Miami makes another case for ACC title consideration

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The Miami Hurricanes have a certain swagger back, and the ACC should be taking notice. Miami dominated South Florida in Tampa Saturday afternoon, 49-21. While a victory against the Bulls is little to boast about at this time, Miami has looked very good in the first month of the season and appear to be every bit the title contender in the ACC as Clemson or Florida State.

Miami quarterback Stephen Morris completed 11-of-16 attempts for 222 yards and two touchdowns before taking an early exit with an ankle injury and the game well in hand. Ryan Williams took over and had 153 passing yards and a touchdown. Duke Johnson carried the football 14 times for 84 yards and also got the benefit of some early rest. Stacy Coley was a big target in the passing game, with two touchdowns to lead the receivers. The Miami defense just abused the Bulls all day long as well, aside from South Florida’s opening drive of the game that resulted in a touchdown.

South Florida starting quarterback Steven Bench was up against the best pass defense he may face all season, and it showed. Even with the game out of hand, South Florida head coach opted to stick with Bench through the entire game rather than get someone else in the game. Perhaps that suggests Bench’s job as quarterback will be safe for another week.

Miami will get a chance to flex some conference muscle next weekend when they return home to host Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech will have a couple extra days to prepare for Miami after losing to Virginia Tech at home Thursday night. Following that Georgia Tech game, the Hurricanes get a bye week before visiting a North Carolina team that is really struggling this season. Wins in those two games would set Miami up nicely to make a run to appear in their first ACC Championship Game since joining the conference. Miami’s toughest challenges will come in back-to-back weeks in early November against Florida State and Virginia Tech. If they can avoid slumping through October, Miami should be in very favorable position.

Miami has already defeated Florida and routed the rest of the competition. Now comes the test that is ACC play. If Miami plays the way they have in September, Miami could very well be playing in the ACC Championship Game and give Clemson or Florida State a serious threat.

The situation at South Florida is on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. Willie Taggart‘s job is just beginning in Tampa and it is pretty clear the Bulls have a lot of rebuilding to do. South Florida had just three wins last season, so the bar is not exactly set too high right now. However, a glance at the rest of the 2013 schedule may prove difficult to predict three wins the rest of the way for South Florida.

Suspended Michigan State staffer receives another contract extension

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Michigan State has added another one-month extension to the contract of suspended football staffer Curtis Blackwell as the school continues to investigate several sexual assaults involving the Spartans.

A schools spokesman confirmed the extension to the Detroit Free Press on Friday.

The move comes on the heels of a previous one-month contract extension for Blackwell that came at the end of March. His official title is that of the team’s director of college advancement and performance and he was hired by head coach Mark Dantonio back in 2013 after running a number of major recruiting camps in the region.

Blackwell was originally suspended back in February as the school and police began multiple investigations related to sexual assaults. According to reports, one Michigan State staff member had an arrest warrant issued for obstructing an investigation but he was never publicly identified by the school.

Probes into the matter, including a Title IX investigation, remain ongoing in East Lansing. The football team recently wrapped up practice missing over a dozen players in the spring game so it appears this wide-ranging scandal that has embroiled the Spartans is not going to be over anytime soon.

Ex-USC coach finally lands court date with NCAA over Reggie Bush case

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After years and years of meandering through the court system, former USC running backs coach Todd McNair finally has his day in court with the NCAA.

ESPN is reporting that the two parties will meet in Los Angeles County Superior Court on April 18, 2018. The trial will finally get underway next year after nearly a decade of appeals on both sides.

McNair was the Trojans’ running backs coach during the glory days under Pete Carroll and responsible for coaching or recruiting many of the team’s top players. He was one of the few links to the program that the NCAA cited when determining that former star Reggie Bush received extra benefits, later leading to brutal sanctions back in 2010. McNair was given a one-year show-cause as a result of the Committee on Infractions findings and never coached again after the school let his contract expire shortly thereafter.

That wasn’t the end of the story however, as McNair later filed a defamation lawsuit against the NCAA in which he accused the association of violating protocol and showing bias against himself and the program in order to level unprecedented sanctions. Documents in the case have continued to seep out that have given credence to McNair’s case and the NCAA’s lawyers have fought bitterly at every turn in order to prevent the trial from actually getting underway.

Those efforts were unsuccessful however and it appears an already nasty legal battle is still not over. It remains to be seen if the trial will even happen, as a settlement could eventually take place between now and next April. If it does indeed go in front of a jury though, it just might be one of the most fascinating insights into one of the biggest NCAA scandals of the past few decades.

Biletnikoff Award semifinalist Jonathan Giles announces transfer from Texas Tech

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Thursday may have been a high point for the Texas Tech football program upon learning that former quarterback Patrick Mahomes was taken in the top 10 of the 2017 NFL Draft.

On Friday afternoon though, the Red Raiders dipped right back down as star wide receiver Jonathan Giles took to Twitter to announce that he was leaving the program and transferring out of Lubbock.

Giles was a Biletnikoff Award semifinalist a season ago after catching 69 passes for 1,158 yards and 13 touchdowns. Those numbers led the team in each category despite trailing off a bit down the stretch as Tech missed out on a bowl game.

Playing time could have been a big factor in the decision to leave the program as both Cameron Batson and Keke Coutee emerged as the top receiving targets and Giles was relegated to second-team status coming out of spring practice.

Tech’s Air Raid system and NFL quarterbacks had a lot to do with Giles’ big numbers but it’s fairly rare to see such highly touted and productive wideouts hit the transfer markets. While the decision probably isn’t what some Red Raiders fans wanted to hear on Friday, the receiver probably won’t be lacking for options when it comes to his next stop.

Pitt dismisses senior defensive tackle for disciplinary reasons

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Bad news in college football is typically reserved for Friday and it appears the Pitt Panthers just got a taste of some.

Per Pittsburgh Tribune-Review beat writer Jerry DiPaola, head coach Pat Narduzzi has dismissed starting defensive tackle Jeremiah Taleni for disciplinary reasons.

Taleni emerged as a starter down the stretch for the Panthers and will be a big loss up front for the team as they already have to replace the stellar production from the soon-to-be-drafted Ejuan Price.

No further comments were given when the school confirmed the news so it might be a while before we find out what led to Taleni’s dismissal and whether he plays college football at all next season.