Georgia State Panthers

STATESBORO, GA - NOVEMBER 29:  Head coach Willie Fritz for the Georgia Southern Eagles hoists the Sun Belt Conference trophy after his team defeated the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks on November 29, 2014 at Paulson Stadium in Statesboro, Georgia. Georgia Southern won 22-16.  (Photo by Todd Bennett/Getty Images)
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WATCH: Sun Belt hails arrival of championship game with hype video

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Summer is the time for blockbusters, so it makes sense the Sun Belt marked yesterday’s blockbuster announcement with a movie trailer-styled hype video.

Beginning in 2018, the Sun Belt will become the 10th and final FBS conference to hold a championship game, once Idaho and New Mexico State have seen the door shut behind them and Coastal Carolina takes their place.

“It’s exciting to know that we’ll join the other nine FBS conferences in holding a championship game,” commissioner Karl Benson said. “The first weekend of December has truly become ‘championship weekend’ in college football. To be able to participate in such a great event is something that coaches, student-athletes and fans will all embrace.”

While details are still being iron out, splitting into two-five team divisions with an eight-game schedule and a championship game at a campus site is the leader in the clubhouse at the moment.

“I think in the early stages, the route that we will take will be on one of our campuses — (not) to predict or speculate five years or seven years into it — but right now, we can expect that it will be on one of those campuses,” Benson said.

Sun Belt announces creation of title game; last league to do so

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Welcome to the postseason party, Sun Belt.

Earlier this month, the Big 12 announced that it had voted unanimously to reinstate the conference’s title game following the 2017 regular season.  A couple of days later, and following up on multiple reports, the Sun Belt has decided to create its own league championship game, only theirs will wait to kick off until after the 2018 regular season.

The league made the announcement at a Wednesday afternoon press conference.

“This is a historic moment that represents yet another step forward for the Sun Belt Conference,” said commissioner Karl Benson. “The membership of the Sun Belt has been engaged in a significant number of advancements for the betterment of the league – to an extent this is the culmination of those efforts. …

“Sun Belt football student-athletes will make everlasting memories playing in the championship game during the upcoming years. This championship will be a first-class experience –- and we look forward to it being a launching-pad for a team to reach the College Football Playoff’s ‘New Year’s Six’ bowl games.”

Prior to today’s announcement, the SBC was the only FBS league that either didn’t already contest a league title game or have one in the works.

Like the Big 12, the SBC benefitted from the deregulation of championship games earlier this year, with the nine FBS conferences, by a 7-2 margin, voting to permit leagues with fewer than the mandated 12 members to hold title games.

The SBC is currently an 11-team conference, but will lose Idaho and New Mexico State following the 2017 season.  However, Coastal Carolina will become a full-fledged FBS member for the 2018 season — they’re joining the conference in football on a provisional basis in 2017 — bringing the league back up to the minimum of 10 members.

The conference has not yet decided whether it will split into two, five-team divisions.  Also to be worked out: whether the title game will be played at a neutral site or at the home stadium of the team that finished with the best record.

57 centers named to Rimington Award spring watch list

AJ McCarron, Ryan Kelly
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You know how I know we’re getting closer to the start of a new season?  The first watch list of the offseason has arrived.

The first for that honor this year is the Rimington Award, which on Tuesday released its spring watch list that is 57 players strong.  The Rimington Award, named in honor of former Nebraska standout Dave Rimington, is presented annually to the top center in the nation and is determined by the consensus All-American center pick from three existing All-America teams — Walter Camp. Sporting News and FWAA.

None of the finalists for the 2015 award, won by Alabama’s Ryan Kelly, are included on this year’s initial watch list as all three have since moved on with expired eligibility.

The ACC and SEC pace all conferences with eight watch listers apiece, followed by the AAC and Big 12 with seven each.  The Big Ten placed six, while the Pac-12’s three was the least of all of the Power Five programs.

All 10 of the FBS leagues, plus one independent (Notre Dame), are represented on the spring watch list, the full roster of which appears below.

AAC
Deyshawn Bond, Cincinnati, senior
Ryan Crozier, UConn, redshirt sophomore
Will Noble, Houston, sophomore
Drew Kyser, Memphis, sophomore
Evan Brown, SMU, junior
Brendan McGowan, Temple, redshirt senior
Chandler Miller, Tulsa, sophomore

ACC
Jay Guillermo, Clemson, senior
Alec Eberle, Florida State, redshirt sophomore
Freddie Burden, Georgia Tech, redshirt senior
Nicholas Linder, Miami, junior
Lucas Crowley, North Carolina, senior
Alex Officer, Pittsburgh, redshirt junior
Jason Emerich, Syracuse, redshirt senior
Jackson Matteo, Virginia, senior

BIG TEN
Joe Spencer, Illinois, senior
Sean Welsh, Iowa, junior
Brendan Moore, Maryland, sophomore
Mason Cole, Michigan, junior
Dylan Utter, Nebraska, senior
Michael Dieter, Wisconsin, sophomore

