Four-down territory: Clemson waits on Parker

…Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe has said that the league plans on staying at 10 teams at least for the foreseeable future following the losses of Colorado to the Pac-10 and Nebraska to the Big Ten. He noted, however, that if the league did ever expand again — and it will — teams would likely come out of an area or areas not in the league's current five-state footprint (Texas, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Oklahoma). Speculation has run rampant about possible good fits for the Big 12, and we even heard Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ thoughts on the matter — via a source close to him — when he suggested Arkansas and Notre Dame. Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman agrees that Arkansas would be a good fit in his piece that looks at possible future candidates for the Big 12. We’ve heard, of course, that the Hogs aren’t interested in leaving the SEC, but how great would it be to see them back in a league with their old Southwest Conference brothers? In another expansion-related piece, Tramel makes a solid argument for Louisville, which sports a good overall athletic program, has a decent-sized TV market and could work geographically. What other teams do you think would make a good fit if and when the league gets back to 12? Perhaps BYU? Memphis?

…Will Kyle Parker be under center for Clemson this fall? According to Travis Sawchik of the Charleston Post and Courier, head coach Dabo Swinney met with his signal-caller earlier this week in what was likely one final plead to get Parker to be on the field for the Tigers’ season opener. Parker, who was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the first round of MLB’s annual amateur draft, has not yet informed Swinney as to whether he will stick with baseball long-term or if he wants to resume his football career. In a conference call with the Denver media Tuesday, however, Parker said that his first priority is a full-time baseball career. The quarterback, whose Tigers are currently playing in the College World Series, said he plans to decide his future well before the Aug. 16 signing deadline. All indications are that redshirt freshman Tajh Boyd will be pressed into starting duty well before Tigers fans would have liked. While he is talented, it’s a lot to expect Boyd to work with an untested wide receiver corps and an offense that will be without C.J. Spiller and Jacoby Ford. The Tigers may need to lean on their defense all season.

…Dr. Lou in the house? Former Notre Dame head coach Lou Holtz has done an about-face on the issue of Notre Dame joining the Big Ten. After strongly supporting the idea of the Fighting Irish maintaining their independence, Holtz told Sid Hartman of the Minneapolis Star Tribune that the school should reconsider its stance on joining the league. Holtz still believes that superconferences are in the college game’s future, and the last coach to lead ND to a national championship doesn’t want the Irish to be left in a cloud of dust. Keep in mind that athletic director Jack Swarbrick did say that swooping changes to conference alignment would force the Irish to revisit their position. Will pro-independent Irish fans now change their opinion on the matter, as well, after hearing the legendary Holtz stump for the Big Ten?

…Is redshirt sophomore Jermil Martin soon to be an ex-Buckeye? Several sources have told that the Ohio State running back is preparing to transfer out of Columbus. Heading into the summer months, Martin is running fourth on the Buckeyes’ depth chart, behind Brandon Saine, Boom Herron and Jordan Hall. Redshirt freshman Jaamal Berry is also in the mix, so it’s no wonder that Martin is reportedly ready for an opportunity somewhere else. Last season, however, Martin was pressed into duty against Minnesota and had 75 yards and a touchdown in the contest — so injuries did present a chance for him in 2009. But even looking ahead to 2011, Martin would have a tough time getting consistent carries. The website believes that the Cleveland native could be looking at Youngstown State — Jim Tressel’s old stopping grounds.

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