If every game is sacred, then no game is sacred. Doesn’t anyone understand this?
While both sides of the aisle enthusiastically agree the rivalry industry desperately needs governmental oversight, we can equally agree the new rivalry belt created for the Troy-South Alabama series is great.
They’re both Sun Belt programs in southern Alabama, so the rivalry checks out on both fronts there. And they’ve met only three times previously, not until 2012, so we don’t have a Texas Tech-Baylor situation on our hands, either.
Add in the unique trophy item, and this is a trophy that receives a seal of approval from both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump alike.
South Alabama and Troy usher in new trophy game in Battle for the Belt
A new title belt will be on the line this week when South Alabama and Troy battle for a championship-style belt this Saturday. The trophy is fitting considering South Alabama and Troy each play in the Sun Belt Conference.
“In the hearts of students, Troy has always been our biggest rival. The ‘Battle for the Belt’ is the culmination of those passions,” said South Alabama Student Government Association President Ravi Rajendra. “The introduction of the trophy to the rivalry will offer a new way for Jag Nation to connect with our football program. The concept behind the Belt stemmed from our student body and was accompanied by insight from our football team; the football team really liked the concept of a wrestling belt, and the Belt also plays off of the Sun Belt Conference of which both Troy and USA are members.”
“The reason behind this upcoming week is not to tear two group’s leaders apart, but to solidify our separate yet unified University spirits and drive towards excellence,” added Heath Barton, President of the Troy Student Government Association. “We encourage everyone at these two schools who have launched some of Alabama’s greatest individuals to enjoy coming together, as one, to partake in one of the state’s greatest rivalries.”
Troy leads the all-time series 2-1, and South Alabama won last year’s meeting. Saturday will mark the Sun Belt opener for each school.
There is no word on whether UAB will crash the game with the Money in the Bank suitcase, but it sure would be fun to see.
A statistical snapshot of the week that was in college football…
.960 — Completion percentage for Georgia’s Grayson Lambert (24-25) in the blowout win over South Carolina, setting an FBS single-game record for a minimum of 20 attempts. The record of 95.8 percent was previously held by Tennessee’s Tee Martin (1998) and West Virginia’s Geno Smith(2012).
.977 — Percentage of kicks (field goals and extra points) made by Florida State’s Robert Aguayo, the highest of any FBS kicker ever. The most accurate kicker in the history of college football has been successful on 51-56 field goals and all 163 extra point attempts.
2 — Home losses for Boise State since 2010, the fewest of any FBS program. Baylor, LSU, Northern Illinois, Ohio State, Oregon, Stanford and Wisconsin have all lost three home games in that stretch.
6 — 400-plus passing yard games for Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty following a 484-yard performance in a three-point loss to Indiana. It was also the 14th 300-yard game of his career.
7 — Non-conference wins over Power Five teams since 2012 for Northwestern, the most of any P5 program.
10 — Number of players who recorded at least one carry as Boise State ran for 344 yards in a 52-0 rout of Idaho State Friday night.
10 — Total points by which Army has lost its first three games: 37-35 to Fordham, 22-17 to UConn, 17-14 to Wake Forest.
11 — Consecutive seasons Kansas State has returned a kickoff for a touchdown, the longest such streak in the nation. Auburn is next at six straight, followed by Florida and Northern Illinois with five straight each.
12 — Number of Oklahoma State players who caught at least one of the Cowboys’ 19 completions in a win over UT-San Antonio. None of the players caught more than three passes.
12 — Active FBS head coaches with at least 150 wins: Frank Beamer (Virginia Tech), Steve Spurrier (South Carolina), Brian Kelly (Notre Dame), Dennis Franchione (Texas State), Bill Snyder (Kansas State), Gary Pinkel (Missouri), Nick Saban (Alabama), Bob Stoops (Oklahoma), Paul Johnson (Georgia Tech), Jerry Kill (Minnesota), Tommy Tuberville (Cincinnati) and Terry Bowden (Akron). Tuberville joined that club yesterday thanks to UC’s win over archrival Miami of Ohio.
16.4 — Yards per carry Cal’s Khalfani Muhammad averaged in rushing for 164 yards and helping the Bears to a wild 45-44 win over Texas.
17 — Consecutive games in which USC has scored a first-quarter touchdown, the longest in the country. TCU is next at 16 straight.
17 — Home winning streak for Baylor, the longest active streak in the country. Florida State and Boise State are next at 16 straight, while Alabama saw its streak of 17 in a row come to an end.
