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Texas tops Forbes ‘most valuable’ rankings yet again

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For the second straight release, Texas has been determined to be the most valuable college football program in the country according to a renowned business magazine.  And, thanks to a controversial network that wasn’t even included this latest evaluation, that stranglehold on the top spot is not about to end in the foreseeable future.

In its latest rankings of College Football’s Most Valuable Teams, Forbes.com has pegged the value of the Longhorns at $129 million, up roughly eight percent from its value in the 2009 rankings.  UT is well ahead of No. 2 Notre Dame, with the Irish coming in at $112 million.

That gap will likely only widen, however; the 20-year, $300 million deal for the Longhorn Network was not included in Forbes’ most recent set of financial calculations.

Forbes also laid out exactly how it comes to its financial estimates:

… Unlike our NFL Team Valuations, which estimates each team’s enterprise value in an arms-length transaction, our college football ranking evaluates the financial impact each team has on four distinct areas. The two areas most important to our study are a team’s academic value, or the revenue directed towards university programs and spending (including football scholarships), and its athletic value, which is the football revenue used to support other athletic programs. The remaining two areas are weighted less heavily in our scoring system. They consist of the distribution of bowl game revenue amongst conference teams and the economic impact of visiting fans for each team’s home games.

While UT’s value will only continue to rise thanks in part to the LHN, another school will likely see its value tumble in the next set of rankings.

Penn State is currently the third-most valuable team in college football, but that value was determined prior to the Jerry Sandusky child-sex abuse scandal that rocked the State College school last month.  As Forbes writes, “we expect the team to fall quite a bit in future rankings.”

As expected, the SEC and Big Ten accounts for a sizable majority of Forbes’ Top 20 — eight for the former (nine if you include Texas A&M), seven for the latter.  In fact, exactly half of the members of the Top Ten come from the conference that, after Jan. 9, will have won the last six BcS titles.

Oklahoma State was the only team to fall out of the rankings, replaced by Iowa.

Below are the 20 teams that make up the upper financial echelon of the Forbes rankings:

1. Texas, $129 million (up 8% from 2009)
2. Notre Dame, $112 million (up 4%)
3. Penn State, $100 million (up 1%)
4. LSU, $96 million (up 12%)
5. Michigan, $94 million (up 15%)
6. Alabama, $93 million (up 1%)
7. Georgia, $90 million ( up 7%)
8. Arkansas, $89 million (up 59%)
9. Auburn, $88 million (up 27%)
10. Oklahoma, $87 million (up 5%)
11. Florida, $86 million (down 1%)
12. Tennessee, $82 million (up 6%)
13. Ohio State, $78 million (down 8%)
14. Nebraska, $77 million (down 18%)
15. Wisconsin, $67 million (up 40 percent)
16. South Carolina, $64 million (down 20%)
17. Texas A&M, $63 million (up 19%)
18. USC, $62 million (down 9%)
19. Michigan State, $59 million (3%)
20. Iowa, $48 million (unranked)

Jela Duncan, Duke’s leading rusher, ruled out of Virginia game

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 24:  Jela Duncan #25 of the Duke Blue Devils rushes for a touchdown during the first half of a game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium on September 24, 2016 in South Bend, Indiana.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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A significant piece of Duke offensive puzzle won’t be available to the Blue Devils in Week 5.

On its weekly injury report released Thursday, Duke announced that Jela Duncan will not play against Virginia Saturday because of an unspecified leg injury. The running back sustained the injury in the 38-35 win over Notre Dame last weekend.

With 314 yards, Duncan is far and away the Blue Devils’ leading rusher.  Next closest is Shaun Wilson‘s 122 yards.

Duncan, a senior who’s endured a rocky career thus far, also leads the team with four rushing touchdowns, while his 5.6 yards per carry is tops amongst Blue Devils with 10 or more carries.

The football program also confirmed that defensive end Dominic McDonald will miss a second straight game because of what’s described as an upper-body injury.  McDonald started the first three games of the season before missing the Notre Dame game with the same injury.

And, finally, the school announced that linebacker Tinashe Bere will be sidelined for the remainder of the season with a leg injury.  While he didn’t start any of the four games in which he played this season after starting six last year, he’s sixth on the team in tackles with 13.

Penn State AD: James Franklin ‘is not on any hot seat’

Penn State head coach James Franklin looks at a replay on the scoreboard during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game against Temple in State College, Pa., Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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Depending on your point of view, James Franklin‘s boss has either given the Penn State head coach a needed vote of confidence… or the dreaded vote of confidence.

