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Predictions 101 — Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas

Seth Doege AP

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.

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Kentucky’s receivng corps hit with injury, transfer

Tennessee v Kentucky

The position of wide receiver at Kentucky suffered a one-two blow recently, although only one’s permanent.

First the “good” news as head coach Mark Stoops confirmed that Jeff Badet suffered a broken fibula during Monday’s practice.  What was a non-contact break, oddly enough, will sideline the sophomore for 2-3 months, although, as the receiver didn’t undergo surgery, he should be back in plenty of time for the start of summer camp.

Last season as a true freshman, Badet was third on the team in receptions (22) and receiving yards (285).

At the opposite end of the spectrum is A.J. Legree (pictured), who Stoops confirmed has decided to part ways with the football program. No reason was given for the departure.

“He’s gonna quit and go play somewhere else and we wish him the best of luck,” Stoops succinctly stated.

Legree, a three-star member of UK’s 2012 recruiting class, caught seven passes for 97 yards last season after catching 12 for 113 as a true freshman the year before.

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Transferring UConn receiver headed back to BC?

Louisville v Connecticut

Prior to the start of the 2011 season, Shakim Phillips decided to transfer out of the Boston College football program and ultimately landed at UConn.  Nearly three years later, the wide receiver’s playing career may be coming full circle.

Earlier this afternoon, first-year UConn head coach Bob Diaco confirmed speculation that’s been percolating the past couple of days that Phillips has decided to leave the team. He may not be team-less for long, however, as the Boston Herald‘s Adam Kurkjian tweeted that the player was on the BC campus Tuesday.

As a graduate, Phillips would be eligible to play at any FBS school in 2014.  With transfer Tyler Murphy set at quarterback, BC Interruption writes that the addition of Phillips would be a boon to a depleted BC receiving corps.

Getting a year out of Shakim Phillips would be a huge boost for the Eagles, who already have lost Alex Amidon (graduation), Spiffy Evans (transfer) and Marcus Grant (transfer). The Eagles are very thin at the position and Phillips would most likely slot right in as a starter. A starting three WR set of Harrison Jackson, Bobby Swigert and Shakim Phillips gives Murphy a solid trio of receivers to work with. Then slot in a freshman as depth or if injuries pop up.

Despite nagging injuries the past two seasons, the 6-2, 209-pound Phillips still managed 60 catches for 806 yards in an offense that would’ve never been confused with an aerial circus. A four-star member of BC’s 2014 recruiting class, Phillips was rated as the No. 21 receiver in the country and the No. 1 player in the state of New Jersey at any position.

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Addazio: Tyler Murphy establishes himself as BC’s QB

Tyler Murphy AP

In a move that should come as a surprise to almost no one, what will be the brief Tyler Murphy era at Boston College is officially on.

Speaking to reporters on the ACC coaches teleconference Wednesday, BC head coach Steve Addazio confirmed that Murphy, as the Palm Beach Post‘s Matt Porter tweeted, has established himself as the Eagles’ starting quarterback. Experience, obviously, played a role in Murphy topping the likes of Darius Wade and James Walsh to claim the starting job.

“You’re talking about a guy who’s been in the heat of the battle. He’s a veteran, experienced guy who’s been a starter in the SEC,” Addazio said according to the Orlando Sentinel. “He’s got tremendous pocket presence. He throws the ball really well and is obviously really dynamic with his feet.”

After UF starter Jeff Driskel suffered a season-ending injury in the third game of the 2013 season, Murphy went on to start the next six games.  Murphy’s own injury issues forced him out of the last three games of the season.  That shoulder injury, however, did not impact Murphy this spring.

Murphy transferred from Florida to BC in January of this year, with his status as a graduate transfer earning him immediate eligibility.  Addazio was an assistant coach with the Gators in 2010, Murphy’s first year with the program. That familiarity gave the transfer a leg-up in the competition this spring.