26 — Career wins for Michigan State’s Connor Cook and Stanford’s Kevin Hogan as starting quarterbacks, tying Ohio State’s Braxton Miller for the most amongst active players. Miller, of course, is no longer an active quarterback as he moved to H-back this past offseason.
29 — Consecutive wins for Florida over Kentucky, the longest current winning streak against a single opponent. The Wildcats’ last win over the Gators came in 1986. UK’s last win in Gainesville back in 1979.
40 — Former LSU players on NFL rosters opening weekend, the most of any FBS program. Miami was next with 37, followed by USC’s 35, 34 each for Alabama and Georgia, 31 apiece for Florida and Florida State and 30 for Ohio State. With four, the Trojans had the most quarterbacks on opening-day rosters.
40 — Years since the Georgia Tech-Notre Dame matchup that spawned both the legend of Rudy Ruettiger and, ultimately, the much-beloved movie “Rudy.”
56 — Wins by Stanford this decade, the most of any FBS private school. Behind that is Baylor at 49 and USC at 46.
58 — Years since Nebraska lost to two unranked teams in September before pulling that trick this season in losses to Miami and BYU. They have also started a season 1-2 for the first time since 1981.
137 — All-time record for consecutive weeks in the Associated Press Top 10, set by Miami (Fla.) from 1985-93. Alabama, at 69 straight, owns the longest current streak.
141 — Years Jerry Kill‘s current Minnesota coaching staff, including his strength & conditioning coach, have served under him at various stops, the most of any staff in the nation.
189 — Pass attempts for Troy’s Brandon Silvers without an interception, the longest such streak in the nation. West Virginia’s Skyler Howard has yet to throw a pick in his 161 career attempts.
203 — Rushing yards for Indiana’s Jordan Howard, his seventh straight 100-yard rushing effort. The first four of those games came as a member of the UAB football program.
219 — Rushing yards for UCLA’s Paul Perkins in the one-point win over BYU. It was the junior’s first career 200-yard game.
230 — Career-high rushing yards for Southern Miss’ Jalen Richard against Texas State, the first time he’s topped the century mark. His previous high was 94 in September of 2013.
246 — Sacks by Stanford since 2007, the most of any FBS team. Virginia Tech is next with 237 in that span.
261 — Receiving yards, on seven catches, for Roger Lewis in Bowling Green’s 44-41 loss to Memphis. Included in that total was a school-record 94-yard touchdown catch among his three touchdown receptions.
379 — Career-high passing yards for Brad Kaaya in Miami’s roller coaster win over Nebraska.
391 — Career-high passing yards for P.J. Walker in Temple’s win over UMass.
427 — Yards passing for Dane Evans in Tulsa’s shootout loss to Oklahoma.
499 — Rushing yards for Arizona in a 77-13 romp over FCS Northern Arizona, averaging 12.2 yards per carry. The Wildcats’ leading rusher, quarterback Jerrard Randall, gained his 149 yards on just three carries.
505 — Total yards of offense for Trevone Boykin — 454 passing, 50 rushing — as TCU rolled its way past SMU 56-37. As a team, the Horned Frogs posted 720 yards of offense.
695 — Total yards for Middle Tennessee State in a 73-14 win over Charlotte, setting a school record. The 73 points were also second in school history.
917 — Wins in the history of the Michigan football program, the most of any FBS school. Notre Dame is next at 885, followed by Texas (882), Nebraska (875) and Ohio State (866). Winning percentage, though, is a slightly different story.
1950 — The last, and only, time Texas A&M and Nevada had met on the gridiron prior to Saturday afternoon’s game in College Station. It was also the Wolf Pack’s first-ever against a current member of the SEC as the Aggies were SWC members at the time of the first meeting in San Antonio. Nevada also played Missouri in 2008-09 when Mizzou was part of the Big 12.
1951 — The last time Nebraska played a regular season game in South Florida prior to its matchup with the Miami Hurricanes. The Cornhuskers, of course, played in 17 Orange Bowls from 1954-1997, including six in seven years from 1991-97.
1968 — The last time a team (Houston) scored 73-plus points in back-to-back games prior to Ole Miss opening the season with scoring outbursts of 76 (UT Martin, Week 1) and 73 points (Fresno State, Week 2). In its Week 3 game against Alabama, Ole Miss was “held” to 43 in a six-point win.
1978 — The last time Missouri won a game in which it didn’t hit double digits prior to Saturday’s 9-6 win over UConn. That year, Mizzou beat Notre Dame 3-0 in the season opener in South Bend.
