ACC: Oklahoma Sooners

Texas and Texas A&M might not be playing one another anytime soon.

But other schools around the league are interested in the prospects of rekindling rivalries that were destroyed by two rounds of conference realignment.

While the Longhorns and Aggies remain at odds, Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt told ESPN.com this week he’s optimistic that he’ll be able to get Texas A&M on the Red Raiders’ schedule down the line again. Hocutt said there has been interest from Texas A&M’s side, as well.

“Hopefully that’s a series that at some point in time that could start again,” Hocutt said. “Is that a game that won’t happen again? No. We’ve had discussions about it. Hopefully we can reengage that in the coming years.”

Oklahoma and Nebraska already have an agreement in place to play a home-and-home in 2021-22. Missouri coach Gary Pinkel has reportedly said he thinks his school will play Kansas again someday.

And West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck, who has already added Penn State and Virginia Tech to future schedules, told ESPN.com he's hopeful he'll be able to revive the “Backyard Brawl” with Pitt at some point, as well.

“At some point we’ll get Pitt back on the schedule,” Luck said. “What I’m trying to do with our nonconference games is stay as regional as possible and rekindle some of our historical rivalries. Penn State is back on the schedule. Virginia Tech is back on the schedule. That game meant a lot to southern West Virginians. The Pitt game meant a lot to northern West Virginians. We’ve continued to play Pitt in many of the sports.

“We’ve both gone through transitions, so it’s tough schedule-wise for both of us. But I think at some point we’ll get Pitt back on the schedule. I see [Pitt athletic director] Steve Pederson every now and then at various conventions. And we’ve had some discussions about that. We just haven’t been able to really eyeball the proper time to get it going again.”

Position U: Offensive line

June, 17, 2014
Jun 17
11:45
AM ET
video
Who really deserves to claim the title of “Offensive Line U” for the 2000s?

OFFENSIVE LINE
1. Alabama (242 points): Nick Saban (whose first season at Alabama was 2007) has been the Crimson Tide’s coach for only half of the time period that we examined. But that’s when nearly all of the noteworthy accomplishments have occurred in the 2000s for the Tide’s offensive line: three national awards, seven All-America picks, 11 all-conference selections, four first-round picks and eight linemen drafted. Saban teams win by dominating the line of scrimmage, and the offensive line results reflect why Alabama has been so successful.

Award winners: Andre Smith, Outland (2008); Barrett Jones, Outland (2011), Rimington (2012).
Consensus All-Americans: Antoine Caldwell (2008), Andre Smith (2008), Mike Johnson (2009), Barrett Jones (2011, 2012), Chance Warmack (2012), Cyrus Kouandjio (2013).
First-team all-conference: Paul Hogan (2000), Marico Portis (2002), Wesley Britt (2002, 2003, 2004), Andre Smith (2007, 2008), Antoine Caldwell (2008), Mike Johnson (2009), James Carpenter (2010), Barrett Jones (2011, 2012), William Vlachos (2011), Chance Warmack (2012), D.J. Fluker (2012), Cyrus Kouandjio (2013).
NFL first-round draft picks: Andre Smith (2009), James Carpenter (2011), Chance Warmack (2013), D.J. Fluker (2013).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Justin Smiley (Round 2, 2004), Evan Mathis (Round 3, 2005), Antoine Caldwell (Round 3, 2009), Mike Johnson (Round 3, 2010), Barrett Jones (Round 4, 2013), Cyrus Kouandjio (Round 2, 2014).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Shawn Draper (Round 5, 2001), Wesley Britt (Round 5, 2005),

2. Michigan (238 points): If any program was going to threaten Alabama’s claim on the top spot, it was Michigan, which has enjoyed a ridiculous run of success along the offensive line. Four first-round picks (Jeff Backus, Steve Hutchinson, Jake Long and Taylor Lewan) include one (Long) who was the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft. Throw in five consensus All-Americans, two national award winners and 21 All-Big Ten selections. The 2000s were truly a great time to be a Michigan offensive lineman.

