Texas Longhorns: Missouri Tigers

Florida has Florida State. Georgia has Georgia Tech. Kentucky has Louisville. And, of course, South Carolina has Clemson.

When it comes to the new SEC scheduling format starting in 2016, those four schools are already on board. Their annual rivalry games fulfill the league’s forthcoming requirement for a yearly nonconference game against an ACC, Big 12, Big Ten or Pac-12 school.

But for the rest of the teams around the league, there’s a void.

Sure, they can go year to year and rotate in nonconference opponents. But where’s the fun in that? Let’s create some new rivalries, and in the case of some programs, reignite old ones.

[+] EnlargeBob Stoops and Nick Saban
AP Photo/Gerald HerbertThe spectacular salaries of college football coaches such as Bob Stoops, left, and Nick Saban are generated mostly by the labor of unpaid workers.
Alabama-Oklahoma: If FSU wasn’t already taken, the Noles would have been a perfect fit. The physical and philosophical proximity between programs is obvious. But looking elsewhere, Oklahoma might be a fun matchup. The Sugar Bowl has already created tons of tension on both sides with Sooners coaches delighting in calling out Nick Saban and the SEC.

Arkansas-Baylor: Call it a throwback to the old Southwest Conference. Arkansas, which didn’t join the SEC until 1992, has played more games against Baylor (69) than any school in its current conference. On top of that, the differences between Bret Bielema’s physical style and Art Briles’ free-flowing offensive scheme would be a joy to watch.

Auburn-Oregon: Recent history and playing styles dictates this matchup. Not only do we get a rematch of the 2010 BCS National Championship Game, but it pits offenses that live to go fast. Maybe it could be a two-hand touch game in which whoever reaches 100 points first wins.

LSU-Notre Dame: We couldn’t make a list of nonconference matchups and leave Notre Dame off, could we? Pitting the Golden Domers against an SEC program would be appointment viewing. Make that program LSU and the opposing coach Les Miles, and television networks will scratch each other's eyes out to get the game.

Mississippi State-Texas Tech: The Bulldogs have shied away from high profile nonconference games in the past, loading up on the likes of Memphis, UAB and South Alabama. Well, it’s time to infuse a little spice into the schedule. Kliff Kingsbury is too cool to keep out of the SEC. His Red Raiders would be a good matchup with Mississippi State, which faced Texas Tech seven times from 1953-70.

Missouri-Kansas: Does this one really need to be explained? The Border War should have never gone away in the first place. Now is the perfect opportunity to save face and bring back a rivalry that goes all the way back to 1891.

Ole Miss-Miami: We’ve got to get ‘The U’ involved. Miami and Ole Miss have already played a few times in their history, with the Rebs holding a 2-1 series lead. But bigger than that, it would get the SEC back into South Florida on a permanent basis because Miami and Florida don’t have the common sense to do that already.

Tennessee-North Carolina: Even if most people don’t remember it, there’s history there. Tennessee and UNC have played 29 times, with the Vols holding a 20-8-1 advantage. Plus, even if your memory is short, you should recall the double overtime Music City Bowl from 2010 between the schools. If they can re-create that just once, it would make the rivalry worth it.

Texas A&M-Texas: See Missouri-Kansas. Don’t let conference affiliations ruin great rivalries. Texas A&M-Texas should have never been shelved in the first place. And while the UT administration might not see a reason to bring it back -- nor Texas A&M's leadership, for that matter -- surely both fan bases do.

Vanderbilt-Duke:Call it a private school showdown. The proximity is reasonable, the fan bases similar, and the rivalry could easily extend to the hard court. Plus, have you seen Derek Mason’s nonconference schedule this year? It needs help.

Altanta Elite 11 regional camp notebook 

March, 21, 2014
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SUGAR HILL, Ga. -- Several talented quarterbacks took the field at the Atlanta Elite 11 regional camp on Friday. Though no official invites for the Elite 11 finals, held in Beaverton, Ore. in July, were extended, there were five finalists with potential to eventually earn an invite. The finalists included Anthony Ratliff, Austin King, Kendall Hinton, Ross Trail and Alex Malzone. Four of the five finalists were from out-of-state. King is from Alpharetta, Ga.

