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College football spring games: Dates, TV times

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As the calendar flips from March to April, the rush of college football spring games commences in earnest.

On the Power Five side alone, there are nearly 60 spring games scheduled to be played in the month of April.  Last year around this time, Urban Meyer was urging Ohio State fans to show up en masse; the Buckeye faithful responded with a record-breaking turnout.  That six-figure record should be safe — maybe.

Channeling his inner Urban, James Franklin earlier this month very passionately challenged fans to attend Penn State’s spring game to showcase to recruits and the rest of the country that “football is a very, very important part of Penn State.” Texas seemingly has momentum, what with Tom Herman replacing Charlie Strong as head coach, and that hire could cause a spike in interest and spring butts in the seats.  Clemson, coming off its first national championship in three decades and with some question marks given key departures, will certainly see a surge in attendance, although the official seating capacity of 81,500 at Memorial Stadium would preclude them from doing anything other than (barely) cracking the Top 10 in all-time spring game attendance.

Alabama historically fares well in spring attendance — four of the Top 10 — although the last huge crowd was six years ago.  Coming off the first title-game loss under Nick Saban, don’t expect a big jump this year either.

With those storylines in mind, below is the complete slate of spring games for the next four-plus weeks.

FRIDAY, MARCH 31
Arizona, 9 p.m. ET

SATURDAY, APRIL 1
Northwestern, 11 a.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
South Carolina, noon ET (SEC Network)
North Carolina State, 1 p.m. ET
Michigan State, 3 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
Texas Tech, 4 p.m. ET

FRIDAY, APRIL 7
Florida, 7 p.m. ET (SEC Network)

SATURDAY, APRIL 8
Ole Miss, noon ET (SEC Network)
Purdue, 1 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
Auburn, 2 p.m. ET (SEC Network)
Iowa State, 2 p.m. ET
Oklahoma, 2 p.m. ET
Texas A&M, 2 pm. ET (ESPNU)
Clemson, 2:30 p.m. ET
Florida State, 3 p.m. ET (ESPN)
North Carolina, 3 p.m. ET
Wake Forest, 3 p.m. ET
Mississippi State, 4 p.m. ET (SEC Network)
TCU (time still to be determined)

THURSDAY, APRIL 13
Indiana, 7 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)

FRIDAY, APRIL 14
Kentucky, 7:30 p.m. ET (SEC Network)

SATURDAY, APRIL 15
Ohio State, 12:30 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
Louisville, 1 p.m. ET
Minnesota, 1 p.m. ET
Pittsburgh, 1 p.m. ET
Utah, 1 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
West Virginia, 1 p.m. ET
Kansas, 2 p.m. ET
Missouri, 2 p.m. ET (SEC Network)
Nebraska, 2 p.m. ET
Oklahoma State, 2 p.m. ET
Texas, 2 p.m. ET (Longhorn Network)
USC, 3 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
Stanford, 4 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
Arizona State, 5 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)

FRIDAY, APRIL 21
Georgia Tech, 7 p.m. ET
Wisconsin, 7:30 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
Iowa (time still to be determined)

SATURDAY, APRIL 22
Syracuse, 10 a.m. ET
Boston College, noon ET
Maryland, 12:30 ET (Big Ten Network)
Notre Dame, 12:30 p.m. ET
Baylor, 1 p.m. ET
Cal, 2 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
Georgia, 2 p.m. ET (SEC Network)
Kansas State, 2 p.m. ET
Virginia Tech, 2:30 p.m. ET
Alabama, 3 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Penn State, 3 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
Washington, 3 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
Tennessee, 4 p.m. ET (SEC Network)
Rutgers, 5 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
Washington State, 5 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
LSU, 8 p.m. ET (SEC Network)

SATURDAY, APRIL 29
Arkansas, 1 p.m. ET (SEC Network)
Oregon, 2 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
Virginia, 3 p.m. ET
UCLA, 4 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)

*Neither Miami nor Michigan will conduct traditional spring games.
*Arizona, Duke, Illinois, Oregon State and Vanderbilt played their spring games in March.

Virginia Tech-West Virginia game moved to Sunday, too

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Make room, Texas A&M-UCLA.  You have some prime-time company.

