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Exiting Week 11, half the Power Five divisions still up for grabs

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Week 11 brought a little clarity on the Power Five divisional front, but not much.

Entering the weekend, Alabama (SEC West) and Georgia (SEC East) had already wrapped up divisional titles and spots in their conference’s championship game.  Exiting the weekend, another two Power Five divisions were decided — ACC Atlantic (Clemson) and Big Ten West (Northwestern).

That means that, with two weeks remaining in the regular season, four of the eight Power Five divisions remain up for grabs.  As we head toward Week 12, just one of those, the ACC Coastal, is likely to be settled next weekend — maybe.

If Pitt (5-1) beats Wake Forest or Virginia (4-2) loses to Georgia Tech regardless of what Pitt does, the Panthers, who own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Cavaliers, would win the Coastal.  Pitt could also win the division if it loses this weekend and Virginia wins, but beats Miami in the regular-season finale regardless of what Virginia does that last weekend.  Virginia needs to win its last two and Pitt lose its last two to claim the division.

Two of the other three Power Five divisions will probably go down to the very last weekend of the regular season, while the other definitely will

BIG TEN EAST
Michigan (6-0): claims the division if it beats Ohio State in Week 13, regardless of what U-M does in Week 12 against Indiana.  Could win the division in Week 12 if it beats Indiana (2-5)  and Ohio State loses to Maryland (3-4), regardless of what happens in Week 13 in The Game.
Ohio State (5-1): claims the division if it wins its last two games (at Maryland, vs. Michigan), regardless of what Michigan does in Week 12 against Indiana. Could win the division with a loss in Week 12 if Michigan loses in Week 12 and it beats U-M in Week 13.

PAC-12 NORTH
Washington State (6-1): claims the division if it beats Washington in Week 13, regardless of what happens in Week 12 against Arizona. Could win the division in Week 12 if it beats Arizona (4-3) and Washington loses to Oregon State (1-5), regardless of what happens in Week 13 in the Apple Cup.
Washington (5-2): claims the division if it wins its last two games (vs. Oregon State, at Washington State), regardless of what Washington State does in Week 12 against Arizona. Could win the division with a loss in Week 12 if Washington State loses in Week 12 and it beats Wazzu in Week 13.

PAC-12 SOUTH
When the Army came up with the FUBAR acronym, I’m quite certain they had the current state of this division in mind — although USC’s loss to Cal in Week 11 made things a bit easier as the Trojans have been eliminated from contention.  Utah currently leads the South at 5-3, with Arizona and Arizona State right behind at 4-3.  The two in-state rivals will meet in the last game of the regular season — UA has another game the week before with Washington State, ASU with Oregon — while Utah finishes off its conference slate next Saturday as they take on Colorado.

First, the head-to-head:

  • Arizona: lost to Utah
  • Arizona State: beat Utah
  • Utah: beat Arizona, lost to Arizona State

Based off that:

Utah wins if… They beat Colorado and Arizona State loses at least one game.
Arizona wins if… They beat Washington State and Arizona State, and Utah loses to Colorado.
Arizona State wins if… They beat Oregon and Arizona.

There’s also the possibility of a three-way tie if Utah loses to Colorado and the winner of the Arizona-Arizona State game loses the week before, which would leave all three teams at 5-4.  In that scenario, Arizona State would win any three-way tiebreaker — head-to-head results if it beat Arizona; record in intra-divisional games if it lost to Arizona, based on the win over Utah.  Simple, right?

Speaking of simple, what of the division-less Big 12?

Two teams, Oklahoma and West Virginia, sit at 6-1 while another two, Iowa State and Texas, are at 5-2.  Each of those teams have two conference games apiece remaining:

  • Oklahoma: Kansas, at West Virginia
  • West Virginia: at Oklahoma State, Oklahoma
  • Iowa State: at Texas, Kansas State
  • Texas: Iowa State, at Kansas

As far as head-to-head is concerned, Texas beat Oklahoma, which beat Iowa State, which beat West Virginia, which beat Texas.  Suffice to say, the two participants in the Big 12 championship game won’t be decided until Week 13.

Blood clot in C.J. Fuller’s lung caused ex-Clemson RB’s death

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C.J. Fuller died suddenly the afternoon of Oct. 3 after the former Clemson running back suffered chest pains as well as a suspected seizure.  Nearly 10 weeks later, a cause of the 22-year-old’s death has been released.

According to the Charleston Post & Courier, the Pickens County (SC) Coroner’s Office has determined that Fuller died as the result of a pulmonary thromboembolism and deep vein thrombosis stemming from a football injury.  A pulmonary thromboembolism is essentially a blood clot that breaks free and ultimately becomes lodged in the lungs.

Fuller had suffered a knee injury playing flag football in August of this year and underwent surgery the following month.  On the day of his death, he attended his first physical therapy session, one that reportedly went off without an issue.

