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Where each Power Five conference race stands heading into Week 13

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Counting today, there are just two (two?!?) Saturdays left in the 2019 regular season, which means championship weekend is right around the corner. As Week 13 gets set to kick-off, here’s a look at where each of the races in the Power Five conferences stands at the moment:

By virtue of its Week 12 win over NC State, No. 3 Clemson has already clinched the division.

Unlike its Atlantic brethren, the Coastal is still very much undecided.

Virginia (5-2) currently holds the lead and can win the division with a Week 14 win over rival Virginia Tech. Two other teams sit at 4-2 with two league games remaining — Pitt and Virginia Tech. Each of those teams can claim the division by winning their last two games AND a Virginia loss. The field of contenders will be whittled down by one this weekend as Pitt and Tech will square off Saturday afternoon.

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As they are both 6-1, and the next closest teams are at 4-3, wins in just one of their last two league games would put both No. 14 Baylor and No. 9 Oklahoma into the conference championship game in a rematch of the Sooners’ wild come-from-behind Week 12 win.

Two losses by Baylor (vs. Texas, at Kansas) and/or Oklahoma (vs. TCU, at No. 22 Oklahoma State) would bring a trio of 4-3 teams, No. 22 Iowa State, Oklahoma State and Texas, back into the title-game picture — provided those teams win their last two games, of course.

This division is simple: if No. 2 Ohio State (7-0) beats No. 8 Penn State (6-1) this afternoon, the Buckeyes are headed to the conference championship game for the third straight season and fifth since the game was first played in 2011. Conversely, if Penn State upsets OSU (Buckeyes are 18-point home favorites) and then takes care of 2-8 Rutgers in the regular-season finale, the Nittany Lions would be headed to Indianapolis for just the second time (2016).

In the unlikely event of a three-way tie between Ohio State, Penn State and No. 13 Michigan (5-2), the Nittany Lions would get the nod based on the Big Ten’s three-way tiebreaker system and what would be head-to-head wins over both the Buckeyes and Wolverines in such a scenario.

The West is one of two things: either very straightforward or extremely convoluted.

If No. 10 Minnesota (6-1) beats Northwestern on the road today and No. 12 Wisconsin (5-2) at home next week, the Golden Gophers will make their first-ever appearance in the Big Ten championship game; a Minnesota win and Wisconsin loss today would also do the trick for the Gophers.  A Minnesota loss to Wisconsin, coupled with a UW win over Purdue this weekend, would send the Badgers to represent the West vs, the East.

At 4-3, both No. 17 Iowa, which beat Minnesota last weekend, and Illinois are lurking and remain in the divisional hunt with two weeks left to play. A Minnesota win today — or losses by either, for that matter — would eliminate them both from consideration.

At 7-0 with two games remaining, and with second-place Oregon State at a distant 4-3, Oregon has already wrapped up the North.

No. 7 Utah (6-1) can clinch the South today with a win over Arizona AND a No. 23 USC (6-2) loss to cross-town rival UCLA. By virtue of its head-to-head win over Utah in September, USC can win the division if it beats UCLA and Utah loses to either Arizona or Colorado.

Unbelievably, given how they started, there is the possibility that UCLA (4-3) could end the season in a three-way tie with USC and Utah if the Bruins win their last two (at USC, vs. Cal) and the Utes lose their last two. In such a scenario, USC would still win the division based on the Pac-12’s method of breaking multi-team ties.

By virtue of its Week 12 win over Auburn, No. 4 Georgia has already clinched the division.

No. 1 LSU can wrap up the West by with a win over 44-point underdog Arkansas OR a win the following weekend against Texas A&M. Alabama can still win the division if it beats rival and 15th-ranked Auburn in Week 14 AND LSU loses both of its last two games.

Ex-TCU QB Trevone Boykin sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to beating girlfriend so bad her jaw was wired shut

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The next chapter of a former TCU football player’s tumultuous life will play out by bars.

Wednesday, Trevone Boykin was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to a pair of felonies related to aggravated assault and tampering with a witness.  He was also sentenced to 180 days in jail for theft of services and theft of property on charges unrelated to the assault.  The misdemeanors are related to his failure to pay for a hotel room in December; the former TCU football player has been in jail ever since that arrest.

In June of 2019, Boykin was arrested on one count each of aggravated assault of a family member with a deadly weapon and tampering with a witness.  In March of the year before, Boykin beat his girlfriend Shabrika Bailey so badly that she was hospitalized and had her jaw wired shut.

A member of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks at the time, Boykin was immediately cut.

These incidents continued what’s been a spate of legal issues in which Boykin has been involved over the past five years.

In December of 2015, Boykin was charged with, among other things, felony assault of a police officer following an incident outside of a San Antonio drinking establishment very early Thursday morning.  The altercation, which was preceded by Boykin skipping out of the team hotel following bed check, led to Boykin being suspended for the Alamo Bowl matchup with Oregon, leaving his teammates in a lurch and effectively ending his collegiate playing career.

Video of that incident subsequently surfaced.

After leaving the TCU football program, Boykin was arrested twice in an 11-game span in late March and early April of 2017.

