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August 2019
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‘College Football’ Articles

Sun Bowl showcases Pittsburgh (7-6) and Stanford (8-4)


Sun Bowl Stadium (aerial view) on the campus of the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) 2009 photo By Sterling, CC BY 2.0, https

Today at 2 pm, is the Hyundai Sun Bowl from the Mexican border town of El Paso, Texas. The game will be televised by CBS.

This is one of those games where Stanford and Pittsburgh fans wonder what team will show up?

Stanford, the Pacific 12 Conference representative, is always in the talk to play in the College Football Playoff. This year they were again after starting 4-0, but that slid off the table as The Cardinal became injury-riddled and ended up losing 4 of the next 5 games. Included on that injury list was RB Bryce Love, a Heisman hopeful.

The Cardinal defense had trouble containing teams with up-tempo, high-octane offenses.

The Pittsburgh Panthers, have an excellent running attack, led by RB’s Qadree Ollison and Darrin Hall. They are led by a formidable and physical offensive line. They don’t pass the ball very well, ranking 107th in the nation in yards per attempt at 6.4. One wonders why the Panthers were playing in the ACC Championship Game against league Kingpin, Clemson? Well, they were the best team in the weak and terrible ACC Coastal Division.

This game will feature two teams playing the same type of offense in the pro set. It will be a physical, smash-mouth game until the end.

Today’s first bowl game, Military Bowl features 2014 rematch of Cincinnati and Virginia Tech



The final day of 2018, December 31 will see six bowl games on television for all of the College Football Fanatics! They are in order, Military, Sun, Redbox, Liberty, Holiday, Tax Slayer/Gator.

Kicking off the day and fittingly is the Military Bowl feature the Cincinnati Bearcats of the American Athletic Conference against the Virginia Tech Hokies of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

This game is a rematch of the 2014 contest where the Hokies won 33-17.

The Bearcats (10-2), the third place team in the AAC, will be tough to handle for Virginia Tech. UC has one of the best defenses in the nation being ranked both eighth in total defense and against the run plus 25th against the pass. The ‘Cats offense at times has been inconsistent but is no slouch either as they are led by QB Desmond Riddler (2,359 yards passing, 19 touchdowns and 574 yards on the ground) and RB Michael Warren II (1,163 yards, 17 touchdowns) who is expected back after missing the season finale against East Carolina with an injury.

Luke Fickell (courtesy UC Sports)

Cincinnati is coached by former Ohio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell. After a rough first season at 4-8, 2-6 in the AAC, he has turned around the football program who at one time this season was ranked in the Top 25. In all of the final regular season polls, UC was ranked in the Top 30. Not bad for a program that had regressed under the leadership of Tommy Tuberville in 2015 and 2016.

Fickell also has one of his former Ohio State players, LB Marcus Freeman, as the defensive coordinator.

Virginia Tech, who started the season as a Top 25 team, underachieved all season long with inconsistent play. After losing four in a row, they had to scramble in the last two games to beat arch-rival Virginia in overtime, 34-31 and Marshall, 41-20 just to be able to become eligible for this game. It is the 26th straight season the Hokies have participated in a bowl game. Quite an accomplishment for a team who lost their starting QB Josh Jackson for the season with an injury in the surprising upset loss to Old Dominion back in September, 49-35.

Ricky Walker (courtesy Virginia Tech)

The Tech defense is led by DL Ricky Walker, the obvious backbone of that corps of players with his leadership, all-over-the-field play and making big plays in key situations. Cincinnati will have to account for his whereabouts on the field at all times.


College Football Playoff Game: Orange Bowl has #4 Oklahoma taking on The Kingpin, #1 Alabama


Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens 2017 photo By A.J. Lipp - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https











The Orange Bowl in Miami Gardens, Florida, probably has the best matchup in the College Football Playoff this year. It pits two Heisman Trophy quarterbacks against each other and two offensive juggernauts.

The Oklahoma Sooners 12-1, champions of the Big 12 Conference challenging CFP mainstay, the Alabama Crimson Tide 13-0. Sooners QB Tyler Murray, this year’s Heisman winner, goes up against The Tide’s QB Tua Tagovailoa, the Heisman runner-up. Both can air out the football with their arms and both can run past any defense and keep plays alive.

Tyler Murray (courtesy

Of these two teams, Alabama has the better defense. Always have. But over the years, quarterbacks that are mobile and play in an uptempo offense have been able to stretch and beat the Tide. In the past seven years, those QB’s include Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham and Mississippi’s Bo Wallace are the ones who ran the Tide’s defense to death and stretch it all over the field.

Now you have another one of those dual-threat QB’s in Murray. The Sooners junior has put together a superb season with 4,053 yards passing, 892 yards on the ground, with a combined 51 touchdowns. He has thrown for multiple TD’s in every game but one.

The 4th-seeded Sooners never thought in their wildest dreams that Murray, an Oakland A’s farmhand in baseball, would ever mirror Baker Mayfield as a quarterback statistically, more less win the Heisman Trophy. But he did.

Tua Tagovailoa in action (courtesy

The Oklahoma offense is one of the best around. They lead the nation in average yards per play, 8.8. Their running attack ranks second nationally in yards per carry. There is no way that the Tide will stop Murray through the air. No one has all year. Plus, Alabama’s secondary is susceptible to giving up long plays down the field. But their front seven are really good.

Second in the nation in offense average yards per play is of course, Alabama. They have two good QB’s in Tua Tagovailova and Jalen Hurts who has played when an injury occurs. He saved the Tide in the SEC championship game when Tua hurt his ankle. Hurts made several big plays and led the team to a come-from-behind, 35-28 win.

The Tide offense has a nice trio in Damien Harris, Najee Harris and Josh Jacobs who combined for 22 TD’s and 1,945 yards on the ground. They have several solid wide receivers where five of them made at least 30 catches.

The Alabama defense is tough as mentioned before. It has saved them in some close games. They can go up and down the field against any offense and hold their own. But they have not faced an offense like Oklahoma’s.


College Football Playoff begins today! Cotton Bowl Classic has two unbeatens, #2 Clemson, #3 Notre Dame


AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas 2010 photo By Rondo Estrello, CC BY-SA 2.0, https

The College Football Playoff begins today in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl with second-seeded Clemson Tigers will facing third-seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl. Kick is scheduled for 4 p.m. from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

This marks Clemson’s fourth consecutive College Football Playoff (CFP) appearance, as Clemson joins Alabama as the only programs ever to earn at least four straight CFP berths.

This bowl game is being tabbed as the “QB Change Bowl” as both teams got here doing so.

Dabo Swinney Clemson head coach 2015 photo By LambeauLeap80 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https

Clemson, 13-0, Champions of the Atlantic Coast Conference, is coached by Dabo Swinney. In a surprise move in mid-September, he made a QB switch from Kelly Bryant, who had led the Tigers to the national playoffs last year, to a true freshman in Trevor Lawrence. Fans and media wondered why. Swinney said it was to jump-start an offensive unit that was becoming predictable with a run-first quarterback. He wanted a QB that could pass the ball deep to loosen up the defense. He got that in Lawrence who has the skills and size of an NFL QB. And the Clemson offense took off under his leadership where they set a school record for touchdowns.

Brian Kelly, the head coach of Notre Dame made the same decision when it came to the quarterback position. He switched from Brandon Wimbush in late September to Ian Book. Irish fans wondered why due to the fact that Wimbush led the Irish to a 12-3 record during his starts. Kelly said it was hard to do but he was looking long term into the future. He also felt that the offense under Wimbush, put their defense in bad situations with too many 3-and-outs. The Irish (12-0), saw their offense become more dangerous under Book.

As expected, both Bryant and Wimbush have decided to transfer. Bryant is now at Missouri. Wimbush has not announced his next destination as a graduate transfer.


