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WVU states case as Big 12’s best in woodshedding Texas Tech

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West Virginia entered Week 7 as easily the least respected undefeated Power Five team in the country.

Despite the fact that the Mountaineers were a perfect 4-0, with three of the wins coming over Missouri, BYU and Kansas State, they were ranked 20th in the most rcent Associated Press Top 25.  They were the lowest-rated unbeaten Power Five, with the only one in that undistinguished neighborhood being fellow Big 12 member and 11th-ranked Baylor.  To add insult to injury, a trio of P5s, Ole Miss (No. 12), Florida State (No. 14) and Oklahoma (No. 19), were ranked ahead of WVU despite being two-loss teams.

As they exit Week 7, the Rodney Dangerfields of P5s may have earned a little respect as, in their first true road game of the season, WVU dominated Texas Tech from start to finish in an impressive 48-17 win in Lubbock.  Leading the way for the Mountaineers was Tony Gibson‘s stifling and suffocating defense.

Tech entered the game leading the country in passing yards per game (544) and scoring offense (55.2 points per game).  In addition to being held 38 points below their season average — their previous low was 38 in the loss to Kansas State in Week 6 — they managed “just” 345 yards through the air.  In their first five games, Tech hadn’t passed for fewer 470 in any of those contests.

Offensively, the Mountaineers were led by quarterback Skylar Howard, who not only passed for 318 yards but chipped in 89 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns on the ground.  The passing yardage marked the third time in five games this season the senior has eclipsed the 300-yard mark.

Now, though, WVU enters the meat of their schedule, a stretch to close out the regular season that will prove, without a doubt and one way or the other, whether Dana Holgorsen‘s squad is a contender or pretender.

That journey begins with back-to-back games against 4-2 teams, at home against TCU next Saturday and on the road against Oklahoma State.  After a bye for Week 10 — OK, they play Kansas, but still — they will play at Texas, then a road trip to Iowa State sandwiched in between home games against Oklahoma and unbeaten Baylor to close out the regular season.

Colorado dismises LB N.J. Falo

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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

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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

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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

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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.