Lucas Crowley Named ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week

Entering the 2016 college football season, UNC had the luxury of possessing one of the more experienced offensive lines in the country.

A pre-season injury to senior John Ferranto–followed by injuries during the season to fellow seniors Caleb Peterson and Jon Heck–have largely stripped the Tar Heels of that experience.

The one constant up front, however, has been senior center Lucas Crowley–who was named ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week for his performance in UNC’s 20-13 win over Miami on Saturday.

Crowley was outstanding as he helped a patchwork offensive line protect quarterback Mitch Trubisky and create running lanes for tailbacks TJ Logan and Elijah Hood.

It’s the second time this season Crowley has earned the honor, also picking it up in Week Two for his efforts in UNC’s road win at Illinois.

With Ferranto out for the season–and the current status of Peterson and Heck questionable–Crowley may continue to carry a large burden for the Tar Heel offensive line moving forward.

So far, though, he’s proven to be more than capable of handling the task.

ACC ADs Vote to Keep Eight-Game Conference Schedule in Football

Throughout the offseason and into this year, there was plenty of chatter about whether the ACC would move from its current eight-game conference schedule in football to a nine-game schedule.

Speculation came to an end–at least for now–on Wednesday when the league announced on Twitter that it would maintain the eight-game schedule.

The decision also keeps the league’s mandate that each of its teams schedules at least one non-conference game against a school from one of the other Power Five leagues (Big Ten, Big 12, PAC-12, SEC).

There had been some talk initially of keeping the eight-game slate, but mandating two non-conference games against Power Five schools.

Since the ACC expanded to its current 14 teams, many have argued that the scheduling is unbalanced.

As it stands, each team plays the other six in its division every year–while also playing a designated rival (NC State in UNC’s case) from the other division on an annual basis.

The eighth conference game rotates each year between the other six teams in the opposite division.

This is how UNC–playing in the Coastal Division–went six years in between matchups against Florida State, which plays in the Atlantic.

Of course, money always plays into these kinds of decisions. Because of that, this issue is likely to brought up again in the near future. For now, though, the ACC is just fine keeping things just how they are.

Switzer, Weiler Selected as ACC Players of the Week

With 30 catches in UNC football’s thrilling wins over the last two weeks, senior wide receiver Ryan Switzer set the league’s all-time record for catches in back-to-back games.

His reward?

It was announced Monday that he’s the recipient of a second straight ACC Receiver of the Week honor.

Kicker Nick Weiler sealed one of the biggest wins in UNC's program history with his 54-yard field goal as time expired knocked off Florida State last Saturday. (Smith Cameron Photography)

Kicker Nick Weiler (24) sealed one of the biggest wins in UNC’s program history with his 54-yard field goal as time expired knocked off Florida State last Saturday. (Smith Cameron Photography)

Switzer caught 14 passes against Florida State for 158 yards–giving him a whopping 49 grabs for 587 yards through five games this season.

Of course, as well as Switzer and quarterback Mitch Trubisky played in Tallahassee, the Tar Heels wouldn’t have won the game without the leg of kicker Nick Weiler.

Weiler’s 54-yard field goal as time expired–a new career-long for the senior–lifted UNC to its first road win over a top 15 team since 2001. The kick was also the second-longest in Tar Heel history.

For his efforts, he was named the ACC’s Specialist of the Week.

As the team looks to carry this momentum into the heart of conference play, contributions from big-time players like Switzer and Weiler will be a major key to success.

Should the play at this level every week, though, it seems the Tar Heels will be just fine.

ACC Football Championship Officially Moved to Orlando

After much speculation, the ACC confirmed Thursday that its football championship game will now be played at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida.

The move comes just two weeks after the league decided to move all of its championship events out of North Carolina due to HB2. Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte was the originally scheduled host.

This will now mark the sixth time in 12 years that the state of Florida has hosted the ACC Championship, and the first since it was played in Tampa back in 2009.

Jacksonville was the location of the league’s first three championship games from 2005-2007, while Tampa also welcomed the event in 2008.

Camping World Stadium just recently went under a $208 million renovation in April of 2015.

Yesterday the ACC announced it would give 100 percent refunds to all people who purchased their tickets for the game in Charlotte.

