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  1. #1 Cnotes 2017 College Football News-Rumours-Etc ! 
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    Handicapping 2017 Win Totals
    May 23, 2017



    CG Technology sent out its opening numbers for 2017 college football season win totals last Thursday. Alabama and Ohio State had the highest numbers at 10.5 (-150 ‘over’) and 10 (-125 ‘over’), respectively. Six teams had totals of 9.5 at varying odds, including Oklahoma (-145 ‘over’), FSU (-130 ‘over’), Penn State (-125 ‘under’), Wisconsin (-125 ‘over’), USC (-135 ‘over’) and Washington (flat, -115 either way).


    Alabama has won at least 11 regular-season games – thus cashing a season win total of 10.5 – for six consecutive years, including a 12-0 mark in 2016. Remember, season win totals are graded by regular-season contests only, so conference-championship games and bowls don’t apply to these wagers.


    The Crimson Tide returns six starters on each side of the ball, including 60 percent of its starters on the offensive line, QB Jalen Hurts, WR Calvin Ridley and RBs Damien Harris and Bo Scarborough. The question mark on offense is new coordinator Brian Daboll, who replaces Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian, who bolted for new jobs at Florida Atlantic and with the Atlanta Falcons. Daboll joins Nick Saban from Bill Belichick’s staff in New England.


    Alabama plays Tennessee (at home) and Vanderbilt (in Nashville) from the SEC East, while its non-conference slate includes FSU (in Atlanta at the Mercedes Benz Dome) and home games vs. Fresno State, Colorado State and Mercer.


    Ohio State has won at least 11 regular-season games in all five years of Urban Meyer’s tenure. The Buckeyes bring back eight starters on offense and seven on defense from an 11-2 squad that was pounded by Clemson (31-0) in the College Football Playoff semifinals.


    Meyer’s team went +15 in turnover margin in 2016. J.T. Barrett threw for 2,555 yards with a 24/7 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Barrett is back for his senior campaign and has a sophomore RB in Mike Weber, who rushed for 1,096 yards and nine touchdowns as a freshman.


    The Buckeyes play non-conference contests at home against Oklahoma, Army and UNLV. They have to go on the road to take on Big Ten West foes Nebraska and Iowa, but get Illinois at The ‘Shoe.


    Oklahoma finished 2016 with 10 consecutive victories, including a 35-19 win over Auburn at the Sugar Bowl. The Sooners have won at least 10 regular-season games in four of the last five years. They return nine starters on offense and six on defense.


    OU hosts UTEP and Tulane in non-conference play. Between those contests, Bob Stoops’s team will be in revenge mode when it travels to Columbus to take on the Buckeyes, who smashed the Sooners by a 45-24 count in Norman last season.


    OU’s Baker Mayfield is back as a leading Heisman Trophy candidate, but he’ll be without star skill players Joe Mixon, Samaje Perine and DeDe Westbrook. Mayfield currently has the second-shortest Heisman odds (+750) at Sportsbook.ag.


    Florida State was eliminated from the CFP picture on Oct. 1 last year when UNC won a 37-35 decision on a walk-off field goal from 54 yards out to hand the Seminoles their second defeat. They had previously been destroyed 63-20 by Lamar Jackson and Co. at Louisville.


    Jimbo Fisher’s squad returns five starters on offense and nine on defense. The ‘D’ wasn’t as salty as usual in ’16. In fact, this unit finished ninth in the ACC in scoring defense and lost DeMarcus Walker, the departed DE who recorded 16 sacks. FSU’s 33-32 win over Michigan at the Orange Bowl salvaged the season and gave the ‘Noles a 10-win year.


    FSU has non-conference home contests vs. ULM and Delaware State, but it opens the year in Atlanta vs. Alabama and closes the regular season at Florida. In ACC play, the ‘Noles have to play at Clemson on Nov. 11 and heads to Boston College on a short week for a potential cold-weather Friday night game the week after facing Louisville in revenge mode at home.


    I was surprised James Franklin struggled in his first two season at Penn State, especially after the shocking and astounding success he enjoyed at Vanderbilt. Nevertheless, the Nittany Lions turned the corner in ’16 by winning the Big Ten and compiling an 11-3 record.


    PSU won nine in a row after a 2-2 start, beating Wisconsin 38-31 in the Big Ten Championship Game. The Nittany Lions lost a pair of heartbreakers, falling 42-39 at Pittsburgh and 52-49 vs. Southern Cal in one of the greatest games in Rose Bowl history.


    Franklin’s program appears poised for another big year with 10 starters back on offense and six on defense. There are a pair of All-American candidates in quarterback Trace McSorley and RB Saquon Barkley.


    PSU’s non-conference slate consists of three home games vs. Akron, Pitt and Georgia State. The games against Big Ten West foes are at Iowa, at Northwestern and vs. Nebraska. The Nittany Lions have to travel to Ohio State and Michigan State in back-to-back weeks. They get their open date after playing at Northwestern, getting two weeks to prep for a home game vs. Michigan.


    Just like Franklin at PSU, I thought Chris Petersen would get it going at Washington sooner. But like Franklin once again, Petersen and the Huskies turned the corner last season. In fact, they went undefeated to qualify for the CFP, only to get beaten 24-7 by Alabama at the Ga. Dome in Atlanta.


    Washington returns seven starters on offense and six on defense. The Huskies have a lethal offensive trio with QB Jake Browning (43/9 TD-INT ratio), RB Myles Gaskin (1,373 rushing yards) and WR Dante Pettis (15 TD catches).


    Washington hosts Fresno State and Montana in non-conference play after playing at Rutgers in the season opener. UW gets four of its last five Pac-12 games at home, but it has to play at Stanford on a short week (11/10). The Huskies get their open date prior to the closing five-game stretch.


    Paul Chryst did a helluva job navigating a brutal schedule last year, leading Wisconsin to the Big West title. The Badgers finished 11-3 with all three of its defeats coming in one-possession games, including an overtime loss to Ohio State when they led for most of regulation.


    Wisconsin brings back nine starters on offense and eight on defense. Although RB Corey Clement is gone, all five starters on the offensive line return to block for sophomore RB Bradrick Shaw and Pitt transfer Chris James.


    The Badgers finished seventh in the nation in total defense and fourth in scoring defense last season. This unit returns a pair of linebackers who are All-American candidates, T.J. Edwards and Jack Cichy.


    Instead of facing LSU in non-conference play, the Badgers go to Provo to take on BYU. They host Utah State and Lane Kiffin’s FAU squad. Chryst’s team doesn’t have to play PSU or Ohio State from the East Division, and its game against Michigan is at Camp Randall.


    After starting the season 1-3, Southern Cal ripped off nine straight wins. Seven of those nine victories came by 13 points or more. The Trojans might have the nation’s best QB in Sam Darnold, who had a 31/9 TD-INT ratio in ’16. They return four starters on offense and six on defense.


    USC’s non-conference schedule includes home games vs. Western Michigan and Texas, in addition to a mid-season trip to South Bend to meet Notre Dame. The Trojans don’t have an open date, wrapping up the regular season at home vs. UCLA on Nov. 18. They have to go to Pullman to face an excellent Washington State team on a short week after playing at California the previous week.


    Six teams have season win totals of nine, including Clemson, Oklahoma State, Michigan and Virginia Tech. Those four schools have flat odds (-115 either way), while LSU and Louisville are both shaded to the ‘over’ with -120 prices.


    After going 14-1 and winning the national title, Clemson returns five starters on offense and seven on defense. The Tigers must replace QB Deshaun Watson and that job will go to junior Kelly Bryant or true freshman Hunter Johnson.


    Dabo Swinney’s team has won at least 10 regular-season games in four of the last five years. The Tigers get Auburn and FSU at home, but they have to play at Louisville, at Virginia Tech and at South Carolina.


    Louisville has Heisman winner Lamar Jackson back, but the offense returns only four starters. The defense brings back seven starters, including the entire secondary. The Cardinals open the year against Purdue in Indianapolis against former QB and assistant coach Jeff Brohm. They’ll be in revenge mode at Kentucky in the regular-season finale.


    LSU closed ’16 in style by slamming U of L, 29-9, after drilling Texas A&M 54-39 in College Station to close the regular season. Ed Orgeron was retained after a decent run as the interim head coach. His first full season with the Tigers will feature a roster that returns only nine total starters (five offense, four defense), but they have two of the nation’s top players in RB Derrius Guice and BUCK Arden Key.


    Key had 12 sacks last season, while Guice rushed for 1,387 yards and 15 TDs despite sharing the rushing load with fourth overall NFL Draft pick Leonard Fournette. LSU opens up against BYU in Houston and has a tricky home game against Troy the week before going to The Swamp for a revenge spot against Florida. The Tigers must play at Alabama and their other SEC East game is at Tennessee.


    Michigan brings back only one starter on defense and five on offense. QB Wilton Speight (18/7 TD-INT) is among those, but he lost nearly all of his skill players. Jim Harbaugh’s team opens up against Florida at Jerry World in Arlington. The Wolverines play back-to-back road games twice (at Indiana and at PSU in mid-October), including trips to College Park and Camp Randall before closing the regular season at home vs. Ohio State.


    Oklahoma State went 10-3 last season, winning eight of its last nine games with a 38-8 win over Colorado in the Alamo Bowl. Mike Gundy’s offense is loaded at the skill positions with QB Mason Rudolph (4,091 passing yards, 28/4 TD-INT ratio in ’16), RB Justice Hill (1,142 rushing yards) and WRs James Washington and Jalen McCleskey. The Cowboys return seven starters on offense and five on defense. They play at South Alabama and at Pittsburgh in non-conference action.


    Virginia Tech finished Justin Fuente’s first year in style, rallying from a 24-0 halftime deficit to beat Arkansas 35-24 at the Belk Bowl. The Hokies, who finished with a 10-4 record, gave Clemson fits at the ACC Championship Game, falling 42-35 when a last-gasp drive was stopped in Tiger territory. They open against West Virginia in Landover, MY., and also play at East Carolina in a non-conference affair.


    **B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**


    -- Florida might be without star WR and special-teams ace Antonio Callaway for its opener against Michigan. Callaway was cited for possession of marijuana on May 14 in Gainesville. The school has yet to announce any disciplinary action against Callaway, who is the only player in UF football history to score TDs in five different ways – rushing, passing, receiving, kickoff return and punt return. Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN.com had Callaway as the No. 11 overall pick in his first 2018 NFL mock draft.


    -- USC’s Sam Darnold is the +450 ‘chalk’ to win the Heisman at Sportsbook.ag. As noted earlier, OU’s Mayfield has the second-shortest odds, while U of L’s Lamar Jackson and OSU’s J.T. Barrett share the third-shortest odds (+850).


    -- FSU’s Jimbo Fisher confirmed recently that starting safety Trey Marshall will have to sit out the first half of the season opener vs. Alabama in Atlanta. The two-quarter suspension stems from a targeting penalty in the second half of the Orange Bowl win over Michigan. 5Dimes.eu has the Crimson Tide favored by seven points over the ‘Noles.


    -- Former South Carolina QB Brandon McIlwain has landed at California. McIlwain, who was a four-star recruit who got most of the snaps for the Gamecocks in their first five games, will sit out 2017 and then have three years of eligibility for the Golden Bears.


    -- East Carolina has landed three grad transfers who can play right away in ’17, including QB Thomas Sirk (Duke), DL Gaelin Elmore (Minnesota) and RB Tyshon Dye (Clemson).


    Listed below are all of the early 2017 Win Totals released by CG Technology in alphabetical order.


