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FSU RB Karlos Williams subject to Title IX investigation

Karlos Williams

Florida State will have to undergo a Title IX investigation connected to running back Karlos Williams. A statement from a university spokeswoman, Browning Brooks, confirmed to the Associated Press the university has a responsibility to follow-up on its own investigation after the incident in question was initially reported to police by the university.

“While each set of facts and circumstances is different, as a general matter notice of any Title IX-related issues would prompt an investigation,” the statement from Brooks said. Federal law states a university must investigate and possible Title IX violations if there is any awareness of possible violations. There is no confirmation Williams is guilty of any violations, and he has not been charged by police for any alleged wrongdoing at this time.

Williams is currently is being investigated by Tallahassee Police Department for his connection to an alleged domestic battery incident. The alleged victim has asked the police to discontinue the investigation, but the police department has continued with the case.

Florida State continues to be investigated by the Department of Education for its handling and response to possible Title IX violations related to quarterback Jameis Winston.

At this time, Williams remains eligible to play for Florida State this week. Head coach Jimbo Fisher said yesterday Williams is expected to play Thursday night at Louisville. The only thing that will change that at this point is if Williams is charged with anything by police.

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UCLA is only team perfect inside the red zone

UCLA v Colorado Getty Images

Successful teams tend to cash in once they enter the red zone, but which teams are doing the best once getting inside their opponents’ 20-yard line? So far this season, UCLA is the only team to have entered the red zone and put points on the scoreboard every time. The Bruins are currently on pace to edge Florida State’s red zone percentage of 97.26 percent. Florida State’s red zone success rate in 2013 en route to a BCS national championship was the best red zone scoring percentage dating back to at least 2008.

Florida State is once again thriving in the red zone this season as well though. The Seminoles are second best in the nation in scoring inside the red zone, trailing only the perfect mark established by UCLA. Auburn is also one of the best in the red zone, which may not be a shock given the offensive firepower the Tigers have to work with. Some of the other teams having good results inside the red zone might be a surprise at first glance. Iowa State and New Mexico State, each with two wins this season, are among the nation’s best at scoring in the red zone.

Top 10 Red Zone Scoring Percentages

  1. UCLA (100.00%; 30-for-30)
  2. Florida State (97.06%; 33-for-34)
  3. Iowa State (96.00%; 24-for-25)
  4. New Mexico State (95.65%; 22-for-23)
  5. Florida (95.45%; 21-for-22)
  6. Nevada (94.44%; 34-for-36)
  7. Auburn (93.55%; 29-for-31)
  8. Rice (93.33%; 28-for-30)
  9. Georgia Southern (92.86%; 39-for-42)
  10. Louisiana-Lafayette (92.59%; 25-for-27)
    Washington (92.59%; 25-for-27)

Red zone scoring success rates take into account all points scored, but which schools are maximizing their red zone opportunities the most? In other words, which schools have the best red zone touchdown percentages? Auburn, Georgia Southern and New Mexico State are the only three schools to rank in the top ten in top red zone scoring and red zone touchdown percentages s far this season.

Georgia Southern and Michigan State share the lead for most red zone touchdowns, but nine schools have a better touchdown percentage so far this season.

Top 10 Red Zone Touchdown Percentages

  1. Texas State (81.48%; 22-for-27)
  2. Arkansas (80.56%; 29-for-31)
  3. Old Dominion (77.42%; 24-for-31)
  4. USC (76.67%; 23-for-30)
  5. North Carolina (76.47%; 26-for-34)
  6. Texas A&M (76.47%; 26-for-34)
  7. Nebraska (75.00%; 27-for-36)
  8. Auburn (74.19%; 23-for-31)
  9. New Mexico State (73.91%; 17-for-23)
  10. Georgia Southern (73.81%; 31-for-42)
    Michigan State (73.81%; 31-for-42)

Stats courtesy of CFBStats.com.

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Bowlsby doesn’t see “obvious candidates” for Big 12 expansion

Bob Bowlsby

The Big 12 is still sitting on a 10-member conference, which leaves the Big 12 without a conference championship game. It is unknown if the lack of a championship game will hold a Big 12 champion back from making the College Football Playoff, but the possibility does still have some concerned and wondering how this all plays out. For now, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby is not focused on expanding the conference to 12 members to get a conference championship game back on the schedule because of the lack of ideal candidates available.

