Iowa’s 2013 recruiting class

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(Below are the bios released by Iowa on the new members of its 2013 recruiting class.)

Nathan Bazata (BUDGET-uh)
Defensive Line
6-2, 280, Freshman
Howells, Nebraska (Howells HS)
High school honors – – Nominated for Gatorade Football Player of the Year as a senior . . . named Division I Player of the Year by Huskerland Prep Reports . . . earned fi rst team all-state and all-district honors as a senior, being named honorary captain . . . was first team all-state as a sophomore and junior as well . . . Career – – four-year letterman as defensive lineman and team captain as a senior as prep team posted 47-3 record in four seasons . . . helped prep team win state championships as a freshman and sophomore, while placing as runner-up as a junior and reaching quarterfinals as a senior . . . recorded 45 tackles as a senior, including nine QB sacks and 11 tackles for loss, with one touchdown on a recovered fumble . . . collected 91 tackles as a junior, with 24 tackles for loss and nine QB sacks, along with a safety . . . had 118 tackles as a sophomore, with 10 tackles for loss, four QB sacks and one safety . . . 71 tackles, including fi ve tackles for loss and two QB sacks as a freshman . . . also four-year wrestling letterman and earned three letters in track, throwing both shot and discus.
Personal – – Born 7/15/94 . . . open major . . . parents are Laurie and Dan Bazata . . . member of prep Honor Roll . . . high school coach was Mike Speirs.

Ike Boettger (BOT-gir)
Tight End
6-6, 235, Freshman
Cedar Falls, Iowa (Cedar Falls HS)
High school honors – – Selected to compete in 2013 Iowa Shrine Game . . . named first team all-state by Des Moines Register and Iowa Newspaper Association as a senior . . . first team all-conference and all-metro honors as a senior . . . was fi rst team all-metro as a junior . . . Career – – played tight end, wide receiver, quarterback and defensive back as a prep while earning two letters . . . helped prep team post 22-4 record as a junior and senior, reaching state semifinals each season . . . had 33 receptions for 452 yards and four touchdowns as a senior . . . on defense registered 61 tackles, five QB sacks, six pass break-ups and two fumble recoveries . . . in seven games as a junior quarterback, completed 58-95 pass attempts for 750 yards and nine touchdowns, with one interception . . . team captain in both football and basketball . . . three-year basketball letterman, earning second team all-conference in basketball as a junior.
Personal – – Born 10/05/94 . . . given name is Isaac . . . business management major . . . parents are Kris and Tim Boettger . . . member of prep Honor Roll with a 3.5 career GPA . . . high school coaches were Pat Mitchell and Brad Remmert.

LeShun Daniels (Luh-SEAN)
Running Back
6-0, 215, Freshman
Warren, Ohio (Harding HS)
Hawk-Item – – Attended Harding HS as a junior and senior after attending Dekalb, Ill. HS as a freshman and sophomore.High school honors – – Earned first team all-state, all-district, all-county and all-conference honors as a senior . . . named Lake Erie League Player of the Year as a senior . . . all-county first team as a junior . . . honorable mention all-conference and all-area as a sophomore . . . Career – – earned three letters in football and four in track . . . rushed for 1,614 yards and 15 touchdowns on 261 attempts as a senior as team posted 9-2 record . . . rushed 165 times for 908 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior . . . totaled 243 yards and one touchdowns on KO returns as a junior . . . rushed 88 times for 406 yards and five touchdowns as a sophomore at Dekalb HS, helping team reach playoffs for first time in over 20 seasons . . . team captain as a senior . . . earned all-state honors on 400-meter relay team as a junior . . . football team captain as a senior . . . ranks fourth in career rushing yards at Harding HS.
Personal – – Born 6/04/95 . . . pre-physical therapy major . . . parents are Alicia and LeShun Daniels . . . member of National Honor Society and prep Honor Roll . . . high school coach was Steve Arnold.

