FSU AD shoots down Big 12 rumors

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On Wednesday, the ACC announced an extension of their exclusive media rights deal with ESPN that will reportedly pay each of its 14 members in the range of just over $17 million annually.

Somehow *cough*offseasoncontent*cough* that instantly transformed into the spark that fueled the already ridiculous rumor that Clemson and Florida State were looking to leave the league for the Big 12 (more on that later).

On Friday, Florida State’s athletic director Randy Spetman dismissed the rumor.

We’re in the ACC. We’re committed to the ACC,” Spetman told the Orlando Sentinel. “That’s where our president and the board of trustees has committed to, so we’re great partners in the ACC.”

The speculation that Clemson and/or FSU could leave the ACC had already been floating around for the past week or so. CFT emailed both athletic programs seeking response late last week. A representative from FSU replied “Commenting on rumors like this would only give life to this non-story.”

Clemson didn’t reply at all.

Still, that didn’t stop some media* and fans alike from keeping the rumor going when the ACC announced its deal earlier this week. Comparing the league’s reported payout with the impending Big 12 TV deal, the handing over of third-tier media rights to ESPN and FSU’s $2.4 million athletic department deficit for 2012-13 were all used as launching points to support the notion that the Seminoles would be packing their bags for the Big 12.

(*If you read any report that says fans have a say in realignment, stop reading. Also, the fact that this story is still coming from one source says something. And it’s not good.) 

In response, Spetman told the Sentinel he’s “not out negotiating” with other conferences.

And why should he be? No matter the payout relative to other leagues, I can’t think of any instance where a conference adds two schools and renegotiates a TV deal that pays its members roughly 25 percent more annually and then loses a prominent member to a conference that has lost four programs in two years.

This is all assuming the Big 12 even wants to expand. Last I’ve gathered, that’s not even a settled matter.

Additionally, and as college football blogger Chadd Scott points out in an excellent column, the reasoning behind FSU’s recent financial woes is a program problem, not an ACC one.

The ACC’s TV deal is at least in the ball park of college football’s other rich conferences in terms of first and second-tier media rights; it’s the league’s decision to hand over the third tier that is more unorthodox. As ESPN sports business blogger Kristi Dosh explains, third-tier rights “are often sold on a per-school basis (not negotiated by the conference as a whole) and often go to regional networks (Comcast Sports Southeast, Raycom, or SportsNet New York, for example.)”

But leaving one league for another over third-tier rights, especially under the pretense that a school (FSU) could develop a medium with the likeness of, say, the Longhorn Network? Yeah, okay.

Lamar Jackson leapfrogged by Baker Mayfield as Bovada’s Heisman favorite

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So much for that wagering momentum, I guess.

Entering the 2017 season as not only the reigning winner but also as seemingly an afterthought, a pair of scintillating performances to open the year pushed Lamar Jackson to the head of Bovada.lv‘s Heisman Trophy pack.  Coming off a 26-point Week 3 loss to now-No. 2 Clemson in which he totaled nearly 400 yards of offense and three touchdowns, the Louisville quarterback has seen his odds lengthen a bit from 7/4 a week ago to 11/2 in Bovada‘s latest Heisman release.

Bovada’s new betting front-runner?  Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, who went from 4/1 to 7/4.  Sam Darnold, 6/1, also saw his odds shorten slightly to a Jackson-match 11/2.

Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph, 10/1 in the previous odds release, is now at 9/1, same as the holding-steady-from-a-week-ago Penn State running back Saquon Barkley.

There’s also, interestingly, one true freshman on the board: J.K. Dobbins.  The Ohio State running back went from off the board to 40/1 odds.  His starting quarterback, J.T. Barrett, saw his odds go from 25/1 to 33/1.

Below is the latest set of 2017 Heisman Trophy odds, again courtesy of Bovada.lv.

Illinois adds UCF grad transfer QB Pete DiNovo

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Illinois has an immediate addition to its quarterback room.  Or its wide receivers room, depending on how things play out.

Pete DiNovo confirmed to the Tampa Bay Times Monday that he has decided to transfer to the Illini.  The acknowledgment comes a month after DiNovo decided to transfer from Central Florida.

As a graduate transfer, DiNovo would be eligible to play immediately this season.  Per the player, a former high school teammate and former high school coach currently at Illinois played a role in his decision.

“I couldn’t be happier with the way everything turned out,” DiNovo told the Times. “I can come up here and learn from Lovie (Smith) and everyone else on the coaching staff.”

DiNovo began his Knights career as a quarterback — he replaced Blake Bortles as UCF’s starter before being quickly replaced himself — before being moved to wide receiver before being moved back under center this offseason.  How the Illini will use DiNovo, who has an eye on a career in coaching after his playing days are over, remains to be seen.

UTEP stays in-house to replace fired OC Brent Pease

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Not surprisingly, UTEP will stay in-house following its in-season dismissal of one of its coordinators.

The Miners confirmed Sunday that offensive coordinator Brent Pease had been fired.  A day later, the football program announced that Brian Natkin has been given the keys to the offense by Sean Kugler and will call the plays moving forward.

Natkin began the season as special teams coordinator and tight ends coach.  He was an All-American tight end at UTEP a decade-and-a-half ago and became a full-time assistant at his alma mater in 2011.

Through three games, UTEP ranks second-to-last nationally in total offense at 204.7 yards per game and in yards per play (3.89). The Miners are also 125th (out of 130 teams) in scoring at 13 points per game.

The promotion of Natkin also means there will be some additional adjustments to Kugler’s staff.  Wide receivers coach Chuck Veliz will take over Pease’s other role as quarterbacks coach, while safeties coach Don Yanowsky assume Natkin’s duties as special teams coordinator.

Natkin will continue in his role as tight ends coach.

Oregon State QB Jake Luton discharged from hospital after leaving Wazzu game on a stretcher

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Oregon State quarterback Jake Luton was taken away on a stretcher after a tackle left him motionless on the Reser Stadium turf on Saturday.

Family members were called to the field, where medical professionals stabilized an apparently unconscious Luton and removed his face mask. The game continued, of course, as Oregon State lost to Washington State 52-23 despite Luton’s 179 passing yards and 22 rushing yards.

Luton tweeted on Saturday night that he’ll “be back.”

Luton has since been discharged from the hospital, according to The Oregonian, though his father posted a message stating Luton was probably dealing with a “thoracic spine fracture.”

Oregon State is off Saturday before hosting Washington on Sept. 30.