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ACC and Pac-12 feasted on FCS wins in Week 1, SEC will in Week 2

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There are still a few games left on the schedule this weekend involving teams from the ACC and Pac-12, but the majority of the games are in the books and opinions about the value of wins in the opening weekend are already being formed. The ACC has gotten off to a rough start after an offseason of chest-thumping, but Georgia Tech and Virgina Tech get two chances to end the weekend on a positive note for the conference in games against the Big 12 and the SEC.

The ACC has had a decent record this weekend with a mark of 9-3, but six of those wins came against FCS opponents. Similarly, the Pac-12’s clean-looking 10-0 record (with one game to play tonight; UCLA vs. Texas A&M) was anchored by half of those wins coming against FCS opponents. Here’s the breakdown for each FBS conference so far this weekend in non-conference games against FBS opponents and against FCS opponents.

The Big Ten was the only conference not play a single game against an FCS opponents, thanks to the conference’s no-FCS scheduling policy that has been put in place (an exemption to that policy will be made for Maryland in Week 2; the Terps host Towson). Credit for wins against FCS opponents should be given little credibility if any, but losses to the opponents from the FCS ranks should damage a teams’ and conference’s credibility. Four teams went down against FCS opponents this weekend.

What do we make of this? It is still too early to say for sure, but you can use these records to evaluate just how much stock you should place in a conference’s overall strength of schedule. Right now, the Big Ten takes the decisive lead going into Week 2 in terms of strength of schedule credibility. Meanwhile, the ACC is caught trying to catch up. In the Big 12, Baylor’s loss at home to Liberty may be excused if Oklahoma can leave Ohio State with a win this week. But if the Sooners lose (and Iowa State loses to Iowa), the Big 12 will once again behind the curve in terms of conference supremacy in 2017, and that could end up making it a little more difficult for the conference to get into the College Football Playoff without an undefeated or potentially a one-loss conference champion.

How many FCS opponents are on the schedule this week?

  • American: 1
  • ACC: 2
  • Big 12: 1
  • Big Ten: 1
  • Conference USA: 2
  • MAC: 5
  • Mountain West: 3
  • Pac-12: 2
  • SEC: 7
  • Sun Belt: 3

FAU QB dismissed by Oklahoma ‘actually thanked’ Lane Kiffin for suspension that lasted two days

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That certainly didn’t last long.

Tuesday, after the first day of spring practice, Lane Kiffin revealed that Chris Robison had been indefinitely suspended from the Florida Atlantic football program for unspecified violations of team rules; one report had the suspension connected to skipping a mandatory tutoring session. At the time, the second-year head coach indicated that the suspension was day-to-day and could be lifted at any time.

As it turns out, Thursday was that time as the quarterback returned to the practice field with the rest of his FAU teammates.

“He came in [Wednesday] and actually thanked me for it,” Kiffin said according to the Sun-Sentinel. “He said it really kind of embarrassed him nationally and humbled him that things could kind of be taken away. It was good to see.”

A four-star member of Oklahoma’s 2017 recruiting class, Robison was arrested in April of that year for public intoxication; four months later, OU announced that Robison had been dismissed from the football program.  In August of last year, Robison announced his decision to transfer to FAU and ended up taking a redshirt for the 2017 season.

Robison and De’Andre Johnson are expected to compete for the starting job vacated by Jason Driskel, who announced earlier this offseason that he was retiring from the sport.  Johnson missed most of the 2017 season after blood clots were discovered in one of his arms.

Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa (thumb) returns to practice

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In the end, it appears to be much ado about (mostly) nothing.

Tuesday, after the reigning national champions had put the finishing touches on its first practice of the spring, Nick Saban confirmed that quarterback Tua Tagovailoa had suffered an unspecified injury to the thumb on his left (throwing) hand. It was expected that the quarterback would travel to Birmingham for further evaluation of the injury.

Wednesday, it was reported that the injury was believed to be just a sprain and that Tagovailoa could return to practice soon. That report proved prophetic as Tagovailoa was indeed back at practice Thursday, albeit on a limited basis.


The quarterback was not doing the normal drills with his teammates but was off to the side working with head athletic trainer Jeff Allen. It looked like they were testing Tagovailoa’s ability to grip the football since the injury was suffered on his throwing hand. He replicated a few play-action roll outs with the ball in his left hand. At one point, he rolled over toward where Jalen Hurts was standing and they high fived.

Until Tagovailoa is fully recovered, Jalen Hurts will take the majority of the reps as the Crimson Tide continues its march through their 15 spring practice sessions.

The rising true junior Hurts, who has started every game but one the past two seasons, and the rising true sophomore Tagovailoa, the national championship game hero who replaced Hurts at halftime of the overtime win, are entrenched in a competition for the starting job that, barring a post-spring transfer, is expected to extend into summer camp. That said, most observers outside of the UA football program fully expect Tagovailoa, because of his proficiency in the passing game relative to Hurts, to earn the job at some point before the Tide opens the defense of their title against Louisville in Orlando Sept. 1.

USC graduate transfer Jalen Greene heads east to play at Illinois in 2018

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Greene is turning orange. Well, Jalen Greene is at least.

The former USC wide receiver who announced he would pursue a graduate transfer earlier this month announced on Twitter that he would be heading East to play at Illinois in 2018. He will be immediately eligible to play for the Illini.

Greene was originally recruited by the Trojans as a dual-threat quarterback but eventually made the move to receiver. He caught eight passes for 98 yards at USC last season as a partial starter and added another eight receptions for 116 yards the year prior.

Illinois has already begun spring practice and has been trying several new players at wide receiver in the process to find a good complement to Mike Dudek on the outside. It seems Greene could find himself in the mix to be one of those guys when he arrives in Champaign.

Josh Heupel keeping most of Scott Frost’s playbook at UCF as spring practice begins

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There are a ton of interesting storylines as spring practice begins across the country but one of the most intriguing programs to watch might be in Orlando as UCF looks to simultaneously follow up an undefeated season while also transitioning to a new coaching staff.

ESPN’s Andrea Adelson wrote a good story on the Knights changing some things up under head coach Josh Heupel the past few months like eating with players during meals, new strength and conditioning regiments and the usual offseason stuff you typically wind up season. However there was one interesting nugget about the team’s playbook that the coach relayed:

In other areas, player input has kept a few things unchanged. Take the offensive playbook, for example. Heupel and (Scott) Frost share enough offensive concepts that the new staff has adopted the terminology that players already know on the plays they have in common. So in theory, that should allow the offense to hit spring practice, which started Tuesday, with much more familiarity than another program that has completely changed over its staff.

As they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. In Heupel’s first head coaching gig, it seems he’s taking that to heart.