The Conference USA Championship has existed since 2005 and, thus far, only one program acquired since the league’s mass Sun Belt addition in 2013-14 has reached the game: Western Kentucky in each of the past two seasons.
That’s about to change.
North Texas, a 2013 addition, all but wrapped up the C-USA West title with a 24-23 win at Louisiana Tech. The Mean Green trailed 17-10 at the half and 23-17 in the fourth quarter before going on top for good on a 14-yard Jeffrey Wilson scamper with 6:04 remaining and surviving a missed 53-yard field goal by the Bulldogs with 2:39 to play.
That victory pushed the Mean Green to 5-1 in C-USA play, one game ahead in the loss column of 4-2 UAB and 3-2 Southern miss. North Texas closes conference play with UTEP at home on Saturday and a visit to Rice on Nov. 25 — a pair of teams that are 0-8 in C-USA when not facing each other. And here’s the kicker: thanks to head-to-head victories over UAB and Southern Miss, North Texas needs only one win against UTEP or Rice to clinch its first West Division championship.
In the East Division, a pair of programs with new coaching hires appear on a collision course. Fellow 2013 addition Florida Atlantic, under new head coach Lane Kiffin, claimed significant control over the division with a 30-25 win over Marshall on Friday night.
The Owls are being chased by their South Florida rivals in another 2013 Sun Belt acquisition Florida International, led by a new hire in Butch Davis. The Golden Panthers moved to 4-1 in conference with a 14-7 victory over UTSA on Saturday.
FIU visits FAU on Nov. 18, with the winner seizing the fast track to its own C-USA Championship debut against (most likely) North Texas.
A member of the Georgia football program was arrested Wednesday night. Linebacker Jaden Hunter was arrested and charged with driving with a suspended or revoked license. He was also charged with stopping, standing, or parking in a prohibited area.
Hunter spent just two hours in jail after being released on bond late Wednesday night.
The charges are misdemeanors and his status with the Bulldogs has not been confirmed with regard to any possible suspensions or other forms of discipline by head coach Kirby Smart. Given the nature of the charges, it would seem this would be far from calling for removal from the program or any significant form of discipline unless there is more to the story behind the scenes.
Hunter did become the second Georgia football player to be arrested in the month of March. Earlier in the month, redshirt freshman Latavious Brini was arrested on one count of simple battery.
The William & Mary football family is mourning the death of Nate Evans. Evans, 19, was the victim of a shooting Thursday night, according to a report from The Virginian-Pilot on Friday.
“Nate’s is a loss we are feeling deeply within our program,” William & Mary head coach Mike London said in a released statement. “Faith and family are the foundations of our program. We value relationships first.
“Our team has gathered together to support each other as we deal with the grief that comes from this tragedy. Additionally, we will do all we can to support and comfort Nate’s family and loved ones through this difficult time.”
Police in Norfolk responded to a call about gunshots late Thursday night. The running back was declared dead at the scene of the call. What led to the shooting remains unknown. No arrests have been made at this time as an investigation continues.
Ohio State seems to be losing a wide receiver from the program. Multiple reports from around the Ohio State football program have suggested wide receiver L'Christian Smith will leave the program as a transfer at the end of the spring semester.
Smith was a four-star recruit in Ohio State’s Class of 2018. Smith redshirted the 2018 season and still has four years of eligibility remaining. Smith played in three games, allowing him to preserve a year of eligibility under the NCAA’s modified redshirt rules last season.
Of course, barring any potential waiver request, Smith will have to sit out the 2019 season due to NCAA transfer rules (that continue to be more flexible than ever before) if he transfers to another FBS program.
Ohio State should still be in pretty good shape as far as the wide receivers are concerned after the potential loss of Smith. And with Justin Fields eligible to play right away at the quarterback position, the Buckeyes should still have good firepower in the passing game working for them next fall.
USC is dealing with many negative stories on a number of fronts and now you can add one more to the Trojans’ docket.
As detailed by ESPN, former cardinal and gold kicker Matt Boermeester has filed a lawsuit against the university in district court over his controversial expulsion in 2017:
The lawsuit includes seven causes of action, including selective Title IX enforcement, breach of contract, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and represents the latest step in Boermeester’s ongoing legal battle with the school. In 2017, Boermeester, who remains two classes shy of graduation, sued for his expulsion to be overturned in superior court, but the attempt was unsuccessful.
“What happened to Matt Boermeester at USC should terrify anyone who believes in the right to due process and innocent-until-proven-guilty,” attorney Andrew T. Miltenberg said in a statement to the site. “Based on nothing more than a third-party report by a nonwitness — essentially a rumor that was easily and repeatedly disputed — a star athlete lost his education and his future career in the NFL.
Boermeester was kicked out of the school not long after he delivered one of the highlights of the Clay Helton era at USC with a game-winning kick to secure the Rose Bowl back in January of 2017. The issue started back when a member of the school’s tennis team reported an incident allegedly involving the kicker putting his hands on his girlfriend, which prompted a school investigation into the matter. That eventually led to Boermeester’s expulsion despite the woman in question (who is still with Boermeester, according to ESPN) denying what happened and blasting the school for their handling of the matter.
USC’s Title IX coordinator was also named to the suit, which comes after legal wrangling between the parties last year in Los Angeles Superior Court.