The Southeastern Conference is considering scheduling changes that could end some of the league's most storied annual football rivalries, including Alabama-Tennessee and Auburn-Georgia.
A top conference official told The Birmingham News in a story published Wednesday that a plan to alter the SEC's interdivisional schedule was only in the talking stages.
"There have been no formal proposals and it's not on our agenda to make specific schedule changes," said executive associate commissioner Mark Womack.
But school officials expressed skepticism about such changes.
"They better be careful of alienating the people who pay for all this, the fans," Auburn coach Terry Bowden told WJOX radio in an interview.
The proposal would limit foes in one division from playing a team from the other division more than twice in any four-year period.
When the league went to divisions in 1992, in order to allow some of the traditional annual rivalries to remain, it implemented its current 5-2-1 scheduling format: Five games against each team in a school's division, two games against permanent foes from the other division and one game against a rotating opponent from the other division.
Under that system, some teams go as long as six years without playing each other, but rivalries like Auburn-Georgia and Alabama-Tennessee stay in tact.
The latest discussion is about a 5-3 format: five games against teams from a school's own division and three games a year under teams from the opposite division. The three non-division teams would rotate on and off the schedule in two-year blocks.
For example, Auburn could play Georgia in 2000 and 2001, but not again until 2004. Likewise, Alabama and Tennessee would only play twice every four years.
The earliest SEC athletic directors could vote on a schedule change is during the 1998 spring meeting. The current scheduling format ends with the 1999 season.
FLORIDA STATE: Clarence "Pooh Bear" Williams, who never duplicated a promising freshman season in 1993 when he helped Florida State win a national championship, has given up football.
Williams, who struggled with his weight throughout his career and was moved from fullback to tight end last spring, failed to show up for the team's mandatory 11/2 -mile run Wednesday.
"I guess he's decided to hang it up," said coach Bobby Bowden, who talked with Williams and his father.
"He got too doggone big," Bowden added. "He was a natural football player. (But) he just kept getting bigger."
Williams, a cult figure with Florida State fans who would roar a long, slow "Pooh" whenever he touched the ball, was listed at 292 pounds in the media guide, but tipped the scales Wednesday at 320 pounds.
In the Seminoles' 1993 title season, Williams averaged 6.8 yards a carry as a 265-pound freshman.
GEORGIA SOUTHERN: Varcellus Bell, a 1995 Laney High grad, has transferred to Georgia Southern after two years at Georgia Tech.
Bell, who is a 6-foot-3, 244-pound defensive end, was redshirted in 1995 and played in five games last year and made one tackle.
Also, freshman Nick Kearns (Westside) has been moved from quarterback to wide receiver. Defensive back Tavares Gresham (Lincoln County) has joined the team after transferring from Middle Georgia.
GEORGIA TECH: Despite missing almost his entire senior season at Washington-Wilkes High, fullback Ed Wilder has been impressive in freshman drills.
"He's a skill player, but he's at a position that really is a contact position, so we'll know more when we start hitting and we see what he can do as far as moving the pile and blocking," Georgia Tech coach George O'Leary said. "He does a lot of good things. He has some quickness for a man his size. He's very noticeable on the field."
Wilder played just three games last fall after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament, but O'Leary signed him despite the injury.
CLEMSON: There are five kickers battling for the job baseball player turned football player Matt Padgett, handled for the second half of last season.
Coach Tommy West said Padgett, David Richardson, Michael Brice, Ryan Romano and walk-on Jamie Somaini are all currently in the picture. Padgett, Richardson and Brice all lettered last year.
"We have a lot of work to do in the kicking game," West said. "We will do some form of kicking every day, and I have moved the kicking work to the end of practice when the players are tired from the protections. We aren't ready to make a decision in the starting kicker. I would love to see someone take it over, but I don't think we will make a decision until game week."
KENTUCKY: Running back Derick Logan, who was SEC freshman of the year last season at Kentucky before a run-in with the law, has transferred to Eastern Kentucky.
Logan, of Chatham, Va., pleaded guilty to shoplifting in February and was dismissed from the Wildcats squad.
He was arrested Jan. 25 after stealing shirts from a Fayette Mall store. Court records said Logan went into a changing room, put two shirts on underneath his coat and left the store without paying. He was arrested just outside the doors.
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Logan rushed for 700 yards and five touchdowns last season.
SAN DIEGO STATE: Police searched two Los Angeles area homes Wednesday in an effort to arrest the man who is accused, along with three San Diego State University football players, of sexually assaulting a woman.
Teammates Azzahir Ali Hakim, Lonny Rochad Mitchell and Tyrone Curtis Evans were arrested at their homes Tuesday night, police said.
Authorities looked Wednesday for 21-year-old Damon Paul Carter, according to police Lt. Jim Barker of the department's Sex Crimes Unit.
Officials said the men face multiple sexual assault charges stemming from the alleged March 3 rape of an 18-year-old woman near the campus.
Hakim, 20, a senior, is a wide receiver with the team. Mitchell, also 20, is a quarterback, but he had not played during his first two years. Evans, 21, a junior, is a reserve running back.
BRIGHAM YOUNG: Brigham Young running back Ronney Jenkins has been allowed to re-enroll after he and a teammate were dismissed earlier this year for violating the school's honor code.
Jenkins, last year's freshman of the year in the Western Athletic Conference's Mountain Division, will redshirt this season and be allowed to start the 1998 season as a sophomore with three years of eligibility remaining.
Coach LaVell Edwards said Jenkins, who ran for 733 yards and 11 touchdowns last season, may be allowed to participate in some practices later this season.
Jenkins and Omarr Morgan, a starting cornerback, were suspended from the team and dismissed from school in May for undisclosed violations of the Mormon-owned university's code of conduct.
Morgan will be available after sitting out three games.
Neither player is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but all students are required to sign an agreement to abide by the code, which bans premarital sex and use of alcohol, tobacco or illegal drugs.
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