The Wildcats have a new head coach and his name is Kevin Sumlin! Adam and Ronnie revisit the crazy 72 hours that led up to the hire. They also talk hoops as they recap the Oregon/Oregon State games and preview the upcoming Bay Area trip.
Bryant, Rick, and Rick breakdown the Arizona Football scandal the encompassed Rich Rodriguez, talk about the likely candidates, and discuss the Tucson media's coverage of a program with multiple controversies.
Pardon the sound quality, Bryant was traveling and had to use a different microphone but the content is good.
A Moderately Uncalled for Oregon State vs. Arizona Basketball Preview
Ryan Ringdahl | January 10, 2018
The dirty little secret of the pay-for-play scandal that rocked college basketball lies in the fact that schools like Arizona aren’t under the gun for funneling money to a player’s family. It’s that schools like Arizona are getting raked over the coals for being cheap.
You see, the NCAA has very detailed protocols for almost everything, including how to shovel buckets of money to the families of star players. According to the NCAA, schools can’t just write a family a check, they must provide a real job in addition to the money. At minimum, schools shall provide families of star players one of the three allowed assistant spots.
It’s a fairly new rule, and it’s why Michael Porter Sr. didn’t get the coveted Associate Trainer job at Kentucky while his kid bumped his draft stock via Coach Cal’s weekly ESPN Plug. Trust us, allegedly shuttling an alleged $50k to an alleged point guard is significantly cheaper than the $375k yearly salary, country club membership, courtesy car, four season tickets to men’s and women’s basketball, and access to all other home sporting events that Mizzou threw at Porter Sr to borrow his kid for a year two minutes.
Oregon State doesn't play Arizona’s cheap game. The Beavs know there’s no such thing as halfway a crook so when they found a generational high-school talent that was going to swing the fortunes of their program and steer them back to the promised land of madness they threw the whole caboose at the fam. That’s how you lock up a head coach like Wayne Tinkle for $6.6 million dollars.
Wayne Tinkle looks like a Marvel super-villain who owns an Enterprise Rent-a-Car franchise. Seeing him without a cowboy hat makes people uncomfortable without ever knowing why. His wardrobe is the costume closet for the off-Broadway Guys and Dolls tour. And he happens to have a son, Tres Tinkle, who was in the Rivals top-100 and now averages 18 points, 7 rebounds, and three assists per game for the Beavers.
But wait, there’s more. Wayne Tinkle’s assistant, Stephen Johnson Sr., has TWO sons in the Rivals top-100 who now play in Corvallis. Oregon State pays Johnson $135,000 a year. He had no Division-1 coaching experience prior to joining Tinkle’s staff.
Okay, okay. So perhaps this is a bit unfair. Wayne Tinkle was a respected head coach at Montana before taking the Oregon State job. And Stephen Johnson was the head coach of Cal State Los Angeles for nine years before arriving in Corvallis. But still, if a lower-tier, Power Five school wanted to institute some creative accounting to allow for an influx of talent it would look similar to Oregon State’s recent actions.
Wayne Tinkle has also pioneered a bold and innovative two-man system that we won’t say isn’t built to maximize his large adult son’s stats and tease him a spot in the League.
Usually in basketball, a two-man game is a moment where two players manipulate one side of the opposing defense through repeated interactions, but Tinkle has supercharged that concept into an entire system. Instead of just leveraging a momentary advantage, OSU has developed their entire attack around two guys: 6’8 Tinkle 2 and, guess who, 6’4 junior guard Stephen Thompson Jr. Between the two of them, Tinkle and Thompson are responsible for 46.3% of all shots, 48.1% of all makes, 50% of all points, 66.6% of all 3pt makes in conference play. They never come out of the game (averaging 37.5 minutes per game in conference play) and are the only players introduced during pregame.
Okay, again. Perhaps a bit unfair. Tres Tinkle is good and he's a natural for the two-man game. Also, we can’t actually verify that pregame bit. In our defense, no-one has ever watched the pregame intros -- they are busy staring at Wayne Tinkle, who looks like the romantic fanfic version of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
The Beaver’s hopes for this season took a hit when starting point guard Jaquori McLaughlin went down with an injury. Seth Berger, a 6’7 graduate transfer from UMass, averaged 7.7 minutes a game through the first 7 games and 16.6 minutes since McLaughlin’s injury. He has added some needed juice to the slowest paced team in the PAC12, attacking the offensive boards with vigor. Coach Thompson’s younger son Ethan hasn’t missed a beat, starting every game as a freshman and looking ready to step into his brother’s role as half of the Tinkle Twosome next season. But turnovers are a problem. Yes, this team has some talent but they don’t take care of the ball.
On the inside, 6’10 junior Drew Eubanks brings the rim protection, upping his blocks per game from 2 to 3 in conference play so far. 6’11 junior Gligorije Rakocevic trades that rim protection for a little more stretch on the offensive end, but that eats into the limited 3s Tinkle 2 gets to jack, so the magnificently monikered Montenegrin only sees about 10 minutes of the court per game. Eubanks will be the X Factor in this game. He’s talented and has an outside shot of joining the NBA as a free agent. But if Oregon State is going to win they will need to bang the boards. The Beavs are 212th in the nation when it comes to defensive rebounds and they face a tall Arizona team that just got taken to the woodshed by Sean Miller for poor play in Boulder.
Oregon State isn’t as good as their record suggests, that’s not a good sign. Their record suggests that they are pretty mediocre. The Beavers really hoped to survive their cupcake early schedule (the 341st toughest schedule according to the inestimable KenPom.com) with fewer than 3 losses. It didn’t happen. That’s not a promising sign for what isn’t a kind conference schedule featuring 2 games against Arizona, ASU, USC, UCLA, and Oregon. OSU has gone 8-2 at home this year, split their neutral-site games (beating Marist and St Louis; losing to St Johns and Long Beach State), and lost the only true road game they have played at the mighty Kent St. Golden Eagles.
Still, the Beavers recently beat Oregon, Colorado, and they took Utah to the wire. They can be frisky and, for all our sarcasm, Wayne Tinkle is a good coach who will employ the dreaded Zone defense against Arizona. But road trips are a dangerous mistress. And Oregon State's previous road games involved losing to schools from the states of Long Beach and Kent, so a visit to the desert to meet Sean Miller’s most recent collection of lottery picks in the most hostile environment west of Kansas is a daunting task.
After a 1-1 split on their most recent road trip, the Wildcats return home to host the Oregon schools. Adam Green and Ronnie Stoffle breakdown the Utah/Colorado games plus preview Oregon State/Oregon.
A Moderately Uncalled for Colorado vs. Arizona Basketball Preview
Bryant Conger | January, 6 2018
When Tad Boyle, Colorado’s head basketball coach, was asked about the looming FBI investigations that have rocked programs like Arizona he responded, “I’ll sleep well at night.” Clearly. We know there are no shenanagans in Boulder because this Colorado team is not good. That’s what we call getting what you allegedly pay for.
KenPom lists Colorado as the 126th best team in the nation. They field the 179th best offense in the country and are 9-6 on the year with losses to San Diego, Oregon State, and Colorado State.
With that said, Colorado boasts one of the most experienced guards in the country in Xavier Johnson who returns for his 7th season in Boulder. Johnson’s mature, senior leadership makes him the anchor of this team. Just kidding, Xavier Johnson finally graduated. He’s 45 years young, and will still cross you up while telling you to get off his lawn.
Tad Boyle’s team is all about guard play. And he will play a lot of them. Eight guards average more than 12 minutes per game on this Colorado team. “Yes.” You ask. “But are they good?” The answer is relative. They are certainly better at basketball than you are, and if defeating a random team comprised of general internet readership were the goal, they would have a solid 60% chance. But it will be next to impossible for the Buffs to matchup with Arizona’s talented roster.
McKinley Wright can ball. Colorado’s 6’0 freshman guard is averaging 16 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists per game. And he can play some (some, let’s calm down) defense. Look for Wright to take the initiative against Arizona. He’ll need to have a strong game for the Buffs to stay competitive.
6’6 senior guard George King has developed into a solid player. He is one of the better Colorado shooters and he’s snatching 8 rebounds a game. If you’re an Arizona fan look forward to tearing your hair out when King to steals at least three rebounds from Dusan Ristic.
Missouri transfer, Namon Wright is the only other Colorado player that averages more than 10 points per game (12 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist) he plays average defense and his stats mirror “Joseph Q. Generic,” a 3-star, computer generated player on Playstation’s NCAA 2009 (RIP).
The Big Guys
Arizona is going to win this game by 15+ points. Why? There is nobody on this Colorado team that can guard DeAndre Ayton or Dusan Ristic. 6’10 sophomore Lucas Stewart is Tad Boyle’s best shot to slow down Arizona’s skilled, offensive-minded bigs. Stewart is an above average defender but he’s only putting up 4.6 points in limited minutes. If Boyle steps on the gas and keeps Stewart on the court for prolonged periods of time it will be to the detriment of his offense, which will be one dimensional. The same goes for 7’0 foot freshman Dallas Walton who is averaging 4.2 points per game. Outside of these two guys, that’s it for Colorado. This could get ugly.
This is a classic letdown-game for a team for Colorado. The Buffs got hot and beat a good ASU team that isn’t used to, you know, being good. This Arizona team is better, more balanced, and their major weakness doesn’t match up with Colorado’s strengths in a way that would indicate a likely upset. Arizona struggles to defend the 3-point shot, Colorado only has one player that averages more than 1.5 shots from downtown (George King) and he only averages 35% from deep. Arizona will field better talent at every position. The Cats are favored by -9.5 points in this game. The line should be higher.
Also, Sabatino Chen's shot was no good.
What is going on in Tucson? Ronnie Stoffle and Adam Green dive into the current state of Arizona's football program. They also give their thoughts on the ASU game and preview Colorado.
A Moderately Uncalled for Utah vs. Arizona Basketball Preview
Ryan Ringdahl | January 3, 2018
The Utah college baskeball fanbase is one of the most perplexing in college sports. Conventions for fidget spinners, hoverboards, and “smart toasters” are the only other places one can find a collection of so many people so very excited about something so very…okay.
In the last four years, Ute head coach Larry Krystkowiak has lost in the first round of the NIT twice, lost in the second round of the NCAA tournament once, and lost in the Sweet Sixteen. But talk to any Ute Fan one would think the guy won 5 national titles.
Utah’s natural retort is “well, at least we don’t cheat.” That’s fair, Utah fans. Just know that we here at Arizona can’t hear your well-reasoned argument over the slurping sound our straw is making at the bottom of our double margarita as our train lurches towards the edge of the cliff.
Don’t get us wrong. It's refreshing to find passion for college basketball in the Pac-12 and Coach Alt-K is very good. He is doing regular and brilliant work in varied and complex ways with unheralded and overlooked players. He’s also pumping out NBA talent like Lorenzo Romar in his prime.
Take this game, for example. This will be Arizona’s 3rd toughest matchup in Pac-12 play even though Utah has a simple game plan. The Utes put the student in student athlete and have built an entire tactical identity around the basic mathematical principle that 3 points is more than two points. They slow the game down, making each possession matter more. They defend the three-point line with intensity, and they field literally only two (healthy) players in the rotation who take more low rent shots than they do from Curryland.
6’9 junior Tyler Rawson, a transfer from Southern Utah, is key to the Utes’ success on both ends of the court. With 19 of the teams 48 blocks, the bouncy forward brings about as much rim protection as the rest of the roster combined, and Rawson’s ability to both score and make plays from beyond the 3pt line on offense (38% on 4.5 3’s & 3.8 assists a game) is what frees 6’8 David Collette to feast at the rim (60% from the field) as the finisher in Coach K2’s whirling flex offense.
The Utes front court is desperate for the return of 6’7 frosh Donnie Tillman (foot) to add some depth to the rotation. Tillman helps with the floor spacing when Rawson rests. He is at least willing to jack an open trey and hits them at a decent-enough rate (37%). 6’8 freshman Chris Seely could bring some more rim protection to the rotation, that is, if his gall bladder ever lets him ball gladder.
Until either one of those guys is healthy enough to go the front court Utah’s depth is reduced to 7’0 sophomore Jayce Johnson. Sure, Johnson brings some much-needed size to this Utes team, he is also shooting worse (57%->51%), fouling more (2.1->3.1), and turning the ball over more (0.9->1.5) than he did in his freshman campaign, which is pretty much the opposite of development.
5’8 senior transfer from Long Beach State Justin Bibbins is like a tinier Isaiah Thomas, raining threes on everyone that stays of him and blowing past anyone who gets in his face.
Next to Bibbins is “shooter” Sedrick Barefield. The best thing about Utah’s back court is that they are like the Splash Brothers, both jacking over 5 treys a game but with a fun twist: Bibbins (47.8%) is literally twice as good at shooting from distance as Barefield (23.4%). Not that Captain Casaba Melons lets that slow him down at all; Barefield was chucking even more in the first weekend of conference play.
6’5 frosh Kolbe Caldwell and 6’6 junior Gabe Bealer split the wing minutes, and the young Kolbe is Kobeing his way into a larger and larger share, shooting a torching 55% from distance over the Utes’ last five games.
HOW DOES UTAH MATCHUP WITH THE WILDCATS?
Utah’s only player on their roster taller than 6’9 is a foul machine who racked up five hacks in 13 minutes against the intimidatingly diminutive front court of the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors. So if you are a Utah fan, there is nothing more terrifying on this planet than the prospect of trying to defend 7’2 Monstar Deandre Ayton.
Ask the kids on this Utes team which they would rather experience: 1) Sitting through an aggressive time-share presentation -OR- 2) having to guard Ayton on national television in front of their friends, family, and that cute girl from Comm101. They buy that questionable condo in Cabo everytime.
“5’8” Arizona senior Parker Jackson-Cartwright has waited his entire life to be the big guy in the point guard matchup. After PJC swallows up Bibbins, Barefield will need to channel Trae Young to keep the game close. The Utes don’t have a Plan B at the point: Bibbins is averaging 39 minutes a game in Utah’s first two conference games.
The high-low passing game between Rawson and next-level cutter Collette is where the Utes will cause problems against this Arizona defense that struggles against subtlety on the inside, as neither Ayton nor Dusan Ristic have developed the discipline to track cutters consistently yet.
But Utah’s defense isn’t much better than Arizona’s and the talent disparity on offense is…daunting. Even in a tough Huntsman Center Arizona should win this game handily unless Utah gets hot from the 3 or if DeAndre Ayton gets in early foul trouble while trying to contain Rawson and Collette. Expect a quality game planner like Coach Other K to go straight at Arizona’s bigs and dare them to guard the basket. If Ayton and Ristic play disciplined defense expect Trier’s 15 points early in the second half against a pedestrian Utah defense to ice this game away and invite Miller to get some minutes for the middle of his bench, maybe even unlocking the doghouse he’s been keeping Emmanuel Akot in ever since Arizona returned from the Bahamas.
Wildcat Radio recaps Arizona's win over ASU at McKale, previews the Arizona Basketball's upcoming game against Utah, and talks about the future of Arizona Football following the loss to Purdue in the Foster Farms Bowl.
The Pac-12 game of the early season is finally upon us. Ronnie Stoffle and Adam Green preview the big showdown in Tucson against the Sun Devils. Also, they share their thoughts on the bowl game loss and recap the UNCONN game.
40 Completely Uncalled for 2017 College Football Bowl Previews: Part Two
Ryan Ringdahl and Bryant Conger | December 23, 2017
Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl
Utah vs. West Virginia
1:30 p.m., ESPN
The Cotton Bowl is one of the great stadiums of college football, scene of Joe Montana’s iconic Chicken Soup Game; the final stage for Heisman winners like Doug Flutie, Bo Jackson, and Tim Brown; setting for the Legendary Ernie Davis to score on a reception, run, and an interception while winning a Football National Title at Syracuse.
Now the Cotton Bowl is home to the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl which evokes a sinister villain standing bestride the fallen city holding aloft a still-beating organic blood pump.
This year the stadium-which-for-stupid-reasons-no-longer-hosts-the-bowl-named-for-it will feature the least awesome Grier brother’s introduction to a defense that has only allowed 11 passing td’s to quarterbacks not named Darnold or Rosen.
Quick Lane Bowl
Duke vs. Northern Illinois
5:15 p.m., ESPN
The most memorable moment in the last 10 years of Duke Football was allowing Jonny Manziel to win the Peach Bowl in spectacular fashion. Still, Duke has made a bowl game in 5 of its last 6 seasons. Which is more than Texas can say – and Texas has its own television network.
Northern Illinois fields the #13 defense in the country. They also managed to lose 4 games while fielding the #13 defense in the country. Likely because the most interesting part of this NIU offense is quarterback Jordan Lynch who left the program six years ago.
Neither team will score in this game so make sure to watch two awesome defensive players: Duke’s linebacker Joe Gills-Harris – he has 117 tackles, 5 qb hurries, 4 passes broken up, an interception, and more sacks than British Petroleum’s executive team; and NIU’s Sutton Smith – his 28.5 tackles for loss leads the nation. Smith also has 5 qb hurries, 3 forced fumbles, 3 passes broken up, 2 fumble recoveries, two defensive touchdowns, your girlfriend, your ex-girlfriend, and a place in your family’s will.
Kansas State vs. UCLA
9 p.m., ESPN
It’s hard to overshadow UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen. He’s the likely #1 NFL quarterback prospect, he’s controversial, he has a hot tub in his dorm, and he’s insanely talented. But Chip Kelly’s back, y’all! And, much like everything else in Chip Kelly’s coaching career, his transition to UCLA is happening quickly, quietly, and with a lot of confusing movement.
But don’t count out the Estimable Bill Snyder, whose name shall never be besmirched. Snyder brings the 934th iteration of the same team he has coached since the Dawn of Sport. Like every other version, this year’s Kansas State team takes care of the football, control the clock, always maintain gap integrity, and are acutely aware of all the early-bird specials with in a 5 mile radius of Manhattan Kansas.
Walk-On's Independence Bowl
Southern Miss vs. Florida State
1:30 p.m., ESPN
Aside from $12 craft beers, the other sure tale sign that we are in the middle of a bubble is the 10-year, $75 million-dollar guaranteed contract that Jimbo Fisher just signed at Texas A&M. This is the same Jimbo Fisher who guided this Florida State team, stacked with blue chip talent, to a 6-6 season. The same Jimbo Fisher who didn’t coach Florida State’s final regular season game BECAUSE HE WAS OPENLY LOOKING FOR OTHER JOBS.
That’s the equivalent of skipping your big sales pitch so you can watch your rival company’s mandatory HR videos about proper office etiquette.
The Seminoles face a Southern Miss team that ranks #12th in the nation in tackles for a loss. Additionally, look out for Ito Smith, Southern Mississippi’s running back. He has accumulated more than 4,600 rushing yards and 49 touchdowns in his four years with the Golden Flashes.
New Era Pinstripe Bowl
Iowa vs. Boston College
5:15 p.m., ESPN
One is almost forced to admire the hubris of New York. This is a city, nay, an entire state with zero college football history that managed to commandeer a bowl game. And where do they place it? Yankee Stadium.
But justice is a sweet mistress. It’s fitting that the Pinstripe Bowl features Iowa and Boston College – two teams with top 30 defenses and with agonizingly terrible offenses.
This game will be like watching a Mad Men episode. But one of the slow, insufferable late season shows when Matthew Weiner was granted full creative control. At least it’s better than baseball.
Foster Farms Bowl
Arizona vs. Purdue
8:30 p.m., FOX
Santa Clara, California
Kylan Wilborn led the PAC12 in forced fumbles and was third in sacks. Lorenzo Burns led the conference in interceptions. Both those guys are freshmen, like Colin Schooler who was the 2017 PAC12 Freshman of the Year. Also, there’s Khalil Tate who AVERAGED A FIRST DOWN EVERY CARRY.
None of these guys made even the all-conference second team, which is completely understandable because the guys on the conference teams play for much more respectable football brands.
Fortunately for all the fans of Truth, Beauty, and American Football, we all have one last opportunity to appreciate the brilliant work this young group is capable of producing before next year’s Wildcats sweep all the awards in the land.
Oh, and Purdue has graciously offered to serve as the foil against which these stars will shine, so thanks for that. And, you know, for making all those boilers.
Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl
Texas vs. Missouri
9 p.m., ESPN
A clash between the teams atop the Big12 and the SEC, featuring multiple potential top 5 picks? Shut up and take our money.
Mizzou must be laughing at all these schools caught in the FBI probe after taking the legal route and paying Michael Porter’s father $1.25M to coach while they borrow his kids from the NBA. Pity Michael had back surgery and is out for the season, but at least it is giving his younger and taller brother Jontae time in the lime Han style. It should be a great test for the Longhorns own lottery talent, Mo Bamba, to see how he can defend an NBA-style stretch 4.
Oh. Right. This is a football game. Our bad. Ok. Um, Texas lost to every good team they played this year and also Maryland. Mizzou followed up a 5 game losing streak with a 6 game winning streak where they averaged over 50 points a game against teams like Tennessee, Florida, and Arkansas.
Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman
Virginia vs. Navy
1:30 p.m. ESPN
Jack Stephens Field at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium
Ahh, the annual Navy Bowl game – the one time every year we admire the triple option and then quickly thank God it that it isn’t employed in our team’s offense.
Navy is a running team. They treat their quarterback the way you let your little brother play Super Mario Brothers. They begrudgingly give him the controller and he immediately runs off the cliff before the first Goomba arrives.
Virginia fans claim to be “the wine and cheese of the ACC.” Over the last 5 years this team has averaged 4 wins a season. Just because you eat Kraft singles and drink Boondocks it doesn’t mean you get to say that you are classy.
Camping World Bowl
No. 22 Virginia Tech vs. No. 19 Oklahoma State
5:15 p.m., ESPN
Camping World Stadium
Virginia Tech is coached by Justin Fuentes, who looks he was designed in a lab to play a football coach in a recurring role on Gilmore Girls. Oklahoma State is coached by Mike Gundy, who is a man, and boasts the World’s Most Valuable Mullet.
Virginia Tech has had a good year, lost some close games to good teams, and they are the very picture of a program on the rise. The Hokies have a respectable passing defense with one significant weakness: big plays. Only 3 teams in the country have allowed more 60+ yard passing plays than VT.
Enter: Oklahoma State wide receiver James Washington, 2017 Biletnikoff Winner, Unanimous All-American, All Around Outstanding Human. Washington led the nation in yards per game, and total receiving yards. He was the only player in the country to average over 20 yards per catch with 55+ catches. Washington ranked top 3 nationally in catches of 20+ yards. And 30+ yards. And 40+ yards. And 50+ yards. And 60+ yards. He’s had games of 200+ receiving yards in three consecutive seasons, including this year’s ridiculous 235 yards on 6 catches against Baylor.
Oh, and OSU’s other wideout, Marcel Ateman, might be the second most terrifying deep threat in the country, averaging 19.4 yards per catch on his 54 catches.
Have fun with all that, Hokies.
Valero Alamo Bowl
No. 13 Stanford vs. No. 15 TCU
9 p.m., ESPN
San Antonio, Texas
The best argument against the looming Disney (ESPN) and Fox Media (Fox Sports) merger is that most college football fans don’t know that Stanford running back Bryce Love plays football. He is electrifying. He is explosive. He has 17 rushing touchdowns. He averages 8.3 yards every time he touches the ball. And he has been buried by ESPN who favors airing trash SEC games in primetime.
Bryce Love faces a nasty TCU rushing defense that ranks 4th in the nation. Defensive linemen Ben Banogu and Matt Boesen are bad, bad men. They have 30 tackles for a loss, 12 qb hurries, and six forced fumbles between them. TCU also features HOT BLOODED, WILDCARD FORMER TEXAS A&M QUARTERBACK KENNY TRILL mature senior quarterback Kenneth Hill.
This should be a great game.
San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl
No. 18 Washington State vs. No. 16 Michigan State
9 p.m., FOX
No disrespect to SDCCU, but it is a shame that AccuWeather isn’t the sponsor of the Holiday Bowl, because there isn’t a bowl on the docket that scores such a net weather upgrade for the participants. They should try every year to get the two best teams from the most miserable climates and have live weather graphics on the broadcast scoreboard, with cut-ins to outdoor viewing parties back in the snow and whatnot.
The Best Football Team in the State of Michigan makes their annual pilgrimage to espouse Mark Dantonio’s virtues of Discipline, Camaraderie, Work Ethic, and Dullness to the unenlightened masses.
The Washington State Pirates* had lucid fever dreams of a playoff berth before soon-to-be-appropriately-compensated Luke Falk somehow managed to throw 5 picks to a Cal secondary that was one of the worst in the conference. Pro tip: make sure you figure out how to pronounce Hecules Mata’afa’s name before the game. It is so much fun to yell every time he does something awesome, which is pretty often.
