Duke Blue Devils

DURHAM, NC - SEPTEMBER 26:  Evrett Edwards #2 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts after a play against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets during their game at Wallace Wade Stadium on September 26, 2015 in Durham, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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Iowa State lands Duke grad transfer Evrett Edwards

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Duke’s secondary loss will turn into Iowa State’s gain.

In a tweet posted to his personal Twitter account Monday, Evrett Edwards announced that he will continue his collegiate playing career at Iowa State.  The defensive back visited Ames in the middle of April, pulling the trigger on a decision two weeks later.

Maryland and Troy were also potential landing spots for the graduate transfer, who will be eligible to play immediately for the Cyclones this fall.  The upcoming season will be Edwards’ final year of eligibility.

After redshirting as a true freshman in 2013, Edwards played in 25 games the past two seasons. He was listed as the top backup at the Bandit safety position throughout the 2015 season.

John Swofford non-committal on future of ACC network

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 25:  John Swofford, ACC Commissioner (C) addresses the media during a press conference to announce the New Era Pinstripe Bowl's multi-year partnership with the Atlantic Coast Conference at Yankee Stadium on June 25, 2013 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jason Szenes/Getty Images)
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It’s possible there’s never been a better time to be the Atlantic Coast Conference. Virginia is the reigning College World Series champion. Florida State is a recent football champion and a perennial contender, and Clemson came damn close last year. Notre Dame is aboard, and the league’s footprint has been successfully extended to Louisville, Syracuse and Pittsburgh (Boston College’s 0-for-26 notwithstanding.)

And, by the way, there are six ACC basketball teams gearing up to play in the Sweet 16 later this week.

Life is good on Tobacco Road, so why not strike while the iron’s hot and move forward with the long-awaited ACC Network?

ACC commissioner John Swofford discussed the topic with WRAL in North Carolina and was customarily non-committal on the league’s future.

“I’m confident that our television [partnership] will turn out to be very successful and beneficial to the league. All I can tell you is those conversations are continuing, and until we reach a point where we’re definitive in our path forward, there’s really not going to be a whole lot to say about it. Our confidence in the future has not changed.”

The ACC is already ESPN’s largest content provider so the question plaguing the mythical ACC Network, with ESPN under widely-reported pressure to cut costs, is why the Worldwide Leader would have an interest in paying extra for content it’s already paying for? And if not, wouldn’t it make the most sense to go digital?

“It remains to be seen. Sometimes being first is a good idea, and sometimes it’s not such a good idea. That’s all part of the evaluation of where the industry is going, where the technology is going. All of that comes into play. I think the most important thing, from our perspective, is that we have a very good partner [in ESPN] that’s very progressive and has been at the top of the food chain for a long time and I suspect will be for a long time,” Swofford said.

“I think we’ve put ourselves in a very good position as a league with our footprint and the population base that we now have, and therefore the television sets we now have, to do some things we would not have been able to do otherwise. It gets back to what I said earlier – whatever we do, we want to give ourselves the best chance, and whatever that is, the best chance to be very successful from a timing standpoint and a distribution standpoint.

“The one thing we’ve learned from other conferences that have taken this step, a potential channel, is that there are ways to do it that work extremely well immediately. There are ways to do it where it had to evolve and develop, like the Big Ten, who had huge growing pains its first years. And then the PAC-12, which continues to really struggle with their approach. It’s all out there, so there’s something to be learned from each.”

Reading between those lines, it sounds like Swofford feels exactly zero rush to do anything ESPN doesn’t want him to do.

Who would win the Sweet 16 matchups in football? Duke becomes Cinderella

Miami running back Duke Johnson (8) runs with the football during the first half of an NCAA football game against North Carolina, Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
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OK, so now we know which power conferences reign supreme in the Sweet 16 this season, but what would happen if this field were to be decided on the college football gridiron? Oregon and Oklahoma suddenly become the top threats in the field, while basketball strong Villanova takes a back seat and Gonzaga fails to show up.

