West Virginia vs. Syracuse
Sat., Dec. 29 – 3:15 p.m. ET, ESPN
Bronx, N.Y. – Yankee Stadium
With all the wacky conference realignment continuing to go on across the country, maybe this third-year baby bowl is on to something. Perhaps reuniting rivals that don’t have time for each other anymore will be the wave of the future, replacing the rigid, yet random business of having lame conference tie ins.
This will be the 60th time that the Mountaineers and Orange collide, but this time its for the Steinbrenner Trophy instead of the Schwartzwalder Trophy. And who knows when it will happen again.
West Virginia (7-5) shouldn’t have any trouble getting up for this game. Most of the Mounties were around last year to experience the embarrassing 49-23 loss to the Orange, and all of them are looking to further distance themselves from the five-game losing streak that short-circuited this campaign.
Syracuse (7-5), which played in the first football game ever played at the original Yankee Stadium in 1923, will be trying to keep a lid on West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, who returned to his early-season form in the 59-10 victory over Kansas, completing 23-of-24 for 407 yards and three touchdowns.
The Big East co-champion Orange have a dangerous quarterback of their own in senior Ryan Nassib, who has thrown for 3,619 yards and 24 scores this season.
This will be high-flying shootout and everyone knows you can’t trust the Mountaineer defense in one of those.
Opening point spread: West Virginia by 3 1/2
The pick: Syracuse 42-38
Click HERE to get predictions for the remaining bowl games.
Car accidents have been a sad theme in college football this past week, and, unfortunately, it has continued. Fortunately, though, this latest one didn’t involve a fatality.
According to a tweet from Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesman, the high school coach of Texas’ Roderick Bernard confirmed that his former player was injured in a car accident earlier this month. As a result, the coach expects Bernard to miss the entire 2016 season.
There were no details as to the nature of the injuries sustained by Bernard, nor has UT addressed the player’s status moving forward.
As a true freshman in 2014, Bernard served as the Longhorns’ primary kick returner before sustaining a knee injury (torn ACL)) in the fifth game that ended his season prematurely. He returned for the 2015 season after missing spring practice rehabbing the knee and played in 10 games, primarily on special teams.
This past spring, hBernard, a three-star 2014 signee, moved from wide receiver to running back.
Wisconsin has yet to play one game at an iconic NFL stadium, but their upcoming hosts are already anxious for Round 2.
UW will open the 2016 season Sept. 3 against LSU at the home of the Green Bay Packers, historic Lambeau Field. Tuesday, athletic director Barry Alvarez confirmed that the Packers would “love” for the Badgers to play another game — or games — at the stadium.
“We’ve visited. (The Packers) would love it,” Alvarez said according to madison.com. “(Packers president/CEO Mark Murphy) has talked to me about, he gets heat all the time from his chamber of commerce in Green Bay that they’d love more activities in the stadium. They tried concerts, and he said the field is built for football. They’d like to get more games up there. We’ve talked, and I know they’d be interested in it, so we’ll see what happens.”
It has previously been reported that the Packers are interested in hosting the Big Ten championship game at their home, although that seems unlikely to happen.
The upcoming opener was officially announced in October of 2013, and will become the first-ever meeting at Lambeau between two FBS teams. It will also serve as just the fourth college game ever played there. As the release announcing the game stated, “St. Norbert College twice hosted Fordham University at Lambeau Field in a Vince Lombardi Memorial Game, winning both contests. The Green Knights defeated the Rams 14-10 on Nov. 20, 1982, and 18-9 on Nov. 19, 1983. St. Norbert also hosted Mankato State College on Oct. 29, 1960, defeating the Indians, 29-14.”
UW will make in the neighborhood of $3 million for the first-ever contest.
As the Michigan State and Nebraska football communities come to grips with the loss of their loved ones, there’s an LSU player who very well could be coming to grips with survivor’s remorse.
On their way home from a kicking camp Saturday night, Cornhuskers punter Sam Foltz and ex-Spartans punter Mike Sadler were killed in a car accident as they were driving through a severe thunderstorm in Wisconsin. Additionally, LSU placekicker Colby Delahoussaye, a backseat passenger in the Mercedes driven by Sadler, was injured in the crash that claimed the players’ lives.
Delahoussaye sustained burns to his legs and lacerations that required stitches, but it’s the former injury that’s being credited with saving his life.
“All he remembers is that the fire was burning his leg and that woke him up,” Dwayne Delahoussaye, told the Baton Rouge Advocate. “He was knocked unconscious. The burning sensation revived him. That’s all he remembers. He doesn’t even know how he got out. He doesn’t know where he crawled out of.”
The told the Advocate that his son has no recollection of how he escaped. Through his dad, the Tiger kicker also declined to discuss the incident.
The younger Delahoussaye did, though, issue a statement on his personal Twitter account:
In 2013 and 2014, Delahoussaye, a senior walk-on with the Tigers, converted on a combined 24-of-29 field goal attempts. He was replaced last season by Trey Domingue, who announced earlier this month that he was transferring from LSU after his scholarship wasn’t renewed before confirming this weekend that he’ll be continuing his collegiate playing career at Texas.
It’s unknown if Delahoussaye will be healthy enough to participate in the start of summer camp, which kicks off early next month.
As for celebrating the lives of of Foltz and Sadler, the two football programs both announced arrangements Tuesday.
Marvin Robinson was never able to make it to the Big Ten to start his collegiate career, but now it appears he’ll get that opportunity in the SEC.
On Kentucky’s official online roster, Robinson is now listed as a wide receiver for the Wildcats. According to John Hale of the Louisville Courier-Journal, Robinson, at least initially, will be a walk-on on Mark Stoops‘ squad.
Robinson had been a verbal commitment to Wisconsin and was set to sign with the Badgers in February of 2015. However, the Fort Lauderdale product failed to qualify academically at UW.
The 6-4, 175-pounder sat out the 2015 season, so he’ll be eligible to play immediately in 2016. Whether seeing the field actually comes to fruition remains to be seen as the Wildcats return five wide receivers who caught at least 10 passes in 2015, including the top four on the team in receptions and receiving yards — Dorian Baker (55-608), Garrett Johnson (46-694), Jeff Badet (29-430) and Blake Bone (20-210). Ryan Timmons (12-114) is the fifth, with those five also accounting for nine of the team’s 10 touchdown receptions on the season.
Robinson was a three-star 2015 prospect who was rated as the No. 146 receiver in the country.