Award winners: David Baas, Rimington (2004); David Molk, Rimington (2011).
Consensus All-Americans: Steve Hutchinson (2000), David Baas (2004), Jake Long (2006, 2007), David Molk (2011).
First-team all-conference: Steve Hutchinson (2000), Jeff Backus (2000), Jonathan Goodwin (2001), David Baas (2002, 2003, 2004), Tony Pape (2002, 2003), Matt Lentz (2004, 2005), Adam Stenavich (2004, 2005), Adam Kraus (2006, 2007), Jake Long (2006, 2007), David Molk (2010, 2011), Taylor Lewan (2012, 2013), Patrick Omameh (2012).
NFL first-round draft picks: Steve Hutchinson (2001), Jeff Backus (2001), Jake Long (2008), Taylor Lewan (2014).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Maurice Williams (Round 2, 2001), David Baas (Round 2, 2005), Michael Schofield (Round 3, 2014).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Jonathan Goodwin (Round 5, 2002), Tony Pape (Round 7, 2004), Stephen Schilling (Round 6, 2011), David Molk (Round 7, 2012).

3. Wisconsin (192 points): Although Wisconsin placed well behind the juggernauts from Alabama and Michigan, the Badgers have a ton to brag about. Joe Thomas and Gabe Carimi were both Outland Trophy winners, consensus All-Americans and first-round draft picks. In fact, Wisconsin had a total of 14 offensive linemen drafted in the 2000s, four of whom went in the first round (with Kevin Zeitler and Travis Frederick joining Thomas and Carimi).

Award winners: Joe Thomas, Outland (2006); Gabe Carimi, Outland (2010).
Consensus All-Americans: Joe Thomas (2006), Gabe Carimi (2010).
First-team all-conference: Casey Rabach (2000), Dan Buenning (2004), Joe Thomas (2005, 2006), Marcus Coleman (2007), Gabe Carimi (2009, 2010), John Moffitt (2009, 2010), Peter Konz (2011), Josh Oglesby (2011), Kevin Zeitler (2011), Travis Frederick (2012), Rick Wagner (2012), Ryan Groy (2013).
NFL first-round draft picks: Joe Thomas (2007), Gabe Carimi (2011), Kevin Zeitler (2012), Travis Frederick (2013).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Casey Rabach (Round 3, 2001), Bill Ferrario (Round 4, 2001), Al Johnson (Round 2, 2003), Dan Buenning (Round 4, 2005), Kraig Urbik (Round 3, 2009), John Moffitt (Round 3, 2011), Peter Konz (Round 2, 2012).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Ben Johnson (Round 7, 2003), Bill Nagy (Round 7, 2011), Ricky Wagner (Round 5, 2013).

4. Oklahoma (186 points): With four first-round picks and four consensus All-America selections, Oklahoma has had a great run along the offensive line in the 2000s. And the Sooners have been consistent throughout that time period, placing at least one lineman on the all-conference team in every season except 2000 and 2002. In some years, there were as many as three on the all-conference first team.

Award winners: Jammal Brown, Outland (2004).
Consensus All-Americans: Jammal Brown (2004), Duke Robinson (2007, 2008), Trent Williams (2009).
First-team all-conference: Frank Romero (2001), Jammal Brown (2003, 2004), Vince Carter (2003, 2004), Davin Joseph (2005), Chris Messner (2006), Duke Robinson (2007, 2008), Phil Loadholt (2008), Trent Williams (2008, 2009), Eric Mensik (2010), Gabe Ikard (2011, 2012, 2013).
NFL first-round draft picks: Jammal Brown (2005), Davin Joseph (2006), Trent Williams (2009), Lane Johnson (2013).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Chris Chester (Round 2, 2006), Phil Loadholt (Round 2, 2009), Donald Stephenson (Round 3, 2012).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Wes Sims (Round 6, 2005), Duke Robinson (2009).

5. USC (182 points): Considering how much success it experienced in the early and mid-2000s, it seems strange that USC didn’t have a first-round offensive lineman until Sam Baker in 2008 (the first of three, as Tyron Smith and Matt Kalil have since joined him). Nonetheless, the Trojans churned out six second-round picks, 17 all-conference linemen and a trio of All-Americans, so there has been plenty of acclaim for the group in the 2000s.

