Sorry BYU, but Big 12 is sticking with 10

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BYU head coach Bronco Mendenall may have to keep on waiting for any call to come from the Big 12. That is because the Big 12 apparently has no interest in even discussing expansion, for now at least.

According to Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com, the Big 12 has had no talk about expansion in recent months. This comes as little surprise given the solid place the conference appears to be settling into after the multiple rounds of musical chairs in conference realignment the past few years and with the move into the new College Football Playoff era and the age of autonomy. This stance on conference membership has not changed in two years.

“Expansion is one thing we’re not talking about,” West Virginia Athletics Director Oliver Luck said to McMurphy. And would the conference bother with the discussion?

The Big 12 has found a way to survive just fine by adjusting the way schools handle media rights. Conference scheduling is easy with a full round-robin style format. The Big 12 has learned that a conference championship game is nice, but is not a requirement to remain among the power conferences. Unless a school from another power conference decides to leave its conference and asks for the Big 12 for consideration, the pool of attractive and worthwhile options for the Big 12 are just not out there. For now, the conference is fine looking for ways to work with other conferences as well.

One of the big unknowns though remains just how the College Football Playoff selection committee will operate, specifically how they view the worth of a conference championship game when it comes time to determine which four teams are chosen to compete for the national championship. Odds are the lack of a conference championship game could end up being a mild hurdle for some Big 12 contender at some point, but it does not appear as though that will be enough of a factor to keep the Big 12 out of the championship picture if a worthy candidate is in the mix. However, if at some point the conference does feel the lack of a championship game is enough of a factor holding the Big 12 back from the championship stage, that discussion will surely pop up at least in passing.

The Big 12 is not going to expand just to expand. Furthermore, the Big 12 is not likely to expand just by one school, even if just for football membership. That will leave BYU evaluating other options for the time being.

Lamar Jackson leapfrogged by Baker Mayfield as Bovada’s Heisman favorite

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So much for that wagering momentum, I guess.

Entering the 2017 season as not only the reigning winner but also as seemingly an afterthought, a pair of scintillating performances to open the year pushed Lamar Jackson to the head of Bovada.lv‘s Heisman Trophy pack.  Coming off a 26-point Week 3 loss to now-No. 2 Clemson in which he totaled nearly 400 yards of offense and three touchdowns, the Louisville quarterback has seen his odds lengthen a bit from 7/4 a week ago to 11/2 in Bovada‘s latest Heisman release.

Bovada’s new betting front-runner?  Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, who went from 4/1 to 7/4.  Sam Darnold, 6/1, also saw his odds shorten slightly to a Jackson-match 11/2.

Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph, 10/1 in the previous odds release, is now at 9/1, same as the holding-steady-from-a-week-ago Penn State running back Saquon Barkley.

There’s also, interestingly, one true freshman on the board: J.K. Dobbins.  The Ohio State running back went from off the board to 40/1 odds.  His starting quarterback, J.T. Barrett, saw his odds go from 25/1 to 33/1.

Below is the latest set of 2017 Heisman Trophy odds, again courtesy of Bovada.lv.

Illinois adds UCF grad transfer QB Pete DiNovo

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Illinois has an immediate addition to its quarterback room.  Or its wide receivers room, depending on how things play out.

Pete DiNovo confirmed to the Tampa Bay Times Monday that he has decided to transfer to the Illini.  The acknowledgment comes a month after DiNovo decided to transfer from Central Florida.

As a graduate transfer, DiNovo would be eligible to play immediately this season.  Per the player, a former high school teammate and former high school coach currently at Illinois played a role in his decision.

“I couldn’t be happier with the way everything turned out,” DiNovo told the Times. “I can come up here and learn from Lovie (Smith) and everyone else on the coaching staff.”

DiNovo began his Knights career as a quarterback — he replaced Blake Bortles as UCF’s starter before being quickly replaced himself — before being moved to wide receiver before being moved back under center this offseason.  How the Illini will use DiNovo, who has an eye on a career in coaching after his playing days are over, remains to be seen.

UTEP stays in-house to replace fired OC Brent Pease

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Not surprisingly, UTEP will stay in-house following its in-season dismissal of one of its coordinators.

The Miners confirmed Sunday that offensive coordinator Brent Pease had been fired.  A day later, the football program announced that Brian Natkin has been given the keys to the offense by Sean Kugler and will call the plays moving forward.

Natkin began the season as special teams coordinator and tight ends coach.  He was an All-American tight end at UTEP a decade-and-a-half ago and became a full-time assistant at his alma mater in 2011.

Through three games, UTEP ranks second-to-last nationally in total offense at 204.7 yards per game and in yards per play (3.89). The Miners are also 125th (out of 130 teams) in scoring at 13 points per game.

The promotion of Natkin also means there will be some additional adjustments to Kugler’s staff.  Wide receivers coach Chuck Veliz will take over Pease’s other role as quarterbacks coach, while safeties coach Don Yanowsky assume Natkin’s duties as special teams coordinator.

Natkin will continue in his role as tight ends coach.

Oregon State QB Jake Luton discharged from hospital after leaving Wazzu game on a stretcher

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Oregon State quarterback Jake Luton was taken away on a stretcher after a tackle left him motionless on the Reser Stadium turf on Saturday.

Family members were called to the field, where medical professionals stabilized an apparently unconscious Luton and removed his face mask. The game continued, of course, as Oregon State lost to Washington State 52-23 despite Luton’s 179 passing yards and 22 rushing yards.

Luton tweeted on Saturday night that he’ll “be back.”

Luton has since been discharged from the hospital, according to The Oregonian, though his father posted a message stating Luton was probably dealing with a “thoracic spine fracture.”

Oregon State is off Saturday before hosting Washington on Sept. 30.