Category:NCAAF
Posted on: February 29, 2012 1:08 pm
 

Texas A&M is moving on from the Big 12

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Officially Texas A&M won't be a member of the SEC until July 1st. It appears the Aggies don't want to wait that long, however, especially now that the Big 12 buyouts have been agreed to. For evidence of this you need not look past the Twitter account of Texas A&M's equipment staff, who tweeted out this photo on Wednesday morning.



Not pictured are Texas A&M fans throwing out their cases of Shiner Bock in exchange for jars of moonshine, but change, unlike the effect of moonshine on the brain, is gradual. Give them time.

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Posted on: February 29, 2012 12:45 pm
 

Saban says Tide will offer four-year scholarships

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Alabama was one of 30 BCS conference schools to recently vote against NCAA legislation that would allow -- though not mandate -- schools to offer multiple-year scholarships over the previous system of annual scholarship renewals. And the Tide football program had declined to offer them this past February, with Nick Saban citing lawsuits issued during the previous era of multiple-year scholarships as reason for the program's opposition.

Despite that stance, Saban told the Tuscaloosa News in a Tuesday story that the Tide would join Auburn and Florida (and, with the legislation's survival of the override vote, likely the rest of the SEC) in offering four-year scholarships starting with the 2013 class.

"We're going to offer four-year scholarships," Saban said. "Our whole conference is going to do it, all the schools, I think. And we're happy to do it."

Though we're skeptical a program truly "happy" to offer four-year scholarships would instead vote to prevent anyone from offering those scholarships, themselves included, Saban again referred to the legal ramifications when explaining the opposition of "some of the schools."

"We had the (four-year) rule years ago, and there were legal challenges to it," Saban said. "So we changed to the one-year scholarship then. I think that was why some of the schools had concerns." 

A four-year scholarship would conceivably make it more difficult for Saban to oversign in February and then "cut" players afterwards -- the Tide have seen widespread departures between spring practice and the start of fall camp each of the last several years under Saban -- but he forcefully denied either cutting players or that the new scholarships would have any impact on that issue at any school.

"We don't cut players," Saban said. "I don't know anyone who does. So I don't think that's an issue ... The player will still have to be academically eligible. He will still have to obey team rules and regulations. And the player is still going to have the same rights and the same appeals process that he has now."

Saban is entirely correct that just because School X has committed its four-year promise in writing doesn't mean Player Y is going to be able to skate through four years of school without worrying about the consequences. (He's also right that this could conceivably lead to some legal appeals here and there.) But given the ease with which schools have dismissed players on one-year scholarships in the past -- it's surprising to hear Saban say he "doesn't know anyone" who cuts players, given that SEC West rival Bobby Petrino declined to renew the scholarships of five different players just last year -- we disagree that nothing has changed.

Even if having a promise of four years' worth of education in writing is still just a promise, that's more commitment from their new schools than those players have gotten before.

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Posted on: February 29, 2012 12:04 pm
 

PODCAST: Free Bruce Podcast w/Brett McMurphy

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Bruce Feldman and Bryan Fischer are back for the latest edition of the Free Bruce Podcast, and this week Bruce discusses the upcoming NFL Draft and his time in Indianapolis at the NFL scouting combine. They also cover which unheralded players may surprise people at the next level, as well as the differences in evaluating players at the NFL level and as high school recruits.

Then Brett "Sources" McMurphy joins the guys to talk about the latest in conference realigment, possible changes to the BCS and whether or not we can say goodbye to the 6-6 bowl teams of yore.

To listen, click below, pop the podcast player out in a new window, or download the mp3. And remember that all of the CBSSports.com College Football Podcasts can be downloaded for FREE from the iTunes Store. Enjoy:



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Posted on: February 29, 2012 11:01 am
 

The biggest shoes to fill in college football



Posted by Tom Fornelli


With teams having already started or starting spring practice over the next few weeks. there are a lot of players across the country who will be charged with replacing someone who has come and gone before them. It's an annual rite of spring in college football, when the senior quarterback from last season is putting the finishing touches on his final semester as a college student, and the sophomore who isn't even sure what he's majoring in yet realizes he's going to be majoring in Playbook 101 for the next few weeks.

