WHO: 8-4 Buffalo (MAC) vs. 7-5 San Diego State (MWC)
WHAT: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (16th year)
WHERE: Bronco Stadium in Boise, Idaho
WHEN: Dec. 21 at 5:30 p.m. ET
WHY: The San Diego State Aztecs are starting to get used to this bowl routine. For the fourth straight season San Diego State is making a bowl trip, a school record. After a dreadful start to the season, it is somewhat remarkable San Diego State is even playing at this point of the year.
San Diego State opened the season with a 0-3 start that included a road loss at Ohio State and a home loss to FCS Eastern Illinois, who were just eliminated in the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs last weekend. San Diego State has certainly not been shy on drama this season either. The Aztecs played in four overtime games this season, losing just one of those to Mountain West Conference champion Fresno State but defeating Boise State.
Look for San Diego State to try to run the football against Buffalo. Adam Muema rushed for 1,015 yards and 12 touchdowns this season, including a season high 233 yards and three touchdowns against New Mexico. He will try to find some success against the MAC’s third best rushing defense. The Bulls have allowed 159.75 rushing yards per game this season, holding four opponents under 100 yards this season. But Buffalo has given up some big numbers on the ground at times as well. Bowling Green ripped off 260 yards in a regular season finale and Toledo put together 323 rushing yards in a game. Buffalo does have a defense that is tough to score against though, allowing just 22.3 points per game this season despite giving up a combined 110 points to Baylor and Ohio State in the first two weeks of the season.
Buffalo has one of the more exciting defensive players to watch this bowl season. Senior linebacker Kahlil Mack has 94 tackles this season, including 19.0 for a loss (10.5 sacks). He has also forced five fumbles and intercepted three passes. As if that was not enough, he also has two touchdowns this season.
The blue turf in Boise has been the scene for some wild games in the bowl previously known as the Humanitarian Bowl, so this seems like the perfect place to let some MACtion run wild.
PREDICTION: San Diego State 31, Buffalo 28
The injury-plagued career of a member of South Carolina’s secondary has officially come to an end.
USC officials confirmed to The State that Ali Groves will not return to the Gamecocks football team. The defensive back has taken a medical hardship waiver, making him ineligible to suit up again for the Gamecocks.
The Georgia native will, though, remain on scholarship. He’s expected to graduate later this year with a degree in business administration.
A three-star member of USC’s 2013 recruiting class, Groves was rated as the No. 47 safety in the country. Groves sustained a right shoulder injury his true freshman season, with the injury lingering over the next couple of seasons as well.
This past spring, Groves, who didn’t play a down for the Gamecocks, was moved from cornerback to safety. Twice in his career, Groves was named to the SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll.
Baylor’s recruiting loss will turn into another football program’s gain. Again.
On his Twitter account Monday, 2017 quarterback prospect Kellen Mond announced that he has decided to verbally commit to play his college football at Texas A&M. Mond had been considered the crown jewel of Baylor’s 2017 recruiting class after committing to the Bears in the summer of 2015, but opted to decommit less than a week after Art Briles was dismissed as BU’s head football coach.
Shortly after decommitting from Baylor, Mond announced a new Top 3: Auburn, Ohio State and A&M. Those schools were listed in his order of preference at that moment, although the Aggies were, obviously, able to make up ground on the other two.
Mond visited College Station earlier this month, and, coupled with the Buckeyes landing a verbal from five-star quarterback Tate Martell — a former A&M commit, incidentally — had seemingly pared his choices down to the Tigers and Aggies. According to his tweeted announcement, A&M’s “tradition of excellence,” along with the coaching staff, led him to his latest commitment.
Mond, a Texas native who is playing his senior season at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., is rated as a four-star prospect on 247Sports.com‘s composite board. That recruiting website rates him as the No. 4 dual-threat quarterback in the country and the No. 103 player overall.
Ohio State announced earlier this month that it would be offering cold beers to all of-age fans during football games this fall in The ‘Shoe. A couple of weeks later, a fellow FBS member to the east has followed suit.
As part of its press release on new fan initiatives for the 2016 season, Pittsburgh announced that beer will be sold stadium-wide throughout Heinz Field this upcoming football season. Prior to this season, alcohol sales were only permitted to those ticket holders in the club and suite sections of the stadium.
The first opportunity for fans to take advantage of the new policy is the home opener against Villanova Sept. 3. The ACC opener Oct. 8 against Georgia Tech.
From the press release:
The expansion of this amenity will coincide with the implementation of appropriate safety measures for Pitt game days, ensuring the continuation of a fan and family friendly environment for all. (Such measures are already in place for Steelers home games. Aramark, Heinz Field’s official food and beverage concessionaire, provides comprehensive staff training in the sale of alcohol.) A portion of the funds from beer sales proceeds will be dedicated to drug and alcohol education programs for the overall student body through Pitt’s Division of Student Affairs.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, there are now nine Power Five members with a similar beer policy for football games. One of the nine is West Virginia, with the Post-Gazette writing that athletic director Scott Barnes cited data from WVU “suggesting that beer sales in the stadium could actually cut down on alcohol-related incidents.”
Not surprisingly, one member of Houston’s secondary will get back the time he lost last season.
According to a press release from the Houston sports information department, Howard Wilson has been granted a medical hardship waiver for the 2015 season. Wilson sustained a season-ending torn ACL in the third game of 2015, making the decision to grant the waiver a no-brainer.
The waiver will extend Wilson’s eligibility clock through the 2018 season, and makes him a redshirt sophomore for the upcoming season.
As a true freshman in 2014, Wilson played in all 13 games, starting one of those contests. He had three interceptions that season.
Prior to his injury, he started the first three games of last season. He’s projected to start at one of the corner spots for the Cougars entering summer camp.