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After committing to Alabama, grad transfer QB Gardner Minshew tweets flip to Washington State

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So much for the implementation of the Jalen Hurts Transfer Protection Plan™.

In late February, Gardner Minshew, a graduate transfer quarterback from East Carolina, confirmed that he had committed to play for Alabama and would enroll at the university in May.  Nearly three weeks later, Minshew shifted his course significantly, announcing on Twitter that he is “[p]roud to say that I’ll be playing my last year of college ball at Washington State.”

At least when it comes to the opportunity for playing time, the Cougars, looking to replace Luke Falk, make much more sense than the Crimson Tide, who has, in addition to a two-year starter in Hurts, national championship game hero Tua Tagovailoa.

As a graduate transfer, Minshew will be eligible to play immediately for Wazzu in 2018 and could be in line to win a starting job at the Power Five school.

Minshew started five games for the Pirates last season, throwing for 2,140 yards, 16 touchdowns and seven interceptions in completing just over 57 percent of his 304 pass attempts. Prior to his departure from ECU, he was penciled in as the Pirates’ 2018 starting quarterback.

The news of Minshew’s initial commitment to UA came a little over a week after Minshew visited the Tuscaloosa campus.  Earlier in February, it was reported that Alabama had an interest in Minshew, the quarterback who announced late last month that he had withdrawn from East Carolina to tend to a personal matter in his home state of Mississippi.

American, ACC announce officiating alliance

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The ACC and the American have struck a deal for a football officiating alliance, the American announced Monday. The new program will see the two conferences cooperate on all things officiating, from training to scheduling to evaluation.

With the move, the ACC’s Dennis Hennigan will oversee the alliance, while the American’s Terry McAulay will step down as the league’s coordinator of football officiating and the American will hire a new supervisor of football officials.

“We are excited to partner with the ACC regarding the administration of our football officiating program,” AAC commissioner Mike Aresco said in a statement. “This alliance will provide both conferences with a deep roster of the best college football officials and will provide for greater efficiency and consistency in the training and evaluation of officials as well as enhanced opportunities for the recruitment of officials. We look forward to working with Dennis Hennigan, who was regarded as one of the top on-field officials in college football and has since become a leader on the administrative side. I also want to thank Commissioner John Swofford for his cooperation in reaching this mutually beneficial arrangement.”

The new alliance means ACC officials could oversee a Tulane-Tulsa game, while AAC officials would work a Clemson-Georgia Tech game. The ACC-AAC Alliance will go into effect for the 2018 season.

Dismissed by West Virginia, Tyree Owens has now been removed from East Carolina’s roster

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To say that Tyree Owens has had an up-and-down — mostly down — collegiate career would be a significant understatement.

Originally a West Virginia signee, Owens was one of three Mountaineer football players stabbed in an off-field accident in September of 2015… only to be one of three WVU football players dismissed from the program very shortly thereafter for violating unspecified team rules.

After one season at a junior college, the defensive lineman transferred to East Carolina. After one season at ECU, Owens is out again as the American Athletic Conference school announced that the redshirt junior “has also been removed from the roster as a result of an indefinite suspension related to the team’s academic policy.”

Last season, Owens started three of the 10 games in which he played, with all of those starts coming at defensive tackle. His 3.5 tackles for loss were fourth on the team, while his three quarterback hits were second on the Pirates.  Two of those tackles for loss came against… WVU, of course.

A three-star member of WVU’s 2014 recruiting class, Owens was rated as the No. 49 strongside defensive end in the country. He took a redshirt as a true freshman for the Mountaineers.

Owens, now at a Mississippi junior college, originally committed to Texas A&M in October of 2016 before decommitting nearly three months later and ultimately signing with ECU in mid-December of that same year.

Former Tennessee ADs Dave Hart and John Currie both have new (temporary) jobs

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Former Tennessee athletic directors are apparently staying quite busy since leaving Rocky Top.

East Carolina announced on Thursday that former Vols AD Dave Hart was hired by the school as a special advisor to the chancellor for athletics. His primary focus will be on leading the search for the Pirates new men’s basketball coach but the veteran administrator-turned-consultant is also being tasked with “providing operational and strategic guidance to the chancellor relating to athletic affairs.”

Hart, who served as ECU’s athletic director for nearly a decade, will in part take over for the school’s current AD Jeff Compher — whose controversial tenure will come to an end on May 1 after getting his contract bought out. Hart does not appear to be up for a full-time return in Greenville after retiring last summer from his position in Knoxville but does seem to be helping his old program out with a six month contract with his consulting firm.

He’s not the only one ticketed for a new position though as Hart’s successor, John Currie, was announced as an executive-in-residence for a week at Robert Morris University on Monday. Currie lasted only eight months with the Vols before being replaced by current AD Phillip Fulmer but continues to get paid by Tennessee a whopping $75,000 a week as part of his suspension that dates back to last December.

While getting let go by a school never seems like a great thing for one’s career, a small exception might be made for former UT athletic directors in recent years judging by how quickly they find something new.

Wake Forest, East Carolina schedule home-and-home for 2027-28

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East Carolina is not a member of the ACC, but at this point the Greenville, N.C., based school might as well be an affiliate member. ECU has inked a home-and-home series with Wake Forest for 2027-28, which extends the Pirates’ streak of consecutive seasons with at least one current ACC foe on the schedule to all but two of a 59-year stretch (1970-28), according to a CFT analysis of past ECU schedules.

The 2027 game will take place Sept. 11 in Greenville, and the ’28 game on Sept. 23 in Winston-Salem.

The bulk of those meetings have come against NC State (29 all-time meetings) Virginia Tech (22) and North Carolina (16), but Wake Forest has been a frequent collaborator of late. The Pirates and Deacons have met eight times previously and five straight years from 2001-05, all of which were Wake victories.

Future ECU vs. ACC games
2018: vs. North Carolina (Sept. 8), at Virginia Tech (Sept. 15)
2019: at NC State (Aug. 31), vs. Virginia Tech (Sept. 21)
2020: at Virginia Tech (Sept. 26)
2021: No scheduled ACC opponent
2022: vs. NC State (Sept. 3), at Virginia Tech (Sept. 17)
2023: vs. Virginia Tech (Sept. 23)
2024: at Virginia Tech (Sept. 7)
2025: vs. Virginia Tech (Sept. 20)
2026: No scheduled ACC opponent
2027: vs. Wake Forest (Sept. 11)
2028: at Wake Forest (Sept. 23)

The 2021 and ’26 slates still have one non-conference slot to fill, but considering the ’26 schedule already has a road trip to Boise State and a home date with West Virginia lined up, it’s unlikely East Carolina would line up another ACC opponent to fill the remaining opening — unless they don’t want to let the streak die.