The Sun Belt Conference has a unanimous favorite this fall, at least according to the coaches in the conference. UL Lafayette received all 11 first-place votes from the coaches of the Sun Belt in a preseason poll, which was released by the Sun Belt Saturday.
UL Lafayette tied for the conference championship last season with Arkansas State. Arkansas State is second in the preseason coaches poll for the upcoming season, followed by a growing South Alabama program. The South Alabama Jaguars are entering the third year as a FBS program and just the sixth year of its existence.
The Sun Belt also welcomes some new additions to the conference this season. Idaho and New Mexico State, once left standing together in the rubble of the imploded WAC, join the Sun Belt as football associate members. A pair of FCS programs making the move to the FBS, Appalachian State and Georgia Southern, also join the conference this season.
Here is how the Sun Belt coaches poll added up, courtesy of the Sun Belt Conference;
1. UL Lafayette 121 (11)
2. Arkansas State 102
3. South Alabama 98
4. Troy 84
5. UL Monroe 78
6. Texas State 70
7. Appalachian State 47
8. Georgia Southern 44
9. Idaho 29
10. Georgia State 27
11. New Mexico State 26
Sun Belt media day is scheduled for Monday, July 21.
I’m quite certain that Larry Fedora is absolutely thrilled over this development.
On Aug. 1, North Carolina football players will report to campus. A day later, the Tar Heels will kick off their sixth summer camp under Fedora. Exactly two weeks after that? Fedora will be forced to leave his football squad as part of the UNC contingent that will be in attendance at the university’s hearing in front of the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions.
The two-day hearing will take place Aug. 16-17 in Nashville, Tenn.
The news comes exactly two months after, for the third time in as many years, UNC responded to a Notice of Allegations connected to a decade-long academic scandal.
In June of 2014, the NCAA informed UNC “that it would reopen its original 2011 examination of the past academic irregularities.” The first NOA was sent to the university in 2015, with UNC accused of lack of institutional control as to student-athletes in multiple sports, including football, receiving preferential access to the controversial African and Afro-American Studies (AFAM) courses dating all the way back to 2002. In April of 2016, UNC received an amended NOA that replaced “lack of institutional control” with “failure to monitor.”
A decision from the NCAA on what if any punitive measures the football program will face is expected to come two months or so after the conclusion of the hearing. Such a timeline would, of course, put the resolution right in the middle of the football season.
It should be noted that Fedora is not facing any type of misconduct connected to the academic scandal.
At least partially, Michigan players will see their offseason travel wishes for next year granted.
Fresh off their spring break trip to Rome this year, Jim Harbaugh revealed last month that his Wolverines football players, following a team vote, were eyeing a trip next year that would include stops in Paris and London. At the Big Ten Media Days Tuesday, Harbaugh confirmed that they would indeed be taking the team to Paris around the same time next year.
Instead of London, however, U-M will take in the sights at historically-steeped Normandy.
The trip to Rome this year cost in the neighborhood of $800,000, although that particular tab was picked up by a well-heeled booster of the program. It’s expected that the same scenario financially will play out for this trip as well, regardless of the cost.
The rocky tenure of N.J. Falo at Colorado has come to an abrupt end.
According to the university, the linebacker has been dismissed from head coach Mike MacIntyre‘s football program. Other than the standard violation of unspecified team rules, no reason for the dismissal was given.
In late April of last year, Falo (pictured, No. 42) and then-Buffs running back Dino Gordon were arrested in connection to an alleged dorm-room theft. The duo had been accused of stealing prescription drugs, laptops, video games and other electronics from a dorm room earlier that month.
Falo, who played in seven games as a true freshman in 2015, was suspended for the first three games of the 2016 season because of the incident. After returning, the then-true sophomore played in the final 11 games of the year. As a backup, he was credited with 12 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss.
Because of injury, he sat atop CU’s post-spring depth chart just months ago.
A month after leaving Texas, Brandon Hodges has decided on a new college football home.
On his personal Twitter account Tuesday afternoon, Hodges announced that he has decided to enroll at Pittsburgh and continue his playing career with the Panthers. As the offensive lineman is coming to the Panthers as a graduate transfer, he’ll be eligible to play immediately in 2017.
The upcoming season will be his final year of eligibility.
Hodges spent the first two seasons of his collegiate career at East Mississippi Community College before transferring to UT in 2015. He took a redshirt his first season in Austin.
Last season, Hodges started nine games at right tackle for the Longhorns. Academics forced Hodges to miss some of spring practice this year as well as the spring game, although he was able to graduate from the university not long after.