'Canes-'Noles duel for league supremacy headlines ACC slate

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This weekend’s slate of ACC games should be great. Though the conference lacks ranked teams,and will be overshadowed by the Big Ten and SEC once again, there is no shortage of nicematchups.

Clemson heads up to Chapel Hill to take on the Tar Heels, Boston College and North CarolinaState will battle for their respective identities, and Navy takes on Wake Forest for the one-thousandth time in just the past few years.

All those games lead up to what should be a dandy. No. 23 Florida State is heading to Miami totake on the No. 13 Hurricanes in what will likely decide ACC supremacy. I feel like I have saidthat before…

If you have not already, you can check out the Big East preview HERE.

Clemson at North Carolina (3:30 ET)

THE LINE: North Carolina -2.5

THE PLOT: Two teams that were thought to be conference-title contenders are nowsitting in the middle of the pack. There’s only one way either of the two will break out, and itstarts with a win today.

This matchup pits two of the league’s best quarterbacks together, Clemson’s Kyle Parker and the Tar Heels’ T.J. Yates. It would not be out of the question to see the betterperformer of the two come out the victor.

THE PICK: Despite the success of each team’s offensive stars, the two schools mayvery well be known for their defenses. The Tar Heels have been hit hard with injuries, yet havestill played solid football.

The Tigers secondary may be one of the best in the conference, maybe the nation, and is led bysafety DeAndre McDaniel.

In the end though, I have to give the edge to the Tigers. North Carolina has not yet fullyovercome the penalty it was faced with the ineligibility of half its starters.

THE SCORE: Clemson 20, North Carolina 17

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Navy at Wake Forest (6:30 ET)

THE LINE: Navy -5.5

THE PLOT: Neither team has a great offense. The Midshipmen have a stellar rungame, but will face troubles if pressured late in the game. The Demon Deacons have showedglimpses of success in the passing game, but that was before it faced quarterback issues.

Navy has played tough football, and nearly beat an Atlantic Coast Conference team in Marylandto start the season.

Wake Forest has seen success, but was also undressed earlier in the year by Stanford.

THE PICK: While the two teams have a nice little history as of late, I think this gamesets the tone for future bouts. I think the Midshipmen will stymie the Demon Deacons and kill allmomentum. Navy is better coached and can play better on the road than most teams can at home.

Be prepared to see some sort of rushing record broke tomorrow night.

THE SCORE: Navy 31, Wake Forest 20

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No. 23 Florida State at No. 13 Miami (FL) (8:00 ET)

THE LINE: Miami (FL) -6.5

THE PLOT: This game will arguably be one of today’s top five games. It is not oftenthat the ACC boasts two ranked teams in a conference game–well, not lately.

The Seminoles’ only mistake was a bruising handed out by the Sooners. Miami similarly onlymade a single gaff this year, a big loss against the Ohio State Buckeyes.

If either teams wants to break away from the ACC-mold of embarrassment, they will need aconvincing win tonight during primetime.

THE PICK: Both teams sport impressive quarterbacks. The lone difference is thatChristian Ponder of Florida State has looked more consistent than Jacory Harrisof the ‘Canes.

If Ponder can get back to the Heisman-type ways he possessed late last season and early thisyear, FSU will have no problem shaking Miami’s speed.

THE SCORE: Florida State 27, Miami 26

LAST WEEKStraight up: 3-1Vs. spread: 1-3

OVERALLStraight up: 14-2Vs. spread: 6-10

(I failed to predict scores before Week One, but if you would like to count my predictions onWeek One from an outside source, you can add the following: Straight up 2-1, Vs. spread 0-3.)

(Odds courtesy of SportsBook.com by way of our friends at NBCSports.com.)

La. governor threatens LSU football in stumping for tax increase

BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 28:  Head coach Les Miles of the LSU Tigers look on during the game against the Texas A&M Aggies at Tiger Stadium on November 28, 2015 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
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In life, there are some things you just don’t threaten, like a man’s mother or wife or kids.  In the South, you never, ever threaten a man’s — or woman’s or mom’s — college football, even if it’s nothing more than what most are calling your typical political bluster.

Yet that’s exactly where Louisiana’s governor went Thursday, with John Bel Edwards “threatening” the very existence of the sport in the state — including flagship program LSU — if a tax increase for which he’s pushing isn’t implemented.  The state is facing a nearly $1 billion deficit, and funding for higher education, among other things, could be cut, the governor said, if “the largest tax increase in state history” is not put in place by June.

“If you are a student attending one of these universities, it means that you will receive a grade of incomplete, many students will not be able to graduate, and student-athletes across the state at those schools will be ineligible to play next semester,” Edwards said. “That means you can say farewell to college football next fall.”

“These are not scare tactics,” Edwards, wearing a Grim Reaper costume, added.

