College Football 2019 Week 8 What to Watch: A pivotal week for the Coastal

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College Football 2019 Week 8 What to Watch: A pivotal week for the Coastal

Virginia and Duke currently sit atop the Coastal Division and will play one another on Saturday. A win over North Carolina could vault Virginia Tech back into the discussion. Maryland looks to rebound against Indiana, Navy hosts USF and Penn State unleashes the Whiteout against Michigan.

Here is a breakdown of all the local action.

Navy vs. South Florida

When: 3:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, Md.
How to watch: CBSSN

How good has Navy's offense been this year? The Midshipmen are averaging 327.2 yards on the ground alone this season.  South Florida's offense is averaging 339.5 yards per game total.

Earlier in the season, it looked like the Bulls were on the brink of total collapse, but head coach Charlie Strong has rallied them in recent weeks and they are coming off a big win over BYU. Navy, meanwhile, is a legitimate contender in the AAC West division after a 45-17 blowout win over Tulsa.

Virginia Tech vs. North Carolina

When: 3:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, Va.
How to watch: NBC Sports Washington

It is make-or-break time for the Hokies with a pivotal matchup against the Tar Heels.

A blowout loss to Duke left Virginia Tech reeling, but a quarterback change steadied the ship as Hendon Hooker has led the Hokies to two straight wins including at Miami. The season can go in one of two directions at this point. A win over North Carolina will but them right back in the division hunt and only two wins away from extending the prized bowl streak. A loss and you can essentially kiss both the division and the bowl streak goodbye.

Maryland vs. Indiana

When: 3:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Maryland Stadium, College Park, Md.
How to watch: BTN

Maryland was handed a humbling 40-14 loss lost week by a Purdue team without its starting quarterback or star receiver. This week, they hope to get back on track against Indiana, but it looks like they will be doing it without Josh Jackson.

Check out the full preview here.

Virginia vs. Duke

When: 3:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, Va.
How to watch: ACCN

After starting the season 4-0, Virginia has dropped two straight and now will have to navigate the rest of the season without star cornerback Bryce Hall.

This is a game between the first and second place teams in the Coastal Division. While this division offers nothing but chaos seemingly every season, a win on Saturday will put either team in the driver's seat of the division.

If Virginia wants to find success, it will have to find a way to move the ball on the ground. The Cavaliers have relied far too much on Bryce Perkins the past two weeks. As great as he is, he cannot be expected to drop back 40+ times per game and be the team's leading rusher. He needs some help on offense.

Game of the week: No. 7 Penn State vs. No. 16 Michigan

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Beaver Stadium, University Park, Pa.
How to watch: ABC

The college football world will be treated to one of the great scenes in sports on Saturday: the Whiteout.

Jim Harbaugh takes his 1-9 record against top-10 teams into Happy Valley as he tries to keep Michigan's Big Ten hopes alive.  Penn State's vaunted defense, however, will be waiting for him and for a Wolverine offense that still has yet to find its identity under the khakied coach.

On NBC Sports Washington

Boston College vs. NC State

When: 12:00 p.m.
Where: Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, Mass.
How to watch: NBC Sports Washington

Virginia State vs. Bowie State

When: 2:00 p.m.
Where: Rogers Stadium, Petersburg, Va.
How to watch: NBC Sports Washington Plus

Virginia Tech vs. North Carolina

When: 3:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, Va.
How to watch: NBC Sports Washington

Richmond vs. Yale

When: 6:00 p.m. Saturday
Where: Robins Stadium, Richmond, Va.
How to watch: NBC Sports Washington Plus

Other local teams

Georgetown vs. Lafayette, 12 p.m. Saturday
Morgan State at South Carolina State, 1:30 p.m. Saturday on ESPN3
VMI at Mercer, 3:30 p.m. Saturday on ESPN+
James Madison at William & Mary, 3:30 p.m. Saturday
Old Dominion at UAB, 4 p.m. Saturday on ESPN+
Towson vs. Bucknell, 4 p.m. Saturday
Norfolk State at Bethune-Cookman, 4 p.m. Saturday on ESPN3
Hampton at Campbell, 4 p.m. Saturday on ESPN+
Liberty vs. Maine, 6 p.m. Saturday on ESPN+

Maryland's Serrel Smith Jr. is transferring, taking another depth hit

Maryland's Serrel Smith Jr. is transferring, taking another depth hit

Maryland sophomore guard Serrel Smith Jr. will transfer the team announced on Tuesday. Without him, the Terps have completely lost more guard depth from last season. 

