Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

Is a 9-game conference schedule coming to the ACC?

1 Comment

ACC athletic directors are scheduled to meet in North Carolina this week to discuss a number of topics, including whether or not to expand the ACC schedule from eight games to nine. It’s possible the ADs assembled could vote to adopt a nine-game conference scheduling initiative for future schedules, decide to stay put with the status quo of eight games or just table the entire discussion for a later point in time. It’s anyone’s guess, really.

In 2014, ACC athletic directors voted in favor of sticking with an eight-game conference scheduling format with the stipulation each member must schedule one non-conference game against another power conference opponent. With Notre Dame attached on a rotating schedule and a number of annual rivalries with SEC programs, this was not a huge problem for much of the ACC, although it still led to the possibility of Wake Forest and North Carolina scheduling a non-conference series against each other. Tacking on an extra conference game may not have much support considering the Notre Dame rotating schedule and annual rivalry games against SEC opponents, but as the ACC moves toward launching an ACC Network, the case can be made for improving the inventory of games by doing so would benefit the entire conference.

According to a report from David Teel of The Daily Press in Virginia, there is a split opinion on what scheduling format is most suitable for the ACC. From Teel;

Clemson, Florida State, Louisville, Georgia Tech and Duke appear to staunchly prefer 8+2. That’s five of the seven votes this option needs — a 7-all deadlock means the ACC remains at eight conference games and adds the second required Power Five contest. Commissioner John Swofford does not become Vice President Biden in the Senate and break the tie.

Miami, North Carolina, Virginia, North Carolina State, Wake Forest and Boston College are likely committed to 9+1. That’s six of the eight votes required.

Left to cast deciding votes would be ADs at Virginia Tech, Pitt and Syracuse. Notre Dame does not get a say in this decision as they are not an official football-playing member of the conference. Teel notes Pitt AD Scot Barnes and Virginia Tech AD Whit Babcock could lean in favor of a 9+1 model that would expand the conference schedule to nine games and still inlcude one mandated game against another power conference opponent. One other model on the table could be an eight-game schedule with two required games against power conference opponents. With 14 teams in the SEC, Big Ten and ACC and so few non-conference games to fill between all conferences, that model could be tricky to pull off. Scheduling in college football is done so far in advance, that it becomes difficult to satisfy all of the requirements a conference may place on its members.

The Big 12, Pac-12 and Big Ten each use a nine-game conference schedule. The Big 12 uses a nine-game schedule for a full conference-wide round-robin schedule in which each Big 12 school plays the entire conference. The Big Ten just started using a nine-game conference schedule this season and will mandate that Big Ten schools schedule one game against another power conference or approved opponent (BYU, UConn, Cincinnati etc.) in addition to not scheduling games against FCS opponents. The SEC plays an eight-game schedule and requires members to schedule one non-conference game each year against a power conference or approved (Notre Dame, BYU, Army) opponent.

Colorado dismises LB N.J. Falo

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.

Texas transfer Brandon Hodges uses Twitter to commit to Pitt

Associated Press
Leave a comment

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.

Urban Meyer: Greg Schiano ‘will be head coach’ again after turning down two ‘significant’ jobs this offseason

Getty Images
3 Comments

It won’t be this year, but Urban Meyer could be forced to replace his defensive coordinator in short order.

In December of last year, Greg Schiano‘s name was attached to head coach openings at Oregon (HERE) and USF (HERE), although those jobs ultimately went to Willie Taggart and Charlie Strong, respectively.  At the Big Ten Media Days Tuesday, Schiano’s boss stated that his coordinator had turned down two “significant” opportunities this offseason to again become a head coach.

While the Ohio State head coach declined to divulge the names of the jobs Schiano decided against, or even what level of the sport was involved, Meyer emphatically stated that it’s a matter of when, not if, Schiano becomes a head coach again.

“He will be a head coach (again),” Meyer said by way of ElevenWarriors.com. “I’m going to keep him as long as I can. He’s one of the best I’ve ever been around.”

Schiano, who was the head coach at Rutgers from 2001-11, is entering his second season leading the Buckeyes’ defense.  In his first, OSU was third nationally in points per game (14.2) and tied for fourth in yards per game (282).

New medical study finds CTE in brains of 48 of 53 deceased college football players

Getty Images
3 Comments

As the sport at all levels continues to aggressively address the issue of safety for its players, another report has surfaced that shines a harsh light on the potential brutality of the game.

In a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Tuesday, the Associated Press reports, researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine and the VA Boston Healthcare System examined the brains of 202 deceased men who had played football at various levels.  Of those, 53 played college football; 48 of them were diagnosed postmortem with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE as it’s more commonly known.

Even more startling, 110 of the 111 brains of former NFL players studied had CTE.  Conversely, three of 14 brains of individuals whose highest level of football was high school were diagnosed with it.

From the AP:

There are many questions that remain unanswered,” said lead author Dr. Ann McKee, a Boston University neuroscientist. “How common is this” in the general population and all football players?

“How many years of football is too many?” and “What is the genetic risk? Some players do not have evidence of this disease despite long playing years,” she noted.

It’s also uncertain if some players’ lifestyle habits — alcohol, drugs, steroids, diet — might somehow contribute, McKee said.

Dr. Munro Cullum, a neuropsychologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, emphasized that the report is based on a selective sample of men who were not necessarily representative of all football players. He said problems other than CTE might explain some of their most common symptoms before death — depression, impulsivity and behavior changes. He was not involved in the report.

CTE is a degenerative disease found in people who have suffered repeated blows to the head, particularly in sports such as boxing hockey, rugby and, of course, football.  At this time, CTE can only be diagnosed after death, although there are experimental tests being studied that may work on the living.

In that vein, the AP writes that “McKee said research from the brain bank may lead to answers and an understanding of how to detect the disease in life, “while there’s still a chance to do something about it.”

Among those who donated their brains and were part of the new study included Ken Stabler (Alabama), Bubba Smith (Michigan State), Junior Seau (USC), Dave Duerson (Notre Dame) and Frank Wainright (Northern Colorado).  All of those went on to lengthy careers in the NFL.