Category: Mid-American Conference

Kent State running back Myles Washington (26) loses his helmet after being tackled by Illinois defensive back Chris James (12), defensive back Dillan Cazley (25) and defensive back Cedric Doxy (26) during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015, in Champaign, Ill. Illinois won the game 52-3. (AP Photo/ Stephen Haas)
AP Photo/ Stephen Haas

Illinois adds Central Michigan to future schedule

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For those planning ahead, Illinois has added a future game against Central Michigan to the 2022 football schedule. The Illini will reportedly host the Chippewas on September 24, 2022 in a one-game scheduling agreement. Illinois will pay Central Michigan $1.5 million for the game. The two schools have never faced each other on the football field, so this could very well end up being the first meeting barring any potential postseason matchups.

Big Ten teams are required to schedule at least one power conference opponent each year as part of its non-conference scheduling commitment. Central Michigan does not satisfy that commitment, but the Illini are already covered that season with a home game against Virginia. Illinois is scheduled to host Virginia from the ACC on September 10, 2022 in the second of a two-year home-and-home series. Virginia will host Illinois on September 11, 2021. Illinois has its power conference non-scheduling commitment fulfilled from 2021 through 2026, but will have to do some schedule tweaking if it is to satisfy the commitment before 2021. The Big Ten also already granted exemption status for some games due to schedules being booked years in advance. Illinois has their non-conference slate booked for 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2020 and has just one vacancy to fill in 2019.

Central Michigan has also added a future series against FAU. FAU will host Central Michigan on September 21, 2019 and Central Michigan will serve as host to the Owls on September 18, 2021.

Helmet sticker to the always schedule-aware FBSchedules.com.

Oregon State QB transfer lands at Northern Illinois

Oregon State quarterback Seth Collins throws down field against Arizona during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
AP Photo/Rick Scuteri
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A day after signing day, Northern Illinois put the finishing touches on its Class of 2016 with the addition of Oregon State transfer quarterback Seth Collins.

“We’re really happy to have Seth, he’s a quality, quality young man,” said NIU head coach Rod Carey in a released statement. “He’s obviously a fantastic football player and a great quarterback, and he comes from a great family who we have gotten to know during this process. We look forward to having him on campus with the rest of the class this summer and to 2017 when he will be eligible to suit up and play for us.”

As noted by Carey, Collins will not be eligible to play for the Huskies until the 2017 season. NCAA transfer rules mean Collins will have to sit out the 2016 season, but he can join the team in all other activities other than playing games.

Collins left Oregon State as speculation grew he was possibly going to be moved to wide receiver. At NIU it looks as though he will be locked into playing quarterback for the MAC squad. Collins started seven games for the Beavers in 2015 before being sidelined with a knee injury.

Hawaii, UMass add former players to coaching staffs

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Earlier in the day we noted that a former North Carolina football player had gone back to his alma mater to continue his coaching career.  As it turns out, both Hawaii and UMass have seen former players return home as well.

Hawaii late this past week announced that new head coach Nick Rolovich has added Craig Stutzmann as his passing-game coordinator.  Rolovich and Stutzmann were teammates with the Rainbow Warriors 15 or so years ago.

The past two seasons, Stutzmann, who left UH as the school’s fifth all-time leading receiver, spent the past two seasons as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Virginia’s Emory & Henry College.  This will mark Stutzmann’s first on-field role at an FBS program.

“Another Warrior returns to the ‘āina, a man who has succeeded as a student-athlete and person in this program,” Rolovich said. “Stutz understands our culture, has lived aloha and played warrior. Since leaving our shores in 2009, he has acquired a wealth of knowledge in various offensive schemes and has paid his dues in the coaching world. I am convinced there’s no place he’d rather be than Pride Rock.”

Meanwhile, out in Amherst, Mass., UMass confirmed that a former football Minutemen, Matt Dawson, will serve as Mark Whipple‘s tight ends coach.  The former UMass linebacker will also assist with special teams.

The past two seasons, Dawson served as linebackers coach at Rhode Island.  Like Stutzmann, this will be Dawson’s first on-field job at the FBS level.

“Matt Dawson is Massachusetts alum who truly embodies everything our university and program are about,” the Minutemen’s head coach said in his statement. “I’m excited to have him. He brings great knowledge and expertise.”

In another tweak of his staff, Whipple announced that graduate assistant Scott Woodward has been promoted to quarterbacks coach. Woodward replaces Liam Coen, who left to become the offensive coordinator at Maine.