Colin Goebel (GO-bul)
Offensive Line
6-5, 280, Freshman
Lisle, Illinois (Naperville North HS)High school honors – – Earned prep All-America honors and was selected to compete for Team USA in International Bowl . . . fi rst team all-state and all-conference as a senior . . . first team all-state and all-conference as a junior, while being named conference Offensive Lineman of the Year . . . named to Chicagoland Underclassman All-Area team as a freshman and sophomore . . . Career – – earned three letters as offensive and defensive lineman, helping prep team reach state playoffs three straight seasons . . . also lettered two years prep wrestling team.
Personal – – Born 8/04/94 . . . Health Services major . . . parents are Gail and Brian Goebel . . . earned academic all-conference recognition . . . high school coach was Sean Drendel.

Brant Gressel (GRES-uhl)
Defensive Line
6-2, 280, Freshman
Centerville, Ohio (Centerville HS)
High school honors – – Earned all-state honorable mention honors as a senior, along with being first team all-conference and all-district . . . first team all-conference and honorable mention all-district as a junior . . . Career – – helped prep team post 30-14 record over four years, while advancing to state playoffs in three seasons . . . team captain as a senior . . . collected 38.5 tackles as a senior, including 8.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 QB sacks . . . also had two recovered fumbles and one forced fumble and one pass break-up in fi nal season . . . 34 tackles and 4.5 sacks as a junior, while also collecting two recovered fumbles, one caused fumble and two blocked punts . . . also competed for prep baseball team.
Personal – – Born 1/17/95 . . . engineering major . . . parents are Lisa and Tony Gressel . . . . two-time scholar athlete as a prep . . . high school coach was Ron Ullery.

Andre Harris
Wide Receiver
6-0, 170, Freshman
Kirkwood, Missouri (Kirkwood HS)
High school honors – – First team all-state as a senior . . . first team all-conference as a junior and senior . . . Career – -played both wide receiver and defensive back for prep team that posted three-year record of 34-5 . . . prep team reached state semifi nals as a sophomore, lost in championship game as a junior and won state title with perfect 13-0 record as a senior . . . totaled 600 receiving yards and five interceptions as a senior, scoring 11 touchdowns . . . totaled 300 receiving yards and four interceptions as a junior, scoring four touchdowns . . . team captain as a senior . . . also competed as a sprinter for prep track team.
Personal – – Born 8/04/95 . . . open major . . . parents are Tausha and Aaron Harris . . . high school coach was Matt Irvin.

Josey Jewell
Linebacker
6-2, 200, Freshman
Decorah, Iowa (Decorah HS)
High school honors – – Named to Des Moines Register Elite named as all-area Player of the Year by Cedar Rapids Gazette/KCRG-TV as a senior . . . first team all-district as a junior and senior . . . second team all-district as a sophomore . . . Career – – three-year letterman as linebacker and running back . . . helped prep team post 34-6 record in three seasons . . . team reached state playoffs as a sophomore, was state runner-up as a junior and won state title with perfect 14-0 record as a senior . . . recorded 62 solo tackles and 38 assists as a senior, with one interception and two recovered fumbles . . . 86 solo tackles and 58 assists as a junior, with one interception and one fumble recovery . . . 42 solo stops and 24 assists as a sophomore, with one interception . . . career totals include 190 solo tackles and 120 assists . . . as a senior rushed 166 times for 1,314 yards and 21 touchdowns, along with 11 receptions for 91 yards and 15 punt returns for 250 yards and a touchdown . . . 150 rushing attempts for 1,475 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior, with six receptions for 43 yards and one touchdown . . . gained 451 rushing yards and scored three touchdowns on 96 carries as a sophomore . . . football team captain as a senior . . . also competed in basketball, baseball and track throughout prep career . . . all-conference and all-district in discus as sophomore and junior . . . placed 18th in discus at state championships as a junior . . . all-conference in shuttle hurdle relay as a junior, placing 12th at state meet . . . first team all-conference and third team all-state in baseball as a junior as prep team finished as state runner-up.
Personal – – Born 12/25/94 . . . environmental studies/business major . . . parents are Paula and Bobby Jewell . . . member of National Honor Society . . . earned academic all-district recognition.

