NIU moves into first-place tie in MAC West

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College football’s last BCS buster may not necessarily be out of the conversation for the access bowl spot reserved for the top-ranked Group of Five conference champion. With a 27-17 win over Toledo (6-4, 5-1 MAC) Tuesday night, NIU (8-2, 5-1 MAC) moved into a tie for first place with the Rockets. The tie can turn into a three-team tie if Western Michigan wins its next game.

Cameron Stingily scored twice for the Huskies, who now are in control of their own path back to the MAC Championship Game for a fifth straight season. The only other school to play in five straight MAC Championship Games was Marshall, who played in six straight from 1997 through 2002.

On Tuesday night the College Football Playoff Rankings were updated as well. No Group of Five team appeared in the new top 25, but chairman Jeff Long did mention on a conference call the Huskies were one of the Group of Five schools discussed by the committee this week. Others included Marshall, Colorado State, Boise State and East Carolina. NIU is therefore on the radar for the committee, which will be tasked with choosing a Group of Five conference champion to play in one of the access bowls at the end of the season if none can crack the final top 25. NIU was upset in the MAC title game last season.

The final two games of the regular season for NIU will be played on the road against Ohio and Western Michigan. Now that we know NIU is officially on the committee’s radar, finishing strong will be critical for NIU’s chances to play in a major bowl game. Some help in the Mountain West Conference would not hurt, nor would Marshall getting tripped up somewhere in Conference USA. East Carolina taking another loss would not be bad either for the Huskies.

Of course, none of this matters if NIU doesn’t just keep winning.

Buffalo 55, Akron 24

In the other MAC game Tuesday night, Buffalo (4-6, 2-4 MAC) doubled up visiting Akron (4-6, 2-4 MAC) by a score of 55-24.

With the win, Buffalo managed to keep its postseason hopes alive for at least one more week. With six losses already, Buffalo is one loss away from being ineligible for postseason play. The loss also puts Akron up against a wall. Like Buffalo, Akron is now one loss away from being ineligible for postseason play.

If you were curious if this game has any impact on the College Football Playoff (don’t laugh), it could have at least a small impact. If Buffalo can string together two more wins to become eligible for a bowl game, then it might help make Baylor’s overall profile look at least a little better. The Bears have been trying to overcome a lacking profile in the eyes of the selection committee. Buffalo going to a bowl game will not be enough to flip Baylor over TCU, but it is one of those minor details that is probably reviewed to some extent at one point or another.

The loss for Akron does not help Marshall’s overall profile either. The Thundering Herd beat Akron 48-17 earlier in the season. Marshall’s strength of schedule has been a legitimate concern, so seeing Akron go from a possible bowl game to not playing in the postseason is just one less point to support Marshall’s access bowl argument.

Troy adds former Southland Conference rival Nicholls State to 2025 slate

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The scheduling tear for Troy football continues.

Troy and UAB announced a future home-and-home football series in early May.  Then another earlier this month.  In between, future games versus Missouri (HERE), Iowa (HERE) and Army (HERE) were added as well.  Late last week, Troy was at it again as the football program confirmed yet another home-and-home, this one with UMass.

Friday, Troy announced yet another future matchup.  According to a release, the Sun Belt Conference school will square off with Nicholls State Aug. 30 of 2025.  The matchup with the FCS opponent will be played at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Troy.

The two programs, former conference rivals, are very familiar with one another.  From the school’s release on the renewal:

Troy and Nicholls State have a long history dating back to 1973 and continuing through Troy’s years as a member of the Southland Conference. The Trojans have enjoyed the upper hand with a 20-6-1 advantage in the series including four straight victories before the series halted in 2001.

After winning 10-plus games in three straight seasons from 2016-18, Troy tumbled to a 5-7 record in 2019.  That was the Trojans’ first season under Chip Lindsey.  Lindsey replaced Neal Brown, who left to take the head job at West Virginia.

Highest-rated signee in Georgia State’s 2017 recruiting class enters transfer portal

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After landing a couple early on in the offseason, Georgia State football finds itself on the wrong side of the portal this go ’round.

