Brett Hundley

Ranking the new college football match-ups of 2014

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According to the fine folks at FBSchedules.com, there will be six brand new college football match-ups debuting on the gridiron this fall. One of those will be a conference match-up and another will come as part of a conference scheduling agreement, while the other four are good, old-fashioned cross-regional games making for an attractive non-conference tilt. So, if you had to give them a power ranking, which would be the crème de la crème?

Here is my personal take, but feel free to rank these match-ups yourself in the comments below.

1. Ohio State vs. Virginia Tech (September 6)

Virginia Tech may not be quite the ACC power they once were, but the Hokies should be capable of giving Ohio State more than a good early test in non-conference play. The Buckeyes should be one of the favorites in the Big Ten and the boost from playing a solid Virginia Tech team could be a nice little boost in strength of schedule in the eyes of the College Football Playoff selection committee.

2. Alabama vs. West Virginia (August 30, Chick-fil-A Kickoff)

Alabama returns to Atlanta, a city it has become very familiar with over the last few years. The Crimson Tide look to reload and establish a powerful presence against a West Virginia team looking to get the offense firing on all cylinders once again. Nick Saban vs. Dana Holgorsen is quite the contrast in coaching styles, and Saban’s Tide are looking to avoid losing a third straight game for the first time in a long time.

3. Notre Dame vs. Louisville (November 22)

Part of the ACC scheduling agreement with Notre Dame happens to land first-year member Louisville in South Bend in November. The Cardinals are a team that could get better as the season plays out in a year of transition, while Notre Dame could be looking to finish the season on a strong upswing. This one may not carry much influence in the playoff picture, but rankings could be at stake.

4. South Carolina vs. Texas A&M (August 28)

The lone conference match-up in this list will help kick off the entire college football season with a Thursday night game at South Carolina. It is a shame this game will not feature Johnny Manziel or Jadeveon Clowney, but Steve Spurrier‘s Gamecocks could get off to a strong start against a rebuilding Texas A&M team and take an early lead in the SEC East as a result.

5. Ole Miss vs. Boise State (August 28, Chick-fil-A Kickoff)

Boise State returns to Atlanta looking for another victory over an SEC team in the season opener. A couple of years ago it was Georgia, but now it is an Ole Miss team that appears to be moving upward in the world of college football. If the Rebels are going to be a legitimate force, a strong showing against a Boise State team under new leadership is certainly not a bad way to go.

6. Virginia vs. UCLA (August 30)

Last year Virginia was embarrassed at home by Oregon. This year another Pac-12 and potential playoff contender visits Charlottesville with UCLA coming across country to start the new season. This could quickly turn into a showcase for Brett Hundley and Myles Jack if Virginia does not come up with anything worth showing.

Pick problems lead Bowling Green to make a change at QB

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 3:  James Knapke #3 of the Bowling Green Falcons is sacked by Nick Bosa #97 of the Ohio State Buckeyes during the fourth quarter on September 3, 2016 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State defeated Bowling Green 77-10. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
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In 118 pass attempts this season, James Knapke has tossed nine interceptions, the most of any FBS quarterback through Week 4.  Entering Week 5, Bowling Green isn’t planning on allowing the senior quarterback to add to that total.

In a brief statement Thursday morning, BGSU head coach Mike Jinks announced that redshirt freshman James Morgan will start at quarterback Saturday against Eastern Michigan.  Morgan replaced Knapke in the loss to Memphis last week after the starter tossed three interceptions.

Morgan himself hasn’t been averse to turnovers, however, as he has thrown three in 46 attempts.

After Matt Johnson went down with a season-ending injury in the 2014 opener, Knapke took over as the starter and threw for 3,173 yards, 15 and 12 interceptions.  A healthy Johnson (shut it, 12-year-olds) reclaimed his job in 2015, but Knapke took over again in 2016 as Johnson’s eligibility expired.

Not only are Knapke’s interceptions the most in the country, but his pass efficiency rating of 88.4 is the worst of the 121 FBS quarterbacks listed on the NCAA.com stats page.

