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Alabama-Louisville, Penn State-Pitt, Ohio State-TCU all booked for primetime

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The early season primetime schedule is starting to come together. On Wednesday, ESPN announced the first three games that will be the spotlight game of the week for ABC’s Saturday Night Football. Perhaps not so surprising, Alabama and Ohio State each make an appearance in the first three weeks.

ABC’s Saturday Night Football broadcasts will begin in Orlando, Florida for the Camping World Kickoff between defending national champion Alabama and Louisville. The matchup between the Crimson Tide and Cardinals will be played on September 1 with the standard start time for the broadcast at 8:00 p.m. ET. ABC will also broadcast the following day’s game in Arlington, Texas between Miami and LSU at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Also in Week 1, NBC will air Notre Dame’s home game against Michigan beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET. The opening weekend of college football will conclude on Monday, September 3 with Florida State hosting Virginia Tech at 8:00 p.m. on ESPN.

Week 2 will take ABC to western Pennsylvania for the in-state rivalry game between Pittsburgh and Penn State. It will be the first time the two schools have kicked off under the lights since the mid-1980s. In Week 3, ABC heads back to Arlington for the matchup between TCU and Ohio State. A year after Urban Meyer pointed out his concerns about playing so many night games, it is possible the Buckeyes will be playing at least two night games away from home in September. In addition to the game against TCU in Arlington, Ohio State’s road game at Penn State feels like a near lock to appear in primetime. Penn State could also be playing three primetime games in September with the Pitt road game, a Friday night game at Illinois, and the hypothetical home game against the Buckeyes.

More kickoff times will be confirmed at later times, but FOX has reportedly already selected a handful of games to broadcast this season. FOX has claimed this season’s Ohio State-Michigan, Oklahoma-Texas, and Michigan-Michigan State games. Of those three, the most likely to be placed in primetime on FOX would be the Michigan-Michigan State game, with the other two traditionally being played in the afternoon. FOX is expected to also grab a Week 2 matchup between Stanford and USC for a possible primetime broadcast. Another option might be Oklahoma’s home game against Chip Kelly and UCLA.

But the schedule is now starting to get some kickoff times locked in, which means the season will be here sooner than you may realize.

Oklahoma State OT Arlington Hambright announces transfer to Colorado

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Former Oklahoma State offensive tackle Arlington Hambright is ready for his final season of college football. He’ll play it at Colorado, Hambright announced via Twitter.

“I give all glory and praise to God, without him I would be nothing but I will be spending my last year in Boulder, Colorado playing in the Pac-12 under some GREAT coaches and for [an] amazing University,” Hambright announced, via Twitter. “Now let’s get to work!”

Reports of Hambright potentially transferring from Oklahoma State surfaced earlier this month as the player transfer fun has continued to run wild this offseason. While no specific reason for his reason for transferring has been made public, he will certainly be looking to close out his college football career on a high note. An ankle injury brought an early end to Hambright’s 2018 season after starting the first five games of the season. He did return for the Liberty Bowl against Missouri, but Hambright will look to get in a full season as a potential starter in the Pac-12 this fall.

E.J. Price, Kentucky OL with starting experience, leaves Wildcats

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Coming off one of the most successful seasons in recent memory in Lexington, Kentucky now has a hole to plug on the offensive line. Starting offensive tackle E.J. Price has reportedly left the football program. According to a report from Kentucky Sports Radio, Price will pursue other opportunities and a university spokesperson confirmed he is no longer with the program.

Price transferred to Kentucky from USC in 2017, but it was about a year ago Price suggested he was ready to leave Kentucky too. However, Price stuck with the Wildcats in 2018. He started 11 of 13 games for Kentucky as the Wildcats turned in a 10-win season capped with a victory in the Capital One Bowl against Penn State. It was Kentucky’s first 10-win season since 1977 and their first bowl victory since the 2008 season.

What’s next for Price remains to be seen. He will be required to sit out the 2019 season if he transfers to another FBS program unless he applies for a waiver and receives approval to be eligible in the fall.

As for Kentucky, the spring will open with a starting job up for grabs on the offensive line, although the return of Landon Young from a season-ending injury a year ago should help solidify the efforts up front.

Virginia Tech promotes ex-Hokie Justin Hamilton to safeties coach

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Virginia Tech has promoted director of player development Justin Hamilton to safeties coach, the program announced Monday.

“Justin has more than proven his mettle to our staff over the past year and has earned this opportunity to take the next step in his football career,” head Hokie Justin Fuente said in a statement. “We know how invested Justin is in the continued success of our program. He’s a bright and talented coach who has built a solid rapport with our players and football staff. Coach Foster and I are both excited to expand his responsibilities with our team.”

A former Hokie player himself, Hamilton spent the bulk of this decade coaching at smaller programs in the Commonwealth. He was UVA-Wise’s defensive coordinator from 2011-13 and coached linebackers at VMI from 2014-17.

Hamilton fills a void created by the departure of current safeties coach Tyrone Nix. Virginia Tech officially said goodbye to him on Monday by announcing his departure for Ole Miss, though Ole Miss has yet to say anything as of press time.

Derrick Nix is on staff as Ole Miss’ running backs coach.

Southern Miss reportedly hiring offensive coordinator away from Arkansas State

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Southern Miss reportedly has its offensive coordinator, and the hire is more notable for who it’s not than who it is.

After the fiasco that was Art Brilesinterview and interview postscript, Golden Eagles head coach Jay Hopson has decided to go with the decidedly uncontroversial choice of Arkansas State offensive coordinator Buster Faulkner, according to FootballScoop. (Full disclosure: I also write for FootballScoop.)

Faulkner spent the past three seasons as the offensive coordinator at Arkansas State, and prior to that spent four in a similar role at Middle Tennessee. Faulkner’s first stint as an offensive coordinator came in 2010 at Murray State, where his Racers offense became the first in FCS history to post a 500-yard passer, a 200-yard rusher and a 200-yard receiver in the same game.

Faulkner takes over for Shannon Dawson, who was let go and subsequently became the tight ends coach at Houston.

Southern Miss finished No. 109 nationally in yards per play and No. 90 in scoring; the Golden Eagles went 6-5 but did not garner a bowl bid last season. Arkansas State, meanwhile, was No. 31 in yards per play and No. 55 in scoring.