I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiments that have been shared on this site and the other SBN sites that a possible conference realignment and expansion is a big story but the 2011 college football season is an even bigger story. So with that understood, let's talk some football.
If the Aggies don't think this realignment is going to be a huge distraction for them this season then they're fooling themselves. Take the current content at I Am The 12th Man for example, as of the posting time for this article, every post on their front page except for two are about moving to the SEC.
Texas A&M President Bowen Loftin met with the media after the Texas A&M Board of Regents met today, and agreed to give him the power to take any action he deemed necessary regarding A&M's conference alignment . The key part of this press conference comes at the 2:34 mark, where Loftin explains when and why he contacted Commissioner Slive to talk about A&M and the SEC. This is an important distinction, because it clearly shows the SEC was not guilty of interfering with A&M's membership in the Big 12, or 'poaching' A&M from the Big 12. Loftin is covering his legal bases here. - I Am The 12th Man
SNB's Oklahoma State site is also tired of the conference realignment talk but like most everyone else can't help but wonder what it would mean for them.
In spite of my belief that it would never happen, apparently the board of regents at Texas A&M feels about the same way as 99% of their fanbase, and believes it would be in the best interest of their athletic program and institution to move to the SEC. Maybe this is correct, maybe not (more on this later in the week), but it seems to be happening.
As expected, additional rumors are swirling everywhere (as they have been for a month now). The latest being that Mizzou, Clemson, and Florida State would join the Aggies in the SEC and form the first super-conference that everyone has been clamoring for (for reasons no one can really explain). If this, or something like it does happen, odds are the super-conference race commences and Oklahoma State most likely ends up in the PAC, however the chances of SEC, Big East, or a very different Big 12 still exist depending on how everything shakes out. - Cowboys Ride For Free
A team that possibly has more to lose than anyone else in all of this is Iowa State and surprisingly they're actually one of the blogs shunning the conference talk and focusing on football itself.
I was working on an article today about why the ISU/K-State/KU triumvate heading to the Big East would be a better move than most people give it credit for, but I realized something.
Conference Re-Alignment Scenarios are basically fan fiction for sports blog writers.
And that really doesn't need to go on here. We still don't know anything past "The SEC seems to be saying everything it needs to in order to avoid lawsuits" but once there's actual news regarding any conference shenanigans, we can start going down that road.
In the meantime, though, lets focus on a couple actual tidbits of real news. The QB battle appears to be as heated as ever, with no real separation showing yetbetween Jantz and Tiller. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing remains to be seen, but it did result in some excellent deadpan snark from Coach Rhoads when he was asked about it:
"I'm pretty sure one of the guys out there will start," Rhoads said.
Bravo, coach. If this were a blog comment, it would have come with trollface.jpg attached. - Clone Chronicles
The Jayhawks are talking 2011 opponents.
Head Coach | Art Briles
2010 Record | 7-6 (4-4) Big 12 Record
Coaching Changes | Phil Bennett joins the Bears as their new defensive coordinator after several seasons with Pitt. Bennett brings with him two positional coaches;linebackers coach Jim Gush and secondary coach Carlton Buckels.
Returning Starters | Baylor returns 13 starters total. 8 from the offensive side of the ball and 5 from the defensive side of the ball where the Bears lost quite a bit. - Rock Chalk Talk
Here's a shock. Texas is still having troubles at the quarterback position and fans are starting to jump off the fanboat of the kid they anointed as the next great one after his four interception performance in the BCS championship game.
The Garrett Gilbert era may be closer to nearing an end after a poor performance Saturday in the first Texas scrimmage of the fall.
Heavily favored to earn the starting job after taking over for Colt McCoy last season, Gilbert threw two interceptions during live action at DKR Saturday evening, continuing a disturbing trend that began when he threw four picks against Alabama in the national championship game, carried over into the 2010 season with 17 interceptions, and did not abate in the spring game with another poor decision resulting in a Bryant Jackson takeaway.
Gilbert only picked up one first down during his time and the field and, according to Barking Carnival, showed the poor body language that often defined his time on the field last season. - Burnt Orange Nation
Texas Tech is talking about opponents as well.
Key Losses | Losing QB Austen Arnaud is a huge hit on offense (1,703 yards passing, 289 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns), but RB Alexander Robinson(946 rushing yards, 201 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns) may be a bigger loss. The top two receivers, Collin Franklin and James Williams are also graduated. That's a lot of production to lose on offense.
"The quarterback position will be wide open from a competition stand point. I said that at the signing day press conference and it is certainly something that I meant. Quite honestly the quarterback position was open last spring as we went into it with Austen and Jerome at the forefront of that battle. "
- Iowa St. Head Coach Paul RhoadsOn the quarterback competition.
Key Additions | Part of the all-impressive-name list, QB Steele Jantz may be the starting quarterback when the season starts. Jantz is a JUCO transfer, started school in January and was pretty darned good at JUCO. Right now, he's listed as the second-string quarterback behindJerome Tiller. In reviewing the 2011 commits, the Cyclones did have a few other JUCO commits, including OL Samuel Tautolo, DT Henry Simon, WR Aaron Horne, and TE Ernst Brun. - Double T Nation
Here at Oklahoma we just had a Sooner recruit become a millionaire. Unfortunately it means he's not coming to Oklahoma anymore.
Five million dollars in fact. Alas, he will not be an Oklahoma Sooner (at least for now, hello class of 2017!). As with most high round MLB draft picks, Bradley's negotiations with the Arizona Diamondbacks went pretty much right up to the midnight (eastern) deadline. However he and the club were able to agree to terms, thus ending Sooner Nation's dreams of a MLB ace leading the OU baseball staff for the next three years. - Crimson And Cream Machine
The Tigers are being plagued by the injury bug.
It's funny: Mizzou's depth is now at a point that, when an injury happens, I feel infinitely worse for the injured player than I do Mizzou. The Tigers proved themselves last year, losing about 18 linebackers and fielding their best defense in a long time ... losing Aldon Smith for a few games and seeing their defensive line improve in his absence. They are not immune from being hurt by injury -- hello, Dominique Hamilton -- but they can absorb quite a few losses and still field a great team. So far they've lost two players for the season, both from very deep units: Elvis Fisher and Marcus Murphy. Those units are now not nearly as deep, but if this is the end of the serious injury bug, then Mizzou will be alright. Justin Britt was perhaps the best backup on team (best backup not named Sheldon, anyway, I guess), and now he's a starter. (And, as was pointed out yesterday, now next year's line is much more experienced, which ... hooray?) Mizzou will survive this, though the Injury Bug can stop anytime now. Please. - Rock M Nation
The Kansas State Wildcats have started their own network and guess what? No one is upset about it.
As mentioned yesterday, K-State is launching a hi-definition online network to carry its third-tier sporting events. It's not exactly TLN, but given that you can watch the Internet on your TV (yeah, I couldn't think of a better way to say that), having HD distribution of your third-tier events is pretty cool. Except for some OU fans who seem to have a weird hard-on for K-State, most seem to think this is a good idea by K-State to make some use of third-tier events. As usual, we're miles ahead of that school down the river. - Bring On The Cats