Award winners: None.
Consensus All-Americans: Jacob Rogers (2003), Deuce Lutui (2005), Sam Baker (2006).
First-team all-conference: Jacob Rogers (2002, 2003), Norm Katnik (2003), Ryan Kalil (2005, 2006), Deuce Lutui (2005), Sam Baker (2005, 2006, 2007), Chilo Rachal (2007), Kristopher O’Dowd (2008), Jeff Byer (2009), Charles Brown (2009), Tyron Smith (2010), Matt Kalil (2011), Khaled Holmes (2012), Marcus Martin (2013).
NFL first-round draft picks: Sam Baker (2008), Tyron Smith (2011), Matt Kalil (2012).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Jacob Rogers (Round 2, 2004), Winston Justice (Round 2, 2006), Deuce Lutui (Round 2, 2006), Ryan Kalil (Round 2, 2007), Chilo Rachal (Round 2, 2008), Charles Brown (Round 2, 2010), Khaled Holmes (Round 4, 2013), Marcus Martin (Round 3, 2014).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Fred Matua (Round 7, 2006).

6. Florida State (166 points): FSU has only one first-round draft pick and one national award winner (Bryan Stork, who won the Rimington Trophy as the nation’s top center last season) along the offensive line in the 2000s. But with three All-Americans and 13 all-conference selections in the 2000s, the Seminoles still rank among the nation’s better programs for linemen.

Award winners: Bryan Stork, Rimington (2013).
Consensus All-Americans: Alex Barron (2003, 2004), Rodney Hudson (2010), Bryan Stork (2013).
First-team all-conference: Justin Amman (2000), Char-ron Dorsey (2000), Brett Williams (2001, 2002), Montrae Holland (2002), Alex Barron (2003, 2004), Rodney Hudson (2008, 2009, 2010), Bryan Stork (2013), Tre Jackson (2013), Cameron Erving (2013).
NFL first-round draft picks: Alex Barron (2005).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Montrae Holland (Round 4, 2003), Brett Williams (Round 4, 2003), Ray Willis (Round 4, 2005), Mario Henderson (Round 3, 2007), Rodney Hudson (Round 2, 2011), Menelik Watson (Round 2, 2013), Bryan Stork (Round 4, 2014).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Char-ron Dorsey (Round 7, 2001), Milford Brown (Round 6, 2002), Todd Williams (Round 7, 2003), Andrew Datko (Round 7, 2012), Zebrie Sanders (Round 5, 2012).

7. Miami (158 points): The Hurricanes were nearly unstoppable at the turn of the century, thanks in large part to a supremely talented offensive line. Between 2000 and 2002, Miami had eight first-team all-conference players, two All-Americans and two national award winners. The Hurricanes have been successful along the line here and there since then, but their spot in the top 10 is largely because of those outstanding days in the early 2000s.

Award winners: Brett Romberg, Rimington (2002), Bryant McKinnie, Outland (2001).
Consensus All-Americans: Bryant McKinnie (2001), Brett Romberg (2002).
First-team all-conference: Joaquin Gonzalez (2000, 2001), Bryant McKinnie (2000, 2001), Martin Bibla (2001), Brett Romberg (2001, 2002), Sherko Haji-Rasouli (2002), Eric Winston (2003, 2005), Jason Fox (2009), Brandon Washington (2010).
NFL first-round draft picks: Bryant McKinnie (2002), Vernon Carey (2004).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Martin Bibla (Round 4, 2002), Rashad Butler (Round 3, 2006), Eric Winston (Round 3, 2006), Jason Fox (Round 4, 2010), Orlando Franklin (Round 2, 2011), Brandon Linder (Round 3, 2014).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Joaquin Gonzalex (Round 7, 2002), Carlos Joseph (Round 7, 2004), Chris Myers (Round 6, 2005), Brandon Washington (Round 6, 2012), Seantrel Henderson (Round 7, 2014).

8. Texas (150 points): Texas would have ranked higher on this list had we compiled it a few years ago. The Longhorns haven’t had a first-team all-conference pick or a draft pick since 2008, nor a consensus All-American since 2006. They were good enough in the early 2000s that the Longhorns still cracked the top 10, but Texas needs to turn it around under Charlie Strong if it intends to stay there over the next few years.

Award winners: None.
Consensus All-Americans: Leonard Davis (2000), Mike Williams (2001), Derrick Dockery (2002), Jonathan Scott (2005), Justin Blalock (2006).
First-team all-conference: Leonard Davis (2000), Mike Williams (2001), Derrick Dockery (2002), Tillman Holloway (2003), Justin Blalock (2004, 2005, 2006), Jonathan Scott (2004, 2005), Will Allen (2005), Kasey Studdard (2006), Tony Hills (2007), Adam Ulatoski (2008).
NFL first-round draft picks: Leonard Davis (2001), Mike Williams (2002).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Derrick Dockery (Round 3, 2003), Justin Blalock (Round 2, 2007), Tony Hills (Round 4, 2008).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Jonathan Scott (Round 5, 2006), Kasey Studdard (Round 6, 2007).

T-9. Iowa (144 points): No. 2 overall pick Robert Gallery, who won the 2003 Outland Trophy and was an All-American that season and a two-time all-conference pick, is the big point winner for Iowa, but the Hawkeyes have produced a considerable number of productive offensive linemen. They can claim 13 drafted offensive linemen in the 2000s, including three first-rounders (Gallery, Bryan Bulaga and Riley Reiff).

Award winners: Robert Gallery, Outland (2003).
Consensus All-Americans: Eric Steinbach (2002), Robert Gallery (2003).
First-team all-conference: Eric Steinbach (2001, 2002), Robert Gallery (2002, 2003), Bruce Nelson (2002), Mike Jones (2006), Seth Olson (2008), Bryan Bulaga (2009), Dace Richardson (2009), Riley Reiff (2011), Brandon Scherff (2013).
NFL first-round draft picks: Robert Gallery (2004), Bryan Bulaga (2010), Riley Reiff (2012).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Eric Steinbach (Round 2, 2003), Bruce Nelson (Round 2, 2003), Marshal Yanda (Round 3, 2007), Seth Olsen (Round 4, 2009).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Ben Sobieski (Round 5, 2003), Pete McMahon (Round 6, 2005), Mike Elgin (Round 7, 2007), Kyle Calloway (Round 7, 2010), Julian Vandervelde (Round 5, 2011), Adam Gettis (Round 5, 2012).

T-9. Ohio State (144 points): With 13 draft picks -- but just one first-rounder, Nick Mangold -- and 14 all-conference picks, Ohio State built a solid résumé for offensive linemen in the 2000s. Center LeCharles Bentley, a Rimington Trophy winner, is the only All-American, but the Buckeyes have turned out plenty of outstanding players along the line.

Award winners: LeCharles Bentley, Rimington (2001).
Consensus All-Americans: LeCharles Bentley (2001).
First-team all-conference: LeCharles Bentley (2001), Tyson Walter (2001), Alex Stepanovich (2003), Rob Sims (2005), Doug Datish (2006), T.J. Downing (2006), Kirk Barton (2007), Alex Boone (2008), Justin Boren (2009, 2010), Mike Adams (2010), Mike Brewster (2010), Andrew Norwell (2012), Corey Linsley (2013).
NFL first-round draft picks: Nick Mangold (2006).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: LeCharles Bentley (Round 2, 2002), Alex Stepanovich (Round 4, 2004), Rob Sims (Round 4, 2006), Mike Adams (Round 2, 2012), Jack Mewhort (Round 2, 2014).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Tyson Walter (Round 6, 2002), Shane Olivea (Round 7, 2004), Adrien Clarke (Round 7, 2004), Doug Datish (Round 6, 2007), Kirk Barton (Round 7, 2008), Reid Fragel (Round 7, 2013), Corey Linsley (Round 5, 2014).

