Wrapping up the opening weekend ACC action

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No. 20 Florida State 59 Samford 6

Tallahassee Heisman hopeful Christian Ponder did not help his stock to start Saturdayafternoons match with Samford. The Seminoles’ first appearance in the red zone ended with a sixyard interception.

Once reality hit, though, Ponder bounced back. He threw four first half touchdowns–three in thesecond quarter–as the ‘Noles went into half time with a 42-3 lead.

Backup quarterback sophomore EJ Manuel came in for relief of Ponder so as topreserve his health after the break.

The second half featured another field goal from Samford kicker Cameron Yaw and apair of rushing touchdowns from FSU.

• No. 16 Georgia Tech 41 South Carolina State 10

The Yellowjackets under head coach Paul Johnson haven’t made any significantchanges. The Georgia Tech defense played well against SC State, holding the offense to zeropoints despite failing to grab a turnover.

The offense was its usual self, as well. Quarterback Josh Nesbitt characteristicallypassed for eight yards through the first half, and the run game accounted for the other 175 yards.

The Yellowjackets headed into half-time with a 20-3 lead, and never looked back. Nesbitt scoredanother rushing touchdown, and Georgia Tech finished with six total rushing touchdowns, fourmore scores than they had pass completions…for the day.

The Bulldogs’ Malcolm Long added a one-yard rushing touchdown for SC State’s lonetouchdown of the afternoon.

Boston College 38 Weber State 20

Last season, Boston College 26-year-old sophomore quarterback Dave Shinskie had arollercoaster of a season. He played well against Wake Forest, Florida State and NC State. Hehad bad games against Notre Dame, Virginia and North Carolina.

Then there was the Virginia Tech game. Shinskie’s passer rating was -22.20. The Hokies caughtmore of Shinskie’s passes than did the Eagles.

In order for BC to turn things around this season, they would need Shinskie to lead the offensesuccessfully. His first pass on Saturday was less than ideal.

Weber State linebacker Taylor Sedillo intercepted Shinskie for seven yards and set upthe Wildcats in the Eagle red zone. They settled for a field goal.

On BC’s next drive, Shinskie completed all three of his passes for 35 yards and a touchdown to

Chris Pantale, wiping away any fear or doubt any Eagle fan could have.

But Shinskie was not yet through scaring Boston College fans. He finished the day a miserable10 of 20 for 187 yards, with a pair of touchdowns and interceptions. And this was againstWeber State’s defense, not Virginia Tech or North Carolina.

Eagle running back Montel Harris looked great, finishing with 115 yards and a score,but the Eagles must have Shinskie perform, or it will be another disappointing season for BostonCollege.

Clemson 35 North Texas 10

The big question mark for Clemson heading into their Saturday afternoon battle with NorthTexas was the play of quarterback Kyle Parker. Would he repeat his success from lastyear, or would he crumble under the distraction(s) of becoming a professional baseball player?

Early on, Parker played as well as he could have. He hit two touchdowns through the air toreceiver Brandon Clear and running back Jamie Harper.

The Tigers started their scoring with a 60-yard run in the first quarter by running back AndreEllington.

If the Tiger defense had not got to Mean Green quarterback Nathan Tune four times inthe first half, then Tulane may very well have been tied with Clemson at the break. North Texasalso fumbled, losing yardage, on three separate occasions.

Both running backs Harper and Ellington finished with two scores each, sending all thoughts offormer Tiger CJ Spiller to the wind.

Parker quieted down, finishing with nearly half of his pass attempts being incomplete, one aninterception.

Virginia 34 Richmond 13

Running back Keith Payne was through with football until former Cavalier headcoach Al Groh left and current head coach Mike London stepped in. Boy, isCavalier nation glad he came back.

Payne ran for 108 yards on just fifteen carries for four scores, three of which were in the secondhalf to help UVA pull away from the Spiders.

According to Rivals.com, Payne had three straight carries over 13 yards, each time with defenders on hisback.

Richmond, a perennial FCS powerhouse, had previously beaten Virginia twice in the past fiveyears. The two were within one-point when Virginia led at half-time, 14-13. The last three scoreswere all Payne’s.

NC State 48 Western Carolina 7

NC State quarterback Russell Wilson was in a similar situation as Clemson passerKyle Parker this summer. Wilson was selected in the MLB draft, and missed somepracticing with his Wolfpack teammates because of baseball related events.

But, unlike Parker, Wilson did his part in leading the Wolfpack offense to a ton of points. Hecompleted 21 of 31 passes for 306 yards and four scores, without a blemish.

