'Noles, 'Cuse (???) look to continue rolling in ACC, Big East play

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Boston College at No. 16 Florida State (12:00 ET)

THE LINE: Florida State -22

THE PLOT: Boston College is facing more quarterback concerns than arguably anyother BCS school. Freshman Chase Rettig is paced to make another start, his first sincerecovering from a minor injury and benching. The Eagles have lostthree consecutive games, marking it the longest losing streak since 1998, when it lost six in arow.

The Seminoles have their own streak going as well. Florida State has won four consecutivegames since losing 47-17 to No. 10 Oklahoma. During that streak, FSU has outscored opponentsby an average margin of 25.8 points. Quarterback Christian Ponder and running backJermaine Thomas have led the Seminoles by performing above expectations over thecourse of the win streak.

THE PICK: The Eagles possess the league’s worst passing defense, but have been No. 1in stopping the rushing attack. Having the best rush preventing defense is great, but Florida Statecan both pass and run.

Thomas has led a Seminoles backfield that has averaged nearly 260 rushing yards per game thepast four bouts. Boston College is giving up just 80 rushing yards per game, so this match canreally go either way. If the runs aren’t there, then Ponder can reach his receivers.

The Seminole quarterback has thrown for six scores and a lone interception during the winningstreak.

Hailing from Massachusetts, I am all too familiar with the Boston College program. I thinkthe Eagles are one of the most efficient and refined teams in the nation, but this is trulyan ugly stretch. Not having a consistent quarterback can kill a team, and calling up a freshmanscout team player to fill a depth chart void is not promising.

THE SCORE: Florida State 38, Boston College 13

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Pittsburgh at Syracuse (12:00 ET)

THE LINE: Syracuse -1

THE PLOT: It isn’t every week that you see the Orange lined as a favorite to win agame, especially against a Football Bowl Subdivision team. So for the Orange to be favored in agame against Pittsburgh boggles my mind.

The last time Syracuse was favored against a Football Bowl Subdivision team not fromthe Mid-American Conference, you would have to look back to 2006 when the Orange were aone-point favorite over Connecticut.

I know that Syracuse has played some great football–the 4-1 start is the best since an 8-2 startin 2001–but reality has to hit the Panthers at some point. Dave Wannstedt has beencriticized more as a head football coach than most any other professionals within their respectiveline of work. The Panthers have started out just 2-3, but are nine points shy of being 4-1 with itslone loss a 31-3 beat down from then-No. 19 Miami (FL).

THE PICK: Pittsburgh finds solidarity in a convincing Big East-opening win. What?You thought Pittsburgh’s season was over?

THE SCORE: Pittsburgh 28, Syracuse 17

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Army at Rutgers (East Rutherford, 2:00 ET)

THE LINE: Rutgers -7

THE PLOT: Neither team is having the season it imagined.

Rutgers was supposed to ride sophomore quarterback Tom Savage to the top of the BigEast in a down-year for the league. The Scarlet Knights barely won two games, one at FloridaInternational and another in New Brunswick. Then there’s the Tulane game, a 17-14 inexplicableloss; a game that saw Savage go down with an injury.

As for the Black Knights of West Point, wins have come often and easily. Army wonunconvincingly at Eastern Michigan, then dropped a three-point game to a tough, high-scoringHawaii team at home. Then the Knights shut-out North Texas and won notably at Duke. Aone-score loss at home to a tough MAC team in Temple was the lone skirmish before Armydestroyed Tulane 41-23 in New Orleans.

The four wins for the Black Knights is one shy of last year’s total of five, and Army actually stillhas a chance to reach ten wins for the first time since 1996.

THE PICK: This battle of Knights is going to come down to turnovers and fieldposition. The game will be played at the New Meadowlands Stadium, home to the NFL’s NewYork Jets and New York Giants. With the game being played on such a grand stage, home fieldadvantage may not necessarily be a factor.

These two schools have played each of the past three seasons, with Rutgers winning each game.This Saturday’s outcome will be different though.

THE SCORE: Army 21, Rutgers 17

LAST WEEK (ACC, Big East) Straight up: 4-2 Vs. spread: 2-3-1

OVERALL Straight up: 18-4 Vs. spread: 8-13-1

(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.)

Ex-Alabama WR T. Simmons officially a WVU Mountaineer, too

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In the post below this, we noted that Jovani Haskins is officially a member of the West Virginia football program.  T.J. Simmons can say the same as well.

After Simmons announced it via social media over this past weekend, WVU has confirmed that the wide receiver has signed a grant-in-aid for the 2017-18 academic year and will continue his collegiate playing career with the Mountaineers.  That continuation won’t happen immediately as, after sitting out the 2017 season to satisfy NCAA transfer bylaws, Simmons will have three years of eligibility remaining with the Mountaineers.