A.J. Jones
Wide Receiver
6-3, 190, Freshman
Dallas, Texas (South Oak Cliff HS)
High school honors – – Earned second team all-district honors as a senior . . . Career – – helped prep team post 19-3 record as a junior and senior, advancing to state playoffs each season . . . team captain as a senior . . . recorded 23 receptions for 390 yards and seven touchdowns as a senior . . . also lettered in basketball and track.
Personal – – Born 1/22/95 . . . given name is Anjeus (Ahn-JAY-us) . . . sports management major . . . parents are Krashawn Cloud and Herbert Jones . . . high school coach was Emmett Jones.

John Kenny
Linebacker
6-2, 215, Freshman
Carmel, Indiana (Carmel HS)
Hawk-Item – – Enrolled at Iowa for spring semester and will take part in spring practice. High school honors – – Named to Indianapolis Star Super Team as a senior . . . earned fi rst team all-state and all-conference honors as a senior and junior . . . Career – – helped prep team post three-year record of 31-5, including state championship as a junior . . . recorded 98 tackles as a senior, including 14 tackles for loss and four QB sacks, while also collecting four forced fumbles, one recovered fumble and two blocked kicks . . . collected 120 tackles as a junior, including 19 tackles for loss, eight QB sacks, four forced fumbles, four recovered fumbles, one touchdown and one blocked kick . . . 86 tackles as a sophomore, with 12 tackles for loss, six QB sacks, two forced fumbles and one recovered fumble . . . team captain as a senior . . . also lettered in lacrosse and hockey.
Personal – – Born 6/20/94 in Charlotte, N.C. . . . open major . . . parents are Debbie and Shawn Kenny . . . . carried a 3.2 prep GPA . . . high school coach was Kevin Wright.

Desmond King
Defensive Back
5-11, 185, Freshman
Detroit, Michigan (East English Village Prep)
High school honors – – Earned first team all-state honors . . . also first team all-city and named to Dream Team as a senior . . . first team all-state and all-city as a junior . . . first team all-city and second team all-state as a sophomore . . . Career – – established Michigan high school record with 29 career interceptions . . . set school record for career rushing yards . . . rushed for 2,360 yards and scored 33 touchdowns as a senior . . . recorded 56 tackles and seven interceptions as a senior . . . rushed for 1,610 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior, with 49 tackles and 12 interceptions on defense . . . rushed for 811 yards and nine touchdowns as a sophomore, with 44 tackles and 10 interceptions on defense . . . team captain as junior and senior . . . competed on three teams that advanced to state playoffs, including regional championship as a senior . . . helped prep team post three-year record of 32-6 . . . four-year letterman in track, competing in sprint events and relays.
Personal – – Born 12/14/94 . . . mass communications major . . . member of prep Honor Roll and Principal’s List . . .. . . mother is Yvette Powell . . . high school coach was Rod Oden.

Derrick Mitchell
Wide Receiver
6-1, 190, Freshman
St. Louis, Missouri (Vashon HS)
High school honors – – Selected to compete in Illinois vs. Missouri all-star game . . . third team all-state as a senior . . . fi rst team all-conference and conference Athlete of the Year as a junior and senior . . . Career – – played wide receiver, defensive back, quarterback and running back . . . helped prep team advance to state playoffs as a senior . . . totaled 712 rushing yards, 468 passing yards and 205 yards on KO returns while scoring 14 touchdowns as a senior . . . scored 17 touchdowns as a junior, with 518 rushing yards, 277 receiving yards and 302 yards on KO returns . . . collected 39 tackles, two interceptions and one fumble recovery as a junior . . . as a sophomore had 17 receptions for 338 yards, while collecting 31 tackles on defense . . . football team captain as a junior and senior . . . also competed on varsity teams in basketball, baseball and track as sophomore, junior and senior.
Personal – – Born 8/18/95 . . . open major . . . father is Derrick Mitchell, Sr. . . . member of Honor Roll all four years as a prep . . . high school coach was Reginald Ferguson.

