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Nathan Harris
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Motorcycle accident claims life of Troy DB Nathan Harris

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Sadly, tragedy has hit the college football community yet again.

Troy confirmed in a press release that Trojans football player Nathan Harris has passed away due to injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident earlier Saturday.  Harris was just 19 years old.

Other than the accident occurred in Gulf Shores, Ala., no details were made available.

“This is an unthinkable tragedy and the thoughts and prayers of the Troy Athletics Department and the Troy University community are with Nathan’s family and friends,” Troy athletic director Jeremy McClain said in a statement. “It is devastating to see a young life end in such a heartbreaking way, and we will provide support and comfort for his teammates, friends and coaches as they go through the grieving process.”

“Nate was a tremendous person and a very caring young man,” a statement from Troy head coach Neal Brown said began. “While his time here at Troy University was brief, his impact was felt by many. He was loved by his teammates and had a positive effect on our team’s culture in a short time.”

Harris, who starred as a quarterback at Gulf Shores High School, joined the Troy football team as a walk-on this past semester.  During the course of spring practice, Harris had worked his way up to being the Trojans’ starting holder.  He was listed as a safety on the school’s online roster.

The sudden passing is hitting the Gulf Shores community particularly hard.

“We are struggling here,” Harris’ high school coach, Ben Blackmon, told WALA-TV, adding, “He has gone to live with God.”

Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to all of those impacted by Harris’ passing.

Starting Troy DT Garrett Peek abruptly leaves Trojans, gives up football

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Unlike some of the other departures of late across college football, this one could leave a significant mark on the spurned program this upcoming season.

With rumors swirling around Garrett Peek‘s status with his program, Troy head coach Neal Brown confirmed Wednesday that the defensive tackle has decided to leave the Trojans.  Not only that, but has decided to give up the sport of football, period.

Peek is married (husbands, add your marital snark in the comments section below) and will graduate from Troy next month.

“Garrett’s a good kid. He just decided that he didn’t want to play football anymore, so he’s forgoing his final year of eligibility,” Brown said according to the Dothan Eagle. “Great kid. I hated to see him leave, but he felt like his heart wasn’t in it. And if your heart’s not in it, then you probably need to do something else.”

Peek started all 12 games for the Trojans last season.  All told, he played in 36 games during his time at Troy.

 

Idaho, NMSU out as Sun Belt members after 2017

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Apparently, Idaho’s sales pitch wasn’t as compelling as they’d like.

Two weeks ago, Idaho unveiled a 19-slide presentation aimed at continuing their football membership in the Sun Belt Conference, membership that was initially granted to both themselves and New Mexico State on four-year terms that are set to expire following the 2017 season.  Looking for an extension, both football programs will instead be looking for new homes in a couple of seasons.

What does the denial of extension do to the two football programs impacted by the decision? For the Vandals, it likely means dropping down to the FCS level and joining the Big Sky conference, where there other varsity sports are currently housed. For the Aggies, whose other sports play in the WAC, which doesn’t offer football, another go as an FBS independent will likely be in the offing.

With the impending departures of Idaho and New Mexico State after the 2017 season and the addition of Coastal Carolina for that season, the SBC will settle in with 10 members two years from now.  That 10-member lineup would feature teams from Texas (Texas State), Arkansas (Arkansas State), Louisiana (Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe), Alabama (South Alabama, Troy), Georgia (Georgia Southern, Georgia State), North Carolina (Appalachian State) and South Carolina (Coastal Carolina).

With the recent decision by the NCAA to deregulate conference championship games, the SBC will still be able to conduct such games with just 10 members instead of the previously-mandated 12.

UPDATED 2:51 p.m. ET: Idaho confirmed in a press release that the Sun Belt Conference has opted to go with a 10-team league following the 2017 season, putting them and New Mexico State on the outside of the conference looking in two seasons from now.  The release also stated that the university will now decide whether to accept an invitation to join the Big Sky of the FCS or compete as an independent at the FBS level.

