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ACC announces full 2020 football schedule

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College hoops might be the focus for many along the eastern seaboard but planning can soon commence for the fall after the ACC released their full 2020 football schedule on Wednesday.

You can find the full composite ACC football schedule here or the team-by-team breakdown here.

“The accomplishments by our collective football programs over recent years has been remarkable and a compliment to our players, coaches and the leadership at our schools,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “As we look ahead, there’s no shortage of excitement and anticipation for what the 2020 season will bring. Once again, our fans will have an opportunity to watch all of our games across a variety of platforms, including ACC Network which continues to be successful in showcasing our schools and programs.”

On top of the usual ACC slate of divisional and crossover games, Notre Dame will once again be featured heavily on the schedules of league opponents as a result of the school’s annual agreement with the conference. All told there will be six matchups involving the Irish, including a neutral site game against Wake Forest at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte (Sept. 26).  Notre Dame travels to both Pitt (Oct. 17) and Georgia Tech (Nov. 14) while Duke (Oct. 31), Clemson (Nov. 7) and Louisville (Nov. 21) will play in South Bend.

That game against the defending conference champ Tigers is particularly notable given the College Football Playoff implications it carries with Dabo Swinney’s group having a great shot at starting as the preseason No. 1 in 2020 and Brian Kelly likely fielding a top 15 (or higher) team.

Also interesting is the number of trips the ACC will make down to Atlanta for some big non-conference outings (which were obviously previously announced). Florida State will open the Mike Norvell era against West Virginia on Sept. 5 while Virginia plays SEC East champ Georgia on Labor Day. A week later, North Carolina plays Auburn as part of a very tough start to the season for Mack Brown and company with UCF and FCS powerhouse James Madison also on the docket.

We’ll see how it all sorts itself out come September but something says that for all the change that has gone on in the league, the end result of Clemson holding up the trophy probably isn’t going to change anytime soon.

Todd Graham named as Hawaii’s next head coach

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The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors football program has afforded a wayward coach a means to return to the sidelines.

In the days after Nick Rolovich left to replace Mike Leach at Washington StateRobert Anae‘s name had been mentioned prominently as a potential successor.  Tuesday, however, the Virginia offensive coordinator announced in a statement that he has withdrawn his name from consideration for the job as the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors football head coach.

Just prior to that, it was reported by The Athletic‘s Bruce Feldman that Todd Graham is getting consideration for the job.  Very late Tuesday night, Hawaii confirmed that Graham has been hired as the school’s 24th head coach.

Graham will be introduced at a Wednesday afternoon press conference.

The 55-year-old Graham has been a head coach at four different FBS schools:

  • Arizona State (2012-17)
  • Pitt (2011)
  • Tulsa (2007-10)
  • Rice (2006)

Graham has posted a 95-61 record at those stops.  His teams have played in 10 bowl games in 12 seasons, winning five of those postseason appearances.  He’s also won three divisional titles.

After being fired by Arizona State in November of 2017, Graham has been out of coaching.  He was mentioned as a candidate for the Kansas job that ultimately went to Les Miles.

LSU, two B1G schools will have most players on Super Bowl rosters

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The LSU Tigers football program represented the sport well in winning the 2019 national championship, and now they’re set to be well-represented when the next level crowns its Super Bowl champion as well.

Sunday afternoon, the Kansas City Chiefs again overcame an early deficit to beat the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Championship game. In the NFC championship game, the San Francisco 49ers pummeled the Green Bay Packers to earn a berth opposite the Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV. That game will be played at the home of the Miami Hurricanes, Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Feb. 2.

The 49ers, seeking their first Super Bowl win since 1994, have four former LSU football players currently listed on their official online roster*. The Chiefs, in search of their first title since 1969, have one former LSU football player on their Super Bowl roster. That total of five is tied for the most for a single school in this year’s game.

The number for LSU is matched by a pair of schools from the Big Ten — Iowa and Penn State — for the most players on Super Bowl rosters this year. Three former Nittany Lions and Hawkeyes play for the 49ers, two for the Chiefs.

Two SEC schools, Florida and Vanderbilt, each have four former players as part of the game, as does Stanford. Middle Tennessee State and San Diego State are two of a gaggle of schools with three players on teams playing in the game, which is the most of any Group of Five conference member.

