WHO: 6-6 Pittsburgh (ACC) vs. 10-3 Bowling Green (MAC)
WHAT: Little Caesars Bowl (Year)
WHERE: Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan
WHEN: Dec. 26 at 6:00 p.m. ET
WHY: Now that the country seems to know who he is, Pittsburgh’s defensive monster Aaron Donald will get a chance to show off his skills on an NFL playing field against the MAC champions from Bowling green. Donald cleaned up in the award season with the Bednarik Award, Outland Trophy, Lombardi Award, and the Nagurski Trophy in addition to multiple All-American honors. Donald has spent plenty of time in the opposing offense’s backfields this season, leading the nation in tackles for a loss.
Naturally, Bowling Green’s offensive approach should try to steer the football away from Donald as much as possible. Easier said than done of course, and it could end up leaving the Falcons with less room to work with at times on one side of the field. Bowling Green will look to attack on the ground with a rushing offense averaging over 200 yards per game this season. Sophomore Travis Greene has led the team with over 1,500 yards and 11 touchdowns and has rushed for over 100 yards in five straight games including the MAC championship upset victory over Northern Illinois.
Bowling Green is going for their first bowl victory since the 2004 season. They will do so with an interim head coach (special teams coach Adam Scheir) leading things from the sideline after Dave Clawson was hired by Wake Forest. They have the well-balanced team to be able to pick it up against a Pittsburgh team that can struggle at times on offense. Pittsburgh has been held under 20 points in a game five times this season, but they have also scored at least 30 points in a game four times. Which Pittsburgh offense will show up in Detroit?
PREDICTION: Bowling Green 26, Pittsburgh 23
As if this day wasn’t busy enough, Ole Miss announced late Monday evening star-crossed offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil‘s suspension has been capped at seven games, meaning he’ll miss Saturday’s trip to Memphis but return in time for Texas A&M visit to The Grove on Oct. 24.
From the university:
The University initially withheld Tunsil from competition at the start of the season as both the NCAA and the University examined several alleged improper benefits. During the course of the process, it was determined by the NCAA that Tunsil received impermissible extra benefits that included the use of three separate loaner vehicles over a sixth-month period without payment, a four-month interest-free promissory note on a $3,000 down payment for purchasing a used vehicle, two nights of lodging at a local home, an airline ticket purchased by a friend of a teammate, and one day use of a rental vehicle. In addition, it was determined that Tunsil was not completely forthcoming when initially questioned by NCAA investigators regarding the loaner vehicles. He later corrected his account and since apologized.
As part of his reinstatement conditions, the NCAA imposed a seven-game suspension, ordered Tunsil to pay the value of the extra benefits to a charity, perform community service, and he will also make the vehicle down payment.
Said Tunsil: “I take full responsibility for the mistakes I made and want to thank everyone for their continued support. I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and the entire Ole Miss family for how my choices affected our program. This was a learning experience, and I’m looking forward to being back on the field with my team and redeeming myself. The last 10 months have been a physical and mental battle for me, but I love playing this game more than anything else. I want to be here for my teammates who are depending on me to finish what we started together.”
The news is, obviously, great for Tunsil and head coach Hugh Freeze personally, as well as the entire Ole Miss football program. It’s also a nice plus for NFL scouts, as it means Tunsil’s first live action of 2015 will come against possible future No. 1 draft pick Myles Garrett.
Hope he’s been practicing.
Say it ain’t so, Steve.
According to a report from Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated Monday evening, Steve Spurrier is set to retire.
Spurrier, 70, is a legend the likes college football has never seen before and never will again.
He was a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback at Florida, then returned to his alma mater and turned the program into a juggernaut, leading the Gators to 122-27-1 record from 1990-01 and a national championship in 1996. After a stint with the NFL’s Washington Redskins, Spurrier landed at South Carolina, where since 2005 he’s racked up a school record 86 wins.
But those wins slowed down of late. After an SEC East championship in 2010 and three straight 11-2 seasons from 2011-13, the Gamecocks fell to 7-6 in 2014, and are off to a 2-4 mark this fall. With the possibility of losses to nemeses old and new like Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida and Clemson ahead, Spurrier, it appears, would rather fade away quietly to the putting green.
Perhaps no two sentences summarize Spurrier, then and now, more precisely than this:
Combined with his three years at Duke, Spurrier closes up shop with a 228-89-2 mark, and a bust in the coaches’ wing of the Hall of Fame waiting for him.