WHO: 8-4 Boise State (MWC) vs. 6-6 Oregon State (Pac-12)
WHAT: Sheraton Hawaii Bowl (12th year)
WHERE: Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii
WHEN: Dec. 24 at 8 p.m. ET
WHY: Boise State gets ready to play its first game without Chris Petersen on staff since the 2000 season. Things are already off to a shaky start as quarterback Joe Southwick has been suspended and sent home for a violation of team rules. Backup Grant Hedrick, a junior who has 1,443 yards and 15 touchdowns this season, will get the start in his place. The Broncos’ top weapon on offense is sophomore running back Jay Ajayi, who has 1,328 yards and 17 touchdowns. Assistant Bob Gregory is serving as the interim coach until Bryan Harsin takes over.
Boise will be hard-pressed to stop the dynamic OSU pass-catch duo of Sean Mannion and Brandin Cooks. Mannion threw for 4,403 yards and 36 touchdowns while Cooks won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top receiver thanks to 120 catches for 1,670 yards and 15 touchdowns.
This one will come down to which defense can at least hold its own. The Beavers, losers of five straight, have been porous this year, giving up an average of 32 points per game. Boise State has been better, allowing 23.8 per game, but the Broncos have been gashed when they’ve gone up against quality offenses this year. With all the turmoil going on in Boise, the advantage has to lie with the Beavers in this one.
PREDICTION: Oregon State 38, Boise State 31
Houston Nutt wanted money and an apology from Ole Miss. He’ll have to settle for the second of the two — and a largely different future for the program he used to lead.
It was Nutt’s lawsuit, remember, which exposed the documents that led to a Mississippi State fan finding Hugh Freeze‘s call to a Tampa escort service, which led to Freeze’s resignation, which led to… we have no idea what it will lead to, but, whatever that future is, it will be wildly different than if Freeze was still the Rebels’ coach.
Nutt amended his lawsuit in August to seek simply an apology from Ole Miss, and that apology finally came on Monday.
Each side released their own bitter, short statements.
Nutt will go on, with his apology but without any monetary compensation, while Ole Miss will play out the string of this season, hire a new coach, and move into a future that will be immeasurably different that the one it would have lived had it apologized to Nutt in the first place.
No. 12 Washington’s loss to Arizona State was a disaster on the field — for more reasons than one.
The Huskies not only put their College Football Playoff hopes in danger — they’ll need to sweep their next six games, including a finishing kick that calls for games against No. 22 Stanford, No. 15 Washington State and, presumably, No. 11 USC, two of them away from Seattle. But the road to get there became noticeably more difficult after losing two starters.
Left tackle Trey Adams suffered a torn ACL in his right knee, and cornerback Jordan Miller sustained a broken ankle. Head coach Chris Petersen confirmed Monday that both will be lost for the season. Miller is the third Husky this season to suffer a broken ankle.
The Seattle Times noted that Washington is also without another starting corner in Byron Murphy, who is expected to return later this year from a broken foot. The Huskies are expected to replace Miller with either a pair of true freshmen or a converted running back.
But Adams may be the bigger loss for the Huskies. A junior, Adams was widely expected to be a first round pick in this spring’s NFL Draft. It’s the second straight season Washington has lost a key player in the trenches to a season-ending injury; a year ago, it was linebackers Joe Mathis, who finished one sack away from the team lead despite playing in only seven games, and third-leading tackler Azeem Victor.
Maryland AD Kevin Anderson will not be the Maryland AD for the next six months.
Anderson announced Monday he will take a 6-month sabbatical to focus on “professional development.” That leave of absence will see him remain on his national committees with the NCAA and NACDA, the professional organization of ADs.
It was reported over the weekend that Anderson would be out completely as Maryland’s AD, but those reports were knocked down by the university.
Additionally, Maryland announced that former Georgia AD and current Terps associate AD/CFO Damon Evans will run the department in Anderson’s stead.
Joey Julius was Penn State’s beloved kicker before he left the team in the offseason to seek treatment for an eating disorder. Julius later opened up on his personal struggles, stating that he has dealt with depression and suicidal thoughts, all related to issues with his weight.
“It was what I call my silent struggle,” Julius said over the summer. “I hated the way I looked always. I’ve never liked the way I looked, but I never talked about it until other people did. But I’m finally doing better now.”
Julius has not rejoined the team, but he will be with the team on Saturday — along with about 100,000 other people. Julius tweeted Sunday he will attend Saturday’s game between No. 2 Penn State and No. 19 Michigan, his first Nittany Lions game to attend as a fan this season.
Julius, who would be a junior on this year’s team, handled kickoffs and place-kicking as a freshman in 2015 and just kickoffs in 2016. He averaged 62.1 yards with 45 touchbacks in 93 attempts last season; Tyler Davis has upped those numbers to 64.1 yards per kickoff with a 62.2 percent touchback average in 37 boots this season.
However, Penn State could have used Julius’s place-kicking abilities this season. After hitting 22-of-24 field goals a year ago, Davis has missed seven of his 13 tries in 2017. Julius connected on 10-of-12 field goals in 2015.