Of course, while roster turnover is a common occurence in college football, there are bigger shoes to fill than others, and in this post we take a look at the ten biggest pairs looking for a new owner this spring.

10. Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma

Ryan Broyles began re-writing the Oklahoma record books the moment he stepped on the field in his first game as a Sooner. He caught 7 passes for 141 yards against Cincinnati, both of which were freshman records. Four years later he finished his career having caught more passes than any other receiver in FBS history, pulling in 349 passes for 4,586 yards and 45 touchdowns.

In other words, he's not the type of player that Oklahoma can just replace with anybody. This spring receivers like Kenny Stills, Jaz Reynolds and Trey Metoyer will try to replicate Broyles' production in Norman. Whether it will be one of them doing it, or a group effort, Oklahoma will need it to happen if the Sooners want to win the Big 12 and contend for a national title.

9. Matt Kalil, OT, USC

Understandably, USC fans were extremely excited by the news that Matt Barkley would be returning for his senior season, and many have pegged the Trojans as a title favorite because of it. What you don't want to do, however, is overlook the fact that the man who was in charge of protecting Barkley's blindside these last few years won't be back.

Though that's how life generally works for offensive lineman like Matt Kalil. As large as they are, they're often overlooked. Kevin Graf, Jeremy Galten, David Garness and Nathan Guertler will all be competing for the unenviable task of being the man in charge of making sure nothing happens to the most valuable piece of the USC offense.

8. Mark Barron, S, Alabama

One of the problems with having a defense as strong as the one we saw in Tuscaloosa last season is that you're bound to lose players to the next level, and the Crimson Tide have no shortage of beasts making their way to greener pastures. Still, the Tide have a knack for churning out defensive lineman and linebackers, but safeties like Mark Barron don't come along all that often.

Barron made 231 tackles for Nick Saban in his four seasons, including 13 for a loss, while picking off 12 passes. Barron was the type of player that could defend the pass and the run, and he won't be easily replaced. Can Robert Lester or freshman Vinnie Sunseri step up and be the next stud in the Alabama secondary?

7. Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College

Based purely on production, there may be no larger shoes to fill in the country than Luke Kuechly's. There may not have been more than 3 plays run by opposing offenses in which Kuechly wasn't in on the tackle. Kuechly finished 2011 with 191 tackles. The next highest total on the Boston College defense belonged to Kevin Pierre-Louis, who had 74.

As our own Chip Patterson put it, "for Boston College, replacing Kuechly is like any other team replacing 2 1/2 players." Though it's been proven that it can be done, as Kuechly himself once had to fill the shoes left behind by Mark Herzlich. Pierre-Louis and Steele Divitto -- who has a name that would be hard to replace -- will be the two linebackers looking to repeat the feat.

6. Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

Many casual college football fans never truly appreciated how amazing a player Morris Claiborne was for LSU in 2011 simply because opposing offenses weren't dumb enough to test him all that often. Throw in some Honey Badger exploits with a bit of Les Miles being Les Miles, and Claiborne gets a bit lost in the gumbo. Still, Claiborne truly was the definition of a shutdown corner for LSU, playing a pivotal role on one of the best defenses in the country.

While Tyrann Mathieu will be back in 2012, he's not the cover corner that Claiborne was, so it will be up to Tharold Simon to fill the role. One he seems capable of considering he led LSU with 10 passes broken up in 2011 playing mostly as a nickel back.

5. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

I won't lie to you. Even when Mark Ingram will still in Tuscaloosa running through SEC defenses, I always felt that Trent Richardson was the best running back on the Alabama roster. Now both are gone, and Richardson will be harder to replace than Ingram was simply because Trent can't replace himself.

Can Eddie Lacy be the next Heisman finalist in the Alabama backfield? He showed some promise in 2011, and in an offense like Alabama's, the opportunities will be there. Still, even if Lacy is extremely talented, there are only so many shoes capable of doing this.

4. Brandon Weeden/Justin Blackmon, QB/WR, Oklahoma State

A bit of a cheat, I know, but the truth is that Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon felt like extensions of one another for the past two seasons in Stillwater. Their success was as a duo. I mean, Blackmon caught 40 touchdowns over the last three seasons, which accounted for 53% of the 75 touchdown passes Weeden threw with the Cowboys.