    Alabama 10.5
    Arizona 5.5
    Arkansas 7
    Auburn 8
    Clemson 9
    Colorado 7.5
    Duke 5.5
    Florida 8
    Florida State 9.5
    Georgia 8
    Georgia Tech 6.5
    Indiana 5.5
    Iowa 6.5
    Kansas State 7.5
    Kentucky 6
    Louisville 9
    LSU 9
    Miami, Fl. 8.5
    Michigan 9
    Michigan State 6.5
    Mississippi State 5.5
    Missouri 6.5
    Nebraska 6
    North Carolina 7
    North Carolina State 7.5
    Northwestern 7
    Ohio State 10
    Oklahoma 9.5
    Oklahoma State 9
    Oregon 8
    Penn State 9.5
    Pittsburgh 7.5
    South Carolina 5.5
    Stanford 8.5
    TCU 7
    Tennessee 7.5
    Texas 7.5
    Texas A&M 7
    Texas Tech 6
    UCLA 6
    USC 9.5
    Utah 6.5
    Virginia Tech 9
    Washington 9.5
    Washington State 7.5
    West Virginia 7
    Wisconsin 9.5


    Odds Subject to Change - Does not include Vig
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    2017 Heisman Betting Odds
    May 22, 2017



    The 2017 college football season is several months away but it's never too early to look at future odds on the most prestigious individual award, the Heisman Trophy.


    Oddsmakers at Sportsbook.ag have released numbers for the upcoming season and to no surprise a pair of quarterbacks opened as favorites in February.


    The top betting choices were Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield, and last season's Heisman winner, Lamar Jackson out of Louisville. Both stars were listed at 7/1 odds (Bet $100 to win $700) as Jackson was the runaway recipient of the 2016 award after throwing 31 touchdown passes and rushing for another 21 scores.


    Mayfield threw multiple touchdown passes in all 13 games for the Sooners last season, while leading OU to an 11-2 record and a Sugar Bowl victory over Auburn.


    However, he's been dealing with recent off the field issues which include an arrest in February for public intoxication, disorderly conduct, fleeing and resisting arrest. As of now, he hasn't been suspended or dismissed from Oklahoma.


    As of May 22, Mayfield's odds have dropped to 15/2 (Bet $100 to win $750).


    Along with the pair, USC's Sam Darnold has been bumped up to 9/2 odds from 8/1. He put together an impressive 10-game stretch to lead the Trojans to nine straight wins to close the season and had a remarkable performance in the Rose Bowl.


    The top running back on the board is Penn State standout Saquon Barkley, who scored 18 rushing touchdowns and posted 194 yards on the ground in a Rose Bowl defeat to USC. Barkley is listed at 16/1 odds, while Alabama tailback Bo Scarbrough is right behind at 20/1 after reaching the end zone 11 times in the Crimson Tide's run to the National Championship game.


    The top seven choices to win this season's award are quarterbacks, who have won this honor in nine of the last 11 years.


    Listed below are all of the latest odds provided by Sportsbook.ag.


    Odds to win 2017 Heisman Trophy (12/09/17) - per Sportsbook.ag

    Sam Darnold (USC) 9/2
    Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma) 15/2
    JT Barrett (Ohio State) 17/2
    Lamar Jackson (Louisville) 17/2
    Jake Browning (Washington) 12/1
    Deondre Francois (Florida State) 14/1
    Mason Rudolph (Oklahoma State) 16/1
    Saquon Barkley (Penn State) 16/1
    Derrius Guice (LSU) 18/1
    Josh Rosen (UCLA) 18/1
    Bo Scarbrough (Alabama) 20/1
    Jalen Hurts (Alabama) 20/1
    Jarrett Stidham (Auburn) 20/1
    Trace McSorley (Penn State) 25/1
    Nick Chubb (Georgia) 28/1
    Derwin James (Florida State) 30/1
    Luke Falk (Washington State) 30/1
    Quinton Flowers (South Florida) 30/1
    Kamryn Pettway (Auburn) 35/1
    Nick Fitzgerald (Mississippi State) 35/1
    Mike Weber (Ohio State) 45/1
    Shane Buechele (Texas) 50/1
    Will Grier (West Virginia) 50/1
    Myles Gaskin (Washington) 55/1
    Brandon Wimbush (Notre Dame) 60/1
    Jacob Eason (Georgia) 60/1
    Royce Freeman (Oregon) 60/1
    James Washington (Oklahoma State) 65/1
    Kyle Allen (Houston) 75/1
    Christian Kirk (Texas A&M) 80/1
    Ed Oliver (Houston) 80/1
    Wilton Speight (Michigan State) 80/1
    Arden Key (LSU) 100/1
    Brett Rypien (Boise State) 100/1
    Calvin Ridley (Alabama) 100/1
    Dexter Lawrence (Clemson) 100/1
    Justin Herbert (Oregon) 100/1
    Kenny Hill (TCU) 100/1
    Shea Patterson (Mississippi) 100/1


    Odds Subject to Change - Updated 5.22.17
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    Alabama-FSU open ABC's night slate
    May 25, 2017



    A potential matchup of preseason No. 1 vs. No. 2 between Alabama and Florida State will be ABC's first Saturday night football game of the 2017 season.


    ESPN/ABC announced Thursday its opening-weekend schedule, along with the Saturday prime-time games for the first three weeks of the season.


    The Crimson Tide and Seminoles, both likely to be ranked near the top of The Associated Press preseason Top 25, will meet at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Saturday night, Sept. 2.


    ESPN's first showcase game of the opening weekend will be Ohio State at Indiana on Thursday, Aug. 31 at 8 p.m ET. The Buckeyes will also be in prime time in week two when they host Oklahoma on Saturday, Sept. 9.


    Miami at Florida State will be the ABC Saturday night game on Sept. 16.


    Other games highlighting the opening Labor Day weekend include:


    - Utah State at Wisconsin on Friday night, Sept. 1, on ESPN.


    - Michigan vs. Florida at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Sept. 2, on ABC.


    - BYU vs. LSU at NRG Stadium in Houston at 9:30 ET on Sept. 2, on ESPN2.


    - West Virginia vs. Virginia Tech at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, on Sunday night, Sept. 3, on ABC.


    - Georgia Tech vs. Tennessee in Atlanta on Monday night, Sept. 4, on ESPN.
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    Ranking the FCS conferences
    May 25, 2017



    (STATS) - CAA Football or the Missouri Valley Football Conference? There's really no right or wrong answer as to which is the best conference in the FCS.


    The CAA had the final say last season when its champion, James Madison, defeated MVFC member Youngstown State in the FCS championship game.


    Previously, North Dakota State captured a record five straight national titles coming out of the MVFC. Of course, that followed up the CAA's run from 2003-2010, when it had seven finalists and four different champions during the eight-year span.


    If pressed, the 10-team Missouri Valley gets the nod as the best conference, although the CAA is deep in quality among 12 programs.


    Here's a ranking of the 13 FCS conferences heading into the 2017 season:


    13. Pioneer Football League (11 teams)


    The non-scholarship PFL always struggles to make big strides nationally, but it did last season with league champion San Diego earning the league's first-ever playoff win, 35-21 over Big Sky member Cal Poly. The Toreros still deserve the favorite's role this year, but Dayton and Drake finished on seven- and four-game winning streaks, respectively, and bring that momentum into this season. The PFL often dips below the Division I level for games, but at least it was 13-1 against those teams a year ago.

    12. Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (11 teams)



    Having surged ahead of the Southwestern Athletic Conference in the rivalry between the two historically black leagues of the FCS, the MEAC slipped last season, punctuated by an 0-10 record against out-of-conference FCS teams and Bethune-Cookman and South Carolina State not being their usually strong selves. But the rivalry between North Carolina Central (which has won a share of three straight titles) and North Carolina A&T has never been better.


    11. Southwestern Athletic Conference (10 teams)


    The West Division teams carried the SWAC last year, but a season with better health should make 2014 and '15 conference champ Alcorn State dangerous again. Grambling State won last year's conference title and went on to win the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl. The Tigers will push for those same honors again. Southern and Prairie View A&M keep the West best again.


    10. Northeast Conference (7 teams)


    No NEC team has gone unbeaten in conference play since former member Albany went 7-0 in 2008. The way its teams consistently knock each other off underscores why national rankings continue to elude the membership. In recent years, Duquesne has been the most consistent program under coach Jerry Schmidt, but fellow co-champ Saint Francis won last year's head-to-head meeting before claiming its first NEC title and playoff bid. Wagner was the only NEC team to take down Saint Francis.

    9. Ivy League (8 teams)



    The last 10 league titles have included either Harvard or Penn, if not both, so there's no reason not to expect them to be a part of this year's title hunt. Princeton, which shared last year's title with Penn, will continue to have an explosive offense and make for another three-team race. The other teams incorporated young players into the mix last season, so there is a chance for some upsets this year.


    8. Patriot League (6 teams)

    This might be too low of a ranking because defending champion Lehigh and Fordham (behind FCS rushing champion Chase Edmonds) should both make the playoffs this season. Both teams will be among the highest scoring in the FCS, although, like the rest of the league, they have to improve defensively. Colgate always does well when expectations are down, and they are after finishing only 5-5 and then losing many experienced players.


    7. Ohio Valley Conference (9 teams)


    Although Jacksonville State doesn't appear as strong as recent seasons, it has gone undefeated in conference play for three straight seasons. The Gamecocks' final two regular-season games will be against UT Martin and Tennessee State, the other expected playoff contenders. However, the OVC needs to do better in the postseason than last season. Jacksonville State was the only qualifier and it squandered the No. 3 playoff seed by losing in the round of 16.


    6. Big South (6 teams)


    The Big South enjoyed a solid 2016 season, but there was not a dominant team and playoff representative Charleston Southern lost in the first round. The Buccaneers should be in a two-team title race with Kennesaw State because Liberty is transitioning toward the FBS level in 2018. It's the always awkward departure as Liberty will be above the FCS scholarship maximum and although the Flames are ineligible for the conference title and a playoff bid, its games will count in the Big South standings.


    5. Southland Conference (11 teams)


    One college football annual has Sam Houston State winning the FCS title this season. It's a bit of a stretch considering how the Bearkats' deep postseason runs generally end in ugly fashion, but their returning firepower - led by senior quarterfinal Jeremiah Briscoe, the 2016 STATS FCS Walter Payton Award winner - may give them the nation's best offense. Central Arkansas figures to keep pace with the Bearkats in the conference title race again. McNeese will jump back into the title mix with an easier schedule (rival Sam Houston is not on it) and Southeastern Louisiana and Nicholls have high hopes. It should be a good season for the Southland.


    4. Southern Conference (9 teams)


    In having four playoff teams for the first time last season, the SoCon rose in a huge way. The Citadel may be hard-pressed to win a third straight title after suffering heavy personnel losses, which could make Wofford, a surprise quarterfinalist last season, the favorite. Chattanooga remains a power despite a coaching change (Russ Huesman to Tom Arth) and Samford has the SoCon's reigning offensive player of the year in quarterback Devlin Hodges. The wild card is Mercer, which needs consistency, but has enough veterans to beat any team in the conference.


    3. Big Sky (13 teams)


    It bodes well for the largest FCS conference that seven different members have received playoff bids in one of the last two seasons. Eastern Washington's pedigree is unmatched in the conference, with last year's semifinal appearance its fourth of the decade, including the 2010 national title. But North Dakota won a share of last year's title with the Eagles and it gets to host this year's matchup. After those two, the pecking order can be picked from a hat between the likes of Cal Poly, Weber State, Northern Arizona (which gets back stud quarterback Case Cookus from injury), Southern Utah and longtime power Montana, which had a rare losing record in conference play a year ago.