“Obviously, my familiarity with him – I recruited him. I coached him. I knew him well,” Addazio said. “He’s pretty comfortable in terms of our program, our weight room, the way we practice, our terminology — it’s not a foreign animal to him.”

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Michigan’s Glasgow facing drunk-driving charge

Nebraska v Michigan Getty Images

When Michigan confirmed that starting offensive lineman Graham Glasgow had been suspended last month for “violating team standards,” it was subsequently reported that the suspension was connected to an arrest on a driving-related offense.

As it turns out, the “driving-related offense” was significantly more serious than speeding or blowing through a stop sign.

Both mlive.com and the Detroit Free Press reported Wednesday morning that Glasgow will be charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated. And arraignment on the charge has been scheduled for May 19.

The OWI complaint was issued Tuesday, the Free Press reports, following an incident that occurred March 15. The details surrounding the case have yet to be publicly divulged.

The Free Press wrote that “Michigan officials had no new comment today” on this latest development.

Glasgow was suspended for roughly week in mid-March before being allowed to return to spring practice. The lineman will also be suspended for the 2014 opener against Appalachian State.

Last season, Glasgow started 13 games — nine at center, four at guard. The junior’s expected to once again anchor an offensive line that was very suspect exiting the spring.

The Wolverines had pursued Alabama offensive line transfer Chad Lindsay before he decided Tuesday to finish out his playing career at Ohio State.

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Another TCU receiver arrested on marijuana charge

Brandon Carter

TCU wide receiver Brandon Carter was arrested Tuesday night and charged for possession of marijuana. He was released from jail Wednesday morning according to The Star-Telegram.

Carter was pulled over while driving a Lexus belonging to Alexis Harris. Harris was also charged for possession of marijuana and is the owner of the vehicle, which alerted police of a warrant hit during a routine patrol. Because of the warrant hit on the Lexus, police pulled over the car and discovered the marijuana allegedly in possession of Carter and Harris. Harris had other outstanding warrants, according to the Star-Telegram report.

This is another blow for Carter at TCU. Heading into the fall Carter was expected to be one of the top offensive players after taking some time off last season at the end of the season to deal with some personal issues. He has been absent from spring drills to focus on academics over football. The 2013 season started with Carter battling a hand injury as well.

Time will tell how TCU responds to this arrest of Carter. The Horned Frogs have already dismissed one receiver this spring. LaDarius Brown was removed from the roster in February following a marijuana possession arrest. If Carter is removed from the roster as well, the depth at receiver would take a serious hit, putting much pressure on Josh Doctson (sophomore) and Ty Slanina (freshman).

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Al Golden leaving door open for QB transfer options

Florida v Miami

Miami head coach Al Golden says the Hurricanes are more than willing to evaluate various quarterback options by way of transfers, but if the season started this week he feels he has a starter in Kevin Olsen.

“This time of year we always have our eyes open,” Golden said during an ACC coaches conference call Wednesday when asked about the possibility of adding a transfer quarterback to the roster before the fall. Golden said he could not comment on specific names he and his staff may be interested in, due to NCAA rules of course, but Golden’s reluctance to say the quarterback situation is solved was pretty much telling the story.

Ryan Williams suffered an ACL injury during the spring practice schedule that required surgery to repair. Williams was thought to be the likely started heading into the fall, but now he will focus on rehab instead. During the conference call Wednesday, Golden stated Olsen would likely be the starting quarterback to lead the Hurricanes on offense if the decision had to be made right now.

Olsen was given a redshirt season as a freshman in 2013, so he has not seen any playing time since committing to Miami. He brings plenty of potential to the field though a sa highly-rated recruit out of high school. Considered one of the top pro-style quarterbacks from the Class of 2012, Olsen could jump into the starting role this season and help build the foundation for the offense for years to come if all goes well.

Golden said what any coach would probably say in suggesting the staff and team will be comfortable with whoever ends up lining up under center in the fall. Miami opens the 2014 season on the road at Louisville, the first ACC game for the Cardinals.

