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Buffalo adds former Minnesota QB coach to staff

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In need of a boost to its passing game, Buffalo has hired former Minnesota assistant Jim Zebrowski. Zebrowski will serve as the team’s new quarterbacks coach with plenty of experience to offer the program. He will take over the role previously held by Andy Kotelnicki, who has been reassigned to be the running backs coach and retains the role of offensive coordinator.

“We’re excited to add Jim to the staff,” Buffalo head coach Lance Leipold said in a released statement. “He is highly regarded in the coaching ranks and has a proven track record of developing quarterbacks. He has previously worked with several members of our staff and has an understanding of our offensive philosophy, which should make the transition easier.”

Zebrowski was a quarterbacks coach at Minnesota from 2011 through 2015, where he developed a solid reputation through working with Gophers quarterback Mitch Leidner. Zebrowski also made a name for himself in the MAC having worked at Northern Illinois with former All-MAC QB Chandler Harnish (Zebrowski left NIU before Jordan Lynch picked up the torch for the Huskies offense, but many credit the work done by Zebrowski in the offensive system for helping pave the way for the school’s all-time best QB.

Zebrowski is also a former assistant for Leipold. Zebrowski was a part of Leipold’s staff bat Division 3 powerhouse Wisconsin-Whitewater from 2007 through 2009.

Buffalo ranked 122nd in the nation in passer rating  (although two MAC schools finished with a lower rating; Bowling Green and Kent State) and totaled 11 passing touchdowns with 11 interceptions.

Independents and Group of Five National Signing Day Recap: Irish bounce back, Memphis tops AAC

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Outside of the Power Five conferences, recruiting went about as expected in 2017.

Notre Dame continued to pound the national trail and landed a top 12 class full of players who will be expected to play early. BYU managed another impressive group that was one of the most diverse out there. The schools with a talent-rich backyard to draw on did well in the AAC.  Boise State was once again tops in the Mountain West and did better than a few peers in the region. And yes, Lane Kiffin earned that recruiting reputation by pulling in the best class of Conference USA.

Though there wasn’t much drama outside the top schools, there nevertheless was plenty of action for many programs on National Signing Day.

Top recruits (all rankings via 247Sports Composite): No. 67 overall Brock Wright (TE, Notre Dame), No. 154 overall Chaz Ah You (DB, BYU), Aisa Kelemete (DE, Boise State), Nick Robinson (TE, Memphis), Nicholas Sims (RB, Toledo)

Top classes: Notre Dame (No. 11 overall), Memphis (No. 58 overall), Boise State (No. 60 overall), BYU (No. 65 overall), Florida Atlantic (No. 71 overall), Toledo (No. 74 overall), Texas State (No. 87 overall)

Biggest storyline: Irish still land solid recruiting class

Despite the worst season in South Bend since Charlie Weis and a nearly brand new coaching staff, Notre Dame still managed to cobble together a top 12 class on Signing Day. Tight end Brock Wright was the highest rated player and should see early playing time but the number of quality offensive linemen was really evident in the group Brian Kelly signed. Will it be enough to help with a big turnaround? We’ll see.

Biggest surprise: Memphis runs away with things in the AAC but new coaches still fared well

Given all the turnover in the American this year, it should probably come as no surprise that the Tigers pulled the top recruiting class in the conference. That’s a testament to what Mike Norvell is building with the program and the fact that they don’t have to go far for players. Many of the same factors played a role in Scott Frost landing the second-best class at UCF. It was also pretty impressive what Luke Fickell did on the recruiting trail at Cincinnati and Charlie Strong did at USF given those two didn’t have a ton of time to get things lined up.

Don’t sleep on: Boise State, Colorado State

The Broncos were once again the class of the Mountain West on the recruiting trail and fended off several Pac-12 schools for prospects. That will put them firmly in the mix to win the league again in 2017 but don’t overlook another good job by Mike Bobo and staff at Colorado State in landing 17 three-star players.

We’ll see about: Everybody else

GameDay rowing its boat up to Kalamazoo to see Western Michigan

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There’s no obvious Biggest Game on the Schedule this week. No. 20 Washington State visits No. 12 Colorado, and No. 8 Oklahoma pays a trip to No. 10 West Virginia. Outside of that… not much. In the old days this might’ve been a week ESPN racked up some cost savings by keeping the College GameDay crew in Bristol.

Alas, ESPN sends GameDay  on the road every Saturday, and this week they’ll take a trip off the beaten path.

Saturday’s visit will obviously be the first ever visit to Kalamazoo as No. 14 Western Michigan hosts Buffalo, but it’ll be just the second GameDay visit to a MAC campus.

The show came to Bowling Green on Oct. 25, 2003, as the No. 23 Falcons topped No. 12 Northern Illinois, 34-18. Oddly enough, Broncos coach P.J. Fleck played wide receiver on that Huskies team.

Western Michigan and Buffalo will play at 3:30 ET on ESPNU, while ABC’s Saturday Night Football will broadcast Oklahoma at West Virginia.

Congrats! Virginia the first Power Five team to fall to FCS squad in 2016

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Take a bow, Virginia.  You’ve “earned” it.

The “it” is the “honor” of becoming the first Power Five team to lose to one from the FCS, with UVa. stumbling and bumbling its way to an embarrassing 37-20 loss to Richmond in Charlottesville Saturday, a score that wasn’t even remotely indicative to how the visitors controlled the game.  Adding insult to injury, this was the first game of the highly-anticipated Bronco Mendenhall era with the Cavaliers.

In just about every facet of the contest, the Spiders were the vastly superior team on the Scot Stadium field.

Richmond outgained their opponents by nearly a 2-1 margin, piling up 524 yards of offense while holding the Hoos to 302.  A 24-19 edge in first downs helped the Spiders double up the Cavaliers in time of possession.

Perhaps most importantly, UVa. turned the ball over four times, once on an interception and three on fumbles.  The Spiders turned those turnovers into 17 points, while not committing a turnover themselves

While UVa. is the first P5 team to fall to an FCS team, they’re not the first FBS team to be tripped up by a lower rung on the college football ladder.  Friday, Buffalo fell to Albany at home 22-16.

The first full week of the college football season, there are 45 FBS-FCS matchups.  As of this posting, the FBS teams hold a 22-2 advantage in he games that have been completed.

GoDaddy Bowl changes name to Dollar General Bowl

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The jokes pretty much write themselves on this one.

The GoDaddy Bowl has changed its name to the Dollar General Bowl effective immediately, it was announced Wednesday.

“Having a title sponsor in today’s world is just fantastic,” bowl president Jerry Silverstein told AL.com. “There are a lot of bowls out there, and for Mobile to get the recognition from a national sponsor, to want to participate in the event we have here, just leads to the national stage of what we try to produce here in Mobile.”

The new sponsor was celebrated in a very, uh, Dollar General way.

Heading into its 18th season, Dollar General Bowl will be the sixth different name and third separate title sponsor for the Mobile, Ala., based game. It was born in 1999 as the Mobile Alabama Bowl, then changed to the GMAC Mobile Alabama Bowl a year later. The name stuck as simply the GMAC Bowl from 2001-10, before the name switched to the GoDaddy.com Bowl in 2011. The “.com” was dropped before the 2014 game.

Representatives from the Sun Belt and MAC will compete in the 2016 game for the eighth consecutive season on the night of Dec. 23 (8 p.m. ET, ESPN). Georgia Southern took last year’s game by a 58-27 score over Bowling Green. The Sun Belt has claimed three of the last four Dollar General Bowls over its northern adversaries.