As for the Wolfpack defense, they did not allow the Western Carolina Catamounts into the redzone. The seven points surrendered by the Wolfpack defense was the fewest amount since NCState’s second game of last season.

Duke 41 Elon 27

In his first career start, Duke quarterback Sean Renfree had a career-day. Renfree passedfor 350 yards and two touchdowns, showing that former Blue Devil quarterback ThaddeusLewis might have been a product of Duke’s offensive system.

Duke had a comfortable lead throughout the entire first half, heading into the break up 27-13.

The third quarter was scoreless, while the fourth featured two scores by each team.

No. 21 LSU 30 No. 18 North Carolina 24

In what many thought would be a blow out, North Carolina held its own and nearly toppled LSU.The Tar Heels rallied from a 30-10 halftime deficit to come within six.

With a successful onside kick, UNC looked like they had all the momentum in the world…untilTar Heel quarterback TJ Yates fumbled, allowing the Tigers to attempt to run out theclock.

If it were only that simple.

North Carolina managed to knock the ball loose with their depleted defense, and recovered thefumble. With 2:17 remaining in the game and on his own 27 yard line, Yates led the Tar Heelsdown the field to mount a comeback.

Yates completed his first five passes of the drive, but with 0:10 left in the game, he threw twoincomplete passes, attempted for tight end Zack Pianalto. Yates finished the gamecompleting 62.2% of his passes for 410 yards and three scores.

LSU turned the ball over four times, yet still escaped with the victory.

It’s only natural to imagine what the end result would have been had North Carolina played their entire team. The Tar Heels were without eight starters, severely limiting their potential as a unit.

Hugh Freeze fuels Ole Miss win in Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl golf outing

Hugh Freeze
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Challenge
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It appears Ole Miss’ off-field issues laid bare for the country to see over the weekend had little or no impact on Hugh Freeze’s focus on a golf course.

At the 2016 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl challenge in Greensboro, Ga., Freeze and his Ole Miss partner, former Rebel tight end Wesley Walls, pulled away from the field of 13 FBS head coaches and their partners to claim a two-shit win.  Moat impressive was how the Rebel duo pulled away as Freeze holed an 8-iron from 150 yards on the par-four 14th for an eagle, then the team proceeded to rip off four straight birdies to close out both the round and a trio of teams that finished at -11 –Georgia (Kirby Smart/David Dukes), Georgia Tech (Paul Johnson/Jon Barry), North Carolina State (Dave Doeren/Terry Harvey).

“The ball was jumping off my irons and I knew I hit it good,” Freeze said of the holed-out shot that jumpstarted the birdie binge. “Then Wesley said he thought he saw it disappear. I thought it was long but I started walking to the hole pretty fast and found out it went in. That’s when we thought we had a chance.”

Freeze’s heroics helped win his team $100,000, with that total being split evenly between endowed scholarships at the universities and foundations or charities of the coach’s choice.  Those heroics also kept the Georgia Tech team of Johnson and Barry from three-peating and winning the event for the fifth time in the last six years.

Below is how the rest of the field finished in the challenge as well as scholarship.charity money earned.

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‘Sometime this week or next week,’ ex-Miami TE Jerome Washington should sign with Rutgers

PISCATAWAY, NJ - NOVEMBER 16: Rutgers Scarlet Knights are wearing helmets with a stars and stripes logo in honor of Military Appreciation Day before the start of their game against the Cincinnati Bearcats at High Point Solutions Stadium on November 16, 2013 in Piscataway, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
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In mid-April, former Miami tight end Jerome Washington confirmed that Rutgers will be his likely transfer destination.  Three weeks later, that move is coming closer to fruition.

Speaking to nj.com, Washington stated that, when it comes to officially signing with the Scarlet Knights, “[h]opefully it’s sometime this week or next week.”  All indications are RU will send the required paperwork in short order to officially make Washington the newest member of first-year head coach Chris Ash‘s football program.

“I haven’t signed but they told me they have a scholarship offer for me,” Washington told the website. “And when I asked what I should say to schools recruiting me, they said I should say I’m not interested, which means I’m basically good to go. Coach Ash told my cousin that last week at the recruiting event.”

If Washington lands at RU, or any other FBS program, he’d have to sit out the 2016 season, but would then have two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2017.

Washington, a rising sophomore, appeared in nine games in 2015 for the Hurricanes but did not record a statistic. He arrived at The U by way of Mercer County Community College.

In February, Washington announced that he would be transferring from Miami and continuing his playing career elsewhere.