Jonathan Parker
Running Back
5-8, 175, Freshman
St. Louis, Missouri (Christian Brothers HS)
High school honors – – Second team all-conference, all-metro and all-state as a senior . . . second team all-conference as a junior . . . Named Special Teams Player of the Year as sophomore and senior . . . Career – – played running back, wide receiver and linebacker, as well as returning kicks . . . helped prep team reach state playoffs for three seasons, posting a 24-2 record his fi nal two years . . . team posted undefeated record in conference play for three straight seasons . . . rushed 162 times for 1,111 yards and 18 touchdowns as a senior, along with 16 receptions for 213 yards and one score . . . rushed 125 times for 982 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior, with 10 receptions for 264 yards and two touchdowns . . . as a sophomore had 83 rushing attempts for 600 yards and eight touchdowns, with two receptions for 35 yards . . . career KO return totals include 18 returns for 555 yards (30.8 average) and two touchdowns . . . team captain as a senior . . . also competed in basketball and track.
Personal – – Born 3/01/95 . . . business major . . . mother is Shirley Wilson . . . high school coach was Scott Pingel.

Damond Powell
Wide Receiver
5-11, 180, Junior
Toledo, Ohio (Rogers HS)
Snow, Utah CC
Junior College – – Attended Snow Community College in Ephraim, Utah . . . helped team post 11-1 overall record as a sophomore and No. 2 national ranking . . . honorable mention all-America and All-WSFL as a sophomore . . . 41 receptions for 1,231 yards and 14 touchdowns as a sophomore . . . led the nation in yards per reception (30.0) and ranked third in yards per game (102.6) . . . junior college coach was Tyler Hughes.High school honors – – Named second team all-district and first team all-city as a senior . . . Career – – earned three letters as wide receiver . . . team captain as a senior . . . helped prep team reach state playoffs while posting a 9-3 record as a junior . . . also lettered in basketball (four) and track (two) . . . three-year basketball team captain . . . as a senior led team to Final Four in state tournament, earning Mr. Basketball honors for the state of Ohio.
Personal – – Born 10/31/92 . . . business major . . . parents are Nikita and Damond Powell, Sr. . . . high school coach was Rick Rios.

Malik Rucker (muh-LEEK)
Defensive Back
6-0, 170, Freshman
Minneapolis, Minnesota (Robbinsdale Cooper HS)
High school honors – – Earned first team all-conference and all-metro honors, as well as being named conference defensive MVP as a senior . . . first team all-conference and all-metro as a junior . . . honorable mention all-conference as a sophomore . . . Career – – three-year letterman as defensive back and receiver, while also returning kicks and punts . . . helped prep team post 9-3 record as team captain as a senior after reaching playoffs as a junior . . . recorded 83 tackles as a senior, including 60 solo stops . . . forced five fumbles and had three interceptions, scoring one touchdown . . . as wide receiver had six receptions for 157 yards and two scores . . . also recorded 83 tackles as a junior, with two forced fumbles and two interceptions . . . had one punt return for a score . . . recorded 20 tackles as a sophomore . . . also competed in basketball and track.
Personal – – Born 6/25/95 . . . open major . . . mother is Chanda Smith Baker . . . high school coach was Willie Howard.

Nic Shimonek (SHIM-oh-nik)
Quarterback
6-4, 196, Freshman
Corsicana, Texas (Mildred HS)
High school honors – – Finalist for state Player of the Year as a senior . . . honorable mention all-state as a senior and junior . . . named district and area Offensive Most Valuable Player while earning first team honors as a junior and senior . . . first team all-district and all-area as a sophomore . . . honorable mention all-district as a freshman . . . Career – – led prep team to runner-up finish in Texas Class 2-A Division II as a senior, helping team post 13-2 overall record . . . passed for 2,714 yards and 33 touchdowns as a senior, completing 160-252 passes, with just six interceptions . . . rushed for 850 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior . . . as a junior completed 193-291 attempts for 2,939 yards and 37 touchdowns, with three interceptions, while also rushing for 220 yards and nine touchdowns . . . team posted 13-1 record in junior season, reaching state semi-finals . . . completed 139-243 attempts for 1,885 yards and 21 touchdowns as a sophomore, with nine interceptions . . . as a freshman completed 64-143 attempts for 673 yards and six touchdowns, with 11 interceptions . . . helped team reach state playoffs as a freshman and sophomore . . . career totals included 8,211 passing yards and 97 passing touchdowns . . . holds school and area passing records for career completions, yards and touchdowns . . . team captain as a senior . . . also four-year letterman in basketball and baseball.Personal – – Born 8/22/94 . . . business/engineering major . . . parents are Tresa and Kenny Shimonek . . . carried over a 3.75 prep GPA . . . high school coach was Patrick Harvell.