“Our thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathies are with C.J.’s family,” Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney said in a statement at the time of Fuller’s death. “I’ve known C.J. a long time and watched him grow up through the Easley rec leagues all the way through Easley High School. I’m proud of what he accomplished as a Clemson Tiger, most of all, his accomplishment of being a Clemson graduate. Our deepest condolences and the thoughts of our program are with his family this evening. May he rest in peace.”

Following the 2017 season, Fuller left the team as a would-be graduate transfer. In late March, Fuller, who was expected to continue his collegiate playing career at another program, was one of three individuals charged in connection to an alleged armed robbery in downtown Clemson.

In 2017, Fuller, who began that season as the starter, was fifth on the Tigers with a career-high 217 yards and three touchdowns. He finished the Tigers portion of his playing career with 599 yards and four touchdowns on 147 carries, as well as 18 receptions for 155 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

One of those touchdown catches came in the College Football Playoff semifinal win over Ohio State in 2016. The Tigers went on to win the national championship that season.

Fuller earned a degree in sociology from Clemson in August, the same month in which he sustained the injury that preceded his death.

Auburn transfer TE Jalen Harris lists Georgia, Colorado among five potential landing spots

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It’s unclear at this point to where Jalen Harris will ultimately transfer, but the list of potential landing spots has been significantly whittled down.

In mid-September, Harris announced that he would be transferring from Auburn.  On Twitter Tuesday, the tight end revealed his list of five finalists that will serve as possible transfer destinations, including a pair of SEC schools in Georgia and Vanderbilt.

The other three schools include a pair of Power Five programs (Colorado, Kansas State) as well as one from the Group of Five (Troy).

A decision from Harris is expected at some point next week.

Harris did not play in more than four games this season, meaning he preserved a year of eligibility under the new redshirt rule.  He will also head to his new college football home as a graduate transfer, meaning he’ll be eligible to play immediately in 2019.

As a fourth-year senior this past season, the 6-4, 257-pound Harris played in three games before opting to transfer.  The previous three seasons, the Montgomery, Ala., native played in 39 games, with most of that action coming on special teams and as a blocking tight end.

Harris did, though, catch a pair of touchdown passes among his four career receptions.  Both touchdowns came during the 2016 season.

Richmond confirms death of DB Augustus Lee

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Sadly, tragedy has yet again struck the college football community.

Tuesday, Richmond confirmed that Spiders football player Augustus “Gus” Lee had passed away earlier in the day.  According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Virginia Department of Health’s Central District Office of the Chief Medical Examiner declined to provide details on the cause of the redshirt freshman defensive back’s death.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Augustus Lee,” Richmond head football coach Russ Huesman said in a statement sent out by the FCS program. “Gus was a terrific young man and a great member of our Richmond family. His loss is a true tragedy to those who knew and loved him. Our thoughts and prayers are with Gus’ family. This is a very difficult time for everyone in the Richmond Spider family.”

“I have been in touch with Gus’s family to express our deepest condolences on behalf of the entire University,” a statement from president Ronald Crutcher began. “Gus was a sophomore from Fairfax, Virginia, who played on our football team. He was an undeclared pre-business major and a good friend, especially to his teammates and his fellow student-athletes. We extend our deepest sympathies to Gus’s family, his teammates, professors, and many friends on our campus.”

Lee played in 11 games this past season, with most of that action coming on special teams.  He was named Defensive MVP of the Spiders’ spring game earlier this year.

Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to all of those impacted by Lee’s passing.

Blake Cashman becomes second Minnesota player to skip bowl game

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A second Minnesota football player has decided to end the collegiate portion of his playing career prematurely.

On Instagram Tuesday, Blake Cashman announced that, “after a lot of thought and discussions with people close to me,” he has decided he will not play in Minnesota’s Quick Lane Bowl matchup with Georgia Tech Dec. 26. “This was a very a hard decision for me, but I feel in my heart that getting a jump start on training will give me the best opportunity at the next level,” the linebacker wrote.

This season serves as the senior’s final year of eligibility.

Cashman currently leads the Gophers in tackles with 104 and is tied for the team lead in tackles for loss with 15.  His 2½ sacks are second on the team, while his five pass breakups are good for third.

Earlier this month, teammate and starting offensive tackle Donnell Greene also used Instagram to announce that he has signed with an agent and will not play in the Gophers’ bowl game.  Greene and Cashman are two of at least a baker’s dozen players who have sidelined themselves for their respective team’s bowl game.

  • West Virginia offensive tackle Yodny Cajuste (HERE)
  • Iowa tight end Noah Fant (HERE)
  • Michigan defensive lineman Rashan Gary
  • West Virginia quarterback Will Grier (HERE)
  • NC State wide receiver Kelvin Harmon (HERE)
  • Arizona State wide receiver N'Keal Harry (HERE)
  • Oklahoma State running back Justice Hill (HERE)
  • Houston defensive lineman Ed Oliver (HERE)
  • NC State linebacker Germaine Pratt (HERE)
  • South Carolina wide receiver Deebo Samuel (HERE)
  • LSU cornerback Greedy Williams (HERE)