Bowl Season Begins with a Bang

It’s that time again: Bowl Season in college football! And this year is already shaping up to be an exciting one as we plunge ahead, all the way to the championship. Saturday kicked things off with no less than four different bowl games throughout the day. Let’s take a look at how things went down.

New Orleans Bowl. Terrence Broadway played his final game for the Ragin’ Cajuns of UL-Lafayette, as they took on the Nevada Wolf Pack at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Taking a 10-point lead right in the first quarter, the Ragin’ Cajuns ultimately beat Nevada 16-3. Broadway went out with a bang, passing for 227 yards and a touchdown, and ultimately being named the game’s most outstanding player.

New Mexico Bowl. Led by fifth string quarterback Nick Vigil, the Utah State Aggies won their third bowl game in as many years, easily defeating the UTEP Miners, who haven’t had a bowl victory since 1967. Vigil scored on a 3-yard run in the third quarter, ultimately leading the Aggies to win 21-6.

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. The Air Force Falcons met the Western Michigan Broncos at the newly-renamed (and very wet) Albertsons Stadium in Boise, ID. Rushing for 284 yards and 4 touchdowns, the Falcons ultimately won 38-24.

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl. Another Falcon victory, the Bowling Green Falcons of Ohio narrowly beat the South Alabama Jaguars, 33-28. Taking a brief 28-27 lead with just 1:20 left in the fourth quarter, the Jaguars were ultimately defeated when Roger Lewis scored a 78-yard touchdown just 16 seconds later.

It’s been a stunning beginning, continuing this week with 8 different bowls around the country, from the Miami Beach Bowl on Monday to the St. Petersburg Bowl the day after Christmas. We’ll be back next Sunday with a rundown of all you need to know, as our coverage of bowl season continues.

Florida QB Harris Cited for Misdemeanor

The Florida Gators can’t seem to catch a break this season, with the recent coaching changes and finding the right QB has plagued the program all year. Recently Gators freshman QB Treon Harris is facing a potential misdemeanor after he was pulled over for operating a motor vehicle without a valid drivers license.  According to a document obtained from the University Police, it alleges that Harris was never in possession of a valid license. In the police report, it also alleges that the vehicle had the lingering smell of marijuana and trace amounts were found in the car, but since the car did not belong to Harris, no charges were filed. Arraignment for Harris is not scheduled until January 15, but his status for to play in the Birmingham Bowl against East Carolina could still be in doubt, depending on what discipline the schools decides on.

Click here to read the rest of the article by The Associated Press on ESPN.com.

Ohio State leaps the Horned Frogs, gets fourth seed in playoff bracket

Ohio State leaps the Horned Frogs, gets fourth seed in playoff bracket

There was an outcry for a better playoff system for college football, and the NCAA responded by doing away with the BCS and instituting the College Football Playoff Selection Committee to determine a four-team playoff bracket. But with human decisions come plenty of human criticism. On December 6th, the Committee announced that TCU, ranked #3 heading into the week, lost their playoff spot to #5 Ohio State. Now the Buckeyes fans will be getting their College Football Playoff tickets, even while TCU and Baylor both believed their teams deserved it. But were they slighted for not being as big of a program? The numbers suggest it was a very close decision.

Ohio State certainly has strong enough merits to deserve their ranking. They defeated three teams that ended the year in the top 25 College Football Playoff rankings, and have managed to score the 4th most points per game while starting three different quarterbacks due to injuries. By defeating Wisconsin in the Big 10 Championship 59-0, Ohio State got the one last convincing

The TCU Horned Frogs were headed to the playoffs according to the playoff rankings just a week before falling back out. And what happened between the two rankings? A 55-3 domination of Iowa State, the worst team in the Big 12. Clearly this win wasn’t as impactful as Ohio State’s win over highly ranked Wisconsin. Also, while TCU did defeat a number of ranked programs at the time of their game, most of these wins no longer look as impressive in retrospect.

