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In the latest alterations and additions to future college football schedules, 2013′s opening Thursday gets a border rivalry, Baylor plays a metaphor game and Virginia ventures where few power-conference programs dare:
• North Carolina vs. South Carolina, Thursday, August 29, 2013. The primetime prelude to the first college football Saturday is bolstered by the addition of a Tar Heels-Gamecocks matchup. You will watch it, because it is there.
• Baylor vs. Wofford, Saturday, August 31, 2013. Have you ever wanted to see how an actual bear would do attacking an actual terrier? Because that’s probably what this is going to look like.
• Boise State vs. Virginia, 2015 and 2017. Clutch those pearls: A BCS conference team heading into Boise! Wonders never cease. The home-and-home series is currently scheduled for September 26, 2015 in Charlottesville with a return trip to the blue turf on September 23, 2017. Say what you will about the Cavaliers; Virginia schedules with gusto. Following a 2012 slate that included dates with Penn State, TCU and Louisiana Tech, the Cavs’ 2013 schedule features home stands against Oregon and BYU. Also, the team once employed, very briefly, that strange snuggly horse mascot. We like Virginia, is our point.
If Brian Kelly takes the Eagles job, maybe there will be an NFL team that Alabama could beat
— Brandon (@TeamSpeedKills) January 10, 2013
• Eagles to turn next to R. Kelly. There are folks getting awfully het up at Brian Kelly (subscription required) for his dalliances with the Philadelphia Eagles, who are just trying to live frugally after printing up all those WE <3 COACH KELLY cocktail napkins for Chip.
Elsewhere in coach-hirin’ follies: Obvious international superspy Bob Toledo will rejoin Rocky Long as offensive coordinator at San Diego State … Chuck Bresnahan will coordinate Willie Taggart’s defense at South Florida … Bill Young is out and Glenn Spencer is in as Oklahoma State’s defensive coordinator … Texas A&M swipes West Virginia’s quarterbacks coach to serve as co-offensive coordinator in College Station … and from Regular Virginia, Kevin Sumlin snags an assistant who’d been with the Cavaliers for just over a week.
• Roster blotter. Eddie Lacy, Dee Milliner and D.J. Fluker will all leave Alabama early to enter the NFL draft … Clint Moseley has left Auburn football, though not Auburn … also draft-bound, Clemson’s Nuke Hopkins, Washington State’s Marquess Wilson and Georgia’s Kwame Geathers … Joseph Randle to turn pro, per Joseph Randle … LSU has, at last count, 11 early departures … notable non-departures include Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews and Texas’ Mike Davis … and spare some healing vibes for Notre Dame’s Kapron Lewis-Moore, whose BCS title game injury has been confirmed as an ACL tear.
• Oh, NOW you don’t like the BCS. Not before. Just now. Northern Illinois is bound for the Orange Bowl as the first team from the MAC to earn a BCS bowl bid. We, as you might imagine, are delighted. Others are not. In other words, it’s just like every other BCS selection reaction ever.
Herbstreit calls NIU’s BCS berth “A sad state of college football.”
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) December 3, 2012
Say what you will about NIU, its bid was automatic, just like Wisconsin’s and Louisville’s. NIU ranks ahead of both in every poll. — Matt Hinton (@MattRHinton) December 3, 2012
“I can’t believe they let NIU into the sacrosanct Orange Bowl.” <—someone who has never watched the Orange Bowl — edsbs (@edsbs) December 2, 2012
Rule that got NIU in was established to help defend BCS from anti-trust lawsuit. ESPN acting like it’s a football decision — Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) December 3, 2012
Is there any other sport in America where people DESPISE the underdog? Any sport in the world? — Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) December 3, 2012
Again, according to every current human poll and a consensus of the BCS computers, NIU’s not even the worst BCS bowl team this year. — Matt Hinton (@MattRHinton) December 3, 2012
To steal a @billsimmons metaphor, a lot of the NIU whining seems like people who are also mad the house doesn’t win more in blackjack.
— John Infante (@John_Infante) December 3, 2012
For takes longer than 140 characters, see Samuel Chi’s “Deal with it” and Matt Hinton’s “Blame the Big Ten and Big East.” The final regular-season BCS standings can be found here; the tell-all Coaches’ Poll results are here. For our full bowl schedule, click this way.
• Everybody got all that? In the past 24 hours of college football realignment news, we have seen East Carolina and Tulane jump from Conference USA to the Big East, the ACC file a lawsuit against Maryland over money owed given the Terps’ move to the Big Ten, Louisville abandon the Big East for the ACC and UConn’s president say “I think we really just have to focus on students and then everything will be OK.” And in the time it took us to painstakingly piece together the elaborate artist’s rendition of the remaining future conference jumps, the Virginian-Pilot is reporting that Conference USA will add Middle Tennessee State. YEEHAW.
• Things that are not realignment news. Our one preseason prediction that held fast all year was that every team would look sort of terrible at least once … Virginia cans its running backs coach … Gene Chizik will be a Mr. December to remember … and here is the only hypothetical realignment move we’d be in favor of at this exasperating point.
• North Carolina 37, Virginia 13. That sure got away from us in a hurry, didn’t it? A 36-yard interception return by UNC’s Tre Boston late in the first half broke the game open at 20-10, and apart from a lone third-quarter field goal the Cavaliers would not threaten again. Bryn Renner wrapped up the evening with 29-of-36 pass attempts completed, good for 315 yards and three touchdowns. His favored target, Quinshad Davis, recorded 178 receiving yards on 16 catches, and Gio Bernard added 57 yards rushing and 47 receiving yards with one score. Erik Highsmith caught two of Renner’s three scoring passes. UVA is out of postseason contention but could still prevent Virginia Tech from going to a bowl with a win next Saturday in Blacksburg. [BOX | RECAP]
• This holiday season, give the gift of vintage sanctions. The COI has imposed a few additional penalties on Tennessee for violations dating from the Lane Kiffin era, which we’re only mentioning here because Dave Hart saying ”We will finally close the chapter on the prior actions of members of a previous football coaching staff,” very shortly before he creates a second coaching staff he’ll have to call “previous,” gives us the grim giggles.
