Monday Notebook: More on the ACC football schedule, Tony Elliott rumors


by - Senior Writer -
Elliott is a hot coaching commodity. (ACC photo)
Elliott is a hot coaching commodity. (ACC photo)

Coaching rumors, the opening at the University of Tennessee, and a possible schedule release highlighted the weekend in college football. Let’s get started with what we know and what we think.

The Volunteers fired Jeremy Pruitt and that’s led to a cascade of rumors of who could be the next in line to take over in Knoxville. It’s no surprise that Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott is being mentioned for the job.

I know that some media person (maybe?) with a whopping 400 Twitter followers posted Sunday that Elliott would be named the new head coach at Tennessee today. Heck, that might happen. But people jumped all over it and part of my job is to chase some of these rumors. I have three people who I really trust in the football program tell me the same thing: as of midday Sunday there had been no contact between Elliott and Tennessee.

That doesn't mean the Vols won't reach out later, but the rumors of him taking the job Monday seem to be just that, rumors. Other writers, those who work in Knoxville, have said they don't think Elliott is the first or second or third and maybe not even the fourth choice because the program isn't excited about going the coordinator route again.

Let's also talk about the Tennessee program a minute. This isn't Phil Fulmer's program, the one of Peyton Manning or Tee Martin and all those draft picks. This program is a shell of its former self, in a stadium undergoing needed renovations, a program that hasn't won in two decades and is facing SERIOUS NCAA sanctions. The Vols fired Pruitt for cause, and we've heard they have multiple Level 1 (severe breach of conduct) violations they have to answer for, and that includes recruits receiving bags of cash in McDonald's bags. That doesn't include Level 2, 3, or 4 violations.

At some point, they will fall on their sword and tell the NCAA and the SEC that they will give themselves a two-year bowl ban and two years of 10 fewer scholarships, and those alone will set the program back for a while. But the NCAA will come down harder, and whoever takes this job is facing a rebuild that isn't four years - it's longer. Players are transferring out and more will go in the spring and summer. This is a total rebuild considering what is coming. Elliott has turned down pretty good jobs, and while Tennessee is still attractive in its own way, it isn't what it once was. And might not be worth the trouble that is to come.

I also saw some Clemson fans on Twitter dogging Elliott’s coaching style despite all of the top-five finishes. Elliott’s 2018 and 2019 offenses are responsible for two of the 22 650-point seasons in major college football history. Clemson is the first school with back-to-back 650-point seasons since Yale in 1888-89, predating the start of official NCAA recordkeeping in 1937.

And before someone tells me that it's talent and not coaching, if talent won the title every year, then Georgia would win the National Championship every other season. Coaching matters, people. There is always room for improvement and you can always get better, but Elliott is pretty doggone good.

Now, let’s talk about the 2021 ACC football schedule. I posted a theoretical schedule late last week that is based off of what we already know, and it didn’t take long for people around the league to see the story and for notes to be compared.

Clemson is scheduled to start the season on Sept. 4th in Charlotte against Georgia, and we know there home games against SC State on Sept. 11th and against UConn on November 13th. We also know the Tigers will be on the road against South Carolina on Nov. 27th.

The ACC dropped a tweet that said the schedule will drop this Thursday, and after doing some more digging and talking to more people around the league, I now feel about 80-percent confident that Clemson’s home dates will be on Sept. 11th, Sept. 18th, October 2nd, October 30th, November 13th, and November 20th.

One question that one league source has centers on Boston College and whether the league will make the Eagles play in Clemson a third consecutive year. Maybe they will and maybe they won’t, and that’s one of the things we can’t wait to find out. If the league did that, then they would have to flip one of the division schools supposed to play in Clemson this season that maybe didn’t play against the Tigers last year, like NC State or Louisville. The league could send either of those two schools to Death Valley and then make the Tigers travel to Boston College. Or, they could leave the schedule as it sits today and make the Eagles travel to South Carolina for the third year in a row.

This week will be interesting.

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spacer Thanks again David!!
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spacer Thanks for the updates.***
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spacer Tee Martin got fired when he was OC at Southern Cal
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spacer BC would probably WANT to come to SC for the 3rd year
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