Who can pull a college football-basketball conference title double dip?

1 Comment

This is a pretty important week for college basketball. The big conferences are wrapping up the regular seasons and getting set for their various conference championship tournaments. Some conferences have already crowned their conference champions for the year so the countdown to Selection Sunday is already one.

It is not all that often we see schools win their conference championship in football and men’s basketball, but it does happen from time to time. Will any of the conference champions from last fall have a shot at winning their men’s basketball championship by Selection Sunday? Here is a run down the various FBS conferences and quick look at whether it is possible or likely.

ACC

Football champion: Florida State

It certainly would not be impossible for Florida State to run a hot streak in the ACC tournament this week, but the Seminoles have quite the uphill battle in front of them if they are to pull off the conference championship double-dip. Florida State was 0-5 against the top four teams in the ACC this basketball season. We will call this one possible but unlikely.

American

Football champion: UCF

The UCF Knights finished the regular season with a losing record at 12-17. Let’s just go ahead and say this is not going to happen. Not with the defending national champions at Louisville in the conference and a strong Cincinnati team to get through, not to mention the competition from UConn, Memphis and SMU.

Big 12

Football champion: Baylor

Can Baylor come out on top in the Big 12? It probably would not be a complete shock, although the BEars were 9-9 in conference play this season. But the Bears are a 20-win program and that did not happen by accident. The basketball Bears average 75 points per game, which is just a few more points than the football team could score. Possible but probably not likely.

Big Ten

Football champion: Michigan State

This could be the best bet around the country for an FBS school to pull the double-dip. The Spartans upset Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game last December, and the Spartans are a known basketball power. Michigan State will enter the Big Ten tournament with a high seed and are always going to be a tough out. Michigan and Wisconsin have good opportunities as well in one of the most competitive conferences in the country. Michigan State has limped to the finish line, but you can never count out the Spartans when it is tournament time.

Based on history, we will call this one a realistic possibility. If the Spartans were at full strength, it might be considered likely.

Conference USA

Football champion: Rice

Not happening. Moving on.

MAC

Football champion: Bowling Green

This is another one that will not be happening. Bowling Green finished the regular season in last place in their division.

Mountain West Conference

Football champion: Fresno State

This one would be considered a pretty big shock. It is not because Fresno State is a .500 team, but because San Diego State and New Mexico are far and away the top two programs in the conference. UNLV is not all bad either. Do not count on Fresno State getting this done.

Pac 12

Football champion: Stanford

Stanford will enter the Pac 12 tournament somewhere in the middle of the Pac 12, so they would have their work cut out for them in the conference tournament. Sometimes this tournament can be unpredictable though. Colorado came out of nowhere to win it two seasons ago, so who is to say Stanford won’t get it done this year? Me, that’s who. Certainly far from impossible, but not at all to be expected.

SEC

Football champion: Auburn

There is a reason Alabama is obsessed with football. Neither Alabama or Auburn will make a run for the SEC title this season, and that means Auburn will not pull off the double-dip. Instead, it could be two SEC East schools that failed to play in a bowl game last season that play for the championship (Florida and Kentucky).

Sun Belt

Football champion: Louisiana-Lafayette

If there is a conference that appears to be the second best bet after the Big Ten to have the same school claim the football and men’s basketball title, it may be the Sun Belt. Louisiana-Lafayette won the football title by way of a tiebreaker, and considering how even the top of the conference may be this basketball season, this could very well be possible. Georgia State is the team to beat, but the Ragin’ Cajuns could make a run. Georgia State won both match-ups this season, but both were within seven points. Let’s throw this under the Likely category for now, but note that Georgia State is standing in the way.

What about the FCS schools?

If you dig deeper then you will find some other schools who have claimed their own double dips. Ivy League champion Harvard did just that with a football and men’s basketball championship this season. Coastal Carolina also managed to win both Big South championships this season.

For more college basketball coverage, be sure to check out College Basketball Talk.

UNLV bringing all-you-can-eat ticket packages to college football

Getty Images
5 Comments

It’s a tremendous challenge getting fans to come out to the stadium these days. When (nearly) every game is on TV, why go to the stadium when you have to miss out on the six other games on TV plus you have to deal with spotty in-stadium plus having to fight through traffic and parking and obnoxious fans to your left and right — and, oh yeah, you still have to pay for your tickets and concessions on top of all that.

UNLV has now eliminated one of those objections.

Borrowing a page from baseball, the Rebels have introduced an all-you-can-eat ticket package. For just $79, fans get tickets to UNLV’s games against UTEP (Sept. 8), Fresno State (Nov. 3) and Nevada (Nov. 24) while gaining access to all the hot dogs, nachos, popcorn and soft drinks they can stomach.

“It’s a great way for your family to enjoy first-class entertainment and create a memory for an affordable price,” UNLV athletics director Desiree Reed-Francois told the Las Vegas Sun.

Season ticket holders will also have the option of adding the all-you-can-eat option for $30 a ticket — which works out to $5 per ticket per game.

