Old Dominion Monarchs

Getty Images

Conference USA releases 2018 schedule

Leave a comment

Conference USA released its 2018 schedule on Tuesday, confirming that once again the league will play football this fall.

The league slate kicks off Sept. 8 with FIU’s visit to Old Dominion, while the first game involving a C-USA team is set for Aug. 25, when Rice hosts Prairie View A&M. Conference games are scattered throughout the month of September, with the first full Saturday slate coming on Oct. 6 with Old Dominion at Florida Atlantic, UAB at Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee at Marshall, North Texas at UTEP and UTSA at Rice.

While the MAC has opted for a full embrace of midweek football, Conference USA has gone in the exact opposite direction. Not one C-USA game is scheduled as of today for a weeknight — Thursday or Friday included — and only one game will be played on a day other than Saturday, a Friday, Aug. 31 visit to Wisconsin by Western Kentucky.

The most-anticipated non-conference games involving C-USA teams are Florida Atlantic’s opener at Oklahoma and on Sept. 1 and the Owls’ Sept. 22 visit to reigning American and Peach Bowl champion UCF. North Texas also has two shots to win nationwide respect for the league in its opener against SMU on Sept. 1 in Denton and a Sept. 15 visit to retooling Arkansas.

The highlight of the league schedule comes on Nov. 17 with a rematch of the 2017 title game when Florida Atlantic visits North Texas. The Owls won both meetings last season by a combined score of 110-48.

The 14th C-USA Championship will be held on Dec. 1 at the home of the division winner with the best conference record. FAU will look to become the second straight back-to-back C-USA champion, joining Western Kentucky in 2015-16.

Schools across the FBS honoring the military on Veteran’s Day

Getty Images
1 Comment

The whole of college football is making sure its message of support for those who serve gets heard loud and clear.

This year, Veteran’s Day just happens to fall on a gameday, and arguably the biggest college football gameday of the 2017 season in fact. Whether it be helmets or uniforms or in-game presentations, schools throughout the week have unveiled their gameday plans for honoring our nation’s military.

Kevin mentioned a couple on Wednesday; below is but a sampling of others who will honor those brave men and women who have allowed, and continue to allow, all of us to continue to enjoy this great sport, and every other freedom we enjoy for that matter.

And, from CFT as a whole and myself personally, God bless every single member of every branch of the military, past and present. From the bottom of our collective hearts, thank you so much for your service.

Old Dominion’s second-leading tackler arrested on multiple charges, including felony strangulation

Getty Images
1 Comment

The latest addition to the “Days Without An Arrest” tracker is a rather serious one.

According to WVEC-TV in Norfolk, Old Dominion’s Denzel Williams has been arrested on multiple charges stemming from a Nov. 1 incident involving two females.  Specifically, the safety is facing one count of felony strangulation and two counts of misdemeanor simple assault.

From the television station’s report:

Officers received a report of an assault at a home in the 1200 block of W. 43rd St. around 1 a.m. on November 1.

Police got there and talked to a 20-year-old woman and 21-year-old woman who said Williams assaulted both of them. Williams is the 20-year-old’s boyfriend.

As a result of the incident, Williams has been indefinitely suspended by the football program.

Prior to the off-field issue, Williams had started five games in a row for the Monarchs.  He’s currently second on the team in tackles with 68.

17-year-old gets start at QB for Old Dominion vs. Virginia Tech… in Blacksburg

Associated Press
Leave a comment

Talk about being thrown straight into the fire. At least it’s not “Enter Sandman” at night, though, right?

Regardless, Old Dominion will travel to Blacksburg for an afternoon game at Lane Stadium in Week 4 later on today. Thanks to first-half struggles in ODU’s Week 3 loss to North Carolina, Bobby Wilder inserted Steven Williams at quarterback in the second half and he performed admirably in his first collegiate action — 139 yards passing, two passing touchdowns in two quarters of relief work.

Williams, it was confirmed earlier this week, will remain under center this weekend against Tech and will be tackling his first career start against the Bud Foster-led Hokies defense. The true freshman, though, is no ordinary first-time starter as he is just 17 years, 11 months (almost) old.

Based on our research, the 6-4, 196-pound Williams would become just the fourth FBS player in the last four-plus decades to start at quarterback before the age of 18. The others are Khalil Tate (Arizona, 2016), Nick Isham (Arizona, 2012) and David Walker (Texas A&M, 1973).

It’s believed that Walker, at 17 years, nine months, is the youngest ever to start at quarterback at the highest level of college football.

Despite his youth, Williams, a two-star 2017 signee, has the confidence of both his head coach and teammates.

“At 17 years old, he has to become the defined leader of this organization,” Wilder said according to the Virginian-Pilot. “I personally think he has the ability to do it. … He’s very dynamic. There’s a lot of things he does well.”

“I’ve been thinking about it over the past week, and I can’t imagine myself as a starting quarterback at 17,” redshirt junior wide receiver Travis Fulgham said. “But I think he can do it. That’s what’s crazy about it.”

Big Ten, Conference USA swapping bowl tie-in for 2017

Getty Images
4 Comments

The middle of September isn’t typically the time that bowl arrangements are tweaked but that doesn’t mean they can’t happen.

Conference USA confirmed details of a bowl tie-in “swap” with the Big Ten on Wednesday, causing a bit of a Texas two-step in the postseason picture for both leagues in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. The move on the Big Ten’s end was originally announced back in May but it appears the CUSA end is just now being confirmed officially.

As a result:

  • A Conference USA team will now play in the Armed Forces Bowl. They’ll play against Army if the Black Knights are eligible,
  • The Big Ten will place a team in Heart of Dallas Bowl against vs. a Big 12 opponent

While the exact reason for the swap is unclear, it certainly makes a little more sense for a Big Ten team to be in Dallas against a fellow Power Five conference like the Big 12. In addition, the Big Ten has not had a team filled a slot in the Heart of Dallas Bowl since 2014 and have actually never scored a victory in the game either.

There was supposed to be a B1G squad in the bowl last season but, because of shortages elsewhere in terms of eligible teams, the game wound up being an Army win over an eventual 5-8 North Texas squad.  Conference USA apparently remains contractually tied to the Heart of Dallas Bowl until 2019, just not this year.

The Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 23 in Fort Worth while the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl is slated to be played on Tuesday, Dec. 26.