Reggie Spearman
Linebacker
6-3, 225, Freshman
Chicago, Illinois (Simeon HS)
High school honors – – First team all-state as a senior and
named to Team USA . . . named first team all-city and All-Chicago Public League as a senior . . . Career – – helped prep team earn city championship three straight years . . . team won Chicago Prep Bowl at Soldier Field as a senior, posting a combined 21-5 record his last two seasons . . . recorded 120 tackles as a senior, with 12 QB sacks and two interceptions . . . team captain as a senior . . . also competed for prep track team.
Personal – – Born 8/17/96 . . . sports management major . . . parents are Belinda and William Spearman . . . high school coach was Dave Culbreath.

Akrum Wadley (ACK-rum)
Running Back
5-11, 170, Freshman
Newark, New Jersey (Weequahic HS)
High school honors – – Second team all-state as a senior . . . named Essex County Player of the Year as a senior . . . first team all-conference, all-city and all-county as a senior . . . first team all-conference as a junior while being named offensive Rookie of the Year . . . Career – – played both running back and defensive back, while also competing in basketball and track as a prep . . . helped team post 9-3 record as both a junior and senior, reaching state championship game each season . . . team captain as a senior . . . holds school record for touchdowns in a season . . . 105 rushing attempts for 1,548 yards and 25 touchdowns as a senior, along with 11 receptions for 153 yards and two scored . . . totaled 371 yards and four touchdowns on special teams, including 95-yard return in state championship game . . . recorded two QB sacks and a fumble recovery on defense.
Personal – – Born 3/13/95 . . . communications major . . . parents are Sheronda Phelps and John Wadley . . . high school coach was Brian Logan.

Solomon Warfield
Defensive Back
6-0, 185, Freshman
Lorain, Ohio (St. Edward HS)
High school honors – – Earned first team all-Ohio honors as a senior . . . Career – – helped prep team post 15-0 record and claim state title as a sophomore . . . recorded 81 tackles as a senior, with one interception, five pass break-ups and one forced fumble . . . four-year football letterman, while also competing for prep track team.
Personal – – Born 12/09/94 . . . business major . . . parents are Vernita and Ryan Warfield . . . high school coach was Rick Finotti.

Sean Welsh
Offensive Line
6-3, 285, Freshman
Springboro, Ohio (Springboro HS)
High school honors – – Named Offense-Defense All-America as a senior . . . earned second team all-state honors as a senior, along with being first team all-district, all-conference and all-division . . . named to All-Ohio first team by JJ Huddle/Muscle Milk . . . first team all-division as a junior and second team as a sophomore . . . named first team all-area by Dayton Daily News as a junior and senior . . . Career – – earned four letters in football as offensive and defensive lineman . . . team captain as a senior, helping team post perfect 10-0 record.
Personal – – Born 10/13/94 . . . business/marketing major . . . parents are Deb and Matt Welsh . . . . earned Principal’s List and Scholar-Athlete honors four straight years . . . high school coach was Ryan Wilhite.

