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Kings of Carolina: Appalachian State knocks off South Carolina, North Carolina in same season

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When it comes to the Power Five Carolinas, Appalachian State reigns supreme.

Back in Week 4, App State jumped out to a 27-17 halftime lead on North Carolina in Chapel Hill and then held on for a 34-31 win in the first-ever meeting between the two Tar Heel state programs.  That win was part of a 7-0 start to the season that had the Mountaineers sitting at No. 20 in the Associated Press Top 25; a three-point loss to Georgia Southern in Week 10 burst the Sun Belt school’s unbeaten bubble.

Next up for an App State squad looking to bounce back from that first 2019 loss was South Carolina, with the Mountaineers and Gamecocks squaring off in Week 11 in the programs’ first meeting since 1977.  At the end of the first quarter in Columbia, it was 6-3 ‘Cocks; after flipping that first-half script and taking a 20-9 lead deep into the fourth quarter, the Mountaineers held on to take a 20-15 win back home to Boone.

The win marks App State’s second over South Carolina and first since 1975.  That was part of a stretch in which the schools played in six straight years from 1972-77; they hadn’t played since, and Week 11 of 2019 provided an example of why.

At 8-1 overall, and with a second Power Five win on its résumé, Appalachian State has put themselves back into, at least, the periphery of the Group of Five’s New Year’s Six discussion.

For South Carolina, the loss drops them to 4-6 on the season and, with games against Texas A&M and Clemson left, almost certainly assures that they won’t be bowling in 2019.  It will also almost certainly assure that the seat underneath Will Muschamp, who is now 26-23 in his fourth season with the program, will crank up a few more degrees.

Big game by Bryce Perkins puts Virginia in ACC Coastal driver’s seat

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Anything is capable of happening in the ACC Coastal Division, but for at least one week it will be Virginia (6-3, 4-2 ACC) that has the most control of the division. A 38-31 victory at UNC (4-5, 3-3 ACC) lifted Virginia into sole possession of first place in the ACC Coastal Divison with some key head-to-head tiebreakers in their pocket.

In a game that was highlighted by offense, neither team managed to score any points in the fourth quarter. A turnover on downs by UNC with just over a minute to play gave Virginia the football with nothing standing in the way of a win. A big game by Bryce Perkins certainly helped Virginia’s cause. Perkins completed 30 of 39 pass attempts for 378 yards and three touchdowns. As if that wasn’t enough, Perkins put the offense on his back and rushed for a game-high 12 yards and two more touchdowns to account for nearly all of Virginia’s scoring. He did not throw an interception.

UNC’s freshman quarterback Sam Howell had a big game too with 353 passing yards and four touchdown passes. Despite UNC having more total yards of offense, it was the little things that made the difference in this one. Both teams went 7-for-13 on third down, but Virginia converted its one fourth-down try while UNC was 0-for-3, including one from the Virginia 27-yard line in the second quarter and one more from the Virginia six-yard line in the fourth quarter. Neither team had a turnover but Virginia had just one penalty for five yards while UNC was flagged six times.

Virginia opened the season with a victory at defending Coastal champion Pittsburgh, 30-14. The Panthers are currently tied with Virginia in the loss column but with one fewer win and on the wrong end of the head-to-head result, Pitt cannot pass Virginia unless the Cavaliers have more losses than them. UNC, Miami and Duke are all with three losses. Virginia Tech also has two losses in conference play, but Virginia will face the rival Hokies in the final game of the regular season.

Virginia will be home next week to face Georgia Tech, who was defeated by Pitt earlier in the day to fall to 2-6 overall and 1-4 in ACC play. A win by the Cavaliers will inch Virginia one step closer to its first appearance in the ACC Championship Game.

North Carolina may have not be mathematically eliminated from the race but will need Virginia to lose twice. UNC will get a road game at Pitt in two weeks (Thursday, Nov. 14) for a chance to stay alive if Virginia stumbles next week). The Tar Heels will be off next weekend.

