Power Five/Group of Five divide evident in recruiting rankings

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Boise State carried the banner for Group of Five conferences last season, knocking off Arizona in the Fiesta Bowl while Colorado State, Marshall and Northern Illinois all enjoyed solid seasons as well.

But there’s no question the gap between the ACC/Big Ten/Big 12/Pac-12/SEC and the AAC/Conference USA/MAC/Mountain West/Sun Belt is widening. It’s easy to see the difference on Saturdays, with games from Group of Five conferences being played in smaller stadiums and often difficult to find on TV. Autonomy measures will only grow the gap between FBS powers and non-powers.

But perhaps the easiest-to-grasp view of the gap comes from looking at Rivals’ rankings of 2015’s top 250 recruits, only three of whom are committed to schools outside the Power Five.

Those players, all of whom garnered four-star ratings from Rivals: Wide receiver Tristan Payton (No. 142, Jacksonville, Fla.) is committed to UCF, four-star quarterback Chad President (No. 212, Temple, Texas) is committed to Tulsa and quarterback Brett Rypien (No. 232, Spokane, Wash.) is committed to Boise State.

Three uncommitted members of the Rivals250 have “high” interest in Group of Five programs, too: Four-star offensive tackle Toby Weathersby (No. 98, Houston, Texas) is down to Arkansas, LSU and Houston; four-star running back T.J. Simmons (No. 166, Lakeland, Fla.) is down to Marshall and Temple; and four-star receiver Jaylinn Hawkins (No. 233, Buena Park, Calif.) is down to Arizona, Arizona State, Boise State, Cal, Oregon and Utah.

With two days until signing day, Rivals’ 60 highest-rated recruiting classes are all Power Five programs — Willie Taggart and South Florida are currently tied with Purdue at No. 61, giving them the most talented crop of incoming freshman of any Group of Five school.

This isn’t exactly new — AAC/Conference USA/MAC/Mountain West/Sun Belt have always struggled to recruit against Power Five programs given the facilities and resources available — but since recruiting rankings do matter, it’s another reason to believe a Group of Five school may never contend for a spot in the College Football Playoff.

Texas to honor ’69 champs with throwback uniforms

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Some traditional powers in college football (Notre Dame, Ohio State, Nebraska) can get away with changing their uniforms every so often. Others cannot, or are simply too timid to try (Texas, Alabama, Penn State). Yet almost all of them get the itch to switch things up from time to time, so they end up mining their not-that-different past for some much-needed variety.

Such is the case at Texas, where the No. 15 Longhorns will wear 1969 throwbacks against Kansas.

The ’69 season was a nice one at Texas, where Darrell Royal‘s ‘Horns scored wins over No. 8 Oklahoma, No. 2 Arkansas (in arguably the biggest game in college football history) and No. 9 Notre Dame en route to the school’s first of two straight national championships and second of four overall.

1969 was also a special season for all of college football, as it marked the 100th anniversary of the sport’s birth. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the ’69 title and the 150th anniversary of college football. Like many teams, Texas has noted the sport’s 150th birthday by wearing the CFB150 patch on its chests, but that and all other pieces of flair (save the Nike swoosh, of course) are gone in favor of 1960s simplicity.

The 1969 Texas team is also notable in that it is the last all-white national championship team in college football.

The uniforms and the players wearing them will hit the field at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday (LHN).

WVU WR Tevin Bush enters transfer portal

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West Virginia running back Tevin Bush has entered the transfer portal, head coach Neal Brown has announced.

“Tevin has had a rough few months,” Brown told WV Metro News. “He has had lingering foot and heel issues. He’s going to redshirt the rest of this season and enter the transfer portal. I support that decision. He wants to go closer to home.”

The New Orleans native has spent time at running back and in the slot for the Mountaineers. He played nine games at running back as a freshman in 2017, totaling 20 carries for 81 yards and four catches for 15 yards.

He moved to wide receiver last season and snared 14 passes for 209 yards in 11 games while rushing six times for 103 yards, including a career-long 79-yarder against Baylor. Bush scored one career touchdown as a Mountaineer.

Bush totaled six receptions for 95 yards and a touchdown and three carries for 15 yards in four games this season. He will be able to count this season as a redshirt and play elsewhere in 2020, most likely a program in or around Louisiana.

Four-star 2019 corner tweets transfer from Arkansas

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For the second time today, there’s some Arkansas personnel news on which to touch.

Monday, Chad Morris confirmed that linebacker D’Vone McClure left the team to deal with family responsibilities.  Later that same day, teammate Devin Bush took to Twitter to announce that, “[a]fter speaking with my parents and coaches, I’ve made the decision to officially enter the transfer portal.”

A four-star member of the Razorbacks’ 2019 recruiting class, Bush was rated as the No. 28 corner in the country and the No. 13 player at any position in the state of Louisiana.  The New Orleans native was the highest-rated defensive signee in Arkansas’ class this year.

Because he played in just four games this year, Bush will be able to take a redshirt for his true freshman season.

WR Weston Bridges is fourth Michigan State player to enter portal

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In the offseason, Weston Bridges changed positions.  Midway through the 2019 season, it appears Bridges is now set to change schools.

On his personal Twitter account Monday afternoon, Bridges indicated that he has decided to take his leave of Michigan State and transfer to an undetermined elsewhere.  It has subsequently been confirmed that the wide receiver is headed into the NCAA transfer database.

A three-star member of the Spartans’ 2017 recruiting class, Bridges was rated as the No. 31 running back in the country and the No. 24 player at any position in the state of Ohio.  During the spring this year, Bridges moved from running back to receiver.

After redshirting as a true freshman, Bridges carried the ball 16 times for 53 yards last season.  He was suspended for a late-September game because of unspecified violations of team rules.

Bridges is the fourth MSU football player to enter the portal since the 2019 season kicked off, joining linebacker Brandon Bouyer-Randle (HERE) as well as a pair of running backs in Connor Heyward (HERE) and La’Darius Jefferson (HERE).