Those looking for the ACC to significantly revamp its divisional setup ahead of the additions of Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the conference will be sorely disappointed.
The ACC announced Friday that Pittsburgh will be added to its Coastal Division while Syracuse will play in the Atlantic Division… and that’s it. No other members will be moving to different divisions as some had projected.
“We have been engaged in discussions on the various options for integrating Pitt and Syracuse since early fall,” said ACC commissioner John Swofford in a statement. “It’s a tremendous tribute to the leadership at our schools that we will be able to seamlessly add Pitt and Syracuse at the appropriate time when they become full playing members.
Thus, the divisions will look as follows:
North Carolina State
Additionally, the ACC confirmed in its press release that the conference will go to a nine-game schedule for football upon the arrival of the two current Big East members, which is expected to happen no later than the 2014 season.
The release states that “[t]he format will consist of each team playing all six in its division each year, plus its primary crossover partner each year and two rotating opponents from the opposite division. This six-year cycle allows each team to play each divisional opponent and its primary crossover partner six times (three home and three away) while also playing each rotating crossover opponent two times (one home and one away).”
Moving to a nine-game league schedule could have one very big downside as well — the odds of the continuation of the Backyard Brawl between Pitt and West Virginia, not good to begin with, have decreased immensely.
Colorado State played in the New Mexico Bowl on Saturday, and afterward the players were released to return home to their families for Christmas break.
For freshman offensive lineman Luis Lebron, that meant a cross-country trip to Jacksonville. And, like many a trip cross-country, that required a stop at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
That quickly turned into a problem when the entire airport shutdown due to a power outage on Sunday. Without any other options, Lebron started walking. He said he walked six miles before he ran into a reporter from the local Fox affiliate.
The story comes with a happy ending: Lebron eventually hitched a ride.
I could say something snarky here, but it’s Christmas so instead I’ll just say this: the Colorado State program and the Lebron family should be proud of how Luis carried himself on a day that would cause many of us to snap. And I’ve no doubt they are.
The final open job in FBS is no longer open. According to a report from FootballScoop, Syracuse co-offensive coordinator Sean Lewis will be the new head coach at Kent State. (Full disclosure: I also work for FootballScoop.)
Lewis’s ascension to head coach completes a meteoric rise through the FBS coaching ranks. He was a graduate assistant at Akron in 2011, then joined Dino Babers‘s staff at Eastern Illinois in 2012-13. He followed Babers to Bowling Green where he served as wide receivers coach in 2014 and as co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in ’15, then did the same at Syracuse from 2016-17.
The site also reported that former Babers staffer and current Chattanooga defensive coordinator Tom Kaufman will join the staff as defensive coordinator.
Lewis is set to take over one of the most down-trodden programs in FBS. The Golden Flashes carry a lifetime record of 321-500-8 and have three all-time bowl appearances, all of them losses. Kent State has one MAC championship in its history, coming under Don James in 1972.
The 2017 Flashes went 2-10 and ranked 129th nationally in yards per play and scoring, beating out UTEP for the cellar for both spots.
Florida State tight end Mavin Saunders will pursue a graduate transfer to Kansas, according to a report from Bud Elliott of SBNation.
Saunders did not record a statistic as a redshirt junior in 2017. He caught 10 passes for 182 yards in 12 appearances in 2016, and made two starts as a redshirt freshman in 2015.
A native of the Bahamas, Saunders graduated from The Kinkaid School in Houston before enrolling at Florida State. The Jayhawks are losing their top tight end from the 2017 team. Senior Ben Johnson finished second on the club with 30 receptions for 363 yards and one touchdown this fall. He was the only tight end to catch a pass this season.
Scott Frost will have to make room for a little more hardware as he moves to Nebraska. On Monday, the Associated Press named Frost its coach of the year for the 2017 season.
Frost received 21 first-place votes and 100 total points in the voting consisting of 57 voters in the AP Top 25. Frost beat out Georgia head coach Kirby Smart and Clemson’s Dabo Swinney for the award following an undefeated 12-0 season at UCF that ended with an AAC championship and a berth in the Peach Bowl as the highest-ranked Group of Five conference champion. Despite already being hired to be the head coach at Nebraska and UCF hiring a new head coach, Frost has stayed committed to coaching the Knights in the bowl game even if it makes for some long days flying between Lincoln and Orlando as he pulls double duty.
Frost turned UCF football around in short order. After inheriting a team that had gone 0-12 just prior to his arrival, Frost reinvigorated the mindset of the program and led UCF to a 6-7 season in his debut as UCF head coach in 2016. To follow that up in 2017, Frost led UCF to an undefeated season and conference championship to help return the program to a big bowl game for the first time since facing Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl with Blake Bortles at quarterback.
Frost already collected a few coach of the year honors with the Eddie Robinson Award from the Football Writers Association of America and the Home Depot Coach of the Year award.