    2. CAA Football (12 teams)


    The defending national champion doesn't always deserve to be the preseason No. 1 the following season, but James Madison does as it could win back-to-back titles under second-year coach Mike Houston. The other teams that finished in the top five in the conference race last season - Villanova, New Hampshire, Richmond and Maine - all have to play at JMU this season. Albany was one of the last two teams left out of the playoff field and hopes to get there this season. Delaware figures to be on its way back behind former Richmond coach Danny Rocco.

    1. Missouri Valley Football Conference (10 teams)



    The Valley was the only conference to place three teams in the quarterfinals last season, and the one that reached the final, Youngstown State, only finished third in the regular season behind North Dakota State and South Dakota State. The defending co-champs are the favorites again and should be in everybody's top 5 entering the season. SDSU simply needs to avoid facing the Bison in the playoffs, having been eliminated by them in three of the last five postseasons. Youngstown State is reloading under coach Bo Pelini. Add in Illinois State, Northern Iowa and Western Illinois and the Valley schedule is a gauntlet of Top 25 teams.
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    Sun Belt announces divisions for 2018
    May 23, 2017



    POINT CLEAR, Ala. (AP) The Sun Belt Conference will split into two five-team divisions, broken up simply by east and west, starting in 2018.


    The conference announced its divisions Tuesday after the end of its spring meetings.


    The East Division will include Appalachian State, Georgia Southern, Coastal Carolina, Georgia State and Troy. The West Division will have Arkansas State, South Alabama, Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana-Lafayette and Texas State.


    The winners of each division will meet in the championship game, which will be played at the home stadium of the team with the best College Football Playoff ranking. If no teams are ranked in the CFP selection committee, the conference will determine home field using a formula based on six computer ratings that were used in the old Bowl Championship Series standings.


    Sun Belt administrators also approved a collaborative instant replay system for football that will be modeled on the Southeastern Conference's setup and officials in a central location to review replays and assist instant replay officials at each game.
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    Ex-S. Carolina QB McIlwain transfers to Cal
    May 22, 2017



    BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) Former South Carolina quarterback Brandon McIlwain is transferring to California.


    Golden Bears coach Justin Wilcox said Monday that McIlwain has signed a financial aid agreement and will play football and baseball at Cal.


    McIlwain played eight games with three starts as a true freshman last year for the Gamecocks. He completed 62 of 118 passes for 600 yards with two touchdowns and one interception while adding another 127 yards rushing and two scores on the ground.


    McIlwain was Pennsylvania high school player of the year and one of the top quarterback recruits coming out of high school. He must sit out a year at Cal and will have three years of eligibility remaining starting in 2018.
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    Matchups between FCS conferences will heat up
    May 22, 2017



    (STATS) - Conference play is usually the most brutal part of a team's schedule, but some rival leagues bring a little extra dose of intensity to their early season matchups.


    Highly anticipated games between the Big Sky and Missouri Valley conferences have popped up with frequency on the FCS calendar, but those two power leagues aren't involved in the most-played interconference series.


    With many of their matchups involving just a short drive, the Ivy and Patriot leagues continue to set the standard with heated matchups. Their teams met 14 times last season, with Patriot League teams claiming eight wins, and they'll meet another 12 times in 2017. Over the last six seasons, the two academically elite conferences have squared off 90 times with results deadlocked.


    All of the teams are involved this year except Ivy League member Brown, while all three Yale non-league games are against Patriot opponents. In a spotlight game, Penn, which has won a share of the last two Ivy titles, will visit defending Patriot champ Lehigh on Sept. 23.


    The Big Sky and Missouri Valley will square off eight times in the regular season and each matchup involves at least one team that was nationally ranked last year. While a Missouri Valley team has played in the FCS national championship game for six consecutive years, the Big Sky had the better regular-season record - 4-3 - in their interconference matchups.


    This year's highlights include Cal Poly-Northern Iowa, South Dakota State-Montana State, North Dakota-South Dakota, Western Illinois-Northern Arizona and the return matchup between two of last year's national semifinalists, North Dakota State at Eastern Washington. NDSU won 50-44 in overtime when they met in Fargo in September.


    CAA Football and the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and the Southland and Southwestern Athletic conferences have six matchups this season, tying for the third-most between conferences.


    Among the 13 FCS conferences, the Big South is making the rounds the most. It has interconference matchups against 10 other leagues - all but the Ivy League and SWAC.


    The Pioneer Football League and Northeast and Ohio Valley conferences are all facing eight other conferences. The CAA and Patriot League are at seven each.
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    ECU adds 3 grad transfers, including Duke QB Thomas Sirk
    May 19, 2017



    GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) East Carolina has added three graduate transfers from Power Five schools - including coach Scottie Montgomery's old quarterback at Duke.


    Montgomery on Friday announced the signings of quarterback Thomas Sirk, running back Tyshon Dye of Clemson and defensive lineman Gaelin Elmore of Minnesota. All can play immediately and have one year of eligibility remaining.


    Sirk was Montgomery's quarterback when Montgomery was the Blue Devils' offensive coordinator in 2015. Sirk missed last season after injuring his Achilles tendon twice in seven months, but he threw for 2,693 yards and 19 touchdowns and rushed for 16 TDs in 24 career games at Duke.


    Dye was a backup for the Tigers' national championship team last season. Elmore started six games last season for the Golden Gophers.


    *****************************


    Appalachian State gives Satterfield new 5-year contract
    May 19, 2017



    BOONE, N.C. (AP) Appalachian State has given football coach Scott Satterfield a new five-year contract through 2021.


    School officials announced the deal Friday, a day after it was approved by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors. Terms were not disclosed. The school's board of trustees approved the contract in March.


    Satterfield's previous deal, which was awarded in 2015, lasted through the 2020 season.


    Satterfield has led the Mountaineers to two straight wins in the Camellia Bowl and has won at least 10 games in each of the past two seasons. Appalachian State won the Sun Belt title in 2016.


    Athletic director Doug Gillin says Satterfield ''continues to take App State football to new heights.''
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    2017 FCS vs. FBS: SWAC
    May 19, 2017



    (STATS) - Coming off a 2016 season in which their 10 wins over FBS programs tied for the fourth most in a season, FCS programs hope to make a mark again in 2017.


    Southwestern Athletic Conference teams are involved in 11 of the nearly 100 matchups. However, their teams aren't accustomed to providing upsets as the last SWAC team to beat an FBS opponent was Grambling State with a 23-6 win over Oregon State in 1985.


    Here's a look at this year's matchups involving SWAC teams:


    The matchups (11) - Alabama A&M vs. UAB (Sept. 2), Vanderbilt (Sept. 9) and South Alabama (Sept. 16); Alabama State vs. Troy (Sept. 9); Alcorn State vs. FIU (Sept. 9); Arkansas-Pine Bluff vs. Akron (Sept. 9) and Arkansas State (Sept. 16); Grambling State vs. Tulane (Sept. 2); Jackson State vs. TCU (Sept. 2); Southern vs. Southern Miss (Sept. 9) and UTSA (Sept. 16)


    Glamour game - Alabama A&M at UAB. Granted, there will be plenty of bigger matchups on college football's opening weekend, but this intrastate game will gain added attention because it marks the rebirth of UAB football, which was shut down after the 2014 season before being brought back after a ground-swell of public support. A&M played at UAB in 2014, losing 41-14.


    Upset alert - Grambling State at Tulane. Grambling usually ends its regular season in New Orleans against rival Southern, and this year coach Broderick Fobbs' squad also will open the season in the Big Easy, facing Tulane. The Tigers held a 21-3 halftime lead on Arizona last Sept. 10, but it slipped away in the second half while star quarterback DeVante Kincade was sidelined with an injury. The SWAC's 2016 offensive player of the year is back this year.


    Notable - Mississippi Valley State, Prairie View A&M and Texas Southern are not playing FBS opponents this season. ... Alabama A&M is the only FCS team to be playing three FBS opponents (UAB, Vanderbilt and South Alabama) this year. ... After not facing an FBS opponent last season, UAPB will play a pair in Akron and Arkansas State. Coach Monte Coleman is in his 10th season with the Golden Lions. ... Jackson State's season-opening game at TCU is the first meeting between the two schools. ... Alabama State and Troy will meet for the first time since 2006. Troy holds a 13-2 series lead. ... Both of Southern's FBS opponents play in the Conference USA West Division. ... New FIU coach Butch Davis will be coaching his first home game with the Panthers when they host Alcorn State.
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    2017 FCS vs. FBS: Southland Conference
    May 18, 2017

    (STATS) - Coming off a 2016 season in which their 10 wins over FBS programs tied for the fourth most in a season, FCS programs hope to make a mark again in 2017.


    Southland Conference teams are involved in 10 of the nearly 100 matchups. They have posted at least one FBS win in five of the last six seasons.


    Here's a look at this year's matchups involving Southland teams:


    The matchups (10) - Abilene Christian vs. New Mexico (Sept. 2) and Colorado State (Sept. 9); Central Arkansas vs. Kansas State (Sept. 2); Houston Baptist vs. Texas State (Sept. 2); Incarnate Word vs. Fresno State (Sept. 2); Lamar vs. North Texas (Sept. 2); Nicholls vs. Texas A&M (Sept. 9); Northwestern State vs. Louisiana Tech (Sept. 2); Southeastern Louisiana vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (Sept. 2); Stephen F. Austin vs. SMU (Sept. 2)


    Glamour game - Central Arkansas at Kansas State: K-State was trending upward late last season, finishing 9-4 and beating Texas A&M in the Texas Bowl with a young nucleus. But UCA had one of its best seasons on the FCS level, winning 10 games in coach Steve Campbell's third campaign, including an in-state FBS win over Arkansas State. Quarterback Hayden Hildebrand and a good group of running backs will work behind an experienced line, which could trouble coach Bill Snyder's squad.


    Upset alert - Abilene Christian at New Mexico. This game gives the Wildcats the chance to show Adam Dorrel was one of the better coaching hires of the offseason. He went 76-8 and won three Division II national titles in six seasons at Northwest Missouri State. In his Abilene debut against the Lobos, his team will led by junior quarterback Dallas Sealey and senior outside linebacker Sam Denmark.


    Notable - The last two Southland champs, McNeese and Sam Houston State, are not playing FBS opponents. ... Mike Schultz will make his debut as Lamar's coach at North Texas on Sept. 2. ... Colorado State will be opening a new on-campus stadium when it hosts Abilene Christian in Fort Collins. ... Northwestern State beat Louisiana Tech 30-27 on a field goal as time expired in their most recent meeting in 2014. The Demons will again visit their oldest and nearest rival for the 78th all-time meeting. Tech leads the series 53-20-5. ... While Southeastern Louisiana and Louisiana-Lafayette are meeting for the 39th time, it's their first matchup since the visiting Lions blanked the Cajuns 7-0 on Sept. 12, 1981. ... Nicholls lost to two FBS opponents (Georgia and South Alabama) last season by a combined three points. ... SMU won its two prior matchups with Stephen F. Austin in opposite fashion, edging the Lumberjacks 31-23 in 2009 followed by a 52-0 rout in 2012. ... Abilene Christian-New Mexico, Houston Baptist-Texas State, Incarnate Word-Fresno State and Nicholls-Texas A&M are first-time matchups. ... After the Fresno State game on Sept. 2, Incarnate Word will make a trip back to California to play Sacramento State on Sept. 9.
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    Stanford grad McCaffrey back Down Under
    May 18, 2017

    Three-time Super Bowl champion Ed McCaffrey's only previous trip to Australia came as a member of the Denver Broncos in a preseason game against the San Diego Chargers in 1999.


    McCaffrey was back Down Under on Thursday to run an American football combine for media and personalities to help promote the Sydney Cup between his alma mater, Stanford University, and Rice, on Aug. 27. The game is set for the 45,500-seat Sydney Football Stadium, just minutes from downtown.


