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Pitt QB Max Browne says he got “short end of the stick” at USC

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One of the more interesting graduate transfers this offseason was that of quarterback Max Browne, who made the cross-country move from USC to Pitt.

The former five-star recruit actually started the Trojans’ first three games last year but was benched in favor of Sam Darnold, who reeled off nine straight wins for the team last season. Browne figures to slide right in to replace Nathan Peterman for the Panthers but it still appears that the ending in Los Angeles still gnaws on the signal-caller a bit.

“I think I was kinda the guy that got the short end of the stick from a program that was in a tough situation. Obviously, Sam is the big name right now but if you look at our team after three weeks, it wasn’t a one player thing or one person issue,” Browne told FoxSports. “They felt they had to make a change and I got the short end of the stick. But it is what it is. I roll with that. I get it. I was pumped to see my guys do well. It was a tough one but that chapter is still open and still being written.”

Browne later said he had no regrets about his time at USC and is grateful for the memories made and the degree he earned from the place. It certainly seems like the ending didn’t go quite how he wanted — saying it was a “crazy weird deal and it kept getting weirder” — but that is now a driving force in him trying to succeed as Pitt’s likely new starting quarterback.

With USC set to begin the year in the top five of the polls and Browne finally getting his chance behind center, safe to say that everything could work out in the end for both parties in 2017 even it the transition wasn’t the smoothest for the quarterback.

North Carolina hoops joins Clemson football to give ACC rare title sweep

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Something that doesn’t happen very often, at all, reared its rarefied head Monday night.

As deftly detailed by our friends at CollegeBasketballTalk.com, North Carolina beat Gonzaga to win the men’s basketball national championship.  UNC’s win comes just shy of three months after Clemson beat Alabama for the national championship of college football.  Speaking of which…

Interestingly, both the Tigers and Tar Heels were national runners-up last season.

The ACC has now won men’s basketball and football national championships in the same athletic season twice.  Such a double-double, including this year/season, has only happened a total of 10 times since the NCAA men’s tournament was first played at the end of the 1938-39 season.

Of those nearly dozen college sporting rarities, three each belong to two of the Power Five conferences (Big Ten, SEC) and two each from two others (ACC, Pac-12).  The Big 12, if you hadn’t picked up on it, is the lone P5 left out of these particular festivities.

Below are all of the conference double-doubles, which includes only football titles awarded by the Associated Press.  First, though, a couple of notes:

  • Indiana won the 1986-87 basketball title and Penn State was the 1986 football champs, but the latter wasn’t in the Big Ten at the time.
  • Duke and Miami would’ve hit the double-double in 1991-92, except The U didn’t join the ACC until 2005.
  • Miami won another title in 2001 while Maryland won one for the 2001-02 season, but the former was still four years away from ACC membership while the latter has since left that conference for the Big Ten.

And, one final bit of housekeeping: the football titlists are listed first, for those keeping score at home.

1940-41 — Big Ten, Minnesota and Wisconsin
1952-53 — Big Ten, Michigan State and Indiana
1957-58 — SEC, Auburn and Kentucky
1967-68 — Pac-12, USC and UCLA
1972-73 — Pac-12, USC and UCLA
1975-76 — Big Ten, Ohio State and Indiana
1981-82 — ACC, Clemson and North Carolina
2006-07 — SEC, Florida and Florida
2011-12 — SEC, Alabama and Kentucky
2016-17 — ACC, Clemson and North Carolina

College football spring games: Dates, TV times

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As the calendar flips from March to April, the rush of college football spring games commences in earnest.

On the Power Five side alone, there are nearly 60 spring games scheduled to be played in the month of April.  Last year around this time, Urban Meyer was urging Ohio State fans to show up en masse; the Buckeye faithful responded with a record-breaking turnout.  That six-figure record should be safe — maybe.

Channeling his inner Urban, James Franklin earlier this month very passionately challenged fans to attend Penn State’s spring game to showcase to recruits and the rest of the country that “football is a very, very important part of Penn State.” Texas seemingly has momentum, what with Tom Herman replacing Charlie Strong as head coach, and that hire could cause a spike in interest and spring butts in the seats.  Clemson, coming off its first national championship in three decades and with some question marks given key departures, will certainly see a surge in attendance, although the official seating capacity of 81,500 at Memorial Stadium would preclude them from doing anything other than (barely) cracking the Top 10 in all-time spring game attendance.

Alabama historically fares well in spring attendance — four of the Top 10 — although the last huge crowd was six years ago.  Coming off the first title-game loss under Nick Saban, don’t expect a big jump this year either.

With those storylines in mind, below is the complete slate of spring games for the next four-plus weeks.