Conference-wise, it was the SEC leading the way (again) with 32 players, followed by the Big Ten’s 22. The ACC (17), Pac-12 (16), Big 12 (12) and Conference USA (11) were the only other FBS leagues in double digits.

As for the other conferences?

  • Mountain West, nine
  • AAC, six
  • MAC, five
  • Sun Belt, four

Football independents accounted for six players. There were a total of 21 players who played at levels of football other than the FBS.

Below are all of the individual schools that will be represented on Super Sunday:

FIVE
Iowa
LSU
Penn State

FOUR
Florida
Stanford
Vanderbilt

THREE
Arizona
Auburn
Clemson
Kansas State
Middle Tennessee State
Mississippi State
Notre Dame
Ohio State
Oklahoma
Pittsburgh
San Diego State
South Carolina

TWO
Alabama
BYU
Central Michigan
Duke
FAU
Florida State
Georgia Southern
Michigan
Michigan State
NC State
Ole Miss
Oregon
Purdue
Southern Miss
Tennessee
Texas
Texas A&M
USF
Utah
Virginia

ONE
Air Force
Alabama A&M
Appalachian State
Arizona State
Arkansas
Baylor
Boston College
Bowling Green State
Buffalo
Cal
Cincinnati
Colorado
Colorado State
Colorado State-Pueblo
Eastern Illinois
Eastern Michigan
Eastern Washington
Georgia
Georgia Tech
Grand Valley State
Harvard
Hawaii
Illinois
Indiana
James Madison
Louisiana Tech
Louisiana
McGill (Canada)
Minnesota
Montana State
New Hampshire
New Mexico State
North Texas
Northern Illinois
Northern Iowa
Oklahoma State
Old Dominion
Oregon State
Princeton
Samford
San Diego
San Jose State
SMU
South Carolina State
TCU
Temple
Texas Tech
UConn
Utah State
Valdosta State
Villanova
Virginia Tech
Wagner
Washington
West Alabama
Western Illinois
Western Kentucky
Wyoming

(*Includes players on injured reserve, practice squad, etc.)

Starting Pitt safety Damar Hamlin gets another year of eligibility

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It was good news on the eligibility front for the Pitt Panthers football program Wednesday.

According to the school, Damar Hamlin has been granted another season of eligibility.  The move by the NCAA will allow the starting safety to return to the Pitt Panthers football program and play in 2020.

The upcoming season will serve as his final year of eligibility.

“We’re thrilled that Damar was able to receive a fifth year,” Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi said in a statement. “We weren’t certain after our bowl game what the future would hold. We really appreciate the efforts of our compliance staff as Damar went through this process. I know Damar is ready to take full advantage—academically, athletically and personally—of his final year at the University of Pittsburgh.”

Hamlin was a four-star 2016 signee, rated as the No. 4 player regardless of position in the state of Pennsylvania.  He played in just three games as a true freshman because of injury, which allowed for the extra season of eligibility.

A two-year starter, Hamlin has started a total of 30 games during his time at Pitt.

Pitt RB V’Lique Carter enters transfer portal

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In his first game with the Pitt Panthers football team, V’Lique Carter shined.  Two seasons later, he’s gone.  Well, at least, he’s partially gone.

Wednesday morning, a Pitt Panthers football official confirmed to CFT that Carter’s name is now listed in the NCAA transfer database.  It had been reported Tuesday that the running back was set to enter the portal.

Coming out of high school in Florida, Carter was a three-star 2018 signee.  He originally came to the Pitt Panthers football program as a defensive back, but was moved to running back midway through his true freshman season.

Carter ran for 137 yards and two touchdowns (on seven carries) during his backfield debut in Pitt’s win over Duke in late October of 2018.  After that, his single-game high was 47 yards (this past October).  Those were the only two rushing touchdowns during his time with the Panthers as well.

For the Pitt portion of his playing career, Carter will apparently finish with 445 yards on the ground.  Of those, 243 came during the 2019 season.

Carter was also a threat out of the backfield as he caught 17 passes for 183 yards and two more touchdowns in 2019.  Those were the second-most among for any Panthers running back.

Barring the unexpected, Carter will have to sit out the 2020 season.  He would then have two years of eligibility starting in 2021.