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Reports: Big 12 Zeroing In On Expansion Possibilities

September 3, 2021
Big 12 Expansion News

The Big 12 Conference isn’t sitting idly by after the announcement that Oklahoma and Texas will be leaving to join the Southeastern Conference. Instead, the league is already zeroing on candidates to not just replace the departing members but to expand the conference.

Reports say that a four-person subcommittee started meeting last week to discuss potential expansion. The group is made up of two athletic directors and two university presidents. The conference requires that eight of the 10 current member schools approve of any expansion decisions, though the league will only have eight members when the Sooners and Longhorns depart.

The report says that BYU, UCF, Houston, and Cincinnati are the schools being considered to receive invitations to join the league, potentially as soon as sometime this football season. BYU is an FBS independent, while UCF, Houston, and Cincinnati currently play in the American Athletic Conference.

Houston would help replace some of the Texas support that will be taken by the Longhorns. The AAC members would have to give the conference 27 months notice and pay an exit fee of $10 million to join another conference, though, in 2019, UConn was able to leave in a shorter period by paying a higher exit fee.

Illinois Gets Peters Back

The Illinois Fighting Illini got quarterback Brandon Peters back in practice this week after he left Saturday’s season-opening win over Nebraska with a left shoulder injury. Peters suffered the injury to his non-throwing shoulder in the first quarter of Saturday’s game and was replaced by Art Sitkowski.

Peters is throwing passes in practice this week, though head coach Bret Bielema doesn’t expect him to play in Saturday’s game against UTSA. Sitkowski is expected to start for the Illini after he completed 12-of-15 passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns in the upset win over the Cornhuskers. Peters was 3-of-4 for 35 yards when he was injured.

Illinois did get a bit of bad injury news this week, as linebacker C.J. Hart underwent season-ending surgery for a knee suffered in the season opener on Wednesday. Hart had a 41-yard fumble return for a touchdown and finished with 1.5 tackles for loss against the Cornhuskers.

The BetUS Sportsbook’s NCAAF odds list the Illini as five-point favorites over the Texas San Antonio Roadrunners for Saturday’s game.

Texas A&M, Fisher Agree To Contract Extension

Texas A&M has agreed to a new contract extension with head coach Jimbo Fisher, keeping him with the program through the 2031 season. The new deal will pay Fisher nearly $95 million over the next 10 years, which is about 25% more than he was making.

He’ll earn $9 million during the 2022 calendar year, which goes up to $9.15 million in 2023. He then will earn $100,000 raises each year for the rest of the contract, which is fully guaranteed.

“The investment Texas A&M University is making in our program, coaching staff and facilities speaks to the vision of our leadership and their commitment to long-term success,” Fisher said in a statement. “It is an honor to be the head football coach at Texas A&M, and, although I am proud of the strides we’ve made, we ain’t done yet!”

The deal makes Fisher the second-highest paid coach in college football, behind only Alabama’s Nick Saban. The Aggies are coming off a 9-1 season in 2020 that put them fifth in the College Football Playoff rankings, one spot behind Notre Dame.

The Aggies begin their 2021 campaign on Saturday as 29-point favorites against visiting Kent State. Texas A&M is listed with the third-best odds to win the Southeastern Conference title this season at +900 at BetUS Sportsbook. Alabama (-180) and Georgia (+180) are ahead of the Aggies, with Florida (+1300) and LSU (+1500) the next in line.

Rutgers-Temple Postponed Due To Weather

Rutgers’ season-opening contest against Temple had to be postponed from Thursday night to Saturday due to adverse local road conditions due to flooding following Hurricane Ida. Piscataway Township tweeted that damage caused by Ida hitting the area had made travel for fans unsafe to the contest.

The township called for no fans if the game was to be played as originally scheduled on Thursday night. Instead, the game will be played at noon ET on Saturday at SHI Stadium in Piscataway.

The change had a modest impact on the NCAAF point-spread odds at the BetUS Sportsbook. The Scarlet Knights moved a full point to 14½-point favorites over the Owls after the announcement.