Defending American Athletic Conference champion UCF will kick off their conference title defense on August 30 when they visit UConn in the conference and season opener for both teams. The Civil ConFLiCT is the first game on the 2018 conference schedule released by the AAC on Tuesday. The conference will play a series of Thursday night games on national TV and will hold the conference championship game on Saturday, December 1. Kickoff times and television schedules will be decided at a later time, for the most part.
The AAC will continue to play an eight-game conference schedule with each team playing five games against division opponents and three games against teams from the opposing division. The conference championship game will be played at the top division champion’s campus at the end of the season just as it has the previous three seasons. The annual Army-Navy Game, which of course involves AAC member Navy, will continue to be played the week following the AAC championship game (Dec. 8).
The AAC’s Thursday night schedule will begin on September 20 with Temple hosting Tulsa and will feature Houston vs. Tulsa on Oct. 4, UCF vs. Temple on Nov. 1, and Houston vs. Tulane on Nov. 15. The Thursday night games could be altered depending on the NFL’s pending Thursday night schedule (Temple can’t play at home if the Philadelphia Eagles are scheduled for a home game). The Thursday night games will be scheduled to air on ESPN, and the conference championship game will be aired on either ABC or ESPN (it has aired on ABC each of the past three seasons).
The AAC will also play games on Friday nights this season, including three on the day after Thanksgiving for the regular season finale; USF hosting UCF, Memphis hosting Houston, and Cincinnati hosting ECU. That could be a big day for the AAC with potential division championships on the line.
The AAC will have 19 nonconference games against power conference opponents, including eight against ACC teams, four against the Big Ten, and three against the Big 12.
You can check out the full AAC football schedule HERE.
Ohio State has already hired away one active FBS defensive coordinator this winter, luring Alex Grinch away from Washington State to serve as its 10th assistant coach. Now the Buckeyes have done it a second time.
As Eleven Warriors pointed out Monday, Ohio State lists Temple defensive coordinator Taver Johnson in its online employee directory in an unspecified role. FootballScoop followed shortly thereafter reporting that Johnson will be Ohio State’s cornerbacks coach. (Full disclosure: I also work for FootballScoop.)
The Johnson hiring closes an Inception-like loop of Ohio State cornerbacks coaches. Johnson first served as Ohio State’s corners coach from 2007-11, working under Jim Tressel and then for the season of Luke Fickell as the interim head coach, and was offered a spot to stay on after Urban Meyer was hired as head coach. Johnson rebuffed Meyer, opting instead to take the linebackers job at Arkansas.
Meyer hired Kerry Coombs away from Cincinnati to work as his cornerbacks coach instead, and Coombs remained in that role until January, when he left to join former Buckeye Mike Vrabel‘s staff with the Tennessee Titans.
So now Johnson has been hired to replace Coombs, who was hired to replace Johnson.
Johnson recently completed his first season as Temple’s defensive coordinator. He spent the previous three seasons coaching defensive backs at Purdue.
With the kicker that could’ve cost him his record-tying sixth national championship gone, Nick Saban is on the hunt for a new one. Monday, the Alabama head coach may have found said new one from a Group of Five program.
On his personal Instagram account, Austin Jones announced that he has decided to transfer to Alabama from Temple. As a graduate transfer, Jones will be eligible to play for the Crimson Tide in 2018.
The upcoming season will be the kicker’s final season of eligibility, one in which he will, at least initially, be a walk-on.
From 2014 until midway through the 2016 season, Jones was the Owls’ primary placekicker. A torn ACL cost the Orlando native the remainder of 2016 as well as his job for most of the 2017 season.
For his time with the AAC school, Jones hit on 50-of-67 field goal attempts and 102-of-104 extra point attempts.
With time running out on the current lease at Lincoln Financial Field appearing on the horizon, Temple University continues to move forward with exploring their plans for a potential multipurpose facility that could be used to host Temple football on Temple’s campus. The school is now preparing to take the next step forward with the idea by presenting the plans to the City Planning Commission with the hope of being given the approval to continue pushing toward breaking ground on a new facility on Temple’s campus.
“We have said from the start that our first priority has been to engage with our neighbors and local leaders to determine the potential for, and impact of, this facility,” Temple president Richard Englert said in a released statement. “After more than two years of these discussions, and in light of the project’s tremendous value for Temple and North Philadelphia, I have concluded that the time is right to take this step.”
One of the biggest concerns about any on-campus football stadium is the reaction from the neighboring community that has been reluctant to embrace a football stadium being dropped right in the neighborhood.
Englert said in a released statement the university “will continue our conversations with neighbors to address concerns over the impact of the project.”
The football stadium would, in theory, be able to serve multiple purposes in addition to football and will be designed with surrounding economic opportunities in mind. Space for retail locations will be a part of the master plans to help inject some revenue into the surrounding area, and educational facilities will be included in the plans as well.
In all, the plan is currently estimated to cost roughly $130 million. Temple recently negotiated a short-term extension on their lease to use Lincoln Financial Field through 2019. If Temple is given the approval to move forward with their stadium plan, they could theoretically be able to play a true home game on their campus beginning in 2020.
Some very familiar names highlight the most recent additions to the College Football Hall of Fame.
In conjunction with the Hall, the National Football Foundation announced Monday morning a total of 13 individuals — 10 players and three coaches — who will be inducted as part of the Class of 2018. One of those, Michigan’s Charles Woodson, was announced as an inductee on ESPN’s NFL pregame show Sunday.
Below are the baker’s dozen inductees:
TREVOR COBB – RB, Rice (1989-92)
KERRY COLLINS – QB, Penn State (1991-94)
DAVE DICKENSON – QB, Montana (1992-95)
DANA HOWARD – LB, Illinois (1991-94)
CALVIN JOHNSON – WR, Georgia Tech (2004-06)
PAUL PALMER – RB, Temple (1983-86)
ED REED – DB, Miami [Fla.] (1998-2001)
MATT STINCHCOMB – OT, Georgia (1995-98)
AARON TAYLOR – C/OG, Nebraska (1994-97)
CHARLES WOODSON – DB, Michigan (1995-97)
FRANK BEAMER – 280-144-4 (65.9%); Murray State (1981-86), Virginia Tech (1987-2015)
MACK BROWN – 244-122-1 (66.6%); Appalachian State (1983), Tulane (1985-87), North Carolina (1988-97), Texas (1998-2013)
MEL TJEERDSMA – 242-82-4 (74.4%); Austin College [Texas] (1984-93), Northwest Missouri State (1994-2010)
“We are extremely proud to announce the 2018 College Football Hall of Fame Class,” said College Football Hall of Famer and NFF chairman Archie Manning in a statement. “Each of these men has established himself among the absolute best to have ever played or coached the game, and we look forward to immortalizing their incredible accomplishments.”
The newest class will be inducted Dec. 4 of this year at the annual NFF awards dinner.