It’s official, Boston College and Georgia Tech taking ACC football to Ireland

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Get your passports updated, Boston College and Georgia Tech fans. You are going to Ireland next year.

As expected, Boston College and Georgia Tech will open the 2016 season in Ireland. The two ACC schools will play in the Aer Lingus College Football Classic in Aviva Stadium on September 3, 2016. The announcement was finally made this morning. ESPN 2 will air the game live from Dublin’s Aviva Stadium starting at 7:30 a.m. to give early rising college football fans something to watch while sipping on a morning cup of coffee waiting for the pregame shows to begin airing.

Boston College will serve as the home team in the ACC contest. Boston College was scheduled by the ACC to host Georgia Tech in the 2016 season. As noted by FBSchedules.com, Georgia Tech had pushed back a previously scheduled game against Mercer to the following week to make room for the season-opener in Ireland.

“I know the young men on our team will remember this experience for a lifetime, and I’m so excited for them,” Boston College head coach Steve Addazio said in a statement. “They will get to explore a new country, be immersed in a new culture, and then play the first game on the opening Saturday of the college football season. It’s great that we will get to share this experience with our conference friends from Georgia Tech.”

While this is Georgia Tech’s first visit to Ireland, head coach Paul Johnson has been there before.

“I’m excited for our guys to have the opportunity to experience playing in Ireland,” Johnson said in a statement. “Our players really enjoyed it at Navy when we played in Dublin in 1996 (vs. Notre Dame). It’ll be something they remember for the rest of their lives.”

Boston College will be returning to Ireland for the first time since playing in the 1988 Emerald Isle Classic against Army. Boston College is undefeated in Ireland and will look to improve its international record to 2-0. This will be the third college football game played in Ireland in six years. Penn State and UCF played in the Croke Park Classic to open the 2014 season and Notre Dame faced Navy in the Emerald Isle Classic to open the 2012 season. ACC commissioner John Swofford has said in the past he would like to see the ACC play more games in Europe, perhaps taking a page from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and his international playbook.

No word on whether the ACC will adopt a one-time nickname of the Transatlantic Coast Conference for the occasion. But they totally should, just for kicks.

Lott IMPACT Trophy announces semifinalists

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You know we are getting close to award season in college football because it seems this week has been filled with announcements about semifinalists for every award possible. Welcome to the party, Lott IMPACT Trophy. A total of nine semifinalists were announced by the Lott IMPACT Trophy, which is awarded to the best defensive player with a focus on success on and off the field, integrity, maturity, performance, academics, community and tenacity.

The nine semifinalists for this year’s Lott IMPACT Trophy are:

  • Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn
  • Cole Christiansen, LB, Army
  • Jordan Fuller, DB, Ohio State
  • Brandon Jones, DB, Texas
  • Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
  • Chris Orr, LB, Wisconsin
  • Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
  • Curtis Weaver, DL, Boise State
  • Evan Weaver, LB, Cal

Linebacker remains a strong position for the Lott IMPACT Trophy this season, with five of the nine semifinalists playing a linebacker position.

This year’s recipient of the Lott IMPACT Trophy will be announced on Dec. 15 at the Pacific Club in Newport Beach. This list of nine semifinalists will be trimmed down to four finalists prior to the announcement.

Kentucky’s Josh Allen took home the award last season.

Class of 2019 four-star Baylor commit says he’s heading to Utah

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Former Baylor quarterback Peyton Powell has a new football home in the Pac-12. Powell announced on Thursday he is heading to Utah to join the Utes program.

“It’s time for me to clear the air and I WILL be doing that at THE University of Utah,” Powell said in a statement share don his Twitter account on Thursday afternoon.

Powell came to Baylor with the hopes of being able to compete and play quarterback for the Bears. That opportunity was one of the reasons Baylor ended up winning his commitment out of high school, while many schools hoping to sign the four-star athlete could find ways to use his athleticism at different positions. Powell, a member of the Baylor Class of 2019, has not played this season and will have four years of eligibility remaining. NCAA rules would force Powell to sit out the 2010 season before being ruled eligible to play, but he may be given a chance to play right away considering he did not play during his freshman year at Baylor.

Arizona continues shaking up coaching staff with reported firing of defensive line coach

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As a year of disappointing results comes down the final stretch for the Arizona Wildcats, changes are already in the air for Kevin Sumlin and the program. On Thursday, Arizona continued to go through the process of overhauling its defensive coaching staff with the firing of defensive line coach Iona Uiagalelei.

News of the coaching change was first reported by Jason Scheer of Wildcat Authority. According to that same report, defensive analyst Greg Patrick will be moved into the position of defensive line coach, at least for the remainder of the current season.

Arizona ranks 73rd nationally in rushing defense, 113th in sacks, and 119th in tackles for a loss. These are all stats most commonly used to evaluate the performance of the defensive line, and the results this late in the season just simply aren’t good any way you look at it.

A month ago, Arizona parted ways with defensive coordinator Marcel Yates and linebackers coach John Rushing. Uiagalelei is the third defensive coach to be removed from the staff during the 2019 season.

Jonathan Taylor, Chuba Hubbard among semifinalists for Doak Walker Award

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Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor is attempting to do something that has only been done twice before by winning the Doak Walker Award in back-to-back seasons. Taylor was one of the 10 semifinalists revealed by the Doak Walker Award on Thursday, putting last year’s top running back one step closer to pulling off the rare feat on the college football award circuit.

Taylor will have some stiff competition for the award this season. Among the other semifinalists for the award include Oklahoma State’s Chuba Hubbard, the nation’s rushing leader with 1,726 yards and 20 rushing touchdowns (Taylor has 1,463 yards and 17 rushing touchdowns in the same number of games as Hubbard).

Darren McFadden of Arkansas is the most recent player to win the Doak  Walker Award in back-to-back seasons, doing so in 2006 and 2007. The only other player to win the award in consecutive seasons, and the only other two-time winner of the Doak Walker Award, is Ricky Williams of Texas. Williams won the award in 1997 and 1998. Taylor joined former Wisconsin running backs Melvin Gordon (2014), Montee Ball (2012) and Ron Dayne (1999) to move Wisconsin into first place for most all-time Doak Walker Award winners. Texas also has four awards won, but by three players (Ricky Williams twice, Cedric Benson in 2004 and D’Onta Foreman in 2016).

The other semi-finalists for the Doak Walker Award this year include LeVante Bellamy of Western Michigan (21 touchdowns leads the nation), AJ Dillon of Boston College, JK Dobbins of Ohio State, Clyde Edwards-Helaire of LSU, Travis Etienne of Clemson, Kenneth Gainwell of Memphis, Xavier Jones of SMU, Zack Moss of Utah.