“In our case, I don’t know that there are a lot of obvious candidates out there,” Bowlsby said in a Q&A with The Oklahoman. “We’re distributing about $25 million per school through our distributable revenue, so anybody that would be considered for expansion in our league would have to bring at least pro-rata value.”

Schools that have been tied to some form of expansion rumor or another in recent years have included Florida State, Clemson, UCF, USF, Cincinnati and BYU. It has been a few years now, and there has been no movement from the Big 12 to expand after adding West Virginia and TCU. The Mountaineers and Horned Frogs were added following the departures of Texas A&M and Missouri to the SEC, Nebraska to the Big Ten and Colorado to the Pac-12.

“I don’t see much movement in the near- to mid-term,” Bowlsby said. “As we get near the end of some of these TV contracts, which would be 10 or 12 years down the road, there may be some renewed conversations. The only movement that is possible right now is from some of the secondary-level conferences that might move people into one of the five high profiles.”

Bowlsby also suggested any talk about super conferences — 16-team mega conferences that could potentially split from the NCAA model entirely — was nothing more than a fabrication crested by the media. He might be right about that.

“I have heard no serious conversation among people who do this for a living that the super-conference concept has got any traction,” Bowlsby said. “It’s always dangerous when the media starts to interview the rest of the media, and I think that’s where the super-conference thing came from.”

So, for about the 148th time in the past couple of years, the official company line from the Big 12 is the conference is not interested in expanding. At this time, there is no reason to suggest otherwise.

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Forget Marshall, where is Colorado State in new ranking?

Colorado State vs Utah State

Colorado State could very well go 11-1 this season, but even that may not be enough for the Rams to sniff a spot in one of the College Football Playoff affiliated bowls. We should still be paying attention to them though, just as we will East Carolina and Marshall.

As you hopefully are aware now, one spot in the access bowls will be reserved for the highest-ranked conference champion from the American Athletic Conference, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West Conference or Sun Belt Conference. In the initial College Football Playoff selection committee ranking unveiled Tuesday night, East Carolina entered the ranking at No. 23. Undefeated Marshall was unranked, and no other team from a non-power conference appeared in the poll either. This means East Carolina is now, I suppose officially, the team to beat in the rankings for the reserved big bowl spot.

Of course, East Carolina still needs to win the American Athletic Conference and still has games against UCF and Cincinnati to get by to make that happen. But the Pirates sit in a good position. Marshall is unranked but figures to be next in line if East Carolina happens to stumble. Although, an argument could be made for UCF or Cincinnati to pass the Thundering Herd if either gets by ECU in the American. We’ll worry about that down the line if it pops up.

But what about Colorado State? I previously discussed how Boise State is still an interesting cog in the race for the access bowl spot, and they are. So is Colorado State.

The Rams look to be one of the top teams in the Mountain West Conference and have two victories over power conference opponents, just like East Carolina. The rams have a neutral site victory over Colorado and flew across the country to Boston to take down Boston College earlier this season. The only team to beat Colorado State this season is Boise State, and herein lies the biggest obstacle for Colorado State to jump. And they can’t even do anything about it now.

Because Boise State defeated Colorado State, the Broncos own a head-to-head tiebreaker in the Mountain Division of the MWC. Both teams have one loss in conference play, so Colorado State needs to win the remaining games on their schedule. At the same time, Colorado State needs Boise State to lose at least once. Winning the division will allow Colorado State a chance to play for the Mountain West Conference championship, with a potential shot at a big bowl game on the line.

In theory, a 12-1 Colorado State team would have every bit as strong an argument to play in a New Years bowl as East Carolina. What’s more, the argument for Colorado State could also become stronger if East Carolina’s biggest wins (Virginia Tech and North Carolina) struggle down the stretch. If strength of schedule is an important factor in the rankings, and the evidence suggests it is, Colorado State could be on par with East Carolina. This should add a little more intrigue to this week’s ACC contest between Boston College and Virginia Tech.

Bottom line, Colorado State is still in the running. The Rams need some help along the way, and Boise State does appear to have a tougher final stretch than Colorado State, so there is hope.

