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Big 12 non-expansion behind them, Mike Aresco refocuses on AAC’s Power Six case

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No conference dodged a bullet from the Big 12’s decision to not expand quite like the American Athletic Conference. If the Big 12 was to expand, the ACC could have potentially lost Cincinnati and Houston, and possibly more with Connecticut and SMU among the other possibilities for the Big 12 expansion drama. The Big 12 announced it will move forward with its current 10-member lineup, seemingly putting the AAC at ease for now. With that being the case, AAC commissioner Mike Aresco can once again focus on pushing the idea of the AAC being considered the sixth power conference in the nation.

“Glad it’s over. It’s been a long, tough process for everyone,” Aresco said, according to Joseph Duarte of The Houston Chronicle. “Now we really need to resume, reinforce and enhance our Power Six narrative.”

The AAC has been singing this tune since the old days of the Big East. Conference realignment and the formation of the College Football Playoff essentially left the AAC without a chair at the grown-ups table at Thanksgiving. Instead, the conference from having a guaranteed spot in the old BCS lineup to having to compete with the other conferences sitting at the kids table (Mountain West Conference, Conference USA, MAC, Sun Belt Conference). This has left the conference frustrated by not being considered in the same boat as the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC, but it has become the reality of the conference realignment era.

The AAC felt pretty good seeing Houston knock off Florida State in the Peach Bowl last year, and the conference needs more signature moments like that to build its case, especially in the regular season. Regardless of what happens, Aresco and the AAC will continue to argyue they are indeed a power conference, although the numbers show the conference is far behind what the others have to offer (see: TV contracts). But Aresco is in a position where he needs to stump for his conference, and he has shown he is never going to shy away from boastStateing about what his conference has to offer.

“Our brand is better known and more appreciated nationally than ever before,” Aresco explained. That may be true,but nobody is going to confuse the conference with ACC any time soon.

Toledo posts, then deletes, tweet offering to change mascot to Shrek

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There are plenty of annoying trends on Twitter, but perhaps the worst is the “I’ll do X if this gets retweeted X-thousand amount of times.” I blame Wendy’s.

But blanket policies are never a good way to go through life, and an exception was made on Tuesday when Toledo offered to change its mascot from a rocket to Shrek with 500,000 retweets.

Sadly, some dreams are simply too beautiful to live in this fallen world, and the tweet was outed to be a hoax. “We are definitely not changing the school mascot to Shrek,” Toledo media relations specialist Christine Billau told USA Today. “The tweet was meant to be fun, but it caused too much of a distraction.”

Meanwhile, Bowling Green gleefully hopped on the dog pile with both elbows pointed out.

UMass grad transfer lineman narrows choices to Auburn, UCLA, USC

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It’s not yet known to where Jack Driscoll will transfer, but the field has been significantly narrowed.

Earlier this offseason, Driscoll decided to transfer from UMass.  Tuesday, the offensive tackle confirmed to Rivals.com that he’s down to three schools as a potential landing spot — Auburn, UCLA and USC.

Neither football program will have to wait long for a decision as Driscoll expects to make an announcement Wednesday.  Driscoll had taken an official visit to all three of the campuses prior to whittling down his transfer to-do list.

“It will come down to one of those three schools,” the lineman told AuburnSports.com. “I feel like all three of the schools would be a good fit.”

Driscoll will graduate from UMass early next month, and will be eligible to play immediately in 2018 at whichever program he selects.  The upcoming season will be the first of two years of eligibility the 6-5, 294-pound lineman has remaining.

After starting eight games as a redshirt freshman in 2016, with most of those starts coming at left guard, he started all 12 games in 2017.  All of those starts this past season came at right tackle for the football-independent Minutemen. He was named to Phil Steele’s All-Independent first team while he earned second-team All-Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) honors for good measure.

Wisconsin new home for Houston transfer Collin Wilder

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Nearly three weeks to the day he left a Group of Five program, Collin Wilder has landed at a school from a Power Five conference.

On his personal Twitter account, Wilder indicated in a tweet that he has decided to transfer to Wisconsin.  The announcement, replete with the defensive back pictured in a UW uniform, comes after he announced on the same social media site that he had decided to leave Houston.

A three-star member of the Cougars’ 2016 recruiting class, Wilder was rated as the No. 94 player at any position in the state of Texas.  Just one defensive player in UH’s class that year, five-star defensive lineman Ed Oliver, was rated higher than Wilder.

After playing in all 13 games as a true freshman, the native of Katy, Tex., played in the first two games of 2017 before he suffered what turned out to be a season-ending knee injury.

Wilder will be forced to sit out the 2018 season to satisfy NCAA transfer bylaws.  He will then have two years of eligibility at his disposal beginning with the 2019 season.

Bo Scarbrough takes jab at UCF with ‘real championship rings’ tweet

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For the fifth time since Nick Saban took over, Alabama football players have added some serious bling to their personal collections.

At the football team’s annual Steak & Beans dinner Monday night at the Mal Moore Athletics Facility, both the student-athletes and coaches were presented with their 2017 national championship rings.  The thrilling overtime win over Georgia in the College Football Playoff title game was the program’s fifth since Saban came to the Crimson Tide in 2007.

The rings are, to say the least, impressive, encrusted with over 150 stones per the school.  Of those 53 represents the number of wins for this most recent senior class.

Saban’s six national championships as a coach, including one at rival LSU, are tied the legendary Bear Bryant for the most in the sport’s history.  The Crimson Tide has won a total of 17 national championships, the third-most in big-time college football history behind Princeton’s 28 and Yale’s 27.

Of course, numerous Crimson Tide football players took to social media to show off and celebrate their latest title hardware.  The best use of Twitter, though, belonged to running back Bo Scarbrough, who took a not-so-thinly-veiled jab at UCF and the Knights’ unveiling “the only 2017 undefeated national championship ring this past weekend.