Tag:Conference USA
Posted on: August 26, 2011 2:49 pm
Edited on: August 26, 2011 3:53 pm
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Tulsa's Damaris Johnson investigated by police

Posted by Tom Fornelli

UPDATE: Tulsa has suspended Johnson indefinitely.

Tulsa
wide receiver Damaris Johnson does just about everything for his football team, as he's currently the NCAA's all-time leader in all-purpose yards (7,796) and kick return yards (3,417). He also seems pretty good at picking up discounts on clothes at department stores.

According to a report in the Tulsa World, Johnson spent part of his Friday morning talking to the Tulsa police after his girlfriend, Chamon Jones, was arrested early Friday morning on a complaint of felony embezzlement. Jones worked at the Macy's department store in Promenade Mall, and apparently was running a scam with Johnson.

According to the police report, Johnson used Jones' debit card to $2,834.84 cents worth of merchandise from the store on two separate occasions in the last week. Johnson was charged a total of $13.25 for the purchases.

Johnson has not been charged.

“He was brought in for questioning, but released pending further investigation,” said Tulsa police department spokesman Leland Ashley.

Posted on: August 26, 2011 2:27 am
Edited on: August 26, 2011 10:12 am
 

Dan Beebe responds to Texas A&M statement

Posted by Adam Jacobi

In the latest chapter in the ongoing flirtations between Texas A&M and the SEC, Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe (pictured at right) has responded to Texas A&M's Thursday announcement that the Aggies were exploring a switch in conferences.

First, the statement in full, from the conference offices:

The letter received today from Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin will be addressed by the Big 12 Conference Board of Directors. It remains our strong desire for Texas A&M to continue as a member of the Big 12 and we are working toward that end. However, if it is decided otherwise, the Conference is poised to move aggressively with options.

Beebe should be careful here, as the only high-level unaffiliated football programs out there are Notre Dame and BYU (no offense, Army or Navy), and saying the conference is "poised to move aggressively" implies that there's a willing candidate already in Beebe's mind. Yes, that almost certainly could mean SMU, who's practically begging for a BCS invite, but if the Big 12 adds Houston (as has allegedly been mentioned by the conference as a possibility before), the Conference USA brass might have the grounds to suggest that the Big 12 was admitting to interfering with Conference USA business, and that could mean the threat of legal action.

That said, it could also mean something much less litigious, like adding BYU and/or Notre Dame in football only, and either gently phasing in the other sports (as both schools have full pre-existing conference affiliations outside of football) or leaving it a football-only arrangement entirely. 

Not only that, there are probably plenty of expansion candidates off the metaphorical radar with which the Big 12 has had some sort of contact, and maybe Beebe has the sense that they're privately amenable to a conference change. Again, we're talking about off the radar, so it would be reckless to speculate (see: flat-out guess) on possible schools, but Beebe would be derelict in his duty as a conference commissioner if he didn't have a contingency plan for any type of expansion -- especially one based on how willing the other schools would be to move to the Big 12.

We'll say this, though: Texas A&M is still not even an applicant (much less a member or invitee) of the SEC yet. That's likely to change, but it hasn't yet. So if Dan Beebe can wrangle four of his conference members away from a potential Pac-16 in 2010, then somehow brink Texas A&M back from the bring of "SECession," he's got to be the biggest miracle worker among conference commissioners. Alas for Beebe, miracles are miracles for a reason, and this one's probably not going to happen.


Posted on: August 25, 2011 1:30 pm
Edited on: September 2, 2011 1:43 pm
 

PODCAST: 2011 BCS Busters

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

With at least one non-AQ team (and sometimes two) breaking the BCS glass ceiling every season since 2006, it's no longer a question of "will we get a BCS buster?" as much as "which BCS buster will it be?" In this edition of the College Football Podcast, Adam Aizer and myself break down the candidates: Boise State or TCU in the Mountain West? UCF or Southern Miss in Conference USA? What about BYU? And though they don't qualify as a BCS buster, is it time to expect a "Return to (BCS) Glory" for Notre Dame?

We answer all of those questions and more, and one of us -- OK, it's me -- predicts a historic national title game appearance for one of the lucky teams listed above. Listen below, download the mp3 version, or open our popout player for easier browsing. You can also subscribe to the College Football Podcast on iTunes. Enjoy:


Posted on: August 9, 2011 6:24 pm
 

PHOTO: Ruffin McNeill's impressive weight loss

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It wasn't exactly a state secret that East Carolina head coach Ruffin McNeill spent last season dealing with a weight problem. During his first campaign at the Pirate helm last fall, McNeill spent most of practice on a golf cart, saying at last week's Conference USA Media Days that the pain of simply walking through drills was "excruciating."

But after two offseason surgeries and more than 120 pounds dropped from his peak of 388, McNeill is back on his feet--moving "like a ninja" at the Pirates' first practice, he jokingly told the local Daily Reflector. But what does a 120-pound weight loss look like on a college head football coach? Here's McNeill coaching from the sidelines last fall:



And courtesy of the ECU athletic department, here's McNeill at Tuesday's Pirate practice:



McNeill would be the first to tell you he's not all the way there yet. "My brother said 'You've lost a fourth-grader,'" McNeil said at Media Days. "I said 'Well, I'm trying to get to where I lost a sixth-grader.'"