The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today’s offerings: Snapchat is quickly becoming one of the most popular forms of social media around, but college football coaches won’t be able to use it as a recruiting tool; keep an eye on Indianapolis, because the city again will be one of the top spots in the Midwest for recruiters; and one of the top 2015 prospects in Missouri has a busy spring on tap.


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While a decommitment has been expected, defensive tackle Poona Ford (Hilton Head, S.C./Hilton Head) has officially backed off his verbal commitment to the Louisville Cardinals Hilton Head High head coach B.J. Payne confirmed.

“Poona Ford has decommitted from Louisville and will take official visits to Texas, Oregon and Missouri,” Payne said. “He has taken time and re-evaluated his recruitment, and decided this morning. As of last night, he was still evaluating everything with his recruitment.”

Ford, ranked No. 271 overall in the ESPN 300, plans to make official visits to Texas on Jan. 17, Oregon on Jan. 24 and Missouri on Jan. 31.

With Charlie Strong taking the Texas job last week, the Longhorns get the first shot at the 6-foot, 285-pound Ford. The nation’s No. 23 defensive tackle has held an offer from the Tigers for a few months and, after originally being high on Mizzou, Ford is reconsidering the reigning SEC East champs. As for Oregon, the Ducks are the latest to the party, having extended an offer to Ford on Thursday.

If there is to be another program that has the opportunity to quickly jump into the picture for the athletic defensive tackle prospect, it’s Michigan State although the Spartans have yet to extend an offer. Purdue is also an outside possibility for a mid-week visit.

Ford is the No. 10 ranked prospect in South Carolina in the 2014 class. He was a standout in last week’s Semper Fidelis All-American Game.

With Ford’s decision to re-open his recruitment, the Cardinals now have 20 commitments, including a quartet of four-star prospects led by local quarterback Reggie Bonnafon (Louisville, Ky./Trinity High).

Army Bowl notebook: Jan. 2 

January, 2, 2014
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SAN ANTONIO -- Thursday’s practice session for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl saw players in more of a rhythm on offense, but it also saw defensive players showing their skills. If Thursday is any indication, Saturday’s contest could be a low-scoring affair.

Here are a few notes:

Cannon reaffirms Baylor commitment … again.

For the Baylor fans who read the late-Wednesday tweet coming from ESPN 300 receiver K.D. Cannon (Mount Pleasant, Texas/Mount Pleasant), don’t read anything into it.


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Early Offer: Michigan quickly moves on 

November, 15, 2013
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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: After missing out on Da'Shawn Hand, Michigan didn’t waste time trying to fill its need at defensive end; can Texas become a factor for the nation’s No. 1 prospect?, and how many elite players are still up for grabs?

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#CampusConnection: Primetime Live

October, 26, 2013
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Will UCLA score enough points to somehow beat Oregon? Will Missouri all but clinch the SEC East against South Carolina? Will Ohio State remain unbeaten against the rival Nittany Lions? Head on over to Campus Connection at 7 ET and follow the evening action along with 10 of our reporters, including Mark Schlabach at UCLA-UO, Chris Low at SC-Mizzou, Max Olson at Texas-TCU, Greg Ostendorf at FAU-Auburn and Austin Ward at PSU-OSU.

Post your comments and questions and we’ll include as many of them as possible.

Early Offer: Wild Saturday 

October, 14, 2013
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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: Saturday’s victories by Texas, Missouri, Penn State and Utah shook up the national championship race and also could change fortunes on the recruiting trail.


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Big 12 recruiting mailbag

September, 6, 2013
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In this week’s Big 12 mailbag we take a look at a few questions surrounding the Longhorns, including who they could get as their next commitment? Also, what are the early prognostications on one of Missouri’s top players?

@TrentonAMakare: Who is a likely commit for #UT? Are there any 4 stars they might still get out of this senior class?

Trenton, there is still a ton of four-star talent out there with high interest in the Longhorns. Some of the more realistic names include ESPN 300 recruits Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell), Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron), Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen), Edwin Freeman (Arlington, Texas/Bowie) and four-star John Bonney (Houston/Lamar). As for the most likely to commit, I’d say Bonney and/or Freeman at this point. Bonney could pull the trigger fairly soon. Freeman will wait until after a few official visits.

@DJS_09: Will the Horns grab both Bonney and Freeman for their 2014 class?

