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College Football Random Thoughts From Around the Country: 11 DAYS!

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The wild, wacky, and wonderful world of College Football!

Somewhere Tyrone Prothro is smiling.
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College football continues unimpeded!

FCS PLAYOFFS

The road underdogs have their day. Two upset wins by the away teams sets up the FCS Championship Final.

James Madison 27 North Dakota State 17 - The streak is OVER! The five-time reigning FCS champs go home with no trophy for the first time since 2010. On this day, fourth-seeded JMU was the better team. The Dukes (13-1) built a 17-0 lead in the first half yet allowed North Dakota State to tie it up in the third quarter. But the fourth quarter belonged to James Madison as they stopped the Bison on downs on the last two possessions.

Youngstown State 40 Eastern Washington 38 - Just like Bo Pelini's cat, this YSU team has nine lives. A back and forth affair turned when second-seeded EWU built a 31-20 fourth quarter lead. But the Penguins stormed back and took the lead in the waning seconds on a spectacular Prothro-like catch to win the game.

The Penguins (12-3) will play No. 4 seed James Madison (13-1) in the national final Jan. 7 in Frisco, Texas.

NCAA DIVISION II FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

Northwest Missouri State 29 North Alabama 3 - The Lions gave it a shot but the frickin' snow and the "neutral" site in Kansas City, Kansas did not do UNA any favors. The Bearcats outgained their foe 338 to 238 on a blustery frigid day.

Despite the loss, coach Bobby Wallace has a 39-10 record over the last four seasons.

In related news, University officials announced Dec. 6 that UNA would move from NCAA Division II athletics and the Gulf South Conference to Division I with the ASUN Conference beginning in 2018.

#TOOMANYBOWLS

If you ignore the teams and records and just wanted to get out of the cold and rain and watch some college football, you could've done a lot worse than the first round of bowl games. If you are a purist, you didn't miss too much other than Major Applewhite's lackluster debut.

LAS VEGAS BOWL San Diego State 34 Houston 10 - It was an inauspicious start to Major Applewhite's head coaching career. The Cougars jumped out to a 10-0 lead and then started making plans for next season. The Aztecs decided to keep playing and scored the next 34 points. SDSU gained only one more yard than Houston (255-254). The real difference was the Cougars' Greg Ward throwing four picks, one returned for a touchdown.

NEW ORLEANS BOWL Southern Mississippi 28 Louisiana Lafayette 21 - Golden Eagles WR Allenzae Staggers had 11 catches for 230 yards and also scored a touchdown. Former LSU QB Anthony Jennings ended his career with a disappointing 8-20 passing for 95 yards and 1 INT for ULL.

CAMELLIA BOWL Appalachian State 31 Toledo 28 - Appy State won their second straight bowl game in Montgomery. The two teams matched each other score for score: 7-7, 14-14, 21-21, 28-28, until ASU booted a field goal with 1:48 left and the Rockets could not answer.

TONY ORLANDO BOWL Arkansas State 31 UCF 13 - Twice on the pipe for this FUGLY game. The two teams combined for 22 punts, 26 penalties, and 41 rushing yards. Blech.

NEW MEXICO BOWL New Mexico 23 Texas San Antonio 20 - Bob Davie wins the first bowl game of his coaching career. He was 0-3 in five seasons at Notre Dame and 0-1 in four previous New Mexico seasons.

MIAMI BEACH BOWL Tulsa 55 CMU 10 - Didn't watch. I have a job.

COACHING CAROUSEL

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  • Tennessee Athletic Director Dave Hart has retired. Butch Jones is now someone else's problem. A 1971 Alabama graduate, Hart played basketball for the Crimson Tide under legendary head coach C.M. Newton. The Vols never beat Bama in football during his six years in Knoxville. Your REC hard at work, folks.
  • Georgia State has hired Samford defensive backs coach Sam Shade. Shade was a vital member of Alabama's 1992 National Champion defense and had a big interception in the Sugar Bowl vs. Miami. Shade spent eight years in the NFL with Cincinnati and Washington compiling ten interceptions.
  • Nothing official yet, but reports are saying that Lane Kiffin has hired his brother and current Ole Miss defensive line coach Chris Kiffin to be the FAU!'s defensive coordinator. Former New Mexico coach, Maryland offensive coordinator, and Alabama consultant Mike Locksley is a candidate as offensive coordinator. Alabama assistant strength coach Wilson Love, a former 5-star bust at Bama, will join the Owls' staff as head strength coach.
  • Jerry Kill is back. After a year sidelined by health issues, the former Minnesota head coach will serve as OC under Chris Ash at Rutgers. This is NOT what the doctor ordered, Jerry.
  • CH-CHING! Jimbo Fisher better send Joe Alleva a Christmas card every December for the rest of his life because FSU just ponied up the cash to extend their coach through at least the 2024 season and possibly through the end of 2026 based on incentives. He will make $5.5 million in 2017.

