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Florida State may still gain ACC Atlantic edge in three-way tie-breaking scenario

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Florida State was on the receiving end of one of the season’s most lopsided losses for a power conference team in the early going of the 2016 season, courtesy of Louisville and Lamar Jackson. While the Seminoles took a setback in their first ACC game of the season, there is still just over three-quarters of the season left to play and there is still hope for the folks in Tallahassee to play for an ACC title. Writing off a team after just one week in September is never wise, of course, although a loss to Louisville poses as a tricky hurdle for Florida State. Florida State still has a chance to bounce back and make a run in the ACC, although they will clearly need some help from an unlikely ally; Clemson. And Houston?

In order for Florida State to play for an ACC title, the Seminoles very likely have to win their seven remaining ACC conference games. That would include a home win against Deshaun Watson and Clemson in November. Florida State loses a head-to-head tiebreaker with Louisville fo course, so the Seminoles need the Cardinals to lose twice to jump ahead of them in the ACC Atlantic Division. Louisville plays at Clemson in two weeks, so FSU fans will be rooting for the Tigers. But who else in the ACC is going to give Louisville a run? Take a look at Louisville’s ACC schedule and tell me how confident you are the Cardinals get tripped up, outside of Clemson;

  • Oct. 1 at Clemson
  • Oct. 14 vs. Duke
  • Oct. 22 vs. NC State
  • Oct. 29 @ Virginia
  • Nov. 5 @ Boston College
  • Nov. 12 vs. Wake Forest

The Clemson game may be a toss-up, but that is one favorable ACC schedule the rest of the way for the Cardinals. If Louisville wins at Clemson, they might as well book their rooms for wherever the ACC places its conference championship game right after the game, because that division will belong to them. But what if Clemson beats Louisville and Florida State beats Clemson and all three win their remaining ACC contests? What happens then? That may depend on what happens in the Louisville-Houston game and perhaps the Florida State-Florida game.

Sorting through the ACC’s division tiebreaker procedures, the ACC could feasibly have to go down the list until it gets to the tiebreaker that relies on the College Football Playoff rankings (a silly tiebreaker, but whatever). Here is the seventh tiebreaker, which is the one that could benefit FSU at the end of the year if it gets the help it needs;

The tied team with the highest ranking in the full [College Football Playoff] Standings following the conclusion of regular season games, unless the second of the tied teams is ranked within five-or-fewer places of the highest ranked tied team. In this case, the two-team tiebreaking procedure shall be applied between the top two ranked tied teams.

How could this benefit Florida State? First, Florida State needs to win out the rest of the way, which would include a win over Clemson and a win over a potentially well-respected Florida (SEC East Division leader?) Assuming that happens, it would be expected Florida State would claw their way back up whatever ranking system you prefer to use. 11-1 Florida State would likely grab a spot in the top 10, even with a blowout loss at Louisville. Meanwhile, Clemson’s late-season loss at Florida State could be enough to drop the Tigers behind the Noles, but FSU may still be trying to catch Louisville, because a hypothetical loss at Clemson may not drop the Cardinals far enough down for FSU to catch-up for a while. Enter the Houston Cougars.

Louisville travels to Houston on November 17 for a game that already has college football fans getting excited. The way these two are playing, we could have a very significant showdown in order. Forget about what the game could potentially mean for the larger picture. If Louisville stumbles at Houston, the question of how far they could drop comes into play. With FSU theoretically on the rise in November, would a road loss to Houston be enough to allow FSU a chance to skip past the Cardinals? IT’s not entirely out of the question.

It still looks to be a pretty steep mountain for Florida State to climb, but the season is never defined solely by what happens in the first three weeks of a season. If it were, Ohio State would not have won a national championship two seasons ago and Texas A&M would have a couple more Heisman Trophy winners since Johnny Manziel. For Florida State, the Seminoles can only focus on what is in front of them now and see where things fall later on. The margin for error is thin for the Seminoles, but the door to an ACC title has not been slammed shut just yet.

Unless Louisville beats Clemson. Then the door will be padlocked for good in 2016.

Georgia Southern confirms firing of head coach Tyson Summers

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As was reported by a handful of outlets moments ago, Georgia Southern has now confirmed that Tyson Summers is out as head coach.

Summers went 5-13 as head coach, including an 0-6 mark this season after falling to previously winless Massachusetts 55-20 on Saturday.

“I thank Tyson and his family for their contributions to Georgia Southern,” AD Tom Kleinlein said in a statement. “Being the leader of a college football program is more than just coaching games; it’s managing academics and leading 120 young men. Tyson did a great job in areas that the public doesn’t see, but at the end of the day, the results on the field weren’t where we needed them to be as we continue our growth as an FBS program. I wish he and his family all the best moving forward in their future endeavors.”

Kleinlein also confirmed that assistant head coach Chad Lunsford will be bumped to interim head coach.

“Chad is as ‘True Blue’ as they come and I’m excited to have him lead our team for the remainder of the 2017 season,” Kleinlein said. “The players respect him and I have full confidence in his abilities as we head into the final six games of the season.”

Lunsford will begin his tenure as interim head coach at Troy on Saturday.

Reports: Tyson Summers out at Georgia Southern

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One of the least surprising coaching moves of the 2017 cycle has now been made. As first reported by FootballScoop and since confirmed by Brett McMurphy and SB Nation’s Steven GodfreyTyson Summers is out at Georgia Southern. (Full disclosure: I also work for FootballScoop.)

