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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.

Western Kentucky’s leading tackler taking grad transfer to Purdue

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A significant loss for Western Kentucky’s defense could prove to be a boon for Purdue on that side of the ball.

In an email to the West Lafayette Journal & Courier, Ben Holt confirmed that he has decided to transfer from Western Kentucky to Purdue and continue his collegiate playing career with the Boilermakers.  As he is expected to graduate from WKU in May, the linebacker will be eligible to play immediately in 2019 for the Big Ten school.

Holt is the son of Nick Holt, who has spent the past two seasons as the co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Purdue.  Ben Holt’s head coach his first two seasons with the Hilltoppers was Jeff Brohm, who is entering his third year in the same job with the Boilermakers.

This past season, Holt started all 12 games for the Hilltoppers.  He led the team in tackles with 116, tackles for losses with 11½ and quarterback hurries with nine.  His five pass breakups were good for third on the squad in 2018.

All told, Holt played in 38 games his past three seasons in Bowling Green.

Holt becomes the third former Hilltopper to transfer to the Boilermakers since Brohm came to West Lafayette.  Starting linebacker T.J. McCollum followed the coach in February of 2017, with starting offensive lineman Dennis Edwards following McCollum a year later.

Alabama LB Chris Allen undergoes surgery, per report

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The near-complete revamping of Nick Saban‘s coaching staff wasn’t the only football news coming out of Tuscaloosa late this past week.

According to al.com, outside linebacker Chris Allen underwent what was described as a minor surgical procedure on his knee Thursday.  The specific nature of the injury wasn’t detailed.

Allen, who missed the entire 2018 season after tearing an ACL, is expected to be healthy enough to participate in spring practice, which kicks off next month.

A four-star member of the Crimson Tide’s 2017 recruiting class, Allen was rated as the No. 4 inside linebacker in the country and the No. 5 player at any position in the state of Alabama.  As a true freshman, the Baton Rouge native played in seven games.

As noted by the website, Allen is set to be one of the Tide’s top backup linebackers on the outside this coming season.

Minnesota dismisses TE who allegedly punched cop in the face

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Yeah, that’ll do it.

According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Minnesota tight end Max Janes is facing felony charges after allegedly assaulting a police officer very early in the morning of Feb. 8.  It’s alleged that an intoxicated Janes was in the process of breaking into a post office when police officers responded, with the football player ultimately turning violent and allegedly punching one of the cops in the face.

From the Star Tribune‘s report:

According to the criminal complaint: Officers were dispatched to a welfare check on reports of an individual improperly dressed for the cold weather loitering outside the post office. They located Janes just as he gained unlawful entry into the building’s loading dock. Officers placed Janes in their squad car, but opened the rear door after he informed them that he needed to vomit.

Instead, Janes got out and punched an officer — causing demonstrable bodily harm, the complaint says. He was eventually restrained and booked at Hennepin County jail, where he was charged with fourth-degree assault of a peace officer and obstructing the legal process.

As a result of the off-field incident, Janes was dismissed from the football team.

“We have extremely high standards for members of our team and when those standards are not met there are consequences,” head coach P.J. Fleck said in a statement. “Law enforcement officers speak to our team and educate them multiple times a year, and we greatly appreciate those who protect and serve us on a daily basis.”

A preferred walk-on, Janes played in 13 games as a true freshman this past season.  The vast majority of his action came on special teams.

Wyoming’s OL coach shuffle continues with hiring of Ohio assistant

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Maybe the third time will be a charm?

Following the end of the 2018 season, Craig Bohl parted ways with his long-time offensive line coach Scott Fuchs and embarked on a search for a replacement. That search ended with Wyoming’s hiring of Klayton Adams; less than a month later, another search for a line coach was launched as Adams took a job as the assistant offensive line coach for the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts.

A little over a week later, and while there’s nothing official yet from the Cowboys, Frank Solich confirmed to the Athens Messenger this past week that Ohio’s offensive line coach, Bart Miller, has taken the same job at Wyoming.

“Our coaches loved working with him, our players loved working with him. We appreciate what he was all about and how he helped our team be what it was last year,” the head coach told the Messenger.

Last season was Miller’s first with the Bobcats. As the newspaper noted, this will mark Miller’s fourth different school in as many years as he was on the coaching staffs at Minnesota and Air Force in 2016 and 2017, respectively.