LOUISVILLE, KY - SEPTEMBER 17: Dalvin Cook #4 of the Florida State Seminoles is tackled during the fourth quarter of the game against the Louisville Cardinals at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on September 17, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images)
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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.

Hawaii hires Jacob Yoro as safeties coach

TUCSON, AZ - SEPTEMBER 17:  Head coach Nick Rolovich of the Hawaii Warriors walks the sidelines during the college football game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium on September 17, 2016 in Tucson, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Kevin Lempa‘s new destination hasn’t yet been announced — he interviewed for a Michigan analyst job earlier this month — but Hawaii’s defensive coordinator has already been replace.

Legi Suiaunoa was promoted to defensive coordinator a week and a half ago, and on Monday the Warriors announced Honolulu native Jacob Yoro as safeties coach.

“Jake is a guy that I was interested in even before I got the job here at Hawai’i,” head coach Nick Rolovich (pictured) said in a statement. “I always thought he’d be a good fit with our philosophy. He’s well respected on the West Coast, not only for his knowledge but also for the noise he’s made on the recruiting side of the game. I have great appreciation for grinders like Jake.  We hope he adds to the trust of coaches and players in local recruiting. Local or not, though, Jake is a good ball coach.”

Yoro played at powerhouse Saint Louis High School before playing at Montana from 1998-01, then returned to the islands to coach in the Hawaii high school ranks. He left in 2009 to serve as linebackers coach at Montana Western, spent five seasons at Pacific University in Oregon and then coached the past two seasons as defensive backs coach at Cal Poly.

The Hawaii job represents Yoro’s first foray into FBS football.

“I’m excited and thankful for the opportunity to join the UH football family.  Coach Rolo and the rest of the staff have done a tremendous job of creating a culture that fosters greatness both on and off the field,” Yoro said.

He’ll have his work cut out for him immediately. Hawaii finished Rolovich’s first season ranked 118th nationally in pass efficiency defense, allowing 62.6 percent completions for 8.1 yards per attempt with 29 touchdowns against 11 interceptions in 14 games.

Alabama settles offensive staff by making two hires official

TUSCALOOSA, AL - SEPTEMBER 10:  Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide looks on from the sidelines during the game against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 10, 2016 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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The waters in Tuscaloosa are finally calm after Hurricane Lane’s departure.

As reported over the weekend, Alabama has officially named Brian Daboll its offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach and announced former director of football operations Joe Pannunzio as its tight ends coach and special teams coordinator.

Daboll kickstarted his career as a graduate assistant under Nick Saban at Michigan State and arrives after serving the past two seasons as the New England Patriots’ tight ends coach. Pannunzio turned four years as Saban’s DFO into two years as the Philadelphia Eagles’ director of personnel operations.

“I am honored to have the chance to return to the college game and work for Coach Saban at Alabama,” Daboll said. “He basically gave me my start in coaching as a graduate assistant at Michigan State in the late 1990s and has always been a very important influence on my coaching career. It is a tremendous opportunity to work at an institution such as Alabama with its rich tradition and history of sustained success, and I’m very excited to get started.”

“I am excited to have the chance to return to The University of Alabama and once again work for Coach Saban,” Pannunzio said. “I have always loved working with the special teams and tight ends and the chance to do it for the best coach and the best program in college football is a very special opportunity. My family and I love Tuscaloosa, and I can’t wait to get back out on the field coaching.”

Daboll fills the hole left by Steve Sarkisian, who filled the hole left by Lane Kiffin. Pannunzio fills the vacancy created when wide receivers coach Billy Napier left to become the offensive coordinator at Arizona State. Alabama also lost offensive line coach Mario Cristobal to a co-offensive coordinator role at Oregon.

With the dual hirings, co-offensive coordinator Mike Locksley will coach wide receivers, Burton Burns will focus solely on running backs and Brent Key will oversee the entire offensive line.

Sam Darnold becoming runaway favorite to win 2017 Heisman Trophy

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - SEPTEMBER 23: New starting quarterback Sam Darnold #14 of the USC Trojans looks to pass in the first quarter against the Utah Utes at Rice-Eccles Stadium on September 23, 2016 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
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The 2017 college football season is a long way off, but that hasn’t stopped people from betting on who will win the 2017 Heisman Trophy.

Bovada released an updated odds sheet on Monday, and USC quarterback Sam Darnold has stepped away as the clear favorite to win the honor.

2016 winner Lamar Jackson and 2016 finalist Baker Mayfield are tied for second at 13/2 odds, followed by Alabama running back Bo Scarborough and Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts.

Darnold finished the ’16 campaign ranked ninth nationally in passing efficiency, hitting 67.2 percent of his throws for 3,086 yards with 31 touchdowns against nine interceptions in 13 appearances (10 starts). He closed the year with a scintillating Rose Bowl performance, hitting 33-of-53 throws for 453 yards with five touchdowns against one interception in a 52-49 overtime win over Penn State.

One historical bullet point Darnold will have in his favor is that the clearest path to winning a Heisman comes from playing at a school with former Heisman winners. USC’s six previous winners trails only Notre Dame and Ohio State — the Trojans are tied if you count Reggie Bush‘s 2005 win — including Carson Palmer in 2002 and Matt Leinart in ’04.

North Carolina, Appalachian State announce 3-game series

CHAPEL HILL, NC - SEPTEMBER 19: General view of the game between the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Illinois Fighting Illini at Kenan Stadium on September 19, 2015 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
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Appalachian State hosted Miami last year and recently announced a 4-game series with East Carolina, but Monday’s announcement tops both of them combined…. probably.

The Mountaineers announced Monday a 3-game series with North Carolina, which calls for the Tar Heels’ first-ever visit to Boone among the set.

North Carolina will host Appalachian State on Sept. 21, 2019 and Sept. 9, 2023, with the Heels heading to the mountains for the sandwich game on Sept. 3, 2022. The 2022 visit marks the third ACC team to visit Appalachian State in a 7-year span, and just the second of the Big Four in-state schools to visit Boone; the Mountaineers host Wake Forest on Sept. 23 of this coming season to mark the first of such games.

“This series is the next addition in bringing Power 5 programs to Kidd Brewer Stadium,” App State AD Doug Gillin said in a statement. “With a record crowd for Miami last year, Wake Forest this season, and North Carolina in 2022 we are continuously looking for opportunities to bring great opponents to The Rock.  Our goal is to continue to bring Power 5 opponents, when available, and quality Group of 5 opponents to Boone, which benefits our students, student-athletes, university and community.  I truly enjoyed working with the UNC administration in constructing a series that is a win-win. Playing regional and in-state opponents makes a lot of sense for us.  We will see an increase in tickets sales both home and away, reduced travel costs and less missed class time for our students. Over the next eight seasons we will be playing the series with UNC, in addition to a four-game series with ECU, and home-and-home series with Wake Forest, Charlotte, and Marshall.”

Appalachian State has played the Big Four 29 times previously, all in their respective homes: 22 trips to Winston-Salem, six to Raleigh and one to Chapel Hill, a 56-6 Heels win in 1940.