The one-and-a-half-season Summers era was nothing short of disaster in Statesboro. Hired away after serving one season as Colorado State’s defensive coordinator, Summers turned away from the Eagles’ traditional triple option and immediately paid the price. Georgia Southern’s rushing average fell nearly 150 yards per game and its scoring average shrunk by nearly 10 points as the Eagles sputtered to a 5-7 record.

Summers replaced co-offensive coordinators David Dean and Rance Gillespie after the season, and was promptly sued by both for alleged breach of contract.

Summers returned to the triple option in 2017, hiring Bryan Cook away from Georgia Tech, and has still seen the Eagles’ rushing average fall by close to 50 more yards. A team that averaged 36.5 points and 363 rushing yards two years ago now amasses close to half of that — 18 points a game on 200 rushing yards.

The final straw came Saturday, when the Eagles were blasted 55-20 by previously winless Massachusetts, securing the title as the worst team in FBS in 2017, dropping to 0-6 on the year and 5-13 overall under Summers.

Assistant head coach Chad Lundsford will reportedly serve as interim head coach as Georgia Southern begins the second half of its season at Troy on Saturday.

 

Carla Williams becomes first African-American female Power 5 AD

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Virginia has hired Carla Williams as its new athletics director, the program announced Sunday. The hire makes Williams the fifth female AD at the Power 5 level and the first African-American female AD ever at a Power 5 school.

A press conference to introduce Williams will be held on Monday.

“I am extremely grateful for this opportunity to lead one of the nation’s elite athletics programs,” Williams said in a statement. “Academic achievement, athletic excellence, operating with integrity, a commitment to maximum effort at all times and a strong sense of teamwork and unity are the core principles that will guide our athletics department under my leadership.”

Williams spent 13 years in the athletics administration at Georgia, and was promoted to deputy AD in 2015.

“I am so happy for Carla,” Georgia AD Greg McGarity said in a statement. “She has worked so hard for this opportunity and will be a dynamic leader for the University of Virginia athletics program. Carla has been a tremendous asset to our staff in all areas of the UGA program and her skill set is remarkable. She has experience in virtually every part of our athletic program — from a student-athlete all the way to Deputy Director.  I know I’ll miss working alongside my good friend. We are very proud of Carla and wish her the very best in her role as Director of Athletics at the University of Virginia.”

Williams helped Georgia teams claim 16 NCAA championships and 37 SEC titles during her tenure. At Virginia, she’ll inherit a school with a broad athletics portfolio. The Cavaliers compete in 25 varsity sports and are traditionally strong in men’s and women’s lacrosse. The Hoos claimed their first College World Series championship in 2015, reached the Elite Eight of the 2016 men’s basketball tournament, and stand at 5-2 in Bronco Mendenhall‘s second season as head football coach.

“I think Carla is spectacular,” UVa president-elect Jim Ryan said in a statement. “She is exceedingly well-prepared for this role, but more than that, she is fiercely committed to excellence in both athletics and academics and has a track record of success in both arenas. I cannot wait to work with Carla, a kindred spirit who sees leadership as a chance to serve those around her and to create the conditions for their success.”

Williams succeeds Craig Littlepage, the first African-American AD ever in the ACC, who announced his retirement after 16 years atop the department in September.

 

Notre Dame jumps to No. 9, Iowa State replaces Michigan in latest AP poll

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The most newsworthy changes in the latest AP poll come at the bottom. Michigan is out after falling 42-13 at No. 2 Penn State. Taking their place? The twisting Cyclones of Iowa State. Following a 31-13 win at Texas Tech and riding the crest of a 3-game winning streak that began at then-No. 3 OklahomaMatt Campbell‘s crew is off to its best start since 2002 and in the AP poll for the first time since Sept. 25, 2005. The Cyclones will have to earn their keep, though. Their next three games: No. 4 TCU, at No. 22 West Virginia and No. 11 Oklahoma State.

Elsewhere, Notre Dame jumped four spots to No. 9 after a 49-14 destruction of USC, a loss that pushed the Trojans down 10 spots to No. 21.

After a 31-21 win at Navy, Central Florida continues to track down I-4 rival South Florida as the top-ranked Group of 5 team; the Knights are up two spots to No. 18, while South Florida dropped a spot to No. 17.

The full poll:

1. Alabama — 1,525 total points (61 first-place votes)
2. Penn State — 1,444
3. Georgia — 1,409
4. TCU — 1,327
5. Wisconsin — 1,241
6. Ohio State — 1,165
7. Clemson — 1,113
8. Miami — 1,101
9. Notre Dame — 1,066
10. Oklahoma — 1,040
11. Oklahoma State — 894
12. Washington — 836
13. Virginia Tech — 791
14. NC State — 666
15. Washington State — 648
16. Michigan State — 615
17. South Florida — 604
18. Central Florida — 500
19. Auburn — 397
20. Stanford — 344
21. USC — 319
22. West Virginia — 196
23. LSU — 182
24. Memphis — 111
25. Iowa State — 98

Ranked-on-ranked action for Week 9:

No. 11 Oklahoma State at No. 22 West Virginia (noon ET, ABC)
No. 2 Penn State at No. 6 Ohio State (3:30 p.m. ET, Fox)
No. 4 TCU at No. 25 Iowa State (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN2)
No. 14 NC State at No. 9 Notre Dame (3:30 p.m. ET, NBC)