Big East releases 2013 schedule

The Big East as we know it is gone, with the conference roster almost completely changed over from a decade ago, and by the time the fall gets here, this conference may not even be known as the Big East anymore. The conference's BCS designation goes away after this year, as the league will be forced to share one guaranteed berth to a premier bowl with the Mountain West, Conference USA, MAC and Sun Belt when the new playoff gets underway in 2014.

But before the future arrives, let's enjoy the present. Pittsburgh and Syracuse are gone, and Central Florida, Houston, SMU and Memphis have arrived in their place.

The full schedule can be viewed here, and here's what jumped out to us:

Weekday madness: The Big East will play a total of 15 non-Saturday games, including five on the opening weekend: Akron at UCF, Towson at Connecticut and Rutgers at Fresno State on Thursday, Aug. 29, and Southern at Houston and Texas Tech at SMU on Friday, Aug. 30. The latter game will be shown on ESPN. There is one Wednesday game, on Oct. 30 when Cincinnati visits Memphis (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2).

Conference debuts: As mentioned above, the Big East welcomes four teams as its hiring class of 2013. Houston makes its debut at Temple on Sept. 7, UCF and Memphis play their first Big East game against each other on Oct. 5, and SMU gets its welcome to the league by hosting Rutgers on that same day.

Mark Your Calendar, Part I: Louisville and Rutgers are widely considered the favorites to win the Big East before the depart for new conferences. They will meet in Louisville on Thursday, Oct. 10.

Mark Your Calendar, Part II: If that game doesn't decide the conference, then this one probably will: Louisville at Cincinnati on Thursday, Dec. 5. Both games will be shown by ESPN. For what it's worth, the Big East has been historically great at placing its de facto championship game in the last week of the regular season. This game will also serve as Louisville's final Big East game. 

War on I-4 renewed: South Florida and Central Florida are less than 90 miles apart, but have only met four times in their brief histories (USF has won all four meetings). They will meet again on Friday, Nov. 29 in Orlando in the first of what will become annual showdowns for as long as they're in the same league. 

A Scarlet goodbye: Rutgers will play its final Big East game on Dec. 7 versus South Florida in Piscataway.

Coaching debuts: The Tommy Tuberville era at Cincinnati gets underway Aug. 31 when the Bearcats host Purdue. Their first Big East game is Oct. 5 at fellow newcomer Willie Taggart and USF. Taggart's first game leading the Bulls is on Aug. 31 versus McNeese State in Tampa.  

Experience Colorado's off season from a players perspective

Really well produced video here from Colorado called "The Proving Grounds" where cameras capture the off season routine from a players perspective.

Strength coaches will enjoy hearing Dave Forman, who serves as Colorado's director of strength and performance, talk about their philosophy of "protection, preparation, and perception" in the weight room.

We're looking forward to seeing more from this mini-series in the weeks to come.

Proving Grounds - Episode I from @CU_Video on Vimeo.

VIDEO: Kent State is a team on the rise

MAC rival Miami (Ohio) calls itself the Cradle of Coaches, but Kent State has a roster that is second to none. College Football Hall of Famer Don James, College Football Hall of Famer Lou Holtz, four-time national champion Nick Saban, 2000 national champion Bob Stoops, Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel, Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers, New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees (who just so happen to be the last three Super Bowl champions) all either played or coached at Kent State.

And none of them produced a season better than 2012.

The Golden Flashes set a school record with 11 wins and claimed the MAC East title in the process. With Darrell Hazell gone for Purdue, Paul Haynes steps in to lead the charge. 

"(This program) was built on commitment, it was built on sacrifice. That's a strong foundation. We will continue to build on that foundation," Haynes said.

Thanks to Kent State linebackers coach Ben Needham for passing this along.

Who are the most powerful men in football?

Sports Illustrated released its list of the 50 Most Powerful People in Sports on Tuesday and, unsurprisingly, seemingly half the list has major football ties. 

From commissioners, owners, television executives, agents, apparel executives, gaming executives - really it's a whole lot of executives - they're all presented and accounted for throughout the list. 