According to, offensive tackle Connor Robbins has placed his name into the NCAA transfer database.  While he didn’t confirm it on his personal Twitter account, the Georgia State football player did retweet the report.

The 6-9, 310-pound lineman will be leaving the Panthers as a graduate transfer.

Now, for what’s seemingly becoming a daily disclaimer when it comes to transfers.

As we’ve stated myriad times in the past, a player can remove his name from the portal and remain at the same school. At this point, though, other programs are permitted to contact a player without receiving permission from his current football program.

NCAA bylaws also permit schools to pull a portal entrant’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered it.

Robbins was a three-star member of the Georgia State football Class of 2017.  He was the highest-rated signee for the Panthers that cycle.

Robbins took a redshirt as a true freshman.  The past two seasons, the Florida native played in 15 games.  Most of that action, though, came on the point-after and field goal units.

In the third season under Shawn Elliott, GSU went 7-6 this past year. It was a five-win improvement from the 2-10 record the year before. In Elliott’s first season, the Panthers went 7-5. The seven wins are the best-ever for the Georgia State football program since moving to the FBS level in 2013.

Tulane confirms signing of Georgia Tech transfer Ajani Kerr

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The Power Five transfer train has officially made yet another stop at the Tulane football program.

In late MarchAjani Kerr entered his name into the NCAA transfer database.  Three months later, Tulane confirmed in a release that the Georgia Tech defensive back has officially signed and been added to the football roster.

Kerr comes to the Green Wave as a graduate transfer.  This coming season will serve as his final year of eligibility.

Kerr was a two-star member of Tech’s 2016 recruiting class coming out of high school in Georgia.  After redshirting as a true freshman, Kerr played in 29 games the past three seasons.  Five of those appearances came in 2019.

In that action, Kerr had been credited with 66 tackles (55 solo, 11 assisted) and one fumble recovery.

Kerr is one of four Power Five transfers to join Tulane football this offseason.

Jan. 24, Tulane football officially welcomed Oklahoma State transfer linebacker Kevin Henry. Four days later, former Oklahoma wide receiver Mykel Jones was formally added to the roster as well. In late January, Florida State cornerback Kyle Meyers tweeted his move to the Green Wave.  Last month, Tulane confirmed the signing of Duke transfer offensive lineman Jaylen Miller.

Additionally, running back Corey Dauphine was granted a sixth season of eligibility in March.  Dauphine has been the Green Wave’s second-leading rusher each of the past two seasons.

Both Clemson, Georgia will receive at least $4 million each for 2021 opener

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Not surprisingly, it will pay handsomely for Clemson and Georgia to open up next season’s slate.

In February of this year, both Clemson and Georgia announced that the two football programs will kick off the 2021 season against each other.  The game will be played at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. on Saturday, Sept. 4.

According to information obtained by the Athens Banner-Herald, “[e]ach school will receive the greater of $4 million or 45 percent of the event’s net revenue” for the non-conference, neutral-site affair.  The Banner-Herald added that “[p]art of the event’s revenue is expected to be generated by media rights, ticket sales and sponsorships.”

The fact that each school will receive at least $4 million will help to offset the cost of getting this game on the schedule.  To make room for the non-conference matchup, Clemson canceled a previously-scheduled tilt with Wyoming while Georgia did the same with one against San Jose State.  Because of the cancellation, Clemson will pay Wyoming $1.1 million and Georgia will cut San Jose State a $1.8 million check.

That said, it’s the cost of putting on such a quality matchup.  One that has been and will continue to be must-see TV for the foreseeable future.

Along with the addition of a new home-and-home announced in April of last year, the Tigers and Bulldogs are now scheduled to face each other six times between 2021 and 2033, including the 2024 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game.  There’s also a previously announced home-and-home series scheduled for 2029 (in Clemson) and 2030 (in Georgia).

The two football programs have met 64 times previously, the first in 1897 and the most recent in 2014.  UGA leads the all-time series 42-18-4.