Derrick Willies (WILL-eez)
Wide Receiver
6-4, 205, Freshman
Rock Island, Illinois (Rock Island HS)
High school honors – – Selected to participate in fourth annual International Bowl . . . first team all-conference as a senior in only season at Rock Island HS . . . first-team all-conference and second team all-state as a junior at Burlington, Iowa HS . . . Career – – recorded 56 receptions for 877 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior . . . 57 receptions for 934 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior . . . team captain as a junior . . . set high school career records for receiving yards and touchdowns and single game records for yards and receptions . . . also played end and safety on defense . . . competed in track (hurdles, sprints) and basketball as a prep, winning 300-meter dash state title as a junior.
Personal – – Born 10/12/94 in Banning, Cal. . . . engineering major . . . parents are Mandie and Derrick Willies . . . . member of prep Honor Roll . . . high school coach was Bryan Stortz at Rock Island HS.

Jon Wisnieski (Wiz-NEW-ski)
Tight End
6-5, 220, Freshman
West Des Moines, Iowa (Dowling HS)
High school honors – – Names to elite all-state first team and all-district first team as a senior . . . honorable mention all-conference as a junior . . . Career – – member of state championship team as a sophomore . . . helped prep team post 18-6 record in final two seasons, reaching state playoffs each season while playing tight end and linebacker . . . team captain as a senior . . . recorded 24 receptions for 234 yards and four touchdowns as a senior . . . eight receptions for 119 yards and two touchdowns as a junior . . . recorded 36 tackles, with one interception for a touchdown, as a junior . . . also lettered in both basketball and baseball.
Personal – – Born 9/21/94 . . . business major . . . parents are Barb and Dave Wisnieski . . . . earned academic all-state honors for football . . . member of National Honor Society . . . member of prep Honor Roll . . . high school coach was Tom Wilson.

LSU reportedly offered Duke star Zion Williamson a scholarship to play football

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We’re in the thick of the college football season and months away from March Madness, but even the most casual college sports fan who has been soaking up the action on the gridiron has mostly likely heard of Duke freshman basketball player Zion Williamson by this point.

Perhaps more appropriately, just about everybody has hopefully at least seen the potential No. 1 NBA draft pick throw down a vicious dunk or two this season and thought the 6-foot-7, 285-pounder would make for a pretty decent tight end at the next level. It turns out, those thoughts are not limited in their scope as LSU reportedly offered the hoops prodigy a football scholarship back when he was in high school

“Honestly, I just thought it would be really fun and would be good exposure for LSU if we offered him for football. Unfortunately, he didn’t seem to be too [interested],” former Tigers tight ends coach Eric Mateos told ESPN. “Coach O said go recruit the best athletes in the country, and that’s what I tried to do.

“I thought, hell, why not, he’s probably the best damn tight end to ever live.”

Mateos, who is now the offensive line coach at Texas State, apparently extended the offer in the fall of 2016 to Williamson but did so without the knowledge of head coach Ed Orgeron. 

It’s hard to find anybody in football circles who wouldn’t love to turn somebody like LeBron James into a tight end and many current or future Hall of Famers like Tony Gonzalez or Antonio Gates famously played hoops in college before making their name in the NFL.

Williamson could probably follow in all their footsteps if he wanted to but it seems like sticking to throwing down monster dunks for the Blue Devils is the better course of action at the moment.

North Texas serving up In-N-Out, energy drinks and discounted beer to lure fans for FAU game

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At the beginning of the season, many expected that North Texas hosting Florida Atlantic would serve as a potential Conference USA title game preview — just like it did a year ago. Fast forward to Thursday night however and that is far from the case for either program as both enter struggling a bit this late in the season.

The Mean Green though, are doing everything they can to lure fans to Denton for the game either way for the 8:30 p.m. CT kickoff on CBS Sports Network. And when we mean everything they can to juice the numbers, that means just about everything you can think of.

Per the Denton Register Chronicle:

The school has offered up two free guest tickets to students who already get in for free. And that’s just for starters. UNT is also giving out 700 free In-N-Out Burgers to students, free coffee and free energy drinks. Once people get inside, it’s $2 hot dogs and $3 beer and wine. UNT is also putting out heaters on the hill above Apogee Stadium, where students hang out before the game (and during the game, if we are being honest).

