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Troy Calhoun questions Air Force’s placement in the Mountain West: “I don’t know if it’s really a match”

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What’s that? Is that the sound of the conference realignment sirens going off?

Well, maybe, thanks to an unlikely source.

On Saturday, Air Force cobbled together a pretty impressive 43-24 win over defending Mountain West champions Fresno State. Despite a convincing final score, Falcons head coach Troy Calhoun didn’t seem all that happy with the game against the Bulldogs and decided to take the opportunity in his post-game press conference to question his school’s placement in the conference for both the short and long term.

“We are in a league where, to be blunt, I don’t know if it’s the route maybe (we) should go,” Calhoun said, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. “Yet for our guys, the way they played tonight and the preparation and just the focus all week long was pretty strong, which is a really strong indicator of the quality of the leadership that we have.

“I just don’t know if it’s really a match. I don’t know if it’s best. I don’t know if… Now, we are. And we’re lucky to be, just the quality of the schools of the other member institutions that are a part of it.”

That’s an, uh, interesting way of framing things for Air Force but not something out of the ordinary for Calhoun, who the Gazette notes has said similar things about the MWC earlier this year.

It seems a lot of the unease about the league might be down to the travel schedule they’re putting the Falcons through. The team was in Annapolis last week to take on rival Navy (in a non-conference game) and then returned home to face Fresno State. They’ll head to Hawaii next Saturday and then return home to play Utah State and Army before hitting the road for two more conference games.

Travel is certainly not easy for anybody but you can at least see why Calhoun is a bit ticked that his program is quite literally going from one end of the country to the other and then halfway back in a span of three weeks.

The bigger question is if Air Force brass shares the concerns Calhoun has with their conference affiliation and what, if any, actions will be taken going forward. There is an opening with the AAC thanks to UConn’s departure but travel would be even harder in that league with frequent trips East and life as an independent has proven quite challenging for former MWC member BYU in recent years (the Cougars just made back-to-back trips to Toledo, OH and Tampa, FL for example).

Perhaps this is just a case of a head coach letting out a little steam but it certainly qualifies as a situation worth monitoring in Colorado Springs.

LSU students will go to class on Saturday to make up for national title game

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LSU students who got to skip class for the national title game (and the ensuing celebrations…) were hit with a dose of reality returning to Baton Rouge on Friday.

According to an announcement from the university, classes that were cancelled on Monday and Tuesday for the championship game have been rescheduled. As a result, students will have to go to class on Saturday, Jan. 25 and Saturday, Feb. 8.

So yes, Saturdays in the fall have resulted in a few Saturdays of work in the spring.

The school had received a bit of criticism when it was announced that classes were cancelled on the dates surrounding the championship game. While the practice has happened elsewhere, the nature of the game being less than an hour from campus in New Orleans certainly made things unique for the Tigers and their large fan base.

While some students no doubt had hoped that the classes at the time were indeed cancelled, it turns out they were in fact just being rescheduled. Going to school on a Saturday probably isn’t what many had in mind when signing up for the spring semester but there’s probably not a soul in purple and gold will take issue with the change given that it comes as a result of hoisting the ultimate football trophy on Monday night in the Big Easy.

Virginia safety Chris Moore enters transfer portal

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The transfer portal has claimed another name.

As first noted by ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg, Virginia safety Chris Moore has entered his name into the database as he explores a move out of Charlottesville.

Moore started five of his nine appearances for the Cavaliers in 2019 and wound up recording 42 tackles. While he was in line to become one of the key members in the secondary going forward, a prior  suspension for violating team rules back in November may have wound up playing a role in his departure and standing with the team.

The safety had previously missed all of the 2018 season with an injury as well.

Moore was originally a three-star recruit out of Ashburn, Va. in 2016 and, assuming the redshirt senior has a degree, likely has a season remaining as a grad transfer.

DL Jay Tufele, WR Tyler Vaughns skipping draft to stay at USC

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Clay Helton has a lot of issues to deal with at the moment. Having a talented USC football team is not one of them.

The Trojans received a rare bit of good news on Thursday evening as two key players announced they were skipping the 2020 NFL Draft. In back-to-back announcements, defensive lineman Jay Tufele and wideout Tyler Vaughns confirmed they would remain in Los Angeles for the 2020 season.

Tufele is one of USC’s best defensive players. He recorded 42 tackles and 4.5 sacks last season as a redshirt sophomore despite dealing with a handful of injuries. With leading sacker Drake Jackson also back, there’s a nice tandem up front for whoever the team hires as defensive coordinator to work with going forward.

Vaughns returning also makes a dangerous receiving corps that much deeper. Michael Pittman Jr. was lost to graduation but the next three top wideouts are set to be back in 2020. Add in a group of solid tailbacks and both J.T. Daniels and Kedon Slovis at QB and USC will once again have one of the top offenses in the Pac-12.

Whether it will all help save Helton’s job again remains to be seen. If nothing else though, there’s at least there’s some positive news for the cardinal and gold this offseason with Tufele and Vaughns back in the fold going forward.

Nebraska and OC Troy Walters “mutually agreed to part ways”

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A year after significantly falling short of expectations, an offseason of change has commenced at Nebraska.

In one of the first big moves since Scott Frost took over at his alma mater, the Cornhuskers and offensive coordinator Troy Walters announced on Friday that they had ‘mutually agreed to part ways.’

“Troy has been a valued member of our coaching staff for the past four years,” Frost said in a statement. “Troy is a good mentor for his players, provides great energy on and off the field, and carries himself with a presence off the field that will be missed. I want to thank him for his work on our coaching staff, and wish him and his family all the best going forward.”

The duo first came together when Frost was hired at UCF and led a number of prolific offenses, including the undefeated 2017 team for the Knights. Walters was a finalist for the Broyles Award that same season though has not called plays for either team.

Walters had a distinguished career as a player at Stanford that included All-American honors and a Biletnikoff Award in 1999. He spent several years in the NFL before going into coaching during stops at Texas A&M, N.C. State and Colorado.

The departure of Walters could interestingly lead to a reunion between Frost and a familiar name in Mark Helfrich. The latter was head coach at Oregon when Frost was elevated to offensive coordinator for the Ducks and is in search of a job after being let go by the Chicago Bears from a similar role.