Simmons had decided last week to transfer out of the Alabama football program.

A three-star member of the Crimson Tide’s 2016 recruiting class, Simmons was rated as the No. 58 receiver in the country and the No. 9 player at any position in the state of Alabama.

As a true freshman, Simmons played in 12 games, mainly on special teams.  In this year’s annual spring game, the 6-2, 201-pound receiver caught six passes for 82 yards and a touchdown for the Crimson Tide.

WVU makes addition of ex-Miami TE Jovani Haskins official

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One down, one to go.

Over the weekend, both former Miami tight end Jovani Haskins (HERE) and ex-Alabama wide receiver T.J. Simmons (HERE) indicated on social media that they would be transferring and continuing their collegiate playing careers at West Virginia.  Monday, WVU confirmed that the former has signed his grant-in-aid for the 2017-18 academic year.

Haskins will have to sit out the 2017 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules.  Beginning with the 2018 season, he’ll have three years of eligibility remaining.

A three-star member of the Hurricanes’ 2016 recruiting class, the 6-4, 245-pound Haskins was rated as the No. 18 tight end in the country and the No. 10 player at any position in the state of New Jersey.  He took a redshirt as a true freshman.

Earlier this month, Haskins opted to transfer from The U in order to “get a fresh start somewhere else.”

Haskins is the third Power Five player to officially transfer to the Mountaineers this offseason, joining former Syracuse defensive back Corey Winfield (HERE) and ex-Miami quarterback Jack Allison (HERE).

Texas JUCO reported landing spot for former four-star Auburn DT

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A little over a month after leaving The Plains, Antwuan Jackson has reportedly settled on a new college football home.

Citing multiple sources familiar with the situation, 247Sports.com is reporting that Jackson has signed with Blinn Community College in Texas.  The defensive tackle will play for the JUCO this season, with his eyes set on a return to the FBS level, perhaps as early as December.

On his Twitter account earlier Monday, Jackson hinted at an unspecified development regarding his football future.

In mid-May, Jackson announced his decision to transfer from Auburn. AU blocked him from transferring to a handful of schools he had requested, including Ohio State. It’s believed the Buckeyes have emerged as the favorites to land the lineman when he jumps back to the FBS level.

Jackson was a four-star member of AU’s 2016 recruiting class, rated as the No. 7 defensive tackle in the country; the No. 5 player at any position in the state of Georgia; and the No. 49 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board.  Only three players in the Tigers’ class that year were rated higher.

As a true freshman last season, Jackson took a redshirt.

Nova, Auburn’s live eagle mascot, grounded for 2017 season

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Auburn will be forced to go to a backup when it comes to its famed pregame mascot flights.

The university announced Monday that’s live eagle mascot, War Eagle VII, has ben grounded for the entire 2017 season.  The university stated that its College of Veterinary Medicine faculty diagnosed the 18-year-old golden eagle with cardiomyopathy, a chronic disease of the heart.

The diagnosis was made following what was described as a routine checkup.

Below are the comments of the veterinarians in charge of the care of an eagle who has been a part of gamedays on The Plains since 2004.

Nova has been diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, indicated by an enlarged left ventricle, decreased systolic function and supraventricular premature complexes (arrhythmia),” said Dr. Seth Oster, an avian veterinarian at the raptor center and the college’s Wilford and Kate Bailey Small Animal Teaching Hospital.

“These areas of constriction can increase the systolic pressure of the heart so that Nova’s heart has to pump harder to move blood around his body,” said Oster. “This type of problem could have multiple causes, the most common of which in birds is atherosclerosis.”

“Vessels that are constricted, like those that are seen in Nova’s scan, can have dangerous complications when put under increased stress from exercise,” said Dr. Seung-Woo Jung, an assistant professor of cardiology in the Department of Clinical Sciences at the College of Veterinary Medicine. “This includes aneurysm or clot formation that could lead to vascular rupture, stroke, aortic thromboembolism or heart attack.

The release added that due to “the risk of severe medical complications, veterinary medical staff decided that Nova should not be placed in situations that cause his heart to work harder than usual, including flying in the stadium before each game.”

With War Eagle VII sidelined, pregame duties will fall to Spirit.

Spirit is the only bald eagle that has ever flown in Jordan-Hare Stadium. Her first game flight was in 2002, and she is recognizable by her bright white head and tail feathers. In 1995, Spirit was discovered as an injured fledgling in Florida. She came to Auburn in 1998 and joined the educational collection at the Southeastern Raptor Center. Her damaged beak makes her non-releasable.