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Texas A&M going really old school with uniforms this weekend

Texas A&M 1939 throwback uniform (2014)

The Texas A&M Aggies will be sporting some sharp throwback uniforms this weekend, honoring the legacy of the 1939 Aggies. At first glance, it looks like Texas A&M is going with a winged-helmet design similar to Michigan’s signature look, but the design is reminiscent of the design used on Texas A&M’s old leather helmets of the era. A handful of schools adopted this idea at the time, as it was supposed to make it easier to identify receivers.

The uniform is designed by Adidas, a company that has produced some uniforms on the receiving end of some ridicule with some regularity. That should not be the case here though. This uniform appears to have been thought out well and executed to near perfection. It is a terrific look that honors the past of the Texas A&M program, yet looks to fit in with today’s game. Adidas got one right here.

 

Texas A&M was named the national champions of the 1939 season by the Associated Press, although USC also claims a national championship that same season as the top-ranked team in the now retired Dickenson System. The Trojans began officially claiming that national championship as a part of program history in 2004, because that’s the thing to do these days. Led by College Football Hall of Famer and All-American John “The Haskell Hurricane” Kimbrough, Texas A&M went 11-0 in 1939, including a 6-0 record in the old Southwest Conference. The season ended with a 14-13 victory over No. 5 Tulane in the Sugar Bowl.

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Penn State o-line still waiting for return of Dieffenbach

Nebraska v Penn State

Penn State’s inability to get the running game going this season and provide adequate protection for quarterback Christian Hackenberg has been a result of a young and inexperienced offensive line, without much depth behind it. Not having one of its most experienced options on the line this season has hurt, but the return of offensive guard Miles Dieffenbach could be coming any time now.

Dieffenbach injured his knee in the spring and the rehab has kept him a spectator and cheerleader from the Penn State sideline this season. The fifth-year senior is hoping to be cleared by doctors to resume football activity before the season ends, but doctors have yet to provide the clearance needed to send Dieffenbach back on the field. With Penn State days away from hosting new Big Ten member Maryland, Dieffenbach’s availability remains in question for head coach James Franklin.

“It’s not just the physical aspects of it, it’s the muscle memory of technique and footwork he hasn’t done in six months and it’s also the confidence,” Franklin said this week. ”He’s practicing to a degree the last couple of weeks and hopefully he’ll have a bigger role this week and that will allow us to play him in the game a little bit.”

Penn State’s offensive line performed better against Ohio State than most games this season. A second bye week in three weeks may have helped the line find some identity in preparation for the Buckeyes, but there is no doubt having a fifth-year senior as experienced as Dieffenbach would give the entire line a boost.

Penn State hosts Maryland this Saturday at 12 p.m. eastern.

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Bovada pegs Mariota as its Heisman wagering favorite

Marcus Mariota AP

Thanks to the now-resolved NCAA situation involving Todd Gurley, Dak Prescott was pegged as Bovada‘s Heisman Trophy favorite earlier this month.

Now, another quarterback out West has taken over that mantle.

According to the wagering website Bovada.lv, Oregon’s Marcus Mariota is a prohibitive 4/5 favorite to claim the 2014 version of the most prestigious award in college sports. Just a week ago, the junior Duck was a 3/2 favorite.

Prescott, meanwhile, has seen his odds lengthen to 3/1. In the immediate aftermath of the Gurley imbroglio, the Mississippi State quarterback was instilled as a 2/1 favorite.

Gurley, incidentally, is no longer listed.

The first non-QB to receive odds is Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon (8/1). Gordon had been 6/1 seven days ago.

Alabama’s Amari Cooper (16/1, up from 18/1) is one of two wide receivers given odds, the other being West Virginia’s Kevin White (50/1, from 25/1).

The reigning Heisman winner, Jameis Winston, saw his odds plunge from 18/1 to 33/1. The Florida State quarterback entered the 2014 season as a slight 9/2 favorite over Mariota (5/1).

Below are the complete set of Heisman odds, again courtesy of Bovada.lv:

Bovada Week 9 Heisman Odds

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Report: Miami’s starting LT undergoes procedure on knee

Miami v Boston College Getty Images

The injury bug has once again slammed headfirst into Miami’s offensive line.

Citing an unnamed source, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported Wednesday that Ereck Flowers underwent a surgical procedure on his injured knee earlier today.  Flowers originally suffered the injury in last Thursday night’s win over Virginia Tech.

It’s unclear how long the offensive lineman will be sidelined, although it appears certain he won’t play in this Saturday’s home game against North Carolina.  The Hurricanes will release their weekly injury report Thursday, which will likely serve as the lone update from the football team on Flowers’ status.

