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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.

Indiana TE Peyton Hendershot out of Hoosiers’ doghouse following February arrest

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One Indiana football player has climbed out of the program’s doghouse.

In late February, Peyton Hendershot was arrested on multiple charges in connection to an alleged domestic violence incident.  The tight end was facing one count each of residential entry, domestic battery, criminal mischief and criminal conversion.  The residential entry charge was a felony; the other three were misdemeanors.  That felony charge was shortly thereafter reduced to misdemeanor criminal trespassing.The Indiana football program subsequently announced that Hendershot had been indefinitely suspended from all team activities.

In early June, Hendershot pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor criminal trespass.  The other three misdemeanors were dropped.  A month later, Indiana head coach Tom Allen confirmed that Hendershot has been cleared by the football program and has been fully restored to the team.

“He has completed his team-sanctioned discipline,” the coach said. “He has completed the conduct process that we went through for the student conduct as a student athlete of Indiana University. He completed that. He’s closed his matter with the judicial system. We have a campus committee that determines when a student athlete is reinstated to their team and to be able to be cleared and that is the case. He’s been completely cleared and he is back with the team now fully as he completed all the things that he was asked to do.”

The Hoosiers returned for voluntary on-campus workouts in mid-June.

Hendershot was a three-star member of the Class of 2017 for Indiana Hoosiers football.  An injury his true freshman season allowed the Indiana native to take a redshirt.  In 2018, Hendershot started 10 games, catching 15 passes for 163 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

This past season, Hendershot set a school record for tight ends by catching 52 passes for 622 yards.  After starting all 13 games, Hendershot was named third-team All-Big Ten.

Two-year starting QB Isaiah Green leaves Marshall for transfer portal

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This is certainly an unexpected — and significant — loss for the Marshall football team.

According to multiple media outlets, Isaiah Green has left the Thundering Herd and entered his name into the NCAA transfer database.  The quarterback’s name is no longer listed on the Marshall football roster that’s available online.

Now, for what’s seemingly becoming a daily disclaimer when it comes to transfers.

As we’ve stated myriad times in the past, a player can remove his name from the portal and remain at the same school. At this point, though, other programs are permitted to contact a player without receiving permission from his current football program.

NCAA bylaws also permit schools to pull a portal entrant’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered it.

If the move is permanent, it’s a significant one for Marshall football.

Green was a three-star member of the Class of 2017 for the Thundering Herd.  The Fairburn, Ga., product took a redshirt as a true freshman.

The past two seasons, Green has started 22 of the 23 games in which he played.  Included in that were starts in all 13 games in 2019.  In that action, Green completed 56.5 percent of his 666 passes for 4,897 yards, 30 touchdowns and 21 interceptions.  He’s also added another 416 yards and six scores on 159 carries.

With Green apparently out of the picture, Grant Wells Will Likely take over.  Wells didn’t attempt a pass last season as a true freshman.

Marshall is coming off an 8-5 campaign in Doc Holliday‘s 10th season with the football program.  Included in that was a Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl loss that ended the Herd’s bowl winning streak at seven straight.

Florida State-Notre Dame game in 2021 moved up to Labor Day Sunday

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While all of the focus is on the 2020 season — and rightly so — Florida State and Notre Dame are peeking ahead to the following campaign.

Back in 2014, as part of the football independent’s scheduling agreement with the ACC, it was announced that Notre Dame and Florida State would square off on Sept. 6 of 2021.  That just happens to be the date on which Labor Day falls next season.

Tuesday, however, the Seminoles confirmed that the game versus the Fighting Irish has instead been shifted to Sept. 5.  That’s the Sunday before the holiday and the day after the first full weekend of the 2021 football season.  At this point, it’s unclear exactly why the date of the game was changed.

The game, which will be played in Tallahassee at Doak Campbell Stadium, is expected to be played in primetime.  A time and television network will be announced at a later date.

Florida State and Notre Dame have met nine times previously, with the first coming in 1981.  The most recent meeting was in 2018.  The most famous of the nine?  The 1993 matchup that saw No. 2 Notre Dame knock off No. 1 Florida State in South Bend.

The Seminoles have won six of the nine meetings in the series.  In four of those matchups, both teams were ranked in the Top Ten.

LSU LB Marcel Brooks is reportedly transferring to TCU

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It appears TCU has landed one of the more intriguing football transfers on the market.

Following a late-June conversation with the LSU coaching staff, Marcel Brooks entered his name into the NCAA transfer database.  It was thought at the time that the Lone Star State native would likely head back closer to home.

Tuesday, that’s close to becoming a reality as is reporting that Brooks will transfer into the TCU football team. In fact, according to the website, the linebacker was on campus Tuesday and “will be able to start working out with the team as soon as he passes a physical.”

Thus far, the TCU football program has not confirmed Brooks’ addition to the roster.

It’s expected Brooks will have to sit out the 2020 season to satisfy current NCAA bylaws. That would then leave him with three years of eligibility starting in 2021 to use with the Horned Frogs.

Brooks was a five-star member of the LSU football Class of 2019.  The Flower Mound, Tex., native was rated as the No. 2 outside linebacker in the country.  He was also the No. 5 prospect regardless of position in the state of Texas.  The only two signees in the Tigers’ class that year rated higher?  Freshman All-American cornerback Derek Stingley and running back John Emery.

As a true freshman, Brooks appeared in 11 games in the run to the national championship.  He was credited with eight tackles and 1½ sacks.