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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.

WVU wideout Dillon Spalding transfers to James Madison, will play against old team in Week 1

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In the NFL, you’ll often see teams sign a player who was just cut off another team the week or two before they wind up playing that opponent. We could sort of have a college football version of that scenario in the case of wide receiver Dillon Spalding.

The former West Virginia redshirt freshman announced on Twitter that he had committed to James Madison and would be transferring to join the team in 2019. The team’s opponent in Week 1? None other than the Mountaineers in Morgantown.

Of course any knowledge Spalding might bring with him is limited given that both JMU and WVU have new coaching staffs in place this year. The former three-star recruit is moving a little closer to his Lorton, Va. hometown and will have all four years of eligibility remaining between redshirting last season due to an injury and the drop down to the FCS level.

The Dukes have added a solid amount of FBS talent recently for new coach Curt Cignetti. In addition to Spalding, former Penn State wide receiver Brandon Polk joined the program this offseason and both will catch passes from ex-Pitt QB Ben DiNucci.

Wildcats see attendance spike after allowing beer and wine sales at Arizona Stadium in 2018

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Arizona posted a disappointing 5-7 campaign in Kevin Sumlin’s first season in Tucson but Arizona fans still came out and enjoyed themselves thanks, in part, to the school allowing beer and alcohol sales for the first time.

As the Arizona Daily Star reports, attendance for the Wildcats home football games actually ticked up last year an average of 2,804 people while incidents of ejections at the stadium did the same — though were below historic averages.

“We’ve been very pleased with the rollout across the board in Arizona Stadium and McKale,” athletic director Dave Heeke said. “This was really focused around a number of things that we’ve done in the area of fan amenities and food service, and beverage selection was a key component.”

Some 43 people were kicked out of seven home games at UA, which is double the 21 from 2017 but well below the numbers the school reported for seasons when they played in-state rival Arizona State. It seems that Territorial Cup contest was the biggest indicator of above-average ejections in a year though game-by-game data was not given.

“I really haven’t noticed an increase in any type of criminal behavior due to beer and wine sales,” UAPD spokesman Sgt. Sean Shields told the paper. “Obviously from year to year the ejections and different numbers change and they fluctuate, but it’s very hard to pinpoint the reason why those happen.”

The amount of revenue generated by beer and alcohol sales wasn’t detailed by the school but Heeke noted it covered the additional costs on game days and the profit overall wasn’t hugely significant. Still, it seems the atmosphere at Arizona Stadium was still enough to lure fans into their seats despite plenty of late starts and a football team that was largely up-and-down in 2018.

Ex-FAU defensive coordinator Tony Pecoraro joins Kansas staff in off-the-field role

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Not many people can say they worked for the very different styles of head coaches Lane Kiffin and Les Miles back-to-back but Tony Pecoraro certainly can.

The recently let go Florida Atlantic defensive coordinator has apparently landed a new gig in Lawrence as a senior defensive analyst, primarily serving under Jayhawks DC D.J. Eliott.

Pecoraro took over the Owls defense in 2018 after spending the previous two seasons running things on that side of the ball for Southern Miss. Things didn’t quite work out in Boca however as FAU couldn’t get off the field like they did in Kiffin’s first year and allowed 31.8 points per game.

The veteran coordinator, who has Power Five assistant experience from a stint at Florida State, was replaced at FAU by longtime Oklahoma State DC Glenn Spencer back in December.

Wisconsin unlikely to join trend of selling beer and alcohol at football games anytime soon

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Wisconsin fans are known to hold more than their own when it comes to enjoying an adult beverage or two before, during and after Badgers football games but they apparently will have to keep waiting for the opportunity to buy a cold one at Camp Randall on game days.

According to the Wisconsin State Journal, a decision on whether or not to allow beer/alcohol sales in the general seating sections of the stadium rests with school chancellor Rebecca Blank and that she is not inclined to change the status quo on such prohibition anytime soon.

“The university believes that there is already an atmosphere of energy and excitement around Badger game days,” a school statement to the paper read. “The addition of alcohol to general seating areas isn’t needed to improve that experience and could detract from it for our students and fans.”

Just in the last two months, Indiana, Rutgers and Illinois have turned on the taps for football games in 2019. That will result in fully half of Big Ten schools allowing such sales in general seating areas as a result this season and it’s turned into yet another lucrative revenue stream for those that have too.

Wisconsin appears resistant to the idea however, doing so in the face of declining attendance for games too. While it is certainly too early to remark ‘never say never’ when it comes to the Badgers, it’s pretty clear this trend isn’t making its way to Madison anytime soon.