Now we know that Oklahoma State is going to continue putting points on the board without them, but will the offense ever be as prolific when the combination is Clint Chelf or Wes Lunt to Tracy Moore? We'll get our first clues this spring.

3. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon

Maybe you think that LaMichael James isn't all that hard to replace given the weapons Oregon has in the backfield. I can see your point, but I can also point out that James nearly doubled Kenjon Barner's rushing total (1,805 yards to 939) in 2011. I mean, this is a man who rushed for 1,805 yards and 18 touchdowns while averaging 7.3 yards per carry in 2011, yet we didn't think it was so amazing based simply on the fact we'd already seen him do similar things in the previous two seasons.

We just got used to it.

Yes, Barner and DeAnthony Thomas are extremely talented backs, but the fact is there's no easy way to replace a back who accounted for 5,888 all-purpose yards and 58 touchdowns in three seasons as a Duck, all at the speed of light.

2. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

Will it be harder to fill RG3's shoes, or his socks? Neither will be easy. While we all know how talented Griffin was as a quarterback for Baylor in 2011 and the two seasons before it, it's his impact on the program that will leave the biggest impression. Baylor went from a perennial bottom-feeder in the Big 12 to a team that can call itself the home of a Heisman Trophy winner.

Nick Florence will be the favorite to replace Griffin this spring, but he'll never be able to have the impact on the Baylor program that Griffin did. Instead he'd be much better served to focus on replacing the production on the field. Something that won't be easy, either, but given Art Briles' history with quarterbacks and the way Florence performed in place of Griffin against Texas Tech, it may not be that far-fetched, either.

1. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

Andrew Luck didn't win the Heisman Trophy like Robert Griffin did, but that doesn't diminish the impact he had on the Stanford program. In the three seasons before Luck showed up in Palo Alto, Stanford was 10-26, including a 1-11 season in 2006. In Luck's three seasons the Cardinal went 31-8, played in two BCS bowl games and became a national program.

Stanford is essentially the school Notre Dame used to be, and it's all thanks to Luck. Of course, the question now is whether or not Stanford can maintain the success they had under Luck with a new quarterback. Brett Nottingham, Josh Nunes and Robbie Picazo will all enter spring practice looking to replace the most important player in the history of Stanford football, and that's a list that includes John Elway.

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Posted on: February 28, 2012 5:38 pm
Edited on: February 28, 2012 5:40 pm
 

Big 12 announces settlement with TAMU, Missouri

Posted by Chip Patterson

A Big 12 football season without Texas A&M and Missouri began to take shape earlier this month when both the conference and the SEC released their 2012 regular season schedule. The Tigers to the SEC East and the Aggies to the SEC West happened quickly, but the fine print of the transaction required much more work.

On Tuesday, the Big 12 announced their settlement with both schools as they make their official exit in time for the 2012-2013 academic year. Texas A&M and Missouri will no longer be members of the conference effective June 30, 2012. In order to get approval from the Big 12's eight continuing member institutions, some sacrifices needed to be made. For starters, the league will withhold an estimated $12.41 million from the revenues otherwise distributable to each school. You can check out the official wording for Missouri and Texas A&M below:

The Conference will withhold an estimated $12,410,000 from the revenues otherwise distributable to the University. In addition, Missouri agreed that it would waive any claim to any of the benefits received by the Big 12 Conference from its television contract with Fox Sports, scheduled to commence July 1, 2012. Also, Missouri agreed to pay the Big 12 Conference for its share of the actual cost of officiating expenses for 2011-12 athletic year as it has done in previous years, in the approximate amount of $500,000.

Texas A&M's agreement, nearly identical to Missouri's just without the inclusion of the officiating costs.

The Conference will withhold an estimated $12,410,000 from Texas A&M's projected distribution for fiscal year 2012. However, the parties agreed that A&M will receive a portion of the benefit received by the Big 12 Conference from the signing of its television contract with Fox Sports, scheduled to commence July 1, 2012, and certain other concessions.