It’s possible. You just wonder if one commits before the other, will that turn the other away. The good news for the Longhorns is they are in good position to land at least one of them. I just don’t see a scenario happening where they don’t get one. I think Bonney will end up committing somewhere first, and I think it will come down to Baylor and UT. Freeman was going to commit before the season but has decided to take some official visits first. That isn’t exactly great news for UT, which has been considered his favorite for months now. LSU is a sneaky sleeper here.

@24Randazzo_J: How do you think Hale Hentges will end up in college?

Hentges, for those not aware, is an ESPN Junior 300 tight end out of Jefferson City (Mo.) Helias High School, who is rated as the No. 3 tight end in the country. He already has offers from Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, Memphis, Missouri, Nebraska, Tennessee, Tulsa and Wisconsin. Hentges is a prospect that, because of his 6-foot-5, 225-pound frame, could play tight end or defensive end in college. He played both very well last season. As a tight end, he caught 43 passes for 427 yards and seven touchdowns. As a defensive end, he recorded 62 tackles, seven sacks and five pass deflections. It’s going to be tough for Missouri to keep him in state, especially when programs like Stanford and Notre Dame are showing serious interest and have produced some of the top tight ends in the country over the past few seasons.

@KSUWinter: W/ Derricott committed to KState, do they have the upper hand for Errol Clarke? #emaw

It puts them in a better position, certainly. But the Wildcats do not seem to be the favorite right now for the talented outside linebacker from Garden City Community College.
D'Vonta Derricott, for those not aware, is one of the country's top junior college linebackers, who committed to KSU on Aug. 7. Having him on board should give Clarke more incentive to follow his teammate to Manhattan, Kan. But Wisconsin seems to have the upper hand on Clarke’s recruitment right now.

@Roberrttthom: What would the addition of Kenny Young do for the Cowboys recruiting class? His interest has really increased lately. #AskBig12

Getting a player the caliber of Young on board would greatly improve OSU’s chances of landing a top 15-20 class at the very least. The Pokes have done a great job recruiting linebackers so far this cycle with the verbal pledges of ESPN 300 OLB Gyasi Akem (Broken Arrow, Okla./Broken Arrow) and four-star ILB Josh Mabin (Spring, Texas/Klein Oak). If OSU can continue to play defense like it did against Mississippi State and prove to Young that it can be a force on that side of the ball as well, it could go a long way toward his decision. One of the main concerns I’d have if I were OSU are the teams that are also in pursuit. They include heavyweights like Alabama, Florida, Florida State, LSU and Michigan.
TEXAS CITY, Texas -- These days, it's all smiles for ESPN 150 receiver Armanti Foreman.

Life is good for the Texas City (Texas) High School star. Offers are coming left and right. He's preparing for a banner senior season with his twin brother, 2014 running back D'Onta Foreman. He's enjoying the final weeks of his junior year of high school. On Tuesday, Armanti was sprinting past defensive backs and juking defenders out of their shorts, showing the playmaking ability that has so many colleges at his doorstep.


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Join ESPN RecruitingNation's Jeremy Crabtree, Derek Tyson, Max Olson, Will Wilkerson and Damon Sayles at 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday for "On The Trail TV."

We’ll discuss the state of recruiting in South Florida and who does the best job in Miami. Is it Miami, Florida State, Florida or somebody else? After struggles with the 2013 class, we’ll look at how Texas’ fast start is changing perceptions of the Longhorns’ future. We’ll also talk about how Missouri has suddenly had a tough time defending its home turf and preview the upcoming Dallas Nike Football Training Camp.

We’ll also answer any questions you might have from across RecruitingNation. Tweet questions to @RecruitingESPN or tune in for the live discussion.

DE Jarrett Johnson talks TAMU, UT 

March, 8, 2013
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KATY, Texas -- After a visit to Texas for its junior day and a flurry of offers that followed, Katy (Texas) Seven Lakes defensive end Jarrett Johnson had a good feel for where he stood in the recruiting process.

In mid-February, Johnson tabbed Texas as his favorite school and Texas A&M as his No. 2 choice. At the time, he hadn't yet visited the A&M campus.


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Texas A.D. Dodds takes shot at Mizzou

February, 12, 2013
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Texas has been caught in a bit of a funk since reaching the 2009 title game with an undefeated regular season and a Heisman finalist in Colt McCoy.

Texas has averaged just over seven wins in the three seasons since, but don't let DeLoss Dodds catch you comparing these recent down years to some of college football's lesser powers.