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UCLA’s new football building plans coming along nicely

UCLA-Releases-Preliminary-Renderings (1)

UCLA is still raising money to go toward the development of a brand new, state-of-the-art football facility to serve as the new home for the Bruins football program. Since announcing plans to construct a new facility last September, UCLA claims to have received $40 million through donations and fundraisers.

“The tremendous commitment to our football program, be it from Coach [Jim] Mora, Heisman Trophy candidate Brett Hundley or AD Dan Guerrero, has been well documented,” said Josh Rebholz, Senior Associate Athletic Director for External Relations at UCLA. “And I’m proud to report that our Bruin family is stepping up and committing as well. To raise $40 million in little more than six months for this facility is truly remarkable, but now more than ever, we need everyone who loves UCLA to keep pushing forward and not rest until we get this project completely funded.”

On Wednesday UCLA released some of the artist renderings for the new football facility, offering a chance to see jst what the school will be building with all of this money. These images are courtesy of UCLA Athletics.

UCLA-Releases-Preliminary-Renderings (1) UCLA-Releases-Preliminary-Renderings-3 UCLA-Releases-Preliminary-Renderings-4

UCLA’s football facility is being designed by ZGF Architects LLP. If that name sounds familiar, that is because they also were responsible for the designs of three separate facilities at Oregon, including the athletic medical center and academic center for student athletes in Eugene.

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Clemson’s Swinney responds to religious criticism

Dabo Swinney

Clemson’s football program has come under scrutiny by the Freedom from Religion Foundation, but head coach Dabo Swinney says players of all faiths are welcome in the program.

“Over the past week or two, there has been a lot of discussion of my faith,” Swinney wrote in the statement, as shared by The Post and Courier. “We have three rules in our program that everybody must follow: (1) players must go to class, (2) they must give a good effort and (3) they must be good citizens. It is as simple as that.”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a complaint with Clemson and suggested Swinney was guilty of not fostering a culture with a separation of church and state. The public university already responded to the complaint publicly, stating the operation and management of the football program by Swinney adheres to the Constitution when it comes to separation of church and state. Still, Swinney wanted to have his say and he states a player’s faith or lack of faith is never an issue when it comes to putting together his football program.

“I have recruited and coached players of many different faiths,” Swinney said. “Players of any faith or no faith at all are welcome in our program. All we require in the recruitment of any player is that he must be a great player at his position, meet the academic requirements, and have good character.”

There likely will not be much that comes out of this story as far as Clemson and Swinney are concerned, especially since it appears no players have voiced any discomfort with the way the program is run as far as faith and religion is concerned.

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Tennessee loses running back to transfer

Alden Hill

Redshirt sophomore running back Alden Hill has left the Tennessee football program and will seek a transfer to another suitable football program. Hill announced his decision on his Instagram account and Butch Jones confirmed the roster change.

The three-star running back product out of Ohio rushed for 58 yards and a touchdown on 10 rushing attempts in 2013. He appeared in just the first three games of the season for Tennessee and was one of six running backs returning to the Vols this season. Hill saw limited production in the spring game to end spring practices and with the depth at the position may have seen now as a good time to find a better footing in a backfield somewhere else. Hill was buried on the depth chart at Tennessee and with the amount of talent the Vols have been bringing in, there are some crowded positions on the roster.

Per NCAA transfer rules, Hill will have to sit out the fall if he transfers to another FBS program. He would be eligible to play immediately if he transfers to an FCS or lower division school.

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Report: New Joe Paterno statue coming to State College

Penn State University To Decide On Fate Of Football Program And Joe Paterno Statue Getty Images

In the fallout of the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State, the university decided to remove the statue of Joe Paterno outside of Beaver Stadium and lock it up in storage for an undetermined amount of time. While there has been no word on when that statue may see the light of day again, a bronze likeness of the former Penn State head coach is planned to be unveiled in November 2015.

