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Tag:Bowl Projections
Posted on: December 16, 2011 6:11 pm
Edited on: December 16, 2011 6:15 pm
 

Hawaii Bowl Key Matchup



Posted by Chip Patterson


A look at the key matchup that could decide the Hawaii Bowl

Austin Davis, QB, Southern Miss vs. Brett Roy, DT, Nevada

Austin Davis entered the Southern Miss football program as a walk-on, but when his career as a Golden Eagle finishes on Christmas Eve in the Hawaii Bowl he will have more career passing records than Brett Favre. During his four years in Hattiesburg, Davis has matured from a talented "scrawny" kid (Larry Fedora's words), into a smart and efficient gunslinger with the ability to scramble from the pocket to create a play. Davis threw for 250+ yards in nine different games this season, and finished with 28 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, while adding four touchdowns and 332 yards on the ground.

But on the other side of Davis will be an equally decorated star: senior defensive tackle Brett Roy. Roy led the WAC in sacks and tackles for loss in 2011, and has made his way to numerous end-of-season award lists - arguably the most impressive being SI's All-American First Team. Roy's dominating presence in the trenches helps anchor a Wolf Pack defense that finished second in the WAC in scoring and total defense.

Both of these teams have Top 15 offenses, and if recent history tells us anything you will need to put up points to win this game. Since 2002, the winning team in the Hawaii Bowl has averaged 48.4 points per game. Both teams have surpassed that mark on several occasions this season, and the number one goal of both defensive units will be to avoid that kind of shootout. Roy is arguably the most talented defensive player on either team, and the senior will be looking to finish an impressive career with a bowl victory.

Check out all the latest updates on Southern Miss and Nevada right up until kickoff at the Hawaii Bowl Pregame

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Posted on: December 16, 2011 5:08 pm
Edited on: December 16, 2011 6:29 pm
 

Keys to the Game: Hawaii Bowl

Posted by Chip Patterson

SOUTHERN MISS WILL WIN IF: The Golden Eagles back up their talk about this game meaning something. When Larry Fedora accepted the North Carolina head coaching job, his players were disappointed but understanding. Some players have even said they are happy for their head coach, and the opportunity he'll get moving forward. But even in accepting the job, Fedora wants to coach the Conference USA champions in the Hawaii Bowl for a chance to make program history. In over 100 years of Southern Miss football, no team has ever won 12 games in a season. A win over the Wolf Pack on Christmas Eve would give the 11-2 Golden Eagles a historic finish to the Fedora era in Hattiesburg. But how much of the upbeat "let's make history" motivation is running through the entire roster?

Star quarterback Austin Davis should have plenty of motivation, but the underclassmen are staring down a long flight to an early bowl to play for a coach on his way out the door. Both offenses are ranked in the Top 15 nationally in scoring, and coming out flat would be a fast way to let the game get out of hand. Since 2002, the winning team in the Hawaii Bowl has averaged 48.4 points per game. We know both teams are capable of putting up those kinds of numbers, so Southern Miss will need to play fast and energetic for all 60 minutes to claim that historic 12th win.

NEVADA WILL WIN IF: The Wolf Pack can limit turnovers and establish the running game. Before their arguably effortless blowout victory against Idaho to close the season, Nevada's offense struggled in back-to-back four-point losses to Louisiana Tech and Utah State. In both games Nevada failed to turn successful drives into touchdowns, settling for field goals that in total could have changed the outcome of the game. Also prevalent in both losses, as well as throughout the season, were costly turnovers that kept the Wolf Pack from the end zone. With WAC Freshman of the Year Cody Fajardo returning from his sprained ankle and senior Lampford Mark looking to continue his streak of five-straight 100+ yard games on the ground, there should be plenty of offensive potential as long as Nevada does not shoot themselves in the foot.

X-FACTOR: Cody Fajardo's injured ankle. Fajardo sprained his ankle in Nevada's 21-17 loss at Utah State on Nov. 26, but all signs point to the the WAC's Freshman of the Year returning to start against Southern Miss in the bowl game. Fajardo was just the quarterback head coach Chris Ault needed to replace Colin Kapernick, now with the San Francisco 49ers. The freshman phenom finished the season with six passing touchdowns and 11 rushing touchdowns - the latter being good enough for seventh nationally among quarterbacks. With Mark's aforementioned explosion in the second half of the season, the Wolf Pack rushing attack can be as potent as it was a year ago with Kapernick at the helm. But if Fajardo is tentative or otherwise not 100 percent on his legs, it could play a huge roll in Southern Miss being able to make plays in the backfield.