FRIDAY, MARCH 31
Arizona, 9 p.m. ET

SATURDAY, APRIL 1
Northwestern, 11 a.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
South Carolina, noon ET (SEC Network)
North Carolina State, 1 p.m. ET
Michigan State, 3 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
Texas Tech, 4 p.m. ET

FRIDAY, APRIL 7
Florida, 7 p.m. ET (SEC Network)

SATURDAY, APRIL 8
Ole Miss, noon ET (SEC Network)
Purdue, 1 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
Auburn, 2 p.m. ET (SEC Network)
Iowa State, 2 p.m. ET
Oklahoma, 2 p.m. ET
Texas A&M, 2 pm. ET (ESPNU)
Clemson, 2:30 p.m. ET
Florida State, 3 p.m. ET (ESPN)
North Carolina, 3 p.m. ET
Wake Forest, 3 p.m. ET
Mississippi State, 4 p.m. ET (SEC Network)
TCU (time still to be determined)

THURSDAY, APRIL 13
Indiana, 7 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)

FRIDAY, APRIL 14
Kentucky, 7:30 p.m. ET (SEC Network)

SATURDAY, APRIL 15
Ohio State, 12:30 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
Louisville, 1 p.m. ET
Minnesota, 1 p.m. ET
Pittsburgh, 1 p.m. ET
Utah, 1 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
West Virginia, 1 p.m. ET
Kansas, 2 p.m. ET
Missouri, 2 p.m. ET (SEC Network)
Nebraska, 2 p.m. ET
Oklahoma State, 2 p.m. ET
Texas, 2 p.m. ET (Longhorn Network)
USC, 3 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
Stanford, 4 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
Arizona State, 5 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)

FRIDAY, APRIL 21
Georgia Tech, 7 p.m. ET
Wisconsin, 7:30 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
Iowa (time still to be determined)

SATURDAY, APRIL 22
Syracuse, 10 a.m. ET
Boston College, noon ET
Maryland, 12:30 ET (Big Ten Network)
Notre Dame, 12:30 p.m. ET
Baylor, 1 p.m. ET
Cal, 2 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
Georgia, 2 p.m. ET (SEC Network)
Kansas State, 2 p.m. ET
Virginia Tech, 2:30 p.m. ET
Alabama, 3 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Penn State, 3 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
Washington, 3 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
Tennessee, 4 p.m. ET (SEC Network)
Rutgers, 5 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
Washington State, 5 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
LSU, 8 p.m. ET (SEC Network)

SATURDAY, APRIL 29
Arkansas, 1 p.m. ET (SEC Network)
Oregon, 2 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
Virginia, 3 p.m. ET
UCLA, 4 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)

*Neither Miami nor Michigan will conduct traditional spring games.
*Arizona, Duke, Illinois, Oregon State and Vanderbilt played their spring games in March.

USC WR Trevon Sidney, four-star 2016 signee, ‘out awhile’ after surgery on both hips

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A promising recruit has a long road ahead if he’s going to make any type of contribution in the coming season.

It had previously been confirmed by USC that Trevon Sidney would not participate in spring practice because of hip surgery.  What hadn’t been previously confirmed is that, according to the Los Angeles Daily News, Sidney actually underwent surgery on both hips.

The Daily News writes that head coach “Clay Helton said he hopes Sidney can return in the fall.” It appears, though, that the wide receiver’s availability for the upcoming season is, at bare minimum, significantly in doubt.

Sidney was a four-star member of the Trojans’ 2016 recruiting class.  He was rated by 247Sports.com as the No. 26 receiver in the country; the No. 20 player at any position in the state of California; and the No. 141 player overall in that recruiting website’s composite rankings.

As a true freshman, Sidney took a redshirt.

Report: Pac-12, Larry Scott strike deal on contract extension

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Depending on your vantage point, this is either tremendous news when it comes to stability or another sign that the league will continue to remain stuck in neutral behind the two current conference behemoths.

According to a report from Pete Thamel of SI.com, Larry Scott has reached an agreement on a contract extension with the Pac-12.  The new deal would keep Scott as the conference’s commissioner through 2022.

Scott had one year remaining on his old deal.

Thamel writes that “terms of the deal aren’t known.” According to a report from USA Today‘s Steve Berkowitz in May of last year and based on tax return filings, Scott was paid nearly $4.1 million for the 2014 calendar year, making him the highest-paid commissioner in collegiate athletics.  By comparison, the Big Ten’s Jim Delany pulled in $3.1 million for the same period.

Scott’s tenure with the Pac-12 was initially marked by what was a then-record television deal with ESPN and FOX Sports in 2011.  Since then, that conference has watched both the Big Ten and SEC secure new deals that earn its members anywhere from $8 million to $13 million more annually than their Pac-12 counterparts.

And then there’s the inability of the Pac-12, under Scott’s guidance, to secure a distribution agreement with DirecTV for its collection of conference networks, causing it to lag well behind the networks offered by the Big Ten and SEC.