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Eight FBS games impacted as MEAC suspends football, other fall sports seasons

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Go ahead and add the MEAC to the growing list of lower-level leagues giving up on football in the fall.

July 8, the Ivy League officially announced it was postponing all fall sports in 2020.  Five days later, the Patriot League of the FCS shut down all of its fall sports as well.  Friday, another FCS shoe has dropped as the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) confirmed that it too has suspended football other fall sports seasons.  The release stated that “[a] decision is yet to be made on whether fall sports schedules will be moved to the 2021 spring semester.”

The reason for the suspension is, of course, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“The health and safety of our student-athletes continue to be our number one priority. We have made the decision to suspend all sports competitions after careful review of the current conditions and consideration of the potential exposure that regular travel to competitions may cause and ongoing extensive physical contact,” said Howard University President and Chair of MEAC Council of Presidents and Chancellors, Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, in a statement. “While our competitions have been suspended, each member institution will plan ongoing engagement of all student-athletes to ensure optimization of their physical and mental well-being as they continue their matriculation.”

“Obviously this is an arduous decision because everyone wants to have a fall season for student-athletes, fans and others,” said MEAC commissioner Dr. Dennis Thomas. “Part of our responsibility is to ensure the mental and physical health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, and staff is paramount. It is imperative that everyone recognize that is our first and foremost responsibility.”

The move by the MEAC to at least suspend the 2020 football season will impact eight games vs. FBS schools:

  • Bethune-Cookman-USF
  • Florida A&M-UCF
  • Howard-Arkansas State
  • Morgan State-Appalachian State
  • Norfolk State-Charlotte
  • Norfolk State-East Carolina
  • North Carolina A&T-Liberty
  • North Carolina Central-Ohio

2019 finalist Chuba Hubbard, 2018 finalist Travis Etienne two of the 76 Doak Walker Award watch listers

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If you’re a starting running back at the FBS level, there’s a fairly good chance you are part of the Doak Walker Award watch list.

Monday, it was the Bednarik Award kicking off watch list season.  Tuesday, the Davey O’Brien Award joined in.  A day later, the Doak Walker Award joined the burgeoning list of honors releasing their preseason watch lists.

This award, given annually to the nation’s top running back, features a whopping 76 preseason candidates.  Included in that are 2019 finalist Chuba Hubbard of Oklahoma State and 2018 finalist Travis Etienne of Clemson.  Last year’s winner was Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor.

Every FBS conference is represented on the list.  The Big Ten and Pac-12 lead the way with 10 apiece, followed by the ACC and SEC with nine each.  The other Power Five, the Big 12, landed five. Wih seven apiece, the Mountain West and Sun Belt led all Group of Five conferences.

Of the more than six dozen watch listers, 30 of them are seniors.  Another 28 are juniors while the other 18 are sophomores.

Below are all 76 running backs who make up this year’s Doak Walker Award preseason watch list.

