WITH THE POOL OF CANDIDATES DWINDLING AND NEEDING TWO TEAMS TO MAKE TO 16, WHO WOULD THE BIG10 WANT

Nice write up on possible Big 10 expansion possibilities. Good weekend reading.

College Football Fix

b10Much like on the field the big ten is not the fastest moving conference of the big boys but they do know what they want. I have a short list of three teams.
Fist is Notre Dame, the BIG 10 has been courting them for years. Much like the guy chasing the pretty girl they keep being passed up for the less attractive guy in the corner. The question becomes does Notre Dame see the writing on the wall and join the BIG 10 or end up relegated to one of the less prestigious conferences.
One thing the BIG 10 values greatly and is very proud of is The Association of American Universities. All current BIG 10 universities are members and with the exception of Notre Dame deviation from this model is doubtful. So there are two schools that are members and not in the three conferences that have moved…

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‘Devil’ remark disappoints Nick Saban

As usual, Nick Saban takes the high road and comes out smelling like roses. You have to believe he is very difficult to work for but his coaching tree is a college football spring board. This makes the 2nd time an SEC coach has referred to him as the devil in some sort of way. They’d love him if he were losing.- @BeastManSteve

from ESPN.com

Alabama coach Nick Saban responded Thursday to critical comments made by a former assistant coach, calling Tim Davis’ words “terribly disappointing.”

Davis, now Florida’s offensive line coach, called Saban “the devil himself” while comparing him to Gators coach Will Muschamp during a booster club meeting Tuesday.

Saban spoke to the media before a promotional tour stop at Turner Field in Atlanta.

“I try to do right by the people that work for me,” Saban said, according to AL.com. “It’s a tough, demanding job. And at the same time, if anybody had an issue or problem with me, I would want them to just tell me.”

Davis’ comments came less than four months after Vanderbilt coach James Franklin referred to Saban as “Nicky Satan” during a high school sports banquet. Franklin later apologized for his comment, claiming it was meant strictly as a joke.

“Twice. On two occasions,” Saban said Thursday. “It’s just disappointing. If somebody has a problem with me, I’d appreciate it if they’d tell me. If I’m doing something to offend somebody, I’d certainly like to do whatever I have to do to fix it. It’s not our intention. It’s not what we try to do.

“We’re in a tough business. It’s very competitive. Sometimes you’ve got to demand that people do things that maybe they don’t want to do, but it’s not personal.”

Davis worked for Saban as the Miami Dolphins’ offensive line coach for two seasons before becoming the director of player personnel at Alabama in 2008.

“I’ve always wanted to work with Will [Muschamp],” Davis said at a booster club meeting Tuesday. “Will’s got a plan. Will coached under the devil himself for seven years. I only did three. He did seven. And his DNA is not any different than Nick.”

Saban said he didn’t blame Muschamp, also a former assistant, or the Gators for Davis’ comment.

“I know it’s not representative of Will Muschamp and the University of Florida and the way they do things,” Saban said. “I know that, because I’m close enough to Will to know that.”

Jaguars Claim Kyle Love

The Boston DT Party in Jacksonville is on.

According to Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com, the Jaguars have claimed former Patriots defensive tackle Kyle Love off waivers.

There, he joins former Patriots teammate Brandon Deaderick, who was claimed earlier this week.

The Jaguars needed help up front, and now they’ve added a pair of serviceable parts to put into an interior rotation, which should allow Tyson Alualu to play defensive end with fewer qualms.

The Patriots didn’t release Love because he couldn’t play, they released him because he was recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, offering him a choice to retire or be released.

The Jaguars apparently have no worries, or at least they’re willing to give it a few months to take a cheap look at a serviceable player.

Courtesy of Darin Gantt with NBC Sports

MSU and Ole Miss Target Elisha Shaw-Oops!!

One reason you have to love recruiting is the storyline and drama it brings. Unfortunately for Elisha Shaw, he brought this oops moment on himself. He is rated as the number 2 DT prospect in America and currently has 4 stars. He is right on the cusp of gaining a 5th star. It’s not uncommon for prospects to plead their case for another star or a bump in the rankings. That’s when things got weird for Shaw. He screen shot his rankings on 247 and tweeted out the picture. He didn’t close out his other tabs and 1 of them was porno.

