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Miami Beach Bowl officially moves to Frisco, Texas


The Miami Beach Bowl was an unnecessary bowl game played in a metro area already populated by bowl games — but at least it was in Miami. Bowl games may have lost their luster over the past decade-plus, but it’s hard to complain about being sent to South Beach in December for a football game.

The Miami Beach Bowl is no more, and it’s now been reincarnated as another unnecessary bowl game to be played in a metro area even more populated by bowl games — and it won’t be anywhere near as interesting as Miami.

Meet the Frisco Bowl, the newest ESPN-created postseason college football game to be played in the scenic locale of Frisco, Texas.

The north Dallas suburb will host the game at Toyota Stadium, a 20,500-seat outdoor venue that’s home to MLS club FC Dallas as well as the FCS National Championship every January. The Frisco Bowl will also compete for sponsorship dollars and public attention with the Cotton Bowl in Arlington, the Heart of Dallas Bowl in Dallas and the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth.

“We are pleased to be able to host this game in one of the most vibrant football markets in the country,” said ESPN vice president of events Clint Overby. “The infrastructure and facilities that exist in Frisco are outstanding and will be an excellent venue for the teams, players, administrators and fans traveling into the marketplace. We look forward to working with civic organizations and businesses in the area to create an annual event that embraces the spirit of the community.”

The first annual Frisco Bowl will pit an American Athletic Conference team against a to-be-determined conference at 8 p.m. ET on Dec. 20.

Rimington watch list details list of returning centers

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It’s the dead time of the college football calendar, which means it’s time for this sport’s oldest, most antiquated tradition: watch lists.

First one in line is the Rimington Trophy, given to the best center in college football. And to help voters narrow down their choice for when voting picks up six months from now, the Rimington has helpfully provided this watch list of essentially every returning starting center in college football.

The 2017 list includes (deep breath):

– Aaron Mitchell, Fresno State
– Alan Knott, South Carolina
– Alac Eberle, Florida State
– Antonyo Woods, Florida Atlantic
– Asotui Eli, Hawaii
– Austin Doan, Central Michigan
– Austin Golson, Auburn
– Austin Schlottmann, TCU
– Billy Price, Ohio State
– Blaise Fountain, New Mexico
– Brad Lundblade, Oklahoma State
– Brad North, Northwestern
– Bradley Bozeman, Alabama
– Brendan Moore, Maryland
– Brian Allen, Michigan State
– Bryce Holland, Army
– Cameron Ruff, South Florida
– Chandler Miller, Tulsa
– Coleman Shelton, Washington
– Colton Prater, Texas A&M
– Danny Godloveske, Miami (Ohio)
– Dennis Edwards, Western Kentucky
– Drew Keyser, Memphis
– Erick Wren, Oklahoma
– Evan Brown, SMU
– Frank Ragnow, Arkansas
– Gabe Mobley, Georgia State
– Garrett McGhin, East Carolina
– Jake Bennett, Colorado State
– Jake Hanson, Oregon
– Jake Pruehs, Ohio
– James Daniels, Iowa
– James O’Hagan, Buffalo
– Jesse Burkett, Stanford
– John Keenoy, Western Michigan
– Jon Baker, Boston College
– Julian Good-Jones, Iowa State
– Keoni Taylor, San Jose State
– LaVonne Gauthney, Akron
– Levi Brown, Marshall
– Luke Shively, Northern Illinois
– Mason Hampton, Boise State
– Matt Hennessy, Temple
– Mesa Ribordy, Kansas
– Michael Deiter, Wisconsin
– Nathan Puthoff, Kent State
– Nick Allegretti, Illinois
– Nick Clarke, Old Dominion
– Reid Najvar, Kansas State
– Ryan Anderson, Wake Forest
– Sam Mustipher, Notre Dame
– Scott Quessenberry, UCLA
– Sean Krepsz, Nevada
– Sean Rawlings, Ole Miss
– Sumner Houston, Oregon State
– T.J. McCoy, Florida
– Tanner Thrift, Baylor
– Tejan Koroma, BYU
– Tim McAullife, Bowling Green
– Trey Martin, Rice
– Will Clapp, LSU
– Will Noble, Houston
– Zach Shackelford, Texas


Got all that?

