College Football Super Bowl On The Way?

By: Kipp Branch news services

Could Clemson be moving to the SEC soon?

Rumors are swirling again regarding expansion. The SEC currently sits at 16 teams with Oklahoma and Texas joining in 2024. Think of Big 10/SEC as the NFC/AFC.

We’re quickly headed for an NFL-like model for college football because the powers that be desperately want media deals like the NFL has.

The short term will be chaotic, but it’ll eventually settle into a pro formatted league with regional divisions that prints money like the US Government.

But everything between now and then will be uncomfortable for the avid college football fan. It’s regionalized divisions within a national league.  It’s how every professional sports organization is laid out.

Eventually you will see a new alignment that is consisted of the Big 10 and the SEC. You could see 24 teams in each conference breaking away from the NCAA governing body which has become useless by the way.

You could call it something like the National College Football League. You could appoint a league commissioner just like the NFL and negotiate major TV deals for each the league. All teams that are not members of the NCFL could stay as members of the toothless NCAA and still compete at football.

If Clemson bolts to the SEC, what is to stop Florida State, Miami, and North Carolina from following? You keep hearing things from people like what about Georgia Tech, Virginia, and Virginia Tech? Do you want the Big 10 to come down and gain a footprint in the South?

The answer is who cares. In the NFL you have the AFC South and the NFC South. You the AFC North and The NFC North. You see it really doesn’t matter if you land in one of the two major conferences.

What about recruiting? The top-rated recruits will go to a league that has the best TV contract, which will end up fueling NIL money into the pockets of those highly rated prospects.

This will create parity like we see in the NFL. In the NFL anyone can get beat on any given Sunday. An NFL type model in college will create anyone can get beat on any given Saturday.

What if the SEC expanded by four more teams in 2025 with Clemson, FSU, North Carolina, and Miami to put the number at 20?

The SEC could create four divisions with five teams. If a new body was formed with the Big Ten, then there would be no more cupcakes as you would only play teams from each conference.

Twelve game schedules, then two rounds of playoffs in each conference. You then have a championship Saturday with two huge conference championship games then a huge National Championship game on Saturday before the Super Bowl.

A 20-team breakout in a newly expanded SEC could look like this:

SEC Atlantic: Clemson, FSU, UNC, Miami, South Carolina

SEC East: Auburn, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Vanderbilt

SEC Central: Alabama, Ole Miss, LSU, Mississippi State, Tennessee

SEC West: Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M

You would have 9 conference games annually. Each team would play everyone in their division annually. You would have one permanent opponent from the rest of conference and rotate the rest so you can play home and home with the entire conference in a 4–5-year window.

You would play 3 rotating Big 10 opponents based on a computer model that matches teams with similar records from the previous season. No more cupcakes.

The team with best overall record wins their division and makes the SEC playoffs. If there is a two-way tie in division then head-to-head tiebreaker is in effect. Further tiebreaker scenarios would be determined by league.

This model would require Notre Dame to join the Big Ten.

Put on your seat beat folks this is where college football is heading. If not two conferences, then four with similar type formats.

Rest in Peace NCAA. Can you envision a college football draft down the road with a draft order for the top high school football prospects with slotted NIL money for each pick? You talk about parity folks.

ACC Still King

By: Kenneth Harrison Jr. news services

We’re heading in to the second week of March Madness and so far, it has been exciting. We have the usual upsets like 12 seed Murray State beating Marquette, a five seed. \

The ACC is known as the best basketball conference and to some extent, they proved it. They also have raised some questions with the overall performance after the first weekend. They have sent the most teams (5) to the next round.

Duke is the number one overall seed in the tournament and top seed in the East. They are the only clear-cut favorite to win it all but they struggled in the round of 32. The opponent was No. 9 seed Central Florida and they won a nail biter, 77-76.

This game was much closer than anyone expected and the Blue Devils took the lead in the final minute. I’m not sure if this is a cause for concern for Duke or just a close game that can happen during the tournament.

For instance, 5th seed Auburn beat 12th seed New Mexico State by one point in the first round. Then they turned around and beat Kansas.

The Sweet 16 opponent for Duke is an ACC team, 4th seed Virginia Tech. The Hokies beat Duke at home last month. That was a game without Zion Williamson and the Blue Devils went 0-3 during that stretch. Duke is a completely different team with Zion so Va Tech cannot put much stock in their previous game.

We did not expect UCF to almost beat the Blue Devils so anything can happen. I do believe this will be a very close game but Duke should win.

No.1 seed Virginia has rebounded well after last season’s debacle. They became the first one seed to lose to a 16 seed in last year’s tournament. They appeared to be headed in the same direction this year. Gardner-Webb led Virginia by as many as 14 points in the first half. They went into the half leading by 6.

