College football’s bowl calendar is taking form for the first year of the College Football Playoff. In addition to new games and new bowl tie-ins for conferences, some bowls are taking this time to establish new traditions as well. The Valero Alamo Bowl in San Antonio is pushing the date of its game back to after January 1, a bold decision for a bowl game that has traditionally been played between Christmas and New Years Day.
The Alamo Bowl will now be played on January 2, 2015 but will remain in primetime as it has in the past. The 2015 edition of the game will kick off at 6:45 p.m. eastern on ESPN in an exclusive time slot with no other bowls scheduled to overlap on the television schedule. The NFL will also be out of the picture with the bowl game being played on a Friday night.
“This year’s calendar provided us an excellent prime time Friday slot to showcase the Valero Alamo Bowl’s improved match-up featuring the top teams from the Big 12 and Pac-12 conferences after the College Football Playoff,” said Derrick Fox, Valero Alamo Bowl President/CEO, in a press release. “Our renewal rates are the highest in our history as fans are excited to welcome Top 25 teams to play in front of capacity crowds at the Alamodome.”
The new date and time slot for the Alamo Bowl is a result of the game being moved up in the pecking order of the bowl line-up as well. The Alamo Bowl is now regarded as the top bowl game not affiliated with the College Football Playoff bowl rotation. The game has done well historically with selling tickets and providing quality match-ups, so this comes as no surprise. Now, given an upgrade in scheduling, the Alamo Bowl may continue to grow as a filler bowl between the semifinal games and the championship game in the College Football Playoff.
The Alamo Bowl has conference ties with the Big 12 and Pac-12. Last season’s game featured Oregon and Texas, with the Ducks spoiling the final game coached by former Longhorns head coach Mack Brown.
In Auburn’s 113-year history, it’s never played a Big Ten opponent in a regular season game. That’ll change in five years.
Penn State and Auburn announced Monday morning a home-and-home series to take place in 2021 and 2022. The first game will be played in State College on Sept. 18, 2021 and the return will take place at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Sept. 17, 2022.
“This is another great opportunity for our players and fans to be part of something special,” Auburn Director of Athletics Jay Jacobs said. “Bringing together elite programs rich in tradition is what college football is all about. We look forward to this home-and-home series with Penn State.”
Making matters betters is the home-and-home nature of this series, instead of playing it as a neutral site one-off to begin a season. Those games are fun (and, far more importantly, generate a ton of revenue) but having Penn State travel to Alabama and Tigers fans going to State College is a far better experience for traveling fanbases.
Auburn and Penn State have met twice before in bowl games, with the most recent meeting a 13-9 Tigers win in the 2003 Capital One Bowl.
Penn State also added a 2021 home game against Ball State on Monday, per ESPN’s Brett McMurphy.
Notre Dame rising redshirt junior wide receiver Torii Hunter Jr.‘s status with Brian Kelly’s football team won’t change after he signed with the Los Angeles Angels over the weekend.
Hunter is Notre Dame’s leading returning receiver after catching 28 passes for 363 yards and two touchdowns last year. But even though he now has a professional baseball contract, his focus will remain on football and the beginning of preseason camp in August.
Hunter, the son of former Minnesota Twins, Angels and Detroit Tigers All-Star/Gold Glover Torii Hunter Sr., was a 23rd-round pick in this year’s MLB Draft.
Hunter, an outfielder, was primarily used as a pinch runner and defensive replacement for Mik Aoki’s Irish baseball team this spring. He worked a crazy schedule (“what is sleep?” he asked) to split time between baseball, spring football and classwork in March and April and hit .182/.308/.182 in 11 at-bats.
Hunter’s baseball highlight came at Florida State, though, a few days after he made a spectacular catch reeling in a Malik Zaire deep ball in Notre Dame’s Blue and Gold Game.
Auburn could be the beneficiary of an offensive transfer in the not-too-distant future, but the football program has apparently sustained a loss on the other side of the ball.
In a tweet posted to his personal Twitter account Sunday, Justin Thomas-Thornton revealed that he will be “pursuing my collegiate football and academic endeavors elsewhere.” The defensive lineman gave no reason for his decision to leave The Plains.
Thomas-Thornton, a four-star 2014 signee, played in the 2015 opener against Louisville, but didn’t see any other action the remainder of the year.
If Thomas-Thornton opts for another FBS program, he will be forced to sit out the 2016 season. He’d then be left with two seasons of eligibility that he’d be able to use beginning in 2017.
Finally, a personnel attrition post on this late-June Sunday that doesn’t involve Baylor.
In mid-May, wide receiver Ryan Sousa announced via Twitter that he had decided to transfer out of the Florida football program, and ultimately landed at FCS Southern Illinois. A little over six weeks later, a fellow Gator receiver has apparently made a similar decision, with Scout.com reporting that Alvin Bailey will leave Jim McElwain‘s squad.
No reason was given for the receiver’s decision, although the recruiting website has an idea as to why.
The Gators added five receivers in the 2016 recruiting class, three of which were on campus in the spring. Junior college transfer Dre Massey seemed to pull ahead of Bailey in the month long practices held between March and April.
The school has declined to address Bailey’s status with the football program.
Bailey was a four-star member of UF’s 2013 recruiting class, rated as the No. 22 receiver in the country. The production never quite matched the recruiting pedigree, though, with Bailey catching three passes for 49 years in his career in Gainesville. All of those stats came during the 2015 season.