The 100th Rose Bowl Game - Stanford v Michigan State

Who can pull a college football-basketball conference title double dip?

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This is a pretty important week for college basketball. The big conferences are wrapping up the regular seasons and getting set for their various conference championship tournaments. Some conferences have already crowned their conference champions for the year so the countdown to Selection Sunday is already one.

It is not all that often we see schools win their conference championship in football and men’s basketball, but it does happen from time to time. Will any of the conference champions from last fall have a shot at winning their men’s basketball championship by Selection Sunday? Here is a run down the various FBS conferences and quick look at whether it is possible or likely.

ACC

Football champion: Florida State

It certainly would not be impossible for Florida State to run a hot streak in the ACC tournament this week, but the Seminoles have quite the uphill battle in front of them if they are to pull off the conference championship double-dip. Florida State was 0-5 against the top four teams in the ACC this basketball season. We will call this one possible but unlikely.

American

Football champion: UCF

The UCF Knights finished the regular season with a losing record at 12-17. Let’s just go ahead and say this is not going to happen. Not with the defending national champions at Louisville in the conference and a strong Cincinnati team to get through, not to mention the competition from UConn, Memphis and SMU.

Big 12

Football champion: Baylor

Can Baylor come out on top in the Big 12? It probably would not be a complete shock, although the BEars were 9-9 in conference play this season. But the Bears are a 20-win program and that did not happen by accident. The basketball Bears average 75 points per game, which is just a few more points than the football team could score. Possible but probably not likely.

Big Ten

Football champion: Michigan State

This could be the best bet around the country for an FBS school to pull the double-dip. The Spartans upset Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game last December, and the Spartans are a known basketball power. Michigan State will enter the Big Ten tournament with a high seed and are always going to be a tough out. Michigan and Wisconsin have good opportunities as well in one of the most competitive conferences in the country. Michigan State has limped to the finish line, but you can never count out the Spartans when it is tournament time.

Based on history, we will call this one a realistic possibility. If the Spartans were at full strength, it might be considered likely.

Conference USA

Football champion: Rice

Not happening. Moving on.

MAC

Football champion: Bowling Green

This is another one that will not be happening. Bowling Green finished the regular season in last place in their division.

Mountain West Conference

Football champion: Fresno State

This one would be considered a pretty big shock. It is not because Fresno State is a .500 team, but because San Diego State and New Mexico are far and away the top two programs in the conference. UNLV is not all bad either. Do not count on Fresno State getting this done.

Pac 12

Football champion: Stanford

Stanford will enter the Pac 12 tournament somewhere in the middle of the Pac 12, so they would have their work cut out for them in the conference tournament. Sometimes this tournament can be unpredictable though. Colorado came out of nowhere to win it two seasons ago, so who is to say Stanford won’t get it done this year? Me, that’s who. Certainly far from impossible, but not at all to be expected.

SEC

Football champion: Auburn

There is a reason Alabama is obsessed with football. Neither Alabama or Auburn will make a run for the SEC title this season, and that means Auburn will not pull off the double-dip. Instead, it could be two SEC East schools that failed to play in a bowl game last season that play for the championship (Florida and Kentucky).

Sun Belt

Football champion: Louisiana-Lafayette

If there is a conference that appears to be the second best bet after the Big Ten to have the same school claim the football and men’s basketball title, it may be the Sun Belt. Louisiana-Lafayette won the football title by way of a tiebreaker, and considering how even the top of the conference may be this basketball season, this could very well be possible. Georgia State is the team to beat, but the Ragin’ Cajuns could make a run. Georgia State won both match-ups this season, but both were within seven points. Let’s throw this under the Likely category for now, but note that Georgia State is standing in the way.

What about the FCS schools?

If you dig deeper then you will find some other schools who have claimed their own double dips. Ivy League champion Harvard did just that with a football and men’s basketball championship this season. Coastal Carolina also managed to win both Big South championships this season.

For more college basketball coverage, be sure to check out College Basketball Talk.

Hugh Freeze fuels Ole Miss win in Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl golf outing

Hugh Freeze
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Challenge
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It appears Ole Miss’ off-field issues laid bare for the country to see over the weekend had little or no impact on Hugh Freeze’s focus on a golf course.

At the 2016 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl challenge in Greensboro, Ga., Freeze and his Ole Miss partner, former Rebel tight end Wesley Walls, pulled away from the field of 13 FBS head coaches and their partners to claim a two-shit win.  Moat impressive was how the Rebel duo pulled away as Freeze holed an 8-iron from 150 yards on the par-four 14th for an eagle, then the team proceeded to rip off four straight birdies to close out both the round and a trio of teams that finished at -11 –Georgia (Kirby Smart/David Dukes), Georgia Tech (Paul Johnson/Jon Barry), North Carolina State (Dave Doeren/Terry Harvey).

“The ball was jumping off my irons and I knew I hit it good,” Freeze said of the holed-out shot that jumpstarted the birdie binge. “Then Wesley said he thought he saw it disappear. I thought it was long but I started walking to the hole pretty fast and found out it went in. That’s when we thought we had a chance.”

Freeze’s heroics helped win his team $100,000, with that total being split evenly between endowed scholarships at the universities and foundations or charities of the coach’s choice.  Those heroics also kept the Georgia Tech team of Johnson and Barry from three-peating and winning the event for the fifth time in the last six years.

Below is how the rest of the field finished in the challenge as well as scholarship.charity money earned.

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‘Sometime this week or next week,’ ex-Miami TE Jerome Washington should sign with Rutgers

PISCATAWAY, NJ - NOVEMBER 16: Rutgers Scarlet Knights are wearing helmets with a stars and stripes logo in honor of Military Appreciation Day before the start of their game against the Cincinnati Bearcats at High Point Solutions Stadium on November 16, 2013 in Piscataway, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
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In mid-April, former Miami tight end Jerome Washington confirmed that Rutgers will be his likely transfer destination.  Three weeks later, that move is coming closer to fruition.