    ''I don't think they shattered any records,'' McCaffrey quipped about the media performances in the 40-yard dash.


    Another Stanford grad, defensive end and recent San Francisco first-round pick Solomon Thomas, also attended Thursday's promotion.


    It's the second year in a row that U.S. college teams have played Down Under - last year Cal beat Hawaii 51-31 at the Olympic stadium in the opening game of the season before 62,000 fans.


    In 1999, McCaffrey's Broncos beat the Chargers 20-17 before 73,000 fans in the same stadium, a test event ahead of the 2000 Sydney Games.


    McCaffrey's son, running back Christian, who also attended Stanford, was a first-round pick of the Carolina Panthers in this year's NFL draft. The former wide receiver has three other sons who play football - eldest Max is with the Green Bay Packers, quarterback Dylan will play with the University of Michigan this year, and Luke, also a quarterback, is still in high school but has eight or 10 college offers, McCaffrey says, including one from Michigan.


    McCaffrey's been down that route before, chosen in the third round of the 1991 draft by the New York Giants after attending Stanford from 1986 to 1991.


    ''Thanks for making me making me feel old,'' the 48-year-old joked in a telephone interview with The Associated Press when reminded he attended Stanford, which was 12th in last year's final AP Top 25 poll, some 30 years ago.


    ''I was excited to play here in 1999, but it was a business trip,'' McCaffrey added. ''I've told the guys they need to treat this game the same way.


    ''But I'm happy to represent American football over here, particularly when it involves two great academic institutions like Stanford and Rice. And it'll be a great, unique experience for the players. Most college kids haven't done much travel.''


    McCaffrey won't return to Australia for the Aug. 27 game, which will be mid-evening Saturday, Aug. 26 in the U.S. He's trying to devote as much time as he can to watching his sons play football all around the country.


    In fact, for the first time in six years, the Denver-based McCaffrey said he won't be back doing radio color commentary for the Broncos. Admitting he feels ''slightly guilty'' after the Broncos awarded him a Super Bowl ring after their win over Carolina in 2016, he's decided family comes first.


    ''I guess I was lucky to have played for some wonderful teams,'' McCaffrey says of his two NFL titles with Denver and one with San Francisco over a 13-year career.


    So now he has four Super Bowl rings, and he's mentioned to his sons that he has one for each of them.


    ''They say that's fine and dandy, but we kind of want one of our own,'' McCaffrey said.
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    Michigan St to play Miami in football
    May 17, 2017



    EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) Michigan State will face the Miami Hurricanes and Boise State in a pair of home-and-home football series.


    The school announced schedule details Wednesday. The Spartans will host Miami in 2020 and will play the Hurricanes on the road the following season.


    Michigan State will begin its 2018 schedule at home against Utah State, before traveling to Arizona State and hosting Central Michigan. The Spartans will open the next year with three straight games at home against Tulsa, Western Michigan and Arizona State. They will make their first trip to BYU's LaVell Edwards Stadium in 2020 and will come home to face Toledo and Miami.


    Michigan State will play at Boise State in 2022 and will host the Broncos in 2023.


    ****************************


    2017 FCS vs. FBS: Southern Conference
    May 17, 2017



    (STATS) - Coming off a 2016 season in which their 10 wins over FBS programs tied for the fourth most in a season, FCS programs hope to make a mark again in 2017.


    Southern Conference teams are involved in 10 of the nearly 100 matchups. There's a stacked lineup of opponents, including Clemson, Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and LSU.

    Here's a look at this year's matchups involving SoCon teams:



    The matchups (10) - Chattanooga vs. LSU (Sept. 9); The Citadel vs. Clemson (Nov. 18); Furman vs. North Carolina State (Sept. 16); Mercer vs. Auburn (Sept. 16) and Alabama (Nov. 18); Samford vs. Georgia (Sept. 16); VMI vs. Air Force (Sept. 2); Western Carolina vs. Hawaii (Sept. 2) and North Carolina (Nov. 18); Wofford vs. South Carolina (Nov. 18


    Glamour game - The Citadel at Clemson. Deshaun Watson won't be there, but Dabo Swinney and the rest of the FBS national champions will be to welcome the two-time defending SoCon champion Bulldogs into Death Valley. Their meeting will mark the eighth time in nine seasons that an FCS program is playing the defending FBS national champ.


    Upset alert - Wofford at South Carolina. Wofford has lost 16 straight games against South Carolina, trailing 19-4 in the intrastate series, but last year's quarterfinalist runs the triple-option offense, which The Citadel used to spring an upset of the Gamecocks in 2015.


    Notable - East Tennessee State, in its third season since returning to football, is the only SoCon program that isn't facing an FBS opponent. However, the Bucs have five on future schedules, starting with Tennessee in 2018. ... Furman loves its history against N.C. State. In addition to holding an 8-4-4 series lead, the Paladins won the most recent meeting 42-20 in 1985 - the season they went on to win the SoCon title and finish as the FCS runner-up. ... Mercer is only in its fifth season since returning to football and is playing both Auburn and Alabama. Yeah, that's worth reading again. ... The VMI-Air Force game is a first-ever meeting. VMI's third-year coach Scott Wachenheim is a 1984 Air Force graduate. ... Western Carolina opens its season with a first-ever meeting at Hawaii, so under NCAA by-laws the Catamounts can play 12 games. They will close the regular season by facing North Carolina, also for the first time. They'll head back to Chapel Hill in 2018. ... Chattanooga and LSU have met once previously - a 26-19 LSU win in 1954. Samford lost its only game against Georgia, 39-0 in 1943.
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    Kelly, Mora in need of improvement
    May 17, 2017



    Mark Helfrich went into last season with a 33-8 record in three years as Oregon coach and an appearance in the national championship game.


    He then went 4-8 and was fired. Point is, just about every coach outside of Nick Saban and Urban Meyer can be considered on the hot seat.


    For this exercise, let's narrow the definition: a coach who is in danger of being fired if his team does not improve upon last season. Finances also have to be taken into consideration. Paying an eight-figure buyout is just not something most schools want to do.


    Six coaches who need to get better in 2017:


    Dave Doeren, North Carolina State



    Doeren was in trouble last season, but the Wolfpack beat North Carolina to end the season and give athletic director Debbie Yow an excuse to give him one more shot and concentrate on the basketball program - where a change did end up being made. Doeren is 25-26 in four seasons, with no victories against ACC Atlantic Division rivals Clemson, Florida State and Louisville. The roster has never been better under Doeren and just getting by is unlikely to be good enough again.


    Hugh Freeze, Mississippi


    Freeze's status is complicated by the on-going NCAA investigation of his program. By record, Freeze should be fine. Even after going 5-7 in 2016, he is 39-25 in five seasons in Oxford. But that NCAA cloud and sanctions possibly looming puts Freeze in a tight spot if another Rebels' season ends near the bottom of the SEC West.


    Brian Kelly, Notre Dame


    Kelly knows another clunker after Notre Dame went 4-8 last season would likely force the hand of athletic director Jack Swarbick. Kelly's position is bolstered by the six-year contract extension he signed after the 2015 season. Notre Dame does not make Kelly's contract public, but a safe guess is that his buyout is upward of $15 million. Kelly is probably safer than most Notre Dame fans want to believe.


    Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech

    The former Red Raider quarterback started his coaching career 7-0 but is 17-26 since, including 9-23 against the Big 12. There is certainly a desire among many in Lubbock to see Kingsbury succeed, but at this point, the football program is stuck on repeat. Excellent offense. Stunningly bad defense. Kingsbury will likely get one more season to fix this.


    Jim Mora, UCLA


    Mora's career arc with the Bruins has been interesting. His hiring did not excite many UCLA fans, but two straight 10-win seasons in Years Two and Three turned around plenty of skeptics and ramped up expectations. Since then, Mora is 12-13 overall and 7-11 in the Pac-12. A healthy Josh Rosen at quarterback alone should make UCLA better than it was last year, but the schedule is tough (Texas A&M, Memphis, Stanford, Washington, USC). UCLA's $280 million Under Armour deal could make it a lot easier to swallow Mora's $12 million buyout after this season.

    Rich Rodriguez, Arizona



    The reality is Arizona probably can't do much better than Rodriguez as a coach, but the athletic director who hired him (Greg Byrne, now at Alabama) is gone and the Wildcats went 3-9 last year. A modest step forward would likely be enough to keep RichRod safe, but the Wildcats play only six home games and have five Pac-12 road games. Forecasting another three- or four-win season is not a stretch.


    ---


    EXTRA POINT


    Six more coaches in precarious position heading into 2017:



    Steve Adazzio, Boston College


    David Bailiff, Rice,


    Todd Graham, Arizona State


    Paul Haynes, Kent State


    Butch Jones, Tennessee


    Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M
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    Vandy's Mason gets raise, 3-year extension
    May 16, 2017



    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason has received a three-year contract extension and a raise after leading the Commodores to the first bowl appearance of his three-year tenure last season.


    Vanderbilt athletic department spokesman Kyle Parkinson confirmed Tuesday that Mason was receiving a three-year extension and raise without disclosing exact terms or financial details. The Tennessean first reported Mason's extension and raise.


    Mason has gone 13-24 in three years at Vanderbilt, but took a major step forward last year.


    Vanderbilt went 6-7 last season and posted victories over Georgia and Tennessee . The Commodores' season ended with a 41-17 Independence Bowl loss to North Carolina State.


    ******************************


    SDSU ends talks on sharing MLS stadium
    May 16, 2017



    SAN DIEGO (AP) There's another stadium flap in San Diego, and this one is threatening the future of San Diego State's football team.


    The school said Tuesday it has cut off talks to share a stadium with a group that wants to attract an MLS team as the centerpiece of a billion dollar development at the site of aging Qualcomm Stadium in Mission Valley.


    In a statement, the school said the city should pursue ''a transparent'' process to develop a plan for the 166-acre site.


    That might not happen.


    FS Investors unveiled plans for its SoccerCity development less than two weeks after the NFL's Chargers announced they were relocating to the Los Angeles area because voters overwhelmingly rejected their plan for a new downtown stadium.


    On Jan. 31, MLS Commissioner Don Garber accepted FS Investors' application for an expansion team in a ceremony on the flight deck of the USS Midway Museum.


    FS Investors collected more than 100,000 signatures for its initiative and the City Council could soon place it on the ballot for a special election in November.


    SDSU had spoken with FS Investors for more than a year while also saying it wants a portion of the Qualcomm Stadium site to expand its campus.


    Nick Stone of FS Investors said in a statement that SDSU's stance is ''another sad chapter in the saga of departing university leadership moving the goal posts. Unbelievably, they continue to walk away from people trying to help them. It's clear this decision will jeopardize Aztec football.''


    The statement questioned the leadership of SDSU President Elliot Hirshman, who is leaving June 30 for another job. He will be replaced on an interim basis by Sally Roush, a longtime senior vice president.


    ''Despite this announcement, we stand ready to work with new leaders at SDSU to support the long-term goals of an institution we care about deeply,'' Stone said.


    SDSU said it was ending talks with FS Investors because ''a fair, equitable deal that would provide opportunity for the long-term success of SDSU and Aztec football, as well as a transparent deal for the citizens of San Diego, could not be reached.


    ''Recently, Mayor Kevin Faulconer reached out to SDSU in an attempt to facilitate a deal on behalf of SDSU with FS Investors. SDSU reiterated our offer to purchase land and to provide our fair share of infrastructure costs, but still no agreement could be reached,'' the school's statement said.


