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Week 12 division clinching scenarios in college football

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Two teams from the state of Illinois will play for their respective conference championships in a couple of weeks. Northwestern wrapped up the Big Ten West Division last week with a win at Iowa and a bit of help from around the conference. Last night, Northern Illinois clinched the West Division in the MAC without having to play a down, as a loss by Western Michigan guaranteed the Huskies a trip to the MAC Championship.

Tonight, Buffalo can clinch the other spot in the MAC Championship Game with a win at Ohio. A win by the Bulls would capture the MAC East Divison and should help make a case for including Buffalo on your radar for the Group of Five New Years Six, even if that requires Buffalo to get some help from the AAC and Mountain West Conference.

With two weeks of the college football regular season to play, a few more divisions could potentially be clinched this week. Some are more complicated than others, but here is a rundown of what it will take for teams in clinching scenarios to clinch their respective divisions this week in college football.

AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE

East Division

  • UCF clinches with win vs. Cincinnati

If Temple beats South Florida on Saturday afternoon, things could get pretty interesting in the division as a Cincinnati win over the Knights would open up a three-team tie for first place with one week to play, thus giving UCF, Cincinnati and Temple something to play for in the final week of the regular season.

Nobody can clinch the West Division this weekend with SMU, Houston and Tulane tangled in a three-team tie and Memphis just one game out of first place.

ACC

Coastal Division

  • Pittsburgh clinches with win at Wake Forest or Virginia loses at Georgia Tech

The Pitt Panthers are in a good spot to wrap up their first division championship since joining the ACC. With head-to-head tiebreakers already stacked up against Virginia, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech, Pat Narduzzi’s program can clinch the division outright with a win or a Virginia loss this weekend. And having that all locked up before having to travel to Miami, where the Hurricanes could be looking for revenge after last year’s game, would be nice.

Clemson clinched the Atlantic Division last week.

BIG 12

The Big 12 may not have divisions, but a spot in the Big 12 championship game could be clinched this week by Oklahoma or West Virginia. The Sooners would guarantee themselves one of the two spots in the Big 12 championship game with a victory over Kansas and an Iowa State victory over Texas. In that scenario, Oklahoma would finish conference play with no more than two losses and they own a head-to-head tiebreaker with Iowa State (Texas owns the H2H tiebreaker with Oklahoma).

West Virginia could also reserve their spot with a win over Oklahoma State and a Texas victory over Iowa State, thus eliminating the possibility of a head-to-head tie with the Cyclones. West Virginia would win a tiebreaker with Texas.

BIG TEN

East

  • Michigan clinches with win vs. Indiana AND Ohio State loss at Maryland

It is highly likely the East Division will be decided by the result of next week’s regular-season finale between Ohio State and Michigan in Columbus, but the Wolverines could potentially take care of the division this week. Beating Indiana at home should not be too much of a problem, although the chances Maryland stuns Ohio State to send the Buckeyes home with a loss are not very inspiring for the Maize and Blue.

Northwestern clinched the Big Ten West last week.

CONFERENCE USA

East

  • Middle Tennessee clinches with FIU loss at Charlotte

The Blue Raiders are stepping out of conference this week to play at Kentucky. While they do that, they will pay attention to what Florida International does on the road at Charlotte. A loss by the Panthers against the 49ers would ensure Middle Tennessee State can do no worse than finish the regular season with two conference losses and a tie for the top spot in the division with FIU or Marshall. Middle Tennessee would then have to wait a week to sort out the division race. If FIU wins this week, Middle Tennessee would clinch the division next week with a win at home against UAB or an FIU loss to Marshall.

UAB clinched the West division last week.

MAC

East

  • Buffalo clinches with win vs. Ohio

Buffalo and Ohio square off in Wednesday night play with the division on the line. A Buffalo win would wrap up the East division for the Bulls, but a win by Ohio leaves the Bobcats in the running for another week. A loss to Ohio still leaves Buffalo sitting in a favorable spot as they would have to beat a two-win Bowling Green team next week to clinch the division. An Ohio loss to Akron would clinch the division for Buffalo as well.