From here, it looks like he's off to a heck of a start.

Posted on: July 12, 2011 10:45 pm
Edited on: July 13, 2011 12:07 am
 

With UT-Arlington addition, where does WAC stand?

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It is, by many accounts, all but a foregone conclusion: This Thursday, University of Texas-Arlington Mavericks will join the WAC in all sports but football. Their addition gives the venerable-but-reeling league 10 members total but still only seven for the 2012-13 football season.

UTA won't make it eight. The Mavericks gave up football in 1985 and, according to the Texas board of regents' agenda, "UT-Arlington’s invitation is not conditioned on starting a football program.” So why are we mentioning this development in this space rather than leaving it to our sister Eye on College Basketball blog?* Because UTA's addition nevertheless has the potential to dramatically reshape the reeling WAC's identity as a football conference -- either for the better, or the (even) worse.

A breakdown of both scenarios:

SCENARIO 1: Maybe the Mavericks haven't been interested in football before. But WAC membership might change the equation, thanks first to the bump in television money and exposure, and secondly to the natural rivalries UTA would enjoy with fellow FBS start-ups UT-San Antonio and Texas State. The Mercury-News's Jon Wilner reported this week that UTA "believes there’s money to be made in the FBS and in the WAC."

If the Mavericks do decide to take the plunge, Wilner outlines a possible dream future for the WAC. With three different guaranteed opponents in nearby Texas, Louisiana Tech (and its potentially wandering eyes) would be mollified; North Texas might look at the number of Texas brethen available in the WAC (not to mention the Bulldogs) and jump ship. The WAC would then be able to bring aboard another basketball-only member to reach 12 schools total, while still offering its nine football programs a clean eight-game round robin. And if commisioner Karl Benson could lure away a prominent FCS program like Montana, so much the better.

Unfortunately for the WAC, that scenario isn't nearly as likely as ...

SCENARIO 2: UTA might have better prospects for a hypothetical football program than before, but that doesn't mean the Mavericks are rushing into anything. "I don’t have any indication they have plans to add football," the commissioner of the Mavericks' former home, Tom Burnett of the Southland, told the San Antonio Express-News. "If they do decide that, it’s just a bonus for the WAC." The Express-News added that a second source indicated UTA football "has not been seriously discussed."

If that's the case, Benson may have some unhappy campers on his hands. Both Utah State and Louisiana Tech have made no secret of their desire for new football-playing members sooner rather than later, with the geographically outlying Bulldogs specifically asking for one closer to their Ruston home. If Benson can't convince the Mavericks to add football or find a Central Time Zone football school by the 2013 season -- and we're not sure if there's any realistic quality candidates out there, unless you count other Southland question marks like Sam Houston State -- Tech could decide to cut their losses and head for the Sun Belt. At that point, with just six football schools, the WAC would be on the edge of unraveling.

The good news for Benson is that Tech athletic director Bruce Van De Velde expressed hope this week for the WAC and downplayed the Sun Bell speculation, citing -- of all things -- the Sun Belt's academics. Like the Bulldog fan quoted in that Shreveport Times article, Van De Velde is likely holding out hope that the Big East's expansion dominoes could open a spot for Tech in Conference USA.

If the Big East looks somewhere besides UCF (or the other C-USA schools rumored to be under consideration), though, Van De Velde's hand may be forced; will his school really want to remain in a conference with weaker competition, less exposure and substantially greater travel costs?

Though it remains to be seen, we're skeptical. Thursday's UT-Arlington addition could be the start of the WAC's new Division I foothold ... or the final flailings of a league destined for the FBS history bin.

*Which you really ought to be reading as well, and don't just take our word for it.



Posted on: July 11, 2011 3:56 pm
 

2011 Outland Trophy Watch List released

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Rolling on with the past weekend's Watch List announcements, here's the Outland Trophy's preliminary list. The trophy is handed out annually by the Football Writers Association of America to the nation's top interior lineman--either a defensive tackle, guard or center.