    The dispute comes as SDSU hopes to fill the void left by the Chargers' departure. The Aztecs are coming off consecutive 11-3 seasons and a No. 25 ranking in the final Associated Press poll for the first time in 30 years. Coach Rocky Long has led them to bowl games in each of his six seasons, and they've played in seven straight overall.


    Part of SDSU's dispute with FS Investors is over the size of the proposed stadium. FS Investors wants a smaller stadium while the Aztecs want a larger one, or one that could be easily expanded.


    The city wants to close Qualcomm Stadium after the 2018 season.


    Asked if he's concerned about the football program's future, SDSU athletic director J.D. Wicker said, ''To a certain extent,'' sure.''


    The Aztecs will have two years left at Qualcomm and could play the 2019 season at Petco Park, the downtown home of baseball's Padres. Wicker said he hasn't heard from Padres executive chairman and SDSU supporter Ron Fowler that playing at Petco beyond 2019 is a definite no.


    ''For the lifeblood of the program as a whole, we need a better solution than Qualcomm is today,'' Wicker said. ''We need to generate real revenue to move the needle of the athletic department.''


    If SoccerCity fails, Wicker said SDSU hopes the city would sell or lease it land at the Qualcomm site and the school could begin building a stadium to open by September 2020.


    If SoccerCity passes, ''We don't have an answer at this point. It's something we'd have to study in depth. ... We're comfortable that that we can finance a stadium on our own at that point and then figure out where the best place would be for that stadium,'' Wicker said.


    ''We have been very clear that the City cannot afford to keep Qualcomm Stadium open past 2018 and the Padres have clearly stated that the Aztecs can only play at Petco Park for one year after that,'' Matt Awbrey, a spokesman for Faulconer, said in an email to The Associated Press.


    ''While we are still willing to engage with SDSU, this decision has unfortunately put the university in a situation where this process will move forward without their involvement.''
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    2017 FCS vs. FBS: Patriot League
    May 16, 2017



    (STATS) - Coming off a 2016 season in which their 10 wins over FBS programs tied for the fourth-most in a season, FCS programs hope to make a mark again in 2017.


    Patriot League teams play just a small part of it, involved in three of the nearly 100 matchups.


    Here's a look at this year's matchups involving Patriot teams:


    The Matchups (3) - Colgate: Buffalo (Sept. 16); Fordham: at Army West Point (Sept. 1); Holy Cross: Connecticut (Sept. 1)


    Glamour Game - Holy Cross at Connecticut (Sept. 1). The Crusaders open the season with their first game against an FBS team since 2002. Clearly, they like the FBS gig, scheduling another matchup with UConn in 2021 as well games versus Boston College in 2018 and 2020, Syracuse in 2019 and Navy in 2019.

    Upset Alert
    - Fordham: at Army West Point (Sept. 1). Yes, we've seen this before with Fordham's 37-35 win over the Cadets in 2015 behind running back Chase Edmonds and a then-debuting quarterback Kevin Anderson. Both standouts are back for this year's matchup. And it's an odd-numbered year - Fordham also beat Temple in 2013.

    Notable -
    Bucknell, Georgetown, Lafayette and Lehigh don't have FBS matchups this season. Bucknell has a game scheduled against Temple in 2019. â?¦ Colgate and Buffalo are meeting for the 16th time in a series that began in 1898. Colgate holds an 8-7 series lead after winning at Buffalo 38-15 in 2003. â?¦ Army West Point is a Patriot League member in sports other than football.


    ****************************


    Report: FAU coach Kiffin offers scholarship to 7th-grader
    May 15, 2017



    First-year Florida Atlantic coach Lane Kiffin is looking to the future, as he offered a scholarship to seventh-grader Kaden Martin, the 13-year-old son of USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin, multiple media outlets reported Monday.


    Kaden Martin would be in the recruiting class of 2022.


    Kaden is a standout quarterback at Adams Middle School in Redondo Beach, Calif., and he is also an excellent left-handed pitcher in baseball. His fastball has been clocked at over 80 mph, and his Little League team made it to the California state finals last year.


    Tee Martin told ESPN.com that his son will continue to play football and baseball as well as basketball.


    Tee Martin worked under Kiffin at USC as wide receivers coach in 2012-13 when Kiffin was the Trojans' head coach. Martin is entering his second season as the offensive coordinator under Clay Helton.


    "I'm just extremely proud and appreciative for the opportunity for Kaden," Tee Martin told AL.com. "He and coach Kiffin have always had a great relationship. I'm thankful."


    In 2010, Kiffin offered 13-year-old David Sills a scholarship. Sills ultimately signed with West Virginia and is a wide receiver.


    There may be questions as to whether Kiffin will be at Florida Atlantic five years from now. His track record does not suggest a long stay.


    He spent a little over year as the head coach of the Oakland Raiders. Kiffin was then hired as Tennessee's head coach but left after one season to become USC's head coach. He was fired by USC during his fourth season with the Trojans. He then spent three seasons as Alabama's offensive coordinator coach before being hired by Florida Atlantic.
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    College Playoff to push halftime show
    May 15, 2017



    The College Football Playoff is bringing a Super Bowl-style halftime show to the national championship game without bumping the marching bands.


    ESPN and the College Football Playoff say that a musical guest will perform at halftime of this season's title game in Atlanta on Jan. 8, 2018, and the performance will be aired on ESPN. The halftime concert will be held in Centennial Olympic Park, near the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. An artist has not yet been booked, but ESPN is taking the lead on securing what it hopes will be an A-list performer with broad appeal.


    For years the Super Bowl has featured marquee artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Beyonce', U2 and Prince performing at halftime.


    The marching bands for each participating school will still perform in the stadium at halftime of the national title game and that performance will be aired on an ESPN channel to be determined as part of the network's megacast.


    ''Traditions are an important part of college football,'' College Football Playoff Executive Director Bill Hancock said in a statement to the AP on Monday ''This rich culture includes marching bands performing at halftime.''


    Hancock said ESPN approached CFP officials with the idea of a concert in Centennial Olympic Park at halftime as part of the national championship game broadcast and live watch party. Fans without tickets to the game will be able to watch the game and attend the concert in Centennial Park for free.


    ''This will be a win-win, enhancing the viewing experience for a broad section of fans at home and in the park, while maintaining the culture of the game inside the stadium,'' Hancock said.


    *****************************


    SEC coaches eager to see impact
    May 15, 2017



    Southeastern Conference coaches are eager to see the impact an early signing period will have on recruiting, even though a number of them were against the change.


    An early signing period received formal approval last week from the Collegiate Commissioners Association. The new plan will allow high school seniors in the 2017-18 school year to sign with colleges on Dec. 20-22 as well as during the traditional signing period on the first Wednesday of February.


    ''I'm very interested to see how this plays out because I think we're dealing in a world we haven't dealt in,'' Georgia's Kirby Smart said Monday at an SEC coaches teleconference. ''When you have that, there are usually things you haven't thought of, repercussions we haven't thought of. I'm interested to see who handles it best.''


    Smart didn't say whether he favored or opposed the early signing period, but other coaches have let their positions be known.


    ''It's something that obviously if I could have voted on it, I would have not voted for that,'' LSU coach Ed Orgeron said. ''I think that it just puts a lot of different strain on your staff and what you're doing, but it may work out to our advantage. ... We have several commitments. If we stick with those commitments and they all sign in December, it could be an advantage.''


    Alabama's Nick Saban had expressed his opposition to an early signing period in the past, and he noted Monday that it could limit opportunities for prospects who take big steps forward in their development as seniors.


    Florida's Jim McElwain believes the early signing period will ''call some people's bluff both from the players' side and the school's side.''


    McElwain said some prospects might verbally commit to a school simply to try reserving a spot in a class while continuing to look around. McElwain also noted that many schools make flurries of offers early in the recruiting calendar.


    With the earlier signing period, coaches now will know how seriously to take a prospect's commitment and recruits will know when an offer is legitimate.


    ''You'll find out in December if the guy's committed to you,'' South Carolina's Will Muschamp said. ''If he's not signing in December, you'd better rethink your numbers at the position or continue to recruit because you're not really sure if he's going to sign with you in February.''


    Mississippi's Hugh Freeze said he didn't mind the early signing period but he did oppose another policy change that allows high school juniors to take official visits from April through June. Freeze didn't like the way the latter change accelerates the recruiting calendar and says recruits now will be making visits before the school knows them particularly well.


    Arkansas' Bret Bielema and Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin were among the other coaches to express their concerns about allowing earlier visits.
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    2017 FCS vs. FBS: Ohio Valley Conference
    May 15, 2017



    (STATS) - Coming off a 2016 season in which their 10 wins over FBS programs tied for the fourth most in a season, FCS programs hope to make a mark again in 2017.


    Ohio Valley Conference teams are involved in 11 of the nearly 100 matchups. The conference didn't beat an FBS opponent from 2004-10, but has at least one win in five of the last seven seasons, including Eastern Illinois over Miami of Ohio last September.


    Here's a look at this year's matchups involving OVC teams:


    The matchups (11)
    - Austin Peay vs. Cincinnati (Aug. 31) and Miami of Ohio (Sept. 9); Eastern Illinois vs. Northern Illinois (Sept. 9); Eastern Kentucky vs. Western Kentucky (Sept. 2) and Kentucky (Sept. 9); Jacksonville State vs. Georgia Tech (Sept. 9); Murray State vs. Louisville (Sept. 30); Southeast Missouri State vs. Kansas (Sept. 2); Tennessee State vs. Georgia State (Aug. 31); Tennessee Tech vs. Ball State (Sept. 16); UT Martin vs. Ole Miss (Sept. 9)


    Glamour game - Jacksonville State at Georgia Tech: Fourth-year Gamecocks coach John Grass' only regular-season losses are against FBS opponents (a who's who list of Michigan State, Auburn in overtime and LSU). While Georgia Tech won two prior meetings with Jacksonville State in 2008 and '09, the Gamecocks have beaten two FBS opponents since then (Ole Miss in two overtimes in 2010 and Georgia State in overtime in 2013). That makes three OT games versus the FBS in the last seven seasons.


    Upset alert - Tennessee State at Georgia State. The season-opening buildup at Georgia State will be about the Panthers moving into the former Turner Field for home games. The focus at Tennessee State will be on pulling an upset. New TSU quarterback Treon Harris faced better competition as a Florida Gator than Georgia State, a Sun Belt program coming off a 3-9 season.


    Notable - In its second FBS game of the season, Austin Peay will face Miami of Ohio for the first time. The Tennessee Tech-Ball State and UT Martin-Ole Miss matchups also are first-time meetings. ... The most recent Eastern Illinois-Northern Illinois matchup in 2013 - a 43-39 NIU win - showcased EIU quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (the Walter Payton Award winner) against NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch (third in the Heisman Trophy voting). ... Southeast Missouri was competitive in its only other game against Kansas, 34-28 in 2014. ... Eastern Kentucky and Western Kentucky will meet for the 85th time, but it's the first meeting since 2008. Kentucky has won all four games against Eastern, but two years ago the visiting Colonels held a 14-point lead with five minutes remaining before the Wildcats escaped 34-27 in overtime. ... Murray State has 19 returning starters to take on its trip to Louisville. The Racers trail 6-13 in the intrastate series and have another game scheduled at Louisville in 2020.
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    Conference Championship Odds
    May 14, 2017



    Sportsbook.ag released its odds for the Power 5 conference champions with spring football wrapped up. Out of the five champions from last season, only two are favored to repeat this season with Oklahoma and Alabama leading the way.


    In spite of capturing the Big Ten title, Penn State is listed at 17/4 odds (Bet $100 to win $425) to win it again with Ohio State, Michigan, and Wisconsin ahead of the Nittany Lions.


