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Mike Aresco thinks New Year’s Six bid is important for AAC, but wants respect for the league more

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The American Athletic Conference has secured the Group of Five’s bid to the New Year’s Six bowl games in three of the first five years (winning twice) of the College Football Playoff era but the league is apparently still searching for something even more elusive: respect.

Yes, cue the Rodney Dangerfield line about not getting any but that seems to be the driving force behind some of commissioner Mike Aresco’s comments this week. The conference currently has three ranked teams and has enjoyed an impressive amount of success so far in 2019 but the driving force behind the AAC’s bid to be a “Power 6” league still doesn’t think they are getting their due.

“I would much rather not be a one-horse or a two-horse league,” Aresco told The Athletic. “I want to see a lot of really good teams. I want to see our league develop that strength of schedule where we’re respected. That’s more important than getting that New Year’s bid. That doesn’t mean the bid isn’t important. We obviously want to get it and play those top teams. … It’s important to get that bid, not only the financial part, but the exposure on New Year’s Day. But it’s more important to have what is perceived as the best G5 conference, and I think that’s what we’ve had since the beginning of this whole thing.”

Aresco probably isn’t wrong on that latter point, as the AAC has been a lot more consistent than peers like the Mountain West or MAC. The former has put together a very strong campaign this year and might be in the driver’s seat for the New Year’s Six bid however, with Boise State being the highest ranked Group of Five team at the moment. The MWC also has a national best eight Power Five wins on their resume as well.

It remains to be seen how it will all shake out given that there’s so much of the season left but something says this won’t be the only comments to come out of Providence from Aresco as the race to nab an invite to the Cotton Bowl this year looks tighter than ever

East Carolina’s No. 2 QB one of two transferring from Pirates

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A year ago at this time, Reid Herring was East Carolina’s starting quarterback.  A dozen months later, he’s gone.

Tuesday night, Mike Houston confirmed that Herring is one of two ECU football players who have officially entered the NCAA transfer database and are no longer with the program.  According to the head coach, the other potential transfer is running back Hussein Howe.

As we have noted myriad times in the past, players who enter the portal have the option of pulling their names from the database and remaining with their current school.

Herring started seven games for the Pirates last season.  He lost out on the starting job to Holton Ahlers in a competition that extended into summer camp.  In limited action during mop-up duty as Ahler’s backup, Herring threw for 74 yards on 5-of-8 passing in 2019.

With Herring’s departure, the Pirates are now left with just three scholarship quarterbacks; two of them, true freshmen Bryan Gagg and Alex Flinn, have never attempted passes at the collegiate level.

Howe, meanwhile, had started the past two games for the Pirates prior to making the decision to pull the plug on his time in Greenville.  Despite the pair of starts and appearing in all four games, Howe was just fourth on the team in carries with 20 and sixth in yards with 68.  In three-plus years at ECU, he ran for 730 yards and three touchdowns on 189 carries (3.9 ypc), including a team-leading 419 during the 2017 season.

As he has yet used a redshirt and played in just four games this season, he’ll have another year of eligibility he can use in 2020.

Virginia Tech, East Carolina agree to walk away from scheduling agreement

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After not being able to sort through their differences, Virginia Tech and East Carolina are going their separate ways and tossing away a series of upcoming games. Virginia Tech announced Monday that future games with East Carolina scheduled from 2020 through 2025 will no longer be played after the two schools agreed to move on following a series of scheduling misfits.

“East Carolina and Virginia Tech, after consultation with their respective legal counsel, have mutually agreed to cancel the scheduled series of football games (2020-2025),” a brief statement from Virginia Tech’s official football program Twitter feed said Monday afternoon.”

For a brief reminder of why all of this came about, let’s refresh.

Last season, East Carolina informed Virginia Tech their football program would not be making a trip to Blacksburg for a football game due to the incoming path of Hurricane Florence. No big deal, right? The game could easily be tacked on to the end of the regular season if needed, or perhaps rescheduled for a future date to keep the agreement intact. But East Carolina opted to schedule a game at the end of the season against NC State (who also was looking to add a game due to a hurricane-related schedule adjustment). That left Virginia Tech hanging as their bowl streak edged closer to the cliff and the Hokies ended up working out an arrangement with Marshall.

Move forward to this season, when Virginia Tech and East Carolina were originally scheduled to meet on East Carolina’s campus. The Hokies pulled out of the game while the two schools struggled to get on the same page about how to handle the fallout of the 2018 schedule. Rather than play each other as planned, both East Carolina and Virginia Tech filled their sudden vacancy with FCS opponents (giving Virginia Tech a schedule with 2 FCS opponents). Virginia Tech has insisted East Carolina pay a fee of $250,000 for the cancellation of the 2018 game, which East Carolina has refused to agree to.

Now, there will be no more games between the two schools for the foreseeable future. Both schools will now have vacancies to fill in their schedules for the next few years as a result. Virginia Tech is already scheduled for games against Liberty and Penn State at home and a road game at Middle Tennessee in 2020. East Carolina has already filled their 2020 spot by adjusting a scheduling agreement with Georgia State.

The loss of East Carolina on the Virginia Tech schedule may not bother Hokies fans much. After all, Frank Beamer once labeled games against the Pirates as exhibition games anyway.

Fenway Bowl to pit ACC vs. American

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Fenway Park confirmed on Monday that “America’s most beloved ballpark” will indeed host a bowl game this winter, as was reported back in April.

While full details are still forthcoming, the game will pit teams from the ACC and the American.

Fenway Park has hosted a number of games in recent years, but this will be the venue’s first college postseason game. Some might even say Fenway’s entire 107-year history has been building toward the opportunity to host a 7-5 ACC team against an 8-4 American team.

The Red Sox will become the sixth MLB franchise to host a college bowl game in recent years, joining the Yankees (Pinstripe Bowl), Diamondbacks (Cheez-It Bowl), Rays (Gasparilla Bowl), Marlins (the defunct Miami Beach Bowl) and Giants (Redbox Bowl, since moved to Levi’s Stadium).

 

Malcolm Perry accounts for six TDs as Navy whips East Carolina

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Have yourself a day, Malcolm Perry.

Navy came into today’s home game with East Carolina as roughly a touchdown favorite.  Showing the sportsbooks don’t always know what they’re doing, the Midshipmen jumped out to a 28-3 halftime lead on their way to a 42-10 throttling of the Pirates.

The man of the hour was Perry, who accounted for all six of Navy’s touchdowns on the day.

The senior quarterback totaled six touchdowns on the day, four rushing and two passing.  He scored from 18 and 11 yards out in the first quarter; from six in the second; and from one in the third.  The passing scores were a 29-yarder in the second quarter and an 80-yarder in the third — and, for those wondering, the academy record for longest touchdown pass is 87 yards back in 1995.

The six scores are tied with four former Midshipmen for second-most in a single game in academy history, with the most recent by Keenan Reynolds in 2014.  The year before, Reynolds set the record with seven, all of which were on the ground in setting a single-game FBS record for quarterbacks.

As a team, Navy ran for 315 yards on 64 attempts — 11 different Midshipmen carried the ball at least once —  with Perry accounting for 156 of those.  Perry also added 153 yards on 6-of-8 passing.