UNC players don’t have to apologize for swagger

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The University of North Carolina is strutting its way to the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte against No. 1 Clemson. The Tar Heels have not lost since the season opener against South Carolina, coincidentally played in Charlotte, and have only hit their stride now in epic fashion. The Tar Heels left Pittsburgh with a 26-19 win a few weeks ago and have followed that up with blowout wins over Duke (66-31) and Miami (59-21). A division that typically waits for one team to rise up and take it has officially been taken by North Carolina, and they should not be apologizing for how they are doing it.

During UNC’s victory over Miami, Marquise Williams and Ryan Switzer each scored touchdowns and celebrated by throwing up the hand gesture commonly used by Miami players forming a “U,” only to turn it upside down in a show of disrespect. This is certainly nothing that has never been done before by Miami rivals, and a number of players over the years have done something similar to the Texas Longhorns hook’em horns hand signal. Williams and Switzer each apologized for that show of disrespect for Miami after the game.

“We knew [Miami] would come here and talk a lot of junk, but that’s something we shouldn’t have done,” Williams said, according to Joe Ovies of WRAL Sports Fan. “You’re in the heat of the moment and it’s cool to do something, but you’ve got to show class. I told Ryan we can’t do things like that even if it was something you just felt like doing to let them know ‘we’re in this game the whole night.'”

Credit both players for apologizing for the unsportsmanlike gestures, but UNC is now on track to play in its first ACC Championship Game in program history and hopes to spoil the championship plans of Clemson. Should UNC manage to upset Clemson, it could potentially knock the ACC out of the College Football Playoff. A one-loss UNC with an ACC title could make a late push but the sense seems to suggest the Tar Heels may still need some help elsewhere to crack the top four. Is that fair? Who knows. There are too many unknowns right now. But if UNC does knock Clemson, and thus, the ACC out of the playoff, there will be no reason to apologize. They’re just taking care of business.

North Carolina is one win away, or one Pittsburgh loss, from clinching the division. UNC faces Virgina Tech this Saturday.

Braden White named prestigious 12th Man at Texas A&M

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The 12th Man is a big, big deal at Texas A&M. In fact, it’s pretty much the brand of not just the football program, but the entire athletics department. Case in point, A&M’s athletics department website is 12thman.com.

For the uninitiated, in 1922 the Aggies found themselves short of players in a football game against Center College, the No. 1 team in the country at the time, after multiple players sustained injuries over the course of the game. Down to just 11 players, A&M student E. King Gill volunteered to suit up and stand on the sidelines in case the team needed him. Gill now has a statue outside of Kyle Field, and A&M’s student section is collectively referred to as the 12th Man.

As such, it’s a tremendous honor for an active Aggie player to be awarded the No. 12 and, after fullback Cullen Gillaspia donned the jersey for a record-tying 39 games, it’s time to hand it off to a new player.

On Tuesday, Jimbo Fisher awarded the No. 12 jersey to Braden White, a walk-on linebacker from Florence, Ala.

“I’m honored just to be able to represent this great university and everything about it,” White said. “It’s a true blessing.”

White is a redshirt junior who has checked all the boxes of a player who checks all the 12th Man boxes. He was named Defensive Scout Team MVP during his redshirt year of 2016 and was honored as the Top Conditioned Athlete at the Aggies’ 2018 team banquet. He has appeared in 18 career games, recording 16 career tackles playing primarily as a special teams contributor.

White will wear No. 12 for the first time next when Texas A&M — ranked, ironically, No. 12 in the preseason AP poll — hosts Texas State next Thursday night (8:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network).

UConn begins building out independent schedules with BC home-and-home

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Until they tell us otherwise, Connecticut is going to try to make it as an FBS independent. This upcoming season will be the Huskies’ final one as a member of the American Athletic Conference, as the Huskies’ Olympic sports will return to the Big East and the football team will go it alone.

This will require lots (and lots and lots) of scheduling work, and quickly. As of now, the Huskies have four games on the schedule for a season that begins 12 months from now.

While it does nothing to help the 2020 slate, UConn began chipping away at the mountain in front of it on Wednesday by announcing a home-and-home with Boston College. The first game will be Oct. 29, 2022 in Storrs, with the return game going down Oct. 28, 2023 in Chestnut Hill.

The two programs have met 14 times previously; BC leads the series 12-0-2. The Eagles took the most recent meeting 39-16 in 2017.

Additionally, BC announced a 2023-28 home-and-home with Army and a Sept. 9, 2023 home game with Holy Cross.

Safety graduate transfers from Penn State to Pitt

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Penn State safety Johnny Petrishen has left State College for Pittsburgh, where he is now a Panther.

Petrishen announced the transfer on Tuesday evening, and Pitt confirmed his addition on Wednesday morning.

Petrishen has two years of eligibility remaining thanks — if you want to use that term — to two medical redshirts.

A Lower Burrell, Pa., native, Petrishen appeared in 17 career games as a Nittany Lion, including all 13 last season. Primarily a special teams player, he posted eight career tackles and one TFL in State College.

NC State transfer Tim Kidd-Glass tweets move to Liberty

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Hugh Freeze may be dealing with what was a significant health issue, but he’s still working his first-year roster at Liberty.

On his personal Twitter account Tuesday evening, Tim Kidd-Glass announced that he “would like to thank God for allowing me to have another opportunity to further my football career… at Liberty University.” The announcement comes a couple of weeks after the safety triggered a move from North Carolina State by entering his name into the NCAA transfer database.

As a graduate transfer, Kidd-Glass will be eligible to play for the Flames in 2019.

The past three seasons, the Virginia native played in 33 games for the Wolfpack.  He started nine of those contests, all of which came during the 2017 season.