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UNC receives amended Notice of Allegations from NCAA

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The University of North Carolina received an amended Notice of Allegations from the NCAA, the school confirmed on Monday afternoon. The updated NOA includes five new charges, although none are tied directly to the football program. The NCAA charged UNC with a failure to monitor in addition to adding a charge against the women’s basketball program regarding academic integrity.

The NCAA also removed the charge of impermissible benefits to student-athletes, which was ultimately replaced with the failure to monitor charge. With a freshly minted notice of allegations in its hands, the University of North Carolina now has 90 days to respond to the NCAA offices. With no new allegations against the football program, there is no expected change coming with regard to UNC’s football status.

Eventually, North Carolina will reach the finish line with this ongoing story, and perhaps that finish line is coming into sight with this amended NOA. The NCAA slapped UNC with a lack of institutional control charge last June in the original 59-page notice of allegations. The issue has also led to an examination of UNC’s accreditation status.

North Carolina names Mitch Trubisky starting QB

CHAPEL HILL, NC - SEPTEMBER 26:  Mitch Trubisky #10 of the North Carolina Tar Heels drops back to pass against the Delaware Fightin Blue Hens during their game at Kenan Stadium on September 26, 2015 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. North Carolina won 41-14.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
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The trend of coaches naming head coaches in April continued Friday, as North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora announced Mitch Trubisky as the Heels’ starting signal caller for their Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game opposite Georgia on Sept. 3 in Atlanta.

“I thought Mitch did a good job this spring and didn’t just assume he was going to be the starter. He worked extremely hard and earned it,” Fedora said in a statement.  “We always want to have competition at every position. Mitch is the QB with the most experience returning, but he worked hard this spring, competed every day and deserves to be the starter.

A junior from Mentor, Ohio, Trubisky connected on 40-of-47 throws for 555 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions while adding 16 carries for 101 yards and three additional scores in spot duty for Marquise Williams. As a redshirt freshman in 2014, Trubisky hit 42-of-78 passes for 459 yards with five touchdowns and four picks before ceding the starting role to Williams.

Ex-UNC lineman Jared Cohen lands at Virginia

CHARLOTTSVILLE, VA - NOVEMBER 17:  The mascot of the University of Virginia Cavaliers gallops onto the field before the NCAA football game against the Virginia Tech Hokies on November 17, 2001 at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville, Virginia.  Virginia Tech won 31-17.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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Jared Cohen may have left North Carolina, but he’ll remain in the ACC.

On Twitter Wednesday evening, the offensive lineman revealed that he will continue his collegiate playing career at Virginia.  Because Cohen sat out the 2015 season, he will be eligible to play for the Cavaliers immediately in 2016.  He will have three years of eligibility remaining, including the 2016 season.

Cohen had whittled his potential transfer destinations down to UVa. and Louisville before selecting the Cavaliers.

Cohen had played in all 13 games as a true freshman with the Tar Heels, starting two of those contests. Shortly before the start of summer camp last year, however, Cohen abruptly left the team and didn’t return.

In a tweet posted in late October, Cohen explained that he “felt like the school and myself didn’t fit for various reasons.” He also acknowledged that he “will be searching for a new school to call home and represent on the gridiron.”

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.