Baylor (12-1) also has good reason to feel slighted by the Ohio State ranking. As one of the few ranked opponents TCU faced, Baylor defeated them. Although the team lost to West Virginia, no other game was very close, and the team leads the NCAA in points scored. Nevertheless, their schedule was also nowhere near as impressive as Ohio State’s ended up being. The Selection Committee did give Baylor a higher final ranking than TCU, and deservedly so, but the fans and team are surely still disappointed.

Without a championship game, two Big 12 teams’ chances at getting into the College Football Playoffs clearly suffered. While Buckeyes fans are buying their College Football Playoff tickets, fans of TCU and Baylor will be left questioning what their teams could have done differently to make it into the top four.

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Ohio State OC Herman Hired as Houston Head Coach

There appears to be a huge coaching shake up that has been going on in College Football recently. It was recently announced that Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman has been hired as the next head coach for the Houston Cougars. Herman will replace former coach Tony Levine who was recently fired after leading the Cougars to a 21-17 record during his three seasons as head coach. Herman has agreed to a deal that is expected to pay him approximately $6.75 million over the next five years. During Herman’s time at Ohio State, he was a huge contributor to the Buckeyes going 36-3 for the past three seasons as not only the offensive coordinator, but also the served as the quarterbacks coach. Many have associated the success of Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett as examples of the how good of a coach Herman can be. Before Herman leaves for Houston, he will remain with the Buckeyes as they have claimed their College Football Playoff ticket this season and are preparing to take on the Alabama Crimson Tide the Sugar Bowl on January 1st.

Click here to read the rest of the article by The Associated Press on USAToday.com.

Oregon Ducks Lose CB Ekpre-Olomu to Injury

The Oregon Ducks have suffered a huge blow to their secondary with the announcement that CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu would miss the rest of the season after suffering a torn ACL during practice on Tuesday. The senior CB is expected to be one of the top defensive players in the upcoming 2015 NFL Draft. The Ducks will not only lose their most experienced defensive player on the team but they will miss his leadership as well. Ekpre-Olomu has made 63 tackles, two interceptions, and deflected 11 passes this season and was expected to be the perfect matchup against Florida State’s top WR Rashad Greene. Ekpre-Olomu was a solid contributor to the vast improvement of the Ducks defense this season who have held opponents to an average of only 22.5 points per game. The Ducks will now have to look to redshirt freshman Chris Seisay or senior Dior Mathis as the Ekpre-Olomu’s replacement when Oregon faces Florida State on January 1st at the Rose Bowl.

Click here to read the rest of the article by Bruce Feldman on FoxSports.com.

Diverse group of Heisman Trophy Finalists

Diverse group of Heisman Trophy Finalists

The contenders for one of the most iconic awards in all of sports, the Heisman Trophy, were brought down to three finalists. And in a time where all the focus and college football information often revolves around the quarterback, the finalists are a refreshingly diverse bunch.

Marcus Mariota, Oregon Ducks quarterback, is far and away the favorite to win the Heisman. His stats are extremely impressive. Mariota had the top quarterback rating, and was also second in passing touchdowns, close to the top in most other passing categories, and was also an excellent runner. But not only does he have the stats to back it up, his team has the wins as well. Oregon beat every single team they were scheduled against (1-1 against Arizona, no losses to anyone else), and they ended the year #2 in the country.

 

While Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon’s position and team may hurt him, he clearly dominated the position in a way neither of the other two finalists did. Gordon led the league in rushing touchdowns with 26 and rushing yards with 2,336 (300 more than the second best runner). Gordon essentially was the offense, and without him the team wouldn’t be ranked at all. Even though he deservedly was named a finalist, the Big Ten Championship game will surely come back to haunt him in the voters’ eyes, as he wasn’t able to help Wisconsin even score once.

 

Last but not least, Amari Cooper of Alabama can make a strong case as well. He led the league in receiving yards and receptions and was tied for second in receiving touchdowns. Cooper was the focal point of the Crimson Tide offense, and he certainly made quarterback Blake Sims look much more competent then he would be otherwise. Cooper, like Gordon, deserves to be considered a finalist and had an incredible season, but being a wide receiver puts him at a serious disadvantage, even when he was on the top team in the nation.

