C-USA announces divisional setup

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Yesterday, Conference USA officially announced the additions of FAU and Middle Tennessee State for the 2013 season.

Wednesday, the conference announced its divisional look for the 2013 season as well.

In a release, and as expected, C-USA announced that it would split its 14 football-playing members into two divisions.  As they have in the past, those two divisions will be called the East and West (again, looking at you, Big Ten).

The East will consist of East Carolina, FAU, FIU, Marshall, MTSU, Southern Miss and UAB, while the West will be made up of Louisiana Tech, North Texas, Rice, Tulane, Tulsa, UTEP and UT-San Antonio.

ECU and Tulane will leave for the Big East in 2014, replaced by Old Dominion and UNC-Charlotte.  It had previously been thought that both of those schools would become football-playing members in 2015; however, in today’s release, Conference USA announced that Old Dominion “would be eligible for an East Division title and the opportunity to compete in the 2014 C-USA Championship.”  They will not be eligible for a bowl game until 2015, though.

Charlotte will join in football in 2015, although their division was not clarified.

In addition to the divisional setup, the conference also released each member’s home and away football opponents for the 2013 season.  The eight-game conference slate will consist of six games within the division and two cross-division games.  After the jump, if you so desire, you can view the home and away opponents for each 2013 member of Conference USA.

EAST CAROLINA 
HOME – FAU, Southern Miss, Tulsa, UAB
AWAY – at FIU, at Marshall, at Middle Tennessee, at Tulane

FAU 
HOME – FIU, Marshal,l Middle Tennessee, Tulane
AWAY – at East Carolina, at Rice, at Southern Miss, at UAB

FIU 
HOME – East Carolina, Louisiana Tech, Marshall, UAB
AWAY – at FAU, at Middle Tennessee, at Southern Miss, at UTEP

LOUISIANA TECH 
HOME – North Texas, Southern Miss, Tulane, Tulsa
AWAY – at FIU, at Rice, at UTEP, at UTSA

MARSHALL 
HOME – East Carolina, Southern Miss, UAB, UTSA
AWAY – at FAU, at FIU, at Middle Tennessee, at Tulsa

MIDDLE TENNESSEE 
HOME – East Carolina, FIU, Marshall, UTEP
AWAY – at FAU, at North Texas, at Southern Miss, at UAB

NORTH TEXAS 
HOME – Middle Tennessee, Rice, UTEP, UTSA
AWAY – at Louisiana Tech, at Southern Miss, at Tulane, at Tulsa

RICE 
HOME – FAU, Louisiana Tech, Tulane, UTEP
AWAY – at North Texas, at Tulsa, at UAB, at UTSA

SOUTHERN MISS 
HOME – FAU, FIU, Middle Tennessee, North Texas
AWAY – at East Carolina, at Louisiana Tech, at Marshall, at UAB

TULANE 
HOME – East Carolina, North Texas, Tulsa, UTEP
AWAY – at FAU, at Louisiana Tech, at Rice, at UTSA

TULSA 
HOME – Marshall, North Texas, Rice, UTSA
AWAY – at East Carolina, at Louisiana Tech, at Tulane, at UTEP

UAB 
HOME – FAU, Middle Tennessee, Rice, Southern Miss
AWAY – at East Carolina, at FIU, at Marshall, at UTSA

UTEP 
HOME – FIU, Louisiana Tech, Tulsa, UTSA
AWAY – at Middle Tennessee, at North Texas, at Rice, at Tulane

UTSA 
HOME – Louisiana Tech, Rice, Tulane, UAB
AWAY – at Marshall, at North Texas, at Tulsa, at UTEP

Alabama’s starting RT in 2017 re-injures foot, undergoes surgery

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It was already uncertain whether Matt Womack would retain his starting job when Alabama opens up the defense of its 2017 national championship. Given the most recent development, it’s now a certainty.

As first reported by 247Sports.com and subsequently confirmed by al.com, Womack suffered a broken bone in his foot during practice Thursday. It’s the same bone in the same foot the offensive lineman broke that knocked him out of all of spring practice earlier this offseason.

Womack, who underwent surgery Friday to repair the damage, is expected to miss in the neighborhood of six weeks. At the long end of that timeline street, Womack would be sidelined for the opener against Louisville Sept. 1, as well as games against Arkansas State (Sept. 8), Ole Miss (Sept. 15) and Texas A&M (Sept. 22). Based on the six-week timeframe, which could obviously shift one direction or another, Womack could possibly return for the Sept. 29 non-conference matchup with Louisiana-Lafayette.

Womack started all 14 games at right tackle in the Tide’s run to its 17th national championship last season. As a redshirt freshman the year before, Womack, a three-star member of UA’s 2015 signing class, played in nine games.

While Womack was the starter throughout 2017, Alex Leatherwood has been running with the first-team offense for most of summer camp.

