Category Archives: Big 12 Football

Baby did a bad, bad thing.

The Sam Ukwuachu affair just gets curiouser and curiouser.  Art Briles has strongly suggested that Chris Peterson and Boise State did not offer him or anyone else at Baylor details about Ukwuachu’s checkered past.  Yet, according to SI.com’s Evans and Thamel, somebody else sure got word about it.

Florida considered taking Ukwuachu in May 2013, but then-Gators coach Will Muschamp decided against it after a Boise State athletic department employee detailed Ukwuachu’s troubles with a girlfriend, according to two former Florida athletic department employees.

That included the former freshman All-America defensive end’s alleged physical abuse of his girlfriend and an allegation that Ukwuachu put his fist through a window while drunk at the couple’s home, one of the ex-staffers said. (Ukwuachu was not charged in either incident.)

“There was no way,” one of the former Florida employees told The Inside Read of Ukwuachu. “[Muschamp] wouldn’t touch him.”

… “Just a bad situation,” one of the former Florida staffers said. “It just wasn’t good.”

Ukwuachu also wasn’t completely forthcoming with Florida about his relationship with his former girlfriend, the former Gators athletic department employee said. But the Boise State athletic department employee was clear about Ukwuachu’s issues, according to the former Florida staffer.

Said the ex-Florida official: “There was absolutely no doubt.”

First of all, good on Boom and Florida to walk away after due diligence.

Second, it sounds like Ken Starr needs to add somebody to Baylor’s witness list.

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Filed under Big 12 Football, Crime and Punishment

He said, he said.

My first reaction to the whole Art Briles – Chris Peterson dust up about what the former was told about Sam Ukwuachu in the process of Baylor deciding to admit him was the Briles had made a mistake dragging Peterson into the mess.  But the more I think about it, the more I think it may be a rather clever attempt at deflection.  Instead of focusing on what happened once Ukwuachu arrived in Waco, everyone is parsing the words of the two coaches.

Even so, when you get down to what everyone knew, it’s still not so great for Baylor as this Texas Monthly follow up summarizes in its conclusion:

While we don’t know exactly what was said between Briles and Petersen, there is evidence that Petersen knew the extent of Ukwuachu’s actions in May 2013 and that he took it seriously enough at the time to immediately dismiss Ukwuachu from the team. We also know that the discipline enforced by Petersen wasn’t a question asked by Baylor on the form distributed to media on Friday evening. There are a number of questions remaining, but the nature of Sam Ukwuachu’s final days at Boise State—and who knew the details—is not among them.

In other words, Peterson may have chosen his words carefully, while Briles and Baylor were equally careful in choosing not to read between the lines.  I expect there’s more to come on that front, and it probably won’t be pretty.

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Filed under Big 12 Football, Crime and Punishment

Ken Starr is on the mother.

As the horse is already out of the barn, ordinarily I’d say this’ll turn out to be your garden-variety whitewash

Baylor University will conduct an investigation into the school’s handling of sexual assault allegations against a football player who was allowed to transfer into coach Art Briles’ program despite a history of disciplinary problems at Boise State.

Following the conviction of defensive end Sam Ukwuachu on sexual assault charges, Baylor President Ken Starr on Friday called for a “comprehensive internal inquiry into the circumstances associated with the case and the conduct of the offices involved.”

… but given Starr’s track record in other highly publicized settings, who knows where things may lead?

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Filed under Big 12 Football, Crime and Punishment

The difference between the SEC and the Big 12

Heather Dinich, of all people, speaks truth to power about CFP expansion.

Only when there is a major controversy will we see major change. If the Big 12’s spot on the bubble becomes permanent, then a conversation about expansion becomes valid. If the SEC is left out of the playoff? It expands faster than Alabama writes checks to Nick Saban.

Yup.

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UPDATE:  This would really make certain heads explode.