Smith played in 27 games last season off of the bench. In only eight minutes of action a game, he scored 40 points total on 56 shot attempts. 

He will have to sit a year unless the 6-foot-4 guard obtains a waiver. Smith will have two years left of eligibility left. 

"I want to thank Maryland and Coach Turgeon for these past two years - they've been nothing but amazing," Smith said in a school release. "My time at Maryland was filled with memories and relationships that I will always cherish! After careful consideration, I have decided to enter my name into the NCAA transfer portal and explore my options."

The Terps were already extremely thin at the point guard position before the announcement of Smith's decision to transfer. As a four-year starter, Cowan held the point guard position down for several seasons without much need for depth on the bench. Even in a limited capacity, Smith did not show that he could rise to be a starter next season. 

Eric Ayala ran some sets last year at the point and is likely going to be the starter next season. Primarily, he has been the two-guard in his two years with Maryland. Ayala as the point guard will allow Darryl Morsell and Aaron Wiggins to be on the floor at the same time. 

Point guard was a position that Turgeon and his staff were heavily targeting in the grad transfer market. In each instance, they missed out on bringing one to College Park.

Two incoming freshmen, Aquon Smart and Marcus Dockery, who signed their letter of intent could also provide some relief at the position according to Verbal Commits. Neither should be expected to rise to be a starter in their first year.

Smith is the third Terp to transfer this offseason. The fifth since the start of the 2019-20 season. 

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Ranking Mac McClung's transfer options from best to worst

Ranking Mac McClung's transfer options from best to worst

There were several options on the table for Mac McClung when he entered the transfer portal. So many that his first list to narrow down the field of teams he is considering was seven. 

Seven is too many for any fan base to try and get their hopes up on landing the 6-foot-2 combo guard. Likely, as is the trend, he will likely cut that list in half before his commitment announcement. 

But, not each school offer is weighed the same. There are benefits for McClung at one school that the others might not offer. Playing time and his role are surely going to be factors. Considering he just entered the NBA Draft process, he probably wants a program that will get him to that level. 

To try to predict where he would go, let's consider the reasons why the sophomore left Georgetown. He was the guy for the Hoyas - a Big East program with a former NBA player as a coach. This is no mid-major star trying to get more attention. The spotlight was on McClung and the connections he had could continue to build under Patrick Ewing. Getting recognition might not be as strong as you would typically see from other transfers. 

When McClung announced his intent to transfer, his noted concern was wanting to be a part of a family and help the team succeed. In his two years with Georgetown, there was massive turnover among the players. Transfers, top players graduating early, everything. 

Having the team succeed is another aspect. All Georgetown had to show was an NIT appearance during McClung's time on the Hilltop. Likely, the team was going in the opposite direction next season.

Lastly, given his size and abrupt decision to leave the Hoyas, NBA scouts likely will want McClung to develop more as a point guard. He's too small and not consistent enough of a shooter to play as a shooting guard.

This reasoning would provide more explanation into why he wanted to leave the Hoyas, more than just a minor riff with Ewing. With Jahvon Blair, the addition of a grad transfer and a high school recruit coming in, they were set at that spot. Minutes at the point were likely going to be limited for McClung.

Keep in mind as well, McClung will have to sit a year unless he gets a waiver, which is not expected. 

1. Texas Tech

Spotlight: Moderate
Family Environment: Fair
Winning Outlook: Very High
Need a Point Guard: Yes

Texas Tech has emerged as a consistent top 25 threat every season. Before the cancelation of the tournament, they had made the Elite Eight in back-to-back seasons and were the runner-ups in 2019. Head coach Chris Beard has this program in the right direction and will likely be a contender for years to come.

