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Nebraska still working through possibilities for adding 12th game

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Nebraska did not play its scheduled opener against Akron on Saturday night, and the game was not played Sunday, either, after Nebraska offered to house the Zips across multiple dorm facilities on Saturday night.

Huskers AD Bill Moos told reporters Wednesday he would still like to get his team a 12th game, and is still working through the possibility of re-scheduling Akron for Dec. 1. Nebraska is off Oct. 27 and Akron isn’t. Akron is off Sept. 29 and Nebraska isn’t.

But neither team has a scheduled game for Dec. 1, and Moos said that remains the likeliest option at this point.

“I did leave with (Akron athletic director) Larry Williams the options of a 12th game. I thought we had very good dialogue. We kind of left it verbally that we’d like to play the game,” Moos said, via HuskerOnline. “We don’t have a common bye so it’d have to be at the end of the year. If both schools agreed to it, we could play on the Saturday after the end of the regular season barring if either team was in their conference championship game.

“That’s a loose end out there. That’s an option.”

Moos also said Nebraska could schedule an FCS opponent for Oct. 27, however, that would require lining up another team that happens to have a bye week and is willing to take a pummeling on short notice.

There is still the money factor to be worked out as well. For now, Nebraska is holding onto both the gate it made from selling 85,000 or so tickets and the $1.17 million it promised Akron. A no-refund policy is printed on each ticket, so Nebraska’s technically within its rights there, though Moos said it would honor the sold tickets should a 12th game be added. As for the guarantee, it’s not due until March. Moos said Nebraska will definitely cover Akron’s travel expenses, but it remains up in the air as to whether Nebraska would pay the rest for a game that didn’t happen. Akron, obviously, wants the money it was banking on. Nebraska, obviously, doesn’t want to pay for something that never happened.

That’s why the cleanest option for both sides seems to be to reschedule the game for Dec. 1, barring a surprise visit to the conference title game for either side.

Florida State did the same thing a year ago. Hurricane Irma forced the cancelation of the ‘Noles Sept. 9 home opener with ULM, and FSU rescheduled the game for Dec. 2. In one of the most awkward college football games of all time, Jimbo Fisher had already bounced for Texas A&M and it was incredibly obvious the 5-6 ‘Noles only played the game to keep their 36-year bowl streak alive. (And they did, winning 42-10.)

That game wasn’t officially rescheduled until November, so Moos and Nebraska have some time. What will be interesting to watch is both sides’ enthusiasm for a lame duck game if, say, a 7-4 Nebraska is contractually obligated to play a cold, meaningless game against a 4-7 Akron.

A&M AD Scott Woodward officially named to same post at LSU

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The beloved Ed Orgeron notwithstanding, you can officially fire up the Jimbo-back-to-the-bayou rumor mill.

Wednesday evening, LSU confirmed that Joe Alleva would be “transitioning” from his role as athletic director to that of special assistant to the president for donor relations.  Almost immediately, speculation centered on Texas A&M’s Scott Woodward as a potential, or even likely, replacement; Thursday morning, the university announced that Woodward would indeed succeed Alleva as athletic director.

“We are happy to welcome a fellow Tiger back home,” said LSU president F. King Alexander in a statement. “Scott brings a strong track record of winning championships, graduating student-athletes and building an infrastructure for future achievement. His leadership will take us into a new era for Tiger Athletics.”

Woodward graduated from LSU and served as director of external affairs at his alma mater from 2000-04, a tenure that in part coincided with Jimbo Fisher‘s seven-year run as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the football Tigers.  In December of 2017, Woodward hired Fisher as the Aggies’ head football coach.

The most interesting aspect fo the Woodward-Fisher dynamic? Fisher’s contract with A&M contains no buyout, which means he could leave College Station for another job and not owe a single copper Lincoln to the university.

Woodward, who spent the past four years at A&M, will be formally introduced at a press conference next Tuesday.

“Returning home to the LSU family to lead the department of athletics is incredibly humbling and exciting,” Woodward said. “The state university has been a part of my life for more than five decades, and I know – and I embrace – the high expectations of Tiger Nation. We will win championships and we will do it the right way, representing LSU with pride and dignity every step of the way. I want to thank President Alexander for the opportunity of a lifetime and I cannot wait to get started. Geaux Tigers!”

 

Texas Tech adds two more grad transfers

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It’s been a busy last few days, both incoming and outgoing, for Texas Tech and new head football coach Matt Wells on the transfer front.

Tuesday, quarterback McLane Carter announced that he has decided to take his leave of Lubbock and continue his collegiate playing career elsewhere.  The same day, however, Tech confirmed the addition of Penn State graduate transfer defensive back Zech McPhearson.

A day later, the roster Christmas continued for Wells as Tech announced that they have added two more graduate transfers — linebacker Evan Rambo of Cal and running back Armand Shyne of Utah.  As is the case with McPhearson, Rambo and Shyne will be eligible to play immediately in 2019.

McPhearson will have two years of eligibility remaining counting this season, Shyne one.  If Rambo’s appeal to the NCAA for a sixth season is successful — he missed all but four games in 2016 because of a season-ending injury before missing all of 2017 with an injury sustained in the spring — he’ll have two as well.

This past season, Shyne’s 513 yards rushing and five touchdowns on the ground were both second on the Utes.  Shyne will finish his time in Salt Lake City with 885 yards and nine touchdowns on 198 carries.

Rambo played in 22 games during his stint with the Golden Bears, starting five of those contests.

WR Brandon Benson tweets decision to transfer from SMU

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Back in January, it was reported that Brandon Benson had become one of the myriad players to place their names into the NCAA transfer database this offseason, signaling a potential move on from SMU. A couple of months later, the wide receiver has made the divorce official.

Utilizing his personal Twitter account, Benson announced in a tweet that, “after praying and talking to my family, I have decided to transfer from SMU to continue my football and academic careers.”

A three-star 2016 signee, only two members of the Mustangs’ class that year were rated higher than Benson. Despite that pedigree, Benson played in just 10 games (one start) in his three seasons with the AAC school, catching one pass for 72 yards and a touchdown. That scoring play came as a redshirt freshman in 2017 against FCS Stephen F. Austin.

Syracuse and Pitt add future home-and-home games with Western Michigan

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Any time a MAC program can land a home-and-home deal with a program from a power conference is considered a nice victory. To be able to land two is even better.

Western Michigan has done just that with the addition of two home-and-home series with ACC members Syracuse and Pittsburgh. The addition of two games with Syracuse is a continuation of a current arrangement between the two schools while the games with Pitt are new to the schedule.

Western Michigan will host Syracuse on September 26, 2020 and the Broncos will pay a visit to the Orange on September 9, 2023. Pittsburgh will host the MAC program on September 18, 2021 and the Panthers will visit Western Michigan on September 17, 2022.

As members of the ACC, both Syracuse and Pittsburgh are required to schedule at least one non-conference game against another power conference opponent. Western Michigan does not satisfy that scheduling requirement but each school has the requirement satisfied in the years with their Western Michigan games. Pitt is scheduled to play at Tennessee in 2021 and will host West Virginia and Tennessee in 2022. Syracuse is set to play at Rutgers in 2020 and will play at Purdue in 2023.

Western Michigan has plenty of power conference opponents on the future schedules in addition to the home-and-home deals with Syracuse and Pittsburgh, but the other games currently scheduled are all road games. Western Michigan will play at Michigan State this year (they also play at Syracuse in their original scheduling agreement). Future road games against power conference opponents include Notre Dame (2020), Michigan (2021), Michigan State (2022, 2025), Iowa (2023), Illinois (2025), and Wisconsin (2026).