it's going to look like, without me saying and then getting yelled at by our adidas people that we blew the surprise for them," Kelly told Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune. "But yeah, we're going to have throwback uniforms. As they will. I can tell you what theirs look like: They have a block 'M' on them, and a number, and a number on their helmet. How's that? The adidas people at Michigan are going to be (ticked) at me."

The primetime matchup will be a endorsement dream for adidas, who has largely missed out on the publicity of alternate uniforms in the last couple of seasons. Tennessee made some noise with their Halloween uniforms, but few other examples come to mind from recent history. But there will only be a handful of regular season games in 2011 that will get the treatment of Michigan-Notre Dame. For the last couple seasons Nike has trotted out trendy alternate uniforms for their biggest programs on the biggest stage. Now adidas will get to join the fun for this clash of past, present, and future.

 
 
 
 
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