*We are well aware the WSU official mascot is a cougar. If you follow a Pirate, you are Pirates. Feel free to call yourselves Cougar Pirates, which is also a fun romfic subgenre.
Wake Forest vs. Texas A&M
1 p.m. ESPN
Bank of America Stadium
Charlotte, North Carolina
This Wake Forest team is good. This Texas A&M team is locked into a 10-year, $75 million-dollar contract with a coach who went 6-6. SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE!!!!
Keep an eye on sleazy Demon Deacon dual-threat quarterback John Wolford. Wake Forest also fields one of the most successfully aggressive front seven units in the country – they rank 9th nationally in tackles for a loss. Texas A&M has a good basketball team.
Hyundai Sun Bowl
No. 24 NC State vs. Arizona State
3 p.m., CBS
El Paso, Texas
Ray Anderson is an NFL guy who had never worked in college athletics in any capacity before he was given control of the entire athletic department at the 6th largest school in the country. Ray is under the impression that ASU should be winning PAC-12 titles despite the existence of Chris Peterson, USC, and the return of the Once and Future King Chip Kelly.
In a theoretical world where college coaches are judged by how well they prepare their charges to be functional adults, a coach that managed to raise the collective GPA of a program from 2.2 to 3.0 would get a raise instead of the sack.
The probability sharks think the Sun Devils are going to play their hearts out for Todd Graham’s last game, because the point spread in this game is less than a touchdown despite NC State having a very respectable college football team and ASU having just hired an insurance spokesman as, um, CEO?
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl
Kentucky vs. No. 21 Northwestern
4:30 p.m., ESPN
NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl
Utah State vs. New Mexico State
5:30 p.m., CBSSN
This is the saddest bowl preview we are going to write, and it didn’t have to be this way.
New Mexico State has been grinding along, committing emotional and financial resources to a football program that hasn’t won a conference title since before the internet and hasn’t been to a bowl game since before Martin Luther King Jr. shared his dream. The end of this epic bowl drought was supposed to be an occasion of joy, getting to play a team you never get to play, going on a trip to a cool and different part of the country..
Congrats, New Mexico State. You get to drive 4 hours down I-10 to a place that looks exactly like your home. You get to play literally the only team you have ever played in a bowl game*. Which also happens to be a team that is already on your schedule for next year.
The matchup to watch is between two seniors who should go head-to-head all game. Utah State defensive back Jalen Davis has 13 pbu’s, 5 picks, 4 sacks, & 3 tds on the season, and New Mexico State wide receiver Jaleel Scott has 73 catches for 1,042 yards and 8 scores. Also, New Mexico State’s quarterback should go over 4k passing yards for the season during the game, which is almost double what Utah State has produced this year despite using twice as many quarterbacks.
*The first two bowl games were when the university still went by New Mexico A&M
Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic
No. 8 Southern California vs. No. 5 Ohio State
8:30 p.m., ESPN
Real talk. Yes, USC’s panic hire of interim coach Clay Helton was *clears throat* bold? But the Trojans won ten games this year while playing the 11th toughest schedule in the country with no bye week. They also won a deep league that most certainly does not include the likes of Rutgers, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, and Nebraska. USC beat teams that fielded Bryce Love (twice), Khalil Tate, and Josh Rosen – all are program defining players unless, you know, the program is coached by Jim Mora.
The Trojan offense features Sam Darnold, a quarterback who is unstoppable except for when he stops to think about hugging Roger Goodell rather than looking at which team he is throwing to. USC also houses one of the best running backs in the country in Ronald Jones whom has run for 1,450 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Remember a few years ago when Ohio State had three all-star quarterbacks playing at the same time? Yeah, one of those guys is still around. This year, Meyer is riding senior quarterback J.T. Barrett (2,900 passing yards, 700 rushing yards, 45 total touchdowns, 9 int), who is statistically superior to Sam Darnold in nearly every way. Like USC, Ohoi State has an excellent running back corps that features underclassmen J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber. and a nasty defense that has racked up 100 tackles for a loss this year.
But Ohio State’s offense doesn’t matter. Because their defense is awesome and has collected 100 total tackles for a loss this year. This defense may accidentally solidify Sam Darnold as the top quarterback in this draft because they’ll force him to run around and pull multiple insane plays out of his pants in front of 100 NFL scouts.