In Lubbock, McClung will not have to be the best player on the roster. Although, the talent isn't too high where McClung can't emerge as the guy again. The Red Raiders have established themselves as a transfer destination, which does take a hit in the family environment. But it also shows that they would welcome McClung with open arms. 

Beard also has the experience of turning guards into NBA prospects, with Jahmi'us Ramsey and Jarrett Culver.

In two years they will need a PG, whether Ramsey leaves for the draft this season or the next. McClung could find all of his needs at Texas Tech.

2. BYU

Spotlight: Moderate
Family Environment: Good
Winning Outlook: High
Need a Point Guard: Yes

Last season BYU surprised many as a legitimate contender in the national landscape of college basketball. With their new head coach Mark Pope, the veteran team was thought to contend for a run in the NCAA Tournament. 

Many of the faces from that squad have left, though point guard Alex Barcello will still have his senior year. But they are in a position to be just as good next year by adding Purdue transfer Matt Haarms.

Barcello will be gone by the time McClung suits up. And Pope able to keep a big core of players in his first season is a huge nod to him creating a family environment. 

Of course, BYU is not a Power 5 school and will not get the same attention as Georgetown. Nevertheless a good landing spot for McClung to thrive.

3. Memphis

Spotlight: Moderate
Family Environment: Unknown
Winning Outlook: Moderate
Need a Point Guard: Perhaps

Penny Hardaway has only been the coach of the Tigers for only two seasons, so it is hard to gauge some areas that we've associated with McClung. Still, Memphis has instantly attracted stars and is projecting upward for the next few years. 

None of the key figures on the roster have stayed there for two seasons, and the ones that have are underclassmen. The family environment is hard to grade. But, the team does not appear to be fully set at the point guard spot.

Going to the Tigers could be a little bit of a risk without much set in stone, but it still could bode well for McClung. 

4. Arkansas

Spotlight: Moderate
Family Environment: Unknown
Winning Outlook: High
Need a Point Guard: Unlikely

First-year head coach Eric Musselman has yet to firmly establish himself in the SEC. As a new coach, there were a lot of transfers out of the program so another situation where it is hard to determine what the environment is like. 

On the floor, the team showed promise and potential to have a good tenure under Musselman. They likely will have another good season and will trend upward in the foreseeable future. 

In the SEC he'll get attention and could be the best player on the Razorbacks. Where it gets murky though is that they are out of scholarships to offer according to VerbalCommits. Someone will have to be forced out if McClung goes there. 

5. Auburn

Spotlight: Low
Family Environment: Good
Winning Outlook: Moderate
Need a Point Guard: No

There's always an influx of talent coming into Auburn and that is no different over the next couple of seasons. For next season, they have a five-star and a four-star recruit coming in as a point guard which will make that position a full one. McClung might not be getting the reps he would like at the point and would have to battle for a spot. 

There is a good family environment in terms of players that go to Auburn stay under Bruce Pearl. They even are familiar with bringing in transfers, however, they are currently out of scholarships as well according to VC. 

Competition-wise, they will be taking a slight hit, as they are losing their entire starting five this offseason. 

6. USC

Spotlight: Moderate
Family Environment: Low
Winning Outlook: Low
Need a Point Guard: Likely

Going from the spotlight of the Big East to the Pac-12 actually diminishes value slightly, but McClung will likely be the best player for the Trojans once he suits up. 

At USC he will have a greater chance to be competitive in that league and better odds to get to the NCAA Tournament. There are some point guard options currently on the roster and coming in, but none are certainly a lock two seasons from now. 

Most importantly, though, is the family atmosphere. For various reasons, there has been a lot of transfers over the years with several players also turning pro. Much like Georgetown, it could be a revolving door of players coming in and out. 

7. Wake Forest 

Spotlight: Moderate
Family Environment: Unknown
Winning Outlook: Very low
Need a Point Guard: Likely

While several of the teams on McClung's list have relatively new coaches, none are entering their first season like Steve Forbes at Wake Forest. 

He brings a good reputation while at his former school, East Tennessee State, but how that translates remains to be seen. It still is going to be a rebuild for the Demon Deacons. 

Going to Winston-Salem doesn't appear to be much of a better landing spot for McClung than Georgetown did. 

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