    Last season's national champion, Clemson, isn't favored to win its league. The Tigers are behind Florida State after losing quarterback Deshaun Watson to the NFL, but Clemson seeks it third consecutive ACC championship.


    Odds to win 2016 ACC Conference Championship Game (12/9/17)
    Florida State 5/4
    Clemson 7/2
    Louisville 9/2
    Miami, Fl. 15/2
    Virginia Tech 15/2
    North Carolina State 20/1
    Georgia Tech 25/1
    North Carolina 25/1
    Pittsburgh 30/1
    Duke 50/1
    Boston College 100/1
    Syracuse 100/1
    Virginia 100/1
    Wake Forest 150/1


    Odds to win 2016 Big Ten Conference Championship Game (12/9/17)
    Ohio State 8/5
    Michigan 11/5
    Penn State 4/1
    Wisconsin 5/1
    Michigan State 18/1
    Nebraska 18/1
    Northwestern 22/1
    Iowa 30/1
    Minnesota 35/1
    Indiana 60/1
    Illinois 150/1
    Maryland 150/1
    Purdue 150/1
    Rutgers 250/1


    Odds to win 2016 Big 12 Conference Championship Game (12/9/17)
    Oklahoma 11/10
    Oklahoma State 4/1
    Texas 17/4
    Kansas State 11/2
    West Virginia 15/2
    TCU 10/1
    Baylor 25/1
    Iowa State 100/1
    Texas Tech 100/1
    Kansas 200/1


    Odds to win 2016 Pac-12 Conference Championship Game (12/9/17)
    USC 11/10
    Washington 11/4
    UCLA 15/2
    Stanford 10/1
    Oregon 12/1
    Washington State 12/1
    Utah 14/1
    Colorado 20/1
    Arizona State 25/1
    Arizona 60/1
    California 80/1
    Oregon St 80/1


    Odds to win 2016 SEC Conference Championship Game (12/9/17)
    Alabama 5/9
    LSU 11/2
    Auburn 7/1
    Georgia 15/2
    Florida 10/1
    Tennessee 15/1
    Texas A&M 40/1
    Arkansas 50/1
    Mississippi State 60/1
    Kentucky 80/1
    Ole Miss 80/1
    South Carolina 80/1
    Missouri 150/1
    Vanderbilt 150/1



    Last year's conference champion listed in BOLD.


    Odds provided by Sportsbook.ag




    Odds Subject to Change - Updated 5.13.17
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    Former University of Minnesota football star graduates at 57
    May 12, 2017



    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Star University of Minnesota running back Marion Barber Jr. left the university in 1981 for the NFL, but never earned his degree.


    At age 57, Barber, who played with the New York Jets, has finished his course work and has graduated with a degree in youth services, KARE-TV (http://kare11.tv/2qanwyQ ) reported. Barber said his wife, Karen, encouraged him to finish the schooling he began three decades ago.


    ''The two things I'm most proud of: I have perfect attendance and I'm graduating with honors,'' he said. ''I tell the students I've been on a 36-year spring break, however, I wouldn't recommend they take that long of a break to come back and get it done.''


    He said graduating fulfills a promise he made before hitting any football records.


    ''I made a promise to my mother,'' he said. ''I've been crying. A lot happy tears of course. Excited to make that walk.''


    Barber's mother wasn't able to attend the ceremony but sent him a text Thursday morning to congratulate him on a job well done.


    His youngest son, Thomas Barber, said education has always come first in their household. He and his brothers wouldn't be allowed to play sports if they earned anything below a B.


    Marion Barber now works with students in the special education department at Armstrong High School, where he is also on the coaching staff for the football team. He said an internship last fall helped him land the full-time job.


    ''I've always felt I would be a better coach and a teacher than I was a player,'' Marion Barber said.


    ************************


    North Carolina officially adds former LSU QB Harris
    May 12, 2017



    North Carolina officially added former LSU quarterback Brandon Harris on Friday when the graduate transfer signed a scholarship agreement with the school.


    Harris recently completed his graduation requirements at LSU and is eligible for the 2017 season.


    Harris originally announced he was transferring to North Carolina on March 28.


    "Obviously, it has been an important time for me, looking for a great situation and another opportunity to grow as a young man and as a student as well as a football player," Harris wrote on Facebook at the time. "The opportunity to accomplish that is very important to me. After my official visit this weekend to the University of North Carolina, I'm going to get that opportunity."


    Harris lost his starting job at LSU after two games of last season to Danny Etling. Harris started 12 games in 2015 as a sophomore and passed for 2,165 yards, 13 touchdowns and six interceptions.


    In 25 games over three seasons with the Tigers, Harris passed for 2,756 yards, 20 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also rushed for seven touchdowns.


    North Carolina doesn't have a current starting quarterback as Mitch Trubisky departed school to enter the 2017 NFL Draft. Trubisky was the second overall selection by the Chicago Bears.


    ***************************


    2017 FCS vs. FBS: Northeast Conference
    May 12, 2017



    (STATS) - Coming off a 2016 season in which their 10 wins over FBS programs tied for the fourth-most in a season, FCS programs hope to make a mark again in 2017.


    Northeast Conference teams are involved in two of the nearly 100 matchups. However, there's been a push among its members this decade to seek more of the financially beneficial games.


    Here's a look at this year's matchups involving NEC teams:


    The Matchups (2) - Central Connecticut State: Syracuse (Sept. 2); Wagner: Western Michigan (Sept. 23)


    Glamour Game - Wagner at Western Michigan (Sept. 23). The Seahawks drop from two FBS opponents in each of the past two seasons, but their trip to Kalamazoo is a big one as the Mid-American Conference champion Broncos went 13-1 last year, losing only to Wisconsin in the Cotton Bowl. Coach Jason Houghtaling's Seahawks finished 6-5 overall and 4-2 in the NEC a year ago.


    Upset Alert - None (yeah, sorry).


    Notable - Some NEC programs have been adding FBS matchups, but Bryant, Duquesne, Robert Morris, Sacred Heart and Saint Francis don't have any this season. â?¦ Central Connecticut State's game versus Syracuse inside the Carrier Dome is the Blue Devils' second against the FBS (lost 51-14 to Western Michigan in 2007). A matchup at Ball State is scheduled for 2018. â?¦ Duquesne hopes to make waves with a 2018 game at Hawaii - just the Dukes' second against the FBS following a competitive loss to Buffalo in 2014. The Dukes also will face UMass in 2018. â?¦ Other future matchups: Wagner at Syracuse in 2018 and Robert Morris at Buffalo in 2019.
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    Tar Heels add LSU grad transfer Harris
    May 12, 2017



    CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) North Carolina says it has added quarterback Brandon Harris as a graduate transfer from LSU.


    UNC officials announced Friday that Harris signed his scholarship paperwork and is expected to join the Tar Heels this summer after he graduates from LSU.


    Harris said in March that he would transfer to North Carolina for his final season.


    Harris started 12 games as a sophomore in 2015, but was pulled after a struggling in a season-opening loss to Wisconsin followed by a bad start against Jacksonville State in Week 2.


    The Tar Heels wrapped up spring practice last month without settling on a successor to Mitch Trubisky, who turned pro after one season as the starter and was drafted by Chicago with the No. 2 overall pick.


    ****************************


    Notre Dame, ACC announce games
    May 11, 2017

    SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) Notre Dame will continue to play five football games each season against members of the Atlantic Coast Conference through 2037.


    The schedule from 2026 to 2037 was announced Thursday and continues a partnership that started in 2014. The games from this fall until 2025 have already been announced.


    The Fighting Irish play Labor Day night games at Clemson in 2031 and at Virginia Tech in 2036. Notre Dame will host 30 of the games from 2026 through 2037, while 30 are on the road.


    The ACC had a 6-9 record against Notre Dame over the past three seasons. The Fighting Irish's five games against ACC foes in 2017 include road games at Boston College, North Carolina and Miami and home games vs. NC State and Wake Forest.


    ***********************


    2017 FCS vs. FBS: Missouri Valley
    May 11, 2017



    (STATS) - Coming off a 2016 season in which their 10 wins over FBS programs tied for the fourth most in a season, FCS programs hope to make a mark again in 2017.


    Missouri Valley Football Conference teams played the largest part of the success with four wins.


    This season, the MVFC is involved in seven of the nearly 100 matchups. Unfortunately for the FCS power conference, three of its four 2016 playoff teams are not playing FBS teams.


    Here's a look at this year's matchups involving MVFC teams:


    The Matchups (7) - Indiana State vs. Tennessee (Sept. 9); Missouri State vs. Missouri (Sept. 2); Northern Iowa vs. Iowa State (Sept. 2); South Dakota vs. Bowling Green (Sept. 9); Southern Illinois vs. Memphis (Sept. 23); Western Illinois vs. Coastal Carolina (Sept. 23); Youngstown State vs. Pittsburgh (Sept. 2)

    Glamour Game
    - Youngstown State at Pittsburgh: The Penguins make the short 65-mile trip into, well, ACC country. Coming off an FCS national runner-up finish, they hope to jump-start the season against a Pittsburgh team they beat in 2012 for one of their 20 all-time FBS wins. Third-year coach Bo Pelini made his debut with the Penguins in 2015 with a 45-37 loss against the Panthers.


    Upset Alert - Western Illinois at Coastal Carolina. The teams have split two all-time meetings. Western Illinois was supposed to host this year's game as the second half of a home-and-home series that began on Coastal's teal turf in 2015. However, with the Chanticleers having risen to full-time FBS membership, the Leathernecks were bought out with an agreement to play the game on the road. Last season, the Leathernecks posted an FBS win over Northern Illinois. Notable - North Dakota State, which defeated Iowa last season, and Illinois State, which beat Northwestern, are not playing FBS opponents this season. In addition, South Dakota State is playing an FCS-only schedule. ... The Missouri Valley went 4-6 against the FBS last season and has at least one FBS win in every season since 2010. ... Three of the Missouri Valley's FBS games are first-time meetings: Indiana State at Tennessee, South Dakota at Bowling Green and Southern Illinois at Memphis. ... Northern Iowa is opening at Iowa State for the third consecutive season, including a 25-20 win last year. The Panthers also won 28-20 in Ames to open the 2013 season. ... North Dakota State, which has won six straight games against FBS opponents, is next scheduled to face Oregon in 2020. However, the Bison have two openings on their 2018 schedule and one in 2019.
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    2017 FCS vs. FBS: MEAC
    May 10, 2017



    (STATS) - Coming off a 2016 season in which their 10 wins over FBS programs tied for the fourth-most in a season, FCS programs hope to make a mark again in 2017.


    Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference teams are involved in 12 of the nearly 100 matchups. Half are against Power-5 conference programs, including Delaware State with a pair.


    Here's a look at this year's matchups involving MEAC teams:


    The Matchups (12)
    - Bethune-Cookman: Miami (Sept. 2) and Florida Atlantic (Sept. 16); Delaware State: West Virginia (Sept. 16) and Florida State (Nov. 18); Florida A&M: Arkansas (Aug. 31); Hampton: Ohio (Sept. 2); Howard: UNLV (Sept. 2) and Kent State (Sept. 9); Morgan State: Rutgers (Sept. 16); North Carolina A&T: Charlotte (Sept. 16); North Carolina Central: Duke (Sept. 2); Savannah State: Appalachian State (Sept. 9).


    Glamour Game - Bethune-Cookman at Miami (Sept. 2). The Wildcats know what to expect against the U, which beat them by a combined 128-24 in games in 2011, '12 and '15. With an experienced quarterback, Larry Brihm Jr., among their 15 returning starters, a strong effort could serve as a potential springboard for a bounce-back season.