Drake Anderson (So.), Northwestern
David Bailey (Jr.), Boston College
Max Borghi (Jr.), Washington State
Rakeem Boyd (Sr.), Arkansas
Gary Brightwell (Sr.), Arizona
Kennedy Brooks (Jr.), Oklahoma
Shamari Brooks (Sr.), Tulsa
Christopher Brown, Jr. (Jr.), Cal
Journey Brown (Jr.), Penn State
Spencer Brown (Sr.), UAB
Noah Cain (So.), Penn State
Jamale Carothers (Jr.), Navy
Stephen Carr (Sr.), USC
Michael Carter (Sr.), North Carolina
Andrew Clair (Jr.), Bowling Green
Elijah Collins (So.), Michigan State
James Cook (Jr.), Georgia
Jashaun Corbin (So.), Florida State
ReMahn Davis (So.), Temple
Travis Etienne (Sr.), Clemson
Demetric Felton (Sr.), UCLA
Alex Fontenot (Jr.), Colorado
Kenneth Gainwell (So.), Memphis
Tyler Goodson (So.), Iowa
Eric Gray (So.), Tennessee
Breece Hall (So.), Iowa State
Najee Harris (Sr.), Alabama
Javian Hawkins (So.), Louisville
Justin Henderson (Sr.), Louisiana Tech
Kylin Hill (Sr.), Mississippi State
George Holani (So.), Boise State
Chuba Hubbard (Jr.), Oklahoma State
Caleb Huntley (Sr.), Ball State
Mohamed Ibrahim (Jr.), Minnesota
Keaontay Ingram (Jr.), Texas
Deon Jackson (Sr.), Duke
Jermar Jefferson (Jr.), Oregon State
Josh Johnson (Sr.), ULM
Amare Jones (Jr.), Tulane
Lopini Katoa (Jr.), BYU
Wesley Kennedy III (Sr.), Georgia Southern
JD King (Sr.), Georgia Southern
Brenden Knox (Jr.), Marshall
Bryant Koback (Jr.), Toledo
Kobe Lewis (Jr.), Central Michigan
Vavae Malepeai (Sr.), USC
Kevin Marks (Jr.), Buffalo
Jordan Mason (Jr.), Georgia Tech
Kevin Mensah (Sr.), Connecticut
Dedrick Mills (Sr.), Nebraska
Elijah Mitchell (Sr.), Louisiana-Lafayette
Marcel Murray (Jr.), Arkansas State
Richard Newton (So.), Washington
Jaret Patterson (Jr.), Buffalo
Trey Ragas (Sr.), Louisiana-Lafayette
Miles Reed (Jr.), Hawaii
Ronnie Rivers (Sr.), Fresno State
Larry Rountree III (Sr.), Missouri
Mekhi Sargent (Sr.), Iowa
Stevie Scott III (Jr.), Indiana
B.J. Smith (Sr.), Troy
Isaiah Spiller (So.), Texas A&M
SaRodorick Thompson (So.), Texas Tech
Toa Taua (Jr.), Nevada
Corey Taylor II (Sr.), Tulsa
Xazavian Valladay (Jr.), Wyoming
CJ Verdell (Jr.), Oregon
Quardraiz Wadley (Sr.), UTEP
Gaej Walker (Sr.), Western Kentucky
Kenneth Walker III (So.), Wake Forest
Jaylen Warren (Sr.), Utah State
Nakia Watson (So.), Wisconsin
Zamir White (So.), Georgia
Charles Williams (Sr.), UNLV
Javonte Williams (Jr.), North Carolina
D.J. Williams (So.), Auburn

College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history, including Johnny Manziel leaving Manning Passing Academy and denying his illness was a hangover

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The sports world, including college football, had essentially screeched to a halt in the spring as countries around the world battled the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there was a dearth of college football news as the sport went into a COVID-induced hibernation.  Slowly, though, the game is coming back to life.  Hopefully.

That being said, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives that stretch back to 2009 and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on July 14, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this college football down-time, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: Conference USA athletic directors have reportedly discussed trading schools with other leagues
THE SYNOPSIS: Most notably, this would’ve involved a realignment that included the Sun Belt Conference.  In the midst of the pandemic, chatter over some sort realignment between the two Group of Fives is still bubbling.

2017

THE HEADLINE: Oregon dismisses star WR Darren Carrington two weeks after DUII arrest
THE SYNOPSIS: This was a significant blow to the Ducks offense.  The year before, Carrington’s 606 yards receiving last year were tops on the team, while his five receiving touchdowns were tied for first.  His 43 catches were second on the team. Carrington subsequently moved on to Utah. After one season with the Utes, Carrington went undrafted.  He signed with Dallas in August of 2018.

2016

THE HEADLINE: Reports of Tom Herman meeting with Baylor labeled ‘completely ridiculous and absolutely false’
THE SYNOPSIS: Then the head coach at Houston, Herman was mentioned as a possible replacement for the disgraced Art Briles.  The Bears job, though, ultimately went to Matt Rhule.  Herman, meanwhile, took the head job at Texas four months later.

2014

THE HEADLINE: CFP unveils new title trophy
THE SYNOPSIS: The College Football Playoff replaced the BCS starting with the 2014 campaign.

2014

THE HEADLINE: Will Muschamp faces hot-seat talk head-on
THE SYNOPSIS: With a 6-5 record at the time, Muschamp was fired by Florida with a game left in the 2014 regular season. A little over a year later, South Carolina hired the Auburn defensive coordinator as its head coach.