NIU clinched the West on Tuesday night as a result of Western Michigan losing to Ball State.

MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE

Mountain

  • Utah State clinches with win at Colorado State AND Boise State loss at New Mexico

West

  • Fresno State clinches with win vs. San Diego State

It is possible both divisions in the Mountain West Conference could be clinched this weekend, although it is more likely the Mountian Diviosn will have to wait a week to see who wins a matchup between Utah State and Boise State. The West Division is probably the more likely division to be clinched this week with Fresno State getting a chance to play at home against San Diego State. Things get a bit more interesting for the final week of the season if the Aztecs come away winners though, as it opens the door for Nevada to have a shot. We can explore that more in the event San Diego State does win, but for now we’ll keep it simple. If Fresno State wins, the division is a wrap.

PAC-12

North

  • Washington State clinches with win vs. Arizona AND Washington loses to Oregon State

South

  • Utah clinches with win at Colorado AND Arizona State loses at Oregon AND Arizona loses at Washington State

Odds are the North is going to be decided in next week’s Apple Cup between rivals Washington and Washington State, but the Cougars do have a scenario to root for this week. And even though it is a more complicated path to clinching for Utah, it may be the more likely scenario to play out this week. The Utes have to win a game at Colorado to finish up their Pac-12 record at 6-3 with just one non-conference game to play next week against BYU. If they do that and both Arizona and Arizona State lose on the road, then the division is theirs.

SEC

Alabama and Georgia already clinched their respective divisions and are heading to a potential College Football Playoff play-in game in the SEC Championship.

SUN BELT

East

  • Troy clinches with win vs. Texas State AND Appalachian State loses to Georgia State

West

  • UL Monroe clinches with win at Arkansas State AND Louisiana loses vs. South Alabama

The stage for the inaugural Sun Belt championship game could be set this weekend, although it is more likely to come down to the wire next week. Troy and UL Monroe are each in positions to clinch their respective divisions this week. Troy will likely have to take care of business next week in a matchup with Appalachian State to decide the East Division. UL Monroe may have a tough time doing what needs to be done to gain the crown in the West this week with a road game at Arkansas State. A loss by UL Monroe sets up a good finish in the West Division next week.

Arkansas reportedly hiring Auburn staffer for on-field role

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One SEC West school has turned to another from the same division to fill a hole on its coaching staff.  Reportedly.

According to 247Sports.com, and citing two sources familiar with the decision, Chad Morris is expected to hire Kenny Ingram as Arkansas’ defensive line coach. Morris’ move to add a new assistant to his Razorbacks staff was triggered by John Scott‘s move to South Carolina earlier this offseason.

Ingram, who played his college football at Arkansas State, has spent the past two seasons as the Director of Player Relations at Auburn.

Prior to his time on The Plains, Ingram worked as the defensive line coach at Cincinnati from 2015-16.  From 2006-09, he was on the coaching staff at Memphis, including a turn as defensive coordinator his last season with the Tigers.

In 2012, Ingram worked with the defensive line at his alma mater ASU.

Lincoln Riley’s brother named App State running backs coach

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Garrett Riley is a bright, accomplished coach in his own right, but until he wins back-to-back Heismans with two different quarterbacks (or, at least becomes a head coach in his own right), he’s going to be known as his big brother’s little brother. With that in mind: Lincoln Riley’s brother has been announced as Appalachian State’s new running backs coach.

“I’m excited to be part such a traditionally successful program,” Riley said in a statement. “I’m humble and grateful to have the opportunity to be around this organization and work with Coach Drink and the rest of the staff that I’ve known about for several years. Look forward to continuing the great success that Appalachian State’s had, and I can’t wait to start working with the players.”

Garrett followed Lincoln to Texas Tech and East Carolina before branching out on his own at Kansas, where he joined the staff as an offensive analyst in 2016 and was promoted to quarterbacks coach in 2017 and tight ends/fullbacks coach in 2018.

