The Pitt Panthers are hosting in-state rival Penn State this Saturday night for a primetime showdown on national television. It is the most anticipated game on the Pitt home schedule this season and will likely draw the biggest crowd of the year for the Panthers. With all of the buzz and excitement for the third in a four-year revival in the rivalry series with the Nittany Lions, Pitt and Heinz Field are bracing fans showing up for the game to be patient with regard to parking because there is an afternoon baseball game going on that day.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are hosting the Miami Marlins at 1 PM on Saturday, and fans attending the baseball game will have priority status for parking spots before Pitt and Penn State fans start filling the lots. Fans attending the 8 PM football game are being asked not to arrive for the game until 5 PM, and no tailgating will be allowed in the lots from 1:30 to 5:00 PM. That sounds like an absolute disaster.
It seems as though Major League Baseball could have thrown Pitt a bone here by having the Pirates on the road this weekend. Scheduling in baseball can be tricky at times, but the Pitt home game against Penn State was scheduled years before the MLB schedule for the 2018 season was organized. And you know MLB would never dream of having the Pirates at home on the same day the Pittsburgh Steelers are playing at home. MLB does try to take into account concerns like that in multi-sport cities when it can avoid the hassles for their teams and their fans. If this were any other Pitt home game, considering the typical attendance, it may not have been a major problem. But the Penn State game is different because it will draw a nearly-packed Heinz Field crowd to the stadium. This attendance will be as close to resembling a Steelers home crowd as Pitt will get this season, and all fans attending the game will now be inconvenienced because MLB either didn’t care to or think to work around the college football schedule in Pittsburgh.
Fans will still be able to find other parking options in the city, of course, although those lots will not be maintained by Heinz Field and the city of Pittsburgh and it may require a little bit of a walk to the stadium. Fortunately, it’s not a bad walk to the stadium if you are up for it.
In short, college football fans attending the most anticipated home game on the Pitt schedule will have to take a back seat to fans attending a September game against two baseball teams playing below .500 baseball and a combined 38 games out of first place this Saturday.
The playoff field is set for the FCS Playoffs. Defending national champion and No. 1 North Dakota State took the top seed overall but will face a challenging bracket if the Bison are to claim another national title this year.
As the top seed, North Dakota State will own home-field advantage in the Fargo Dome for as long as they are in the playoffs, with the exception of a possible national title game appearance, which will be played in Frisco, Texas on January 5. North Dakota State’s portion of the bracket includes No. 4 seed Kennesaw State (who was the No. 2 team in the FCS top 25) and last year’s national title runners-up from James Madison. The Dukes were not seeded in this year’s tournament with a record of 8-3, but they are always to be considered a dangerous opponent this time of year.
A handful of teams ended playoff droughts with this year’s bracket. East Tennessee State is making its first playoff appearance since 1996, ending the longest drought among this year’s playoff teams. Delaware and Southeast Missouri State are each back in the playoff for the first time since 2010. The field also includes three first-time playoff teams; Incarnate Word, Lamar, and UC Davis.
The FCS Playoffs begin next weekend.
Michigan running back and special teams player Berkley Edwards was carted off the field on a stretcher in the fourth quarter at Michigan Stadium on Saturday in a scary scene that paused the game for roughly 10 minutes. The morning after the Wolverines beat Indiana, however, there is good news to report on Edwards. Edwards shared an update on his Twitter account to tell his followers and Michigan fans he has been released from the hospital and he is OK.
“Just got out the hospital,” Edwards said. “[E]verything is good!”
Edwards followed that up to say he did not see the Indiana player who hit him (Cam Jones, who was ejected for the hit) and his head is still hurting a bit.
It is unknown at this time what the status of Edwards will be for Michigan’s regular-season finale at Ohio State this week. The winner of the Michigan-Ohio State game will play in the Big Ten Championship Game as the East Division champion.
Send another coach through the coaching carousel. Multiple reports on Sunday say Texas State will move on from Everett Withers after this season. Football Scoop and The Athletic each reported news of the coaching change for the program.
According to Football Scoop, as reported by College Football Talk contributor Zach Barnett, Withers will not coach for Texas State this week in the regular season finale against Arkansas State.
Withers was hired by Texas State prior to the 2016 season to replace Dennis Franchione. Texas State had back-to-back 2-10 seasons in his first two years on the job and the Bobcats are just 3-8 this season with one game remaining. This will be the fourth straight season Texas State has had no more than four wins (and it could be a fourth straight year with no more than three wins).
The former James Madison head coach will likely manage to find a job somewhere on a coaching staff, even if not as a head coach. Texas State is now looking for its third head coach since jumping up from the FCS to the FBS in 2012.
After arguably the biggest weekend in UCF football history, the Knights are now enjoying their highest ranking in the AP Top 25 of the season and second-highest ranking in program history. UCF moved up to No. 8 in this week’s AP Top 25 poll as they finally managed to jump ahead fo a couple of power conference programs that have been standing in the way the past few weeks.
Alabama claimed all 61 first-place votes from the AP voters this week. The top-ranked Crimson Tide are followed by Clemson, Notre Dame, Michigan, Georgia, and Oklahoma as there were no changes in the top six. No. 7 Washington State, UCF, and LSU all took advantage of No. 12 West Virginia falling five spots after a loss at Oklahoma State.
UCF moved into a tie with LSU for the No. 8 spot in the ranking this week, but the Knights have officially moved ahead of Ohio State. The Buckeyes slipped to No. 10, dropping one spot.
Army is also making some headlines in the AP Top 25 by appearing in the ranking for the first time since 1996. Army cracked the Ap Top 25 at No. 23 to be in the AP Top 25 for just the third time since 1985.
Here is this week’s AP Top 25:
1. Alabama (61)
3. Notre Dame
7. Washington State
8. (tie) UCF
8. (tie) LSU
10. Ohio State
12. West Virginia
14. Utah State
15. Penn State
21. Boise State
22. Mississippi State
25. Iowa State