REST OF "OFFENSIVE LINE U" RANKINGS
134 – Stanford; 132 – Florida; 124 – TCU; 116 – Arkansas; 112 – Auburn; 108 – Louisville; 104 – Penn State, Utah; 98 – California; 96 – Texas A&M; 94 – Boston College, LSU; 92 – Ole Miss; 90 – Minnesota, Virginia, West Virginia; 88 – Colorado; 84 – Georgia Tech; 82 – Georgia, Oklahoma State; 80 – Nebraska; 76 – Arizona State, Pittsburgh; 74 – Virginia Tech; 72 – Clemson, Oregon; 70 – Tennessee; 66 – Baylor; 58 – BYU, North Carolina; 56 – Syracuse; 54 – Maryland, Wake Forest; 50 – Illinois, Rutgers; 48 – Kansas State, Oregon State; 46 – Notre Dame; 44 – Missouri; 38 – Mississippi State; 36 – Texas Tech; 34 – Washington State; 32 – Washington; 30 – Purdue; 28 – Vanderbilt; 24 – NC State, UCLA; 18 – Kansas, Michigan State; 16 – Iowa State, Kentucky; 14 – Arizona; 12 – Indiana; 10 – Northwestern; 10 – South Carolina; 8 – Duke

Kickoff Live

October, 10, 2013
10/10/13
11:35
AM ET
Editor's note: To watch the show on your smartphone, click here.

Big 12 reporters Jake Trotter and Max Olson as well as “Big 12 This Week” host Chad McKee join host Chantel Jennings to preview the Red River Rivalry game between Texas and Oklahoma this Saturday in Dallas. Pac-12 reporter Kevin Gemmell and ACC reporter Andrea Adelson also join the panel to talk about the other big games around the country in Week 7.

Cameron RobinsonGreg Ostendorf/ESPNFriday's decision by offensive tackle Cameron Robinson, the No. 3 prospect in the ESPN 300, between LSU and Alabama could foreshadow the last five months of the 2014 cycle.

The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's latest feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: Cameron Robinson announces on Friday and his pick could go a long way toward determining who has the No. 1 class, TE DeAndre Goolsby is quickly climbing the charts of many recruiters, and Elijah Hood’s decision could help UNC lure one of nation’s top surprise classes.

Decision day set for Robinson
One of the most significant recruiting battles of the 2014 class will come to close Friday when the nation’s No. 3 overall player Cameron Robinson (West Monroe, La./West Monroe) announces his decision. Robinson, a five-star prospect, is a franchise offensive tackle that only comes around once every few classes, and the battle between LSU and Alabama is one that could set the tone for the rest of the recruiting season. If LSU lands him, then it could help the Tigers run the table with other high profile in-state recruits like No. 1-ranked Leonard Fournette. That type of run could help the Tigers unseat the Tide from the top spot in the class rankings that it’s held for the last two years. If Alabama lands him, then the Tide basically locks up another No. 1 class with more than five months left in the recruiting calendar. Most projections, including RecruitingNation’s Hot Board, have Robinson leaning towards Alabama.

A picture is worth a thousand words

For the last four years, quarterback Drew Allen has worn crimson. Soon, he’ll don the orange of Syracuse.

Allen, who will earn his degree from Oklahoma this month, will be eligible for the Orange immediately, and will compete to replace Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib, who was taken in the fourth round of the NFL draft.

Before he heads off to his new school, Allen checked in with SoonerNation to talk about Syracuse, the decision to transfer and what he thinks of OU’s three-way quarterback competition:

[+] EnlargeDrew Allen
Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY SportsQuarterback Drew Allen played sparingly in his career at Oklahoma but he'll compete to start at Syracuse this season.
SoonerNation: When are you getting up to Syracuse?

Drew Allen: It depends. I’m just now applying. They just sent me applications to get into graduate school. It depends on which graduate school I use or get into, and when that school offers classes. With NCAA rules, you have to be enrolled and taking courses in order to be participating with the team. I imagine though it would be in June.

SN: What are you going to get your Master's in?

Allen: No, I don’t know yet. I met with admissions when I went up there for my visit, and found three, four of them that would be good. If I can get into one that’s good for me, that’s all I can really ask for.

SN: What other schools did you look at?

Allen: Throughout the process, I didn’t really focus on schools, I was looking more so at what schools were looking at me, that would be willing to give me an opportunity and privilege to be able to use my last year to come play for them. Once I figured out who those schools were, I was able to narrow it down.

SN: Who did you narrow it down to?

