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South Carolina QB, on Clemson’s 56-7 win: ‘everyone knew they were not that much better than us’

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On its way to its first national championship in three decades, Clemson laid waste to South Carolina, routing their in-state rivals in a 56-7 woodshedding that included a 35-0 halftime lead.  The Tigers outgained the Gamecocks 622-218, while they had a 41-14 advantage in first downs as well.

The 49-point difference served as the largest margin of victory in a rivalry that was first played in 1896 and has been played more than 110 times since.  Not only that, it was the largest margin of defeat for an SEC team at the hands of an ACC school.

By any measure, it was an utter and complete beatdown.  Unless you’re Jake Bentley.

In that game, Bentley, a true freshman quarterback, completed 7-of-17 passes for 41 yards, zero touchdowns and an interception.  That translates into a not-so-robust pass efficiency rating of 49.7.

During an interview with FOX Carolina Wednesday, however, Bentley indicated it was more of what USC didn’t do than what their rivals did that cost them the game.

“We just didn’t play well that week,” Bentley said, by way of TigerNet.com. “That’s our big quote going into this year. We felt we got outworked so never again. So our big thing is never again we will be outworked. Never again will be outcompeted in a game like that.

“It all stems from that game because at the end of the game everyone knew that they were not that much better than us or better than us at all. It really just lit a fire in everybody since that week. Everyone has worked harder and wanted it more.”

Again, 56-7 screams that the team with 56 points is significantly better than the one with 49 fewer, but your mileage may vary.  Regardless, it’s safe to assume the bolded, italicized portion of that quote will find its way onto some Death Valley bulletin boards ahead of this year’s edition of the rivalry game.

East Carolina officially inks Power Five transfer trio

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An influx of Power Five talent has significantly bolstered East Carolina’s roster on both sides of the ball.

As has previously been reported at various points in time, ECU has officially confirmed the additions of running back Tyshon Dye (Clemson), defensive lineman Gaelin Elmore (Minnesota) and quarterback Thomas Sirk (Duke).  As all three players are coming to the Pirates as graduate transfers, each will be able to immediately contribute to the football in 2017.

Sirk’s official addition continues what’s been an injury-plagued football odyssey.

Sirk continues his recovery from what was a third Achilles injury, which he sustained last August, and would have been held out of contact had he remained at Duke for spring practice. The same injury cost the quarterback both the 2013 and 2016 seasons.  Sirk started all 12 games during the 2015 season before rupturing his Achilles in early February of 2016.

Because of those injuries, Sirk was granted a sixth season of eligibility from the NCAA this past November.  In February of this year, Sirk announced his decision to transfer from the Blue Devils.

“I feel Thomas will help this football team in many ways, especially from a maturity and character standpoint,” head coach Scottie Montgomery, who was Sirk’s coordinator and quarterbacks coach for two seasons with Duke, said. “He knows our system well on the field and we feel confident about merging his skills with what we’re trying to do as an entire unit.”

A four-star member of the Tigers’ 2014 recruiting class, Dye was rated as the No. 14 running back in the country. The Georgia high schooler chose Clemson over offers from, among others, Auburn, Georgia, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Tennessee and USC.

After running for what turned out to be a career-high 151 yards as a true freshman, he ran for 91 in 2015. Dye’s 109 yards during the Tigers’ run to the title this past season was tied for sixth on the team.

In mid-January, not long after Clemson beat Alabama for the title, Dye decided to transfer out of the program for his senior season.

Moore, meanwhile, opted for ECU over opportunities that included, among others, Arizona and South Carolina.

The 6-6, 275-pound lineman played in 38 games the past three seasons. He started nine of those contests, with six of the starts coming last season.

“Tyshon is a big physical back who definitely has home run potential,” Montgomery said in a statement. “He’s obviously been a part of a championship culture and I’m confident he will have an opportunity to impact our program with a similar mindset. …

“I expect Gaelin’s presence to provide us with an explosive edge rusher who can affect both the running and passing game. Off the field, his life story is one of perseverance and will be a source of inspiration to all of us.”

ACC distributed $23.8 million to members in 2015-16 as revenue declines

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Everybody in college athletics is making money — outside of the players — but the ACC was one entity that didn’t quite make as much as they did the year prior.

The reason for a slight decline in total revenue in the ACC? It’s members can thank not having the hefty buyout Maryland paid to leave the league and join the Big Ten the year prior.

Ace Daily Press reporter David Teel recently obtained the conference’s tax returns for the 2015-16 fiscal year and they show a still-robust $373.4 million in total revenue. That resulted in a nice $23.8 million distribution to the 14 member schools and a payment of just over $4 million to Notre Dame as part of the Irish’s agreement to house their non-football sports in the ACC.

The ACC was the big winner among the Power Five conference in the prior tax return period, seeing their revenue jump by a whopping $100 million in 2014-15 to $403.1 million. Taking out the $30 million buyout that the Terps paid in order to leave and revenue was essentially flat for the ACC year-over-year.