Earlier this week, it was announced that the above 2017 opener had been moved from Saturday, Sept. 2, to Sunday, Sept. 3.  Friday, both Virginia Tech and West Virginia announced that the latest battle for the Black Diamond Trophy has been similarly shifted.

Scheduled for the first Saturday in September at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, the Tech WVU game will now be played Sunday night at 7:30 p.m. ET.  It will be televised nationally on ABC.

When the announcement came regarding the move for the Aggies-Bruins game, it was stated the kickoff would be either 7:30 or 8 ET. Given this latest development, the latter kickoff time is a near certainty.

Tech and WVU have met a total of 51 times, with the first coming in 1912 and the most recent 12 years ago.  According to the Mountaineers, it’s the fifth-longest series in school history.

On heels of WVU visit, Kentucky transfer WR set for trip to Oklahoma

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It appears the battle for the services of an SEC wide receiver may very well come down to a pair of Big 12 schools.

According to WVMetroNews.com, Jeff Badet visited West Virginia late last month.  This weekend, the same website is reporting, the receiver is scheduled to visit conference rival Oklahoma.

OU, of course, is coached by Bob Stoops.  Stoops’ younger brother, Mark Stoops, coached Badet for the past four seasons at Kentucky.

In mid-January, the Wildcats announced that Badet had decided to transfer out of the UK football program.  Badet is on schedule to graduate in May, meaning he’d be eligible to play immediately in 2017 regardless of where he lands at the FBS level.

A three-star member of the Wildcats’ 2013 recruiting class, Badet was third on the team in receptions and receiving yards as a true freshman.  A leg injury in spring practice the following year — a tennis ball to the eye didn’t help either — led Badet to miss the 2014 season.  Returning in 2015, he was third in receiving (29-430); in 2016, he led the team in receiving yards (670) and yards per catch (21.6).

That latter number was tops in the SEC and sixth nationally.

Syracuse grad transfer Corey Winfield lands at West Virginia

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A little over two months after leaving one former Big East football program, Corey Winfield has landed at another.

On his social media accounts Friday night, Winfield revealed that he will continue his collegiate playing career at West Virginia.  The defensive back will be coming to Morgantown as a graduate transfer, meaning he’ll be eligible to play for the Mountaineers in 2017.

This upcoming year will be his final season of eligibility.

In late November, Winfield announced his intention to transfer from Syracuse. His departure from the Orange came not long after a rather scary incident that involved a former and then-current teammate.

Winfield was one of two ‘Cuse defensive backs who were stabbed by a former Orange defensive back, Naesean Howard, in a frightening incident last April.

Howard allegedly went into an unprompted “rage” shortly after showing up at an on-campus barbecue celebrating an SU student’s birthday, first stabbing Chauncey Scissum near his jaw. Winfield, one of a handful of ‘Cuse football players in attendance, intervened on his teammate’s behalf and was stabbed multiple times in the arms, chest and ribs.

Winfield is a two-year starter for the Orange.  His four pass breakups this past season were tied for the team lead.

West Virginia hires Alabama grad assistant as CBs coach

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To plug the latest gap in his West Virginia coaching staff, Dana Holgorsen has dipped into the deep well of assistants Nick Saban has accumulated in Tuscaloosa.

The football program confirmed Friday that Doug Belk has been hired to serve as the Mountaineers’ cornerbacks coach.  Belk will replace Danny “Blue” Adams, who left earlier this week for a job at South Florida.

This will mark Belk’s first on-field job at the FBS level.

“We would like to welcome Doug to the West Virginia football program,” Holgorsen said. “He comes highly recommended and brings several years of successful secondary experience at high-level programs. He will be a great addition to our staff.”

The past three seasons, Belk has been a defensive graduate assistant at Alabama.  Prior to that, he was at Valdosta State for three years, the last two as secondary coach.

“I’m excited to come to West Virginia University and be a part of a program that does an outstanding job of developing players and has a great winning tradition,” Belk said. “I want to thank Coach Holgorsen and Coach Gibson for giving me this opportunity to be a part of the coaching staff and the Mountaineer football program and to contribute to the program’s continued success.”