Sun Belt Conference

HATTIESBURG, MS - SEPTEMBER 5: Seymour mascot for the Southern Miss Golden Eagles poses with fans during their game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs on September 5, 2015 at M.M. Roberts Stadium in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The Mississippi State Bulldogs defeated the Southern Miss Golden Eagles 34-16. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
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Southern Miss the landing spot for Louisville grad transfer Devontre Parnell

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Louisville’s secondary loss will turn into Southern Miss’ gain.

Devontre Parnell has confirmed to both the Sun Herald and Hattiesburg American that he will continue his collegiate playing career at Southern Miss. Parnell decided earlier this offseason to transfer from Louisville.

The cornerback, who cited the presence of former Cardinals assistant Derek Nicholson on the Eagles’ staff as a factor in his decision, confirmed that he chose Southern Miss over Appalachian State, Louisiana Tech and SMU.

“My plan is to get there in the summer, get adjusted to the team,” Parnell told the American. “I’ll try to get acclimated and compete for the starting job. I’m a competitor so I definitely want to compete for a starting job. My job is to come in and start right away.”

Parnell will be able to compete for a job immediately because of his status as a grad transfer, and he appears relatively high on his odds of doing that.

Shoulder injuries cost Parnell the entire 2013 and 2015 seasons. Sandwiched in between those two injury-plagued years was a 2014 season in which he appeared in three games.

Parnell was healthy enough to fully participate in spring practice this year for the Cardinals.

No hops for you: beer sales nixed at Boise State football pregames

Beer festival (Bierboerse) in Bonn.
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Ohio State announced earlier this month that they would sell beer to all of-age ticket holders at football games beginning in 2016, joining a growing number of football programs across the country.  Out west, however, a pair of programs are headed in the opposite direction.

In June of last year, the Idaho State Board of Education approved a request from Boise State and Idaho that allowed the sale of beer and wine to fans with a ticket prior to the start of home football games.  In the former’s case, the policy allowed ticketed fans to purchase beer or wine inside the Caven-Williams Sports Complex, the indoor practice facility, even as there were still no general alcohol sales inside of Alberstons Stadium.

Previously, the board had approved alcohol service for corporate sponsors and their guests at the facility.

Thursday, that same governing body reversed course, declining a request from both schools to continue the policy for the 2016 season.

From the Idaho Press-Tribune:

However, board members said they no longer wanted to waive the state’s current policy — which requires a special invite to buy alcohol at collegiate games.

Only board member David Hill opposed the board’s decision.

Hill says that the board’s decision will essentially shut down BSU’s pre-game function known as “The Huddle,” which offered fans food, alcohol and entertainment in lieu of tailgating.

No reason has been given for the reversal.

Alcohol sales will still be permitted in the premium seating areas at Albertsons Stadium.  The Associated Press did write that “[f]ans can still drink alcohol at designated pregame tailgating areas at BSU and University of Idaho with alcohol they bring in.”

QB Jake Luton decides to transfer from Idaho

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 12:  Quarterback Jake Luton #14 of the Idaho Vandals throws a pass against the USC Trojans at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 12, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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Seeing a move up the depth chart as unlikely, Jake Luton has decided to ply his football wares elsewhere.

On Twitter recently, Luton announced that he had decided to transfer out of the Idaho football program. “First and foremost I want to thank my coaches and advisors that helped me throughout my time at Idaho,” the quarterback wrote, adding, “I’m looking forward to tackling any obstacles the future may hold!”

Luton had served as the Vandals’ No. 1 quarterback in the spring, but that was only because the returning starter at the position, Matt Linehan, was recovering from offseason foot surgery.  Linehan was expected to be healthy for the start of summer camp and take back his starting job.

Luton took a redshirt as a true freshman in 2014, then played in six games last season. He started one game in 2015 as a replacement for the injured Linehan.

In those games, Luton completed 49-of-78 passes for 383 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions.  He also scored five rushing touchdowns.

College football continues growing at multiple levels

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 04:  A detail of a Nike official NCAA size football as it sits in the end zone while the West Virginia Mountaineers stretchon the field prior to playing against the Clemson Tigers during the Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 4, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

This fall college football will be played on more campuses than ever before thanks to the addition of five programs, including two at the NCAA Division II level.

According to the National Football Foundation, the addition of Cincinnati Christian University, Davenport University (Grand Rapids, Mich.), Morthland College (West Frankfort, Ill.), the University of Texas of the Permian Basin (Odessa) and the University of West Florida (Pensacola), there will be 774 college football teams in 2016, the most on record.

West Florida and UT-Permian Basin are in the NCAA’s Division II while CCU and Davenport are in the NAIA and Morthland College’s affiliation is TBA.

The schools come from three distinct regions of the country, including football hotbeds of Florida, Texas and Ohio.

If the name and town of the newest college football program in Texas ring a bell, there’s good reason. Odessa is the home of the Permian Panthers, the high school program immortalized in H.G. Bissinger’s 1990 book, Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team and a Dream.

Per the NFF, three more programs are set to come online next year, including the return of UAB as a member of Conference USA in the FBS.

“With more than one million high school students playing football and more than 70,000 spots on college teams, there is plenty of room for expansion,” said NFF chairman Archie Manning in a statement. “Many of these colleges clearly recognize that football can play an important role in encouraging students to continue their educations by enticing them to enroll.”

Last year saw the addition of four new programs, including FCS members East Tennessee State and Kennesaw State (Georgia).

In all, 42 programs have launched at various levels since 2010.

Tennessee announces change to academic schedule to accommodate opener

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 01: The Volunteer mascot waves the flag in the edzone after a Tennessee touchdown as the Tennessee Volunteers defeated  the Mississippi Rebels 27-10 at Neyland Stadium on October 1, 2005 in Knoxville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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Tennessee students got good news Tuesday with the announcement they not only get to see the Volunteers football team return to action Sept. 1, they also won’t have to worry about any distractions.

And by “distractions,” of course we mean “class.”

The school announced there will be none of those when the Volunteers play host to Appalachian State in a game set to kick off under the lights.

UT athletics director Dave Hart explained the move in an email to the Knoxville News-Sentinel:

“I believe that everyone involved in the ongoing collaboration that led to this logistical conclusion feels good about the fact that we were able to meet our collective priority to not interrupt the academic schedule on that Thursday,” he said in the email statement. “We look forward to the exciting opportunity to represent our conference on the SEC Network to open the 2016 season on the first night in September.”

Of course we would be remiss not to mention that day of classes was not eliminated. It was merely moved to the end of the semester.

The question of whether or not Tennessee football is “back” figures to be asked quite often this offseason.

Changing the academic schedule for a football game can only be viewed as an indication the answer is yes, right?