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Report: Army, BYU ‘top candidates’ to replace UConn in AAC

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At some point this week, it’s expected UConn will confirm that its non-football sports will be leaving the American Athletic Conference and rejoining the Big East.  It’s also expected that the AAC will not allow UConn to remain as a football-only member, creating a void for what would be an 11-team conference that would seemingly need to be filled.

As for who would replace UConn as a 12th team in the AAC, the rumor mill has run the gamut from current members of Conference USA to current members of the MAC to current members of the Sun Belt.  However, a pair of FBS independents are currently the top choices to slide into that 12th slot — if they want it.

Reportedly.

Of the two, Army would far and away make the most sense on multiple levels, given the geography — and the inherent travel costs — and the built-in rivalry with Navy.  Of course, the addition of that service academy would also bring into question the timing of the annual mid-December Army-Navy game, which would normally be played after the AAC championship game.

Obviously, you couldn’t play a conference game, storied rivalry or not, after your league’s title game, so those logistics — and decades worth of history — would have to be worked out.

Then again, the AAC could move forward with 11 teams and not add any members, at least for now, as it mulls its football future.  As one AAC official explained to CFT, going with one less than a dozen in football is much more desirable than adding an inferior fit just to keep the league at an even-number members.

As for UConn football? With the MAC and Conference USA reportedly not in the cards, it appears either FBS independence or dropping back down to the FCS level would be its only legitimate options moving forward.

Florida QB Kyle Trask to make first start since his freshman season… in high school

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Given the portal fever that has seemingly enveloped the sport over the past year or so, this post is a stark reminder of how, at least in this instance, perseverance and staying put can actually end up working out in a player’s favor.

In ending its one-game losing streak to Kentucky in Week 3, Florida’s starting quarterback, Feleipe Franks, went down with a dislocated ankle and will miss the remainder of the 2019 season.  In steps redshirt junior Kyle Trask, who will get the start this Saturday as No. 9 Florida plays host to rival Tennessee in The Swamp.

What makes Trask’s start unique is that, as relayed by ESPN.com in an exceptional piece by Sam Kahn Jr., this will mark Trask’s first start since he was a freshman in high school.  Yes, a Power Five quarterback at a Top 25 school who hasn’t started a game since the ninth grade will get the nod this weekend.

So, how exactly did his career play out in such an odd way?

Trask went to high school in Manvel, Tex., which annually produces loads of Div. 1 football talent.  In the same class as Trask was D’Eriq King, who set the Class 6A record for career touchdown passes with 140 and is now a record-breaking quarterback at Houston.

“When I got there, I was the eighth quarterback on the depth chart,” King, recalling his freshman season, told Khan. “[Trask] was No. 3. Out of those eight quarterbacks, six of them transferred and he’s the [other] one that stayed.”

When he was confronted by his high school head coach about rumors that he was considering transferring to get playing time elsewhere, Trask took exception to the talk.

But he grew up in Manvel. Went to elementary school and junior high there. It’s where he wanted to be. Once, when Kirk Martin heard a rumor that Trask might consider transferring, he brought him into his office.

Trask politely replied, “I was born and raised in Manvel, Texas. As long as you’re going to let me compete for the starting job, I’m not going anywhere. If D’Eriq King is better than me, he’s gonna have to prove it.

Fast-forward to 2016, and Trask was a three-star signee for the Gators… while Franks was a four-star signee in that same class.  After taking a redshirt his true freshman season — Austin Appleby and Luke Del Rio were the main Gators under center that season — a foot injury sidelined him for the entire 2017 campaign.  In November of last year, it appeared Trask would get the opportunity to replace a struggling Franks… until he broke his foot in practice and was sidelined for the remainder of that season as well.

As was the case in high school, Trask stayed true to his commitment to the Gators in a season-ending meeting with head coach Dan Mullen.

The most important question Mullen had, with graduation on the horizon for Trask and Franks having a strong end to the season, was, “Where’s your head at?”

“You know you’re going to get reps and get a chance to compete,” Mullen said. “If it doesn’t work out, is this where you want to be?”

In the era of the transfer portal, it’s vital information, particularly for those who are eligible for a graduate transfer. Trask never wavered.

