Taking a quick-hit look at the Dec. 22 bowl menu, which is a little thin volume-wise for the fourth consecutive day but, again, it’s college football in mid-December, right? Right???
WHO: Idaho (8-4) vs. Colorado State (7-5)
WHAT: The 20th Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
WHERE: Albertsons Stadium, Boise, Idaho
WHEN: 7 p.m. ET on ESPN
THE SKINNY: Since winning a combined 14 games in 2009-10 and playing in its last bowl game the former season, Idaho went bowl-less and won a total of nine games the next five years. Very quietly, Paul Petrino led one of the more impressive turnarounds of the 2016 season as the Vandals won eight games, the team’s most since hitting the same mark in 2009 and just the second time they’ve done it in nearly two decades. A win would keep Idaho perfect in bowls — they’ve won both they’ve played in, with both of those coming in this game — and also get them to nine wins for just the second time in the program’s history at the major college level. Colorado State, meanwhile, will be looking to end a two-game bowl losing streak and give Mike Bobo his first postseason win as a head coach. The Rams will come in having won four of their last five games — all four of those wins were by at least 18 points, with the lone loss coming by three at Air Force — while the Vandals have won four in a row and six of its last seven. In that five-game stretch to close out the regular season, CSU’s offense averaged more than 500 yards and nearly 50 points per game. During their current four-game winning streak, Idaho gave up an average of just 17.5 points per game. The Rams are heavily favored, but could the Vandals really lose a game that has its home state as the primary sponsor? Yeah, probably — but it’s going to be a helluva lot closer than what some of the wagering establishments are suggesting.
THE LINE: Idaho, +13½
THE PREDICTION: Colorado State 34, Idaho 27
Washington State’s coaching loss will prove to be a fellow Pac-12 member’s gain.
Following up on reports that had surfaced throughout the latter part of this past week, new head coach Mario Cristobal announced that he has hired Jim Mastro as his new running backs coach. Mastro will also serve as the Ducks’ run-game coordinator.
Mastro had spent the past six seasons as the running backs coach at Washington State.
“We are thrilled to add Jim to the staff,” Cristobal said in a statement. “He has extraordinary leadership skills which will be of great benefit in developing our talented group of running backs. Jim possesses a wealth of experience both coaching and recruiting on the West Coast, and he has consistently been a tremendous innovator on the offensive side of the ball.”
Prior to Wazzu, Mastro spent one season (2012) as the tight ends coach at UCLA. For the 11 seasons prior to that first taste of the Pac-12, Mastro was the running backs coach at Nevada.
Mastro has also spent time on FBS coaching staffs at Idaho (1998-99) and San Jose State (1995).
Stanford’s quarterback room will have a decidedly different look this coming season.
Keller Chryst announced on his personal Twitter account Sunday afternoon that he has decided to transfer from the Cardinal for his final season of collegiate eligibility. Chryst will graduate from the university in June, making him eligible to play in 2018 at another FBS program if that’s the path he chooses.
Chryst gave no specific reason for the decision, although the fact that he lost his starting this past season likely played a significant role.
Chryst began the 2016 season as the backup to Ryan Burns, who started the first seven games after winning the job coming out of camp before losing it to Chryst midseason; he replaced Burns midway through that season as the starter. While he suffered a torn ACL in Stanford’s Sun Bowl win over North Carolina following the 2016 regular season, he began the 2017 season as the starter; an injury in the Week 4 win over UCLA opened the door for redshirt freshman K.J. Costello to start the following week against Arizona State. Chryst returned in Week 6 and started the next three games.
Ahead of the Washington State game in early November, however, a healthy Chryst was benched in favor of Costello. In what turned out to be the final three starts of Chryst’s career with the Cardinal, he completed just under 57 percent of his passes for 453 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions.
In parts of three seasons, Chryst, whose uncle Paul Chryst is the head coach at Wisconsin, passed for 1,926 yards, 19 touchdowns and six interceptions in 289 attempts.
Rich Rodriguez was fired earlier this month after his former administrative assistant filed an $8.5 million claim against him, saying she was forced to lie to his wife and children to cover up his extramarital affair and that he subjugated her to numerous instances of inappropriate behavior, including brushing up against her breast and making comments about his underwear and genitalia.
He admitted to the affair, but said the other claims were unequivocally false.
On Saturday, the same woman, Melissa Wilhelmsen, filed an additional $7.5 million claim against the University of Arizona, saying the school is liable for its former employee’s behavior.
From the suit, according to the Arizona Daily Star:
The document says that Wilhelmsen and her husband also have claims against Rodriguez for slander, defamation and false light, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress stemming from Rodriguez and his wife’s conduct after his firing — including “statements to football players at a team meeting on January 9, 2018.” Rich and Rita Rodriguez spoke to the players in a team meeting run by interim head coach Marcel Yates on that date. It was not immediately clear if any additional legal action had been filed.
Rodriguez on Sunday released a statement, essentially calling Wilhelmsen’s bluff.
Considering the plaintiff is now seeking a sum of $15 million here, the odds of an out-of-court settlement seem so overwhelming that they may as well be taken off the proverbial board.
We’ve all known Jalen Hurts for two years, and in that time three characteristics have remained constants about the Alabama quarterback:
1) His calm, unflappable demeanor.
2) His penchant for winning games.
3) His hair.
You can now scratch one of those off the list.
“The deal was if we won the natty, the locs (sic) had to come off lol,” Hurts wrote in a Twitter post. “New look. Same mission. Grind hard and improve every day!”
Hurts was held accountable to the deal by teammate Josh Jacobs.
Honestly, it won’t be the same this season when, after eluding beyond the left hash and just barely picking up a 3rd-and-11 by extending the nose of the football past the stick on the right sideline, we don’t see that same golden ponytail emerging from the crimson No. 2 helmet, calmly trotting back to the huddle like it’s all no big deal.