On Oct. 5, those same people–along with all Florida Citrus Sports members–will have a three-day pre-sale opportunity to buy tickets.

The general public will be able to purchase tickets through Ticketmaster beginning Oct. 10 at 10 a.m.

Scheduling for the game did not change, as it will still be played in primetime on Saturday, Dec. 3.

ACC Refunds Tickets Purchased for Football Championship Game in Charlotte

Two weeks ago, the ACC announced it was moving its neutral-site championship events out of the state of North Carolina due to HB2’s discriminatory nature.

As a result, the league released a statement on Tuesday saying that those who purchased tickets in advance for the league’s football championship game in Charlotte have been granted 100 percent refunds.

The refund process is estimated to take five to seven business days before posting to  fans’ accounts.

The same also applies for people who bought tickets for the ACC Night of Legends and the ACC Champions Tailgate–as well as those who registered for ACC Fan 5K and the Kids Mascot Run.

Many major outlets have reported that Orlando, Florida is the next city in line to host the football title game.

Should UNC return this year by repeating its Coastal Division Championship from 2015, the Tar Heels would be playing in Camping World Stadium–where they lost to Baylor in last year’s Russell Athletic Bowl.

The game remains scheduled to air in primetime on Saturday Dec. 3.

Trubisky, Switzer Earn ACC Player of the Week Honors

Fresh off two of the most spectacular performances in school history during UNC’s thrilling comeback win over Pitt on Saturday, quarterback Mitch Trubisky and wide receiver Ryan Switzer were each named ACC Player of the Week at their respective positions.

Not only was Trubisky named the ACC’s Offensive Back of the Week, he was also honored as the Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week.

In just his fourth career start, Trubisky completed 35 of his 46 passes for 453 yards and five touchdowns without throwing an interception.

Ryan Switzer earned the ACC Receiver of the Week Award by tying the league record with 16 catches on Saturday. He also gained a staggering 208 yards while making a couple of key plays on the team's game-winning drive. (Jeffrey A. Camarati/ UNC Athletics)

Ryan Switzer earned the ACC Receiver of the Week Award by tying the league record with 16 catches on Saturday. He also gained a staggering 208 yards while making a couple of key plays on the team’s game-winning drive. (Jeffrey A. Camarati/ UNC Athletics)

The only UNC quarterback to ever throw for more was Marquise Williams when he threw 494 yards against Duke last season. Trubisky’s five touchdowns also tied the program’s all-time mark.

Over the past two games, the junior has put together two of the top four passing outputs UNC has ever seen–totaling 885 yards during that time.

The Tar Heels’ comeback against Pitt was the first time an ACC team overcame a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter since 2012 when NC State rallied to defeat Florida State at home.

Trubisky played a large role in that, obviously, but so did his friend and former roommate Switzer–who earned the league’s Receiver of the Week Award by tying an ACC record with 16 receptions while gaining 208 yards.

Switzer made perhaps his largest mark on the win with two huge catches on fourth down during the 17-play, 63-yard drive that ultimately sent Kenan Stadium into a frenzy.

Now on a three-game winning streak, the Tar Heels have had their issues on defense–but offensively the team is in quite a groove.

Even with tailbacks Elijah Hood and TJ Logan shut down on Saturday–the team as a whole rushed for just 18 yards–Trubisky and Switzer found a way to get the job done.

Should they continue this level of play, the awards should keep on coming.

Chansky’s Notebook: Three Days in Hoover

This is today’s Art Chansky’s Sports Notebook as heard on 97.9 WCHL. You can listen to previous Sports Notebooks here.

The SEC has three football media days and the ACC has . . . hmmm.

I guess college football season is under way when the throng of SEC media heads to Hoover, Alabama, for three days of interviews with the coaches and players from the 14 programs, four exclusive hours apiece. Seriously, three days in Hoover, Alabama? It’s a good time to rob the confederacy.

Hundreds of media members flock to Hoover, and getting press passes for the confab is apparently harder than getting them for the SEC BASKETBALL tournament. Here is how the SEC kicks off the football season in Hoover.

Day one begins with the commissioner’s state of the state. And this year, new commissioner Greg Sankey quoted from Bob Dylan, starting off with the obvious things are a-changing. Then come the dedicated four hours with the teams, coaches and three players each coach brings along. This goes on for three full days in Hoover so the SEC can boast it has the first, the longest and the best preseason media coverage. As if we didn’t know that already.