Ohio State’s Pat Elflein claimed the honor last season.

Mike Norvell signs contract extension, pushes raise to Memphis assistant coaches

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Memphis has done its head football coach a solid, and, in turn, he’s done the same for his coaching staff.

The U of M confirmed Friday that the contract of Mike Norvell has been extended by one year, through the 2021 season.  Norvell will not receive a raise in his guaranteed compensation as part of the extension; instead, the salary pool for his nine on-field assistants has been increased by $250,000.

That financial pool now stands at $2.75 million, which pushes Norvell’s program to the same neighborhood as Houston amongst American Athletic Conference staffs.

Norvell won’t exactly be couch-diving for change, though, as his $1.8 million salary in 2016 was fourth in the AAC.  The two highest-paid in the conference, Houston Tom Herman ($3 million) and Cincinnati’s Tommy Tuberville ($2.2 million), are no longer with those programs as they took the same job at Texas and stepped down, respectively.  Ken Niumatalolo ($2 million in 2016) remains at Navy.

Per the terms of his original deal, Norvell will make $1.86 million in 017.  That number doesn’t include bonuses.

“I am extremely thankful to be the head coach at the University of Memphis, “Norvell said in a statement. “I am grateful to Dr. Rudd, Tom Bowen and the Board of Trustees for their support of me and, especially, our staff. At the conclusion of our season, my number one focus was to keep continuity with our staff. This commitment from the University allows us to do that.”

In his first season with the Tigers, and in his first season as the head coach at any level, period, Norvell posted an 8-5 record.  They finished tied for third in the West division of the AAC, and dropped a 20-point decision to Western Kentucky in the Boca Raton Bowl.

ESPN acquires Miami Beach Bowl, will move it out of Florida

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The state of Florida will play host to one less bowl game when the 2017 postseason rolls around.

The American Athletic Conference, which created the Miami Beach Bowl and has owned and operated the event since 2014, announced Friday that the game has been purchased by ESPN.  The AAC will continue its affiliation with the bowl game; it’s expected Conference USA, the MAC and Sun Belt will do the same.

The conference also confirmed that the game will no longer be played at Marlins Park or in the state of Florida.  A new venue will be announced at a later date, although the state of Texas is the early favorite to land the bowl.

“We are proud of the postseason opportunities that we have been able to provide to student-athletes through our founding of the Miami Beach Bowl, and we appreciate the relationships that we have built with the Miami Marlins, Marlins Park and the cities of Miami and Miami Beach,” said AAC commissioner Mike Aresco said in a statement. “This transfer makes sense on many levels. We are excited to enhance our overall relationship with ESPN and to continue our affiliation with the bowl.”

Memphis (2014), Tulsa (2016) and USF (2015) have previously represented the AAC in the game.  The first two won their matchups with BYU and Central Michigan, respectively, while the latter dropped a 10-point decision to Western Kentucky.

MTSU line coach Rick Mallory recovering from heart attack

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A health scare has hit the coaching staff of Rick Stockstill (pictured) at Middle Tennessee State.

On his Facebook page, the wife of MTSU offensive line coach Rick Mallory detailed what appears to be a significant medical event for her husband.  In the posting, Mallory’s wife, Shannon, confirmed that the coach “suffered a heart attack and spiral arterial tear within an artery near his heart while doing a strenuous workout [Monday] afternoon.”

The entire update was posted on Stockstill’s Twitter page.

Just when Mallory will be able to return to the football program is decidedly unclear. The team has yet to comment publicly on Mallory’s status moving forward.

The 57-year-old Mallory, the father of six, has been an assistant at MTSU since 2013. He coached tackles and tight ends the first three seasons before moving into his current role as line coach in 2016.

Prior to that, he was the line coach at Memphis from 2000-09 and an assistant at Washington from 1992-99 before that.