NWADG College Football


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42 NWA COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW | 8.29.2021 MARK ROSNER & MURRAY EVANS ASSOCIATED PRESS Steve Sarkisian has yet to make his debut in the Big 12, but the new Texas coach was asked to ponder life in the Southeastern Conference. So was Oklahoma's Lincoln Riley, who — like Sarkisian — would much prefer to look ahead to this season. Texas and Oklahoma will move to the SEC no later than July 2025. For now, the Longhorns begin practice Friday, and Sarkisian has more imminent concerns, among them choosing a starting quarterback and making sure his talented running back, Bijan Robinson, receives enough work. Not that Sarkisian won't face SEC- related issues. Players, coaches, fans and administrators of the eight other Big 12 schools face uncertainty with the eventual loss of Texas and Oklahoma. People are angry. Some no doubt will let the Longhorns hear about it during games. "You've got to recognize the elephant in the room," Sarkisian told reporters in Austin, Texas. "We can't be naive to that. But we also can't put so much emphasis into it that we don't focus on ourselves and do what's necessary for us to have success. Whether it's loud crowd noise, yelling at us on the bench, a 'horns down' signal, all those things are really irrelevant to our ability to execute and succeed at a really high level." In Norman, Oklahoma, Riley knew the questions about the SEC would come SEC MOVE ON HORIZON, TEXAS AND OKLAHOMA COACHES FOCUS ON '21 AP Photo/LM Otero New Texas coach Steve Sarkisian speaks to the media at the Big 12 Media Days. Texas and Oklahoma have announced they are leaving the Big 12 Conference for the SEC.

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