In battle for ACC Coastal control, UNC and Virginia deadlocked at halftime

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In a battle to seize control of the ACC Coastal, Virginia and North Carolina are knotted in a 17-17 tie in Chapel Hill. Virginia drew even with North Carolina with a Bryce Perkins touchdown pass to Hasise Dubois just 13 seconds before halftime.

The Tar Heels and the Cavaliers were tied at 10-10 until Sam Howell completed a 34-yard touchdown pass to Dyami Brown for a 17-10 lead. Earlier in the second quarter, Howell and Brown connected on a 47-yard score to tie the game at 10-10. The go-ahead touchdown came after the Tar Heel defense forced a three-and-out after the game had been tied.

Virginia has not been able to run the football, with quarterback Bryce Perkins running for 14 yards on 11 carries to lead the team. Perkins picked up the only Virginia touchdown of the half on a short touchdown run from the one-yard line in the first quarter.

The ACC Coastal championship picture may not exactly be cleaned up for good regardless of who wins this game, but the winner will be in the position to have the ultimate hand in determining what happens in the division race that is once again up for grabs.

Senator announces plans to attach strings to college athletes’ potential NIL paychecks

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The NCAA on Tuesday took the first step toward creating (or, really, accepting) a world where college athletes are allowed to take cold, hard cash simply for being college athletes and not ruin their eligibility. The organization left itself no choice following the efforts of many politicians across the country, primarily state politicians in California.

And if you’ve spent any time at all discussing this issue in a public forum, the dialogue has usually folded itself into one of two streams: “Well, good, they should be able to get a cut of their own jersey sales,” or “Well, if they’re going to get paid like a grown-up they should have to pay taxes like a grown-up! See how they like their scholarship then !!!” In fact, that argument has played itself out in the comments section of this very website countless times, and will no doubt spawn again in the comments of this article.

And on Tuesday afternoon, the latter of those arguments sprung to life in the form of Senator Richard Burr (R-NC).

“If college athletes are going to make money off their likenesses while in school, their scholarships should be treated like income,” Burr tweeted. “I’ll be introducing legislation that subjects scholarships given to athletes who choose to ‘cash in’ to income taxes.”

Understanding the $300 Skill Player X accepts for promoting College Bar Z on his respective social media channels will itself be taxed, it’s never quite made sense why said college athlete would then have to pay taxes on his books, his apartment and his meal plan and all the myriad other benefits college athletes receive in exchange for being really good at sports. It likely doesn’t make sense to Burr, other than some people don’t like to see power and freedom extended to people who didn’t used to have it.

For what it’s worth, Burr’s idea is not going over well. As of press time, Burr’s tweet is being firmly “ratio’d” — with 4,000 replies and climbing against only 200 retweets. More importantly, it hasn’t been echoed by any other politicians, either in statehouses across the country or in Washington. In fact, Rep. Mark Walker, who shares a home state and a party with Burr and was the first Congressman to formally bring the issue to Washington back in March, struck an entirely different, non-retaliatory tone in his statement.

What will truly kill Barr’s misguided mission is when Duke, UNC and NC State boosters who also contribute to Burr’s reelection campaign call his office and say, “Hey, bud, no one wants this, so can you just not?”

Justin Fields, Jalen Hurts two of 16 QBs added to Manning Award midseason watch list

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By most accounts, there are currently four viable contenders for the 2019 Heisman Trophy. Two of them had already caught the eye of the Manning Award; this week, the other two officially drew the honor’s attention as well.

Thursday, the Manning Award, sponsored by the Allstate Sugar Bowl and the only major trophy to take into account postseason performance, announced that it has added 16 quarterbacks to its midseason watch list. The two most noteworthy additions are Ohio State’s Justin Fields and Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts.

Both Fields and Hurts came to their current schools as offseason transfers, the former from Georgia and the latter from Alabama. Fields was granted a waiver by the NCAA for immediate eligibility while Hurts landed at Norman as a graduate transfer.

Of the 16 additions, four come from the Big Ten, three each from the AAC and the Pac-12 and two from the ACC. Per the award’s release, “[t]he newcomers include six seniors, five juniors, three sophomores and two freshmen.”

Below is the entire list of 16 midseason additions to the Manning Award’s watch list: