WHO: 7-5 Arizona (Pac-12) vs.7-5 Boston College (ACC)
WHAT: Advocare V100 Bowl (38th year)
WHERE: Independence Stadium in Shreveport, Louis.
WHEN: Dec. 31 at 12:30 p.m. ET
WHY: Two elite running backs will be under the spotlight in Shreveport on Tuesday afternoon.
Ka’Deem Carey of Arizona and Heisman finalist Andre Williams of Boston College will go toe-to-toe to see who’s the best back in the country. Williams gained 2,102 yards and 17 touchdowns and led the nation in rushing. Carey was right behind him with 1,716 yards and 17 touchdowns (in one less game). Both are the centerpieces of their team’s offensive attacks and both will be the focus of the other team’s defense.
Game on, gentlemen.
The Eagles were a hot team at the end of the season, winning four of its last five, while Arizona showed its mettle by thrashing Oregon by 26. No other team played Florida State as tough as BC, which lost to the Seminoles by just 14. The Wildcats lost three games by a touchdown or less. In other words, these teams are probably a little bit better than their records indicate.
As good as the running backs are, the game should turn on the play of the quarterbacks. B.J. Denker has come on strong for the Wildcats down the stretch run. He has 2,241 passing yards and 14 touchdowns plus 898 rushing yards and 12 scores. Chase Rettig has 17 touchdown passes and just six interceptions for the Eagles. This looks like a game between two evenly-matched teams with similar strengths and vastly different styles — Arizona with its spread and BC with its pound-it-up-the-gut pro style scheme.
This game should be entertaining, if nothing else.
PREDICTION: Arizona 31, Boston College 27
For the second consecutive week, Nebraska will be without one of the most experienced and productive members of their passing game.
Late this past week, Mike Riley officially ruled Jordan Westerkamp out of Saturday’s game against Purdue. The wide receiver sustained an injury to his back during the Week 5 win over Illinois, and was briefly hospitalized after being hit by an Illini defender.
He missed last Saturday’s win over Indiana because of the injury
The good news is that not only does the head coach expect Westerkamp to return to practice this coming Tuesday, but it’s very likely that, barring a setback, he will play in the key Week 9 Big Ten West matchup with Wisconsin in Madison. The Cornhuskers currently lead the division at 3-0, while the Badgers, at 1-2, are looking to remain within shouting distance.
At the time of the injury, Westerkamp led the Cornhuskers in receiving touchdowns (four) and tied for the team lead in receptions (13). His 228 receiving yards were second behind Alonzo Moore‘s 310.
Last season, Westerkamp led the ‘Huskers in all three of those categories.
We’ve seem some pretty crazy uniform combinations over the years but it seems adidas is looking to raise everybody’s game a little this weekend.
The school and apparel company tweeted on Friday afternoon that Louisville — just in time for Halloween — would be debuting some glow-in-the-dark gloves and cleats with a skeleton design for their homecoming game against N.C. State.
Yes the Wolfpack and Cardinals play at noon ET and not in primetime so the effect of the glow-in-the-dark cleats is probably a bit muted but it’s still a pretty cool idea.
It’s a little unclear as to if N.C. State will also don some glow-in-the-dark gear (they are also an adidas school) but it should make for a slick look on Saturday at Papa John’s Stadium either way.
It’s been a rough few years for Maryland football but one of the bright spots for the Terrapins has been the stellar play of cornerback/receiver/return man Will Likely.
Unfortunately that time has come to an end as the school announced on Friday that the senior suffered a torn ACL in last week’s game against Minnesota and would miss the rest of the season.
“In the short time I’ve been here at Maryland, I understand and have a great appreciation for the significant impact Will Likely has had on our football program,” head coach D.J. Durkin said in a statement. “Will was one of the first people I met with when I accepted the job and it was quickly apparent how much he meant to his teammates and Maryland football. He will continue to play a vital role in our program as we lean on him for his leadership and experience. I am confident Will has the work ethic, drive and focus to overcome this injury and continue his football career at the next level.”
Likely was an All-Big Ten selection the past two seasons and contributed all over the board for the Terps. He was primarily the team’s lockdown corner but he was one of the best return men in the country with his combination of speed and quickness.
Likely stuck around College Park for his final season despite the coaching change last year and was one of the veteran leaders in a new defensive scheme under Durkin, ranking first on the team in pass breakups and third in tackles prior to his injury.
Sophomore RaVon Davis is expected to take his spot in the secondary while D.J. Moore is likely the next man up on kick and punt returns.
It’s a tough blow to lose any player halfway through a season but it sure seems like Maryland is going to be losing a lot more than a starter with Likely gone the rest of the year.
The Pac-12 announced on Thursday that the conference would be issuing a public reprimand and fining Washington State head coach Mike Leach $10,000 as the result of his earlier comments accusing Arizona State of stealing signs.
While that surprising decision from the league office to step in may have been enough for some schools, it appears the Sun Devils wanted to make sure they would be getting in one final parting shot at the Cougars.
“I fully support the Pacific-12 Conference Office and Commissioner Larry Scott’s decision on this matter,” athletics director Ray Anderson said in a statement on Friday. “Our professional integrity was questioned for two straight years by Mike Leach’s irresponsible comments and we will not allow that to happen. We are pleased with the outcome and for us the matter is closed.”
Leach accused ASU of stealing signs both last season and earlier in the week at his Monday press conference. Todd Graham defended his program and responded directly to the comments the next day and it appears that the Pac-12 decided to step in and put an end to the war of words going back-and-forth between the two coaches. It’s rare for one athletic director to call another coach in the league “irresponsible,” but you can understand why they would want to be defensive over such a touchy subject.
While Anderson says he considers the matter closed, something says this issue will be brought up again when the two teams meet on Saturday night in Tempe and both coaches square off from opposite sidelines.