According to a report by Onward State, the statue will depict Paterno sitting on a bench outside of the Tavern Restaurant in State College and will be designed by sculptor Zenos Frudakis. Donations for the project will be raised through a Kickstarter campaign later this summer with a total cost of $300,000 needed to pay for the statue. The project has already been approved by the State College Borough, but the statue must be installed on private property.

The motivation to install a new Paterno statue is a direct response to the school’s decision to remove the original statue from outside the football stadium once the NCAA sanctions were released against the university and football program.

“There’s been some level of frustration among Penn Staters with what happened with the statue at the stadium,” Ted Sebastianelli said to Onward State. Sebastianelli is a candidate for the Penn State Board of Trustees and a former president of the Penn State Football Lettermen’s Club. “We wanted to come up with a way to honor Joe for all that he did for the State College community. It wasn’t just the university he impacted — it was the whole town.”

The Paterno family is not involved with the organization of this statue. Penn State has said in the past the university will find a way to honor Paterno, although there has been no public movement on that front by the school since the original statue was torn down.

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‘Personal reasons’ cost Wyoming another player

Nico Brown

With spring practices across the country ending, so too are the careers of some players at those particular schools as transfer season is once again in full swing.

One of the latest to suffer a bit of a personnel hit is Wyoming, which announced Tuesday that Nico Brown – not to be confused with New Jack City‘s Nino Brown — has decided to leave the Cowboys football program.  The ubiquitous “personal reasons” was given for the departure.

The 6-3, 212-pound Brown was listed No. 3 on a mid-April depth chart released by new head coach Craig Bohl, which could be a significant part of the “personal reasons” given by the school.

After redshirting as a two-star true freshman in 2012, Brown played in eight games in 2013.  He did not catch any passes last season, although he appeared in line for additional playing time in 2014 before his abrupt decision to leave.

Brown becomes the fourth Cowboy to leave the program the past month, joining a pair of offensive tackles — senior Walker Madden and redshirt freshman Connor Riese — and junior linebacker Devin McKenna. The departures of Madden and McKenna were announced earlier this month.

(Photo credit: Wyoming athletics)

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Wake losing likely D-line starter to transfer

Jacob Coker, James Looney AP

Yep, another transfer.

While this one’s not yet officially official, West Virginia radio personality Dave Weekley tweeted Tuesday afternoon that defensive lineman James Looney has decided to leave Wake Forest.  ACCSports.com is reporting the same, although it’s behind the dreaded paywall HERE.

Even as Wake has yet to publicly address Looney’s status, his name is no longer listed on the team’s official online roster.

Last season as a true freshman, Looney, the younger brother of former Wake and current San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman Joe Looney, played in seven games.  Because of the departures of three starters, Looney was viewed as a likely starter along the Demon Deacons’ defensive line.

However, SBNation.com wrote that Looney “had not been at practices or scrimmages as of late.”

Coming out of high school in Lake Worth, Fla., Looney was a three-star member of Wake’s 2013 recruiting class.  According to Weekley, Looney had offers from, among others, Marshall, Minnesota, USF and West Virginia before signing with the Demon Deacons.

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LaTech QB Scotty Young puts an end to playing career

Louisiana Tech v North Carolina State

On Louisiana Tech’s post-spring depth chart, Scotty Young was listed as the No. 2 quarterback behind starter Ryan Higgins.  Less than two weeks later, the Bulldogs will officially have a new backup quarterback when summer camp commences in August.

In a surprising press release sent out Tuesday evening, Young announced in a statement that he has decided to bring his playing career to an end.  Young, who would’ve been a redshirt senior in 2014 will graduate in the coming months and has decided it’s time to begin the next phase his life.

In mid-March, quarterback Cody Sokol transferred from Iowa to Tech and has immediate eligibility; it’s unclear if Sokol’s addition to the roster hastened Young’s life decision.

