Predictions 101 — Cotton Bowl

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No. 10 Texas A&M vs. No. 12 Oklahoma
Fri., Jan. 4 – 8 p.m. ET, FOX
Arlington, Texas – Cowboys Stadium

In time the Sooners’ outrage over being knocked out of the BCS by Northern Illinois will subside. The players aren’t really affected by the payouts that really make the BCS the BCS. (Well … let’s assume they aren’t being affected by the loss of revenue.)

Seriously, what’s not to like? You get to play at the most impressive football stadium in the world, against the Heisman Trophy winner, who plays for a former conference rival that ditched your league to go play with the arrogant kids in the SEC. Geez, where do we sign up?

There will be some big time star power in Jerry’s house. Of course, it starts with Aggie quarterback “Johnny Football” Manziel, the redshirt freshman that made a habit out of making history.

With Manziel at the helm, Texas A&M (10-2) is poised to become a fixture among the game’s elite programs. Quarterbacks who can account for 4,600 yards (3,419 passing and 1,181 rushing) and 43 touchdowns were previously limited to fantasies.

But Manziel’s ultra-experienced counterpart, Sooner signalcaller Landry Jones is more than capable of stealing the show to run his record to 4-0 as a postseason starter.

To do that, Jones and his cohorts up front will have to account for Texas A&M defensive end Damontre Moore on every snap. Moore has been a terror in opposing backfields, finishing the regular season with 20 tackles for losses, including 12.5 sacks.

While leading Oklahoma (10-2) to season that was only marred by losses to undefeated Notre Dame and Big 12 champ Kansas State, Jones caught fire down the stretch, passing for 500 or more yards in two of his last three games. He expertly spreads the football around and there’s no reason to expect him to not be able to trade blows with the Aggies.

We see the determining factor being the Texas A&M offensive line’s ability to handle the Oklahoma front seven. The Sooners are better equipped to defend against the pass than the run. Manziel & Co. can do both, but their machine becomes even more dangerous if the ground game gets going first.

Opening point spread: Texas A&M by 3

The pick: Texas A&M 36-34

Click HERE to get predictions for the remaining bowl games.

VIDEO: UCF head coach Scott Frost shows off wheels running the option as scout team QB

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In terms of accomplishments as a college football player, few coaches have the resume of Scott Frost.

After all, the now-UCF head coach won a national title back in 1997 with Nebraska and compiled a 24-2 record as a starter with the Cornhuskers. What made him so dangerous? Well, he was the perfect fit for the team’s triple option offense and was one of the best in terms of using his arm and his legs in leading the team to all those wins.

“I love option football,” Frost told the Associated Press “I lived it. I feel like option quarterbacks now are kind of like giant pandas, they only exist in zoos and military academies now.”

That’s particularly relevant this week, as his Knights are set to play Navy on Saturday in a huge AAC matchup that will have an impact on who receives this year’s Group of Five bid. Given how well the boss is at running the option, it seems he decided to put on a helmet and run the scout team offense to better prepare his defense for what they’ll see out of the Midshipmen and signal-caller Zach Abey.

From the looks of things, Frost still has it even if he’s got 20 years on his players.

Ohio State reportedly opting for all-gray alternate uniforms for Penn State game

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Recruiting never stops, even for a blue-blood like Ohio State. That’s one reason why the team is reportedly set to go with an all-gray alternate uniform for the team’s biggest game of the year when Penn State rolls into Columbus.

Team site Eleven Warriors posted that they have obtained images of the retail uniforms the Buckeyes are set to wear, which includes a top that is completely gray with only a sliver of scarlet for the team’s logo on the chest:

OSU opting for alternate uniforms in big games is nothing new for the program under Urban Meyer, especially since a new Nike deal kicked in a while back. They donned some for the Michigan game last season and have worn several versions in other contests. This latest monochrome look, which is still a report and subject to change mind you, still seems a bit bland all things considered.

If nothing else, it could make things very hard for the broadcasters despite all eyes being on the horseshoe for one of the most important Big Ten games of the year.

ESPN apologized to Washington over cupcake stunt during broadcast

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It seems that budding feud between ESPN, Washington and Huskies head coach Chris Petersen is starting to die down just a bit.

ESPN has apologized to the school for a stunt on a broadcast two weeks ago during the Washington-Cal game, in which commentators took the team’s weak non-conference schedule to task and used literal cupcakes to represent the Huskies’ opponents during the first few weeks of the season.

“I felt more like that was such a disrespectful move for the people we play,” athletic director Jen Cohen told the Seattle Times. “For those that do this, we do this because we love the kids. These are somebody’s sons, somebody’s brothers. They’re 18- to 22-year-old kids, and so I was more offended, not for us, as I was for our opponents.

“It was a class act (to apologize), and he made the right call.”

According to the Times, Cohen received a call from Peter Derzis, ESPN’s senior vice president of college sports programming and events, offering the apology.

As nice as the mea culpa was from ESPN, Cohen and Petersen were probably even more elated to hear the news that their October 28 game against UCLA was slated to be televised at 12:30 p.m. PT after an oft-criticized string of night games that made the head coach quite ornery last week. It might not make up for the fact that the team lost to Arizona State on Saturday but there are definitely a few baby steps being taken to repair the relationship between the school and one of the Pac-12’s primary broadcast partners.

Athletic director Tom Jurich officially fired by Louisville board

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It’s official: Tom Jurich is out as Louisville’s athletic director.

The Cardinals board of directors voted 10-3 to oust the embattled AD on Wednesday afternoon, completing a pair of sweeping changes in the department following the growing college basketball scandal that has enveloped the school. Once one of the most powerful people in college athletics, Jurich was fighting to remain in his job ever since he was placed on administrative leave after the U.S. Attorney’s office in New York announced details of a wide-ranging investigation.

Vincent Tyra will continue to serve as acting athletic director until a permanent hire is made.

Perhaps the biggest effect on the football program following Jurich’s ouster is on the contract of Cardinals head coach Bobby Petrino. Notably, his buyout is set to be halved if Jurich was ever fired… which means it could be more likely he leaves the school this offseason for another job. Given potential openings such as Tennessee, it’s not out of the question that the halving of the buyout will come into play for some schools if the dominoes fall in the right way to allow somebody to hire Petrino away.

Oh, and for those wondering, yes that is indeed the Papa John of the pizza chain fame who voted to fire Jurich on Wednesday.