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Who faces Florida State? Sorting through ACC Coastal Division race

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Here we are on November 11 and still no clear favorite in the ACC’s Coastal Division. Florida State has already wrapped up the Atlantic Division and is juts focusing on keeping up the BCS Championship pace while waiting to find out who they will face in the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte at the end of the regular season. With Virginia Tech roughing up Miami on Saturday there are a number of scenarios that can play out in the Coastal race, which could make for a complicated mess.

Figuring out a two-team tiebreaker is simple, with head-to-head result serving as the first tiebreaker. But the ACC Coastal Division could see as many as four teams finish the season with an identical conference record. It is possible Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Duke, Miami and North Carolina could all finish with an ACC record of 5-3, which would be fun to break down using the ACC’s tiebreakers. The more likely scenario will see two or three teams finish with identical records, but here is a look at how this division shapes up the rest of the way, with the exception of Virginia.

Georgia Tech (6-3, 5-2 ACC)

Remaining ACC Games: @ Clemson

Outlook: It is likely Georgia Tech loses on the road against Clemson, a team that still has a good shot to be selected for a BCS bowl game. With a potential loss at Clemson, Georgia Tech will end their ACC schedule with a mark of 5-3, with losses to Virginia Tech and Miami and wins against Duke, North Carolina and Pittsburgh. Georgia Tech would have a tough time reaching the ACC Championship Game for a second straight season with a loss at Clemson. If Georgia Tech can knock off the Tigers, then we will talk, but for now it does not look great for Georgia Tech.

Virginia Tech (7-3, 4-2 ACC)

Remaining ACC Games: Maryland, @ Virginia

Outlook: After smashing Miami, Virginia Tech looks to be the team to beat in the ACC Coastal despite having a head-to-head loss to Duke just a couple of weeks back. The Hokies have wins against Miami and Georgia Tech in addition to North Carolina and Pittsburgh, which could end up helping give Virginia Tech the edge in a three-team tiebreaker scenario. Virginia Tech may have the best remaining conference schedule, especially if the offense happens to bust out the way it did against the Hurricanes. Maryland is fading fast and Virginia has just two wins this season. The Hokies should finish with a 6-2 ACC record, and that should get them back to the ACC Championship Game to face Florida State.

Duke (7-2, 3-2 ACC)

Remaining ACC Games: Miami, @ Wake Forest, @ North Carolina

Outlook: The toughest game on Duke’s schedule will be played this weekend, and they get it at home. A win against Miami would give the Blue Devils two huge wins against the Hurricanes and Virginia Tech, and the final two games are probable wins despite being on the road. If Duke can get the win against Miami and they finish the season with a 6-2 ACC mark, they will win a potential head-to-head tiebreaker with Virginia Tech in a two-team tie thanks to a 13-10 victory two weeks ago. However, if it comes down to a three-team situation, Duke starts to lose their advantage. For Duke, winning against Miami will make for the best possible scenario to reach the championship game.

Miami (7-2, 3-2 ACC)

Remaining ACC Games: @ Duke, Virginia, @ Pittsburgh

Outlook: Miami is sinking fast and time is running out to plug the holes. Miami’s undefeated start and top ten ranking feel like a distant memory and the Hurricanes have the most difficult of the remaining conference schedules in the Coastal. Miami plays two game son the road, at Duke and at Pittsburgh, and they are capable of losing both. A win this weekend at Duke will give Miami an edge in tie-breaking procedures though as they would have wins against Georgia Tech and Duke, which would help eliminate the Yellow Jackets and Blue Devils from some of the tie breakers, but Virginia Tech will have the upper hand with the head-to-head win. Miami probably has to win their final three games to even have a chance to reach a game that looked to be a certainty just a couple of weeks ago.

North Carolina (4-5, 3-3 ACC)

Remaining ACC Games: @ Pittsburgh, Duke

Outlook: With losses to Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Miami already, North Carolina is essentially out of the equation. Mathematically they can still grab a share of the division championship, but the tiebreakers will not be kind to North Carolina if it comes down to that.

Pittsburgh (5-4, 2-3 ACC)

Remaining ACC Games: North Carolina, @ Syracuse, Miami

Outlook: After Virginia Tech, the ACC newcomers may have the most favorable schedule the rest of the way with home games against UNC and Miami and a road game at Syracuse. Depending on what Panthers team shows up, a 3-0 run here is not unrealistic. Oh it’s not exactly likely, but it is certainly not impossible. Pittsburgh has losses to Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech that could hurt, but they would end up having wins against Miami, North Carolina and Duke that could come in handy.

Charlie Strong, Temple have reportedly spoken as USF talk heats up

DALLAS, TX - OCTOBER 11:  Head coach Charlie Strong of the Texas Longhorns at Cotton Bowl on October 11, 2014 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Temple lost its head coach to an FBS program in the state of Texas. Could the Owls find his replacement in the form of the former head coach at that state’s flagship university? Or, as is looking more and more likely, could they “lose” him to a fellow AAC school?

According to at least one report the former could be the case as the Philadelphia Inquirer, citing a source familiar with the situation, reported that Strong and Temple officials have spoken about the vacant head-coaching job. How strong, so to speak, the former Louisville and Texas head coach’s interest is in the AAC football program is something the source couldn’t gauge, the Inquirer noted.

That said, “[t]hey had a conversation with Strong, that is a fact,” the source said.

The strongest, so to speak, competition for Strong may very well be coming from USF, with Roy Cummings of Florida Football Insiders reporting that “[i]t is believed that USF has already begun negotiating a contract with Strong.” A subsequent report from the Tampa Bay Times noted that USF spent Thursday in heavy pursuit of Strong.

The 56-year-old coach had previously been connected to the USF job, and his deep ties to the fertile recruiting grounds in the state that makes a marriage almost a no-brainer for both sides.

Strong was fired by the Longhorns in November after going just 16-21 during his three seasons in Austin. UT currently owes Strong roughly $11.2 million as part of his buyout. Per the terms of his contract, Strong must make “reasonable efforts” to obtain another job. If he does, USA Today wrote, “Texas’ obligation to him will be offset by an amount equal to 50% of the total compensation Strong receives from his new job.”

Matt Rhule, who left Temple for Baylor earlier this week, was paid just north of $1 million for his final season with the Owls, a figure that was eighth amongst AAC coaches. Willie Taggart, who created the USF vacancy by leaving for Oregon, was the fifth-highest paid coach in the conference at $1.7 million.

Strong’s salary final salary of $5.2 million was sixth nationally.

Lamar Jackson, Jonathan Allen among those to win 2016 college football awards

LOUISVILLE, KY - NOVEMBER 26:  Lamar Jackson #8 of the Louisville Cardinals throws a pass during the game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on November 26, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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The college football world gathered in Atlanta on Thursday night as nearly a dozen of the sport’s most prestigious awards were handed out from the College Football Hall of Fame.

While a few of the winners were announced before the televised ceremony, here were the players who took home some hardware at the annual awards show:

Walter Camp Player of the Year — Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson

Maxwell Award as national player of the year — Lamar Jackson

Chuck Bednarik Award for defensive player of the year — Alabama’s Jonathan Allen

Davey O’Brien Award for best quarterback — Clemson’s Deshaun Watson (his second in a row)

Doak Walker Award as best running back — Texas’ D’Onta Foreman

Biletnikoff Award for best receiver — Oklahoma’s Dede Westbrook

Outland Trophy for outstanding interior lineman — Alabama’s Cam Robinson

Rimington Trophy for best center — Ohio State’s Pat Elflein

Jim Thorpe Award for best defensive back — USC’s Adoree’ Jackson

Lou Groza Award for outstanding place kicker — Arizona State’s Zane Gonzalez

Ray Guy Award for best punter — Utah’s Mitch Wishnowsky

John Mackey Award for outstanding tight end — Michigan’s Jake Butt

Butkus Award for best linebacker – Alabama’s Reuben Foster

Wuerffel Trophy for community service — Texas A&M QB Trevor Knight

Home Depot Coach of the Year — Colorado’s Mike MacIntyre 

Nick Saban says transferring quarterbacks will stay at Alabama through College Football Playoff

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 03:  Cooper Bateman #18 of the Alabama Crimson Tide prepares to take on the USC Trojans during the AdvoCare Classic at AT&T Stadium on September 3, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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Alabama is busy preparing to face Washington at the end of the month in the College Football Playoff but news surfaced this week that two of the team’s backup quarterbacks are looking to transfer out of Tuscaloosa in the near future.

Redshirt sophomore David Cornwell announced on Twitter Wednesday that he will be headed elsewhere and redshirt junior Cooper Bateman did the same a few days prior. While there was a little concern that neither of them would be around for the Peach Bowl to backup starter Jalen Hurts, head coach Nick Saban confirmed the two transfers will be staying with the team through the semifinal and possible national title game berth.

“Absolutely. They have every intention of finishing the season,” Saban said in a press conference at the College Football Hall of Fame on Thursday. “I think these are situations when a younger guy won the job this year that these guys want to play someplace, and we want to — Cooper is a graduate, so he’ll be a graduate transfer, and we’re very supportive of these guys. They’ve done a fantastic job for us, and we hope that they get a good opportunity and a chance to play someplace. But they will be with our team, and they’re all anxious to finish the season with us.”

While Saban was very supportive of all the transfer decisions, the clearing out of the quarterback room probably isn’t what he had in mind in terms of roster management. Remarkably, Cornwell and Bateman are only two of the four signal-callers who have moved on from the Crimson Tide in 2016 alone. Blake Barnett actually started the season opener for Alabama but left school shortly after losing the full-time job to Hurts and is headed to Arizona StateAlec Morris transferred to North Texas back in January.

After Hurts, only a walk-on quarterback is listed on the Tide’s roster behind him heading into next season (not counting any incoming freshmen who have yet to enroll). Guessing that’s why Saban has been busy hitting the recruiting trail ahead of the upcoming dead period this week.

Former coach Art Briles sues Baylor officials for libel and conspiracy

WACO, TX - SEPTEMBER 06:  Head coach Art Briles of the Baylor Bears during play against the Northwestern State Demons at McLane Stadium on September 6, 2014 in Waco, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Baylor’s on-going scandal over reported sexual assaults looks like it is about to get even uglier.

Former head coach Art Briles has filed a lawsuit for libel and slander against three school regents and a vice president, according to the Associated Press, accusing them of falsely stating he knew of sexual assaults by players and didn’t report them.

Perhaps most eyebrow-raising is that the lawsuit also accuses the officials of conspiring to keep him from getting another coaching job. Briles has been connected to openings such as the one at Houston but school officials quickly denied reports that he was formally considered for the vacant head coaching spot.

Briles was fired in the spring by Baylor after an investigation from law firm Pepper Hamilton determined the school mishandled reports of alleged sexual assaults, some of which involved numerous football players. The coach denied he knew about the alleged assaults but several regents — including the three named in the recent lawsuit — told the Wall Street Journal on the record that Briles failed to report alleged assaults.

While the football team may be looking to move on from all of this with the recent hire of Matt Rhule as the new head coach, it appears the school itself will continue to deal with the fallout from one of the worst scandals in college football history.