Despite that, the balance sheet is still a very healthy one and slots the ACC in front of the Big 12’s $313 million in total revenue among the Power Five conferences. That only means a fourth place finish though as the Pac-12 ($488 million), Big Ten ($483.4 million) and SEC ($639 million) all came out significantly ahead.

USA Today reports that ACC commissioner John Swofford didn’t feel the pinch of the decline however, as his salary was just a tad under $3 million in the same reporting period and represented an increase of nearly $300,000 from the year prior. Something says everybody in the league can expect future increases though with Clemson’s back-to-back national title game appearances as well as the upcoming ACC Network launch factoring into the equation in coming years.

Penn State AD on College Football Playoff: “I think Ohio State should’ve gone”

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Perhaps the most heated debate in 2016 — well, at least on the gridiron — was whether Ohio State or Penn State should have been in the College Football Playoff. Countless hours were devoted to discussing the finer points of the Nittany Lions’ head-to-head victory between the two, the amount of talent on both sides or the Buckeyes’ impressive strength of schedule.

In the end, the CFP Selection Committee slotted OSU in the No. 3 spot to play eventual national champion Clemson but debate continues to rage in several hamlets from State College to Columbus over whether that was the right choice. According to Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour though, the seeding was fine by here even if it cost her team a trip to the Fiesta Bowl semifinal.

“We’re the [Big Ten] champions and didn’t go,” Barbour told reporters at Big Ten spring meetings, according to Landof10.com. “I think Ohio State should’ve gone. I have no problem with the fact Ohio State went.

“In fact, you know, we were arguably the best league in the country and we didn’t go. So let’s try to figure out why and what is there. [Whether] it’s we, Penn State, or we, as a conference … how do we address that in the future?”

Such comments probably won’t endear Barbour to the most ardent of PSU supporters who believed they should have gotten the spot occupied by Ohio State. Perhaps more interestingly is her hinting that the Big Ten may be open to doing something about addressing the situation. The topic of requiring only conference champions in the mix for the final four spots was a big topic of conversation when the playoff was created and it seems like it will be in the coming seasons even if changes are not made to the criteria the committee must consider.

Both the Buckeyes and the Nittany Lions lost their bowl games so there are plenty of what-ifs to debate had they switched places. Outside of perhaps making the Fiesta Bowl a little more interesting though, it appears the brass at Penn State are fine with how things played out in the end even if they didn’t get a chance at adding another national title to the trophy case.

ACC, Notre Dame release future schedules through 2037

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Yes, you read that correctly — two decades out.

Since 2014, Notre Dame and the ACC have had a scheduling relationship that sees the Fighting Irish face five teams from that conference each season.  That schedule had previously been announced through the 2025 season; Thursday, the schedule through the 2037 season was announced as well.

There are 60 games total in this portion of the agreement, with 30 of those being home contests for the Irish.

“The ACC’s football partnership with Notre Dame has been extremely successful throughout our first four seasons,” said ACC commissioner John Swofford in a statement. “As we look to the future, these games will continue to enhance the experience for our players, schools and fans.”

Over the past three seasons, Notre Dame was 9-6 against ACC schools.  They were 2-3 last season.

Below are the complete future matchups between the two entities:

2026
Notre Dame at Florida State
Louisville at Notre Dame
Notre Dame at North Carolina
Syracuse at Notre Dame
Virginia at Notre Dame

2027
Notre Dame at Clemson
Notre Dame at Duke
Georgia Tech at Notre Dame
Virginia Tech at Notre Dame
Notre Dame at Wake Forest

2028
Boston College at Notre Dame
Clemson at Notre Dame
Miami at Notre Dame
Notre Dame at Pitt
Notre Dame at Virginia Tech

2029
Notre Dame at Florida State
Georgia Tech at Notre Dame
Notre Dame at NC State
Notre Dame at Syracuse
Wake Forest at Notre Dame

2030
Notre Dame at Boston College
Duke at Notre Dame
Florida State at Notre Dame
Notre Dame at Louisville
North Carolina at Notre Dame

2031
Notre Dame at Clemson (Labor Day night)
Miami at Notre Dame
Notre Dame at North Carolina
NC State at Notre Dame
Notre Dame at Virginia

2032
Florida State at Notre Dame
Notre Dame at Georgia Tech
Louisville at Notre Dame
Notre Dame at Miami
Wake Forest at Notre Dame

2033
Notre Dame at Boston College
Notre Dame at Duke
Notre Dame at Louisville
Pitt at Notre Dame
Virginia Tech at Notre Dame

2034
Clemson at Notre Dame
Notre Dame at Miami
Notre Dame at Pitt
Syracuse at Notre Dame
Virginia at Notre Dame

2035
Boston College at Notre Dame
Duke at Notre Dame
Notre Dame at Louisville
Notre Dame at NC State
Notre Dame at Virginia

2036
Florida State at Notre Dame
Notre Dame at Georgia Tech
North Carolina at Notre Dame
Pitt at Notre Dame
Notre Dame at Virginia Tech (Labor Day night)

2037
Notre Dame at Clemson
Miami at Notre Dame
NC State at Notre Dame
Notre Dame at Syracuse
Notre Dame at Wake Forest