UVA came back in the second half and won71-56. In the second round, they beat Oklahoma. I have little faith in the Cavaliers because of what they did last season.

They play 12 seed Oregon in the next round. The Ducks lost their best player, Bol Bol for the season back in December. Virginia should win easily.

Florida State is the 4 seed and they play the top seed in the West, Gonzaga. These teams have recent history since they played in the tournament last season.

The Seminoles won easily, 75-60. You know Gonzaga is looking for revenge and that will make this the must watch game of the Sweet 16.

FSU is a team full of tall and athletic players that can defend. With that said, I think the Bulldogs are a better team this season and they should walk away with the win.

North Carolina is the top seed in the Midwest and they will face off against 5 seed Auburn.

The Tigers are a very good team and they won the SEC tournament. They are not a traditional powerhouse in basketball but Coach Bruce Pearl has turned that program around.

UNC is too talented though and I think they will win the national championship. That means I’m picking the Tar Heels to win the game.

ACC Is Better Than SEC

By: Kipp Branch news services

Let me start by saying I picked North Carolina to cut down the nets this past Monday night and I have the SSE article from a couple of weeks ago to prove it.

I have been mulling this article over on my mind for a few weeks now. Folks that know me know that I am a die-hard SEC supporter and I make no bones about it.

So, take notice when I type this this next sentence. The ACC is better right now than the SEC. Yes, I said it. Now that I have that out of the way here is why.

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ACC Awards

By: JJ Lanier news services

Now that the college basketball regular season has come to an end it’s time for some of those in the media to start handing out individual awards, and for those of us who don’t have a vote, to second guess them. With that in mind, the ACC is off to a terrific start.

During the first half of the Duke/Carolina game the other night one of my closest friends, whom I’ve known since I was two and is a huge UNC fan, sent me a text that said if Luke Kennard or John Collins didn’t win Player of the Year in the ACC it’d be a travesty.

Throw in a few well placed expletives that Samuel L. Jackson would be proud of and you’ll understand the manner in which the text was sent. Too bad my buddy doesn’t have a vote, since neither of them won.

I like Justin Jackson a lot as a player and believe he is more than deserving of being on the All ACC 1st team. I can even understand the argument as to why he is the Player of the Year, I just don’t agree with it.

To me, nobody deserved it more than John Collins. Besides the “eye test” which he obviously passed, Collins finished the conference schedule 3rd in scoring, 2nd in rebounds, 4th in blocks, and 1st in field goal percentage- beating out Jackson in every single category.

Wake finished at 9-9 and looks to be headed to the NCAA tournament, so the whole argument about not giving the award to a player on an awful team, ala TJ Warren from a few years back, isn’t necessarily valid.

When all is said and done, I don’t agree with Jackson winning, but I understand it. I can’t say the same when it comes to the Coach of the Year.

Josh Pastner has done a terrific job with Georgia Tech, but there’s no way he should have won Coach Of the Year over Roy Williams. And this is coming from a someone who despises UNC so much that had my wife not stopped me I would’ve named my daughter Matt Doherty Lanier just so I would never have to forget his tenure at Carolina. As much as I hate to say it, and believe me I do, Roy should’ve won this award going away.

Carolina just won the regular season by two games over Florida State, in what a majority of people have said is the most competitive season in ACC history. They not only accomplished this with lesser NBA talent than a lot of the teams below them, but they also had a rash of injuries they’ve been dealing with. This may actually be one of Roy’s better coaching jobs.

Instead, the award is given to Pastner because, and let’s just be honest here, he stated that when he initially took the job the Athletic Director told him they wouldn’t win a conference game the entire year.

Except, just the other day Georgia Tech’s A.D. went on record that he never said it. In a world where #fakenews has become a part of our everyday vernacular, Pastner has been doing his best Sean Spicer.

Did the Yellow Jackets exceed expectations? Yes. Did they still finish 8-10? Sure. Did Pastner win because the media misjudged how much talent was actually on that team? Absolutely.

It’s almost as if these awards are given, not based on anyone’s actual performance, but rather how badly the media misjudged them before the season even starts. “Congratulations for not sucking as bad as we thought you would… here’s an award.”



ACC March Madness

jjBy: JJ Lanier news services

With the regular season winding down and various conference tournaments beginning across the country, the NCAA Tournament is just on the horizon.

Originally, I was going to comment on what it would take for all the possibly eligible SEC teams to make it to Phoenix this year, but I would’ve finished almost as quickly as I started. So, since it seems the ACC will likely have a much larger number of participants, I’ll go with them.