SEC, Ohio State tops on Carolina, Denver Super Bowl rosters

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 29:  Former Tennesse quarterback Peyton Manning and current quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts is honored alongside his former college coach Phillip Fulmer before the start of the game against the South Carolina Gamecocks on October 29, 2005 at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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Cam Newton may be hurtling toward history, but the former Auburn quarterback will not be the lone player representing the SEC in next month’s Super Bowl.  In fact, he’s far, far from it.

As you may have heard, Newton’s Carolina Panthers are set to square off with Peyton Manning‘s Denver Broncos in the 50th Super Bowl Feb. 3.  Manning and Newton are two of and FBS-best 30 former SEC players who are on the two teams’ rosters, which includes those on the 53-man, reserved/injured list, practice squad, reserved/suspended by commissioner and reserve/future squad.

The Pac-12 is next with 23, followed by the Big Ten (21) and ACC (17).  The final Power Five conference, the Big 12, has 10, three less than the Mountain West’s 13.  The AAC, with eight, is the only Group of Five league to come close to double digits.  The MAC, meanwhile, is the only conference to be shutout, while all of the other divisions in the NCAA combined for 18 players.

Nearly every SEC team is represented in this year’s big game, the lone exception being Vanderbilt.  Of the dozen schools in the Pac-12, only Arizona and Washington State are missing.  Both the ACC and Big Ten have 11 of their 14 teams in the game, the lone exceptions being Clemson, Louisville and Virginia Tech for the former and Illinois, Minnesota and Rutgers for the latter.

One of those B1G schools that’s in, Nebraska, has had at least one player on a Super Bowl roster for 23 straight years, the longest active streak for any FBS program.

Ohio State easily outdistances individual schools with seven, three more than the four each for Auburn, Georgia Tech, Oregon State and Tennessee.  Alabama, Arizona State, Colorado State, Georgia, Nevada, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas A&M, USC and Utah.

A total of 20 schools have two players each, including Coastal Carolina, the only non-FBS program in the group.  The other 19 includes Arkansas, Boise State, Duke, Florida, Florida State, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi State, Missouri, North Carolina, San Diego State, South Carolina, Stanford, Troy, Tulane, Washington and Wisconsin.

USC prez Max Nikias named playoff board chairman

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 20:  USC President C.L. Max Nikias speaks onstage at the 18th Annual LA Times Festival Of Books at USC on April 20, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images for LA Times)
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With the second College Football Playoff title game getting set to kick off shortly on the field, the organization is taking care of some business off of it.

The CFP’s executive director, Bill Hancock, confirmed Monday that USC president Max Nikias has been named as the chairman of the CFP Board of Managers.  Nikias replaces Harvey Perlman, the Nebraska chancellor who is retiring from his post at the university this summer.

Nikias will officially begin his term as chairman February 1.

“Dr. Nikias has been instrumental in the development and growth of the College Football Playoff,” said Hancock. “We appreciate his leadership and continued support. He is highly respected by his fellow presidents and chancellors and he will be an excellent chair.

“I also want to take this opportunity to thank Harvey Perlman for the time and energy he has devoted to the playoff. We have been fortunate to have been led by such talented people.

For those curious as to what the Board of Managers is responsible, the CFP wrote in the release that it “governs the College Football Playoff business, property and affairs. The board develops, reviews and approves annual budgets, policies and operating guidelines. It has authority over all aspects of the company’s operations.”

Below is the current makeup of the board, which has one representative from each of the 10 FBS conferences as well as Notre Dame:

Rodney Bennett – President, University of Southern Mississippi (C-USA)
Anthony Frank – President, Colorado State University (Mountain West)
Burns Hargis – President, Oklahoma State University (Big 12)
Jack Hawkins – Chancellor, Troy University (Sun Belt)
Rev. John Jenkins – President, University of Notre Dame (Independent)
Mark Keenum – President, Mississippi State University (SEC)
Roderick McDavis – President, Ohio University (MAC)
C. L. Max Nikias (chair) – President, University of Southern California (Pac-12)
Harvey Perlman – Chancellor, University of Nebraska (Big Ten)
John Thrasher – President, Florida State University (ACC)
Steadman Upham – President, University of Tulsa (American Athletic)