Mid-American Conference

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In advance of FBS move, Liberty announces 13 future match-ups

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Liberty doesn’t have a conference home, but the Flames aren’t letting a little logistical hurdle like that stop them from manifesting their destiny.

The school is moving up to FBS in 2018 whether FBS wants them or not, and the Flames on Wednesday took a major step forward by announcing 13 future games, primarily filling out schedules for the early years of the next decade.

“The announcement of these additional football series give Flames Nation a taste of our future football schedules,” Liberty AD Ian McCaw said in a statement. “We are close to completing schedules for our first five seasons of FBS football. I appreciate Mickey Guridy‘s diligent efforts is securing these agreements.”

The future games break out as follows:

Bowling Green
Oct. 3, 2020 — at Bowling Green
Sept. 2, 2023 — at Liberty

Marshall
Oct. 14, 2023 — at Marshall
Oct. 5, 2024 — at Liberty

Massachusetts
Nov. 2, 2019 — at UMass
Nov. 28, 2020 — at Liberty
Nov. 6, 2021 — at Liberty

NC State
Nov. 21, 2020 — at NC State

Troy
Sept. 11, 2021 — at Troy

UAB
Oct. 2, 2021 — at UAB
Sept. 10, 2022 — at Liberty

Liberty opens this season at Baylor, and will face 10 FBS foes in 2018, including trips to Virginia and Auburn.

Reports: ankle injury likely to keep WR Michael Pittman out of USC’s opener

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In his college football preview Bible, the great Phil Steele had Michael Pittman listed as one of three starting wide receivers for USC.  With the start of a new season a little more than two weeks away, Pittman doesn’t appear set to make that magazine projection come to fruition.

According to multiple reports, Pittman suffered an ankle injury during practice Tuesday and was taken off the field via a cart after having a boot placed on his left foot.  While X-rays taken post-practice showed no break or fracture, the sophomore has been diagnosed with the dreaded high-ankle sprain.

As a result, the Los Angeles Daily News writes that “[i]t seems unlikely he would be able to play against Western Michigan.” Rivals.com tweeted that the injury “[p]robably keeps him out of season opener.”

At least for now, the football program has yet to officially rule Pittman out for the opener.

Pittman was a four-star 2016 recruit, rated as the No. 9 receiver in the country.  As a true freshman last season, he caught six passes for 82 yards.

Tyler Conklin, Central Michigan’s starting TE, out indefinitely after foot surgery

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It appears Central Michigan will be without a key piece of its passing attack for an indefinite, and potentially extensive, period of time.

CMU announced Thursday that Tyler Conklin underwent surgery Wednesday to repair a broken bone in his foot. The senior tight end sustained the injury earlier on in summer camp.

At this point in time, there’s no timetable for Conklin’s return.

“We’ll continue to listen to the medical professionals,” head coach John Bonamego said in a statement. “What’s most important now is Tyler’s health. Thankfully, this is a position where we have some depth.”

Conklin started 11 of 13 games for the Chippewas last season. His 42 receptions and 560 yards in 2016 were good for third on the team, while his six receiving touchdowns were second.

In the controversial win over Oklahoma State, Conklin had career-highs in catches (seven) and touchdowns (two).

Ex-Michigan, Akron OT Logan Tuley-Tillman moves on to UTEP

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The roller coaster journey that has been Logan Tuley-Tillman‘s collegiate career will continue on yet another campus.

In announcing a handful of additions to its roster this week, UTEP revealed that Tuley-Tillman is now officially a Miner. As the offensive tackle comes to El Paso as a graduate transfer, he’ll be eligible to play for the Conference USA school in 2017.

In September of 2015, Michigan announced that Tuley-Tillman had been dismissed from the football program for “conduct unacceptable for a Michigan student-athlete.” A month later, it was revealed that the offensive lineman had been charged with three felonies stemming from a Sept. 4 incident in which he was accused of filming a sex act with a woman without her knowledge.

In June of last year, Tuley-Tillman revealed that, after a very serious flirtation with Washington State, he would be transferring to Akron. With the Zips, he started all 12 games.

A four-star member of Brady Hoke‘s second-to-last UM recruiting class in 2013, Tuley-Tillman was rated as the No. 12 tackle in the country and the No. 6 player at any position in the state of Illinois. After taking a redshirt as a true freshman, he played in one game in 2014. He played in the 2015 opener as well before his off-field situation derailed that season.

After accepting a deal and pleading guilty to two counts — capturing or distributing an image of an unclothed person and using a computer to commit a crime — he was sentenced to two years probation in late March of 2016.

College Football Hall of Fame coach Dick MacPherson passes away

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College Football Hall of Fame coach Dick MacPherson passed away Tuesday. He was 86.

The news was first reported by the Syracuse Post-Standard and later confirmed by the Syracuse football program.

MacPherson played center and linebacker at Springfield College in Massachusetts in the 1950’s before starting his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Illinois in 1958. He earned his first head coaching job at Massachusetts in 1971 and in seven seasons guided the Minutemen to four Yankee Conference championships.

MacPherson left Amherst for an assistant coaching job with the Cleveland Browns, but he returned to the college game as the head coach at Syracuse in 1981. MacPherson led the Orangemen, then a Division I independent, 66-46-4 mark in 10 seasons. He was just 30-31-1 over his first six seasons but exploded over his final four. Syracuse posted an undefeated regular season in 1987, playing Auburn to a tie in the Sugar Bowl and earning a No. 4 final ranking. Syracuse went 10-2 in 1988 and 15-8-2 over his final two seasons.

That success led him to the head coaching job with the New England Patriots, where he lasted two seasons. MacPherson never returned to coaching after that, but did serve as the program’s color commentator on television and radio broadcasts. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2009.

MacPherson’s grandsons Macky and Cameron later played for the Orange, and Macky currently serves as a graduate assistant on current Syracuse head coach Dino Babers‘s staff. In addition to Macky and Cameron, MacPherson is survived by two more grandchildren, two daughters and his wife, Sandra.