Allen: It really came down to Syracuse and NC State. I visited both schools. In the end I chose Syracuse. I really liked what (Ryan) Nassib did, the direction of the program. They’re moving from the Big East to the ACC, the strength of schedule is favorable for exposure. If we win those games, we put ourselves in a good position to be a nationally-ranked team. The coaches were great. The schemes and type of offense (Orange offensive coordinator George McDonald) is going to run there really fits me, and is pretty much a carryover from what we’ve done at OU. The same kind of stuff.

(Read full post)

Former Oklahoma quarterback Drew Allen will transfer to Syracuse and is eligible to compete for the starting position this season, according to ESPN's Joe Schad.

This adds some intrigue to Syracuse's quarterback competition, as the Orange are trying to replace record-setter Ryan Nassib.

In the last scrimmage, Terrel Hunt got the most reps with the first team, while Charley Loeb and John Kinder were with the twos. “We’ve got a good battle going on,” coach Scott Shafer said recently. “All three of them have been getting a lot of reps.”

Now one more will be added to the mix.

Allen, who completed 18 passes in three seasons at Oklahoma, is eligible to participate immediately because he is graduating from Oklahoma and has one year of eligibility remaining.

"Syracuse is a great decision for me because coach Shafer and his staff have given me an opportunity to come in and compete for the starting job," Allen told Schad. "All I want to do is compete and make Syracuse a better football team, however I can do that."

Friday mailblog

July, 20, 2012
7/20/12
9:00
AM ET
Leaving on Saturday for Greensboro, N.C. I'll check the mail before I go ...

Joanna writes: What are the chances that Dabo suspends Watkins for the Auburn game?

HD: The latest comments from Dabo Swinney are that Sammy Watkins "will sit, it's just a matter of how long." I'm sure he'll get asked about it again at media days, but it sounds like Watkins could see the field at some point against Auburn.


Alex in Douglasville, GA. writes: Hi Heather,What kind of message do you think Dabo sends if he only suspends Sammy for a quarter or two? I am a huge Tiger fan and would hate to see "The Deuce" gone for longer, but realistically should he at least suspend him for a game?

HD: Well, it's hard to say from the outside. Has he done everything Swinney and law enforcement officers have asked of him? Has he been apologetic? Was it his first offense? Has Swinney had Watkins running bleachers at 5 a.m., or taking an extra study hall, or doing other things we might not know about to atone for his mistake? It's been a long time since the incident occured on May 4. That's plenty of time to pay some dues. So it's very possible a quarter or a half might be appropriate.


Michael Goetschius in Sergeant Bluff/IA writes: I'm a big Canes fan., How will this situation with Ray ray Armstrong effect the canes this year. they were sighted as having one of the best safty squads this year

HD: Yeah, the duo of Armstrong and Vaughn Telemaque was billed to be one of the best in the country, but that never materialized and now it never will. It's a waste of talent if you ask me. Instead, the Canes will turn to A.J. Highsmith, who made the switch from backup quarterback to safety last year. He was No. 2 on the depth chart this spring behind Armstrong. The Canes also have junior Kacy Rodgers and senior Andrew Swasey, and they recruited seven defensive backs in the 2012 class. This is not a team that can afford to lose any more starters.


steven in miami writes: Heather, Appreciate all you do insofar as reporting and analysis. This question comes from a while ago and since I havent seen anything written lately I thought I would ask you: What is status of ACC, Orange Bowl and Notre Dame partnership....has anything moved forward. And would the ACC take Notre Dame's other sports if there was not a plan in place for football to join league in next 3-5 years.

HD: Thanks. No news, Steven, other than confirmation that the ACC has had discussions with Notre Dame about the possibility of an Orange Bowl partnership. I'm not sure how much interest the ACC would have in Notre Dame's other sports, but I'm sure the commissioner will get plenty of Notre Dame questions on Sunday at the ACC football kickoff. I'll give you any updates from there, so check back on Sunday evening.


Newtondt in Birmingham, AL writes: Heather,Any thoughts on potential B1G/ACC football matchup that is being debated over on the B1G blog? With ACC going to 9 league games (probably a mistake), I just don't see this happening. You?