The move feels more like a promotion that will keep on-the-fence ticket buyers in the stadium rather than brining new people out, but Reed-Francois is determined to increase attendance as UNLV plays its penultimate season in the 47-year-old Sam Boyd Stadium. The Rebels drew 17,449 fans per game to the 35,000-seat stadium.

“I’m told all of the time that this isn’t a football town,” she said. “We’ll flip that (opinion). There’s an opportunity for football in this town.”

Wisconsin QB Alex Hornibrook wins Manning Passing Academy throwing competition

Getty Images
2 Comments

It won’t affect the scoreboard one whit come September, but Wisconsin got a nice little victory on Saturday.

The annual Manning Passing Academy came to a close on Saturday with the Air It Out competition among the camp’s counselors, which was comprised of a who’s who of returning college quarterbacks. Among a group that included Penn State’s Trace McSorley, Missouri’s Drew Lock, UCF’s McKenzie Milton, Washington’s Jake Browning, Georgia’s Jake Fromm, Alabama’s Jalen Hurts and others, Badgers quarterback Alex Hornibrook was the only player able to hit the golf cart streaking down the right sideline.

Hornibrook, a rising junior, completed 198-of-318 passes (62.3 percent) for 2,644 yards (8.3 per attempt) with 25 touchdowns against 15 interceptions, good for a 148.61 efficiency rating, which rated 24th nationally. He led the Badgers to a 13-1 record, a Big Ten West championship, an Orange Bowl victory over Miami and a No. 7 final ranking in the AP poll.

LSU graduate transfer CB Terrence Alexander set to join team Monday

Getty Images
1 Comment

LSU graduate transfer cornerback Terrence Alexander is set to get his purple-and-yellow stripes on Monday, according to Nola.com.

Alexander announced his intention to graduate transfer from Stanford to LSU in the spring, but the thing about graduate transfers is that you have to graduate before you can play. Alexander earned his degree from Stanford last Sunday, clearing him to play for LSU this fall. (Stanford operates on the quarters system, pushing its graduation ceremonies a month later than schools that follow the semester system.)

A New Orlean native, Alexander played in only one game in 2017 after suffering a season-ending injury in the opener against Rice. He appeared in 13 games as a reserve in 2016.

He figures to compete for the open cornerback spot opposite All-America candidate Greedy Williams against sophomores Kary VincentJontre Kirklin and Mannie Netherly. Kristian Fulton would be included in that group, but he remains suspended by the NCAA.

Father of USC freshman WR dubbed the ‘Lavar Ball of college football’

Photo by Alius Koroliovas/Getty Images
13 Comments

The basketball world got to know LaVar Ball quite well the last few years. If there is a college football of that on the horizon, the LA Times seems to think they found him.

John Brown, the father of USC Class of 2018 wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, has drawn comparisons to LaVar Ball for a variety of reasons that include the demand and vision for excellence in professional sports for his son. St. Brown was a five-star recruit for the Trojans in the most recent recruiting cycle, according to his Rivals profile. He was also ranked as the top recruit in the state of California and the top wide receiver in the nation. That alone brings reason to expect big results for St. Brown at USC.

The genes are certainly running in the family. John Brown is a former championship body builder. St. Brown’s oldest brother is former Notre Dame wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown. Osiris St. Brown, the middle son in the family, will be a redshirt freshman this fall at Stanford. With so much talent in the family, John Brown may be tapping into his inner Lavar Ball by suggesting Amon-ra could play in the NFL right now.

This is, of course, a ridiculous thought considering that even the most talented college freshman still have a long way to go to be ready to compete at the high level the NFL demands. But where Brown differs from Ball is he expects his sons to have to earn any accolades that may come their way.

“I’m going to request [USC head coach Clay Helton] put his butt at the bottom of the charts and see what he’s made of,” John said in a featured story published by the LA Times this week. “Make him fight. Sharpen the knife.”

John even goes so far to suggest Amon-ra has his eyes on making some unprecedented (and likely impossible) college football history.

“He’s serious about everything,” John says.

Ask Amon-ra what his goals are for his first year with the Trojans. With an unblinking, straight stare he will tell you, “I want to win the Heisman. All three years.”

All three years, eh? Putting aside the prediction that Brown is already predicting his son is jumping to the NFL after his junior season (an idea that is not at all far-fetched if St. Brown plays out the way recruiting experts and USC expect he will), we have to smile at the historic bar Brown is setting for his son.

Only one player has ever won the Heisman Trophy twice (Ohio State’s Archie Griffin in 1974 and 1975). It is also worth noting the last wide receiver to win the Heisman Trophy was Michigan’s Desmond Howard in 1991. Tim Brown of Notre Dame (1987) and Johnny Rodgers of Nebraska (1972) are the only other receivers to win the award since the Heisman Trophy was first presented in 1935. This may not go down in the history books alongside Beano Cook predicting two Heisman Trophy awards for former Notre Dame quarterback Ron Powlus (which never came close to happening, of course), but that does set the bar high for Amon-ra’s personal goals.

Brown may lay the foundation for athletic success for his sons, but fortunately for the college football world, he seems to be far more tolerable than LaVar Ball.