In 2014, Boykin was named as the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year.  He remains the TCU football leader in career passing yards (10,728), passing attempts (1,356), pass completions (830) and touchdown passes (86).  In that 2014 season, he also set single-season team records for passing yards (3,901), touchdown passes (33), touchdowns responsible for (42) and total offense (4,608).

Pair of Oregon State assistants given additional titles

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It’s Oregon State football “Additional Title Week” in Corvallis.

Earlier this week, Jonathan Smith announced a pair of on-field assistants have been given additional duties.  Linebackers coach Trent Bray has assumed the title of assistant head coach.  Additionally, running backs coach Michael Pitre will assume the role of recruiting coordinator.

Obviously, both assistants will continue on in their on-field roles.

“Working with Coach Bray for over two years, I recognize the value in his wealth of experience makes him a great resource for me to bounce ideas off,” the Oregon State football head coach said in a statement. “I love his passion and the perspective he brings to our conversations. …

“Coach Pitre is a tremendous recruiter and his influence on our recruiting staff will provide great vision, direction, and growth.  He is exceptional and connecting with people and building relationships with coaches and young men.”

This past cycle, the Beavers pulled in the No. 9 recruiting class in the Pac-12 in 2020.  Prior to that, they were 10th in 2019 and 12th in 2018.

Pitre has been part of the Oregon State football coaching staff since 2018.  This was his first on-field job at the FBS level.  He did, though, begin his collegiate coaching career as a graduate assistant at Colorado.

Pitre, who played his college football at UCLA, was the running backs coach at FCS Montana State (2014-17) prior to joining the Oregon State football program.

Bray, who played for Oregon State football, has also been at his alma mater since Smith took over in 2018.  This was his second stint with the Beavers as held the same job coaching linebackers from 2012-14.  In between those two Corvallis stops, he was at Nebraska from 2015-17.  From 2009-11, he was at Arizona State.

Taking over a one-win program, Smith won two games in 2018 and five in 2019.  That was the program’s most wins since hitting that same number in 2014.

Last month, it was reported that OSU is working on a contract extension for Smith.

LSU confirms promotion of Tiger great Kevin Faulk as RBs coach

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An LSU football legend officially has an on-field role at his alma mater.

Earlier this week, it was reported that Kevin Faulk would be promoted from his current position as LSU football director of player development.  Thursday, the Tigers confirmed that Faulk has been promoted by Ed Orgeron to running backs coach.

Faulk replaces Tommie Robinson, who left to take the same job at SEC West rival Texas A&M.

“We would like to thank Tommie (Robinson) for being a part of our national championship program and wish him the best in his future,” the LSU football head coach said in a statement. “Kevin is a great teacher and mentor and someone that has earned the respect and love of our players. We are honored to have one of the greatest players in LSU history as part of our coaching staff. This is a home run hire.”

Faulk played collegiately for LSU football from 1995-98.  He is still the school’s all-time leader in rushing yards (4,557) and rushing TDs (46).

Faulk was then a second-round draft pick of the New England Patriots in 1999.  He spent 13 years in the NFL, joining his high school alma mater’s football coaching staff upon his retirement following the 2011 season.

In 2018, Faulk rejoined the LSU football program in an off-field role.  This will be his field on-field role at any level of college football.

“The day I graduated high school I knew I wanted to be a coach,” the 43-year-old Faulk said. “The coaches I had growing up meant so much to me and the community, and I knew I wanted to be that guy. To coach at my alma mater is the best thing I could ever hope for. I wear the purple and gold with pride every day, and I am ready to get going to help win another national championship.”

Ford Field to host even more MACtion in 2020

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The MAC title game isn’t the only bit of #MACtion that Ford Field will see in 2020.

The conference recently released their annual football schedule on Wednesday and among the notable league games is the rivalry contest between Central Michigan and Western Michigan. While this one figures to have division implications on Oct. 17, things are going to be slightly different this year.

Namely that it won’t be on either campus and will instead be played at Ford Field.

“Ford Field has been the location of many great experiences for CMU Football, and this is an opportunity to create another iconic experience for our program and our university,” athletic director Michael Alford said in a release. “CMU’s continued success means out-of-the-box thinking. Bringing this game — and the events surrounding it — to Detroit allows our athletics program to help engage thousands of people who are passionate about CMU.”

It’s an interesting move that will push CMU to over a decade without a win over their directional rivals in Mt. Pleasant. Still, the larger venue and the opportunity to make things an even bigger event in the state’s largest city seem to have won out.

The Detroit News reported on Tuesday that the Chips wanted to do a multi-year deal at the home of the NFL’s Lions but that WMU said no thanks.

The Broncos have won seven of the last nine meetings, including last year’s 31-15 win in Kalamazoo. Despite that head-to-head victory though, Jim McElwain’s squad got the last laugh by winning the MAC West in one of the biggest turnaround stories of the 2019 season.

They wound up playing at Ford Field in the conference title game where they eventually lost to Miami (OH) 26-21. The venue has been the home of the MAC championship since 2004 and will have the next edition played on either Friday, Dec. 4 or Saturday Dec. 5.