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Two NC State players get sixth seasons of eligibility from the NCAA

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The NC State football program and a couple of its players are on the receiving end of the NCAA’s never-ending benevolence.

The Wolpacker magazine this week reported that tight end Dylan Autenrieth and wide receiver C.J. Riley have each been granted a sixth season of eligibility.  By way of their official bios HERE and HERE, the players’ extended eligibility was confirmed by the NC State football program.

Both Autenrieth and Riley will be fifth-year seniors in 2020.  That extra season of eligibility will allow the duo to play in 2021 as well.

Autenrieth and Riley were each three-star members of the NC State football Class of 2016.  The former played his high school football in Georgia, the latter in Florida.

Both players took a redshirt their true freshman seasons.  Riley was sidelined for that initial season after tearing an ACL and undergoing surgery in the summer. He also tore his ACL in the 2019 opener and, obviously, missed the rest of last season as well.

Autenrieth began the 2019 season as the starting tight end for the Wolfpack.  In the third game of the year, however, Autenrieth went down with what turned out to be a season-ending knee injury.  During his time with the ACC school, Autenrieth caught five passes for 67 yards.

When healthy in 2017 and 2018, Riley totaled 457 yards and two touchdowns on 37 receptions.  Riley played in 26 games those two seasons.

NC State had been scheduled to open the 2020 football season against Louisville Thursday, Sept. 3.  Because of the Kentucky Derby being moved that weekend, however, that game was moved up to Sept. 2.

John Swofford announces plans to step down as ACC commissioner after 2020-21 athletic year

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The ACC is losing one of the most powerful men in collegiate sports.  Eventually.

Thursday morning, the ACC announced that commissioner John Swofford will step down from his post at the end of the 2020-21 athletic year.  The fourth commissioner in ACC history, the 71-year-old Swofford will assist with the transition and will continue his duties as commissioner until a successor is identified and in place.

This will mark Swofford’s 24th and final year as commissioner of the conference.

“It has been a privilege to be a part of the ACC for over five decades and my respect and appreciation for those associated with the league throughout its history is immeasurable,” said Swofford in a statement. “Having been an ACC student-athlete, athletics director and commissioner has been an absolute honor. There are immediate challenges that face not only college athletics, but our entire country, and I will continue to do my very best to help guide the conference in these unprecedented times through the remainder of my tenure. Nora and I have been planning for this to be my last year for some time and I look forward to enjoying the remarkable friendships and memories I’ve been blessed with long after I leave this chair.”

When Swofford took over in 1997, the league was comprised of nine members.  Over the next two decades or so, six new football members were added — Boston College, Louisville, Miami, Pitt, Syracuse and Virginia Tech.  Maryland, of course, left for the Big Ten in 2014.  Notre Dame also became a non-football member in some varsity sports, although they do have a football scheduling relationship with the league.

Last year, Swofford also oversaw the creation of the ACC Network with partner ESPN.  That network launched in August of last year.

NC State-Louisville opener moved up a day to avoid conflict with Kentucky Derby

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The Kentucky Derby is having an impact on yet another college football game.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby was postponed from May 1 to Sept. 5.  That same day, the University of Kentucky was scheduled to open the 2020 football season against Eastern Michigan.  The keyword there is “was,” of course, as UK announced last week its game against EMU will be played Thursday, Sept. 3.

Monday, it was announced that North Carolina State’s opener at Louisville has been moved from Thursday, Sept. 3, to Wednesday, Sept. 2.  The reason?  The Kentucky Derby triggered the move of a college football game, of course.

From the NC State release:

Because of the nationwide pandemic, the 146th Kentucky Derby Weekend, originally set for April 30 through May 2 in Louisville, was pushed back to Sept. 3-5 and coincided with Louisville’s home opener. Thursday of Derby week has become known as “Thurby,” a traditionally highly attended event.

Due to the logistical efforts associated with the Kentucky Derby and a Louisville home football game, both schools mutually agreed to move the game up one day to avoid any conflicts for traffic and logistics. Cardinal Stadium and Churchill Downs are neighbors, with the facilities located in close proximity to one another and many attendees park at the football stadium.

A time and network for the ACC matchup will be announced at a later date.

Duke’s Mayo Bowl is now a postseason thing, replaces Belk Bowl

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Exit Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl, enter Duke’s Mayo Bowl?  Yep, 2020 has been quite the year.  And we’re not halfway through it yet.

To the chagrin of many, it was announced last November that the Belk Bowl would cease to exist after the playing of its 2019 game.  Thursday, it was announced that Duke’s Mayonaisse will replace Belk as the title sponsor of the Charlotte postseason game.

Hence, the Duke’s Mayo Bowl.  Has a nice drinking-a-PBR-while-getting-my-mullet-trimmed vibe to it, doesn’t it?

As was the case with its predecessor, the Duke’s Mayo Bowl will feature an ACC team versus a team from either the Big Ten or SEC.

“We’re excited about partnering with Duke’s Mayonnaise,” Charlotte Sports Foundation executive director Danny Morrison said in a statement. “Duke’s Mayonnaise is an iconic Southern brand that has been in business for 103 years. Their core is in the mid-South and Southeast, but they’re also a national brand. This will create incredible visibility for them.”

In addition to the bowl game, Duke’s Mayo will also sponsor a regular-season college football game as well.  This year, that matchup will feature Notre Dame and Wake Forest squaring off in the aptly-named Duke’s Mayo Classic.

That game will be played at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.  That, of course, will also serve as the home of the bowl game as well.

All I know is, I can’t wait for the winning team to dump a giant bucket of mayo on the winning head coach’s head.  Hey, if they can do it with french fries they can do it with a condiment as well.

ACC becomes last Power Five to confirm its Football Media Days is going virtual

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As the lone Power Five holdout, the ACC has, as expected, joined the Football Media Days crowd.  While practicing proper social distancing, of course.

In late April, the MWC was the first FBS league to announce that the conference will hold its Football Media Days virtually instead of in-person.  A day later, the MAC announced that its Football Media Days will be virtual as well.  Then, May 4, the AAC confirmed it will be doing the same.  The next day, it was ditto for Conference USA.

May 6, the Big 12 became the first Power Five to go virtual for Media Days.  The Pac-12 quickly followed suit.  May 22, the Big Ten did the inevitable as well.  Ditto the SEC on June 10.

Schedule-wise, the ACC had the latest Football Media Days.  So, while they held out as long as they could, the ACC confirmed Thursday morning that it has canceled its in-person Football Media Days.  That event had been scheduled for July 22-23 in Charlotte.

Unlike the other Power Fives, however, the ACC has announced its plans for a virtual Football Media Days.  According to a release, the conference “will conduct its annual ACC Football Kickoff virtually July 21-23, 2020. The event will include live coverage available on ACC Network with ACC Commissioner John Swofford, the league’s head coaches and select student-athletes.”

An event schedule, including a list of virtual attendees, will be released at a later date.

“As we continue to navigate the necessary steps surrounding COVID-19, transitioning this year’s ACC Football Kickoff from an in-person event to a virtual experience is the best option to provide media access to our coaches and student-athletes,” said Swofford in a statement. “Our primary focus in all decisions continues to be the health and welfare of our student-athletes, coaches, and in this specific instance, all of our media partners and event attendees.”