Speaking to nj.com, Washington stated that, when it comes to officially signing with the Scarlet Knights, “[h]opefully it’s sometime this week or next week.”  All indications are RU will send the required paperwork in short order to officially make Washington the newest member of first-year head coach Chris Ash‘s football program.

“I haven’t signed but they told me they have a scholarship offer for me,” Washington told the website. “And when I asked what I should say to schools recruiting me, they said I should say I’m not interested, which means I’m basically good to go. Coach Ash told my cousin that last week at the recruiting event.”

If Washington lands at RU, or any other FBS program, he’d have to sit out the 2016 season, but would then have two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2017.

Washington, a rising sophomore, appeared in nine games in 2015 for the Hurricanes but did not record a statistic. He arrived at The U by way of Mercer County Community College.

In February, Washington announced that he would be transferring from Miami and continuing his playing career elsewhere.

Minnesota losing DL Mose Hall to transfer

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 15: The jersey and helmet of Jon Christenson #63 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers are seen during the third quarter of the game against the Ohio State Buckeyes on November 15, 2014 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Buckeyes defeated the Golden Gophers 31-24. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The transfer train continues its run down the tracks, with Minnesota the latest to see its roster hit with attrition.

As all the cool kids are doing these days, Mose Hall took to social media confirm a change in his current situation, announcing on Twitter that he has decided to transfer out of the Gophers football program. No reason was given for the defensive lineman’s departure.

Should Hall move on to another FBS program, he’d have to sit out the 2016 season. He’d then have three seasons of eligibility remaining beginning in 2017.

Hall was a three-star 2015 recruit rated as the No. 98 strongside defensive end by 247Sports.com.  He was also the No. 61 player at any position in the state of Alabama.

Last season as a true freshman, Hall took a redshirt.

Expansion rumblings once again swirling around Big 12

Matt Ritchey
Associated Press
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Expansion in major college football has been in hibernation for a couple of years now, but it appears movement on that front could be imminent.  Or it could not.  One of the two.

Over the past 24 hours or so, a handful of stories have surfaced that, once again, have the speculation swirling around the Big 12 when it comes to that conference getting back to matching its numerical name.  From analytics to potential expansion candidates to the 800-pound Longhorn in the middle of the room, the Big 12’s annual spring meetings this week figure to at least begin — or, more specifically, continue — the process of settling the expansion/conference title game/league network issues that are all inextricably intertwined.

To wit:

— Monday, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby confirmed that in research performed by an analytics outfit hired by the league, a 12-team conference with an eight-game league schedule and a championship game is the best model for one of its teams qualifying for the college football playoff.  Right now, the Big 12 is the exact opposite of that model, with 10 teams, nine conference games and no title game.

According to Bowlsby, the first combination would increase a league’s chances of sending a team to the playoffs by five percent.  As Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News asked, would that slight bump be enough to get everyone onboard with expansion and a title game?

“Some would say we want every advantage we can get,” Bowlsby said. “Others may say it’s not enough to blow up a good scheduling model.”

From Carlton’s report:

Bowlsby said the Big 12 is scheduled to receive “two major reports” in Irving. In addition to information on the title game, Navigate will examine scheduling models for a 10-, 12- and 14-team conference and the variables involved.

In February, Bowlsby said he hoped to have an answer to the expansion question, one way or the other, this summer.  Just how close Bowlsby gets to that timeline will depend on how things go in Phoenix this week.

— Boise State, BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, Memphis and UCF have all been mentioned as potential candidates if the Big 12 opts to expand.  According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, the UofM has been lobbying the conference for inclusion in a next round of expansion if it comes.

University of Memphis president M. David Rudd sent a promotional publication – highlighting the finer points of the city and its major university – to University of Texas president Dr. Gregory Fenves in December, showcasing the U of M as a possible Big 12 expansion candidate.

Rudd said the publication, entitled “Memphis Soul of a City,” captures “the passion and proud history of Tiger athletics including a historic run by our football program.”

The Memphis publication highlights the city’s top Fortune 500 companies, its overall attributes and the U of M’s attributes, including its recent athletic accomplishments, particularly the turnaround by the football program. Tiger football has gone 19-7 the past two seasons.

— And, finally,that 800-pound Longhorn we spoke of earlier.

It’s long been believed that Texas is not in favor of expanding the conference, especially at the expense of folding its Longhorn Network into a conference-wide network, with Texas Tech and TCU, for their own reasons, following in lock-step with the state’s flagship institution.  According to a report from the Cincinnati Enquirer, the conference is one vote shy of garnering enough support to expand.

It’s believed seven of the 10 schools favor expansion. But Big 12 bylaws call for a super majority vote of 75 percent (so at least eight schools) to make a major change. Texas is believed to be influencing Texas Tech’s and Texas Christian’s decisions to also be reluctant to expansion.

Texas Tech has long fallen in line with Texas. Both are public universities that have been in the same league together since 1956, when they were in the Southwest Conference. Texas and Texas Tech were founding members of the Big 12 in 1996.

TCU is believed to be following Texas’ lead because the conference’s power broker reportedly helped the Horned Frogs get into the Big 12 four years ago.

In other words, we’re right back to where we’ve been on multiple occasions in the past: as Texas goes, so goes Big 12 expansion.  Or doesn’t go, as the case may be.

UPDATED 6:38 p.m. ET: If you want an idea as to Texas’ thought process at the moment, I think this sentence pretty much tells you everything you need to know.