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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.

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.