While it is a late kickoff on a school night in the metroplex, that’s still a lot of stops to pull out in order to get people to the stadium. It’s also interesting to note that UNT went with In-N-Out for students coming to the game and not the much more appropriate Whataburger that is much more synonymous with a meal in the state.

It still sounds like the program will set an attendance record for the season even if it’s just a normal turnout for the final home game of the year but AD Wren Baker is not one to rest on his laurels in order to hit the mark. While there are unique challenges of filling up a stadium at schools not in the same stratosphere of Michigan, Ohio State, Alabama, etc., it will still be interesting to see if this kind of practice continues to spread across college football to entice folks off their couch and into their seats.

AAC commissioner changing tune on College Football Playoff expansion

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Welcome to the dark side, Mike Aresco. It’s about time.

The AAC commissioner told ESPN this week that he’s changing his tune on expanding the College Football Playoff given recent events involving his conference and, particularly, the undefeated run UCF is on.

“The point is, I hadn’t really given a lot of thought to expansion of the playoff, but I’m giving more thought to it, only because it seems to me that if half of FBS is pretty much going to be left out of this. Then I think maybe you have to think more about it,” said Aresco. “I don’t think there’s much impetus for it now, but it might grow because also you’ve seen a couple of [Power 5] conferences left out… This year, you could have a scenario where three could be left out. It’s possible. If that’s the case, you might even see some sentiment on that side to expand it, whether you go to six and have byes or whether you go to eight.

It goes without saying that a big talking point for the AAC the past 18+ months or so has been whether or not the Knights could get into the playoff if they run the table for a second straight season. The team is currently ranked No. 11 by the Selection Committee, a mark that is the highest for a Group of Five team but far from the area where they need to be to get consideration for the final four.

Then there’s Aresco’s larger point that you could have multiple Power Five leagues also left out of the Playoff with the Pac-12 and Big 12 in particular on the outside looking in thanks to the presence of undefeated Notre Dame. Larry Scott’s league in particular could miss out for a second straight season.

Calls for an expanded playoff of either six, eight or even 16 teams have been thrown around forever and even pre-date the current system’s creation. There’s likely to be even more calls for more teams getting involved as the years go by and an actual conference commissioner starting to warm up to the idea could mark the beginning of the process — even if we’re really no closer to a bigger playoff in 2018 than we were a few years ago.

Still, talk led to action when it came to getting rid of the BCS and we may be entering the early stages of the same when it comes to the playoff being just four teams.

Les Miles, LSU settle prolonged buyout… coaching gig next for the Mad Hatter?

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Try to contain your excitement, but the grass-eating Mad Hatter could be back on the sidelines sooner than expected.

In a statement released on Thursday afternoon, LSU announced a $1.5 million settlement with former head coach Les Miles that would conclude the two parties financial relationship and close out the latter’s buyout from the school… potentially paving the way for the title-winning coach to accept another job.

“It’s time for both parties to move forward,” said Tigers athletic director Joe Alleva. “One of the challenges of the buyout that was in place was there just wasn’t a lot of incentive to move on to other things. We were looking to provide that and Coach Miles and his representatives were also ready. It was a mutually agreed upon goal and a very positive process from beginning to end.”

The news can be viewed as a win for both parties. LSU had owed Miles a hefty buyout — some $6.5 million coming into this week of a total figure of $9 million — after canning him back in 2016 that resulted in monthly payments continuing for several more years. Now, not only does the school save some $5 million as a result of the lump sum payout, the head coach himself is no longer subject to contractual terms requiring him to specifically pursue other jobs with that salary offsetting the rest of the buyout.

The timing of the move is particularly interesting given that Miles has strongly been linked to the opening at Kansas this year and might even be considered the front-runner for the position. The former LSU and Oklahoma State head coach was also rumored to be involved with other searches at Arizona, Oregon State, Ole Miss and Houston among others over the years as well.

Fully freed from his contract with LSU, Miles can now take that position with the Jayhawks without any strings or move forward with his budding broadcast and acting careers that he’s embarked on recently. It seems like several things are on the table now for one of the game’s biggest personalities and the Tigers get to save a pretty penny in the process.