 

In this age of college football information where stats and fantasy are growing, it will be difficult to differentiate the three Heisman Trophy finalists. However, if you look for the player who clearly had the greatest effect on making their team great, look no further than Marcus Mariota.

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You can find me on Twitter via @Brent4Sports

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West Virginia AD Luck to Leave for NCAA Position

It was recently announced that West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck would be leaving his position at the university to accept a position with the NCAA. Luck will join the NCAA as an executive vice president of regulatory affairs and will in charge of strengthening relationships with NCAA colleges and universities. The NCAA created the position specific for Luck and he will report directly to NCAA President Mark Emmert during his restructuring of his staff. Luck has spent the past four years serving as the athletic director for his alma mater West Virginia and was the one responsible for the Mountaineers move from the Big East conference to the Big 12 conference. The hiring of Luck is also a move by the NCAA to address the concerns of athletic directors in the past who have felt that they were not being given a strong enough voice within the NCAA. Luck is currently is a member of the College Football Playoff selection committee, but his replacement will not be announced until the Big 12 nominates a new candidate, which won’t be until spring. Luck, who is the father of Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck, will be joining his son in the Circle City as the offices for the NCAA are based from there.

Click here to read the rest of the article by Ralph Russo on YahooSports.com.

Auburn WR Coates Declares for NFL Draft

It was announced this week that Auburn star WR Sammie Coates would indeed declare for the 2015 NFL Draft. Many critics are unsure if Coates is indeed ready to play at the next level as he did not seem to get as many touches in the run heavy Tiger offense. There is no doubting his talent as the NFL has become a more passer friendly league and Coates play making ability could flourish in the right offensive system. He is projected to be a first round pick if he can impress NFL scouts with his pre-draft interviews and workouts. This season Coates has had 30 receptions for 717 yards and has scored four touchdowns. Many scouts are also expecting to see D’haquille Williams declare for the draft as well as he is currently the Tiger’s leading receiver with 45 receptions for 730 yards and has scored five touchdowns. Although Auburn fans did not get the opportunity to see the Tiger claim their College Football Playoff ticket this season, they will get to see the no.19 Tigers take on the no. 18 Badgers in the Outback Bowl.

Click here to read the rest of the article by Matt Fitzgerald on BleacherReport.com.

QB Connor Cook Returns to MSU for Senior Season

After having a breakout season this year, Michigan State QB Connor Cook announced today that he intends to return next year for his senior season. Cook has thrown 22 touchdowns for 2900 yards and six interceptions this season as he led his no. 7 ranked Spartans to a 10-2 record. The 2014 season is the second year in a row that Cook has thrown for more than 2,700 yards and 20 touchdowns. Cook noted his decision to return was because he felt he had “unfinished business” he needed to address and he has hopes of leading the Spartans to a Big Ten Championship or even the highly coveted College Football Playoff ticket next year. Cook will have the opportunity to finish up this season when the no. 7 ranked Spartans take on the no. 5 Baylor Bears in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic on January 1, 2015 in Arlington, Tx.

Click here to read the rest of the article by Cory Smith on BleachReport.com.

Bo Pelini Accepts Job at Youngstown State

It appears that former Nebraska head coach, Bo Pelini did not have much trouble finding a new gig.  According to multiple sources Pelini has accepted the head coaching position at Youngstown State, replacing former Penguins head coach Eric Wolford. Pelini was fired last month after spending seven seasons with Nebraska where he posted a 67-27 win/loss record during his time with the Cornhuskers. Pelini started his college football coaching career as a defensive coordinator at LSU and Oklahoma before he accepted his first head coaching job with the Cornhuskers. It waas speculated that after his dismissal from Nebraska, Pelini was the front runner candidate for the Youngstown State job, as he is a native of Youngstown, Ohio.

Click here to read the rest of the article by Bruce Feldman on FoxSports.com.

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