Franz Beard's Thoughts of the Day; July 7

A few thoughts to jump start your Tuesday morning...

In a statement to The Oklahoma Daily last week, University of Oklahoma president David Boren says the Big 12 Conference is “psychologically disadvantaged because we are a smaller conference.” In this era of playoff football, the Big 12 is the only league without a conference championship game, which proved costly when the first College Football Playoff proved to be a smashing success without either Baylor or TCU from the Big 12 as one of its participants.

The Big 12 has petitioned the NCAA to allow it to hold a conference championship game even though the league has only 10 members and NCAA rules require a minimum of 12. There is always the possibility that the NCAA will cave and allow the Big 12 to hold a conference championship game but if it doesn’t most experts speculate expansion by adding two of these three schools: BYU, UCF and Cincinnati. None of the three adds significant value to the Big 12.

A conference championship game might solve the playoff problem but it won’t solve the money problem that exists in the Big 12 because of the Longhorn Network, which handicaps everybody in the league financially except for Texas. With costs rising thanks to the implementation of cost of attendance scholarship stipends, Boren and every other league president in the Big 12 is nervously trying to figure out how to make ends meet. They don’t have that problem in the SEC thanks to the SEC Network nor is it a problem in the Big Ten and Pac-12, which also have their own networks. The 14-team ACC is working out details for its network, also.

Jake Trotter of ESPN thinks many of the Big 12’s woes would be solved if Texas and Oklahoma were relevant once again on the national scene. Since 2010, Texas is 36-28 with two losing seasons while Oklahoma is 51-15 but hasn’t sniffed a national championship game. The league would definitely be better off if Texas and Oklahoma were winning, but that still wouldn’t solve the bitterness that exists with the other nine schools over Texas and the Longhorn Network. They just watched as all 14 SEC teams got a $31.2 million payday and that was with the SEC Network only 10 months into its existence. The figure is expected to be at least $36 million next year.

What would happen if Oklahoma and perhaps Kansas elected to bolt the Big 12? Kevin Scarbinsky, the columnist for AL.com and a 1984 UF grad, thinks that’s not some pipedream but an idea in its gestation period. The SEC has expanded twice before – adding South Carolina and Arkansas in 1992 and Missouri and Texas A&M in 2012 – and both expansions were pre-emptive strikes.

Could it happen again?

The SEC wouldn’t make the first move, but if OU and Kansas made the first move you could bet the SEC presidents would cast a yes vote to expand as quickly as commissioner Greg Sankey could get the school presidents and AD’s together. Oklahoma would add a traditional football power that has won seven national championships and Kansas would bring basketball tradition that goes back even farther than Kentucky. Their presence would expand the SEC Network footprint and would be telling the already rich SEC that it has a license to print more money.

Would OU and Kansas make the move? It’s too late for anything to happen this year but if, as expected, the SEC doles out $36 million or more per school next year, you should not be shocked if suddenly the SEC is the first 16-team super league. And if that happens, there will be a scramble to consolidate and form three more power leagues.

This is what the SEC would look like if Kansas and Oklahoma joined (national championships in all sports in parentheses):

Eastern Division
Alabama (men: football 15, golf 2; women: gymnastics 6, softball 1, golf 1)
Auburn (men: football 2, swimming 8; women: swimming 5, equestrian 3, outdoor track and field 1)
Florida (men: football 3, basketball 2, golf 4, indoor track and field 3, outdoor track and field 2, swimming 2; women: golf 2, gymnastics 4, indoor track and field 1, soccer 1, softball 2, swimming 3, tennis 6)
Georgia (men: football 2, baseball 1, golf 2, tennis 8; women: gymnastics 10, golf 1, swimming 6, tennis 5, equestrian 6)
Kentucky (men: basketball 8; women: cross country 1; co-ed: rifle 1)
South Carolina (men: baseball 2; women: outdoor track and field)
Tennessee (men: football 6; cross country 1; indoor track and field 1; outdoor track and field 3, swimming 1; women: basketball 8, indoor track and field 2, outdoor track and field 1
Vanderbilt (men: baseball 1; women: bowling 1, tennis 1)

Western Division Arkansas (men: football 1, basketball 1, indoor track and field 20, outdoor track and field 10, cross country 11; women: indoor track and field 1)
Kansas (men: basketball 5, cross country 1, indoor track and field 3, outdoor track and field 3; women: outdoor track and field 1)
LSU (men: football 3; baseball 6; golf 5; indoor track and field 2; outdoor track and field 4; women: indoor track and field 11; outdoor track and field 14)
Mississippi State
Missouri (men: baseball 1; indoor track and field 1)
Oklahoma (men: football 7; baseball 2; golf 1; gymnastics 9; wrestling 7; women: gymnastics 1, softball 2)
Ole Miss (men: football 3)
Texas A&M (men: football 3, golf 1, outdoor track and field 4; women: basketball 1, outdoor track and field 4, softball 3, equestrian 1)