From the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

The governor went so far as to say that LSU football was also in jeopardy, due to a threatened suspension of spring classes that would jeopardize college athletes’ eligibility next year. He said the state would no longer be able to afford one of its most popular programs with middle class residents — the TOPS college scholarship — without tax hikes.

… “I don’t say this to scare you. But I am going to be honest with you.”

The governor didn’t just threaten LSU football if his tax increase wasn’t implemented, with the Times-Picayune writing that, during the state-wide television address, “Edwards told viewers that the state would be forced to take extreme action — such as throwing people with off of kidney dialysis and shutting down hospice services — if new taxes didn’t go into place over the next few months.”

Here’s to guessing that a deal will be reached before June, before people are thrown off dialysis.  Or before people start throwing legislators off buildings and/or bridges for shutting down their beloved Bayou Bengals football.

Texas losing assistant Jay Norvell to Arizona State

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Back in December, Jay Norvell was rumored to be a candidate for Arizona State’s vacancy at offensive coordinator.  Two months later, it appears the Texas play-caller will be joining Todd Graham‘s coaching staff after all, albeit in a “lesser” capacity.

Shortly after Texas confirmed that Charlie Strong had lost one assistant due to “circumstances [that] have put us in a position that we are going to part ways,” reports began to surface that Norvell is leaving Texas to take a job at ASU. Specifically, Norvell is expected to become Graham’s wide receivers coach and hold the title of passing-game coordinator as well.

Norvell spent one season at Texas after being dismissed by Oklahoma following the 2014 season.  Originally hired as the Longhorns’ wide receivers coach, Norvell was promoted to play-caller early on in the 2015 season when Shawn Watson and Joe Wickline were demoted by Strong.

After the 2015 season, Norvell ceded his play-calling duties to Sterlin Gilbert, who was hired by Strong as offensive coordinator in December. Norvell won’t have play-calling duties at Arizona State, either, as Graham hired Chip Lindsey away from Southern Miss to coordinate the Sun Devils’ offense.

Norvell becomes the fifth Longhorn assistant to leave the program since the end of the season, joining Watson (not retained), Wickline (moved on to West Virginia), Tommie Robinson (left for USC) and Chris Vaughn (Ole Miss muck). The last two offseasons, a total of eight assistants have left the program in some form or fashion.

As it stands now, Strong has three vacancies to fill on his current staff.

UPDATED 10:29 a.m. ET: While neither program has confirmed it, Norvell took to his personal Twitter account to apparently say goodbye to his home of the last year.

Report: USC AD Pat Haden undergoes unspecified medical procedure

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 03: 
USC Athletic Director Pat Haden speaks at a press conference introducing Steve Sarkisian as the new USC  head football coach at the John McKay Center at the University of Southern California on December 3, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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Citing a source with knowledge of the situation, the Los Angeles Times reported overnight that outgoing USC athletic director Pat Haden underwent what’s only being described as “an unspecified medical procedure” at some point Thursday.

Early Wednesday afternoon, reports surfaced that Haden nearly collapsed outside of Heritage Hall and was treated by paramedics called to the scene. Shortly thereafter, per reports, he was taken to the hospital via ambulance.  A statement from the school confirmed Haden had felt lightheaded before being treated by medical personnel and ultimately transported to his doctor off campus.

The 63-year-old Haden, who has a pacemaker, was taken to one hospital later that day and discharged.  According to the Times, however, Haden was taken to another hospital at some point after the first visit and was held overnight prior to the procedure being performed Thursday.

It’s expected that Haden will remain hospitalized for another day or two, the paper reports.

A similar episode prior to the Notre Dame game last season prompted Haden to give up his duties as a member of the College Football Playoff selection committee. Lingering health issues played a role in his decision earlier this month to step down as USC’s athletic director later this year.

Utah State continues filling holes on Matt Wells’ Aggies staff

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Departures had left Matt Wells with myriad openings on his Utah State coaching staff.  Earlier this week, Wells filled one hole on the offensive side of the ball; a day later, he turned to the defensive side.

The university confirmed Wednesday that Julius Brown has been added by Wells as cornerbacks coach.  Brown had spent the past two seasons as the secondary coach and recruiting coordinator at Mountain West rival Boise State.

Brown, who played his college football with the Broncos, and his alma mater reportedly parted ways earlier this year.  The Idaho Statesman reported at the time that “[i]t was unclear if Brown’s departure would be termed a resignation or a firing.”

Prior to his first tenure at BSU, Brown was a secondary coach and recruiting coordinator at Arkansas State (2013) and cornerbacks coach at Troy (2012).

“We are excited to add Julius to the Aggie football family,” said Wells. “He brings a lot of experience to our staff and team as both a secondary coach and former defensive back, and also has a reputation as an outstanding recruiter. He possesses key knowledge of the Mountain West that will aid us moving forward in our quest to win a conference championship.”

With the hiring of Brown, Wells still has a need for running backs and tight ends coaches as well as special teams coordinator.