SALUTE TO OUR TROOPS

RS-Patriot

Great success for the three U.S. Military Academies this season.

  • Air Force (9-3) Arizona Bowl vs South Alabama, Dec. 23.
  • Navy (9-4) Armed Forces Bowl vs. Louisiana Tech, Dec. 23.
  • Army (7-5) - Heart of Dallas Bowl vs. North Texas, Dec. 27

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Krazy Kristi's "SHUT UP!" of the Week goes to San Diego State running back Donnel Pumphrey for becoming the all-time career rushing leader (6,405 yards) but you know me, being Kristi and all: I am going to be that guy gal. First off, they counted the yards gained in bowl games but did not do so for Ron Dayne, whom he passed, or anyone else before 2002. Secondly, he plays in a mid-major league. Can you imagine a little 5-9, 180 lbs running back getting pounded week-in and week-out in a P5 conference and still accomplishing all this? But good for him. I hope he enjoys his record and I hope he got a diploma. He's gonna need it.

STAT OF THE DAY

Arkansas State had NINE three-and-outs and EIGHT first downs and still won 31-13.

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  • Stanford diva Christian McCaffrey has decided to skip out on his Cardinal teammates for the Sun Bowl to save himself for the NFL. IMHO, this is a disappointingly selfish move. The case of Leonard Fournette in understandable. The former LSU back had been battling injuries all season and he was not leaving his teammates in a lurch. The Tigers will be fine in the Citrus Bowl with Derrius Guice running the ball, backed ably by Darrel Williams and Nick Brossette. But in the case of the Trees, we have a perfectly healthy lynchpin who IS this team's offense. Since missing the Notre Dame game on Oct. 1, he has not been limited in any way. He ran for over 135 yards in each of his last five games, twice going over 200. His desertion of his brothers is a sad statement to where we are in the game and in this culture.
  • Wow, that video of Joe Mixon... It is just inexcusable. If you are a young man, learn to laugh something like that off. If you are a parent, teach your children not to strike another human being for a stupid reason like being dissed.
  • According to ESPN: "Phil Steele, the king of preseason mags, uses a five-part formula to determine experience, and he ranked the Tide roster 116th out of 128 FBS teams. Clemson was ranked 101st. Ohio State was dead last at 128th."

KEY & PEELE PLAYER NAMES OF THE WEEK

West Virginia LB Bob Mary and  Florida State DT Demarcus Christmas.

Gump 4 Heisman

HEISMAN HYPE
With the exception of TWO YEARS, the Heisman Trophy voting is basically a hype award. That being the case, we'll bring you "Who Will Win" and "Who Should Win".

Wow, that didn't take long. The media is already crowning LSU's Derrius Guice as the 2017 winner and the 2016 season hasn't even finished yet. Jarrett Stidham is surely nipping his heels.

Who Should Win - An Alabama player. #GUMP'D!

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Times are CT/ET.

LET'S GO BOWLING

Tuesday, December 20, 2016
BOCA RATON BOWL: Memphis vs. Western Kentucky 7:00 PM ESPN ESPN - Does Bama still need Strength of Schedule points? WKU -7

Wednesday, December 21, 2016
SAN DIEGO POINSETTIA BOWL: BYU vs. Wyoming 9:00 PM ESPN ESPN BYU -10

Thursday, December 22, 2016
POTATO BOWL: Idaho vs. Colorado State 6pm/7pm M ESPN ESPN CSU -13

Friday, December 23, 2016
BAHAMAS BOWL: Eastern Michigan vs. Old Dominion noon/1pm ESPN ESPN - Yuck. ODU -4
ARMED FORCES BOWL: Louisiana Tech vs. Navy 3:30/4:30 ESPN ESPN - GO NAVY! LT -6
MOBILE BOWL: Ohio vs. Troy 8:00 PM ESPNESPN Troy -4

Saturday, December 24, 2016
HAWAII BOWL: Hawaii vs. Middle Tennessee 8:00 PM ESPN ESPN OFF due to unknown status of MTSU QB Brent Stockstill.

Monday, December 26, 2016
ST. PETERSBURG BOWL: Miami (OH) vs. Mississippi State 10am/11am ESPN ESPN - ESS-EE-SEE! MSU -14
MOTOR CITY BOWL: Maryland vs. Boston College 1:30/2:30 ESPN ESPN - How did these two teams get bowl eligible??? MD -1
INDEPENDENCE BOWL: NC State vs. Vanderbilt 4pm/5pm ESPN2 - ESS-EE-SEE! NCSU -4

alabama logo script a 100x100

#ALABAMA - 11 DAYS!

SEMIFINAL PLAYOFF GAME, PEACH BOWL

Saturday, December 31, 2016, 2pm/3pm

BRYANT-DENNY EAST (aka The Georgia Dome), Atlanta, GA

Washington vs ALABAMA, ESPN ESPN - Joe Tessitore, Todd Blackledge and Holly Rowe. Bama -15.

#RollTide!