Neinas talks FSU, Notre Dame following bowl announcement

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Yesterday’s announcement that the Big 12 and the SEC were joining forces to create a new bowl game was tangible evidence that the college football landscape is indeed changing.

When and exactly how — looking at you, realignment — remains to be seen. But change doesn’t solely have to mean conference affiliation, either. If anything, the news was a symbol that major conferences are willing and able to dictate the terms of their postseason in a way that brings revenue back to where it belongs: with member institutions.

Where things get a bit convoluted is trying to figure out what this means for the likes of Florida State and Notre Dame. Depending on the day, the tides and/or who you ask, Florida State is either looking to escape the ACC, or remains perfectly content.  Now that the ACC is on the outside looking in, though, the pressure could escalate for the Seminoles to make a move.

Does that mean FSU is the Big 12’s newest member? Not necessarily, acting Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas told the Austin-American Statesman.

“We did before,” Neinas said, referring to interested parties in general. “Who? Maybe some old folks, maybe some new ones. Have we had any conversations with Florida State? No.”

Keep in mind that while Neinas and Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds have publicly stated there’s no interest (today) in expanding, let alone FSU, there is at least one account of the Big 12 reaching out to the ‘Noles. How accurate that account is remains unknown.

As for Notre Dame, the other school having its name tossed around? Neinas reaffirmed what many already believe.

“I don’t think Notre Dame is going to join a league,” Neinas said. “They’re in the process of extending their contract with NBC. No, I don’t see any pressure on them.”

While the effects of the Big 12-SEC bowl game have the potential to be as monumental as any playoff, it’s the latter that still determines Notre Dame’s independent status. A playoff consisting of the four highest-ranked conference champions would obviously have a much greater impact on Notre Dame’s conference affiliation — or, lack thereof — than what the Big 12 and SEC decide to do independently.

The point is that as long as Notre Dame’s chances for inclusion in college football’s new postseason don’t diminish, don’t expect them to join a conference.

Yes, that means the Big 12 too.

East Carolina grad transfer QB Gardner Minshew will reportedly visit Alabama this weekend

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It appears the Jalen Hurts Transfer Protection Plan™ is close to being implemented.

Earlier this month, it was reported that Alabama had an interest in Gardner Minshew, the quarterback who announced late last month that he had withdrawn from East Carolina to tend to a personal matter in his home state of Mississippi.  That interest has ramped up since as al.com is reporting that Minshew will be visiting the Crimson Tide’s campus this weekend.

As a graduate transfer, Minshew would be eligible to play immediately this season at UA, or any other FBS program for that matter.

Alabama’s interest in a grad transfer at the position will do nothing to quell the rumors that Hurts, the starter for each of the last 29 games over the past two seasons, is a potential candidate for a transfer. Hurts was benched in favor of Tua Tagovailoa in the national championship game, with the true freshman’s comeback heroics signaling a likely changing of the guard under center.

As for Minshew, he started five games for the Pirates last season, throwing for 2,140 yards, 16 touchdowns and seven interceptions in completing just over 57 percent of his 304 pass attempts. Prior to his departure from ECU, he was penciled in as the Pirates’ 2018 starting quarterback.

Wake Forest WR Greg Dortch cleared for spring practice

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Unlike how his 2017 season ended, Greg Dortch‘s 2018 offseason is trending much more positively.

In Wake Forest’s late-October win over Louisville, Dortch went down with what turned out to be a season-ending abdominal injury. Four months after sustaining the injury, and with spring practice right around the corner, the wide receiver has been medically cleared to fully participate in practice.

Despite missing the last month of the regular season as well as the postseason, Dortch still led the Demon Deacons in receiving yards with 722. His 53 receptions and nine receiving touchdowns were tied for tops on the team as well.

In the game in which he was injured, he set the school record with four touchdown catches.

Jeff Brohm stays in-house for new Purdue assistant

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When it came to filling out his Purdue coaching staff, Jeff Brohm didn’t have to look very far.

Kevin Wolthausen, the football program confirmed in a release, has been hired as the 10th of Brohm’s allotted 10 Boilermakers assistant coaches.  Per the school, Wolthausen will be working with the team’s special teams and defense.

This marks a positional homecoming of sorts for Wolthausen as he spent the 2012 season as the defensive line coach at Purdue.  Last season, Wolthausen served as a quality control coach for both special teams and defense for the Boilermakers.

In between his two stints in West Lafayette, Wolthausen was the special teams coordinator and linebackers coach at UConn in 2016; the two years prior, he was the Huskies’ defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator.

In 2013, Wolthausen was the special teams coordinator at Florida International.  The 60-year-old long-time college football assistant has also spent time on staffs at Louisville, Arizona, USC, Arizona State and Oklahoma.

Neal Brown completes Troy staff with FCS co-DC

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For the most recent addition to his Troy coaching staff, Neal Brown has dipped into the Football Championship Series.

The Sun Belt Conference program confirmed Tuesday that Brandon Hall has been hired by Brown as his new linebackers coach.  Hall had spent the past four seasons as the co-defensive coordinator at FCS Jacksonville State.

“Brandon is an outstanding defensive coach and has experience coaching at a lot of different levels,” a statement from Brown. “He is relentless on the recruiting trail and already has developed strong relationships in the areas that we believe are key. Looking at his track record, it comes as no surprise that Brandon helped build one of the top defenses in the FCS at Jacksonville State over the last four years.”

Prior to JSU, Hall had spent time at Arkansas State, Auburn and Oklahoma.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to join this program and coaching staff,” Hall said in his statement. “You can’t help but get excited as a coach when you look at what Coach Brown and the rest of this staff has done over the past three years with the Troy program. My family and I are looking forward to becoming part of the Trojan Family and continuing the strong tradition of Troy football.”