Check out all the latest updates on Southern Miss and Nevada right up until kickoff at the Hawaii Bowl Pregame

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Posted on: December 13, 2011 5:32 pm
 

New Mexico Bowl Key Matchup



Posted by Chip Patterson


A look at the key matchup that could decide the New Mexico Bowl

Brett Smith, QB, Wyoming vs. Temple's defense

Temple's two strongest advantages heading into the New Mexico Bowl are their productive rushing attack and one of the nation's stingiest defensive units. The Owls rank third in the country in scoring defense, with their 13.8 points allowed per game trails only Alabama and LSU. But Wyoming has one weapon to counter Temple's touted D, and he is still just getting warmed up to the college game.

True freshman quarterback Brett Smith graduated early from high school in order to join the Cowboys football program in January, and the offense has not been the same since the 6-foot-3 dual-threat from Salem, Ore. won the starting job. Smith threw for 294 yards and three touchdowns while adding 44 yards and a score on the ground in the Cowboys season-opening win and has been shredding school and conference records ever since. He finished the regular season with 28 total touchdowns (18 passing, 10 rushing) and only eight interceptions, throwing for 2,495 yards and finishing second on the team in rushing with 645 yards. His 3,140 yards of total offense broke Andy Dalton's single-season MWC freshman record, and earned him Mountain West Freshman of the Year honors.

Smith is dynamic and explosive enough to keep the Owls guessing, and Wyoming will need him to deliver big plays and first downs to keep Temple's rushing attack off the field. The Owls' defensive numbers are impressive, especially considering some of the high-scoring teams in the MAC this season. But Temple did benefit from missing Northern Illinois and Eastern Michigan in the regular-season schedule. NIU's Chandler Harnish and EMU's Alex Gillett were arguably the best rushing quarterbacks in the conference, with Harnish collecting conference MVP honors at the end of the season.

So before we can crown Temple's defense as the best in the conference, they need to contain a dangerous dual-threat quarterback. Before Brett Smith can be considered the future of Cowboys football, he'd like to deliver a bowl win. It's the matchup that will likely determine the winner of the first bowl game in the 2011-2012 schedule.

For more New Mexico Bowl coverage, check out the Keys to the Game and the latest news at New Mexico Bowl Pregame

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Posted on: December 13, 2011 3:46 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2011 3:48 pm
 

Clemson expects Watkins to play after NCAA scare

Posted by Chip Patterson

Clemson's compliance office may believe that things could be quiet around exam time, with players hopefully focused on their studies and the start of bowl practice. But the Tigers' athletic department received a scare when they saw the name of ACC Rookie of the Year Sammy Watkins on a Christmas Party flier (pictured right, click here to enlarge) for a Florida-based restaurant. Watkins' association with a for-profit party like the "Naughty or Nice" themed shindig "Hosted by 239's hottest college football players" would be a violation of NCAA rules.

Luckily Clemson was able to nip this potential eligibility issue in the bud. CBSSports.com's Travis Sawchik reports that the university's compliance office sent a cease-and-desist notice to the restaurant. School spokesperson Tim Bourret "fully expects" Watkins to be available to play on Jan. 4 against West Virginia in the Orange Bowl.

While the Tigers are expecting Watkins to dodge this NCAA eligibility scare, head coach Dabo Swinney is not ready to welcome freshman running back Mike Bellamy back to the team at this point. Unspecified team rules saw Bellamy scratched from the ACC Championship Game on Dec. 3, and Swinney announced on Monday the indefinite suspension would last through the Orange Bowl. The highly-touted running back could be reinstated to the football program in January if he "does the right things," according to Swinney.

Bellamy's future with the Tigers is cloudy, with many reports of his discontent throughout the season only gaining credibility with his absence during Clemson's celebration of success. The coaching staff has been critical of the freshman's attitude and ball control issues, though no one has discredited the speed and natural ability of the Nocatee, Fla. native.