For the record, I think he earns his 5th star and this doesn’t make any mark on his recruitment. The guy is a monster on the field. One thing you can bet on is Pastor/Coach/Recruiter Hugh Freeze now has an angle for his football career and eternal salvation.

Here is the screenshot picture he tweeted out

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Top 10 Teams Ready to End the SEC’s Title Streak

Interesting takes by Steve Lassan of Athlon

1. Ohio State
With the postseason ban over, Ohio State is positioned to be Alabama’s biggest threat to another national title in 2013. The Buckeyes return 13 starters, including one of the front-runners to win the Heisman Trophy in quarterback Braxton Miller. Under coach Urban Meyer last season, Miller threw for 2,039 yards and 15 scores and rushed for 1,271 yards and 13 touchdowns. With the supporting cast improving, Miller won’t have as much pressure on his shoulders and should be a more polished passer in 2013. And the junior will be protected by a line that returns four starters and should rank among the best nationally. The biggest question mark for Ohio State is a defense that struggled at times last year. The Buckeyes ranked 76th nationally against the pass and sixth in the Big Ten in scoring and total defense. Only four starters are back on defense, and the defensive line is essentially starting over with the departure of four key players. Despite those concerns, linebacker Ryan Shazier is back, and the secondary should be much improved. Even though the line was decimated by departures, Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington are future stars in the Big Ten. Ohio State’s schedule isn’t too difficult, so another 12-0 season isn’t out of the question. If Miller stays healthy, the Buckeyes will be playing for a national title in January.

2. Oregon
Chip Kelly left for the NFL, but the cupboard in Eugene is far from bare. Quarterback Marcus Mariota and running back De’Anthony Thomas lead an offense that should once again rank among the best in the nation. The receiving corps is deep with options, which should allow Mariota to throw more in 2013. While losing end/linebacker Dion Jordan and linebackers Kiko Alonso and Michael Clay is a huge setback for the defense, seven starters are back, including cornerbacks Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and Terrance Mitchell. The Ducks have to play at Stanford on Nov. 7 but catch UCLA at home and won’t play Arizona State or USC in crossover play. New coach Mark Helfrich is unproven, but his familiarity with the returning talent should keep Oregon among the top five teams in the nation next season.

3. Georgia and 4. South Carolina
It may seem strange to have an SEC team on this list, but there are scenarios in which a team from college football’s top conference misses the title game or a team from the East pulls an upset in the conference title game. Assuming Alabama finishes 12-0, Georgia (or South Carolina) could be its biggest threat. If the Bulldogs or Gamecocks have one loss and beat the Crimson Tide in the SEC Championship Game, it’s unlikely Alabama could get back into the national title picture. Although Georgia and South Carolina are solid teams, neither appear to be as strong as Alabama. The Bulldogs will have one of the SEC’s best offenses, but the defense has to be rebuilt. The Gamecocks return a Heisman candidate in defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, along with two potential starting quarterbacks in Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson. Georgia and South Carolina both miss Alabama during the regular season, so the only chance both teams will have to try and knock out the Crimson Tide will be in Atlanta in early December.

5. Clemson
2013 isn’t shaping up to be a banner year for the ACC, but Clemson is comfortably one of the top 10 teams in the nation. The Tigers lost only two games last year – Florida State and South Carolina – and return 13 starters from 2012. Tajh Boyd is one of college football’s top five quarterbacks and directs an offense that averaged 41 points a game last season. Boyd will have to find a new go-to target with DeAndre Hopkins leaving for the NFL, but Sammy Watkins is poised to regain his freshman form (82 catches) in 2013. The biggest question mark on offense is finding a new go-to running back, along with finding a dependable tight end after Sam Cooper was lost for the season with a torn ACL in the spring. The defense made strides late last year, and more should be expected in the second go-round under coordinator Brent Venables. The front seven is deep on experience, but the secondary needs to tighten up after ranking 71st nationally against the pass last year. Outside of Florida State, Clemson doesn’t have much to worry about in the ACC. With the Seminoles coming to Death Valley, the Tigers are an overwhelming favorite to win the conference. Of course, beating two SEC opponents – Georgia in the season opener and South Carolina on Nov. 30 – is the key to Clemson’s national title hopes.