Now, Urban Meyer’s team is clearly the overwhelming favorite to repeat — my colleague Stewart Mandel also picked them to win the conference. But it’s not far-fetched that the Big Ten could have two teams earn a playoff spot in 2015. That’s how talented Michigan State is. The Spartans are led by a talented senior QB in Connor Cook. They have both an experienced O-line and a fierce group of D-linemen. They can also win big points with the committee if they can knock off defending Pac-12 champ Oregon when the Ducks visit East Lansing in Week Two. The bad news for Mark Dantonio? MSU has to visit Columbus to face the Big Ten’s resident powerhouse, and Ohio State is loaded.

I can’t wait to hear Herbstreit’s take on that.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Big 12 Football, SEC Football

Jim Delany opens a new front.

And unlike some of his other crusades, this one might leave a mark.

Delany pointed out that, starting with the 2016 season, Big Ten football schedules will move from eight to nine conference games and will mandate one Power 5 non-conference opponent. The other two non-conference opponents must be Football Bowl Subdivision schools.

In other words, no Jacksonville State (at Auburn Sept. 12) or Charleston Southern (at Alabama Nov. 21) or anyone else from the Football Championship Subdivision.

A year from now, the Big Ten will be the only Power 5 conference with all of these rugged scheduling components: Nine league games, at least one Power-5 non-conference opponent, all 12 regular-season games against FBS schools and a conference championship game.

“We think it’s what our fans want,” Delany said. “We think it’s what our players want. And we think it’s what the College Football Playoff committee wants.”

Not necessarily in that order, of course.  And if you don’t think this is a sales pitch served to the selection committee that will be honed and repeated ad nauseam, with a side of sneer at the Big 12’s and the SEC’s scheduling, think again.

“I’m not sure that people have paid as much attention to the (College Football Playoff) guidelines for selection of teams,” Delany said. “There are about eight paragraphs that deal with the issue of when resumes look similar, similar record, similar resumes. Conference champions are going to get the first tiebreaker consideration. And strength of schedule is going to get the second.

“So if you start looking at schedules that have FCS teams that have some 20 fewer scholarships, I think that’s a consideration. I think, if you’re playing more conference games and you’re in a strong conference that, typically, is going to give you a stronger strength of schedule resume. I think winning a conference championship game gives you an advantage.”

If they weren’t paying attention before, Big Jim will make sure they’re paying attention now.

Will the SEC react?  Probably not in the short run, anyway.  But let’s see what happens after the first time the conference doesn’t have a representative in a four-team playoff field.

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UPDATE:  It may be what the fans, the players and the selection committee wants, but…

Eh, don’t sweat it, fellas.  It’s nothing that can’t be fixed with a bigger playoff field.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Big 12 Football, Big Ten Football, SEC Football

Going Big

Interesting report in the Omaha World-Herald that claims back in 2010, when Texas was jerking the Big 12 around with its (then) Pac-10 flirtation, five teams from that conference (Oklahoma, Nebraska, Texas A&M, Kansas and Iowa State) approached the Big Ten as a group about coming on board.

The stumbling block?  I’m sure you can guess it had something to do with money.

The feedback from Big Ten school officials was positive, both sources said. The sticking point was devising a revenue-sharing plan to satisfy all. It would have taken at least three to four years for that many incoming schools to hit the financial payoffs sought for moving.

Considering the level of anti-Texas motivation on one side and Delany’s ego on the other, you have to figure it must have been a lot of jack.

Just another reason to wonder what the long-term health of the Big 12 is going to be.

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Filed under Big 12 Football, Big Ten Football

When a regular season feature becomes a bug

Berry Tramel explores ten reasons for the Big 12’s apparent decline in this piece.  From the point of view of somebody who thinks playing a round robin schedule is the best way for a conference to determine its champion, for me, this sucks to read:

… The 10-school format makes for a great regular season, but it comes at a two-fold cost. The nine-game conference schedule makes it difficult for a team to go through the conference unscathed, and no conference championship game puts the Big 12 at a decided disadvantage with its four chief competitors, all of whom play that 13th game.

Playoff expansion will force the regular season to become ever more cookie cutter, as conferences will have little choice but to mold themselves into vehicles that have the best chance of delivering their teams to the postseason.  And given that no matter what they do, there are still only so many slots, it’s pretty obvious where things are headed.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Big 12 Football, College Football