Texas A&M Aggies: College Football

1. The SEC released Monday its schedule rotation for nondivisional conference opponents, laying out in stark terms the cost of playing only eight conference games a year. For instance, Texas A&M players who enroll this fall will play UCLA twice (2016-17) and never play Georgia or Vanderbilt (the fifth-year guys will get Kentucky in 2018). Or this: Missouri plays at Kyle Field this fall, and the Tigers won’t return to College Station before 2026, when this year’s first-graders will enroll in college. That’s conference play?

2. I can’t recommend highly enough the breakdown of Big Ten balance sheets that my colleague Matt Fortuna began Monday in a four-part series. The numbers are staggering, yes, but the explanation of expenditures by Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis provides depth and detail to the amount of resources afforded to scholarship student-athletes. I’m for giving them full cost of attendance, but as Fortuna highlighted, the increase in services provided by schools over the last decade is staggering.

3. At the Tulane commencement Saturday, Wynton Marsalis used words and his horn to give graduates a compelling message. But the best moment came when university president Scott Cowen singled out former Green Wave defensive back Devon Walker, paralyzed in a game two years ago. When Cowen asked spectators and Walker’s fellow graduates “to show our love and our respect for this incredible young man,” they responded with a 40-second standing ovation.

3-point stance: Playoff pays off

March, 18, 2014
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1. It might be the first unforeseen benefit of the College Football Playoff: the major programs are curtailing their junk-food intake and increasing the amount of meat on their schedules. Just last week, UCLA and Texas A&M announced a home-and-home. Here’s the best part: only two extra slots are available, yet dozens of FBS programs have upped their games. That’s quite a bang for the playoff buck.

2. Florida might be the top seed in March Madness, but there’s one viewpoint that illustrates how football dominates the Deep South. Five of the BCS teams from last fall made the NCAA Tournament field: Baylor, Michigan State, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Stanford. Five BCS teams failed to make the field: Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State and UCF. That’s two SEC teams, two football-first ACC teams, and one of the southern-most teams in the American. In related news, Alabama began spring practice Saturday.

3. A federal judge sentenced former Fiesta Bowl executive director John Junker to eight months in prison last week for his role in a conspiracy in which the bowl reimbursed employees who made illegal campaign contributions to politicians. Junker became a symbol for bowl excess, and the scandal helped usher in the playoff era. But let me remind everyone that Junker spent a lot of that excess on promoting college football as the game’s popularity exploded during the BCS era. Athletic directors, coaches and sportswriters all enjoyed his largesse. Fans benefited from it, too.

Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

February, 3, 2014
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This was the final weekend before national signing day, and of course, there was a ton of news around the SEC. Vanderbilt added a slew of commitments, as did Alabama and Texas A&M. There were also some key visits and a decommitment from an SEC West school. Here’s a closer look at the latest recruiting news around the SEC.

Biggest commitments: After suffering 11 decommitments after coach James Franklin left for Penn State, Vanderbilt was in desperate need of a big recruiting weekend, and it finally got it.

5 to watch: SEC signing day preview 

January, 21, 2014
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With signing day quickly approaching, there are several storylines developing throughout the SEC. Here’s a closer look at five things to watch for on national signing day:


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Most important targets: SEC 

January, 8, 2014
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The Southeastern Conference already has commitments from five of the top 10 players in the country and a real possibility of landing two more before signing day. With several key targets still remaining, here’s a look at the top remaining targets in the SEC.

Alabama
CB Marlon Humphrey (Hoover, Ala./Hoover)
6-foot, 180 pounds
ESPN 300 rank: 9

Humphrey is a big, athletic cornerback with great size. He would be a natural fit in Nick Saban's system. Florida State is also very much in the picture for the five-star defensive back, and with a national championship in hand, the Seminoles might have the upper hand at the moment. Alabama will have to fight to keep this dynamic defensive back from leaving the state. With his skill set, Humphrey would have a chance to play early on in his career.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

January, 6, 2014
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College football recruiting is currently in a dead period, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a ton of recruiting news around the SEC. There were several commitments during the Under Armour and U.S. Army Bowl All-America games, including the top player in the country, Leonard Fournette, announcing his decision. There were also some decommitments and new, important offers were handed out. Here’s the latest news around the SEC.

SEC schools land big commitments: There was a flurry of commitments during and after the All-American games this weekend. SEC schools landed commitments from eight different players during the Under Armour All-America game and the U.S. Army Bowl. Here’s a closer look at who committed where. All eight players were ranked in the top 150 players of the ESPN 300.

RB Leonard Fournette (New Orleans/Saint Augustine) -- Committed to LSU over Alabama and Texas.
DT Gerald WIllis III (New Orleans/Edna Karr) -- Committed to Florida over LSU and Alabama.
S Laurence “Hootie” Jones (Monroe, La./Neville) -- Committed to Alabama over LSU and Ole Miss.
ATH Speedy Noil (New Orleans/Edna Karr) -- Committed to Texas A&M over LSU.
WR Frank Iheanacho (Houston/Westside) -- Committed to Texas A&M over Missouri, LSU, Oregon and Arkansas.
OL Brian Wallace (Saint Louis/Christian Brothers College HS) -- Committed to Arkansas over Alabama and Missouri.
S Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron) -- Committed to LSU over Florida.
DB Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas) -- Committed to Alabama over LSU.