Keep up with all the latest on Clemson and West Virginia at the CBSSports.com Orange Bowl Pregame

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Posted on: December 13, 2011 12:04 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2011 12:07 pm
 

Keys to the Game: New Mexico Bowl

Posted by Chip Patterson

TEMPLE WILL WIN IF: The Owls can control the game with their defense and a steady ground game. Even in the high-scoring MAC, Temple's defense ranked in the Top 15 nationally in total defense and trail only LSU and Alabama giving up just 13.8 points per game. Complimenting that stout defense is a Top 10 rushing attack led by First Team All-MAC running back Bernard Pierce. First-year head coach Steve Addazio has had the benefit of relying on a steady ground game to keep scores low and take the pressure off a revolving door quarterback scenario. Redshirt sophomore Chris Coyer is expected to get the start under center after injuring his throwing in the regular season finale against Kent State. Coyer served mostly as a rushing threat/change-of-pace quarterback until taking over the starting duties in the last month of the season. If Pierce and backup Matt Brown can get going early, they should be able to rack up the yards against a Cowboys defense giving up roughly 230 yards per game on the ground.

WYOMING WILL WIN IF: The Cowboys can force turnovers and create the big play on offense. Knowing Temple's strengths on defense and in the rushing game, Wyoming will need to take some shots to create explosive plays and rattle the Owls. Thankfully, their best weapon for that task seems up to the challenge. Dual-threat freshman quarterback Brett Smith shattered Andy Dalton's MWC freshman records for total offense with 3,140 yards passing and rushing on the season, earning him conference Freshman of the Year honors. Steve Addazio has gone as far as to compare Smith to a certain former Florida quarterback you might have seen in the NFL headlines recently. Defensively, the Cowboys have to find a way to disrupt Temple's rhythm by creating turnovers. Wyoming led the Mountain West in fumbles recovered and turnover margin, and will need to win that battle in claim another New Mexico Bowl win.

X-FACTOR: Adjustment to the altitude. University Stadium in Albuquerque is roughly 5,000 feet above sea level, creating an atmosphere that many athletes over time have had difficulty adjusting to in regards to getting enough oxygen during competition. With only two bowl appearances since 1979 - and the last one played in nearby Washington, D.C.- it is safe to assume Temple is not used to dealing with extraneous climate factors on a regular basis. On the other hand, Wyoming stormed back from a 28-17 fourth quarter deficit to eventually beat the Ryan Matthews-led Fresno State Bulldogs in double overtime in this same bowl game two seasons ago. As Temple's touted defense works to contain Brett Smith late into the fourth quarter, they'll need every gasp of air they can get to pull out a victory in Addazio's first season at the helm.

For much more on Wyoming and Temple, cruise over to our New Mexico Bowl Pregame and get ready for Saturday's kickoff.

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Posted on: December 12, 2011 10:27 am
Edited on: December 12, 2011 10:30 am
 

Utah State coach gets new contract, new tattoo

Posted by Chip Patterson

As the coaching carousel continues to turn, one name generating some buzz was Utah State head coach Gary Andersen. In just his third year with the Aggies, Andersen led the team to a 7-5 record and their first bowl bid since 1997. The school's first postseason trip in more than a decade does not just mean more practices for Andersen and the Aggies, but also some fresh ink for the third-year head coach.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Andersen told his players before the season that if they made a bowl game he would get a tattoo of the Utah State logo. On Sunday afternoon Andersen fulfilled the bargain, visiting a tattoo parlor in Salt Lake City to get the Aggies' logo and "a bowl message" tattooed on the back of his shoulder.

“I have to keep my promise to the kids,” Andersen told the Tribune. “It’s a little weird having a tattoo, but this is well worth it. I love it.”

The predictable sting of the fresh ink can be soothed with the knowledge that Andersen is likely days away from finalizing a new contract that will add a year to his current deal and raise his base salary. The new deal has reportedly been in the process for "a few weeks" and could be announced as soon as Monday.

Thanks to the tattoo Andersen is guaranteed to remember this season forever, but many Utah State fans will not need permanent ink to do the same. The 2011 season opened with the near-upset of Auburn in a last-minute 42-38 loss on the road, and the Aggies went on to lose three more games by a touchdown or less in their 2-5 start. But once Utah State hit the home stretch of the conference schedule the close losses became close wins, as the Aggies rolled of five straight victories by an average margin of 3.8 points.

Utah State will travel to Boise to face Ohio in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Saturday. Click here to check out the rest of the bowl schedule.

