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AAC announces four future bowl tie-ins


A couple of days after it was reported that the American Athletic Conference would be part of a “coalition” of non-power conferences that would play in still-to-be-created bowls in the Bahamas, Boca Raton and Miami, the conference has announced future tie-ins with existing bowl games..

The AAC announced in a press release that it has extended its existing agreements with the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Fla., and the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham, Ala.  The league also confirmed tie-ins to the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas, (in 2014, 2016 and 2018) and the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii (in 2015, 2017 and 2019).

Three of the top six teams in the AAC in any given year will play in that group of postseason games as part of agreements that stretches through the 2019 season.

“We are proud to continue our successful partnership with the industry leader in sports television. ESPN has established some of the most attractive bowl games in the nation,” said conference commissioner Mike Aresco in a statement. “These bowls allow us to play outstanding teams and they will also annually reward our student-athletes and coaches with memorable postseason experiences. Our fans will enjoy these great destinations and a national television audience will enjoy watching these compelling bowl games.”

As for the conferences they will be playing in those four games…

The opponents for the American Athletic Conference representative will come from the Atlantic Coast Conference three times and from Conference USA three times in the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl. The Southeastern Conference will provide the opponents in the BBVA Compass Bowl. The opponents in the Armed Forces Bowl will be Army in 2014 and Big 12 Conference teams in the other two years. The American representative will oppose a Mountain West team in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.

For the other three bowl games mentioned at the top, the pool of potential opponents will come from Conference USA, the MAC, Mountain West and Sun Belt leagues.

It had previously been announced that the AAC and ACC had entered a partnership with the Military Bowl.

The release notes that “[t]he rest of the conference’s postseason lineup for the 2014-19 cycle will be announced in the coming weeks.”

Starting Navy S Kwazel Bertrand undergoes surgery, likely out for season

Kwazel Bertrand, Jacobi Owens
Associated Press
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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.

Unitas Award whittles watch list in half down to 15

FORT WORTH, TX - OCTOBER 03:  Trevone Boykin #2 of the TCU Horned Frogs looks for an open receiver against the Texas Longhorns in the second quarter at Amon G. Carter Stadium on October 3, 2015 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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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