Pair of upsets keeps Big East title race open for another week

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Rutgers had an opportunity to run away with the Big East title today. All the Scarlet Knights had to do was defeat Pitt, which had just four wins on the season.

But, if there’s one thing Pitt is good at, it’s throwing a wrench in other teams’ championship hopes (right, West Virginia?). The Panthers pulled the upset over No. 21 Rutgers, winning 27-6. Panthers QB Tino Sunseri, as embattled as any QB in the history of the Pitt program, finished his career with a 227-yard performance and two touchdowns. Running back Ray Graham added another 113 yards and a score.

The loss keeps the Big East race alive for another week when Rutgers takes on Louisville. The No. 19 Cardinals lost in three overtimes to UConn this afternoon 23-20. QB Teddy Bridgewater turned in a gutsy performance, but was banged up with both wrist and knee injuries. His availability for next week’s game against the Scarlet Knights will definitely be a point of interest.

The Big East race is coming down to its two best teams in the final week . The conference should be excited about that. However, I’m not sure anyone was planning on Louisville and Rutgers to be entering the game coming off upset losses.

Manny Diaz reportedly in line to be the next Temple head coach

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The four men that revived and then carried Temple football through this decade have all been first-time head coaches. It seems like we’re close to making it five-for-five.

Yahoo‘s Pete Thamel reported on Tuesday that Miami defensive coordinator Manny Diaz is close to becoming the next head coach with Temple. His report was since followed with confirmations from a number of other outlets.

In his third season with the Hurricanes, Diaz has successfully revived his stock after he was fired mid-season at Texas in 2013. Amid a disappointing 7-5 season that began with a top-10 ranking, Diaz’s defense ranks No. 2 nationally in total defense and in or around the top 15 in every major statistical category. Prior to this season, Diaz’s defense led the way as Miami won its first 10 games and rose to No. 2 in the College Football Playoff poll in November.

In addition to Miami and Texas, the 44-year-old has also coordinated defenses for Mississippi State, Middle Tennessee and Louisiana Tech.

The Temple job has become an attractive one for coaches, as first-timers have proven they can go to Philadelphia, win for a couple years and then move on to a Power 5 job. That’s what Al Golden did (to Miami). And Steve Addazio (Boston College), Matt Rhule (Baylor) and Geoff Collins, who got the Georgia Tech job after going 15-10 in two seasons.

In fact, one has to wonder if the Machiavellian play for Diaz, a Miami native and the son of a former Miami mayor of the same name, is to take the Temple job, watch the Mark Richt regime implode from afar without him around to run the defense, and then return as head coach in 2020 or 2021.

Devin Singletary motors from FAU into NFL draft pool

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For the second time today, a highly-productive running back has decided to ply his wares in the NFL.

Via Twitter, Devin Singletary announced that, as expected, he will be leaving Florida Atlantic early in order to enter his name into the 2019 NFL Draft pool. “I hope I left a lasting impression on The University, football program, and the entire community,” Singletary wrote.

Singletary has rushed for 1,000-plus yards in each of the last three seasons, including a career-high 1,920 in 2017.  He’s also been an absolute scoring machine, totaling 66 rushing touchdowns in his career.

Those touchdowns, 54 of which came the past two years, put Singletary sixth on the NCAA’s all-time list in that category.

Ben Hicks, three-year starter at QB at SMU, to transfer from Mustangs

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The past three seasons, Ben Hicks has been SMU’s starting quarterback.  Thanks to a surprising development, he won’t get the opportunity to make it a fourth next season.

In an interview with 247Sports.com, Hicks confirmed that he has informed head coach Sonny Dykes and offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee of his decision to transfer from the Mustangs.  The redshirt junior has one season of eligibility remaining, which he can use at another FBS program next year as a graduate transfer.

As for why he pulled the trigger on a decision to transfer?

“Looking for a new opportunity, new growth,” Hicks told the website. “Just a chance to really start fresh in my last year and move forward with the rest of my life, whether that be football or whether that be finding out where I’m at.

“The decision was obviously very difficult because I’ve been extremely fortunate to play a lot of football here and meet great friends. I’ve always had a great support staff so the decision was very difficult. You got to make some tough decisions sometimes and this was one I felt like I needed to make.”

Hicks will leave the Mustangs as its leader in a significant number of major statistical categories, including passing yards (9,081) and passing touchdowns (71).  Conversely, he also threw 34 interceptions and completed just over 56 percent of his passes.

With Hicks’ departure, the Mustangs are now left with four scholarship quarterbacks, all either true or redshirt freshman, on the roster — William Brown, Derek Green, Jacob Oehrlein and Austin Upshaw.  Brown, who served as Hicks’ primary backup, completed 53-of-85 passes for 625 yards, seven touchdowns and an interception.  Upshaw attempted a pair of passes this past season.

App State DC Bryan Brown officially takes same job at Louisville

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Not surprisingly, Louisville’s new coaching staff under Scott Satterfield will have a decidedly Appalachian State feel at an important position.

Following up on reports that had been making the rounds over the last several days, Louisville confirmed Wednesday that Bryan Brown has been hired by Satterfield as the U of L’s defensive coordinator.  Brown spent the 2018 season as the Mountaineers’ coordinator under Satterfield after serving as cornerbacks coach the previous six seasons.

“Bryan Brown is a young, upcoming star coach,” Satterfield, officially named as the Cardinals’ head coach earlier this month, said in a statement. “He’s an excellent recruiter who knows how to develop relationships with all the players. Defensively, his defense was ranked in the top 10 of many different categories. He’s well-respected among his peers and he will do a great job for us.”

Brown, who played his college football at Ole Miss (2003-06), spent two seasons at his alma mater as a grad assistant and defensive administrative assistant prior to heading to App State for his first on-field job.

In addition to Brown’s hiring, the U of L also confirmed that ShaDon Brown has been added as Satterfield’s safeties coach.  Brown, no relation to the new coordinator, spent the past two seasons as secondary coach at Colorado.