1984 — Michigan State’s last game against a service academy prior to Saturday’s win over Air Force. That ’84 game was a 10-6 loss to Army, incidentally.
1991 — Last year Syracuse began a season 3-0 before opening 2015 with wins over Rhode Island, Wake Forest and Central Michigan. In order to match that ’91 team’s 4-0 start, though, they’ll need to beat unbeaten LSU in Week 4.
30,294 — Rushing yards for Georgia Tech since Paul Johnson took over the football program beginning with the 2008 season, far and away the most of any FBS team in that span.The next-closest are Navy at 27,264 and Air Force at 27,146.
Sun Belt confirms Coastal Carolina’s addition in 2017
In a press release, the Sun Belt announced that Coastal Carolina has accepted an invitation to join the conference. The Chanticleers will join the league for football in 2017, while they move all of their other varsity sports in a year earlier for the 2016-17 season.
Currently playing at the FCS level, CCU will begin a transition to the Football Bowl Subdivision with its first year of full FBS status coming in 2018. While they will be eligible to compete for an SBC title in 2017, they won’t be eligible for a bowl game until 2018.
“On behalf of all of us at Coastal Carolina University, I’m honored to accept the invitation to join the Sun Belt Conference,” CCU president David A. DeCenzo said in a statement. “I am grateful to Sun Belt Commissioner, Mr. Karl Benson, for his steadfast support of CCU, and to the Sun Belt presidents and chancellors, who honored CCU by selecting their 12th member school.”
The official addition of CCU will give the SBC 12 members beginning in 2017, triggering a conference championship game. The conference will be split geographically into two divisions.
Further, the addition makes for a natural geographic split between East and West to allow for certain sports to compete in a divisional format. The six members that are located in the eastern half of the Sun Belt are: Appalachian State, Coastal Carolina, Georgia State, Georgia Southern, South Alabama, and Troy. The six members in the western half are: Arkansas State, Little Rock, UL Lafayette, UL Monroe, UT Arlington, and Texas State. Idaho and New Mexico State compete in the Sun Belt Conference as football only members. CCU’s location makes for a natural geographical fit to the Sun Belt as it borders both North Carolina, home of Appalachian State, and Georgia, home to both Georgia State and Georgia Southern.
“This is a great day for the Sun Belt Conference as we are very proud to have Coastal Carolina University join our membership,” the commissioner said in his statement. “The Sun Belt is a growing conference with a bright future and Coastal Carolina makes a perfect fit as it too has seen a tremendous amount of growth and has all the tools necessary to move forward at the highest level of collegiate athletics. Under the leadership of President David A. DeCenzo and Athletics Director Matt Hogue, I expect the Chanticleers to be competitive in all Sun Belt sports and to represent the conference in a first-class manner on and off the field.”
(Graphic credit: Sun Belt Conference)
Reports: Coastal Carolina to join Sun Belt in 2017
The Great Wheel of Conference Realignment may have just taken its last spin. For now.
According to a report from ESPN’s Brett McMurphy and USA Today‘s Dan Wolken, Coastal Carolina is set to join the Sun Belt as the league’s 12th and final member. The Chanticleers were finalists alongside Eastern Kentucky for the conference’s last remaining spot.
Coastal Carolina will join Sun Belt in football in 2017-18, all other sports in 2016-17 sources told @ESPN
Eastern Kentucky is said to be further along than Coastal Carolina in terms of department-wide infrastructure, but the Myrtle Beach, S.C., school has two things the Colonels do not that are paramount in this particular game of thrones: recent football success and access to large sums of money, and not necessarily in that order. Coastal has both of those things thanks to Joe Moglia, the billionaire former banking executive that is now the Chanticleers’ head football coach; Moglia is 32-10 in three seasons as Coastal Carolina’s head coach, leading the club to the FCS quarterfinals in each of the past two seasons.
Coastal Carolina’s addition would allow the Sun Belt to split into two divisions and stage a football championship game. (Nevermind the fact that the NCAA will likely deregulate championship games before Coastal’s arrival.) Coastal Carolina would figure to fit into an East division alongside Appalachian State, Georgia State, Georgia Southern, Troy and South Alabama. Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Arkansas State, Texas State, New Mexico State and Idaho figure to form a West division.
A formal announcement is expected Tuesday, where the school could stadium upgrades necessary for FBS admittance. Brooks Stadium holds 9,214; FBS teams are required to average at least 15,000 paid attendance over a rolling two-year period.