Minnesota vs. Texas Tech
Fri., Dec. 28 – 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
Houston – Reliant Stadium
There ain’t much momentum headed to Houston.
After a fortuitous start, Minnesota (6-6) has won only two games since Sept. 22. (If you correctly guessed that those victories came at the expense of Purdue and Illinois, you do not deserve a prize.)
Similarly, Texas Tech (7-5) opened 4-0 before starting to slide. The Red Raiders wrapped up the regular season by losing four of the their final five, which is actually worse than it sounds since that lone victory down the stretch was a 41-34 overtime affair at home against Kansas (1-11).
Just about the only thing that would make this matchup watchable is if history were guaranteed to repeat itself.
At the 2006 Insight Bowl, the Golden Gophers spectacularly squandered a 38-7 lead in a 44-41 overtime loss to the Red Raiders.
The prospect of the current Minnesota squad putting 38 points on the board is extremely remote. The punchless Gophers have scored more than 17 points only four times this season (against UNLV, New Hampshire, Western Michigan and Purdue).
Texas Tech, which will be led by interim coach/offensive line coach Chris Thomsen, has its own set of issues, but scoring isn’t one of them. The Red Raiders average 37.8 points per game, powered by the precise passing of Seth Doege.
Opening point spread: Texas Tech by 13
The pick: Texas Tech 37-19
Click HERE to get predictions for the remaining bowl games.
Forget about pass-heavy offensive systems. One Alabama fan is making it pretty clear all he wants new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll to do is run the ball. He’s even going so far as to launch an online campaign to have the new Tide coordinator’s name changed to “Run Daboll.”
Alabama fan Bobby Wesson has opened up a petition on Change.org to collect digital signatures. As of this posting, the petition had just 92 supporters, but it was just hoping to reach 100 supporters.
“Imagine what the Alabama offense would look like on Saturdays if Brian Daboll heard “RUN DABOLL” 7 days a week,” Wesson says in his petition. “Imagine a world with Nick Saban yelling “RUN DABOLL” at Brian on the field instead of you yelling it at him through the television. Imagine 3rd and 3 and a stadium screaming as [Bo Scarbrough] breaks down the field for it all because “Run Daboll” called RUN DA BALL.”
The imagery here is dazzling.
If there is one thing Alabama is generally good at doing, it is running the football. With a healthy stable of running backs that would have options capable of starting at almost any other program in the country and one of the best offensive line sin the sport, why wouldn’t Alabama want to run the ball?
Unfortunately, it doesn’t exactly work like that, but this is humorous enough. It can be his nickname, however, and we suspect that may have a chance to catch on if things go according to plan for this Alabama fan.
Today in acts of feats of strength, we have Florid aState quarterback Deondre Francois showing off his strong arm.
Francois was captured on video launching a football over large fraternity house, which was met with wild applause from the frat bros on hand to observe the demonstration.
According to SB Nation, this particular fraternity house claims to be the largest of its kind in the nation, so Francois being able to throw the football over it is no small task. Of course, this may just be an FSU tradition, as Jameis Winston once performed the same accomplishment as well. Add this one to the preseason Heisman hype film reel for Francois.
Joe Tumpkin is no longer with the Colorado football program, but the Buffaloes are still sorting through the way he left.
To recap: The longtime girlfriend of Tumpkin called head coach Mike MacIntyre in early December to inform him of a pattern of abuse from his safeties coach, which she later told investigators occurred more than 100 times over a 21-month period. According to the woman’s account given to Sports Illustrated — which the school has not denied — MacIntyre and the woman spoke a couple of times with the coach pledging to handle the situation until the line of communication went dead.
In the meantime, Tumpkin remained on staff and was promoted to interim defensive coordinator for the late-December Alamo Bowl after Jim Leavitt left for Oregon. MacIntyre suspended Tumpkin in mid-January, and Tumpkin resigned a couple weeks after that after a restraining order was filed against him.
However, the SI story created a level of blowback in Boulder that prompted MacIntyre to issue a statement defending the program’s response to the situation.
Still, the CU Board of Regents felt necessary to delay the approval of MacIntyre’s announced extension, and on Friday announced they have hired the two lawyers behind the Pepper Hamilton report that sunk Baylor’s leadership to probe the school’s response to the Tumpkin allegations.
“We are looking at what occurred and when, if our policies were violated, or whether those policies should be modified to better explain the reporting (requirements),” CU Board of Regents Chair Irene Griego said in a statement, via the Boulder Daily Camera.
The probe will be conducted by Leslie Gomez and Gina Maisto Smith, a pair of former Philadelphia prosecutors who now work for the Cozen O’Connor law firm in Philly. At center of their investigation will be whether MacIntyre, AD Rick George and chancellor Phil DeStefano followed the university’s protocol for reporting sexual assault.
Still, Greigo noted the pair’s hiring doesn’t indicate a predetermined outcome one way or the other.
“Let me be clear, in no way should this decision to wait be viewed as an indication that the Board of Regents has determined that any employee violated a policy or that any disciplinary action is warranted,” Griego said. “We are simply being prudent.”
In reading the tea leaves in and around Knoxville, it seems most in orange want David Blackburn to be the Volunteers’ new athletics director.
Blackburn wants that, too.
A former Vol student and administrator, Blackburn has racked up an impressive resume as the AD at Chattanooga. Considering his only competition for the job at this point seems to be former Vols head coach Phillip Fulmer — who has zero AD experience — that seems like a logical choice for Big Orange.
While Blackburn has hemmed and hawed around the idea of becoming Tennessee’s next AD over the past, oh, six months since it was announced back in August Dave Hart was on his way out, Friday was the first time he came out and said he’d like to be the next head Vol.
“If asked to be a part of this process officially, in terms of an interview I would love to,” Blackburn, said Friday on WNML FM 99.1 (via SEC Country).
“It would mean the world to me to be able to lead the institution that led me, by all the people that allowed me the opportunity to do what I do.”
The AD search has, understandably, been stuck in a holding pattern until the university could hire and install a new chancellor — which it has now done. Beverly Davenport took office Wednesday and said the school was working “very quickly” to hire a new AD, and seemed to outline Blackburn as the type of leader she’d want to fill the post.
“I’m looking for a leader with a proven track record of success on and off the field,” Davenport said in a statement. “I will hire someone who is committed to maintaining the integrity of our program and is dedicated to the success of all of our student-athletes and all of the management of our nationally recognized athletic programs.”
It seems like Blackburn will be the eventual choice for Tennessee. Young-ish career administrators with fundraising chops are the new mold for big-time athletics directors — see Florida’s hiring of Scott Stricklin and Alabama’s of Greg Byrne — but this is Tennessee. The Volunteers haven’t been good in football since Fulmer was the head coach, so would it really be any surprise if they turned to him to be their AD?