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ESPN acquires Miami Beach Bowl, will move it out of Florida


The state of Florida will play host to one less bowl game when the 2017 postseason rolls around.

The American Athletic Conference, which created the Miami Beach Bowl and has owned and operated the event since 2014, announced Friday that the game has been purchased by ESPN.  The AAC will continue its affiliation with the bowl game; it’s expected Conference USA, the MAC and Sun Belt will do the same.

The conference also confirmed that the game will no longer be played at Marlins Park or in the state of Florida.  A new venue will be announced at a later date, although the state of Texas is the early favorite to land the bowl.

“We are proud of the postseason opportunities that we have been able to provide to student-athletes through our founding of the Miami Beach Bowl, and we appreciate the relationships that we have built with the Miami Marlins, Marlins Park and the cities of Miami and Miami Beach,” said AAC commissioner Mike Aresco said in a statement. “This transfer makes sense on many levels. We are excited to enhance our overall relationship with ESPN and to continue our affiliation with the bowl.”

Memphis (2014), Tulsa (2016) and USF (2015) have previously represented the AAC in the game.  The first two won their matchups with BYU and Central Michigan, respectively, while the latter dropped a 10-point decision to Western Kentucky.

SMU QB Matt Davis drops bid for sixth season, will enter NFL draft

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The NFL has gained another signal-caller for its upcoming draft, while SMU has lost a veteran presence in its quarterbacks room.

United Athlete Agency, which describes itself as a Dallas-based professional sports representation agency, announced in a release Wednesday that Matt Davis has declared for the 2017 NFL draft.  Davis has hired and will be represented by UAA’s Scott Casterline.

Because Davis’ five-year eligibility clock has expired, he will be eligible for the April draft despite his very late entry into the process.

Davis missed all or most of the 2012 and 2016 seasons because of injuries, which led to SMU to seek a sixth season of eligibility on the quarterback’s behalf.  As of late January, the university and the player were still awaiting for a decision from the NCAA.

After beginning his collegiate career at Texas A&M as a four-star recruit, Davis left College Station in August of 2013 and, after a stop at the junior college level, ultimately transferred to SMU.  After starting the last five games of the 2014 season, Davis started 11 of 12 games the following season.

A start in the 2016 season opener was quickly followed by a torn ACL that sidelined him for the remainder of the year.

It seems highly unlikely that the 6-0, 212-pound Houston native will taken at any point during the seven-round draft in Philadelphia next month.

North Texas, SMU extend series with four more games

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North Texas and SMU jointly announced Monday the two sides have extended their on-going home-and-home series with four more games.

The Mean Green and Mustangs will meet Sept. 1, 2018 in Denton, Sept. 7, 2019 in Dallas, Sept. 5, 2020 in Denton, and Sept. 11, 2021 in Dallas.

The Interstate 35 rivals meet annually from 1922 through 1942, resumed their series on a near-annual basis from 1974 through SMU 1992, and then again picked up the rivalry on an annual basis in 2014.

SMU holds a 30-5-1 all-time lead and owns a 2-game winning streak, including a 34-21 win on Sept. 3 of last season. The pair will meet Sept. 9 in Dallas.

North Texas also announced a home-and-home with Texas Tech earlier this month.

Nearly three dozen teams show interest in Clemson grad transfer

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It was expected there would be a significant market for a Clemson defensive lineman leaving the Tigers as a graduate transfer. Suffice to say, that is indeed the case.

This past week, Dabo Swinney‘s football program confirmed that Scott Pagano would be leaving the team and transferring elsewhere. The head coach also revealed that the tackle would “probably” end up at a West Coast school to finish out his career.

Teams in that part of the country are indeed interested in the one-year rental, as are myriad others as is reporting that 32 made contact with the lineman in the hours after his impending pending departure was announced. Arizona State, Cal, Oregon, USC, Washington and Hawaii are among the teams out west who have expressed interest.

A handful of Power Five programs further east have expressed interest as well, including Arkansas, Baylor, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisville, LSU, Maryland, Nebraska, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Purdue, Texas and Texas A&M. Group Five teams that have shown interest include Charlotte, East Carolina, FAU, FIU, Louisiana Tech, Memphis, SMU, Temple and Utah State.

Coming out of high school in Hawaii as a four-star 2013 recruit, Pagano was rated as the No. 24 tackle in the country and the No. 2 player at any position in the state. Pagano started 13 games the past two seasons, four of which came in 2016.

SMU formally adds ex-Texas assistant to Chad Morris’ staff

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Reports earlier in the week stated SMU had targeted a former Texas assistant.  Thursday night, those reports came to fruition.

SMU confirmed in a press release that Chad Morris has hired Jeff Traylor to be his running backs coach.  Additionally, Traylor will carry the title of associate head coach.

The past two seasons, Traylor had been Charlie Strong‘s tight ends coach and special teams coordinator at the University of Texas.

Traylor was a long-time assistant and head high school football coach in the state of Texas prior to moving on to UT.  After playing football in the state, he remained as a coach in some capacity from 1989-2014.  H won three state championships during his time as a head coach.

“We are excited to add Jeff to our staff,” said Morris in a statement. “He has deep ties to Texas high school football, particularly in east Texas, and I consider him one of the bright offensive minds in college football. I’ve known Jeff for 15-20 years and I know he’ll add a lot to our program.”