6. Stanford
The defending Pac-12 champs are loaded for another run at the national title. But the Cardinal will have to fill a few key areas, after the departures of running back Stepfan Taylor (4,300 yards), two of the nation’s top tight ends (Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo) and standout linebacker Chase Thomas. While the personnel losses are significant, Stanford does return quarterback Kevin Hogan, along with one of the nation’s top offensive lines. Center Sam Schwartzstein must be replaced up front, but the Cardinal aren’t hurting for talent in the trenches. Stanford’s defense should remain strong despite the departure of Thomas, especially with Shayne Skov and Trent Murphy returning to anchor the linebacker unit. The secondary is also in great shape, especially with rising star Alex Carter at cornerback. The schedule is manageable, as Stanford hosts Oregon on Nov. 7 and catches two of the top three teams in the Pac-12 South at home (Arizona State and UCLA). If there’s a question mark on this team, it’s a passing attack that lost two key weapons at tight end and has no proven playmakers at receiver.

7. Notre Dame
The Fighting Irish finished the regular season 12-0 last year but were thoroughly dominated by Alabama in the national championship game. Notre Dame caught a few lucky bounces last season, winning five games by a touchdown or less – including two overtime thrillers against Stanford and Pittsburgh. Despite losing linebacker Manti Te’o, the Fighting Irish could be a better team in 2013. The offense played better in the second half of the season, and quarterback Everett Golson is back for his second year as the starter. Running back is a concern with the departures of Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood, but USC transfer Amir Carlisle, George Atkinson III and incoming freshman Greg Bryant should be a capable trio. The defense is loaded in the trenches, as end Stephon Tuitt and tackle Louis Nix III are two of the best linemen in the nation. The schedule is challenging once again, but with a better offense, Notre Dame could make another run at the national championship.

8. Texas A&M
The Aggies could fire the first strike in knocking off the SEC from the top spot in 2013. Texas A&M hosts Alabama on Sept. 14 and hopes to repeat last year’s 29-24 upset win in Tuscaloosa. If the Aggies knock off the Crimson Tide, they would jump into the early driver’s seat for a spot in the national title game. And while Texas A&M could run the table and finish unbeaten, there’s also a good chance it loses at LSU. But are the Aggies a better team than last year? Probably not. Texas A&M must fill some voids on defense, as end Damontre Moore and linebackers Sean Porter and Jonathan Stewart are gone. And now that the rest of the SEC has a full year of game tape and time to plan for quarterback Johnny Manziel, it may be tough to repeat last year’s success. However, the Aggies are still one of college football’s top 10 teams. If Texas A&M knocks off Alabama in early September, it could be the first chance for the rest of college football to keep the SEC out of the national championship, provided Ohio State and Oregon run the table and finish unbeaten.

9. Louisville
With an easy schedule and one of the nation’s top quarterbacks under center, Louisville could have the most favorable path to a 12-0 mark in 2013. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater threw for 3,718 yards and 27 scores last season and had a standout performance in the Sugar Bowl win over Florida (266 yards, two touchdowns). Bridgewater will be throwing to one of the nation’s top receiving corps, but the offensive line must replace two key starters, including center Mario Benavides. The Cardinals ranked 23rd nationally in total defense last season but need to get tougher against the run after allowing 148 yards on the ground per game in 2012. Most of the defense returns intact, but cornerback Adrian Bushell is a big loss. Louisville doesn’t have a strong nonconference schedule, so winning and looking impressive in Big East play is a must.

