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Report: Memphis no longer a candidate for Big 12 expansion

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The Big 12’s list of potential expansion candidates appears to have shrunk by one notable name according to a recent ESPN report on Friday.

Sources told the network that the University of Memphis is the latest school to get cut from the Big 12’s list, which once numbered as many as 22 schools but is now down to a reported 11. The omission of the Tigers is bound to raise a few eyeballs as the athletic department has made significant strides in recent years and has the backing of powerful local booster Fred Smith and his FedEx empire.

The ESPN report noted that the 11 schools will begin meeting in Dallas with Big 12 officials starting next week, with a possible decision on expansion coming as soon as a board of directors meeting on October 17.

In addition to the notable names like Memphis and Boise State who are out of the running to join the Big 12, the names of the schools that could get an invite is just as notable. The usual suspects of BYU, Cincinnati and Houston were among the names ESPN reported are in the final 11, along with Air Force, UCF, UConn, Colorado State, Rice, South Florida, SMU and Tulane.

Interestingly, the report also said Memphis offering to take less revenue from the Big 12 actually may have hurt the school in the long run because the league wanted teams that could strengthen the conference as opposed to being “propped up” by an invite.

The entire Big 12 expansion process is seemingly never-ending but it appears that things are starting to move along now that the list of prospective schools has been riddled down. It remains anybody’s guess as to whether the Big 12 even expands at all, or whether they add two or four teams. Given how the process has played out so far, it might be wise to expect the unexpected.

Just ask Memphis.

Boise State-Fresno State MWC championship game set

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Entering Week 12, just one of the nine FBS conference championship games, the ACC, had been set.  As of now, there’s a second one.

Both Boise State (6-0) and Fresno State (5-1) with a firm grip on the MWC’s Mountain and West divisions, respectively.  All BSU needed was for, among other things, 5-1 Wyoming to lose one of its last two games, while FSU needed at least one win to stave off San Diego State.

Saturday, any potential Week 13 drama for either team ended in one fell swoop as Fresno beat Wyoming 13-7 in Laramie.  That result means that the Broncos and Bulldogs will square off in the MWC championship game Dec. 2.

That game will serve as a rematch as both teams close out the regular season against each other next weekend.  The winner of that matchup will likely play host to the title game.  Officially, however, this is how the host site will be determined:

Boise State is currently ranked No. 25 in the most recent College Football Playoff Rankings. If the Broncos are ranked in the CFP poll on Tuesday, November 21 and defeat Fresno State on Saturday, November 25, the 2017 MW Football Championship Game will be held in Boise. If Boise State were to fall out of the CFP poll on Tuesday, November 21 or lose on November 25 to Fresno State, the site would be determined by composite computer rankings and announced on Sunday, November 26.

The Broncos and Bulldogs met in the 2014 MWC championship game, a 28-14 win for Boise.

Scott Frost calls report that he’s close to deal with Nebraska ‘completely false’

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The Scott Frost-to-Nebraska train has shown no signs of slowing down.  In fact, it’s gaining speed.

Frost, the former NU quarterback, has been mentioned prominently as a potential replacement for Mike Riley if/when he’s fired as the Cornhuskers’ head coach.  Given his connection to Lincoln and his success at his current job — he has UCF at 10-0 heading into the regular-season finale — the speculation makes perfect sense.

Overnight, that speculation heated up significantly as Lars Anderson of Bleacher Report tweeted that Frost and his alma mater are nearing an agreement on a seven-year, $35 million contract, with Anderson labeling the two sides as “close” on the deal.

Following UCF’s 45-19 win over Temple that kept the Knights perfect on the season, Frost, at least publicly, dismissed the report.

“That is completely false,” Frost said according to the Lincoln Journal-Star. “I can promise you no deal has been made.”

Of course, those into semantics, being what they are, would suggest that Anderson never reported that a deal has been made.  He merely stated that he’s hearing a deal is close, so Frost’s response was essentially an answer to a question that wasn’t posed.

Regardless, Frost’s name will continue to pop-up in connection to the potential Nebraska opening, and the opening at Florida for that matter until those jobs are filled by someone other than Frost — if one’s not filled by Frost, at least.

After slow start, No. 7 Georgia holds halftime lead over Kentucky between the hedges

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After getting throttled on the Plains of Auburn last week for their first loss, everybody wondered how No. 7 Georgia would respond as they went back home for an emotional-filled Senior Day.

Despite a slow start, it turns out the Bulldogs are doing okay on that front and look to be well on their way to bouncing back against an overmatched Kentucky squad in taking a 21-6 lead into halftime on Saturday afternoon.

UGA quarterback Jake Fromm threw an interception on the team’s opening series but rebounded to finish the half with 108 yards and a score through the air. As is typical, he was mostly handing off to his two big tailbacks in Nick Chubb (31 yards and a TD) and Sony Michel (68 yards, one touchdown), but did toss his 17th touchdown pass of the season on a beautiful pass to set a new school record for freshman quarterbacks.

A key point for the offense came late in the first quarter when punter Cameron Nizialek, a Ray Guy Award semifinalist, drew a roughing the kicker penalty to extend the team’s second offensive possession.  One of Kentucky’s best defenders, safety Mike Edwards, went out a few plays later with a hip injury (he later returned) and the Bulldogs took advantage of all the stars aligning by having Chubb punch in a touchdown to cap off a 75-yard drive.

Defensively, the team was pretty solid even when factoring in having to guard against an extra possession. They limited the Wildcats to just 140 yards on offense and contained dangerous runner Benny Snell to just 33 yards on the ground as well. UK wasn’t too shabby themselves on defense outside of the scoring drive late in the first quarter but seemed to start loosening up as the clock kept ticking.

While the college football slate isn’t the best in this window of games, credit to both sides in this one for at least keeping things somewhat close and interesting. Kentucky still has some hope to pull off the upset despite the home team holding the two-score lead going into the break at halftime.

Justin Motlow becomes first Seminole Tribe member to score a TD for Florida State

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It may have come in a blowout against a vastly-overmatched opponent, but this is pretty damn cool nonetheless.

Per Florida State’s official website, the grandmother of Justin Motlow is 100-percent Seminole Indian, while Motlow himself is 25-percent.  In 2014, Motlow accepted a preferred walk-on spot at FSU, becoming the first Seminole Tribe of Florida member to play football for the Seminoles.

In the fourth quarter of FSU’s 77-6 blowout of FCS Delaware State, Motlow caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from J.J. Cosentino.  Obviously, Motlow became the first Seminole Tribe member to score a touchdown for the ‘Noles, with the football program ensuring that the football Motlow caught finds a very special home.