Highest-rated 2018 Louisiana Tech signee leaves Bulldogs

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This isn’t exactly optimal, either for now or on into the future.

Maureese Wren announced on his personal Twitter account Friday that he is “moving on from Louisiana Tech working on myself first to be a better person and hopefully do what I can to help another program.” Wren also apologized to Skip Holtz and his coaching staff for unspecified false claims he had made about the program.

“I just wanted to say to all the coaches I am truly sorry for making statements about the coaching staff that was not true,” the early signee wrote. “[T]hey were always honest with me and did everything they could to try to make my situation better at LA Tech.

“I made some unwise decisions through the recruiting process and a lot of mistakes at LA Tech to try to overcome the decision.”

Wren was the highest-rated member of Tech’s 2018 recruiting class, listed as a three-star prospect on 247Sports.com‘s composite board. Coming out of Mesquite, Tex., that same composite board had the 6-3½, 216-pound Wren listed as the No. 26 athlete in the country and the No. 58 player at any position in the state.

Prior to signing with Tech in December of last year, Wren held Power Five offers from, among others, Arizona, Arkansas, Baylor, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa State, Missouri, Nebraska, Ole Miss, Purdue, Texas Tech, Utah and Washington. In early August of 2017, he committed to Arkansas; nearly two months later, he decommitted from the Razorbacks.

Maryland regents take control of football program investigations

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The University System of Maryland Board of Regents is taking over control of two investigations related to the Maryland football program, a statement from the regents said Friday evening. That decision was made following a unanimous vote by the regents on Friday.

“Earlier today, the Board of Regents was fully briefed by UMCP President Wallace Loh about the circumstances of [Maryland football player Jordan McNair]’s tragic death, about the actions that have been taken since, and finally about the alarming allegations that have emerged in the last week related to the football program,” Board of Regents Chair James Brady said in a released statement. “After a long and robust discussion, the board voted unanimously to assume responsibility for the investigations into these two separate issues. Our goal is to ensure that all system universities, including UMCP, are actively working to protect the health and safety of every student and to foster a supportive culture in which everyone can flourish.”

The two investigations currently ongoing at Maryland are connected to the response to the death of McNair and about the culture of the Maryland football program following a report detailing alleged intimidation by a now former strength coach working for head coach D.J. Durkin.

No decisions on the status of Durkin or any others within the Maryland football program or university have been announced at this time. More details about the board’s plans moving forward will be announced sometime in the next week, according to the released statement from the board of regents.

Urban Meyer investigation to be completed Sunday; report shared with Ohio State regents next week

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Around this time next week — or shortly thereafter — we should know whether or not Urban Meyer has a future as the head football coach at Ohio State.

In a statement released Friday evening, the university announced that the independent working group conducting the investigation into Meyer will wrap up its probe of the coach Sunday. That day falls directly in line with the expected 14-day timeline given by the university earlier this month.

Meyer’s fate won’t be known this weekend, however, as the investigators will compile a report based on the results of their investigation. When that report is complete, it will be shared with the university’s Board of Regents; the report is expected to reach the regents at some point next week.

From the university’s statement:

Following receipt, the working group will share the report with the Board of Trustees in an executive session to be held next week. As required by law, public notice of the meeting will be released at least 24 hours in advance. Following deliberations with the board, and appropriate time for consideration, President Michael V. Drake will announce his decision.

The decision will likely come down to either Meyer being fired or Meyer being suspended for X number of games to start the 2018 season, but staying on as the head coach. There’s a growing sense that there’s a much greater chance for the latter to happen than the former. Still, the board is expected to give significant weight to the investigative team’s findings, which will influence the direction in which the president goes.

Meyer was placed on paid administrative leave Aug. 1 as questions into his handling of domestic abuse allegations made against his now-former assistant coach, Zach Smith, surfaced.  The university launched an investigation into Meyer’s actions the day after the head coach’s leave was announced.

Zach Smithfired by Meyer as OSU wide receivers coach July 23 in the wake of allegations that he abused his ex-wifeCourtney Smith, during their marriage, met with the investigative team on Tuesday of this week.  Courtney Smith, along with her attorneys, met with investigators the day before her ex-husband.

In a statement Aug. 3, Meyer claimed that he has “always followed proper reporting protocols and procedures when I have learned of an incident involving a student-athlete, coach or member of our staff by elevating the issues to the proper channels.” Allegations of domestic abuse stemmed not only from Zach Smith’s time at OSU, but while he was on Meyer’s Florida staff in 2009 as well.

Meyer’s boss in Gainesville, former UF athletic director Jeremy Foleydeclined comment on that 2009 incident earlier this month.  Meyer’s current boss in Columbus, OSU athletic director Gene Smith, could also be in the university’s crosshairs as Zach Smith alleged that the AD contacted him about the allegations in October of 2015.

As of late last week, Gene Smith was on vacation but “available to speak with the investigative team.” Whether that happened or not hasn’t been confirmed either way.