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It’s time once again to discuss Notre Dame to ACC rumors for some reason

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It seems to be an annual tradition for the college football offseason. Now that we have spring football behind us and we are counting down the days until the kicking off of the summer media day extravaganza, the toes are dipping in the realignment rumor pool yet again. This time we are discussing the possibility that Notre Dame may be having conversations with the ACC to join as a full-time conference member and abandon football independence.

With ACC spring meetings on deck, a conversation about Notre Dame exploring the option of joining the ACC as a full-league member was given a spark by comments by FOX Sports broadcaster Tim Brando in a radio interview in Louisville, which was shared on Twitter the other day and continues to be spotlighted on Monday.

Notre Dame has stood by its desire to remain a football independent for decades and continues to hold a seat at the adult table of collegiate athletics without a conference affiliation in football in large part because of its history. If the selling point to lure Notre Dame into a conference affiliation is access to the College Football Playoff, it may not be enough to change the minds of those in power in South Bend. Notre Dame retains a solid chance to make the playoff under the current four-team model as long as they have a record worth considering for playoff inclusion like a 12-0 record or an 11-1 record. There is very likely no chance an undefeated Irish would be left out of a four-team playoff, and it would stand to reason an 11-1 Notre Dame would have an excellent chance to be included in the College Football Playoff. They most certainly be in the conversation as a playoff candidate at the very least, with too many unknown variables to the playoff equation to be determined in each of the power conferences.

Even if and when the College Football Playoff expands to eight teams (or more?), an independent Irish would likely have a good chance to be considered for a spot if the record is worthy. Automatic bids for conference champions could alter the outlook a bit, but once again, a 12 or 11-win Notre Dame team being left out of a playoff field with eight spots overall feels unlikely in the great majority of the scenarios on the table.

Notre Dame joining a conference may happen some day, but the Irish have gone this long without being in a football conference and has shown no inkling of a desire to to abandon its football independence. Money tends to be the great motivator though, and if the ACC can convince Notre Dame the move to full membership is worth it, then the door should always remain open.

The ACC and Notre Dame recently announced future matchups through 2037 as part of the football partnership the conference has with the Irish, who are ACC members in nearly all other sports.  Maybe by 2037, the ACC will have convinced Notre Dame to join. Or not.

Tua Tagovailoa’s injury means little brother won’t be able to redshirt at Alabama this season

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Tua Tagovailoa‘s Injury Heard ‘Round the College Football World last Saturday, as it turns out, won’t just impact Alabama’s push for a sixth consecutive playoff berth.

Prior to Tagovailoa’s season-ending hip injury, Alabama had planned on redshirting Tagovailoa’s younger brother, Taulia Tagovailoa, who had been serving as the Crimson Tide’s No. 3 quarterback as a true freshman this season.  As the third-string quarterback, the younger Tagovailoa had played in four games in 2019, the threshold of appearances for a player to still maintain the ability to redshirt.

Because of the injury to his brother, however, Nick Saban confirmed Thursday that Tagovailoa will play Saturday against FCS Western Carolina, meaning a redshirt will officially be off the table.

We’re gonna play him this week in this game some kind of way regardless of how the game goes to try to get him some experience, some playing time and hopefully some confidence,” the head coach said on his weekly radio show. “When we had the unfortunate injury last week to Tua, that kind of negated the opportunity to be able to redshirt to Taulia. …

“With him being now the backup quarterback, we thought we needed to play him, because if something happens to this quarterback, Mac Jones, he’s going to be the guy that’s got to go in the game and try to win the game for us.”

A four-star member of the Crimson Tide’s 2019 recruiting class, Tagovailoa was rated as the No. 5 pro-style quarterback in the country and the No. 8 player at any position in the state of Alabama (he and his family moved to Tuscaloosa when his brother joined the Tide in 2017).  In limited action this season, Tagovailoa has completed seven-of-nine passes for 72 yards.

Tagovailoa will now serve as the redshirt sophomore Jones’ primary backup moving forward, and those two will compete for the starting job next year if the older Tagovailoa brother does the expected and enters the 2020 NFL Draft.

DB Deon White leaving Cal as a grad transfer

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After a stellar spring game, the stage seemed to be set for Deon White to shine in what would’ve been his last season at Cal.  Instead, the defensive back will finish his collegiate career at an undetermined elsewhere.

Via Twitter earlier this week, White announced that he has decided to leave the Golden Bears and transfer to another school.  As White would be departing with a bachelor’s degree in hand, he would be eligible to play at another FBS school in 2020.

Next season would serve as White’s final year of eligibility as he will take a redshirt for the 2019 campaign.

After beginning his career at a California junior college, White played in a dozen games during his first season with the Bears in 2018.  During this year’s spring game, he totaled a team-high seven tackles and two tackles for loss.

Despite all of that, White had played in just one game this season prior to his decision to enter the portal.

Broken jaw leaves Pitt’s top WR a game-time decision

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If Pitt is to keep its ACC Coastal hopes alive this weekend, they may have to do so (again) without a very productive piece of its offensive puzzle.

Maurice Ffrench suffered a broken jaw in Pitt’s Nov. 2 win over Georgia Tech, then was sidelined for this past week’s win over North Carolina.  With a trip to Blacksburg on tap for this Saturday, Ffrench is official a game-time decision for the matchup with Virginia Tech.

“He’s practiced this week,” head coach Pat Narduzzi said, noting that the senior was in non-contact mode. “His jaw is better than it was before.”

Ffrench had a steel plate inserted into his broken jaw, which will give him a better chance of seeing the field this weekend.

Ffrench currently leads all ACC players in receptions (75) and receptions per game (8.3).  The receptions per game are also third nationally.

Pitt is 4-2 in ACC play entering Week 13, tied with Virginia Tech for second place in the Coastal and a half-game behind first-place Virginia (5-2).  The Panthers have already lost the Cavaliers this year, meaning they would need UVa to lose its last conference game of the regular season (Nov. 29 against rival Tech) in addition to winning each of their last two games (at Tech, home vs. Boston College) in order to earn a spot opposite Clemson in the ACC championship game.

Dismissed by South Carolina, ex-USC DB Jamel Cook enters the portal

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Jamel Cook‘s roller coaster ride of a collegiate career officially includes a stop at the portal; whether it’ll include a third stop at an FBS school remains to be seen.

Late last month, following an arrest on one count of second-degree domestic violence, Cook was dismissed from the South Carolina football program.  Following up on speculation from earlier in the week, an East Coast USC official has confirmed that the defensive back’s name is now listed in the NCAA transfer database.

Cook was originally a four-star member of the Left Coast USC’s 2016 signing class, rated as the No. 17 player at any position in the state of Florida.  He played in three games in two years for the Trojans before transferring to the Gamecocks following the 2017 season.  Because of NCAA transfer rules, the defensive back was forced to sit out the 2018 season.

This year, Cook had appeared in one game prior to his off-field issue.