Big 12 Conference Commissioner Chuck Neinas called both agreements "fair" in their respective releases, and with the final details settled both schools can focus on their future in the SEC.

For all the latest expansion rumors and headlines, check out our Conference Realignment Home.

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Posted on: February 28, 2012 4:13 pm
 

LSU proceeding with Tiger Stadium expansion

Posted by Chip Patterson

LSU has received a unanimous approval from the Tiger Athletic Foundation to expand Tiger Stadium, according to athletic director Joe Alleva.

Alleva told the The Advocate the plans to enclose the South end zone upper deck still need the approval from the Board of Supervisors and Board of Regents, but the school's Vice Chancellor explained that "the ball is rolling."

The project, which would add 6,940 seats to Tiger Stadium's current capacity of 99,500, calls for the building of a free standing structure to connect the East and West upper decks. The structure would include a 1,500 seat upper deck on top of a club level and two levels of suites.

Sounds expensive, right? Not too hefty for the Tiger Athletic Foundation. The TAF currently plans to pay for the construction and use proceeds from the suite and ticket sales to "retire the debt." The two levels of luxury will include 60 different suites, each with room for 24 guests to enjoy LSU football.

The increased capacity would make Tiger Stadium the third largest in the SEC behind Tennessee's Neyland Stadium (102,455) and Alabama's Bryant Denny Stadium (101,821). Closing in the stadium will also give LSU an opportunity to remove the existing scoreboard and replace it with two video boards in either corner and above the South end zone stands.

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Posted on: February 28, 2012 2:43 pm
 

VIDEO: Dennis Dodd on BCS TV consultants

Posted by Chip Patterson

On Monday, CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd reported on the BCS' decision to bring in high-profile television consultants for the purposes of restructuring college football's postseason.

Television dollars have been driving conference realignment, and now college football decision makers will take a close look at the potential financial gain from a plus-one playoff model. On Tuesday, Dennis Dodd joined Tim Brando on the Tim Brando Show to discuss the high-profile consulting hires and what they mean for the BCS moving forward.



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Posted on: February 28, 2012 2:06 pm
 

Tuberville named in $1.7M fraud lawsuit

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Texas Tech is in the middle of its third spring practice under Tommy Tuberville. But no matter how well the Red Raiders may be doing on the Lubbock practice fields, it's been a tough month for Tuberville away from football.

A police investigation into Tuberville's wife, Suzanne Tuberville, following the death of an 87-year-old man who was injured in a November accident in which Suzanne was involved only reportedly closed Monday. Tuberville's legal stress isn't going away anytime soon, though: the Huntsville (Ala.) Times reported Tuesday that Tuberville is near the center of a lawsuit alleging more than $1.7 million worth of fraud on the part of Tuberville and his investment partners at the hedge fund TS Capital Partners.

The suit was filed by a collection of seven plaintiffs in U.S. District Court in Montgomery (Ala.) Friday. The Times details some of the allegations against Tuberville and TS Capital co-founder John David Stroud:

The 32-page suit alleges that Tuberville and Stroud mixed their clients' assets with their own, failed to file tax returns, falsified client statements, falsified fund performance reports and "generally disregarded and violated customary practices and procedures followed in the hedge fund and security investments industry."

Several plaintiffs, including at least one former employee of TS Capital, have demanded their money be returned, yet, according to the complaint, none of the money invested has been accounted for. The suit also states that investors listed "have reason to believe that most, and possibly all, of their invested funds have been misappropriated, improperly converted and/or squandered."

The suit lists 16 complaints against Tuberville and Stroud, including "negligence or wantonness," "fraudulent misrepresentation" and "fraudulent suppression."
Tuberville was the subject of a 2009 Birmingham News story which touted him as an "amateur stock guru" and detailed his role within the Auburn-based TS Capital, where he maintained an office between his departure from the Auburn head coaching position and his hire at Tech.

Whatever the results of the suit, it won't keep Tuberville from performing his duties with the Red Raiders, and won't prevent his team from rebounding from their disappointing 5-7 2011 season. But that mark showed how much work there is to be done in Lubbock, and anything that might blur their head coach's focus -- and you would think a $1.7 million lawsuit would do it -- certainly won't be welcome news either for Tuberville or his program.

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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