• What a nice gesture from a nice person. Per a Kansas sports info release: “In an effort to send his 2012 senior class out with a fitting farewell, Kansas football head coach Charlie Weis is offering to foot the bill for all KU students seeking admittance to Saturday’s ‘Senior Night’ game versus Iowa State.” Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET. No word on whether journalism students are included in the invitation.
• Shiny! The 2012 Nagurski Trophy finalists were announced Thursday. Still in the running for college football’s National Defensive Player of the Year: Jadeveon Clowney, Jarvis Jones, Dee Milliner, Manti Te’o and Bjoern Werner. Winner to be announced on December 3.
Your Thursday night FBS college football lineup consists entirely of a clash between the fourth- and fifth-place teams in the ACC Coastal. We’re sure you have so many questions.
• What information do I, the discerning sports fan, require in order to consume this game? The Tar Heels and Cavaliers are scheduled to kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET in Charlottesville’s Scott Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPN and streamed on WatchESPN.
• … what else is on? Tonight, the ACC is up against a rerun of The Mentalist on TNT, Lethal Weapon 4 on HDNet, something called Rattlesnake Republic on Animal Planet and a whoooole bunch of basketball. Um, and Dolphins-Bills on NFL Network. Still with us?
• Ugh. Fine. Get me interested in this game. If you haven’t perused this EDSBS reader breakdown of possible tiebreaking scenarios in the Coastal division, you’re missing out. Apart from those implications, tonight’s game could help set up one ornery regular-season finale game in Blacksburg. If both Virginia and Virginia Tech win this week (the Hokies travel to Boston College this Saturday), they’ll play their annual rivalry match with bowl eligibility on the line.
• Syracuse 45, No. 11 Louisville 26. The number of undefeated teams in FBS play dropped from six to five following today’s first flight of games, with the Big East becoming the latest conference to lose its last unbeaten program. The Cardinals fell behind less than three minutes into the game, on a 20-yard ‘Cuse field goal, and would tie the score twice in the first quarter, but they never held a lead over the unranked Orange. Three Syracuse touchdowns in the second quarter gave the underdogs a comfortable cushion that they wouldn’t surrender.
Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib threw for 246 yards and three touchdowns on just 15 completions. He was balanced on the ground by a 144-yard, one-touchdown rushing performance from Jerome Smith and a 99-yard, two-score effort from Prince-Tyson Gulley. Alec Lemon was by far the favored target of the afternoon, as he finished with nine receptions for 176 yards and two touchdowns. For the Cardinals, Teddy Bridgewater accounted for 422 passing yards and 17 rushing yards all by his lonesome. Louisville’s total net offensive output was 472 yards.
Spinning this forward: The Cardinals now trail Rutgers in the Big East title race; the Scarlet Knights are 4-0 in league play with Cincinnati, Pitt and Louisville left on the schedule. Syracuse can clinch bowl eligibility with a win in either of its final two games, at Missouri or at Temple. [BOX | RECAP]
• Collin Klein and Kenjon Barner would like a word. We can think of a few folks who might take issue with USC’s assertion that Marqise Lee is the best player in college football, but he certainly has a compelling case (and his own hashtag). And will fruitless Heisman arguments stop us from posting kickass highlight reels? They most certainly will not.
• We see what you’re saying, but all we hear is “start looking for parking in New Orleans, like, tomorrow.” Brett “Sources” McMurphy was first to report yesterday that the Sugar Bowl has won the Champions Bowl bidding war and will host an annual SEC-Big 12 champions clash, when it’s not serving as a playoff semifinal site. The first game will take place on Jan. 1, 2015, and the agreement runs through January 2026. So, Arlington for the title game, then?
Snap Judgments from the Week 4 early slate. For more coverage, check out our midday Snaps, late Snaps and complete Top 25 review. Also check out our coverage of Florida State-Clemson, Kansas State-Oklahoma and Notre Dame-Michigan.
• Central Michigan 32, Iowa 31: College football’s governing trickster gods are cruel and capricious, and let us never, ever forget it. The same afternoon that saw an Iowa running back deliver a standout performance without suffering the latest in a staggering series of tailback injuries also saw the Hawkeyes defeated by a directional Michigan team –and not a particularly well-regarded directional Michigan team.
Running back Mark Weisman’s 27-carry, 217-yard, three-touchdown outing was overshadowed by the triumph of a Chippewas squad that’s seen little in the way of glory since the departure of quarterback Dan LeFevour. Weisman nearly doubled up Central Michigan’s entire team rushing-wise, but Chippewas quarterback Ryan Radcliff made up for it with an aerial attack that covered 283 yards and two touchdowns.
Radcliff wasn’t the highest-scoring Chippewa, though. That would be kicker David Harman, who made up for weeks of special-teams shame directed at kickers nationwide by hitting a career-long 47-yard field goal with three seconds remaining to clinch the win. And how did Harman find himself in position to hit the game-winner? The final 45 seconds of the game saw the Chippewas fail on a two-point conversion; fail to recover an on-side kick, then recover the on-side after a delay-of-game penalty gave them a second shot; continue to advance on a 15-yard Iowa personal foul penalty; and score nine total points to pull the upset. [RECAP | BOX]