These are all the ACC teams that are currently thought to be in the field of 68, or one of the first four out, according to

Wake Forest: Hope they don’t play anyone ranked in the Top 50. The Demon Deacons are something like 1-348,962 against Top 50 opponents since the invention of the telephone. That request is probably a realistic expectation if they were to make the tournament, right?

Georgia Tech: Make sure they score over 65 points. Their winning percentage is .866 when they hit this benchmark. It’s .30 when they don’t.

Syracuse: Have John Gillon dedicate ‘Cuses entire tournament run to Rasheed Sulaimon. I have the upmost respect for Gillon trying to have his buddy’s back after hitting the game winning shot against Duke. The only problem is the ‘15 team that dismissed ‘Sheed won the title. When comparing anything Sulaimon accomplishes in his basketball life to that Duke team, he loses. End of story.

Virginia Tech: Ummm…..Huh??? I figured the Hokies just stopped playing basketball once they got rid of Seth Greenberg.

Miami: Show Bruce Brown tapes of Doug McDermott, similar to that of A Clockwork Orange. Brown has scored more than 20 points in only two games this season, against UNC and Duke. Those just happen to be the ‘Canes two most impressive wins of the year.

Virginia: Hold their opponents to under 40 points. I know I sound facetious, but Virginia has scored 55 or less in three of the last five games. In the two games they eclipsed that number, one was in double overtime and the other was against NC State, where they’re allergic to defense.

Notre Dame: Avoid teams that play any semblance of defense. Mike Brey’s team always seem to be near the top in offensive efficiency which helps negate other teams that like to get out and push the ball. Play someone where that efficiency takes a dip and they will struggle.

Florida State: Convince the NCAA committee to play the tournament in Tallahassee. FSU hasn’t lost on their home court since November, but has really struggled on the road. Next to North Carolina, Florida State is the second most complete team in the ACC.

Louisville: Hit outside shots. If they do this they have a chance. If not, they don’t. Pretty simple.

North Carolina: Don’t be in a bracket with a more talented team. I know it sounds obvious, but the tournament has made its name on upsets- unless you’re Carolina. Since 2006 the lowest seed UNC has lost to was a 4 seed Kentucky team. When it comes to the tournament, the Heels win the games they’re supposed to. Unfortunately for their fans, the same logic applies for the games they should lose.

Duke: Invent a time machine to travel back to October and undo whatever voodoo took place before the season started. On paper, this is the most talented team in the nation. On the court, it has been completely different. Plenty of legitimate excuses to go around, but bottom line is this sum is not equal to all of its parts.



National Championship Preview – Alabama vs Clemson


By: Kipp Branch news services

In my 2016 Clemson preview I predicted the Clemson Tigers to go 15-0 and win the National Championship. I said this would be the best Clemson team I have ever seen. I still stand by that. I messed up and did not see the Pitt loss late in the season so the Tigers stand at 13-1 after a 31-0 thrashing of another overrated Big 10 playoff team called the Ohio State Buckeyes; who the national media anointed as the championship game opponent for Alabama.

Why is Clemson an elite program right now? It starts with Deshaun Watson who should have won the Heisman Trophy. The Heisman has lost its luster to me anyway so no big deal if you watched the Heisman winner against LSU in his bowl game.

The Clemson offense is the best in all of college football. Watson is the trigger man who torched an awesome Alabama defense in the title game just one year ago. And coming off a torching of a highly touted OSU defense.

Watson is primed again to have a big night against an Alabama defense that has an awesome front seven but to me not as good in the back of that defense as they were in 2015.

Then you have the gold standard of college football and they are the Alabama Crimson Tide with Nick Saban, who is the best coach in all of football. Yes, I said all of football.

Jalen Hurts has taken the country by storm in 2015 and Bo Scarborough looks like another future NFL running back. That defense has 50 sacks and I love the way Reuben Foster attacks a ball carrier.

Alabama played around with Washington even with Lane Kiffin calling a silly offensive game plan. Kiffin finally got on Saban’s last nerve and was relieved of his duties after that game. Now Steve Sarkisian is front and center and if the Tide gets beat you can probably expect the media to toss Sark under the proverbial bus.

I expect this game to turn into another shootout like last year. Jonathan Allen and the Tide defense is a special unit, but when you look at the fire power on Clemson’s offense you see Watson, Gallman, and Williams who missed the championship game last year you wonder if a NFL defense could stop this offense.

I think both teams come out and light each other up all night long on offense. The storylines leading up the game will be:

Nick Saban and his quest to tie Bear Bryant with six national titles in the poll era. The sudden Lane Kiffin departure. Can Watson lead Clemson to the title? The great Clemson Offense vs the great Alabama Defense. The media discussing whether the playoff selection format needs to be tweaked.

