This Summer Week in College Football

This Summer Week in College Football
  • Opening Intro -

    Just four weeks from now the 2014 college football season will be underway.

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This week, the last of the major conference media days will be held when the Big Ten conference meets. By next week college football players will be descending on campuses across the nation to begin their fall practices. The season kicks off on Wednesday, August 27.

To say that the waiting is painful for the most avid fans is an understatement. Expect the buzz to only increase leading up to Labor Day weekend when the first games of the season are held. By mid-January the national college football champion will be crowned, but there will be a lot of football talk between now and then.

At this point in the preseason most of the news focuses on the various preparations many of the teams will be taking as they get ready for practice to begin. Even so, there are a number of other stories that have come up this month to keep everyone’s attention focused on the season ahead and beyond. Let’s review some of these highlights.

Top Conferences Want It All

Until the Big East Conference imploded, the sixth largest or most influential conferences were known simply as the Big Six. The Big East Conference is now a basketball-only conference and the remaining schools that did not make the transition to the newly minted league are now part of the American Athletic Conference.

The AAC with four other conferences now composes the “Little Five” with the “Big Five” now representing the SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac 12 conferences. It is that consortium of conferences that is seeking to throw its weight around. Indeed, the Big Five is pushing for special consideration from the NCAA to enjoy an extra measure of autonomy reports ESPN.

At least one of its representatives, June Jones, has suggested that smaller conferences play their games in the spring in order to enjoy better exposure. That suggestion was universally denounced by the other schools. Regardless, we are likely to see some changes that will strengthen the hands of Big Five schools at the expense of the other conferences.

Hook ‘Em Horns

The 2013 season wasn’t a particularly good one for the Texas Longhorns. The Horns finished the season with eight wins and five losses and took fourth place in the 10-member Big 12. This year they’re expected to turn things up a notch, but a recent sex scandal may temper those aspirations.

In January, at his introductory press conference, new coach Charlie Strong noted that his program would be built on ”accountability and responsibility.” Last week, he made good on that by making the painful decision dismissing for Texas players in just two days according to Sporting News.

One player was let go because of multiple concussions, but at least two others were arrested and charged with sexual assault. Two more players are under investigation and by the time this article goes to press more hits against the program are expected.

How the Longhorns cope with the dismissals and the effect that it will have on the field is not yet known. In any case, Strong made the right decision and will have to live with it this season.

Football Miscellany

In other news, Bowling Green has been picked to win the MAC, Auburn the SEC, Florida State the ACC and Ohio State the Big Ten Conference. Other conference favorites are will be announced no later than this week.

A series of announcements were made over the summer whereby football programs announced new or revised series with a variety of opponents. North Carolina State has arranged a home-and-home series with West Virginia in 2018 and again in 2019. The following two years the Wolfpack will play a home-and-home series against Mississippi State. West Virginia has also scheduled a game against Tennessee to open the 2018 season at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In June, Notre Dame and Georgia announced a home-and-home series to be played in 2017 and 2019. Some programs are looking at series more than a decade out. Earlier this month, Michigan and Oklahoma announced home-and-home series to be played during the 2025 and 2026 seasons. That may seem ridiculously far out, but college football schedules are arranged 10 years or more out.

See AlsoLooking Ahead: College Football 2014

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Categories: NCAA Football