BEST SWEET 16 FOOTBALL MATCHUP

No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 3 Texas A&M (West)

Truth be told, many of the matchups in the sweet 16 would lead to some ugly games and blowouts if they were to be played in football. Not so with this West regional matchup between former conference foes Oklahoma and Texas A&M. The two schools have some history as former Big 12 opponents, but more recently faced off in a Cotton Bowl when Johnny Manziel was running the Aggies offense and confusing Oklahoma’s defense. Texas A&M has fallen back to earth in recent years and would struggle defensively to slow down the Sooners, which makes Oklahoma among the strongest threats in the football version of the Sweet 16.

A strong alternative in this category might be Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin in the East Region. The Irish and Badgers may not be at the top of their respective games right now, but it would clearly make for one of the more attractive matchups on the schedule were it to be played in football.

WORST SWEET 16 FOOTBALL MATCHUP

No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 5 Maryland (South)

There is no way to dress this one up too nicely, not with the current state of each program. Kansas is at the bottom of the barrel not just in the Big 12, but FBS overall, and Maryland is not particularly strong either. This matchup gets the nod for worst Sweet 16 football matchup over Iowa State-Virginia because Kansas is that bad. The only reason Syracuse-Gonzaga didn’t get this mention is because Gonzaga doesn’t even play football, thus eliminating the game from consideration.

POTENTIONAL CINDERELLA

Duke

The Blue Devils would have a rough time stopping Oregon in the West Region, but considering how anemic Oregon’s defense was last year, it is possible Duke could put some points on the scoreboard as well. It is weird considering Duke a Cinderella in basketball, but David Cutcliffe’s program has come a long way toward earning respect among its ACC peers lately. Could they beat Oregon? Probably not, but hey, anything can happen in the tournament.

A win against Oregon would set Duke up against either Oklahoma or Texas A&M, another tough draw for the Blue Devils, but after that would be a likely matchup against Miami and, well, what could possibly go wrong there?

SWEET 16 FOOTBALL WINNERS

South: Maryland over Kansas, Miami over FCS Villanova

West: Oregon over Duke, Oklahoma over Texas A&M

East: North Carolina over Indiana, Notre Dame over Wisconsin

Midwest: Virginia over Iowa State, Syracuse over Gonzaga

Likely Final Four: Miami, Oregon, Notre Dame, Syracuse

Be sure to stay on top of all of the tournament madness with our friends over on College Basketball Talk.

Power 5 conferences dominate Sweet 16 field

Oklahoma's Blake Bell (10) is chased down after a long run by Texas A&M's Steven Terrell, right, and Jonathan Stewart, bottom, as Steven Jenkins (45) watches in the first half of the Cotton Bowl NCAA college football game Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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Comparing college football and college basketball success can often be like comparing apples to oranges, but now that we have the Sweet 16 field set in Sharpie in men’s college basketball, we can see how the power conferences are stacking up on the hard court and compare that to what we witnessed on the gridiron last fall.

Of the 16 teams left standing in the men’s NCAA Basketball tournament, 14 come from a Power 5 conference. The ACC has two number one seeds still standing in North Carolina and Virginia and also has Miami, Duke, Notre Dame and Syracuse still competing. Not too shabby for the ACC, which also saw its football champion, Clemson, run the table last football season all the way to a spot in the College Football Playoff national championship game. Do not forget the ACC sent Florida State to the New Years Six, which may be as close as we have to an equivalent to the Sweet 16 in college basketball. The Sweet 16 will be a fun one for the ACC with matchups against Big East champion Villanova (Miami), top seed and Pac-12 champion Oregon (Duke), Big Ten blueblood Indiana (North Carolina), a second Big Ten opponent in Wisconsin (Notre Dame), Big 12 member Iowa State (Virginia) and born-again Cinderella Gonzaga (Syracuse). Could we see six teams from the ACC in the Elite Eight? Probably not, but there appear to be some favorable matchups in the bunch and you should never really count out Duke this time of year.