BIG 12
Kyle Fuller, Baylor, senior
Dalton Risner, Kansas State, sophomore
Jonathan Alvarez, Oklahoma, junior
Brad Lundblade, Oklahoma State, junior
Austin Schlottman, TCU, junior
Tony Morales, Texas Tech, senior
Tyler Orlosky, West Virginia, redshirt senior

CONFERENCE USA
Michael Montero, FIU, senior
Dillon DeBoer, FAU, redshirt senior
Daniel Stephens, Middle Tennessee State, senior
Nick Clarke, Old Dominion, sophomore
Cameron Tom, Southern Miss, senior
Max Halpin, Western Kentucky, redshirt senior

MAC
Tim McAuliffe, Bowling Green redshirt junior
James O’Hagan, Buffalo, sophomore

MOUNTAIN WEST
Jake Bennett, Colorado State, junior
Asotui Eli, Hawaii, redshirt sophomore
Nathan Goltry, Nevada, senior
Arthur Flores, San Diego State, senior
Austin Stephens, Utah State, senior

PAC-12
Toa, Lobendahn, USC, junior
Coleman Shelton, Washington, junior
Riley Sorenson, Washington State, senior

SEC
Frank Ragnow, Arkansas, junior
Brandon Kublanow, Georgia, senior
Jon Toth, Kentucky, senior
Ethan Pocic, LSU, senior
Jamaal Clayborn, Mississippi State, senior
Robert Conyers, Ole Miss, senior
Alan Knott, South Carolina, redshirt junior
Coleman Thomas, Tennessee, junior

SUN BELT
Devin Mondie, Arkansas State, senior
Andy Kwon, Georgia Southern, senior
Gabe Mobley, Georgia State, sophomore
Steve Matlock, Idaho, senior

INDEPENDENTS
Sam Mustipher, Notre Dame, junior

Why did the Sun Belt vote against satellite camps? Because, reasons

Sun Belt Commissioner Karl Benson talks during the Sun Belt media day in New Orleans, Tuesday, July 22, 2014. (AP Photo)
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On the topic of satellite camps, it is easy to see why the SEC, ACC, Pac-12 and Big 12 would have been in favor of shutting them down while the Big Ten would want to see them continue. It is less obvious why non-power conferences like the Mountain West Conference and Sun Belt Conference would have voted against them while the American Athletic Conference, Conference USA and the MAC voted against the ban. Sun Belt commissioner Karl Benson also failed to shed any real light on why his conference would vote in line with the SEC and ACC, although he certainly tried.

The Atlanta Journal-Consitution reached out to the Sun Belt Conference and was given a written reply credited to Benson. It is, shall we say, not so enlightening.

“The Sun Belt voted on a controversial issue to eliminate these satellite camps. Six of ten FBS conferences voted to eliminate these camps. The pros and cons of these camps can be debated, and I am sure there will continue to be discussion on this matter, but for now the majority has spoken and it’s time to move on and the Sun Belt football programs will continue to get better with or without these camps.”

Got that?

The satellite camps were thought to actually provide more benefits to football programs from the Sun Belt than detract from them, which is why Georgia State has made it an annual mission to bring in a program like Penn State or Nebraska to join them for a football camp each summer. Georgia State head coach Trent Miles also let it be known he was in no way in favor of the NCAA Divison 1 Council’s ruling, saying “It’s very disappointing for the student-athletes who can’t afford to travel out of state to be seen by coaches and schools from other regions.”

But there was a vote, and the Sun Belt voted. Now move on, says Benson.

Former Cincinnati head coach Rick Minter lands at Georgia State as D-line coach

JACKSONVILLE, FL - AUGUST 24: Coach Rick Minter of the Philadelphia Eagles stands on the field before the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on August 24, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida. The Eagles won 31-24. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Philadelphia Eagles/Getty Images)
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Rick Minter served as Cincinnati’s head coach from 1994-03, leading the Bearcats to into Division I-A (now known as FBS) and into bowl games in four of their seven eligible years. After three straight seven-win seasons, he was let go for a 5-7 campaign in 2003.

Minter has remained in the game, coordinating defenses at South Carolina, Notre Dame, Marshall and Kentucky and coaching linebackers for Indiana State and, until this winter, the Philadelphia Eagles until he was washed out in the Chip Kelly tide.

On Friday, Minter resurfaced as Georgia State’s defensive line coach, where he will work under his son, Jesse, who is the Panthers’ defensive coordinator.

Georgia State finished 68th nationally in yards per carry allowed, 106th in sacks and 71st in tackles for loss last season, as the Panthers reached their first bowl game in program history.

Additionally, Georgia State has hired former Tulane offensive line coach Josh McDonell as a senior offensive analyst. McDonell has previously coached at Washington State, Stanford, Notre Dame and Purdue.

“We are thrilled to be able to add Rick Minter and John McDonell to our staff,” Georgia State head coach Trent Miles said in a statement. “Not only are they experienced coaches with tremendous track records, but they are outstanding people who will be role models for our young men.

 “These additions will help us take another step forward as we try to compete for a Sun Belt championship.