WHO: 11-1 Fresno State vs. 9-4 USC
WHAT: Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl (22nd year)
WHERE: Sam Boyd Stadium in Whitney, Nevada
WHEN: Dec. 21 at 3:30 p.m. ET
WHY: Despite the game being played in the vicinity of Sin City, this bowl bid has to serve as a bitter disappointment for Fresno State.
Entering the last weekend of November, the Bulldogs had a BCS bowl bid well within its reach. A 62-52 loss to San Jose State, however, ended both their perfect season and a legitimate shot at a BCS game. It also kept a player from appearing on the national stage he deserves: quarterback Derek Carr, who currently leads the nation in passing yards and passing touchdowns and is 11th in passing efficiency. Were it not for that loss to the Spartans, Carr would likely have found himself with a trip to New York City earlier this month as a Heisman finalist.
USC, of course, responded to the firing of Lane Kiffin in late September by ripping off six wins in the first seven games with Ed Orgeron as interim head coach. When the Trojans poached Steve Sarkisian from Washington as the permanent replacement, Orgeron abruptly resigned, leaving USC in the hands of offensive coordinator Clay Helton for the bowl game. Regardless of who is the coach, you can expect a heavy dose of Javorius Allen. In the games under Kiffin, the running back carried the ball just 14 times for 78 yards and no touchdowns and did not have a single catch coming out of the backfield; in the eight games after Kiffin was canned, Allen had 112 touches (94 carries, 18 receptions) for 840 yards (621 rushing, 219 receiving) and 14 touchdowns (13 rushing, one receiving). The sophomore closed out the last month of the regular season by rushing for 120-plus yards in four of the five games, including a career-high 145 yards in the Nov. 22 win over Colorado.
One oddity about this game? The same two teams will open the 2014 season against each other, albeit this time in Los Angeles.
PREDICTION: USC 41, Fresno State 38
How about we start off the morning with something positive for a change?
As the Bowling Green caravan was driving back from Saturday’s game against Buffalo, a woman in front of the school’s four bus swerved and her vehicle hit the center divider on the Interstate in Northeast Ohio. Shortly thereafter, the vehicle burst into flames.
That’s when Dino Babers, BGSU’s head coach, and trainer Chelsea Lowe jumped into action. From the Toledo Blade:
The bus driver asked for permission to stop the bus, and I gave it to him — but I told him not to stop the other three buses,” Babers said. “Then he asked to go check out the car and see if the driver was hurt.
“I told him no, because if he was hurt there wouldn’t be anyone to drive the bus home.”
So that first BG bus, which was unaffected by the crash, stopped a short distance away, and Babers and Lowe went to the car.
“The closer we got to the car, the clearer we could see smoke billowing,” Lowe said. “We knew whoever was in the car wasn’t just going to walk away and have everything be OK.
Baber and Lowe were able to pull the 25-year-old woman away from the vehicle, and stayed with her until police and fire personnel arrived on the scene. The coach was even able to go back to the burning vehicle and retrieve the woman’s purse and keys.
As for Babers motivation in acting the way he did, read the Blade‘s account of the incident. It’ll be well worth your time.
For those looking for a change under center Between the Hedges, think again.
In Georgia’s first loss Saturday, Alabama harassed and harangued Greyson Lambert into a miserable day. The Virginia graduate transfer completed just 10-of-24 passes for 86 yards and an interception in the rain-soaked 38-10 home beatdown.
While some wondered whether UGA would pull the trigger and promote backup Brice Ramsey for the Week 6 game against Tennessee, offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer indicated that no change at the position is on the horizon — and that Ramsey would still get his opportunities.
“It’s no secret we plan on playing Brice in every game,” Schottenheimer said. “Greyson doesn’t need to look over his shoulder because Brice is going to play. …
“We believe in competition. Greyson doesn’t need to go look over his shoulder in terms of who is starting the game. He needs to worry about moving the team. He knows Brice is going to come in at some point. Nothing has changed. The rotation is what it is.”
If you were just going off the most recent tape, Ramsey’s play actually made it an easy decision for the staff to stick with status quo. Inserted in an attempt to breathe some life into a limp offense, Ramsey completed 3-of-6 passes, although two of those completions went to Tide defenders.