GAMES THAT SHAPED UF FOOTBALL HISTORY

Florida 41, California 13; September 13, 1980

Although the Gator Nation wanted to believe in Charley Pell and supported him throughout the 1979 season, 0-10-1 had worn them down. And as badly as the Florida fans needed a win, Charley Pell needed one even worse. When the season opened at The Sombrero in Tampa, there were more than 30,000 empty seats largely due to lowered expectations. Only 41,388 showed up that day when the Gators teed it up with California, which came into the season expecting big things thanks to senior quarterback Rich Campbell, who had thrown for 2,859 yards and 15 touchdowns in 1979. Campbell was brilliant that day completing 43-53 passes for 421 yards and set an NCAA record with 19 pass completions in the second quarter but the Golden Bears fumbled the ball away four times and the UF secondary picked Campbell once. Florida, meanwhile, played turnover free football and cashed in on three Cal turnovers in a 5-minute span in the third quarter. Bob Hewko, who got the start over Larry Ochab, threw touchdown passes of nine yards to Chris Faulkner and 20 yards to Curt Garrett and James Jones ran for a 3-yard touchdown as the Gators turned a 13-13 halftime deadlock into a commanding 34-13 lead. It was Pell’s first win as Florida’s head coach. After the game, Pell said, “It’s taken so long but the dream’s so real. That was the greatest victory I’ve ever been associated with.” That win was a foretelling of things to come as the Gators executed one of the great turnarounds in college football history, going from 0-10-1 to 8-4 that was two defensive plays away from 10-2. At the end of the season the Gators concluded this remarkable reversal of fortune with a 35-20 win over Maryland in the Tangerine Bowl. It marked the first time in college football history that a winless team from the year before concluded its season with a bowl victory.

ALBERT HAYNESWORTH WRITES ABOUT ALBERT HAYNESWORTH

Big Al! We never knew you were so sensitive! Albert Haynesworth shows a side few of us ever knew existed in this marvelously written “Letter to My Younger Self.” In this piece, Haynes writes a letter to himself when he was 14 and warns of things to come.

Among the interesting tidbits in this very revealing story:

“During your freshman year, Coach Fulmer will introduce you to a psychologist who will become one of your best friends. He’ll listen to your problems when you’re struggling. You’ll go tubing and water skiing on his boat and hang out with him throughout college. He will come to your house and meet your mom. I know this sounds crazy, Albert. But do not trust this man. As soon as you declare for the NFL Draft, he will say, ‘You know I do some investing on the side. I’ve been helping out other guys for years. You should let me handle your money.’”

Later he writes: “I know he seems trustworthy. I know he seems smart. But if you let your friend handle your finances, he’s going to take millions from you. Are you paying attention now?”

To read the rest: Haynesworth to Haynesworth

RANDOM THOUGHTS

Chris Borland pulled a shocker when he elected to retire from the NFL after only one season, but Borland says it was a no-brainer. “People can’t get over the money,” Borland told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “That’s all they think about but your health is a little more important.” Borland had 107 tackles in his rookie year with the San Francisco 49ers and was expected to step in and start at middle linebacker when Patrick Willis announced his retirement from the game.

After the last two injury-plagued seasons in St. Louis, a lot of folks are ready to write off Sam Bradford but one NFL executive told NJ Advanced Media that Bradford has landed in the right place (Philadelphia) to resurrect his career. “Chip Kelly is the one guy who can make Bradford a success,” said the exec. It’s interesting that while Kelly is thought of as a guy who can fix what is wrong with nearly any quarterback so few think he has a chance to turn Tim Tebow into a viable option at the position.

For three of the four rounds at Greenbrier, we got a glimpse of the golfer formerly known as Tiger Woods. That he became Eldrick Woods once again in the third round when he shot a 1-over 71 that could have and should have been worse, shouldn’t be overlooked with nine days to go before they tee up the British Open. Greenbrier had wide fairways and soft greens, something St. Andrews lacks. At this point it’s wishful thinking that Tiger can contend in a major.

Rory McIlroy’s status for the British Open is up in the air after he ruptured a ligament in his ankle playing soccer over the weekend. British oddsmakers immediately vaulted Jordan Speith to the top of their favorite boards at 9-2.

Due to planned renovations of Doak Campbell Stadium, Florida State will play its spring game at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando.

Oakland Raiders’ offensive line coach says Trent Richardson looks quicker. Considering he’s averaged 3.3 yards per carry in his NFL career, a teensy bit of quickness might help out just a tad. It might also help that Richardson has gone Jenny Craig or Nutrisystems and shed about 15-20 pounds. Richardson was fined 14 times by the Indianapolis Colts last year for exceeding 227 pounds.

A record 20.3 million Americans watched the USA hammer Japan, 5-2, Sunday night to win the 2015 Women’s World Cup. That makes it the most watched soccer match ever – men or women – in American history, beating the previous record held by the USA vs. Portugal in the men’s World Cup in 2014.

QUESTION OF THE DAY

If Oklahoma and another school from the Big 12 were to come calling should the SEC just say no or roll out the red carpet?

MUSIC FOR TODAY

The Traveling Wilburys is what happens when five musical geniuses get together and make music. The original Wilburys were the inspiration of George Harrison who said he wanted to do an album with a group of his mates. He even called the band that he was creating in his mind The Traveling Wilburys. Harrison began with Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan and Jeffrey Lynn. Tom Petty became involved when Harrison stopped by Petty’s house to pick up a guitar. He showed up at Bob Dylan’s house with Petty and the Wilburys were born. This is their “Volume 1” album that featured Orbison, who died a year later.


Fightin Gators Top Stories