Virginia Tech (7-3, 4-2 ACC) snapped their losing skid in a big way. After putting together their best effort of the season by blowing away Miami (7-2, 3-2 ACC) by a score of 42-24, the Hokies started to take control in the ACC Coastal division and could now be the team to beat to get to Charlotte to take on Florida State.
Or maybe Duke is the team to beat? Or maybe it is Georgia Tech? Or maybe it’s still Miami? At this point, nobody really knows for sure.
As it stands, a potential four-way tie in the ACC Coastal Division could make for a very complicated tiebreaker procedure at the end of the season, but there is still some time to sort it all out and perhaps let the games play out to make things a bit more clear before figuring out who gets the right to challenge the Seminoles in the ACC Championship Game. Miami, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and Duke all have two losses in ACC play.
For the first time all season though, Virginia Tech truly looked like the team to beat in this messy division. The Hokies have struggled on offense throughout much of the season, so go figure that their best offensive performance of the season came in a constant down pour in Miami. Virginia Tech had a season high in total offensive yards and scored over 40 points for just the second time of the year. Logan Thomas had a masterful performance throwing the football, completing 24 of 30 pass attempts for 356 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Trey Edmunds had four rushing touchdowns, including three in the first half to capitalize on Miami’s special teams mistakes. Willie Byrn had his second 100 yard receiving game of the year. The Hokies defense frustrated Miami all night with the Hurricanes clearly suffering without the injured Duke Johnson, erratic play from quarterback Stephen Morris and a special teams unit that had a rough night. Miami may have also been in a bit of a slumber after getting a sleeper hold put on them a week ago by Florida State.
Of course, Virgina Tech was coming off two straight losses to Duke and Boston College.
Of the ACC Coastal teams still in the mix, Virginia Tech may have the most favorable schedule the rest of the way. The Hokies play Virginia and Maryland to close out the regular season while Georgia Tech gets plays at Clemson in their final ACC game next Thursday. Duke and Miami square off next week and the Blue Devils end the season with road games at Wake Forest and North Carolina. Miami has Virginia and Pittsburgh after playing Duke as well.
Things look good for Virginia Tech at this point, if they can just avoid a major letdown.
It may be hard to believe, but Utah has just completed its sixth year in the Pac-12. Now, after benefitting from an increased conference revenue compared to their days in the Mountain West Conference, Utah appears to be ready to dig in and explore the possibility of expanding Rice-Eccles Stadium.
The University of Utah announced today the school is putting together a feasibility study to expand the south end zone of Rice-Eccles Stadium. Among the details to figure out include how much it may cost, who it will be funded and whether or not there is a market for such an expansion in the first place. Given the move to the Pac-12 a little more than half a decade ago and the success of making the transition with a more attractive regular season schedule, it stands to reason there is potential for a stadium expansion to take advantage of.
“Understanding the market, costs and feasibility will help us better prepare for the future of the stadium,” said President David W. Pershing in a released statement. “There’s still much work to be done before taking steps toward renovation. We have to know if the market will support this kind of expansion.”
Rice-Eccles Stadium opened its doors in 1998 after a complete rebuild of the original stadium structure that was Rice Stadium. One of the only portions of the stadium that was left largely untouched between the transition of the stadium was the south end zone. This is where Utah wants to explore renovation plans for the most part. If the hypothetical project goes through, Utah will rebuild the locker rooms, equipment storage and media rooms as well as medical treatment areas. Of course, the school will also evaluate possibilities for luxury seating for fans and donors and concession area upgrades. Among those fan amenities under consideration is connecting the east and west concourses.
Rice-Eccles Stadium currently has a listed seating capacity of 45,807. It has a sellout streak of 38 games, with 35 going above the official maximum capacity, according to Utah Athletics.
Former LSU quarterback Brandon Harris has found himself a new home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Harris announced via Facebook and Twitter he has chosen to commit to North Carolina.
“Obviously, it has been an important time for me, looking for a great situation and another opportunity to grow as a young man and as a student as well as a football player,” Harris said in his statement. “After my [official] visit this weekend to the University of North Carolina, I’m going to get that opportunity. With that being said, I’m fully committed to UNC this upcoming year and I look forward to the opportunity to play for coach [Larry Fedora] and UNC.”
Harris will be eligible to play for UNC immediately this fall after graduating from LSU this summer, and the timing may not be better for Harris. UNC is losing its starting quarterback (Mitch Trubisky) to the NFL and has a wide open spot to fill in the starting lineup as a result. But the job will not automatically go to Harris upon his arrival at UNC after missing out on spring practices at North Carolina.
Harris played in just four games last season, in which he passed for 139 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions. Since the season-opener against Wisconsin, Harris was reduced to backup duty and did not play in any of LSU’s seven final games of the 2016 season, including the bowl game against Louisville. Harris announced his decision to transfer in February, which was pretty much expected given how last season played out amid a coaching change.
Georgia wide receiver Riley Ridley has not been practicing this spring, but it has nothing to do with his offseason misdemeanor from a couple of weeks ago. Instead, a foot injury appears to have sidelined Ridley for the spring.
According to a report from Gridiron Now, Ridley has been out due to the foot injury. When the foot injury occurred is not reported. Even if his foot was not injured, it remains unknown if Ridley would be participating int he spring, at least at this point. Georgia head coach Kirby Smart has said Ridley will be internally disciplined for his misdemeanor pot possession from earlier this month.
“He’ll receive discipline,” Smart said. “We are very disappointed in his decision. We do not condone that behavior. I think Riley is going to learn a valuable lesson from this mistake.”
When Ridley may be available again remains unknown, as does what exactly the punishment to him will be from Smart. A one-game suspension is the expected result for Ridley according to the university’s student-athlete handbook.
USF defensive back Hassan Childs was injured in a shooting incident overnight. Fortunately, Childs is currently said to be in stable condition, according to USF.
“We are deeply concerned that an incident occurred overnight in which one of our guys, Hassan Childs, was injured in a shooting,” a statement from USF head coach Charlie Strong said. “Thankfully, Hassan is in stable condition and being well cared for, and no one else was injured. There is an ongoing investigation of the incident and we are in the process of gathering further information.”
The shooting took place off campus, but details about the incident have not been reported.
Childs played in eight games for the Bulls last year. He recorded 16 tackles and returned two punts for three yards in a backup role.