Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images

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

4 Comments

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.

Florida DL Taven Bryan declares for NFL Draft

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Dan Mullen era has everyone excited in Gainesville, but one key contributor won’t stick around to see it.

Defensive lineman Taven Bryan announced Monday he will leave school to enter his name in the 2018 NFL Draft. According to the statement released on his Twitter account, it sounds as if he made his mind up during the Jim McElwain and Randy Shannon regimes and nearly returned upon Mullen’s arrival.

Bryan ranked fifth on the team with 40 tackles while also recording six TFL and four sacks, just half a sack off the team lead.

A native of Casper, Wyo., Bryan will attempt to become just the third Wyoming native to be among the ranks of active NFL players.

SMU reportedly tabs former Cal, La Tech head coach Sonny Dykes as new head coach

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Sonny Dykes will take over as SMU’s head coach, according to multiple reports. The move was first reported by FotballScoop on Monday morning, and since confirmed by ESPN and Sports Illustrated.

Dykes takes over for Chad Morris, who left last week to become the head coach at Arkansas.

Morris was hired to re-establish ties with the Texas high school community after the program flatlined under June Jones, and Dykes has a similar appeal as his predecessor. Like Morris, Dykes is a former Texas high school coach, though only briefly. (He spent one year as the running backs coach at Richardson Pearce High School in 1994.) But more importantly he’s a name that will resonate with Texas high school coaches as the son of the legendary Spike Dykes.

The younger Dykes served as an assistant at Navarro Junior College and Texas Tech before taking over as the head coach at Louisiana Tech, where he led the Bulldogs to a 22-15 mark with one WAC championship from 2010-12. That success led him to Cal, where he took the Golden Bears to one bowl game in four seasons.

He was let go after the 2016 season, and spent the 2017 campaign laying low nearby the Hilltop, as an offensive analyst at TCU.

Dykes will inherit a 7-5 SMU team that ranked eighth nationally in scoring offense and 113th in scoring defense. The Mustangs will meet Dykes’s former team Louisiana Tech in the inaugural Frisco Bowl on Dec. 20 (8 p.m. ET, ESPN).

Interim head coach Jeff Traylor garnered significant support inside the locker room to take over on a full-time basis, so it will be interesting to see if Dykes works to keep the former Texas high school coach on staff, perhaps in an offensive coordinator capacity.

Report: Former Stanford QB Tavita Pritchard named Cardinal offensive coordinator

Getty Images
Leave a comment

It can be argued Tavita Pritchard started the current era of Stanford football. Trailing 23-17 with 48 seconds left, it was Pritchard that hit Mark Bradford for a 10-yard touchdown to push the Cardinal past No. 2 USC for a 24-23 win in 2007, at the time the largest point-spread upset in college football history and kickstarting the Jim HarbaughDavid Shaw era that continues today.

And now it will be Pritchard’s job to keep the ball he first pushed way back when rolling.

According to Bruce Feldman of Sports Illustrated, Pritchard will be named Stanford’s offensive coordinator.

Still only 30, Pritchard graduated from Stanford in 2009, but he never really left the Stanford football program. He volunteered with the coaching staff in 2010, began working with the Cardinal defense in 2011 and was promoted to the full-time coaching staff in 2013, working with the running backs.

Pritchard was moved to quarterbacks and wide receivers in 2014 and has remained there the past four seasons, but is now in line to take over the entire offense with offensive coordinator Mike Bloomgren now the head coach at Rice.

Led by Doak Walker Award winner Bryce Love, Stanford concluded the regular season ranked 32nd in rushing, 61st in passing efficiency, 19th in yards per play and 39th in scoring at 32.0 points per game. The 13th-ranked and Pac-12 North champion Cardinal will meet No. 15 TCU in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 28 (9 p.m. ET, ESPN).

Darrell Dickey to join Texas A&M staff as offensive coordinator

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Memphis offensive coordinator Darrell Dickey is taking the same job at Texas A&M, according to a report from, uh, me.

Dickey has been on the Memphis staff for the past six years, first as an original member of Justin Funete‘s staff and continued on under new head coach Mike Norvell. His 2017 unit ranked among the top five nationally in scoring, total offense and yards per play, and came within a defensive stop of winning the American championship and playing in the Peach Bowl.

Beyond Memphis, the appeal for Jimbo Fisher is Dickey’s extensive experience in Texas. A Galveston, Texas, native, Dickey broke into coaching as a graduate assistant on Jackie Sherrill‘s staff at Texas A&M and bounced around in the state as the offensive coordinator at UTEP, SMU and Texas State, and served as the head coach at North Texas from 1998-06. He led the Mean Green to four straight Sun Belt championships from 2001-04.

It will be interesting to see how much control of the offense Fisher gives to Dickey. Memphis ran 882 plays in its 12 games this season, 41st nationally, while Florida State ranked 122nd with 734 — a difference of a dozen snaps a game.