Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Steve Donatell
Wake Forest athletics

WKU officially adds Wake grad transfer Steve Donatell

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On the same day Western Kentucky lost a potential starting quarterback to likely season-ending surgery, the Hilltoppers officially gained a target in the passing game.

In late March, Wake Forest transfer Steve Donatell confirmed that he had decided to continue his collegiate playing career at WKU.  A couple of months later, the football program confirmed to the Bowling Green Daily News that the tight end has been added to the Hilltoppers’ roster.

As Donatell comes to WKU as a graduate transfer, he’ll be eligible to play immediately in 2016.  This coming season will be his final year of eligibility.

Donatell began his career at Wake as a linebacker, starting the first three games of his redshirt freshman season at the position before a knee injury sidelined him for the remainder of 2013.  The 6-6, 230-pound senior moved to tight end in spring practice last year and caught three passes for 31 yards.

WKU will be looking to replace the production lost at the position by All-American Tyler Higbee, a fourth-round pick of the Los Angeles Rams who caught 38 passes for 563 yards and eight touchdowns last season.

ACC sees revenues spike nearly $100 million in 2014-15

John Swofford
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Here’s how wacko, bonkers, crazy college sports has gotten in the past half-decade, and more specifically the money taken in by the SEC and Big Ten: the ACC saw its revenue jump by nearly $100 million in 2014-15 — and they’re worried about falling behind.

Whereas a decade ago simply making $100 million as a conference would’ve been cause for a clicking of heels in Greensboro, the ACC’s jump from $302.3 million in 2013-14 to $403.1 million in 2014-15, according to tax documents obtained by USA Today, is met by concern of just how in the heck they’re going to match the SEC’s $527.4 million and the Big Ten’s $448.8 million without what those two leagues have — a TV network.

The ACC has seen revenues jump nearly $170 million in two years, and the 2014-15 jump was thanks in large part to a $30 million exit fee played by Maryland in leaving for the Big Ten.

Commissioner John Swofford saw his pay grow along with his conference’s, from $2.1 million and change to just under $2.7 million.

The ACC was the final Power 5 to release its financials for the 2014-15 fiscal year, and with all five out we now have a full picture of how the schools stack up on a per school basis (full shares only):

  1. SEC: $32.6 million*
  2. Big Ten: $32.4 million
  3. ACC: $25.8 million*
  4. Pac-12: $25.1 million
  5. Big 12: $23.4 million^

*  – Splitting difference between highest and lowest distributions, as listed by USA Today
^ – Does not include third-tier payments such as Longhorn Network

ACC releases early season TV schedule

LOUISVILLE, KY - OCTOBER 30:  Michael Dyer #5 of the Louisville Cardinals runs the ball in the first quarter against the Florida State Seminoles during their game at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on October 30, 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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The early portion of the 2016 college football season is, finally, beginning to take shape. ESPN has released its opening weekend schedule and broadcast tandems in recent days, and now the ACC has stepped up to the plate by unveiling the conference’s complete broadcast schedule for the first three weeks of the season.

As you may expect, the ACC slate is packed full of Thursday and Friday night games. In addition to opening weekend dandies like B.C.- Georgia Tech from Ireland, UNC-Georgia from Atlanta and FSU-Ole Miss on Labor Day night, the early season schedule is highlighted by the reunion of the Keystone State rivalry in Pittsburgh on Sept. 10 and an interesting Florida State-Louisville duel on Sept. 17.

Without further ado, below is the complete slate of ACC broadcast dates as it stands today (all times Eastern):

Thursday, Sept. 1
Charlotte at Louisville — 7 p.m., RSN
Tulane at Wake Forest — 7 p.m., ESPN3
William & Mary at N.C. State — 7:30 p.m., ESPN3

Friday, Sept. 2
Colgate at Syracuse — 7 p.m., ESPN3

Saturday, Sept. 3
Boston College vs. Georgia Tech (from Dublin, Ireland) — 7:30 a.m., ESPN2
Liberty at Virginia Tech — 12:30 p.m., ACC Network
Villanova at Pitt — 1:30 p.m., ESPN3
Richmond at Virginia — 3:30 p.m., ESPN3
North Carolina vs. Georgia (from Atlanta) — 5:30 p.m., ESPN
Florida A&M at Miami — 6 p.m., ESPN3
North Carolina Central at Duke — 6 p.m., ESPN3
Clemson at Auburn — 9 p.m., ESPN

Monday, Sept. 5
Florida State vs. Ole Miss (from Orlando, Fla.) — 8 p.m., ESPN

Friday, Sept. 9
Louisville at Syracuse — 8 p.m., ESPN2

Saturday, Sept. 10
Penn State at Pitt — 12 p.m., ABC/ESPN
Charleston Southern at Florida State — 12:30 p.m., RSN
Troy at Clemson — 12:30 p.m., ACC Network
Mercer at Georgia Tech — 3 p.m., ESPN3
Wake Forest at Duke — 3:30 p.m., ESPNU
Florida Atlantic at Miami — 6 p.m., ESPN3
North Carolina at Illinois — 7:30 p.m., BTN

Saturday, Sept. 17
Florida State at Louisville — 12 p.m., ABC
South Carolina State at Clemson — 12 p.m., RSN
Vanderbilt at Georgia Tech — 12:30 p.m., ACC Network
Boston College at Virginia Tech — 3:30 p.m., ESPNU
South Florida at Syracuse — 3:30 p.m., ESPN3
James Madison at North Carolina — 3:30 p.m., RSN
Old Dominion at N.C. State — 6 p.m., ESPN3
Delaware at Wake Forest — 6:30 p.m., ESPN3

