No timetable for solution to future scheduling

By Brad Locke
Daily Journal

HOOVER, Ala. – The SEC is looking at every possible angle of its football scheduling format, and there is no rush to reach a solution.

Ever since the SEC expanded to 14 teams last year, there has been talk of going from an eight-game to a nine-game league schedule. At SEC Media Days on Tuesday, commissioner Mike Slive said an extensive review of the scheduling format will be conducted, and whatever decision is made will take effect for the 2016 season.

Former Mississippi State athletics director Larry Templeton, who is leading the scheduling effort, said the review will include several computer models covering the possible formats.

“I think we’ll have a preliminary discussion with the ADs before the end of the summer, and then see where we go from there,” Templeton said. “I would think that we’ll spend as much time as we need to carry this thing through.”

He added that there is no definite timetable on when the review will conclude.

A key aspect of the scheduling issue is whether to retain permanent cross-divisional opponents. The current 6-1-1 format has teams playing all six division foes and two non-division teams, one of those on a rotating basis.
As for the 2014 SEC schedule, Templeton said that is “close” to being done and released.

Driskel’s backup plan
Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel was hog hunting last month when he stumbled upon a pretty good career backup plan.
He was in the “middle of nowhere” hunting with his girlfriend when the MLB Draft tracker on his phone showed Driskel being drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 29th round as an outfielder. He hasn’t played baseball since high school.

“They called me the next day, and they explained that they’re willing to risk a 29th-round pick not showing up to get me,” Driskel said. “I ended up signing with the Red Sox, and nothing else in my life changes.”

His focus remains on trying to get the Gators to a second consecutive BCS bowl game, but he likes knowing baseball will be there for him if needed.

“Hopefully football works out and I never play baseball again,” Driskel said, “but it’s nice to have playing … a good backup plan.”

Clowney’s candidacy
Jadeveon Clowney has put together quite the highlight reel, but his game goes deeper than that.

The South Carolina defensive end, a junior, is a leading Heisman Trophy candidate. The development of his all-around game is a big reason why.

Clowney said he’s gotten better at using his hands and can anticipate where the ball is going.

“I’m learning a lot about the game and not just running around,” he said. “Knowing the game slows it down for me, and I just make a lot of plays.”

Defensive players aren’t normally Heisman favorites, but Clowney – who could very well be the No. 1 pick in next year’s NFL Draft – should give reigning Heisman winner Johnny Manziel a run for his money.

“It’s not really a goal for me,” Clowney said. “The goal for me is winning the SEC. That’s our biggest goal right now. If the Heisman comes, it’ll be there for me.”

brad.locke@journalinc.com