With an underwhelming 14-12 record heading into his third year, Franklin’s Nittany Lions have continued to underwhelm with a 2-2 record through the first third of the 2016 season.  Following a 39-point loss to Michigan, Franklin’s record against the Big Three in the B1G East — UM, Michigan State, Ohio State — dropped to 0-7.  Not only have the Nittany Lions lost all seven, they’ve lost those seven by an average of 22 points per game.  Five of those losses were by at least 12 points, with four of those coming by 24 or more.

The fact that the Nittany Lions aren’t even remotely ready to compete in their own division let alone nationally has led to renewed chatter that, by season’s end, Franklin could either be sitting on the hot seat or standing in the unemployment line.  Wednesday, PSU athletic director Sandy Barbour used a Chamber of Commerce appearance to very stridently and publicly defend her head coach.

From Cory Giger of the Altoona Mirror:

James is not on any hot seat,” Barbour said Wednesday.

“He’s not on the hot seat, and he’s not going to be on the hot seat in December,” Barbour said.

“James is going to be our football coach,” the AD added. “I believe in where this football program is going under James Franklin, and I think he’s going to be our football coach, period.”

“I think I’ve been really, really clear on I think he’s doing a spectacular job as a teacher, as a coach, as a leader of these young men,” she said. “That’s really, really important to Penn State. He and his staff are absolutely nailing that.

Barring a complete and total collapse between now and the end of November, Franklin will get a fourth season.  Heading into that fourth year, however, he will very likely be on the hot seat on which Barbour currently swears he doesn’t currently sit.

Alabama LB Tim Williams arrested on misdemeanor weapons charge

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 31:  Tim Williams #56 of the Alabama Crimson Tide sacks Connor Cook #18 of the Michigan State Spartans in the second half during the Goodyear Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium on December 31, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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It’s been an interesting, to say the least, couple of days off the field for top-ranked Alabama.

Wednesday, reports surfaced that former five-star quarterback Blake Barnett, who started the Tide’s opener, is leaving the program and will transfer, although Nick Saban held out hope that he’d stay.  A day later, Rivals.com is reporting that senior linebacker Tim Williams has been arrested on a charge of carrying a pistol without a permit.

The arrest was made by the university’s police department, although the details of what led to the charge have not been divulged.

Last season, Williams was second on the team with 10.5 sacks.  This season, Williams has totaled 1.5 sacks in four games.  He started one of those contests.

Williams is the third Tide player arrested this year on a weapons charge.

In May, star offensive lineman Cam Robinson and defensive back Laurence “Hootie” Jones were arrested in Louisiana and charged with one count each possession of marijuana and illegal carrying of a weapon.  Additionally, Robinson was charged with felony possession of a stolen firearm.  A month later, the district attorney in the case announced that he had declined to prosecute the players, citing a lack of evidence.

Well, that and the below infamous reasoning.

“I want to emphasize once again that the main reason I’m doing this is that I refuse to ruin the lives of two young men who have spent their adolescence and teenage years, working and sweating, while we were all in the air conditioning,” DA Jerry Jones stated.

ACC makes football title game move to Orlando official

ORLANDO, FL - SEPTEMBER 05:  A general view of the field prior to the game between the Mississippi Rebels and Florida State Seminoles ahead of the Camping World Kickoff at Camping World Stadium on September 5, 2016 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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After originating in the state, the ACC championship game is headed back to Florida.

In an announcement that should come as a shock to absolutely no one, the ACC confirmed Thursday that the 2016 football title game will be played in Orlando. The game will be held at Camping World Stadium on Saturday, Dec. 3, at 7:45 p.m. ET.

The 65,000-seat stadium serves as the home of the Citrus Bowl postseason game and also played host to this year’s Ole Miss-Florida State opener on Labor Day. ACC officials met with their counterparts from the city earlier this week to finalize the deal.

An announcement on the new site likely would’ve come earlier were it not for a pair of high school football championship games scheduled for the same day at the same venue. Those games will now be played the following weekend.

The move to Charlotte comes almost two weeks to the day that the ACC announced it was yanking the title game away from the city of Charlotte and out of the state of North Carolina. The move was in response to the controversial House Bill 2 (HB2), a law which some claim fosters discrimination against members of the LGBT communities.

Charlotte had played host to the ACC football championship game every year since 2010. Prior to 2010, the first three league title tilts were played in Jacksonville (2005-07) and the next two in Tampa (2008-09).