1 » The Southeastern Conference and Big 12 announced Thursday that the annual SEC/Big 12 Challenge, which began last season, will undergo a significant format change. Instead of being 10 games played over three days in the fall, it will now be 10 games played in one day early in the spring. That date has been set for next season with all 10 games tipping off on Saturday, January 30, 2016, though match-ups have not yet been determined at this time. “Moving the Big 12/SEC Challenge later in the season will raise the profile of this event and give our coaches, student-athletes and fans the attention that it deserves,” said Mike Slive, the SEC’s commissioner. The 10 games will all be played on ESPN networks with the four SEC teams not given match-ups going head-to-head against each other on the SEC Network that day.
The Florida Gators wound up playing a home-and-home series against Kansas in the first two iterations of the event, hosting the Jayhawks last season and travelling to Lawrence, Kansas, this fall. Florida is expected to host an SEC/Big 12 Challenge game in 2015-16, though renovations to the Stephen C. O’Connell Center would have proved that difficult if the game was played during its previously-scheduled window. Whether the event was moved to help accommodate UF remains to be seen, but the scheduling adjustment was not just made for next season but for the duration of the event’s existence.
2 » The Minnesota Timberwolves were not pleased when Kevin Love forced his way off the team and to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Suffice to say, they were less bothered when former Gators forward Mike Miller left Minnesota for the Washington Wizards in 2009. So with the Cavs and Wolves set to square off this week, Minnesota put together this video to (as the kids say these days) troll and cast some shade at Love.
Extra BIT » Both former teammates of tight end Aaron Hernandez with the Gators, Miami Dolphins center Mike Pouncey and Buffalo Bills linebacker Brandon Spikes were named on the witness list for Hernandez’s first-degree murder trial, which began on Thursday in Massachusetts. It is not know if or when Pouncey and Spikes will testify, though they are both prosecution witnesses at this time. Unlike Spikes, who played with Hernandez in the NFL on the New England Patriots, Pouncey did not play with the former tight end in the professional ranks. He did, however, receive heavy criticism for wearing a “Free Hernandez” hat shortly after his friend was incarcerated, and Pouncey was also called before a grand jury to discuss potential gun trafficking charges involving Hernandez. The trial began Thursday with opening arguments and both sides outlining the case they will make over the course of the next two-plus months.