“As soon as we get information, we’ll get it to you,” head coach Al Golden said in his only comments on Flowers’ status following practice Wednesday.

Flowers had started all seven games at left tackle for the ‘Canes this season. Jon Feliciano is expected to replace him in the starting lineup.

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Penn State’s Ryan Keiser underwent surgery to repair bowel injury

Northwestern at Penn State

Now, unfortunately, we have some details as to what led to the season-ending injury for one of two Penn State seniors.

Monday, the Nittany Lions announced that Ryan Keiser would miss the rest of the 2014 season because of an unspecified injury.  Tuesday, head coach James Franklin added some clarity to the situation by confirming that the safety sustained an injury to his bowel during practice last Thursday.

The injury was caused by a fractured rib, with small-bowel surgery being performed to repair the damage.

Franklin offered up the details to refute reports that Keiser was battling an infection and was in critical condition.

“Ryan’s family has our complete support,” Franklin said. “I’ve talked to his mother, talked to Ryan. Our trainers and doctors have been in constant contact or have been involved every step of the way, and I just want to clear that up because I know how the Penn State community supports one another.

“I wanted to make sure that everybody understands clearly what’s going on. The rest of it is up to the family and their personal information and what they want to share.”

Keiser is currently third on the team in tackles.  He was also voted one of the Nittany Lions’ team captains.

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‘Drastic improvement’ leaves TCU hopeful leading WR will play vs. WVU

Josh Doctson, Zack Sanchez

It appears TCU has dodged a rather significant injury bullet.

During Saturday’s humiliation of Texas Tech, wide receiver Josh Doctson rolled an ankle in the third quarter and did not return to the game.  Doctson hasn’t practiced since, although head coach Gary Patterson has seen what he described as “drastic improvement” and is optimistic the receiver will be available for the West Virginia game Saturday in Morgantown.

“It’s drastic improvement,” Patterson said. “He’ll make the trip.”

Speculation had been making the rounds that Doctson suffered the dreaded high-ankle sprain, which usually sidelines a player for a couple of weeks or more.  Citing a team source, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that’s not the case.

Doctson currently leads the Horned Frogs in receptions (35), receiving yards (573) and receiving touchdowns (seven).  In a week 8 win over Oklahoma State, Doctson fell one yard shy of tying the school’s single-game yardage record of 226.

The news wasn’t all positive on the injury front, however, as No. 2 quarterback Matt Joeckel has seen his season come to an end.  The transfer from Texas A&M suffered a knee injury in the win over Tech.

This is Joeckel’s final season of eligibility, which means his collegiate career is over.

“It’s a shame,” Patterson said. “We gave him an ovation in the meeting on Sunday because of everything he did for us as a team, the way he came in, the way he helped Trevone [Boykin].”

Freshman Zach Allen will move into the role of Boykin’s primary backup.

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Utes lose top WR to season-ending knee injury

Dres Anderson AP

As Utah continues its march toward what most would consider an improbable Pac-12 South title, the Utes will have to do so without one of its top threats in the passing game.

Wednesday morning, the Utes announced that Dres Anderson, after undergoing a medical evaluation, had sustained a season-ending knee injury.  When and how the injury occurred wasn’t detailed by the school.

Anderson is a fifth-year senior who’s already used his redshirt year.  Because of that and the fact that he played in seven games this season, his collegiate career is over as he will not be eligible for a sixth season.

This season, Anderson leads the Utes with 355 receiving yards, 16.1 yards per catch and four receiving touchdowns.  His 22 receptions are second on the team.

Anderson will finish his career fifth in school history with 2,077 yards receiving.

UPDATED 1:59 p.m. ET: According to a school official, Anderson sustained the injury in the fourth quarter of last Saturday’s win over USC but remained in the game.

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Alabama RB Tyren Jones ‘suspended for now’

Florida Atlantc v Alabama

While it’s not yet AIRBHG level, the 2014 season has not been particularly kind to Alabama’s deep stable of running backs.

Kenyan Drake was lost for the season due to injury earlier this month. Leading rusher T.J. Yeldon is dealing with a foot issue and likely won’t practice at all this week.

Compounding the situation at the position? Nick Saban confirmed Tuesday that Tyren Jones is “suspended for now” from the football team. The why of Jones’ suspension was, of course, left unstated by the head coach.