    Upset Alert
    - North Carolina A&T at Charlotte (Sept. 16). The Aggies have a big hole to fill without all-time MEAC rushing leader Tarik Cohen, but they learned last year how to beat an FBS opponent, working four overtimes at Kent State. Charlotte has played only two seasons on the FBS level and is 2-10 at home during that time.

    Notable -
    Norfolk State and South Carolina State are not playing FBS programs this season. It's quite the change for SCSU, which opened last season by facing UCF, Louisiana Tech and Clemson. â?¦ Defending MEAC champ North Carolina Central will head across Durham to face Duke for the fourth time in five seasons. Duke won the other three games by a combined 149-6. â?¦ New Howard coach Mike London will open his tenure with back-to-back FBS opponents in UNLV and Kent State. â?¦ Coming off a winless season, Delaware State's visits to West Virginia and Florida State could resemble last year's 79-0 drubbing at Missouri. â?¦ Florida A&M's matchup with Arkansas is its first game against an SEC opponent since losing 63-3 to Florida on Sept. 13, 2003. â?¦ Savannah State is coming off just its second FCS season with more than two wins, but since 2012, it's lost to 11 FBS opponents by an incredible 717-48. This year, second-year coach Erik Raeburn's team will play a later season opener on Sept. 9 against Appalachian State. â?¦ Rutgers has come to face MEAC teams annually, but that's ending with Morgan State on Sept. 16 because Big Ten schools are ceasing matchups versus the FCS. â?¦ Hampton's first-ever game against Ohio U. kicks off a season in which the Pirates are celebrating the school's 150th anniversary.


    *************************


    2017 FCS vs. FBS: CAA Football
    May 9, 2017



    (STATS) - Coming off a 2016 season in which their 10 wins over FBS programs tied for the fourth-most in a campaign, FCS teams hope to make a mark again in 2017.


    CAA Football teams are involved in 12 of the nearly 100 matchups, including Maine playing in two of them. Since 1998, CAA teams have beaten at least one FBS opponent in all but four seasons.


    Here's a look at this year's matchups involving CAA teams:


    The Matchups (12)
    - Albany: Old Dominion (Sept. 2); Delaware: Virginia Tech (Sept. 9); Elon: Toledo (Sept. 2); James Madison: East Carolina (Sept. 2); Maine: UCF (Sept. 30) and Massachusetts (Nov. 11); New Hampshire: Georgia Southern (Sept. 9); Rhode Island: Central Michigan (Aug. 31); Stony Brook: South Florida (Sept. 2); Towson: Maryland (Sept. 2); Villanova: Temple (Sept. 9); William & Mary: Virginia (Sept. 2)


    Glamour Game - Maine vs. Massachusetts at Fenway Park (Nov. 11). The historic venue makes Maine's second FBS matchup of the season stand out, but second-year coach Joe Harasymiak and his veteran team (17 starters) must be eyeing an upset against old rival UMass. Their last meeting in 2013 netted the Black Bears' second-ever win over an FBS opponent, 24-14.

    Upset Alert
    - James Madison at East Carolina (Sept. 2). Upset? OK, the reigning FCS national champion Dukes might be the favorite when they begin their title defense. Coach Mike Houston returns 12 starters, including quarterback and 2016 CAA offensive player of the year Bryan Schor. East Carolina finished a mere 2-9 last season.


    Notable - Four CAA programs have new coaches, but only Elon's Curt Cignetti is making his debut against an FBS opponent (Toledo). â?¦ Richmond, which knocked off Virginia to open last season, is not playing an FBS opponent for the first time since 2003. â?¦ New Hampshire's run of 13 straight FCS playoff appearances began in 2004 with a 27-23 win at Georgia Southern. It's their only previous meeting. â?¦ Delaware's high-profile game at Virginia Tech, which went 10-4 last season, is a first-ever meeting, as is Rhode Island's trip to Central Michigan. â?¦ The Mayor's Cup in Philadelphia will be on the line when Villanova and Temple meet at Lincoln Financial Field. Their series is tied 15-15-2, although Temple has won the last three matchups. â?¦ Albany is playing an FBS opponent for just a third time, having split two games with Buffalo over the last two seasons. Albany's only game against Old Dominion - a 66-10 loss in 2013 - occurred when the Monarchs were transitioning out of the FCS. â?¦ Stony Brook kicks off its season at South Florida in new coach Charlie Strong's first home game with the Bulls. The Seawolves' 59-14 loss to USF at Raymond James Stadium in 2010 came before an announced attendance of 40,210 which is the largest to witness a Stony Brook game. â?¦ William & Mary's trip to Virginia will mark the start of coach Jimmye Laycock's 38th season with the Tribe. No FCS coach has been with his program longer. â?¦ Towson running back Terrance West was early in his freshman season in 2011 when the Tigers lost at Maryland 28-3 in their only previous meeting. He went on to win the Jerry Rice Award as the FCS freshman of the year and led Towson to the national championship game as a junior in 2013.
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    Auburn QB Woody Barrett to transfer
    May 8, 2017



    AUBURN, Ala. (AP) Auburn quarterback Woody Barrett says he's transferring.


    The third-year sophomore announced his decision on Twitter Monday, but didn't say what school he planned to attend.


    Barrett, who is from Winter Garden, Florida, didn't play last season. He was the nation's No. 6 dual-threat quarterback in 2016 according to the 247Sports composite rankings.


    The battle for the starting job appears down to returnee Sean White and transfer Jarrett Stidham. Freshman mid-year enrollee Malik Willis also saw significant action in the Tigers' spring game.


    Barrett saw limited playing time in the spring game, completing both of his pass attempts for 14 yards. Reserve quarterback Tyler Queen has also left the program.


    He topped 2,000 passing yards and 1,400 rushing yards as a high school senior.


    ***********************


    Arkansas RB Williams to quit football
    May 8, 2017



    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) Rawleigh Williams returned to the football field last season following a broken neck only after assurances from doctors.


    A second scare that left him sprawled out on the Razorbacks' indoor practice field last week has ended his career.


    Williams announced his decision to walk away from football in an article on the school's website on Monday, prematurely ending the career for one of the most promising young running backs in college football.


    ''It still doesn't seem real yet, but I really don't have a choice,'' Williams wrote. ''I've dodged the bullet twice. I realize that at the end of the day I want to live a normal life and be around my family.''


    Williams, who was third in the Southeastern Conference with 1,360 yards rushing last season, suffered what coach Bret Bielema called a ''stinger'' during the team's final spring practice a week ago. He fell to the ground after a light hit during a partial-contact portion of practice, remaining there while trainers rushed to his side before loading him onto a stretcher and then taking him to the hospital in an ambulance.


    That came a year and a half after the 5-foot-10, 226-pound running back was originally injured as a freshman against Auburn in 2015 .


    While he was able to move his fingers, Williams' family was on hand for last week's practice and was clearly shaken by the sight. Williams and his family met doctors and later with Bielema before arriving at the decision to not risk a permanently disabling injury.


    ''This next chapter in Rawleigh's life will be filled with unlimited success in any career path or anyway of life he chooses,'' Bielema said. ''As a head coach I couldn't be more excited to begin the next chapter with him and be there for him.''


    Williams said he was barely able to feel his hand and that it was really weak immediately following his latest injury. He said feeling in his body began to return quickly, but also that he knew the injury ''was similar enough'' to his previous neck injury.


    ''The first thing I thought when it all happened was the reaction of my mom, dad, sister and brother,'' Williams said. ''I didn't want them to go through this all over again. I just wanted to stand up to calm them down and show them that I was OK.''


    Williams said he has watched a replay of the latest hit, and that because it was a normal hit he now understands that ''any little thing can trigger it.''


    ''I also saw the reaction of my mom and my sister,'' Williams said. ''That broke my heart. I can't do this anymore. I want to be able to walk.''


    Williams said he plans to continue his education so that he can follow his father's childhood advice: ''Don't work to just be the guy in the jersey on Sundays. Work to be the guy in the nice suit that's in the suite of the stadium making all the decisions.''


    ''I am very grateful,'' Williams said. ''It is sad but I truly believe God has a plan for my life. I believe I'm going to be blessed more than I could ever imagine. Even though my plan isn't going to happen, I know that his plan is better than my plan.''


    ****************************


    2017 FCS vs. FBS: Big South
    May 8, 2017



    (STATS) - Coming off a 2016 season in which their 10 wins over FBS programs tied for the fourth most in a season, FCS programs hope to make a mark again in 2017.


    Big South teams are involved in four of the nearly 100 matchups. The conference hasn't had great success against FBS opponents, but long-time power Liberty, whose program will rise to the FBS level next year, posted wins in 2014 (Appalachian State) and '15 (Georgia State).


    Here's a look at this year's games involving Big South teams:


    The matchups (4)
    - Charleston Southern vs. Mississippi State (Sept. 2); Gardner-Webb vs. Wyoming (Sept. 9); Liberty vs. Baylor (Sept. 2); Presbyterian vs. Wake Forest (Aug. 31)


    Glamour Game - Liberty at Baylor. The Flames, under coach Turner Gill, begin their final season in the FCS with their only FBS matchup - a first meeting with Baylor. Their 2018 schedule will be FBS-centric, with the Flames required to play at least three home games against FBS opponents.


    Upset Alert - Gardner-Webb at Wyoming. Quarterback Tyrell Maxwell and running back Khalil Lewis provide a dangerous 1-2 duo for a Gardner-Webb program which has only played as far west as Laramie once before (Montana State in 2003). The Runnin' Bulldogs won at Akron in 2010.

    Notable
    - Kennesaw State's third-year program has yet to play an FBS program, but the Owls have future dates scheduled with Georgia State (2018), Kent State (2019 and 2020) and Georgia Tech (2021). ... Monmouth also won't play an FBS game this season after playing the first two in program history the last two years, losing 31-10 to Central Michigan in 2015 and 27-7 to Kent State last season. ... Tommy Spangler begins his second stint as Presbyterian's coach when the Blue Hose face Wake Forest, while Mark Tucker will debut as Charleston Southern's coach in the Buccaneers' first meeting with Mississippi State. Presbyterian is 0-11 all-time against FBS competition and Charleston Southern, the Big South's two-time defending champ, is 0-19. ... The Big South will add new members in Campbell next year and North Alabama in 2019.
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    2017 FCS vs. FBS: Big Sky
    May 5, 2017

    (STATS) - Coming off a 2016 season in which their 10 wins over FBS programs tied for the fourth-most in a season, FCS programs hope to make a mark again in 2017.


    Big Sky teams are involved in 16 of the nearly 100 matchups. The FCS' largest conference often plays a role in the success, such as Eastern Washington's 45-42 win at Washington State last September.


    Here's a look at this year's matchups involving Big Sky teams:


    The Matchups (16
    ) - Cal Poly: San Jose State (Sept. 2); Eastern Washington: Texas Tech (Sept. 2); Idaho State: Utah State (Sept. 7) and Nevada (Sept. 16); Montana: Washington (Sept. 9); Montana State: Washington State (Sept. 2); North Dakota: Utah (Aug. 31); Northern Arizona: Arizona (Sept. 2); Northern Colorado: Florida (Sept. 9) and Colorado (Sept. 16); Portland State: BYU (Aug. 26) and Oregon State (Sept. 2); Sacramento State: Idaho (Aug. 31); Southern Utah: Oregon (Sept. 2); UC Davis: San Diego State (Sept. 2); Weber State: California (Sept. 9)


    Glamour Game - Montana at Washington (Sept. 9). Washington made the College Football Playoff last season, losing to Alabama in the semifinals (Peach Bowl). The Grizzlies, facing an FBS opponent for just the third time since 2006, believe their trip to Seattle will benefit recruiting. The two programs were both members in the Pacific Coast Conference from 1924 to 1950, and last faced each other in 1951.