Despite some early exits in recent days, the Big 12 is still sitting in a decent position with three teams entering the second week of the tournament. Kansas (the complete polar opposite of its football program) is playing with its top seed in the south. Oklahoma is holding strong with its second seed in the west. Iowa State has prevailed as the four-seed in the Midwest.

The Big Ten took some big hits this weekend with Big Ten championship game participants Purdue and Michigan State bowing out early and Iowa getting rolled by Villanova on Sunday. The Spartans reached the College Football Playoff and NCAA tournament and never held a lead once in 100 minutes of combined competitive action. Wisconsin, a year after playing for the title, took down a strong Xavier team (Wisconsin would crush Xavier in football, a sport the Ohio-based school no longer plays). Indiana got by Kentucky and now prepares for the Tar Heels. Meanwhile, Maryland will look to take down Kansas in the South.

Texas A&M is the SEC’s last team standing after an improbable comeback in the final minute against Northern Iowa on Sunday. Should the Aggies make a title run for the first time in school history, it would give the SEC a championship double-dip in football and men’s basketball. The SEC was the last conference to pull off such a feat with Alabama winning the BCS national title in the 2012 season and Kentucky winning the men’s basketball tournament a few months later.

West No. 1 seed Oregon is the last team from the Pac-12 to continue playing. The Ducks may face the toughest challenges with Duke and the winner of Texas A&M-Oklahoma coming up this week.

Be sure to stay on top of all of the tournament madness with our friends over on College Basketball Talk.

David Cutcliffe, Peyton Manning’s old coach, gushes over retiring QB

DURHAM, NC - MARCH 03:  (L-R) David Cutcliffe, head football coach of the Duke Blue Devils sits beside Peyton Manning during the Duke Blue Devils versus the North Carolina Tar Heels game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on March 3, 2012 in Durham, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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Unless you’ve been underneath some sort of rock the past couple of days, you’ve no doubt heard that Peyton Manning has retired after an illustrious 18-year NFL career that, in a few years, will have “Pro Football Hall of Famer” attached to it.

Prior to the multi-MVP, multi-Super Bowl winning career, of course, Manning rose to national stardom as a record-setting quarterback at the University of Tennessee.  Manning, still beloved by Vols Nation despite two-decade-old allegations resurfacing recently, maintains legendary status around Knoxville in general and Neyland Stadium specifically.

Manning’s offensive coordinator and position coach during his time with the Volunteers was David Cutcliffe, who parlayed his success with Manning into head-coaching gigs at Ole Miss, where he coached Manning’s brother Eli, and his current job at Duke.  Manning and Cutcliffe have remained close over the years, with his former player showing up every year in the offseason to work out with the head coach’s Blue Devils players.

Suffice to say, Cutcliffe has a very high opinion of Manning.  Extremely high, in fact, as, in the wake off Manning’s retirement, he called his former pupil “the greatest quarterback to ever play the game.”

“I’m not a little biased, I’m a lot biased…. In my opinion, there’s no question, he’s the greatest quarterback to ever play the game,” Cutcliffe said according to the student newspaper, The Chronicle. “I just think he’s the most impactful player who’s ever played the game at that position, and maybe period. Everyone will always have fun arguing that, but I’d stay up probably half the night arguing with them, if they wanted to.”

Obviously, the time Cutcliffe and Manning spent with the Vols was special to the former. Not surprisingly, his time on the campus still means a lot to the latter as well.

“I’m retiring today as a University of Tennessee graduate who played for the Colts and the Broncos,” Manning said during his retirement press conference. “Almost 19 years ago to the day, I announced my decision to forego the draft and stay at the University of Tennessee for my senior year. It was one of the smartest decisions I’ve ever made.

“I cherished my time in Knoxville, especially my senior year, and I want Vol fans everywhere to know the unique role that you’ve played in my life.”