Appalachian State has not announced an offensive coordinator under new head coach Eli Drinkwitz — and certainly the head coach, a former offensive coordinator himself, will have tremendous sway on his favored side of the ball initially — it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Riley become the Mountaineers’ offensive coordinator in 2020 or 2021. “We’re looking to be cutting edge on offense, and we expect him to continue to push that,” Drinkwitz said Friday. “His experience coaching in North Carolina will also benefit our program.”

Report: Dan Lanning receives nod as Georgia’s next defensive coordinator

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When Mel Tucker left Georgia to be the head coach at Colorado, it was clear Kirby Smart‘s next defensive coordinator was already on his staff. It would either be Glenn Schumann or Dan Lanning, two 30-something whiz kids who split linebacker duties for the Bulldogs (Schumann inside, Lanning outside).

We got a window into Smart’s thinking during the Sugar Bowl, when Lanning was chosen to lead the defensive huddles and represent the defense in press conference setting. Georgia lost that game to Texas, but it was apparently enough for Smart to know his original hunch was correct as Seth Emerson reported Friday for The Athletic that Lanning will be Georgia’s next defensive coordinator.

While Schumann did not win the rose, he’s not going home (or, in this case, staying put) empty handed. According to Emerson, Schumann will be Georgia’s co-defensive coordinator, and both will net massive raises. After both made $325,000 in 2018, Lanning will make $750,000 in 2019 while Schumann will earn $550,000. The 2018 season was Lanning’s first at Georgia, while Schumann followed Smart over from Alabama. Lanning spent 2016-17 as the inside linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator at Memphis. The 32-year-old was a high school assistant coach in Missouri as recently as 2010.

All eight returning assistants will net raises, per Emerson, but the overall staff pool will go down after losing Tucker’s $1.5 million salary. (Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney and his $950,000 salary also left for Tennessee, but previously-announced promotion James Coley will also make $950,000, a $100,000 increase from 2018.)

Coley, Lanning and Schumann aren’t the only coaches being rewarded for sticking around — in title as well as salary. Offensive line coach Sam Pittman will be Smart’s new associate head coach, running backs coach Dell McGee will be the running game coordinator and wide receivers coach Cortez Hankton will be the passing game coordinator.

Seven new assistants highlight Alabama’s 2019 coaching staff

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It’s become an annual thing at this point: Nick Saban‘s assistants, ready to see the sun again after life on Planet Saban, hop aboard the first spaceship that flies by, so Alabama simply reloads and hires essentially a new staff.

While many of the hires had trickled out over the past six weeks or so, Alabama on Friday announced Saban’s full 2019 on-field coaching staff:

Steve Sarkisian — Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks
Charles Huff — Associate head coach/running backs
Holmon Wiggins — Wide receivers
Kyle Flood — Offensive line
Jeff Banks — Tight ends/special teams coordinator

Pete Golding — Defensive coordinator/inside linebackers
Brian Baker — Associate head coach/defensive line
Charles Kelly — Associate defensive coordinator/safeties
Sal Sunseri — Outside linebackers
Karl Scott — Cornerbacks

“We are excited to be able to assemble such a talented group of coaches to develop our players both on and off the field,” Saban said. “These coaches have a great mix of energy, enthusiasm and experience that will be a tremendous asset to our program. They are all excellent teachers of the game and fantastic recruiters who bring a wealth of experience to our staff.”

Only Golding, Banks and Scott were on Alabama’s staff for the title game beat down the Tide suffered at Clemson’s hand last month.

Sarkisian, of course, called plays for Alabama’s first title game loss to Clemson before leaving to become the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive coordinator, where he was scapegoated for the club’s failure to make the playoffs last season. Flood, the former Rutgers head coach, was Atlanta’s assistant offensive line coach for the past two seasons. He was also under a show-cause that did not expire until September.

Huff and Baker worked together at Mississippi State, while Sunseri was the defensive line coach at Florida and Wiggins the wideouts coach at Virginia Tech. Kelly spent 2018 as the safeties coach and special teams coordinator at Tennessee but is best remembered for his run as the defensive coordinator at Florida State.

Not among the names announced Friday: Butch Jones. The former Tennessee head coach spent 2018 as an analyst for Saban but did not get promoted to the varsity for 2019.