Brian Kelly Notre Dame head coach 2012 photo By Andyohsbass09 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https

Clemson’s offense is not only led by Lawrence, 24 TD’s and only 4 interceptions, but also RB Travis Etienne with 1,463 yards and 21 scores. Those two will have to find a way to loosen up an Irish defense which is tough, very tough as they allow just 3.68 yards a rush.

Notre Dame’s offense may not get the publicity that Clemson does but it is very efficient since Book took over the controls. RB Dexter Williams is a deep threat. An Book threw for 19 touchdowns on 70 percent passing.

The Tigers defense is tough in the front seven but the secondary struggles at times.

Clemson’s Swinney is quickly becoming a Hall of Fame caliber coach with 53 wins in four seasons and a regular in the College Football Playoff.


Arizona Bowl in Tucson to feature offensive juggernauts in Arkansas State (8-4) and Nevada (7-5)

Arizona Stadium home of the Arizona Wildcats in Tucson 2011 photo By Wcarlisle4 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https








Most people think that the Arizona Bowl is new. Not exactly. It is in its fourth season, having inaugurated on December 29, 2015. Along with the Austin Bowl and the Cure Bowl, are the three newest among all bowls. And has been sponsored by Nova Loans since its inception.

It features the Sun Belt Conference against the Mountain West Conference.

This year’s game could be an offensive-explosion!

The Arkansas Red Wolves and the Nevada Wolf Pack are so evenly matched and playing to see who has the best team of Wolves. Pardon the pun here!

Both teams have experienced transfer QB’s in Justice Hansen of State and Ty Gangi of Nevada. On offense, State scored 31.8 and gave up 26.5 with Nevada scoring 32.3 and giving up 28.1 on defense. On defense, Arkansas State had 32 sacks and 10 interceptions while The Wolf Pack recorded 32 sacks and 8 picks.

The lone common opponent for both is UNLV. Nevada blew a 23-0 lead against the Runnin’ Rebels and lost 34-29. The Red Wolves won 27-20.

As far as bowls go, Arkansas State is making its eighth consecutive appearance. Nevada is back in the bowl season after a 2-year hiatus. They return to the Arizona Bowl where they defeated Colorado State in the first-ever game in 2015. There are still 13 members on the team from that bowl game. And in this game, Nevada will have depth and experience over the Red Wolves.

Justice Hansen (courtesy Arkansas State)

In this game, Hansen will clearly be the best player on the field.

Hansen is a dual-threat QB where he averages 3.3 yards per carry and has passed for more than 3,000 yards and has a 27-6 ratio for touchdown-to-interception. He will cause issues for the Nevada defensive unit.




2018 Sun Belt football standings
Conf Overall
Team W L W L
East Division
Appalachian State xy$ 7 1 11 2
Troy x 7 1 10 3
Georgia Southern 6 2 10 3
Coastal Carolina 2 6 5 7
Georgia State 1 7 2 10
West Division
Louisiana xy 5 3 7 7
Arkansas State x 5 3 8 4
Louisiana–Monroe 4 4 6 6
South Alabama 2 6 3 9
Texas State 1 7 3 9
ChampionshipAppalachian State 30, Louisiana 19
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
  • y – Championship game participant

As of December 23, 2018; Rankings from AP Poll


2018 Mountain West football standings
Conf Overall
Team W L W L
Mountain Division
No. 23 Boise State x 7 1 10 3
Utah State 7 1 10 2
Wyoming 4 4 6 6
Air Force 3 5 5 7
Colorado State 2 6 3 9
New Mexico 1 7 3 9
West Division
No. 19 Fresno Statex$ 7 1 12 2
Nevada 5 3 7 5
Hawaii 5 3 8 6
San Diego State 4 4 7 5
UNLV 2 6 4 8
San Jose State 1 7 1 11
ChampionshipFresno State 19, Boise State 16 (OT)
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
  • y – Championship game participant

As of December 27, 2018; Rankings from AP poll


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