Headlinin’: Big Ten swears off playing preseason favorites

Making the morning rounds.

Eh, decide for yourself. Breaking with tradition, Big Ten coaches have voted to eliminate preseason predictions by conference media types, as well as their choices for preseason offensive and defensive players of the year. Instead, the league will release a 10-man "Player to Watch" list, featuring five players from each of the new divisions. A lot less fun for fans, maybe, but I guarantee Terrelle Pryor thinks it's a pretty great idea. [ESPN]

Probin'. North Carolina coach Butch Davis said Thursday he plans to release records of business calls made from his personal cell phone in response to media requests, though it's unclear exactly what reporters hope to find.

Phone records for former UNC assistant John Blake, released last month, showed Blake had substantial contact in June/July 2009 with Tar Heel players in California to train in a gym linked to NFL agent Gary Wichard, a longtime Blake associate to whom Blake allegedly steered potential clients for profit. Unlike Blake, though, Davis wasn't mentioned at all in the epic notice of alleged rules violations the NCAA dropped on his program last month, and has not been accused of having any role in or knowledge of the multitude of offenses on his watch.

"It's a personal cell phone that I've had for over 10 years," said Davis, who emphasized that he fully expects to remain as Carolina's head coach. "And so we'll redact and I will go through it and things like my wife, my son, my dad, my sister, close personal friends and family members, those types of things. Anything that has anything to do with UNC and business, those will be completely open for public record." [Associated Press, Charlotte Observer]{YSP:MORE}

Ailing Aztecs. San Diego State receivers Dominique Sandifer and Jay Waddell are both out for the entire 2011 season with knee injuries, further depleting a corps already suffering from the loss of the two most productive receivers in the Mountain West to the NFL. Sandifer was only the Aztecs' fifth-leading receiver last year in the shadow of soon-to-be draft picks Vincent Brown and DeMarco Sampson, but was expected to take a much larger role this fall as the most experienced wideout on the team — as was Waddell, a redshirt freshman who came out of the spring as a likely starter. [San Diego Union-Tribune]

Respect the depth. Georgia coach Mark Richt implemented Phase One of Operation Control Crowell Hype Thursday, telling the throng of reporters at the SEC's media extravaganza that newly converted linebacker Richard Samuel will open training camp as the No. 1 tailback. That shouldn't last long: With leading rushers Washaun Ealey (transfer) and Caleb King (academics) both out of the picture and returnee Carlton Thomas suspended for the season opener against Boise State, the starting job should belong to prized incoming freshman Isaiah Crowell within days, if not hours — just as predicted by Mark Richt. It's even on his jersey: Richt also confirmed that Crowell will wear No. 1. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

Dispatches from the resistance. Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe and Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne issued separate statements Thursday confirming reports of their reservations about the University of Texas-backed Longhorn Network, specifically targeting the network's plans to air high school football games and a Big 12 conference game between Texas and an undetermined opponent, both of which have been put on hold. In his statement, Beebe said that elements of various TV agreements "need clarification," and member schools are "working together to develop a process that will work to the benefit of the entire Conference."

For his part, Byrne said that "many questions remain" about reconciling the Longhorn Network with Big 12 contracts and NCAA rules, and that there was no discussion of the network airing live football games — much less a conference game — when the rest of the conference agreed to allow Texas to pursue the network last year. [USA Today, Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle]

Quickly… LSU shoots down rumors that Russell Shepard has been suspended for the season opener. … Ohio State tight end Reid Fragel is released from the hospital after being admitted with a staph infection. … Oklahoma State is losing a backup quarterback to Division II Northeastern State. … Taylor Martinez gets high marks from his new offensive coordinator. … Baylor unveils some slightly tweaked uniforms for 2011. … Georgia is using Boise State as a measuring stick. … Gene Chizik insists we're all professionals here. … And Colorado's athletic director is proud of the Buffs' brutal schedule, and hopes to tone it down soon.

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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.

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