Interestingly, Woodward was Coen’s backup at quarterback when the they played for the Minutemen a decade ago.

SEC, Ohio State tops on Carolina, Denver Super Bowl rosters

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 29:  Former Tennesse quarterback Peyton Manning and current quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts is honored alongside his former college coach Phillip Fulmer before the start of the game against the South Carolina Gamecocks on October 29, 2005 at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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Cam Newton may be hurtling toward history, but the former Auburn quarterback will not be the lone player representing the SEC in next month’s Super Bowl.  In fact, he’s far, far from it.

As you may have heard, Newton’s Carolina Panthers are set to square off with Peyton Manning‘s Denver Broncos in the 50th Super Bowl Feb. 3.  Manning and Newton are two of and FBS-best 30 former SEC players who are on the two teams’ rosters, which includes those on the 53-man, reserved/injured list, practice squad, reserved/suspended by commissioner and reserve/future squad.

The Pac-12 is next with 23, followed by the Big Ten (21) and ACC (17).  The final Power Five conference, the Big 12, has 10, three less than the Mountain West’s 13.  The AAC, with eight, is the only Group of Five league to come close to double digits.  The MAC, meanwhile, is the only conference to be shutout, while all of the other divisions in the NCAA combined for 18 players.

Nearly every SEC team is represented in this year’s big game, the lone exception being Vanderbilt.  Of the dozen schools in the Pac-12, only Arizona and Washington State are missing.  Both the ACC and Big Ten have 11 of their 14 teams in the game, the lone exceptions being Clemson, Louisville and Virginia Tech for the former and Illinois, Minnesota and Rutgers for the latter.

One of those B1G schools that’s in, Nebraska, has had at least one player on a Super Bowl roster for 23 straight years, the longest active streak for any FBS program.

Ohio State easily outdistances individual schools with seven, three more than the four each for Auburn, Georgia Tech, Oregon State and Tennessee.  Alabama, Arizona State, Colorado State, Georgia, Nevada, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas A&M, USC and Utah.

A total of 20 schools have two players each, including Coastal Carolina, the only non-FBS program in the group.  The other 19 includes Arkansas, Boise State, Duke, Florida, Florida State, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi State, Missouri, North Carolina, San Diego State, South Carolina, Stanford, Troy, Tulane, Washington and Wisconsin.

Former Notre Dame, Ole Miss CB Tee Shepard to play final season at Miami… of Ohio

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The long, winding collegiate road that took Tee Shepard to one Oxford will end in another.

The well-traveled cornerback confirmed to 247Sports.com that he has decided to transfer to Miami of Ohio to finish his collegiate playing career.  Shepard will be finishing up the semester at Ole Miss and graduating in May, meaning he’ll be eligible to play immediately in 2016 for the MAC program.  This will be Shepard’s final season of eligibility.

And the reason he’s decided to spend it with the RedHawks?  Their head coach played a significant role in helping to get him to his first collegiate stop.

“Chuck Martin is the only coach in the country I can try to play my last year with,” Shepard told the recruiting website. “He recruited me out of high school when he was at Notre Dame at the time. It’s been over four years coming.

“He’s a great guy, his family means a lot to me as well. His sweet wife and his son and daughter. He loves to help kids get back on their feet. It’s never about the money. He actually loves doing his job. His coaching style is on another (level) from the rest of the coaches. He’s a player’s coach – loves to spend time with his players on and off the field.”

Shepard was a four-star member of Notre Dame’s 2012 recruiting class, rated as the No. 4 cornerback in the country; the No. 11 player at any position in the state of California; and the No. 76 player overall according to Rivals.com. The Irish announced in March of 2012 that Shepard was no longer enrolled at the school, two months after he enrolled as an early signee.  The stated reason for Shepard’s decision at the time was the desire to be back closer to his family in Fresno.

After leaving South Bend, Shepard considered transferring to Fresno State as well as USC before ultimately landing at a junior college.

He spent the 2012 and 2013 seasons at the JUCO level.  On his second spinning of the recruiting carousel, Shepard originally gave a verbal commitment to rival Mississippi State before flipping to Ole Miss three days later on signing day in 2014.

After some initial uncertainty, Shepard received academic clearance and was eligible to play for the Rebels in 2014.  Unfortunately, Shepard, who was No. 2 on the cornerback depth chart at the time, sustained a torn tendon in one of his toes during summer camp that year and didn’t play at all in 2014.

He had played in all five games of the 2015 season before Ole Miss announced that the hearing-impaired Shepard would be retiring from football.