Who faces Florida State? Sorting through ACC Coastal Division race

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Here we are on November 11 and still no clear favorite in the ACC’s Coastal Division. Florida State has already wrapped up the Atlantic Division and is juts focusing on keeping up the BCS Championship pace while waiting to find out who they will face in the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte at the end of the regular season. With Virginia Tech roughing up Miami on Saturday there are a number of scenarios that can play out in the Coastal race, which could make for a complicated mess.

Figuring out a two-team tiebreaker is simple, with head-to-head result serving as the first tiebreaker. But the ACC Coastal Division could see as many as four teams finish the season with an identical conference record. It is possible Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Duke, Miami and North Carolina could all finish with an ACC record of 5-3, which would be fun to break down using the ACC’s tiebreakers. The more likely scenario will see two or three teams finish with identical records, but here is a look at how this division shapes up the rest of the way, with the exception of Virginia.

Georgia Tech (6-3, 5-2 ACC)

Remaining ACC Games: @ Clemson

Outlook: It is likely Georgia Tech loses on the road against Clemson, a team that still has a good shot to be selected for a BCS bowl game. With a potential loss at Clemson, Georgia Tech will end their ACC schedule with a mark of 5-3, with losses to Virginia Tech and Miami and wins against Duke, North Carolina and Pittsburgh. Georgia Tech would have a tough time reaching the ACC Championship Game for a second straight season with a loss at Clemson. If Georgia Tech can knock off the Tigers, then we will talk, but for now it does not look great for Georgia Tech.

Virginia Tech (7-3, 4-2 ACC)

Remaining ACC Games: Maryland, @ Virginia

Outlook: After smashing Miami, Virginia Tech looks to be the team to beat in the ACC Coastal despite having a head-to-head loss to Duke just a couple of weeks back. The Hokies have wins against Miami and Georgia Tech in addition to North Carolina and Pittsburgh, which could end up helping give Virginia Tech the edge in a three-team tiebreaker scenario. Virginia Tech may have the best remaining conference schedule, especially if the offense happens to bust out the way it did against the Hurricanes. Maryland is fading fast and Virginia has just two wins this season. The Hokies should finish with a 6-2 ACC record, and that should get them back to the ACC Championship Game to face Florida State.

Duke (7-2, 3-2 ACC)

Remaining ACC Games: Miami, @ Wake Forest, @ North Carolina

Outlook: The toughest game on Duke’s schedule will be played this weekend, and they get it at home. A win against Miami would give the Blue Devils two huge wins against the Hurricanes and Virginia Tech, and the final two games are probable wins despite being on the road. If Duke can get the win against Miami and they finish the season with a 6-2 ACC mark, they will win a potential head-to-head tiebreaker with Virginia Tech in a two-team tie thanks to a 13-10 victory two weeks ago. However, if it comes down to a three-team situation, Duke starts to lose their advantage. For Duke, winning against Miami will make for the best possible scenario to reach the championship game.

Miami (7-2, 3-2 ACC)

Remaining ACC Games: @ Duke, Virginia, @ Pittsburgh

Outlook: Miami is sinking fast and time is running out to plug the holes. Miami’s undefeated start and top ten ranking feel like a distant memory and the Hurricanes have the most difficult of the remaining conference schedules in the Coastal. Miami plays two game son the road, at Duke and at Pittsburgh, and they are capable of losing both. A win this weekend at Duke will give Miami an edge in tie-breaking procedures though as they would have wins against Georgia Tech and Duke, which would help eliminate the Yellow Jackets and Blue Devils from some of the tie breakers, but Virginia Tech will have the upper hand with the head-to-head win. Miami probably has to win their final three games to even have a chance to reach a game that looked to be a certainty just a couple of weeks ago.

North Carolina (4-5, 3-3 ACC)

Remaining ACC Games: @ Pittsburgh, Duke

Outlook: With losses to Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Miami already, North Carolina is essentially out of the equation. Mathematically they can still grab a share of the division championship, but the tiebreakers will not be kind to North Carolina if it comes down to that.

Pittsburgh (5-4, 2-3 ACC)

Remaining ACC Games: North Carolina, @ Syracuse, Miami

Outlook: After Virginia Tech, the ACC newcomers may have the most favorable schedule the rest of the way with home games against UNC and Miami and a road game at Syracuse. Depending on what Panthers team shows up, a 3-0 run here is not unrealistic. Oh it’s not exactly likely, but it is certainly not impossible. Pittsburgh has losses to Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech that could hurt, but they would end up having wins against Miami, North Carolina and Duke that could come in handy.

Les Miles adds Jonathan Wallace as newest Kansas assistant

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After one of his Kansas football assistants left and created a hole in his staff, Les Miles moved quickly to fill it.

