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Tommy Tuberville to join ESPN roster of college football analysts

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Tommy Tuberville is not going to be Alabama’s next governor, he’s not going to be mayor of Lubbock, and he’s not going to coach again — at least not in 2017. Absent of something to do, Tuberville has found himself a new job.

ESPN announced Wednesday Tuberville has joined its roster of college football analysts. He’ll work as a color commentator on Saturday games on ESPN or ABC. Which crew he’ll work on remains to be determined.

“Tommy has been a staple in college football for many years, having experienced nearly every situation as a head coach” ESPN senior coordinating producer Lee Fitting said in a statement. “We want him to bring that experience to our telecast, informing fans on the dynamics of a head coach’s thought process, not only in a given moment but leading up to and following that moment.”

Tuberville, 62, is out of coaching for the second time in his career after he stepped down at Cincinnati following a 4-8 campaign. He went 29-22 from 2013-16 at Cincinnati, 20-17 from 2010-12 at Texas Tech, 85-40 from 1999-08 at Auburn, and 25-20 from 1995-98 at Ole Miss.

ESPN released the following video to announce Tuberville’s hiring.

Running of the Bulls: USF the decisive preseason media favorite in AAC

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Charlie Strong may be taking over a new program this fall, but he will do so in a familiar role as preseason favorite. The preseason media poll was released by the American Athletic Conference today, and Strong’s USF Bulls were the runaway favorite to win the conference championship in 2017. USF swept the first-place votes in the AAC East Division and took 26 votes out of 30 to win the conference championship.

Strong returns to the conference where he previously made a name for himself as a head coach, dating back to the conference’s days as the Big East. In Strong’s first season as head coach at Louisville, the Cardinals were picked to finish last in the conference, to which Strong reflected on how he had never been picked to finish last before. Soon enough, Strong, with the help of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, quickly ascended the ranks of the Big East and developed into a top contender in the conference. At USF, Strong once again has one of the top quarterbacks in the conference with Quinton Flowers, and these Bulls are locked and loaded for a run to a conference title. After a disappointing experience with Texas, USF appears to have everything in place for Strong to quickly prove he can still coach, and now the bar has been placed as high as it can within the conference.

UCF is also expected to improve this season, as the Knights were picked second in the division behind the in-state rivals from Tampa. Defending conference champion Temple, with a first-year head coach in Geoff Collins, was picked third in the East Division by the media.

In the West Division, Memphis enters the year as the prohibitive favorite after receiving 22 first-place votes. Houston picked up six votes, and Navy and Tulsa each picked one one of the remaining first-place votes from the media.

AAC East Division

  1. USF (30 first-place votes)
  2. UCF
  3. Temple
  4. Cincinnati
  5. East Carolina
  6. UConn

AAC West Division

  1. Memphis (22)
  2. Houston (6)
  3. Navy (1)
  4. Tulsa (1)
  5. SMU
  6. Tulane

AAC Championship

  1. USF (26)
  2. Houston (2)
  3. Memphis (1)
  4. Navy (1)

As noted by the AAC, the preseason conference favorite has ended the year as the conference champion just once in the four years of the existence of the AAC. Cincinnati was picked as the 2014 preseason favorite and ended the season in a three-way tie with UCF and Memphis. In 2013, Strong’s Louisville team was picked to win the conference, but UCF ended the year as conference champion. Louisville did go 12-1 that season, with the lone loss coming against the Knights, who went on to beat Big 12 champion Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl.

American going all in on Power 6 push

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There are five power conferences in college football, and the American isn’t one of them. Those five leagues each have their own guaranteed tie-ins to New Year’s Six bowls, while the American tussles for one spot with the Mountain West, MAC, Conference USA and Sun Belt. That’s just the reality of college football.

It hasn’t stopped the AAC from trying to change the reality, though.

The league’s media days are underway in Newport, R.I., Monday, and the league has opted to use its public relations extravaganza to make its “Power 6” push official.