The 65 players on this year's Watch List are as follows:
Levy Adcock, Oklahoma State, OT
Jeff Allen, Illinois, OT
Don Barclay, West Virginia, OT
Chris Barker, Nevada, G
Kelvin Beachum, SMU, OT
Tony Bergstrom, Utah, OT
Mike Brewster, Ohio State, C
Ryan Miller, Colorado, G
David Molk, Michigan, C
Al Netter, Northwestern, OT
Lucas Nix, Pittsburgh, OT
Xavier Nixon, Florida, OT
Trevor Olson, Northern Illinois, OT
Kelechi Osemele, Iowa State, OT
Moe Petrus, Connecticut, C
Ken Plue, Purdue, G  
Dontari Poe, Memphis, DT
Nate Potter, Boise State, OT
Tydreke Powell, North Carolina, DT
Kheeston Randall, Texas, DT
Riley Reiff, Iowa, OT
Kendall Reyes, Connecticut, DT
Matt Reynolds, BYU, OT
Mitchell Schwartz, California, OT
Kawann Short, Purdue, DT
Bradley Sowell, Ole Miss, OT
Akeem Spence, Illinois, DT
Alameda Ta'amu, Washington, DT
Lane Taylor, Oklahoma State, G
Chris Thompson, Houston, C
Omoregie Uzzi, Georgia Tech, G
William Vlachos, Alabama, C
Larry Warford, Kentucky, G
Brandon Washington, Miami, G
Rokevious Watkins, South Carolina, OT
Billy Winn, Boise State, DT
Derek Wolfe, Cincinnati, DT
Jerel Worthy, Michigan State, DT
Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin, G
By the conference numbers: Big Ten 13, SEC 11, Pac-12 9, ACC 7, Big 12 7, Big East 6, Conference USA 3, Independents 3, Mountain West 2, WAC 2, MAC 1, Sun Belt 1.

Posted on: July 11, 2011 3:03 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 4:04 pm
 

2011 Thorpe Award Watch List released

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The 13-day reveal of Watch Lists for college football's major awards rolls on today with the Thorpe Award, given annually to the nation's top defensive back. Thirty-seven names made the Thorpe's initial list:
Ray Ray Armstrong, Miami (Fla.), SS
Mark Barron, Alabama, SS
John Boyett, Oregon, FS
Brandon Boykin, Georgia, CB
Morris Claiborne, LSU, CB
Alfonzo Dennard, Nebraska, CB
Tony Dye, UCLA, CB
Matt Elam, Florida, SS
Antonio Fenelus, Wisconsin, CB
Jamell Fleming, Oklahoma, CB
Donnie Fletcher, Boston College, CB
Blake Gideon, Texas, FS
Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina, CB
Casey Hayward, Vanderbilt, CB
Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech, CB
Delano Howell, Stanford, SS
Duke Ihenacho, San Jose State, SS
George Iloka, Boise State, FS
Tony Jefferson, Oklahoma, FS
Leonard Johnson, Iowa State, CB
Coryell Judie, Texas A&M, CB
Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama, CB
Robert Lester, Alabama, FS
Markelle Martin, Oklahoma State, SS
TJ McDonald, USC, FS
Chase Minnifield, Virginia, CB
Marco Nelson, Tulsa, FS
Brian Peters, Northwestern, FS
Greg Reid, Florida State, CB
Xavier Rhodes, Florida State, CB
Josh Robinson, UCF, CB
Trenton Robinson, Michigan State, FS
Harrison Smith, Notre Dame, FS
Keith Tandy, West Virginia, CB
Kenny Tate, Maryland, FS
Tramain Thomas, Arkansas, FS
Prentiss Waggner, Tennessee, SS
The conference-by-conference numbers break down as you might expect. Via the Jim Thorpe association press release: SEC (10); ACC (7); Big 12 (6); Big 10 (4); PAC 12 (4); C-USA (2); WAC (2); Big East (1); Independents (1). (Though no one was good enough to make the cut out of the Mountain West?) (Nevermind; the Thorpe's original tally still includes Boise State in the WAC.)

Of last year's 10 semifinalists, only Alabama's Mark Barron returns to the Watch List. (As for where Oregon's Cliff Harris is, we're not sure. Maybe the Thorpe is waiting to see how long his traffic arrest-induced suspension lasts?)



Posted on: June 21, 2011 6:32 pm
Edited on: June 21, 2011 6:40 pm
 

East Carolina suspends two seniors for opener

Posted by Chip Patterson

After a run-in with local police, two East Carolina football players have been suspended for the Pirates' season-opener against South Carolina on Sept. 3.

Wide receiver Michael Bowman and cornerback Emanuel Davis were arrested over the weekend in Greenville. Bowman's charges include disorderly conduct and resisting a public officer; Davis was charged with being intoxicated and disruptive in public while also resisting a public officer. Both players are seniors, and will conduct 25 hours of community service in addition to the one-game suspension and any possible court sentence.

"Representing East Carolina University is a privilege and any behavior which contradicts that is simply unacceptable," said East Carolina head coach Ruffin McNeill in an official release. "There's a level of expectation with conduct standards we have in place, especially with seniors who are in leadership roles. I'm both disappointed and embarrassed with the decisions Michael and Emanuel made and we will continue to hold one's accountability very seriously."

Davis is a two-time All-Conference USA selection and is expected to anchor a secondary that has nowhere to go but up. East Carolina ranked 107th nationally in pass defense in 2010, giving up 252.1 yards per game. Bowman ranked fourth on the team in receptions, pulling in 46 catches for 422 yards and three touches. As pointed out by CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy, the suspensions come at an odd time considering the Pirates' opponent for that game, South Carolina, announced the reinstatement of cornerback Victor Hampton. Hampton was dismissed last week for violating team rules.
 
 
 
 
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