“I’m 100% a Florida Gator,” he said.

Now, seven years and two schools later, Trask is being rewarded for his patience and commitment to the ones that got him here.

With felony sexual assault of a minor charges dismissed, suspended LSU lineman Ed Ingram reinstated

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An off-field odyssey that’s lasted more than a baker’s dozen months has led Ed Ingram back into the good graces of the LSU football program.

Friday, it was confirmed that two felony counts of aggravated sexual assault of a minor that Ingram had been facing in Dallas have been dismissed.  Not long after, the Tigers confirmed that Ingram has been reinstated to the football team.

“Our whole team and our LSU family welcomes Ed Ingram back,” head coach Ed Orgeron said in a statement. “He is an outstanding football player, an integral part of our football team, and family and we are excited to have him back with us.”

In early August of 2018, it was confirmed that Ingram had been indefinitely suspended for violating unspecified team rules.  It was subsequently confirmed that, prior to the suspension, Ingram had been arrested on felony sexual assault charges involving a minor in connection to incidents that occurred prior to the offensive lineman signing with the Tigers in 2017.

No details of the events that led up to the arrest and subsequent charges — or the reasons behind the charges being dismissed — have been released publicly.

Ingram was a four-star member of LSU’s 2017 recruiting class, rated as the No. 13 offensive guard in the country.  He started 12 games at right guard as a true freshman.

While Ingram has been reinstated, he won’t play for LSU this weekend.

LOOK: Georgia grocery store removes Irish Spring soap from shelves ahead of Notre Dame-UGA

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Even for a non-conference matchup, the South has hilariously shown once again that it takes its college football very seriously.

No. 7 Notre Dame has traveled to Athens to take on No. 3 Georgia in the most high-profile matchup in Week 4 of the 2019 season.  The two bluebloods aren’t exactly rivals — they’ve faced each other twice, the most recent in 2017 (one-point UGA win in South Bend) and the first coming in the Sugar Bowl following the 1980 regular season.

The lack of history between the Bulldogs and Fighting Irish, though, didn’t stop one grocery store in the vicinity of the UGA campus from hating on this week’s enemy as it removed its entire supply of Irish Spring soap from its shelves in the week leading up to the Top 25 matchup.

College football, y’all!

In the days leading up to tonight’s primetime affair, the sportsbooks really liked UGA as the Bulldogs were listed as anywhere from a 14- to 15-point favorite; as of this posting, the Bulldogs are listed as a 14.5 favorite according to the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas.

Three current FBS players, all Aussie kickers/punters, are age 30 or over

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While it seems like the quarterback position in college football is trending younger and younger these days, kicking specialists at a couple of schools are trending in the opposite direction.

Seniors Wade Lees and Dane Roy are punters at UCLA and Houston, respectively.  Junior James Stefanou (pictured), meanwhile, is a kicker at Colorado.

All three were born in Australia, with Stefanou and Lees hailing from Melbourne while Roy is from Bunyip, about 50 miles southeast of the state of Victoria’s capital.  All three came to the United States after training at ProKick Australia, and all three are also married.

What else do they have in common?  They’re all significantly older than your average students.  They’re also much older than your average medical school students as each individual in the kicking trio is at least 30 years old, as captured Thursday night by our own Bryan Fischer.

Lees, who transferred to UCLA from Maryland this offseason, and Roy are in their final seasons of eligibility, but Stefanou has another year he can use.  With an April 15th birthday, Stefanou will be 33 years old when the 2020 season kicks off.

Despite that “advanced” age, Stefanou won’t be the oldest player ever at the FBS level as that honor belongs to Tim Frisby, who walked on at South Carolina in 2004 at the age of 39 and played for both Lou Holtz and Steve Spurrier.  In 2005, at the age of 40, Frisby, a former U.S. Army Ranger who had served in the first Gulf War as well as Kosovo, caught one pass for nine yards.

In 2016, Joe Thomas Sr. became the oldest player ever at the Div. 1 level when he suited up for FCS South Carolina State.

In 2011, 61-year-old Alan Moore kicked an extra point in an NAIA game to become the oldest player in the history of college football at any level.  Four years before that, 59-year-old Mike Flynt suited up and played for Div. III Sul Ross State.