November 19, 2010
Making the morning rounds.
• Movin' on up. Hawaii has "a handshake" agreement to join the Mountain West in football in 2012, plunging the depleted WAC back into existential despair over its future as a I-A/FBS football conference. Hawaii is the fourth defection from the WAC to the Mountain West over the last six months, following Boise State, Fresno State and Nevada, and the third since the WAC tried to swipe BYU from the MWC in August. Three months later, that power play looks like the stake in its heart: "The day after Fresno and Nevada announced they were going to move," athletic director Jim Donovan told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Thursday night, "we made contacts with many conferences and many different entities."
The influx from the WAC will push the Mountain West's football roster to 11 teams in 2012, and bolster its overall depth if headliner TCU is picked off by the Big East in the meantime. The WAC, on the other hand, is in critical condition: Even after the uninspiring additions of Texas State and UT-San Antonio last week, it still finds itself one school short of the NCAA-mandated eight to remain a I-A/FBS conference. And whichever obscurity it calls up to fill that gap, the new league powerhouse in two years will be ... Idaho? Louisiana Tech? [Associated Press, Honolulu Star-Advertiser]
• This day in Camgate. An attorney for Kenny Rogers, the former Mississippi State player who claims he solicited cash payments from former teammates and MSU coaches on behalf of Cam Newton's father during Newton's recruitment out of junior college last year, corroborated an ESPN report that Rogers exchanged a text message laying out a payment plan to a Bulldog booster. "I'm not even sure Kenny completely understands why he did it," Doug Zeit told The Associated Press. "The best I can tell you is Cecil Newton made a few calls insisting that he do it, so Kenny went ahead and sent the text message." [Associated Press]
In the meantime, an attorney for the Newton family told an Atlanta TV station Thursday that he's "a million percent confident that Cam Newton took no money from no one." And Cecil Newton? "I would suggest to you that what Cecil Newton said to the NCAA has been truthful." [Columbus Ledger-Enquirer]
• One more year. Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen, invigorated by the Terps' 7-3 start and opportunity to take the ACC Atlantic title over the next two weeks, said he plans to return to College Park in 2011. That will be the Fridge's eleventh season at his alma mater, and almost certainly his last: His contract expires at the end of the year, after which the university owes offensive coordinator James Franklin $1 million if he's not promoted to Friedgen's chair. [Associated Press]
• Your labor dispute is our gain. Georgia receiver A.J. Green, like a lot of top prospects, said he's undecided about an early jump to the NFL next year, mainly because of the pending lockout that threatens the 2011 NFL season. don't get your hopes up, but if the labor dispute isn't resolved by the January deadline, 2011 could be the best college football season in terms of star power for a long, long time. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
• Six percent of our assets are tied up in feet. Somehow, Oklahoma's search to solve its ongoing kicking woes has left it with four scholarship kickers – none of them seniors – and a fifth on his way next year. The Sooners still haven't identified a reliable field goal man between Jimmy Stevens, Patrick O'Hara, Tress Way and Bryce Easley, while scrappy fan favorites like tight end Trent Ratterree forge on paying their own way. [The Oklahoman]
Quickly... Next year's Washington State-Oregon State game will be moved to Seattle's Qwest Field. ... Rumors are swirling about a Georgia-Boise State matchup in the Georgia Dome to open next season. ... An Auburn offensive lineman makes the always-unwise decision to don blackface in public. ... Jake Locker's biggest fan looks like a freak. ... The logistics of playing on Thursday get impatient with an intern. ... A look back at murder in the 1974 Iron Bowl. ... A breakdown of the teams hit with the most personal fouls this year. ... And a recap of the 12 best Big 12 games at Colorado's Folsom Field, ahead of the last one on Saturday.
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.