Ohio vs. Louisiana-Monroe
Fri., Dec. 28 – 2 p.m. ET, ESPN
Shreveport, La. – Independence Stadium
The story should be the first bowl bid in history for Louisiana-Monroe (8-4). But this Independence Bowl is bound to be remembered as the game that jobbed high-flying Louisiana Tech out of the postseason.
Louisiana Tech thought it had some better options. The Independence Bowl, tapping its watch, said it needed an answer. No answer. So along they went and picked Ohio (8-4).
And oh, what might have been for Ohio.
The Bobcats were rolling along at 7-0, living that BCS-busting dream, then it all went terribly wrong. With four losses in its last five games, Ohio has tiptoed into bowl season.
The Bobcats are here – and there’s something to be said for that. Prior to Frank Solich’s arrival, Ohio had made one bowl trip in its football history. This is Solich’s fifth bowl with the Bobcats.
But the fun, fun, fun will be had with Louisiana-Monroe. The Warhawks upset Arkansas to open the season, then nearly defeated Auburn and Baylor. Junior Kolton Browning is a delight.
Opening pooint spread: Louisiana-Monroe by 6
The pick: Louisiana-Monroe 32, Ohio 26
Click HERE to get predictions for the remaining bowl games.
Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.
Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.
And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.
“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”
Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.
You know how I know we’re gradually creeping up on the end of another regular season? Watch lists are being whittled.
The first major honor to do so is the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given out annually to the best quarterback who is a college senior or fourth-year junior. The preseason watch list was 30 quarterbacks strong; the newest list has been cut in half to 15.
The most recent list includes one of the top Heisman contenders (TCU’s Trevone Boykin) and the top two nationally in passing yards (Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty), as well as a quarterback who’s closing in on the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns (Navy’s Keenan Reynolds).
The Pac-12 leads all conferences with three watch listers, followed by two each from the AAC, ACC and Big Ten. The SEC has as many players (one, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott) as the FCS (North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz).
Last year’s winner was Marcus Mariota of Oregon.
Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Everett Golson, Florida State
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Cody Kessler, USC
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah