Complete 2011 bowl lineup

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Bowl season, the self-proclaimed “most wonderful time of the year” outside of Christmas, has been a long-standing tradition in college football. And every year, like Christmas, the season gets a little longer — almost to the point where it’s too much. This season, there will be 35 bowl games including the five BCS bowls. This year’s BCS National Championship Game will be held in New Orleans.

Also, as you’ll see when you scroll down, there are no games on January 1st this year, which falls on a Sunday.

Anyway, without further delay, here is the full 2011-12 bowl lineup complete with dates, times (all ET) and conference tie-ins. Enjoy.

Sat. December 17
New Mexico Bowl (2:00 pm) — MWC vs. Pac-12
uDrove Humanitarian Bowl (5:30 pm) — MAC vs. WAC
R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl (9:00 pm) — Sun Belt vs. C-USA

Tues. December 20
Beef O’Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg (8:00 pm) — Big East vs. C-USA

Wed. December 21
San Diego Co. Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl (8:00 pm) — MWC vs. WAC

Thurs. December 22
MAACO Bowl Las Vegas (8:00 pm) — MWC vs. Pac-12

Sat. December 24
Sheraton Hawii Bowl (8:00 pm) — WAC vs. C-USA

Mon. December 26
Advocare V100 Independence Bowl (5:00 pm) — ACC vs. MWC

Tues. December 27
Little Ceasar’s Pizza Bowl (4:30 pm) — Big Ten vs. MAC
Belk Bowl (8:00 pm) — ACC vs. Big East

Wed. December 28
Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman (4:30 pm) — ACC vs. Navy (if eligible)
Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl (8:00 pm) — Big 12 vs. Pac-12

Thurs. December 29
Champs Sports Bowl (5:30 pm) — ACC vs. Big East
Valero Alamo Bowl (9:00 pm) — Big 12 vs. Pac-12

Fri. December 30
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl (noon) — C-USA vs. BYU (if eligible)
New Era Pinstripe Bowl (3:20 pm) — Big 12 vs. Big East
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl (6:40 pm) — ACC vs. SEC
Insight Bowl (10:00 pm) — Big 12 vs. Big Ten

Sat. December 31
Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas (noon) — Big Ten vs. Big 12
Hyundai Sun Bowl (2:00 pm) — ACC vs. Pac-12
AutoZone Liberty Bowl (3:30 pm) — C-USA vs. SEC
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl (3:30 pm) — Pac-12 vs. Army (if eligible)
Chick-fil-A Bowl (7:30 pm) — ACC vs. SEC

Mon. January 2
Ticket City Bowl (noon) — Big Ten vs. C-USA
Capital One Bowl (1:00 pm) — Big Ten vs. SEC
Gator Bowl (1:00 pm) — Big Ten vs. SEC
Outback Bowl (1:00 pm) — Big Ten vs. SEC
Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO (5:00 pm) — Big Ten vs. Pac-12

Tues. January 3
Allstate Sugar Bowl (8:30 pm) — SEC Champion vs. BCS

Wed. January 4
Discover Orange Bowl (8:00 pm) — ACC Champion vs. BCS

Thurs. January 5
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl (8:30 pm) — Big 12 Champion vs. BCS

Fri. January 6
AT&T Cotton Bowl (8:00 pm) — Big 12 vs. SEC

Sat. January 7
BBVA Compass Bowl (1:00 pm) — Big East vs. SEC

Mon. January 9
Allstate BCS National Championship Game (8:30 pm) — BCS No.1 vs. BCS No. 2

TBD
GoDaddy.com Bowl — MAC vs. Sun Belt

Rutgers avoids scholarship reductions, other harsh sanctions as NCAA issues ruling

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The Rutgers football program can officially breathe a huge sigh of relief.

As the culmination of a two-year investigation into the football program, the NCAA on Friday announced its final ruling on a case involving Rutgers.  Despite a failure to monitor charge, the NCAA essentially accepted the sanctions the university had previously self-imposed on itself for violations ranging from academic improprieties to drug-testing irregularities to lack of oversight in the recruiting ambassador program.

Below are the original penalties self-imposed by the program:

  • a 1-year probation period
  • a $5,000 fine
  • a reduction of 10 off-campus recruiting days (five in the fall of 2017-18 and five in the spring)
  • a limit of 36 official visits hosted, 26 lower than the limit
  • a 1-week ban on initiating phone calls, contact on social media and written correspondence to recruits

The only change made by the NCAA was bumping the probation period from one year to two.  Additionally, former head coach Kyle Flood, now an assistant with the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, received a one-year show-cause.

The NCAA had particularly pointed words for Flood.

“The former head coach took a casual approach to compliance as it relates to the host program,” the panel said in its decision. “He exercised little, if any, oversight of the group, permitting recruiting staff to administer the program with no supervision. As the individual who had ultimate oversight of all aspects of the football program, it is implicit that the head coach was also responsible for the actions of football hosts and, ultimately, the violations they committed.”

In September of 2015, Flood was suspended for three games in the wake of a university investigation into his alleged actions.  The probe centered on an email that Flood sent from a private email account to an RU faculty member regarding the eligibility of one of his former football players.