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Top SEC UA Game targets 

December, 26, 2013
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Just how strong of a finish could the SEC have in recruiting? Consider this: The top five uncommitted prospects, all five-star players, have a strong chance of landing at SEC programs. Here’s a closer look at those five players who will also be competing in the Under Armour All-America Game on Jan. 2 in St. Petersburg, Fla.

1. RB Leonard Fournette (New Orleans/St. Augustine)
By all accounts, the No. 1-ranked player in the country will likely choose between two SEC West schools, LSU and Alabama. Fournette will be announcing his decision during the game. Alabama has done an incredible job of recruiting in Louisiana, and LSU is doing all it can not to lose this top-rated player to its archrival.

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Most important targets: SEC 

December, 10, 2013
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Evaluating the most important recruiting targets for each school in the SEC for the Class of 2014:

Alabama
CB Marlon Humphrey (Hoover, Ala./Hoover)
6-foot, 180 pounds
ESPN 300 rank: 9
The Crimson Tide have already put together the No. 1-ranked class in the country, and adding a playmaker such as Humphrey would cement their status as the top recruiting class for the 2014 cycle. Humphrey is an athletic cornerback who has great size and would be a natural fit in coach Nick Saban's system. FSU is also in the picture for the five-star defensive back, and Alabama will have to fight to keep this electric playmaker from leaving the state.


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SEC top juco targets 

December, 3, 2013
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Looking over the newly released ESPN JC 50, there are several recruits on that list already committed to SEC schools. There are also many that still remain undecided. With signing day quickly approaching, here’s a closer look at five prospects, who’s destination is still unknown.

[+] EnlargeD'haquille Williams
Courtesy of Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C.Juco WR transfer D'haquille Williams has made a big first impression as an early enrollee at Auburn.
1. WR D'haquille Williams (Laplace, La./Mississippi Gulf Coast CC): The No. 1-ranked prospect in the ESPN JC 50 is already committed to Auburn and visited this past weekend for Auburn’s miracle win over Alabama. This talented wide receiver, however, is still considering LSU and it appears to be a neck-and-neck battle. Williams’ MGCCC teammate Derrick Moncrief is also committed to Auburn which could certainly play in the favor of the Tigers -- Auburn that is.


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SEC recruiting storylines: Nov. 21 

November, 21, 2013
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It has been another busy week in the SEC. Alabama has had a rough week, while other programs will be getting visits from high-priority targets. Here's a closer look at the latest story lines in the Southeastern Conference.

Bama loses second recruit in three days


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Questions for signing day: SEC 

November, 12, 2013
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With signing day three short months away, several questions remain in the SEC. Here's a look at the top questions to ask as signing day quickly approaches.

1. Where will Leonard Fournette go?


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SEC ESPN 300 analysis 

October, 29, 2013
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Several SEC targets and commits made big moves in the updated ESPN 300 rankings. Georgia had two commits make big jumps, while Tennessee didn't fare as well. Could the SEC make a huge splash in the top 10 of the rankings? Here's a closer look at what the new ESPN 300 means in the SEC.

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Most important targets: SEC 

October, 22, 2013
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The Southeastern Conference already has two commitments from a top-10 player (Cameron Robinson to Alabama and Myles Garrett to Texas A&M), but the SEC has a real possibility of landing the final six uncommitted top-10 prospects in the country. Here is a closer look at the top remaining recruiting targets in the SEC.

Alabama

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Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

October, 14, 2013
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There was plenty of recruiting news in the Southeastern Conference over the weekend. There were a few key commits and several top high school performances. Here is a look at the latest news around the SEC.

Biggest commitment: ESPN 300 offensive tackle Donell Stanley (Latta, S.C./Latta) committed to South Carolina on Friday. The 197th-ranked player in the nation chose the Gamecocks over rival Clemson, Alabama, USC and UNC. South Carolina now has 13 commitments including 5 if the ESPN 300.

Auburn picked up a commitment from three-star athlete Myron Burton Jr. (Suwanee, Ga./Peachtree Ridge). Though listed as an athlete, Auburn is recruiting Burton as a wide receiver. He announced his decision on Twitter on Saturday after visiting the Tigers for their win over Western Carolina:
Best weekend performances: Many SEC commits were in action this weekend. Here's a look at some of the top performances:

  • RB Bo Scarbrough (Bradenton, Fla./IMG Academy), Alabama commit: Ran for 158 yards and two touchdowns on 13 rushes in a 49-3 win.
  • RB Nick Chubb (Cedartown, Ga./Cedartown), Georgia commit: Chubb accounted for 355 rushing yards and five touchdowns in a 42-34 win on Friday.

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SEC 2014 recruiting scenarios 

October, 8, 2013
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With signing day still several months away, schools will add and in some cases lose committed prospects. Here is a look at the best and worst case scenario for each SEC school.


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