I may get hammered for saying this being the SEC loyalist that I am, but I think from top to bottom the ACC has been the best conference in America this year.

Outside of Alabama the SEC has been down. Alabama hung 54 on Florida in the SEC Title game, Auburn and UGA with 5 defeats, Tennessee the preseason media darling with 4 losses, LSU fired Les Miles and went 8-4.

Alabama is Alabama but is the SEC as good as it has been?

I think Clemson wins this football game 38-35. Alabama’s old nemesis rears its ugly head and that is field goal kicking as the Tide misses one from about 40 yards to send it to overtime.

Clemson is your 2016 National Champion, and Deshaun Watson goes down as the greatest player in Clemson football history regardless of the outcome.

Future of College Football Playoff

kenBy: Kenneth Harrison Jr. news services

We’re in year three of the College Football Playoffs and the four teams were announced to play for the National Title. I don’t have a problem with the teams that were picked but it made me stop and think about the selection process.

Some analysts point to Washington (12-1) and say a team with two loses like Penn State or Michigan is more deserving because they played a tougher non-conference schedule. I disagree but I think things should be more uniformed across college football to leave everyone with an equal playing field.

The first major change should require all Power 5 conferences to play an equal amount of conference games. For instance, the Pac 12, Big Ten and Big 12 all play nine conference games. Two leagues with fourteen members, the ACC and SEC play eight conference games. It was proposed two years ago that the SEC might add an additional conference game and it was overwhelmingly shot down.

“This has been a thoughtful and deliberative process that has resulted in maintaining the current format and adds a provision that will bolster our collective annual non-conference schedule,” SEC commissioner Mike Slive said. “Critical to maintaining this format is the non-conference opponent factor which gives us the added strength-of-schedule we were seeking while allowing continued scheduling flexibility for institutional preferences, and acknowledges that many of our institutions already play these opponents.”

That’s a very interesting comment because what actually happens is a lot of teams backload their schedule with a cupcake opponent. Half of the league did that in the second to last week of the season. Several played FCS opponents: Alabama played Chattanooga, Auburn played Alabama A&M, South Carolina played Western Carolina and Kentucky played Austin Peay. Some played weak FBS opponents, for instance Georgia played Louisiana-Lafayette and Texas A&M played Texas-San Antonio. These are all basically glorified scrimmages before the season finale.

I also think since there are only four playoff spots we should rethink having five major conferences since they don’t all play by the same rules. I think the Big 12 should not be considered a Power conference anymore. They are the only conference that does not play a conference championship game since the league has had less than the required twelve teams after the 2010 season.

I think they enjoy not having to play the conference championship game for a couple of reasons. The first thing is since they only have ten teams they divide revenue amongst those universities. If they add members that will decrease the amount of money each school receives.

It’s also easier for a team to play one less game and stay in the hunt for a national championship. They have had a few teams in contention for the national title until they lost the Big 12 championship. In 1996 No. 3 Nebraska (10-1) lost to Texas. In 1998 No. 2 Kansas State (11-0) lost to Texas A&M and in 2003 No. 1 Oklahoma (12-0) got blown out by Kansas State.

I think they have been taking the easy way out by not expanding and they should be punished for that. Maybe the American Athletic Conference should become a Power 5 conference to replace them.

North Carolina Stomping Through ACC

kenBy: Kenneth Harrison Jr. news services

The ACC has been dominated by the Atlantic Division for the last six years. No. 3 Clemson, No. 5 Louisville and No. 12 Florida State are the marquee programs in the conference.

Can a Coastal Division team win the conference championship for the first time since 2009?

No. 21 North Carolina (6-2) appears to be the team most likely to reach the conference championship game for the second consecutive year. The Tar Heels are currently first in the division with a record of 4-1.

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Deadly Hurricanes?

kenBy: Kenneth Harrison Jr. news services

The Miami Hurricanes might be the best program in the last 30 years. Since 1983 they’ve played for the national championship eight times, winning five. The program has also had low moments being placed on probation more than once.

The Canes went 8-5 last season and coach Al Golden was fired. The record isn’t terrible but the way they lost is what ultimately cost him. He was let go after a 58-0 blow out loss to Clemson at home.

Mark Richt was hired to replace him and return to his alma mater. I believe this was a great hire. Richt was very underappreciated at Georgia. He turned an average program into a perennial contender. UGA has not won a championship since 1980 but their delusional fan base expects to win one every year. I think Richt will instantly turn Miami back into an elite team.

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