That situation was highlighted in the committee’s decision:

In the last instance of not following university policy, the former head coach contacted a student-athlete’s instructor, contrary to university policy, to arrange for extra coursework after the conclusion of the term so the student-athlete could pass the class and be eligible for the fall 2015 season. After contacting the instructor and before meeting with her, the former head coach reached out to an academic support administrator, who warned against contacting the instructor. The former head coach stated he was unaware of university policy prohibiting him from contacting faculty members.

The former head coach provided the student-athlete with an impermissible academic extra benefit when he contacted the instructor to arrange extra coursework, an arrangement that is not available generally to the student body. The instructor ultimately did not accept the extra coursework, and the student-athlete was ineligible for the fall 2015 season.

The NCAA kicked off its probe of the football program in the spring of 2015, prior to Flood’s suspension.  The head coach, along with athletic director Julie Hermannwas dismissed in late November of 2015.

Ex-A&M AD: ‘I had nothing to do with’ Kevin Sumlin’s massive contract extension

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If you’re a fan of honesty — or at least one man’s version of what he honestly thinks is reality — this one’s in your wheelhouse.

In 2012, the first season for both Kevin Sumlin in College Station and Texas A&M in the SEC, the Aggies went 11-2 overall and 6-2 in conference play, largely behind the play of Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. In February of 2013, and after Sumlin had been mentioned in connection to a couple of NFL jobs, a six-year, $30 million contract extension was approved by the university.

Since that reworked contract and the hundreds of millions of dollars poured into the football program? A&M has gone a middling 35-20 and, more importantly, just 15-17 in conference play. More to the point, the Aggies have finished fourth, sixth, fifth and fourth the past four seasons in the even-more hyper-competitive SEC West. An even finer point? They are 9-15 against divisional foes in that same span.

Following the historic season-opening collapse to UCLA in the 2017 opener, one A&M regent — part of the same body that approved the extension — very publicly called for the immediate firing of Sumlin, who was still the seventh-highest-paid head coach in college football in 2016. That came on the heels of Sumlin’s boss, athletic director Scott Woodward, very publicly putting his head football coach on the hot seat this offseason by stating that Sumlin “knows he has to win and he has to win this year.”

This week, Woodward’s predecessor, Eric Hyman, washed his hands of the contract that’s seemingly saddling the university, telling Mac Engel of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that, in essence, he had absolutely nothing to do with the contract extension. At all. That those above his paygrade gave him his marching orders when it came to the new deal.

From Engel’s piece:

Was That Contract Hyman’s decision?

“No. I had nothing to do with it,” Hyman told me in an interview on Wednesday morning at a Starbucks near his home in Fort Worth.

“I have done this job a long time and I don’t blame Kevin Sumlin. If someone is going to give you $5 million a year for six years, it would have been stupid of him to turn it down,” Hyman said. “But the contract was given to me, and it was ‘This is what we are going to do.’ I looked at myself and I was stunned.

“I had no say so over it. I’ve been doing this job for a long time. I had worked with Steve Spurrier for years, and he was paid a heck of a lot less than Coach Sumlin. And he won national championships after conference championships. And then you are making this commitment to a person, and again I don’t blame Kevin, that’s never won a conference championship.

“When the original contract was given to me, if Kevin were to leave the next day there was no buyout provision.

There’s literally no gray area there. If Hyman’s version of events is correct, and A&M is forced to oust Sumlin at some point in the next couple of months, any financial ramifications the university faces can be placed squarely at the feet of those who forced the contract on Hyman.

As for those financial ramifications? It would reportedly cost A&M in excess of $11 million to get rid of Sumlin.

About-face: Derrius Guice will play vs. Syracuse after all

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Never mind, I guess.

Wednesday night, Ed Orgeron flatly stated on his radio show that Derrius Guicewill not play this week” against Syracuse because of a left knee injury sustained in Saturday’s embarrassing loss to Mississippi State. Thursday, there was a complete 180-degree reversal.

“We got some good news today, at the beginning of the week, Derrius was ruled out, up to yesterday he wouldn’t be able to play,” Orgeron said according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “He came to us today and said ‘Coach, I’m feeling better, I want to practice.’ He practiced pretty good today so he’s going to get some snaps. He will play.”

OK then.

Through three games, Guice leads the Tigers with 300 yards rushing and is tied for tops on the team with four rushing touchdowns. His rushing yards are currently fourth in the SEC; last season, his 1,387 yards were tops in the conference.

Pitt FB/TD machine George Aston set to return vs. Georgia Tech

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One of the most efficient touchdown producers in college football in 2016 that you were probably completely unaware of appears ready to make his 2017 debut.

A vague lower-extremity injury knocked George Aston out of most of not only summer camp but also Pittsburgh’s first three regular-season games as well. With Georgia Tech on the horizon in Week 4, the fullback is listed as probable on the team’s official injury report released Thursday.

For a team that has scored just four offensive touchdowns in two games against FBS competition, Aston’s potential return could serve as somewhat of a boon for that side of the ball.

Last season, Aston totaled 75 yards on 22 carries as well as 169 yards on 22 receptions. In those 44 touches, Aston totaled 10 touchdowns — five on the ground, five through the air.

Saturday’s game will serve as the ACC opener for both Pitt and Tech.