“I am graduating this summer and am ready to move on to the next chapter of my life,” Young said of his decision. “Football has been a really good journey but sometimes you have to know when to end it. I have loved the experience and will cherish these memories forever. I want to thank the old staff for allowing me the opportunity to come to Louisiana Tech and I want to thank Coach Holtz and his staff for giving me the opportunity to stay here and earn my degree. It has been a great experience for me, one in which I have enjoyed every moment of.”

Last season, Young started six games for the Bulldogs. He completed 87-of-165 passes for 733 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions.

Young transferred to Tech in June of 2012 after spending the previous two seasons at Texas Tech but not playing. He was forced to sit out the 2012 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules.

A four-star member of the Red Raiders’ 2010 recruiting class, Young was the No. 10 pro-style QB coming out of high school in Denton, Tex.

“I want to thank Scotty for his time here,” Bulldogs head coach Skip Holtz said in a statement. “He was a selfless player during his tenure and I am happy he will be able to obtain his degree from Louisiana Tech in only four years in college. He was a model student-athlete and representative of our program and I wish him the best of luck. Scotty will be another one of our great alumni, adding to the thousands of great alumni this University has produced.”

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Louisville to pay Todd Grantham nearly $1 million in 2014

Todd Grantham

Prying a defensive coordinator away from an SEC football program didn’t come cheap for Louisville.

By way of a public records request, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported Monday that new defensive coordinator Todd Grantham will earn $975,000 in 2014.  As Georgia’s coordinator in 2013, Grantham pulled in$850,000.

In mid-January, it was officially announced that Grantham would be a part of Bobby Petrino’s second first staff with the Cardinals.

Last season, Grantham was fifth among all FBS assistant coaches in total pay; his UofL salary would’ve put him fourth.  This year, however, he will be the sixth-highest paid, at best.  After earning $600,000 in 2013, LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron‘s pay jumps to $1.3 million in 2014 and then $1.5 million in 2015.  Additionally, new Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin is expected to exceed $1 million in annual pay when the details of his three-year contract are released later this offseason.

Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris, for those interested, was the highest-paid assistant last season at $1.3 million.  Alabama’s Kirby Smart at just a shade over $1.15 million was the highest-paid defensive coordinator.

One final note from the Courier-Journal: Petrino’s two coordinators — Grantham and offensive coordinator Garrick McGee  – will make $1.625 million; Charlie Strong‘s coordinators made just over $1 million in his last season with the Cardinals before leaving for the Texas job.

(Tip O the Cap: the Athens Banner-Herald’s Marc Weiszer)

(Photo credit: Louisville athletics)

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2014 Tulane early enrollee Teddy Veal charged with rape

Niguel Veal

For the second time today, a player at an FBS program has been charged with sexually assaulting a female.

Multiple media outlets are reporting that Tulane wide receiver Teddy Veal was arrested early this morning and charged with one count of simple rape.  The 17-year-old Veal — he will be 18 next month — is being held in the Orleans Parish Prison in lieu of a $20,000 bond.

The alleged sexual assault occurred April 14, with the police account below of what led to the arrest and charge:

According to New Orleans police, the alleged victim was introduced by a female she knew to Veal and another man. The alleged victim began drinking and then went back to the men’s dorm room in the 6800 block of St. Charles Avenue to watch a movie.

The victim told police that while at the dorm, she had consensual sex with one of the men and then went to sleep. When she woke up she was sexually assaulted by Veal, police said.

Veal was a member of Tulane’s most recent signing class and was an early enrollee who participated in spring practice.  Not so unexpectedly, the school announced this evening that Neal has been indefinitely suspended from the football program.

“Federal law prohibits the university from disclosing any disciplinary action taken against a student regarding his or her enrollment in the university,” a portion of a statement from the school read.

Veal was the highest-rated player in the Green Wave’s 2014 recruiting class, and was expected to see significant playing time immediately. He is the younger brother of Alabama wide receiver Raheem Falkins, and his Tulane bio lists his legal guardian as “former LSU football standout Shrone Carey.”

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