    Upset Alert
    - Cal Poly at San Jose State (Sept. 2). All-America fullback Joe Protheroe and the Mustangs' triple-option offense will have played a game already (Colgate on Aug. 27) when they face a Mountain West squad that had a 4-8 record and ranked 122nd out of 128 FBS teams in rushing defense last season.


    Notable - All 13 Big Sky programs are playing an FBS opponent. â?¦ Two new Big Sky coaches, Eastern Washington's Aaron Best (Texas Tech) and UC Davis' Dan Hawkins (San Diego State), will make their debuts against FBS programs. Interestingly, Best's predecessor, Beau Baldwin, also made his EWU debut against Texas Tech, falling 49-24 in 2008. UC Davis will play San Diego State for the first time. â?¦ Idaho State will face its two FBS opponents after new coach Rob Phenicie debuts against Division II Western Oregon. â?¦ Second-year Montana State coach Jeff Choate served as an assistant under Washington State coach Mike Leach in 2012. â?¦ Portland State will have an early start to its season (Aug. 26) because BYU plays at Hawaii this year and the NCAA allows the visiting team to have 13 regular-season games. â?¦ Not only is Northern Colorado facing an SEC opponent (Florida) for the first time, its follow-up game (Colorado) gives the Bears two FBS games in the same season for the first time since joining the Big Sky in 2006. â?¦ Weber State's first-ever game against Cal is its fourth against a Pac-12 team in five years. â?¦ In Utah, North Dakota is playing a Pac-12 opponent for the first time since a 0-0 tie against Oregon in 1931. â?¦ Northern Arizona has lost 12 straight meetings with Arizona, including 77-13 in 2015 in quarterback Case Cookus' third career start. He went on to win STATS national freshman of the year honors. â?¦ Idaho, Sacramento State's FBS opponent, will rejoin the Big Sky as a member in 2018. â?¦ New Oregon coach Willie Taggart will make his debut when the Ducks host Southern Utah.


    ******************************


    Judge rips USF coach Charlie Strong
    May 3, 2017



    TAMPA, Fla. (AP) A judge presiding over the first appearance of a South Florida football player charged with sexual battery not only had harsh words for the athlete in court, but questioned whether new coach Charlie Strong is a good fit for the program.


    Circuit Judge Margaret Taylor of Hillsborough County told defensive end LaDarrius Jackson during a hearing Wednesday that she is a USF graduate who is ''embarrassed and ashamed'' in the wake of two separate arrests involving members of the team since March.


    Jackson, 22, was arrested late Monday after a female acquaintance said earlier in the day that he assaulted her in student housing. Jackson was removed from team activity after being charged with sexual battery and false imprisonment.


    Another USF football player arrested in March, Hassan Childs, was dismissed from the squad after being charged with aggravated assault and possession of marijuana in March.


    Taylor had harsh words Jackson and Strong, the former Louisville and Texas coach who has been at USF since December. Strong replaced Willie Taggart, who left the Bulls for Oregon.


    ''Coach Strong, if you are listening, in the last couple of months there have been two arrests of your players for very violent felonies. This court, and I'm sure I'm not alone, questions whether you have control over your players,'' the judge said in a courtroom video obtained by the Tampa Bay Times from television station WTSP.


    ''It's fairly clear you do not have control of them off the field, and I guess only time will tell whether you have control over them on the field,'' she added. ''I would implore you to think long and hard about whether being head coach at USF is a good fit for you before any other members of this community have to suffer at the hands of one of your players.''


    Strong released a statement later Wednesday defending his program following the judge's unusual courtroom comments.


    ''In the short time I have been here our program has been built on character, discipline and family. We have wonderful young men in the USF football program who choose to do the right thing every day,'' the coach said.


    ''While I am shocked and saddened at the recent arrest of a member of our team, I am disappointed that the actions of two players over the last two months have harmed the reputation of our program, of our wonderful university and of my character,'' Strong added. ''We have high expectations of our coaches, staff and student-athletes and we hold accountable those who act contrary to our values.''


    Before Taylor's admonishment of Strong, the judge had some candid comments for Jackson, saying ''assuming the facts surrounding your charges are true, your behavior is reprehensible.''


    ''I'm an alumni, graduated from USF in 1989, long before there was a football team,'' Taylor said ''And while USF may not be the top-ranked school in the nation, I was never ashamed of being an alum until now,'' the judge added. ''Embarrassed and ashamed, Mr. Jackson. Let's just say that my USF diploma is not proudly hanging in my office right now.''


    ***************************


    Utah, Wyoming to play home-and-home
    May 3, 2017



    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) The Utah and Wyoming football programs have agreed to a home-and-home series to be played in 2020 and 2025.


    The Cowboys are scheduled to host the first game in Laramie, Wyoming, on Sept. 19, 2020. The Utes will welcome Wyoming to Salt Lake City on Sept. 6, 2025.


    The two teams have met 83 times with Utah leading 51-31-1. The programs were fellow conference members in the Rocky Mountain, Big Seven, Skyline, Western Athletic and Mountain West before Utah moved to the Pac-12 in 2011.
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    Wake Forest dismisses QB Kearns
    May 3, 2017



    WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) Wake Forest has dismissed backup quarterback Kyle Kearns from the team for a violation of team rules.


    Coach Dave Clawson announced the dismissal Wednesday. The school's news release didn't specify the nature of the violation.


    Kearns played in five games as a redshirt freshman in 2016 but would have entered preseason practice behind three-year starter John Wolford and Kendall Hinton on the depth chart.


    He made his only start against Clemson and played much of the second half of the Military Bowl victory against Temple. Both appearances came when both Wolford and Hinton were out with injuries.


    Kearns completed 13 of 25 passes for 206 yards last season.


    ******************


    Jenkins directing Cal Poly's triple option
    May 3, 2017



    (STATS) - Cal Poly quarterback Khaleel Jenkins wore uniform No. 14 as a true freshman in 2015 and No. 2 last year. This year, he's sporting No. 10 - his high school number.


    It seems to fit just right as the junior settles into the starting job of leading the Mustangs' triple option offense. The Big Sky program is set to conclude spring practice on Saturday with its annual intrasquad game at Alex G. Spanos Stadium in San Luis Obispo.


    "Khaleel made extraordinary growth in practice last fall," Cal Poly coach Tim Walsh said, "and at 6-2 and 205 pounds, he's big for a quarterback and one of our best athletes. He needs game experience, no question about that, but our expectations are that he can run our offense. He is a good runner and an efficient thrower."


    Quarterback is always pivotal for one of the leading rushing attacks in the FCS. Jenkins started one game in 2015 and appeared in four more last season as the backup to Dano Graves, who is now Cal Poly's quarterbacks coach.


    While Jenkins will call his number often on keepers, he will have plenty of options in the backfield. Senior fullback Joe Protheroe, who rushed for 1,334 yards and 13 touchdowns last season, is a returning All-American, while slot back Kyle Lewis and fullback Jared Mohamed combined for another 934 yards on the ground. They'll work behind experienced offensive linemen.


    The Mustangs hope to build on last year's 7-5 season which ended in the FCS playoffs. They posted signature wins over South Dakota State and Montana, with their losses against an FBS team (Nevada) and four other FCS playoff qualifiers.


    ****************************


    QB Sheriron Jones leaving Tennessee
    May 2, 2017



    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Quarterback Sheriron Jones is leaving Tennessee's program again.


    Tennessee athletic department spokesman Stephen Lee confirmed Tuesday that Jones has been granted his release to transfer. 247Sports first reported Jones was transferring.


    Jones had left Tennessee's team in January 2016 to transfer to Colorado, but he returned to the Volunteers later that month.


    He played in one game and threw one pass last season. In Tennessee's April 22 spring game, Jones went 1 of 4 for 2 yards and had a 7-yard run.


    Jones had been competing for the right to replace Pittsburgh Steelers fourth-round draft pick Joshua Dobbs as Tennessee's starting quarterback. Quinten Dormady and Jarrett Guarantano are thought to be the leaders in that race, though Tennessee coach Butch Jones said after the spring game nobody has an edge.
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    Big 12 players poised to break out
    May 2, 2017



    A look at football players in the Big 12 Conference this spring who are poised to have standout seasons beginning this fall:


    BAYLOR


    WR Blake Lynch, sophomore. The speedy Lynch will get a chance to be a top receiving target sooner rather than later after KD Cannon and Ishmael Zamora both left school early, signing NFL free agent rookie deals after going undrafted last week. Lynch had 34 catches for 404 yards and three touchdowns last season behind his teammates who were 1-2 in the Big 12 for receptions per game.

    IOWA STATE



    RB David Montgomery, sophomore. Montgomery was so good as a freshman that he supplanted Mike Warren - who led all freshman nationally in rushing yards in 2015 - toward the end of last season. Montgomery averaged 5.2 yards per carry and closed the season with 141 yards against West Virginia.


    KANSAS


    DE Josh Ehambe, junior. Ehambe dazzled in the spring game after moving back to his natural position from linebacker, where he played for the Jayhawks last season. He had three sacks while showing he could provide a dynamic bookend to last year's breakout star, Dorance Armstrong.


    KANSAS STATE


    RB Alex Barnes, sophomore. After beginning last season buried on the depth chart, Barnes wound up rushing for 442 yards and six touchdowns on just 56 carries. That was good enough for second in school history in both categories by a freshman running back.


    OKLAHOMA


    RBs Abdul Adams and/or Rodney Anderson, sophomores. With 1,000-yard rushers Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine both picked in the NFL draft after leaving Oklahoma early, there is a clear opening for the young, talented running backs. Adams had 283 yards rushing on 53 carries (5.3 yards per carry) in limited chances last season. Anderson is healthy again, though intentionally limited in spring practice after sustaining a broken neck in preseason camp last fall. He also broke his leg on special teams in his second game as a true freshman in 2015.


    OKLAHOMA STATE


    WR Tyron Johnson, sophomore. The transfer from LSU already has established himself as a favorite target for Heisman contender quarterback Mason Rudolph. The speedy Johnson was a five-star recruit coming out of high school. With so many talented players around him, including Biletnikoff Award contender James Washington, Johnson likely will have some favorable matchups.


    TCU


    WR KaVontae Turpin, junior. Poised for a breakout last season, Turpin suffered a knee injury early and still averaged 123 all-purpose yards in his eight games. He missed much of this spring practice for academic reasons, but coach Gary Patterson said he earned his way back. In two seasons, Turpin has averaged 27.5 yards on kickoff returns and 11.3 yards on punt returns, with two TDs. He also had eight receiving TDs as a freshman in 2015.


    TEXAS


    WR Collin Johnson, sophomore. The 6-foot-6 Californian should be the new weapon in the Texas offense. He caught two touchdowns in the spring game and has the size, speed and soft hands to be a matchup nightmare for defensive backs and a favorite target for quarterback Shane Buechele.

    TEXAS TECH



    CB Octavious Morgan. The junior college transfer has already been called ''a real Big 12 cornerback'' by Texas Tech coaches. He had 42 tackles and three interceptions last season at Butler Community College. Morgan was a physical presence throughout his first spring practice with the Red Raiders, who in the past have given up as many points and yards as they have put up with their big-play offense.


    WEST VIRGINIA


    WR David Sills, junior. After trying to prove himself as a quarterback at California's El Camino College last season, Sills transferred back to West Virginia and had six catches for 96 yards in the spring game. Coach Dana Holgorsen calls Sills ''extremely, extremely football smart.'' Sills, who received a scholarship offer from Lane Kiffin at Southern California while still in middle school, had seven catches for 131 yards and two TDs while a receiver for the Mountaineers two seasons ago.
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