“We’re going to have good years again,” Dodds told the Austin American-Statesman. “Our bad years are not that bad. Take a school like Missouri. Our bad years are better than their good years. But we’ve created a standard.”

Ouch. The Longhorns' men's and women's athletic directors -- Dodds and Chris Plonsky -- addressed the recent issues in the athletic department with the paper, but Dodds' unnecessary (and inaccurate) shot is sure to gain some traction. When was the last time Missouri was happy about a year with five or eight wins like Texas had in 2010 and 2011?

Texas' on-field problems are frustrating for burnt orange folk used to contending for Big 12 and national titles, but Dodds is trying to keep perspective in the recent lean years.

"Football is fine," Dodds told the paper. "Nine wins are not the end of the world. But we want 13 wins."

Texas still looks a little ways away from reaching that point, but at this point, Dodds clearly doesn't seem too concerned with the feelings of the Big 12 expats. Granted, why should he be? Still, he shook things up a little with this one, and I'm guessing criticism over his attitude toward a team the Longhorns don't play anymore isn't very high on his list of concerns.

Neither is deciding if Mack Brown is the right man for the job at Texas, at least for this year.

"Next year we will be having a different conversation. Look at the programs that made changes: Lloyd Carr at Michigan, Phil Fulmer at Tennessee, R.C. Slocum at A&M," Dodds said. "They all had great runs and then two or three average years and have been through two or three coaches since. Mack’s our coach. He’s the best person we can have in that position."

Some may disagree, but Texas has an experienced team with lots of potential coming back in 2013 that will be capable of rewarding Dodds' faith in Brown. Will it happen?
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- ESPN Watch List offensive tackle Braden Smith (Olathe, Kan./Olathe) has taken the last few weeks to sit back and relax.


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Thanksgiving: Not same without A&M-Texas

November, 19, 2012
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A year ago this Thursday night, I was roaming the sidelines at Kyle Field with a belly full of turkey and a gut full of anticipation.

You could feel it anywhere you went in College Station the whole day, whether fans were wearing maroon or burnt orange. There's a special atmosphere that looms over any game like that.

Fans want it more than any game on the schedule and the last century of college football has given us only a handful of games like that between teams of two fan bases who truly despise one another 365 days a year, culminating on one night to decide bragging rights for the next 365 days.

Texas owns those bragging rights for now via a 27-25 win last year that happened somehow, apparently. Looking back on it, I'm still not sure how.

This year, TCU comes into town to face Texas on Thanksgiving night. Texas A&M hosts Missouri two days later.

It's not the same. TCU's all well and good and it should be a fun game. They're not Texas A&M. The crowd in Austin will tell you that from start to finish.

Despite what either side will tell you, it's both of their faults this game isn't happening this year. Texas warned Texas A&M: Leave the Big 12, and this rivalry is over.

Texas A&M left the Big 12. Texas stuck to its word.

Now, here we are.

(For the record, these same things apply to Missouri and Kansas. KU, call me when you win a Big 12 game. Missouri, call me when you stop losing to Vanderbilt and Syracuse at home. Texas A&M and Texas could both still crash the BCS this year.)

It's pettiness on both sides. Texas A&M's first year in the SEC has been a fun one, but they're also living in a world in which No. 9 in the BCS is good for third in its division and fifth in its conference. Winning its second conference title in almost two decades will be an uphill battle, even if the Aggies are most certainly headed in the right direction under new coach Kevin Sumlin.

Texas is headed in the right direction, too, and a Big 12 title remains a possibility. Still, this weekend lacks the punch it has for the better part of the past 100 years.

College football fans are suffering because of the bickering of two high-powered programs.

Texas A&M left, but Texas holds the key to bringing back one of college football's greatest rivalry games on an annual basis.

As much as Texas fans are looking forward to Ole Miss coming to Austin next year, I think they'll be forgiving if you replace the Rebels with the team folks in Austin love to pretend they don't care about.

It's good for the bottom line. It's good for the state of Texas. It's good for the game of college football.

Texas wants to stick to its word. It doesn't want to look wishy-washy. I get that. Truth is, neither team needs this game more than the other. Both want it, though, as much as Texas fans want to pretend they don't.

Pretend you're taking the high road if you'd like, but just bring it back. A world of thanks from the world of college football awaits.

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Final Verdict: Eye Toward The Future
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