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Posted on: December 7, 2011 11:52 am
Edited on: December 7, 2011 11:53 am
 

Report: Chad Morris' deal worth $1.3M per season

Posted by Chip Patterson

After receiving some serious attention from other schools following Clemson's ACC title season, offensive coordinator Chad Morris has agreed to a new contract that will reportedly make him one of the highest paid assistants in college football.

Head coach Dabo Swinney announced that Morris had agreed to a new contract on Sunday, though the terms were not disclosed. TigerIllustrated.com is reporting the new deal to be worth $1.3 million per season over the next six years. CBSSports.com's Travis Sawchik points out that if those numbers are accurate, it means Morris joins Auburn's Gus Malzahn at the top of the list of highest-paid assistant coaches.

As a high school football coach, Morris studied Malzahn's fast-paced offensive scheme and has implemented many of the same ideals in his own offensive system. As a speedy offense continues to see success in today's game, the value of a coach like Malzahn or Morris has clearly been set at the highest level.

There were widespread reports that new Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer had his eyes on Morris joining him in Columbus. With Meyer's spread tendencies and quarterback Braxton Miller the heir apparent under center Buckeye fans were hoping the first-year Tigers' coordinator would jump at the opportunity to join the two-time national champion. But head coach Dabo Swinney was confident in Morris' commitment to Clemson. He told reporters the week before the Tigers' 38-10 win over Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game that he could only see Morris leaving for a head coaching position. With the new deal in place at Clemson, it looks like he will be there until that opportunity arises.

The Tigers next challenge will be preparing to face Dana Holgorsen's West Virginia squad in the Orange Bowl Jan. 4. It will be Clemson's first return visit to the Orange Bowl since winning the national championship in 1981.

Think Chad Morris is worth the money? Chime in on this and other topics at our new Eye On College Football Facebook page.

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Posted on: December 2, 2011 12:06 am
 

QUICK HITS: West Virginia 30, South Florida 27

Posted by Chip Patterson

WEST VIRGINIA WON. It was a sloppy game with five combined turnovers and 17 combined penalties, but the Mountaineers emerged victorious and earned a share of the Big East title with a 30-27 win over South Florida on Thursday night in Tampa. The Bulls out gained the Mountaineers, who struggled to get anything going offensively until the fourth quarter. West Virginia now needs Cincinnati to beat Connecticut on Saturday to likely win the three-team tiebreaker and earn a bid to a BCS bowl. If Connecticut beats Cincinnati, Louisville will win the two-team tiebreaker and take the BCS bid.

HOW WEST VIRGINIA WON: Capitalizing on South Florida's mistakes. The Bulls shot themselves in the foot over and over down the stretch after dominating for most of the second half. The penalties, missed tackles, and especially BJ Daniels' fumble late in the fourth quarter allowed West Virginia to bounce back after the Bulls rolled off 17 straight points to take a 27-20 lead. While the ground game has sputtered for long stretches this season, West Virginia got the right performance at the right time from Dustin Garrison. The freshman running back picked up 54 of his 88 yards and the only offensive touchdown on the final two Mountaineer drives. South Florida was committing their defense to pass protection, and Garrison found enough room to make moves and keep getting first downs.

WHEN WEST VIRGINIA WON: On 4th and 10 with 13 seconds remaining, Geno Smith found Stedman Bailey for an impressive diving catch in the middle of the field. The Mountaineers were able to spike the ball and set up Tyler Bitancurt for the game-winning field goal as time expired. All of it was set up by BJ Daniels' fumble with more than three minutes remaining at the West Virginia 30 yard line.

WHAT WEST VIRGINIA WON: The best shot they have to keep their BCS hopes alive. Last season the Mountaineers lost the three-team tiebreaker to Connecticut and missed out on a chance to return to a BCS bowl game for the first time since the Rich Rodriguez era. They would not have even had that opportunity this year with a loss on Thursday.

WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA LOST: South Florida missed out on the postseason for the first time since 2004. The close loss was representative of the Bulls' season, which started with so much hope after the first four wins. South Florida has never finished the season with just one conference win, dating all the way back to their Conference USA seasons in 2003-2004.

THAT WAS CRAZY. The Mountaineers average over 35 points per game on the season, but have been slow to get started in their last three contests. West Virginia's first offensive touchdown did not come until there was 5:09 remaining in the game. The last three games have all been slow-starting for the Mountaineers offense, but they have been the three crucial wins needed to keep the BCS hopes alive.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com