2013

THE HEADLINE: Johnny Manziel leaves Manning Academy early; camp denies report of hangover
THE SYNOPSIS: Johnny Football, y’all!

2011

THE HEADLINE: Georgia Tech to vacate ’09 ACC title, placed on four years probation
THE SYNOPSIS: The sanctions revolved around college football players receiving impermissible benefits.

2010

THE HEADLINE: Vandy’s Bobby Johnson retires from coaching; Robbie Caldwell named interim coach
THE SYNOPSIS: That move opened the door for “turkey inseminating crew” to enter the college football lexicon.

2009

THE HEADLINE: Arkansas St. CB Shot, Booted From Team
THE SYNOPSIS: Get shot AND dismissed?  That’s a rough day.  Of course, Paul Stephens was shot while allegedly burglarizing a residence, so there’s that.

NC State transfer Kennan Solomon commits to Arkansas State

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For the second time in a month, Arkansas State has utilized the transfer portal to bolster its football roster.

Early last month, Cincinnati wide receiver Javan Hawes announced that he had committed to the Arkansas State football team. A month later, NC State defensive lineman Kennan Solomon has done the same.

Solomon, who entered the portal in May, made his announcement on the Twitter machine.

“Wow! These last two weeks have been something. I have had so much on my mind. My God is good!” the lineman wrote. “Having lots of coaches start reaching out to me and seeing the love given to me during this change has been [more] than I could ask for. I appreciate it all. …

“I am going to miss being near my family so much. But I’m excited for this new chapter. Red Wolves here I come! Let’s get it!”

Solomon joined the NC State football team in 2018. He came to NCSU from the junior-college level, although he originally signed with East Carolina in 2017. The lineman didn’t appear in any games for the Wolfpack.

As he’s coming to Arkansas State football as a graduate transfer, Solomon will be eligible to play immediately for the Red Wolves in 2020.  He’ll also have another season of eligibility to use in 2021 as well.

Arkansas State is coming off its sixth-straight postseason game in six years under Blake Anderson.  One of the eight wins ASU had in 2019 was a Camellia Bowl triumph over Florida International.

All told, the Red Wolves haven’t finished with fewer than seven wins since 2010.

NCAA Council formally approves six-week preseason model for football, which will begin July 13 for teams that start season Sept. 5

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The NCAA is proceeding with a significant step toward prepping for the 2020 college football season.

Earlier this month, it was confirmed that the NCAA Div. I Oversight Committee was crafting a plan that would shape the path college football programs would take to prepare for the upcoming season.  Last week, the NCAA announced that it has finalized its proposal for a preseason model for the sport.  However, the plan still needed the approval of the NCAA Division I Council.

Thursday, that expected thumbs-up came to fruition as the council has approved what will essentially be a six-week preseason for college football.  The NCAA writes that, “[a]ssuming a first game on Sept. 5, the model begins summer access activities July 13 and adds meetings and walk-throughs July 24.  Preseason practice begins Aug. 7.” Schools that open the seasoning Week 0 (Aug. 29), all of the dates would get seven days subtracted from them.  It’s unclear if teams whose first games are Sept. 3 will follow the Sept. 5 model or not.

The activities mentioned do not include the ongoing voluntary on-campus workouts.

As for the particulars?  The NCAA referred to its previous release as a guideline:

… student-athletes may be required to participate in up to eight hours of weight training, conditioning and film review per week (not more than two hours of film review per week) from July 13-23.

Then, from July 24 through Aug. 6, student-athletes may be required to participate in up to 20 hours of countable athletically related activities per week (not more than four hours per day) as follows:

— Up to eight hours per week for weight training and conditioning.
— Up to six hours per week for walk-throughs, which may include the use of a football.
— Up to six hours per week for meetings, which may include film review, team meetings, position meetings, one-on-one meetings, etc.
— During this 14-day period, student-athletes are required to get at least two days off.

The model does not make any adjustments to the legislated 29-day preseason practice period. In the previous example, the school’s preseason practice period would begin Aug. 7 with a five-day acclimatization period, followed by the opportunity for up to 25 on-field practices.