Wisconsin loses kicker Rafael Gaglianone to season-ending surgery

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 03:  Rafael Gaglianone #27 of the Wisconsin Badgers makes a field goal during the first half against the LSU Tigers at Lambeau Field on September 3, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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As far as kickers go, this is a rather significant development.

Last week, Wisconsin’s Rafael Gaglianone did not make the trip to East Lansing for the Michigan State game because of a back issue.  Not only will the placekicker miss this Saturday’s game against No. 4 Michigan, he will be sidelined for the remainder of the 2016 season after undergoing back surgery.

According to the school, Gaglianone’s condition improved Sunday but subsequently worsened.  It was then decided that the junior would undergo the medical procedure.

A similar back injury, the school said, led Gaglianone to miss spring practice last year.

“You’re disappointed for Rafael because of all the work he’s put in and how well he was playing,” head coach Paul Chryst said in a statement. “From a football perspective, I’ve appreciated the way the other guys in that unit have responded this week.”

This season, Gaglianone has connected on seven of eight field goal attempts and all 10 extra points.  Included in that total was what turned out to be the game-winning field goal in the opener against LSU at Lambeau Field.

Including this season, Gaglianone, who will be eligible for a medical hardship waiver, has been good on 44-57 field goals in his career and all but two of his 111 point afters.

With Gaglianone sidelined, the Badgers will turn to Andrew Endicott.  The senior, who hadn’t previously attempted a field goal or extra point at the collegiate level, made 1-1 of the former and 3-4 of the latter in replacing Gaglianone against MSU.

Some details emerge in arrest of Alabama’s Tim Williams as LB cops to ‘mistake’

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 3: Tim Williams #56 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates against the USC Trojans in the first half during the AdvoCare Classic at AT&T Stadium on September 3, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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And now we know a little bit more of the rest of the story.

Thursday morning, reports surfaced that Alabama linebacker Tim Williams had been arrested for carrying a pistol without a permit.  Other than the fact that Williams was arrested by university police officers, no details were available.  Until now.

From al.com:

Williams was arrested in the Tuscaloosa Publix parking lot around 2:00 a.m., sources told AL.com.

Police officers were doing a normal patrol when they smelled marijuana coming from Williams’ vehicle, according to sources. A passenger, who was not an Alabama football player, said the marijuana was his, but the officer then found the pistol under Williams’ seat while searching the car, according to sources.

The school has yet to publicly comment on the situation, although the player took to Twitter to acknowledge “a mistake.”

Coming off a 2015 season in which he was second on the Tide with 10.5 sacks, Phil Steele named the senior as a preseason first-team All-American.

Jela Duncan, Duke’s leading rusher, ruled out of Virginia game

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 24:  Jela Duncan #25 of the Duke Blue Devils rushes for a touchdown during the first half of a game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium on September 24, 2016 in South Bend, Indiana.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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A significant piece of Duke offensive puzzle won’t be available to the Blue Devils in Week 5.

On its weekly injury report released Thursday, Duke announced that Jela Duncan will not play against Virginia Saturday because of an unspecified leg injury. The running back sustained the injury in the 38-35 win over Notre Dame last weekend.

With 314 yards, Duncan is far and away the Blue Devils’ leading rusher.  Next closest is Shaun Wilson‘s 122 yards.

Duncan, a senior who’s endured a rocky career thus far, also leads the team with four rushing touchdowns, while his 5.6 yards per carry is tops amongst Blue Devils with 10 or more carries.

The football program also confirmed that defensive end Dominic McDonald will miss a second straight game because of what’s described as an upper-body injury.  McDonald started the first three games of the season before missing the Notre Dame game with the same injury.

And, finally, the school announced that linebacker Tinashe Bere will be sidelined for the remainder of the season with a leg injury.  While he didn’t start any of the four games in which he played this season after starting six last year, he’s sixth on the team in tackles with 13.