I went to, perhaps the slowest website in all of sports, and the only thing I could find was ACC Kickoff, July 19-21, in Pinehurst. But on the schedule, it has nothing scheduled for July 19, at least on its website. Maybe that is a day on Pinehurst No. 2, because that would be the way to start in my book. Somehow, the ACC gets its 14 coaches and players in front of the media in only two days.

After all, what does the ACC have to talk about that could last three days? Besides who has been suspended or kicked off at Florida State in the off-season, does anyone want to spend even one hour listening to Dabo Swinney, David Cutcliffe and Dave Doren? I guess I could take Larry Fedora for that long, but Mr. Fidgety can’t even stand still for six minutes, let alone 60.

Meanwhile, who can even name the coaches for Miami, Wake Forest, Virginia, Pitt, Boston College and Syracuse? I hope they hand out name tags. For the record, and I had to look it up, they are Al Golden, Dave Clawson, Mike London, Pat Narduzzi, Steve Addazio and Scott Shafer. Then you have Paul Johnson at Georgia Tech, Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech and Bobby Petrino at Louisville, all Mr. Personality. Not a Steve Spurrier or Nick Saban in the bunch, off the field or on.

Guess that’s why the SEC has three media days and the ACC has two, or is it three?

Noon Games No More? Carolina Football Opens 2014 With Two Straight Night Games

The North Carolina football team will be playing under the lights in Kenan Stadium for the first two home football games of the 2014 season.

The ACC released the kickoff times and television networks for the early season games and notable contests.

Carolina’s season opener against Liberty on Saturday, Aug. 30, will feature a 6 p.m. kickoff and will be broadcast online on ESPN3.

The following week, the Tar Heels will welcome San Diego State to Chapel Hill for a Sept. 6 game to begin at 8 p.m. That primetime meeting will be televised nationally on ESPNews.

“Opening the 2014 season with a pair of night games will enhance the gameday atmosphere in the Tar Pitt,” says head coach Larry Fedora. “Last year, the atmosphere in the stadium on Thursday night against Miami was as good as any in the country and we’re excited to be playing more games in the evening.”

The game against the Aztecs marks the first Saturday night game for the Tar Heels against an FBS opponent at Kenan Stadium since 2008, when Connecticut visited Carolina.

Carolina’s highly anticipated Thursday night showdown Nov. 20 at rival Duke will kick off at 7:30 p.m. and will be televised nationally on ESPN.

ACC Football Championship To Call Charlotte Home Through 2019

The Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game will be staying in Charlotte for the near future.

The Atlantic Coast Conference and the Charlotte Sports Foundation announced an agreement Monday to keep the ACC’s title game in Charlotte for another six years, until 2019.

ACC Commissioner John Swofford says Charlotte has been an outstanding host of the ACC Championship and that the “annual weekend is a true celebration of ACC Football.”

The game has been held at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium, the home of the Carolina Panthers, for the past four years. The games included sellout crowds in both 2010 and 2011, including an ACC Football Championship record crowd of 73, 675 in 2011.

Johnny Harris, Chairman of the Charlotte Sports Foundation, says he’s proud of the extension and says the Board is “committed to working together to ensure Bank of America Stadium is its home for a very long time.”

Last December, Charlotte was host to the Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston and his national championship-winning Florida State Seminoles as they beat the Duke Blue Devils and National Coach of the Year David Cutcliffe.

Go Heels, Go America! Ebron, Switzer Named All-Americans

CHAPEL HILL– A pair of Tar Heel football players was named to the USA Today Sports All-American team Wednesday.

Junior tight end Eric Ebron and freshman return specialist Ryan Switzer get the honor of representing Carolina along with other elite athletes across the nation.

Ebron had 895 receiving yards and three touchdowns this season while Switzer exhilarated Carolina fans everywhere with his punt returns.

Both Tar Heels were named Second-team All-Americans. The ACC was well represented on the list with 13 selections. That number was more than any other conference.

Conference member Florida State featured five selections including Heisman front runner Jameis Winston.

Carolina’s Ebron will be leaving school for the NFL, but Switzer will be back on the field next season.