Note the hashtags.

And nothing says official like a golf ball, right?

This all-too-public push has the potential to backfire on the conference in the inevitable event that the Peach, Cotton or Fiesta bowls do not extend yearly, guaranteed invites to the American. (The Rose, Sugar and Orange spots are all taken.)

Then again, if the conference wants to change its station in life, why not push for it? Ask and ye shall receive, right? Didn’t LaVar Ball teach us that if you want your impossible dreams to become real you have to speak them into existence?

Central Florida and Houston have won BCS or New Year’s Six bowl games in the past four seasons. Cincinnati, Navy and Tulsa have been as consistent winners as anyone else in their weight class. SMU has had its moment in the sun and is rising under Chad Morris. Temple nearly took down a good Notre Dame team two years ago, the same season Memphis beat Ole Miss. South Florida enters the fall as likely the odds-on favorite to snare the Group of 5 this season.

The football in the American is good, but, still, it’s hard to argue the AAC is on par with the Power 5 when a third of the conference has watched its coaching roster leave for Power 5 jobs in the past two years. The American, through new hashtags and logos, is going to make that argument.

Ex-Ohio State WR Torrance Gibson on the move again, leaves Cincinnati for Mississippi JUCO

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Torrance Gibson‘s winding collegiate journey that began in Columbus and moved on top the Queen City will now continue in Mississippi.

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College announced in a press release Thursday that Gibson has reported to summer school and will play football this fall for the junior college.  According to the JUCO, “the school’s academic support staff has him on track to graduate in December,” which would presumably lead to Gibson to again returning to the FBS level.

“I just want to win,” the player said in a statement. “I want to learn. It’s a chance for a brand new start, to start from the bottom.”

Back in August of last year, Ohio State announced that Gibson had been suspended for the entire 2016 season, a suspension with which Urban Meyer vehemently disagreed.  In December, even as Gibson initially signed with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, the Buckeyes head coach left the door open for the wide receiver’s return.

Instead, after a short stint at Cincinnati State instead of MGCCC, with whom he signed in December, Gibson was officially introduced as part of Cincinnati’s 2017 recruiting class in February.  While Gibson enrolled in classes at UC in May, he ultimately decided that, instead of sitting out the 2017 season with the Bearcats, he’d move down to the JUCO level and play this year.  Should he move back to the FBS yet again, he would have two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2018.

A four-star 2015 recruit, Gibson was rated by 247Sports.com as the No. 12 player at any position in the state of Florida. Coming to OSU as a dual-threat quarterback, Gibson was moved to wide receiver.  MGCCC’s release has Gibson listed as a quarterback, the position head coach Luke Fickell was going to move him back to at UC.

Starting Cincinnati CB Alex Thomas charged as part of alleged armed weed robbery

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A member of the Cincinnati football program and an associate really wanted some weed.  Allegedly.

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, junior Bearcats cornerback Alex Thomas along with a 23-year-old male have been arrested after they allegedly tried to steal the marijuana of another man at Thomas’ apartment building Wednesday afternoon.  Both alleged assailants have been charged with one count each of aggravated robbery, a felony.

Surveillance video allegedly shows the incident.  From the Enquirer‘s report:

Julien Holton had a firearm in his left hand and approached the victim. As the victim ran away he was pushed to the ground and his keys were taken,” police wrote in a sworn affidavit.

“Alexander Thomas and Co-Def Julien Holton were identified by security video with Julien Holton holding the firearm.

Thomas admitted to police to being a part of the bungled caper, telling them his job was to knock on the alleged victim’s door to get him to come out.

Both Thomas and Norton were being held overnight without bond.  An initial hearing before a judge for Bonnie & Clod has been scheduled for Thursday morning.

As a result of the arrest and charge, Thomas has been indefinitely suspended from the football program.

Last season, Thomas started 10 of the 11 games in which he played for the Bearcats.  His four interceptions were good for second on the team.