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Arkansas State to make $1.8 million for 2020 Michigan game

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The cost of doing nonconference scheduling business continues to rise.

The latest example of that burgeoning phenomenon is Michigan. In March of this year, U-M announced that it had canceled a future home-and-home series with Virginia Tech and replaced the 2020 Tech game with one against Arkansas State.

According to the game contract obtained by mlive.com, U-M will pay the Sun Belt Conference school a whopping $1.8 million for the Sept. 19, 2020, game in Ann Arbor. When the $375,000 cancellation fee paid to Virginia Tech is factored in, that date on the 2020 calendar will cost the U-M athletic department nearly $2.2 million.

A new opponent for the second game against Tech, scheduled for Blacksburg in 2021, has yet to be announced.

The Big Ten and Sun Belt schools, incidentally, have never met before in football.  U-M’s most recent game against a team from the SBC came in 2014 against Appalachian State — no, not that Mountaineers team.

WATCH: Georgia State basketball coach Ron Hunter catches TD in spring game

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The Georgia State Panthers were among the teams holding spring games or scrimmages on Saturday as the spring football season continues this month. As we tend to see from week to week, Georgia State took a chance to have a light-hearted moment during their spring game when they invited men’s basketball head coach Ron Hunter to step on the field and see if he can catch a pass.

During the spring game, Georgia State quarterback Dan Ellington, a JUCO transfer competing for the starting job, completed one of his four touchdown passes to Hunter.

Yesterday also happened to be Hunter’s birthday, so this was a nice present from the football program. Hunter also gets the edge over former South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier, who botched his attempt at a touchdown catch in the spring game for the Gamecocks.

Who will be the next coach to try catching a touchdown in a spring game?

Ellington was 21-for-24 for 249 yards and four touchdowns in the spring game and may have been the leading candidate for the starting job as a result, although head coach Shawn Elliott seemed pleased with the performance of all his available quarterbacks, including Aaron Winchester and Jack Walker (senior Jaquez Parks sat out of the game with an injury).

It takes more than 15 days to let that thing work itself out,” Elliott said. “Certainly leadership dictates a lot of it. We’ll go into fall camp and have 29 practice opportunities before our first game, and we’ll know. The separation will be evident then.”

Arkansas, Arkansas State football stadiums exempt from concealed handgun law

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As expected, some sense of sanity has prevailed.

In mid-March of last year, the state of Arkansas legislature passed a law (House Bill 1249) that would allow concealed-carry handguns on publicly-owned property, which would include college sporting events. A day later, and after realizing, amidst considerable controversy, the potential for alcohol-fueled fans to attend an SEC football game armed, the state’s Senate voted to amend the law to exclude college sporting events; the amended version of the bill was supported by both the SEC (Arkansas) and the Sun Belt (Arkansas State).

Tuesday, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported, the Arkansas State Police approved plans to exempt those two university’s football stadiums from the new law.

From the Democrat-Gazette‘s report:

Eight schools have had plans approved by Arkansas State Police that allow their sports facilities to be exempted from the law enacted last year allowing concealed handgun licensees to carry at college campuses and other locations if they undergo additional training. Nearly 1,000 people have received the enhanced licenses since training began earlier this year.

Prompted by complaints from the Southeastern Conference and other groups, Arkansas lawmakers voted to exempt college sporting events if the schools have a security plan approved by state police.

NCAA grants South Alabama TE Andrew Reinkemeyer sixth season

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South Alabama recently received some positive news on the personnel front.

A USA spokesperson (for the university, not the country) confirmed to al.com that Andrew Reinkemeyer has been granted a sixth season of eligibility by the NCAA. The tight end will use that additional season of eligibility, his last, to play for the Jaguars in 2018.

The decision to grant Reinkemeyer an extra season of eligibility was seemingly a no-brainer.

As a true sophomore at a Kansas junior college, Reinkemeyer suffered an injury in the 2015 season opener and didn’t play again that year. After transferring to USA, Reinkemeyer missed the entire 2016 season because of the torn Achilles tendon that cost him most of the previous season at the JUCO.

Finally healthy last season, Reinkemeyer caught 10 passes for 75 yards for the Sun Belt Conference program. He was the leading receiver amongst Jaguars tight ends in 2017.

UCF, Lane Kiffin, Neal Brown among college football underdogs celebrating NCAA Tournament madness

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The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament has been a joy to watch over the course of the first few days. Highlighted by some significant upsets and some thrilling finishes, this year’s tournament has everybody talking, including college football coaches. This is especially true for college football’s non-power conference programs, who seem to be celebrating the upsets performed early on by schools like Marshall, Loyola-Chicago and, of course, UMBC.

UCF took to Twitter to extend congratulations to the University of Maryland Baltimore County after the 16-seed Retrievers became the first team in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament’s history to upset a No. 1 seed, in which UMBC throttled No. 1 Virginia by 20 after an unbelievable second-half performance that left Virginia clueless how to respond.

UMBC has been the story of the first round for the historic upset of the Cavaliers, but FAU head coach Lane Kiffin claims he picked UMBC to win the game. In fact, Kiffin showed off a bracket in which he picked UMBC to win it all. Of course, such a bracket cannot be taken too seriously, especially after closer inspection reveals Kiffin went heavy with the underdog mentality throughout his bracket. Perhaps such a bracket strategy plays into the kind of mentality Kiffin is attempting to build at FAU.

Troy coach Neal Brown also used the UMBC upset to make a case for the Group of Five representation in college football to get more of a fair shake in the sport of college football.

Brown is not the only person to have this thought, although the idea has just as many on the other side of the fence as well. The College Football Playoff is a much smaller system to determine a college football champion and expansion is a hot-button topic of conversation for a variety of reasons. The current format allows for one guaranteed spot in a major bowl game for the highest-ranked conference champion from the non-power conferences, but undefeated UCF was still left out of the College Football Playoff last season and it may be a long time before a non-power conference champion gets a shot at the playoff.

Washington State head coach Mike Leach has proposed a 64-team college football playoff, but the most likely step for expansion of the playoff system will double the field to eight teams. That would still likely leave out some top non-power conference options, but it would leave the door open just a little wider for a team like UCF last year.