Thursday, Sept. 22
Clemson at Georgia Tech — 7:30 p.m., ESPN

Saturday, Sept. 24
Duke at Notre Dame — 3:30 p.m., NBC

Friday, Oct. 7
Clemson at Boston College — 7:30 p.m., ESPN

Friday, Oct. 14
Duke at Louisville — 7 p.m., ESPN

Thursday, Oct. 20
Miami at Virginia Tech — 7 p.m., ESPN

Thursday, Oct. 27
Virginia Tech at Pitt — 7 p.m., ESPN

Saturday, Oct. 29
Miami at Notre Dame — 3:30 p.m., NBC

Thursday, Nov. 10
North Carolina at Duke — 7:30 p.m., ESPN

Friday, Nov. 11
Boston College at Florida State — 7:30 p.m., ESPN2

Thursday, Nov. 17
Louisville at Houston — TBA, ESPN

Saturday, Nov. 19
Virginia Tech at Notre Dame — 3:30 p.m., NBC

Friday, Nov. 25
N.C. State at North Carolina — 12 p.m. or 3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN/ESPN2

Saturday, Dec. 3
ACC Championship (at Charlotte, N.C.) — 7:45 p.m. or 8 p.m., ESPN/ABC

ACC becomes first to adopt ‘collaborative instant replay’ for 2016

JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 1: ACC officials huddle at midfield  as the Boston College Eagles battle the Virginia Tech Hokies in the ACC Championship Game at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium on December 1, 2007 in Jacksonville, Florida.  The Hokies won 30 - 16.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
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In an ongoing effort to improve all facets of the sport, the ACC has decided to go the extra mile to ensure its football games are officiated properly.

As it wrapped up its annual spring meetings in Amelia Island, Fla., Thursday, the conference announced that what it calls “collaborative instant replay” will be utilized for all home games involving league schools.  Included in that group is Notre Dame, which has a yearly scheduling agreement with the ACC.

According to the release, the conference “will allow replay officials situated in the conference office in Greensboro to participate in each and every review discussion with the on-site referee and replay official via their existing headset communication system.”  The system that will be utilized by the ACC this season has been compared to the system in place in the NFL.

The ACC, after the NCAA approved such systems this past February, thus becomes the first conference to utilize a command center for helping in the officiating aspect of the game.

“This is another step in enhancing the quality of instant replay within college football,” said ACC commissioner John Swofford. “Officiating remains one of the highest priorities for our league, and our coaches and schools value the opportunity to be state of the art in this area.”

Other specifics of the venture include…

  • Replay officials at the ACC office will view a program feed of all games (conference and non-conference) played at ACC venues and at Notre Dame in real time. VoIP communication will allow those collaborative replay officials to communicate instantly with those on-site.
  • All video feeds that are available during a review to the replay official in-stadium will be also available to the collaborative replay officials in Greensboro.
  • ACC coordinator of officiating Dennis Hennigan will oversee staffing of the collaborative replay center. Ted Jackson, who joined the ACC in January as Assistant Coordinator for Instant Replay, will be in the conference office each week as part of the collaborative replay officials team.

The collaborative instant replay system is an experimental rule for the 2016 season.  Upon the conclusion of the upcoming season, the ACC will issue a report that will be utilized by the NCAA Football Rules Committee to help determine whether it will be a permanent fixture in the sport moving forward.  If it is, the SEC is expected to quickly follow the ACC’s lead.

Clemson is No. 1 in spring game attendance (for now)

Part of a record crowd of 50,500 watches Clemson's spring football game Saturday, April 9, 2016, at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, S.C. (Ken Ruinard/Anderson Independent-Mail via AP)
Ken Ruinard/Anderson Independent-Mail via AP
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Coming off one of the most successful seasons in program history, the Clemson Tigers saw the largest crowd attend its spring game during the second weekend of April. With an estimated 50,000 fans coming out to see the defending ACC champs in action, Clemson narrowly edged division rival Florida State for the top spot in the early going of the spring football game attendance leader board.

If history is any indication, Clemson will not remain on top for very long unless Mother Nature gets involved. Ohio State set the record last year with nearly 100,000 coming out to see the defending national champions. Urban Meyer is hoping to cross the 100,000-fan barrier this year. Alabama, Tennessee, Nebraska and Penn State are all traditionally big draws for spring football games as well, and they each have spring games still to be played.

When evaluating spring game attendance it is important to keep a few things in mind. First, every school handles the number differently. Some keep an actual count, while others merely give a rough estimate. Some do not even bother to keep track at all, which is why not every spring game attendance can be accounted for. Second, some spring games are held in a different venue than the football stadium. For example, Stanford held a spring scrimmage in a soccer stadium with a much smaller capacity. So take some of these numbers for what they are with all of that in mind.

Here are the most up-to-date spring game attendance numbers as of April 12, 2016 as provided by each school (note: schools with no attendance tracked are not included, as are schools that did not respond to College Football Talk via email on the subject);

  1. Clemson – 50,000
  2. Florida State – 49,913
  3. Florida – 46,000
  4. Auburn – 45,723 (read more about Auburn’s attendance)
  5. Oklahoma – 42,436
  6. Michigan – 35,000
  7. South Carolina – 32,916
  8. Texas A&M – 27,412
  9. BYU – 18,000
  10. Boise State – 6,100
  11. Colorado – 5,100
  12. UNLV – 2,800
  13. Stanford – 2,500
  14. Wake Forest – 2,100
  15. Nevada – 600
  16. Air Force – 500

All updates to this year’s spring game attendance database can be viewed HERE, and you can break the data down by conference.