Minnesota losing DL Mose Hall to transfer

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 15: The jersey and helmet of Jon Christenson #63 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers are seen during the third quarter of the game against the Ohio State Buckeyes on November 15, 2014 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Buckeyes defeated the Golden Gophers 31-24. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The transfer train continues its run down the tracks, with Minnesota the latest to see its roster hit with attrition.

As all the cool kids are doing these days, Mose Hall took to social media confirm a change in his current situation, announcing on Twitter that he has decided to transfer out of the Gophers football program. No reason was given for the defensive lineman’s departure.

Should Hall move on to another FBS program, he’d have to sit out the 2016 season. He’d then have three seasons of eligibility remaining beginning in 2017.

Hall was a three-star 2015 recruit rated as the No. 98 strongside defensive end by 247Sports.com.  He was also the No. 61 player at any position in the state of Alabama.

Last season as a true freshman, Hall took a redshirt.

Expansion rumblings once again swirling around Big 12

Matt Ritchey
Associated Press
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Expansion in major college football has been in hibernation for a couple of years now, but it appears movement on that front could be imminent.  Or it could not.  One of the two.

Over the past 24 hours or so, a handful of stories have surfaced that, once again, have the speculation swirling around the Big 12 when it comes to that conference getting back to matching its numerical name.  From analytics to potential expansion candidates to the 800-pound Longhorn in the middle of the room, the Big 12’s annual spring meetings this week figure to at least begin — or, more specifically, continue — the process of settling the expansion/conference title game/league network issues that are all inextricably intertwined.

To wit:

— Monday, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby confirmed that in research performed by an analytics outfit hired by the league, a 12-team conference with an eight-game league schedule and a championship game is the best model for one of its teams qualifying for the college football playoff.  Right now, the Big 12 is the exact opposite of that model, with 10 teams, nine conference games and no title game.

According to Bowlsby, the first combination would increase a league’s chances of sending a team to the playoffs by five percent.  As Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News asked, would that slight bump be enough to get everyone onboard with expansion and a title game?

“Some would say we want every advantage we can get,” Bowlsby said. “Others may say it’s not enough to blow up a good scheduling model.”

From Carlton’s report:

Bowlsby said the Big 12 is scheduled to receive “two major reports” in Irving. In addition to information on the title game, Navigate will examine scheduling models for a 10-, 12- and 14-team conference and the variables involved.

In February, Bowlsby said he hoped to have an answer to the expansion question, one way or the other, this summer.  Just how close Bowlsby gets to that timeline will depend on how things go in Phoenix this week.

— Boise State, BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, Memphis and UCF have all been mentioned as potential candidates if the Big 12 opts to expand.  According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, the UofM has been lobbying the conference for inclusion in a next round of expansion if it comes.

University of Memphis president M. David Rudd sent a promotional publication – highlighting the finer points of the city and its major university – to University of Texas president Dr. Gregory Fenves in December, showcasing the U of M as a possible Big 12 expansion candidate.

Rudd said the publication, entitled “Memphis Soul of a City,” captures “the passion and proud history of Tiger athletics including a historic run by our football program.”

The Memphis publication highlights the city’s top Fortune 500 companies, its overall attributes and the U of M’s attributes, including its recent athletic accomplishments, particularly the turnaround by the football program. Tiger football has gone 19-7 the past two seasons.

— And, finally,that 800-pound Longhorn we spoke of earlier.

It’s long been believed that Texas is not in favor of expanding the conference, especially at the expense of folding its Longhorn Network into a conference-wide network, with Texas Tech and TCU, for their own reasons, following in lock-step with the state’s flagship institution.  According to a report from the Cincinnati Enquirer, the conference is one vote shy of garnering enough support to expand.

It’s believed seven of the 10 schools favor expansion. But Big 12 bylaws call for a super majority vote of 75 percent (so at least eight schools) to make a major change. Texas is believed to be influencing Texas Tech’s and Texas Christian’s decisions to also be reluctant to expansion.

Texas Tech has long fallen in line with Texas. Both are public universities that have been in the same league together since 1956, when they were in the Southwest Conference. Texas and Texas Tech were founding members of the Big 12 in 1996.

TCU is believed to be following Texas’ lead because the conference’s power broker reportedly helped the Horned Frogs get into the Big 12 four years ago.

In other words, we’re right back to where we’ve been on multiple occasions in the past: as Texas goes, so goes Big 12 expansion.  Or doesn’t go, as the case may be.

UPDATED 6:38 p.m. ET: If you want an idea as to Texas’ thought process at the moment, I think this sentence pretty much tells you everything you need to know.