It must not be something too serious, however, as Saban left the door wide open for a quick return.

“If Tyren Jones does what he’s supposed to, maybe he’ll be back sometime soon,” Saban said.

Jones is currently fourth on the team, and third among running backs, with 123 yards rushing.

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NCAA: Todd Gurley suspension to last two more games

Todd Gurley AP

Now we have a final answer as it pertains to the Todd Gurley situation.  Probably.

In a press release sent out Wednesday morning, the NCAA announced that the star Georgia running back must sit out a total of four games after The Association concluded he had accepted “more than $3,000 in cash from multiple individuals for autographed memorabilia and other items over two years.” The release stated that Gurley acknowledged violating NCAA rules.

Gurley has already sat out the Oct. 11 win over Missouri and the Oct. 18 win over Arkansas because of the NCAA issue. The four-game suspension means he will miss this weekend’s game against Florida and the following week’s road trip to Kentucky. He will be eligible to return for the Nov. 15 Auburn game.

UGA is also appealing the ruling, which could mean, if successful, Gurley could return before the AU game. That appeal will be heard this week.

The NCAA also said it considered suspending Gurley for more than the four games due to the violations occurring “over multiple years with multiple individuals and the student received extensive rules education about the prohibition of receiving payment for autographs.” Because of “the university’s due diligence in its investigation and the student’s full disclosure of his involvement in the violations,” however, further penalties were not meted out.

The university requested that Gurley be reinstated last Wednesday. Per the release, the NCAA requested additional information on Friday, Oct. 24, which it received from the school on Saturday, Oct. 25, and Sunday, Oct. 26. The NCAA issued its decision to the university on Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 28.

In addition to the four-game suspension, Gurley must repay a portion of the money received to a charity of his choice and complete 40 hours of community service as additional conditions for his reinstatement.

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Jimbo’s Jameis defense led 5-star 2015 RB to pick FSU

Jacques Patrick

Florida State’s image may have taken a hit during the extended and multi-faceted Jameis Winston melodrama, but, at least in one case, it’s had the exact opposite effect on the recruiting trail.

Monday, 2015 prospect Jacques Patrick announced that he had given Florida State a verbal commitment. Patrick chose FSU over a group of finalists that also included Alabama, Florida, Ohio State and Texas A&M. More to the point, it was down to the ‘Noles and the Tide, with the former coming out on top in this recruiting skirmish.

Patrick’s non-binding verbal is a coup for the recruiting-rich Seminoles as the Orlando, Fla. running back is a five-star prospect and rated by Rivals.com as the No. 2 player at his position in the country and the No. 17 overall player in the Class of 2015.

Not only is it a coup talent-wise for Jimbo Fisher and company, it’s a coup for one part of the reason why the player verballed FSU.  From 247Sports.com:

Patrick noted that his family, especially his mother, has seen the way Fisher has defended Winston. The trust between FSU’s staff and the entire Patrick family was what eventually led him to picking the ‘Noles today.

“The relationship we’ve built over the years has gone a long way. I feel like I can trust those guys (FSU staff). When my family approves, it was just a no-brainer after that,” Patrick said.

Patrick had long been considered an FSU lean, so the verbal should in no way be surprising. One of the reasons behind it, though, should serve notice to whatever teams using the Winston situation as a negative on the recruiting front.

(Photo credit: Rivals.com)

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MAC states commitment to cost-of-attendance aid

Dr. Jon A. Steinbrecher, Matt Johnson

The Mid-American Conference is stepping up to play with the power conferences, at least when it comes to financial aid to student athletes. After the Pac-12 unveiled information for sweeping reforms the idea of Texas paying student-athletes $10,000 had been floated, the MAC issued a statement confirming a dedication to provide full cost-of-attendance aid to its student-athletes.

As claimed in a statement released by the conference, the MAC will support the redefinition of an athletics grant-in-aid to include cost of attendance if autonomous legislation is enacted during the annual NCAA Convention in January, 2015.

“The MAC is dedicated to supporting our student-athletes in the classroom, the community and on the playing field with the ultimate goal of graduating and having a great collegiate experience,” said MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher.

Full cost of attendance was thought to be one of the barriers that could end up separating the power conferences from the non-conferences, but the MAC looks ready to keep pace in this area. The American Athletic Conference has stated its intentions to do the same in the past as well.

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