Last week, Tony Hull exited the Kansas football program.  Tuesday, it was confirmed that Hull had taken a job at Hawaii.  That hiring completed Todd Graham‘s first coaching staff at the Mountain West Conference school, incidentally.

The same day Hull’s Hawaii hiring was announced, Kansas football confirmed that his replacement, Jonathan Wallace, was been hired.  The former Auburn quarterback/wide receiver will coach KU’s running backs.  The Alabama native will also serve as special teams coordinator.

“Jonathan is a detail-oriented coach, who is also a dynamic recruiter,” the Kansas football head coach said in a statement. “He has experience with a championship-caliber football program as both a player and a coach and knows the intricacies of the offensive scheme we want to run. Additionally, he has a strong understanding of what we want to accomplish in all phases of the kicking game.”

In 2019, Wallace was the tight ends coach at Air Force.  That was his first on-field job at the FBS level.

The year before that, Wallace was on the coaching staff at NAIA Bethel as wide receivers coach.  That program’s head coach?  Current Jayhawks offensive current Brent Dearmon.

Wallace began his coaching career as an offensive graduate assistant coach at Auburn from 2016-17.  He worked with quarterbacks and wide receivers during the 2017 season.

During Wallace’s time as an Auburn football player (2012-15), Miles was the head coach at SEC West rival LSU.

Concussions force Baylor’s Bralen Taylor to retire

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Concern over his long-term health has prompted one Baylor football player to step away from the sport.  Permanently.

On his personal Twitter account Tuesday, Bralen Taylor announced in a statement that he is “medically retiring from the game I love.” The wide receiver-turned-tight-end-turned-defensive end stated that he has “suffered from a number of concussions while playing” football.  Taylor didn’t specify when and at what level those concussions occurred.

“This is the game that I grew up playing and loving. [T]his game has [given] me everything I have ever asked for and more,” Taylor wrote. “The brain is nothing to mess around with. [W]hile some won’t understand, [God] has already made a plan.”

Taylor was a three-star member of the Baylor football Class of 2018.  He was rated as the No. 90 player regardless of position in the state of Texas.

During his brief time in Waco, Taylor played in six games.  Four of those appearances came this past season.  In that limited action, he was credited with three tackles and one-half of a sack.

Baylor football has gone from 1-11 in Matt Rhule‘s first season with the Bears in 2017 to 11-3 this past season.  The 2019 campaign included a berth in both the Big 12 championship game and the Sugar Bowl.

Unfortunately for BU, Rhule left to take the head job with the NFL’s Carolina Panthers.

USC makes hiring of Virginia’s Vic So’oto official

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The massive renovation of Clay Helton’s USC football coaching staff has taken another official step.

Last week, it was reported that USC was expected to poach Vic So’oto from Virginia.  As Clint Sintim‘s hiring as So’oto’s replacement was announced a few days later, the latter’s move to the Trojans was a mere formality.

Tuesday, USC football confirmed So’oto’s addition to Clay Helton’s staff.  As he did with the ‘Hoos, So’oto will serve as the Trojans’ defensive line coach.

The 32-year-old So’oto was the line coach at Virginia for the past three seasons.  Prior to that, he was a defensive graduate assistant at the ACC program.

So’oto played his college football at BYU, ending his four-year career in 2010.  After his NFL career ended, So’oto began his collegiate coaching career as a football intern at his alma mater.

For those unaware, So’oto is the second cousin of USC football legend Junior Seau.

LSU confirms hiring of Scott Linehan as new passing-game coordinator

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LSU football has officially replaced one of the hottest young coaches in the sport.

Not long after LSU football claimed the 2019 national championship, Joe Brady left to take over as the offensive coordinator for the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. Earlier this month, it was reported that Scott Linehan was expected to be hired as Brady’s successor.

Tuesday, LSU confirmed that Linehan has indeed been named by Ed Orgeron as the Tigers’ new passing-game coordinator. The 56-year-old Linehan has spent the past 17 seasons he’s been a coach at the NFL level.

Linehan was out of coaching this past season.

“Scott brings a wealth of knowledge to our offense,” the LSU football head coach said in a statement. “We wanted to bring in someone who will expand our passing game and with Scott’s experience as an NFL head coach and offensive coordinator we feel this is the best move for our offense. After talking to numerous people with NFL experience and interviewing Scott we knew he was the right fit for the LSU Tigers.”

In 13 of those seasons in the NFL, Linehan served as an offensive coordinator.

  • Dallas Cowboys, 2015-18
  • Detroit Lions, 2009-13
  • Miami Dolphins, 2005
  • Minnesota Vikings, 2002-04

In the other four NFL seasons in which he wasn’t a coordinator, Linehan was the head coach of the St. Louis Rams (2006-08) and passing-game coordinator for the Cowboys (2014).

Linehan’s last job at the collegiate level came as the offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach at Louisville (1999-2001). From 1996-98, he was the coordinator at Washington.