1. Roger Goodell - NFL commissioner. Certainly a unanimous pick for No. 1.
3. Philip Anschutz - AEG owner. Anschutz's sports and entertainment conglomerate owns the Staples Center, O2 in London, Barclays Center in Brooklyn and has the inside track on building a downtown football stadium in Los Angeles.
4. John Skipper - ESPN president. Skipper's company has television rights agreements with nearly every league and conference known to man.
7. Mark Lazarus - NBC sports chairman. NBC owns Sunday Night Football, Notre Dame football and a growing college football package on NBC Sports Network. 
9. Phil Knight - Nike chairman. Knight's company sparked a uniform revolution at Oregon that quickly spread throughout the game.
12. Robert Kraft - New England Patriots owner.
13. Sean McManus - CBS Sports chairman. CBS sports shows two of football's three biggest conferences - the AFC and the SEC - along with the fledgling CBS Sports Network.
15. Eric Shanks - Fox Sports co-president. Longtime NFC rights holders, Fox has come on strong in televising college football by showing Big 12, Pac-12 and Conference USA games on its family of networks.
17. Mike Slive - SEC commissioner. When Slive speaks, people listen. Seven straight crystal balls will do that for you.
19. Jerry Jones - Dallas Cowboys owner. Jerry has been able to stay squarely in the middle of football's most influential circles despite his team not winning anything for 17 years.
24. Kevin Plank - UnderArmour CEO. The closest challenger to Phil Knight on the market.
26. Jim Delany - Big Ten commissioner. Delany doggedly fights for what's best for the Big Ten - outside ramifications be damned. 
29. Glazer family - Tampa Bay Buccaneers owners. The Glazers, owners of Manchester United, wield more power in the futbol world.
32. Herbert Hainer - Adidas Group CEO. Between Knight, Plank and Hainer, you know where to address your complaint letter the next time your team's uniforms get a makeover.
35. DeMaurice Smith - NFL Players Association executive director.
38. Mark Emmert - NCAA president. Presented without comment.
39. John Riccitiello - Electronic Arts CEO. Between Madden and NCAA Football, Riccitiello's company is responsible for more time wasting of America's youth than anyone else on this list.
47. Tom Condon - Creative Arts Agency co-head of football division. Condon counts Drew Brees, Adrian Peterson, Robert Griffin III and the Manning brothers among his clients. 

In all, that's 18 of sport's 50 most powerful figures with ties - some loose, some direct - to football. In the coming days, Sports Illustrated will reveal its sport-specific lists, which we'll dive into as well.

You can view the full slideshow here.

UPDATE: Andy Staples has submitted SI's list of the most powerful individuals in college sports.

1. Mike Slive
2. Jim Delany
3. Mark Emmert
4. Ed O'Bannon - the lawsuit led by the UCLA basketball player could determine whether it is lawful to market college athletes in video games, DVDs, t-shirts, etc., without paying them. This could be a game changer.
5. Burke Magnus - ESPN vice president of college sports programming. 
6. Eric Shanks
7. Larry Scott - Pac-12 commissioner
8. DeLoss Dodds - Texas athletic director
9. Jimmy Sexton - college coaching super agent
10. Lee Fitting - senior coordinating producer, ESPN College GameDay

Pat Washington explains what drew him to Mizzou

Pat Washington is about as well established and well traveled of a receivers coach as there is. He's mentored some great players, numerous NFL veterans, and knows a quality environment when he sees it.

Washington's coaching stops include Auburn, TCU, Baylor, Tennessee, Kansas State, Mississippi State, Southern Miss, Kentucky and now Missouri. While at Kentucky last year, the Wildcats traveled to Missouri and that's when coach Washington got an opportunity to explore the city a little bit and appreciate what the city had to offer, and he also recognized the great fan support and game day environment.

But more importantly, he was impressed with the makeup of the staff at Mizzou when he was approached about the receivers job.

"It's was a family atmosphere, and that's really something that I look forward to, is being around people that are stable, committed like coach Pinkel and his staff are. So I feel really good about those guys."

Also in the clip, players shed light on Washington's coaching style and how they're able to connect with him on a personal level, while also understanding the coach-player relationship.

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