HD: I wrote about this a little bit on Thursday, and basically said the ACC and Big Ten need to find a way to work it out. You're right: Georgia Tech, FSU and Clemson would probably have the biggest hang-ups about it with the nine-game schedule because of their built-in SEC rivals. I don't blame them. But if the leagues worked out some sort of rotation where they didn't have to do it every season, or only the Atlantic one year and the Coastal the next or something ... I think it would be well worth it for the fans and the conferences. I also think that if both leagues were seriously considering a scheduling partnership, it would be worth the ACC's time to go back and rethink the nine-game schedule. Maybe just scrap that in favor of a partnership with the Big Ten?


Paul Andrew in Angier,NC writes: I applaud you for continuing to point out the depth of the scandal at UNC. Why do you think so many in the media and the NCAA continue to ignore the academic fraud that has been documented? The academic fraud is far more serious than a player taking money from an agent. Why is the media so quiet on the school and Butch Davis not wanting his cell phone records released?

HD: I can't believe what has happened at Carolina. I can't believe the imaginary classes and the academic fraud and the laundry list of violations at a place that used to have such a shiny academic reputation. A big reason I don't think it's getting a lot of attention, though, is because the NCAA doesn't seem too interested in it. The bigger question is why isn't the NCAA interested anymore? Well, maybe because it's hard to prove that athletes were the target of these classes? I have no idea, but if the NCAA were nosing around, I don't doubt the media would suddenly become more interested. Right now it seems more academic than athletic. That doesn't mean that perception is correct.
Former Oklahoma linebacker Kellen Jones will transfer to Clemson, according to PalmettoSports.com.

Jones notched 10 tackles last season with the Sooners under defensive coordinator Brent Venables, who was hired for the same position by the Tigers this season.

A three-star prospect coming out of St. Pius X (Houston) in 2011, Jones originally signed with Michigan last February before enrolling at Oklahoma in August. He saw action in 12 games with the Sooners as a true freshman.

Jones, who said the new transfer was not based on Venables' move to Clemson, will have to sit out this season but has three years of eligibility remaining, beginning in 2013.
"It was a family connection," Jones told PalmettoSports.com. "I liked the tradition, the atmosphere and the coaches."

Venables, meanwhile, is listed by colleague Travis Haney as one of the nation's five key coordinator hires for the upcoming season, as he replaces Kevin Steele.
Those familiar with Clemson have said Steele likely would not have been retained, even before the Orange Bowl debacle -- but giving up 70 points to West Virginia sealed the deal. Steele and Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney clashed over Chad Morris' new uptempo offense and how it affected the defense's stamina. Less time on the field for the offense means more time for the defense. Steele was not a fan.

That made Venables a perfect fit to replace him, since he had been working in concert with a fast-paced offense at Oklahoma since teaming up with Bob Stoops -- and then-coordinator Mike Leach -- in 1999.

Venables has talked this spring about a desire to return to fundamentals, sensing that basics, such as tackling, were lacking at Clemson. He has a young unit -- 13 freshmen or sophomores were on the two-deep, as of the middle of spring ball -- but one with athletic potential. For a team that gave up 30 or more points in half of its games last season, there is certainly room for improvement.
The past few months have been filled with talk of a playoff, or at least something resembling a playoff that the men in charge don't want to call a playoff.

Either way, college football's postseason has never been this close to changing since the birth of the BCS more than a decade ag0.

So, what does the old postseason think?

Colleague Ryan McGee asked around the bowls for their take Insider.
So what are they thinking as they read and hear the playoff comments? Are they confident about the future? Terrified? Indifferent?

"We are absolutely watching what's going on. Always have been," says Rick Catlett, president of the Gator Bowl Association. "But I also think that anyone in this business knows that there's not a whole lot we can do about it. We are in constant contact with the conference commissioners, the people who will ultimately make the decisions about the future of the game. But honestly, we don't have a lot of influence."

The 16-year leader of college football's sixth-oldest bowl game doesn't say this with a tone of fear or foreboding. Neither did the other half-dozen bowl executives I chatted with this week (on and off the record). No one mentioned extinction. Instead, they concede a curiosity as to where and how they will fit in to whatever format is adopted.

Lots of interesting stuff. You'll need Insider to read it all, but it's worth checking out.

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