Holiday Bowl concerned about future postseason landscape

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Over the past few weeks, you’ve no doubt read about the myriad angles and possible outcomes of a four-team playoff coupled with the news that the Big 12 and SEC were forming a five-year agreement temporarily labeled as the “Champions Bowl.”

The big picture is that major college football’s postseason is changing. Inevitably, and for better or worse, changing with it will be the bowl system as we know it. Major conferences are wising up and taking control of their postseason, rather than outsourcing it to a third-party.

The Holiday Bowl, which has in recent years paired selections from the Big 12 and Pac-12, understands that. Speaking to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Holiday Bowl Executive Director Bruce Binkowski said the San Diego-based game will do what’s necessary to keep the matchup as attractive as possible once 2014 — said to be the first year of the new playoff format — rolls around.

We’re going to be aggressive,” Binkowski said.  “I don’t know what that means, but we’re going to be aggressive.”

The Holiday Bowl, like many other bowl games, won’t know for at least a year or so how the postseason is going to shake out. “The whole bowl system might be rearranged by next year,” writes the Union-Tribune,”with many games fighting for their livelihoods beyond 2013.”

Selection order will be at a premium. The Holiday Bowl used to have the second or third pick from what was then the Pac-10 Conference, and the third or fourth pick from the Big 12. However, since 2010, the bowl has selected either third or fourth from the Pac-12 and fifth or sixth from the Big 12. Raising ticket average prices by nearly 70 percent (from $60 to $100) could give the Holiday Bowl a better position in the selection process.

But this is where the “Champions Bowl” and four-team playoff become factors. What happens with, say, the Sugar or Fiesta Bowls? Do they become part of the playoff* or Big 12-SEC agreement? If not, does that limit the Holiday Bowl’s selection ceiling?

(*it would appear semifinal games will be incorporated into the bowl system)

You can see why there’s cause for concern among even respectable bowls. It’s a power conference’s world now and the bowls will soon be living in it. It used to be the other way around.

WR T.J. Simmons transferring from Alabama to West Virginia

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A former Miami Hurricane wasn’t the only Power Five transfer West Virginia landed over the weekend.

On his personal Twitter account Sunday, T.J. Simmons surprised many by announcing that he would be transferring from Alabama. Not only that, but the wide receiver announced his new college football home — West Virginia.

After sitting out the 2017 season, Simmons will have three years of eligibility remaining with the Mountaineers.

A three-star member of the Crimson Tide’s 2016 recruiting class, Simmons was rated as the No. 58 receiver in the country and the No. 9 player at any position in the state of Alabama. While he played in 12 games as a true freshman, mainly on special teams, he caught six passes for 82 yards and a touchdown in this year’s spring game.

In addition to Simmons, former Miami tight end Jovani Haskins announced Saturday he would be transferring to WVU as well. All told, four Power Five players have come to Morgantown this offseason — those two, plus former Syracuse defensive back Corey Winfield (HERE) and ex-Miami quarterback Jack Allison (HERE).

Meanwhile, In Tuscaloosa, Simmons has joined linebacker Shawn Jennings (HERE) and O.J. Smith (HERE) as transfers away from UA in the last month. As 247Sports.com noted, that trio of transfers gets the Tide down to 86 scholarship players, one above the 85-man limit.

East Carolina mourns loss of former Pirate Domonique Lennon in fatal shooting

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The extended Eastern Carolina football family is in mourning following the passing of one of their own.

Over the weekend, Domonique Lennon was shot and killed following an incident outside of a Raleigh, NC restaurant. He was just 24 years old.

Witnesses described hearing upwards of 15 gunshots, with police arriving at 9:45 p.m. Friday night. No suspect or suspects are in custody as police continue to investigate the fatal shooting, which they believe involved more than one shooter.

It’s unknown if Lennon was the target or just caught up in the crossfire.

Lennon played defensive back for the Pirates from 2011-15. He played in 26 games his last two seasons with ECU, starting 14 of those contests in 2014.

“East Carolina University, the athletics department and Pirate football program are saddened by the tragic passing of Domonique Lennon,” a statement from the school began. “He made a positive impact on many people during his time as a student-athlete at ECU and earned the respect of both his teammates and coaches. We extend our condolences to Domonique’s family, friends and all those who knew and loved him.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help start a college fund for Lennon’s young son Landon. You can reach it by clicking HERE.

VIDEO: LSU RB Derrius Guice squats 650 pounds

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Derrius Guice may be the most underrated player in college football.

Playing in the shadow of Leonard Fournette, Guice posted an eye-popping 8.55 yards per carry (51 rushes for 436 yards) as a freshman in 2015, then kept his big-play ability as his usage increased while Fournette battled injuries in his final college season. Guice rushed 183 times for 1,387 yards and 15 touchdowns; his 7.58 yards per carry average was the most among Power 5 rushers with at least 180 carries.

So, yes, Guice is really good. He’s also a physical freak.

LSU captured and tweeted video Friday of Guice squatting 650 pounds, more than three times his listed 212 pounds.

If — and this is a massive, Les Miles-firing if — LSU can consistently throw the ball in 2017, go ahead and make Guice your darkhorse Heisman contender in 2017.

(HT CBS Sports)

Former Miami TE Jovani Haskins headed to West Virginia

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Jovani Haskins announced two weeks ago he was leaving Miami for “somewhere else.” That somewhere else proved to be a favorite destination of other Sunshine State transfers: West Virginia.

“WVU is my new home and I can’t wait to perform in front of the fans of West Virginia!” he tweeted on Saturday.

A 3-star prospect out of Bergenfield, N.J.., Haskins was offered by West Virginia in the class of 2016 and most recruiting experts actually had him signing with the Mountaineers before a surprise commitment to Miami.

Haskins joins two former state of Florida players on WVU’s roster: starting quarterback Will Grier (Florida) and former Miami quarterback Jack Allison (Miami). The Mountaineers also employed Florida State transfer Clint Trickett at quarterback and Miami transfer Antonio Crawford at cornerback.

Haskins redshirted in 2016 and will presumably sit out 2017 before gaining eligibility in ’18. West Virginia could use the help immediately; the roster lists one scholarship tight end at present. WVU currently has two tight ends pledged for the 2018 class in addition to Haskins.