10. Oklahoma State
Let’s be honest: It’s a longshot the SEC doesn’t win or at least play for the national title. And it could be an even bigger mountain for a team from the Big 12 to play for the championship in 2013. We list Oklahoma State as the very early front-runner to win the conference crown, but it’s really anyone’s guess with Texas, TCU and Oklahoma all having legitimate Big 12 title hopes. The Cowboys return 12 starters and should have one of the conference’s top offenses with the return of receiver Josh Stewart and running back Jeremy Smith. The defense has room to improve against the pass, and there’s very little in the way of proven depth at defensive end. With a favorable schedule, however, Oklahoma State seems to have the most favorable path to a Big 12 title. Make no mistake: It’s certainly a longshot that Oklahoma State can get to the title game this year. However, if Clint Chelf settles into the quarterback spot, a champion of the Big 12 can never be counted out of the national title picture.

MICHIGAN STATE 2013 COMMIT QUITS FOOTBALL TO FOCUS ON RAP CAREER

File this one under strange decisions. Jay Harris decided that college football and an education was not not him and he chose to pursue a rap career. I have to wonder how his mother feels about this. He is not the first to do this. Rapper The Game gave up a basketball scholarship to pursue music. The odds of going to the NFL are long but the odds to make it big in rap may be longer. We all know how much a college degree could have helped him long term. Harris was a 3 star rated recruit by 247 with other BCS offers.

According to a new post via Philly.com (the source of the original story) MSU is calling this a “mutal decision” by Harris and the coaching staff. So in real world terms this is what they mean: We pulled the kids scholarship after he posted a video of himself firing up a fatty behind the wheel of a car and smoking the ganj in some weird attic with all sorts of tagging on it.

Of course the best part is now that Harris is claiming he told the coaching staff that he wanted out two weeks ago, yet the release comes now…. Hmmm, call me skeptical of the story that he called it quits after all, but then again I may just be a jadded sports writer who’s seen one too many fishy stories to believe anything these days.

Mullen Steps Up Recruiting

Another unique piece of recruiting mail and another Internet buzz generated. For anyone keeping score, that’s the third time that has happened this cycle. The first was the infamous “you’re a baller” and the second was the “can of swag’ letter. The latest was a Mother’s Day card to Olive Branch offensive lineman Chase Johnson. All of these recruiting letters have gotten MSU a ton of publicity and gotten recruits talking about the Bulldogs. All good things in my mind.

While MSU fans are enjoying Dan Mullen leading this creative charge, the national media, radio host, and bloggers have taken every opportunity to scoff at MSU’ efforts. The latest of the snide articles was penned by Yahoo blogger Cameron Smith. The opening sentence in his piece is “This is getting ridiculous”. Smith is just another media member taking shots (a certain Mississippi sports radio personality took shots at “you’re a baller”) at Mullen doing everything he can to recruit in the SEC West with the smallest recruiting budget.

First I’ll say that I love what Mullen is doing. Recruits are opening MSU mail and talking about it on social media. Doesn’t mean they sign but its a good thing. With MSU’s small budget, Mullen has to find interesting ways to differentiate himself from the pack without spending a ton of cash. Mission accomplished.

What I don’t understand is some of the media pushback. In today’s college football landscape, prospects surface every cycle flashing hundred dollar bills but that gets overlooked and not a big deal. God forbid a cash strapped staff do some interesting recruiting letters and now these media guys have negative attitudes about it. If illegal benefits are “just part of recruiting” but different letters irritate you, please go get your head examined.

Even when you look at within the states borders we see the double standard in how it’s reported. Last recruiting cycle we saw Hugh Freeze recruit Kailo Moore in his underwear, he kissed Tunsil, and cried on the phone to a juco DT. All of these things, which I find weird and not the masculine football attitude I grew up around, were lauded as great recruiting and passionate. Chris Kiffin was given all kinds of awards for his performance last cycle and it was reported that he sent prospects hundreds of Facebook messages. That was lauded as genius and tenacious.

To be completely honest, I have no issue with any of it. If “you’re a baller” gets your foot in the door or if recruiting a guy in your underwear gets a commitment, that’s fine. The coaches and players involved in the recruiting process are the ones who have to deal with everything they’ve done, said, and the decision made. Recruiting is war and all is fair so don’t get upset over letters. It’s a long way until February and letters are just the tip of the iceberg.