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CFT Previews: Capital One Orange Bowl

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WHO: No. 11 Florida State (9-3) vs. No. 6 Michigan (10-2)
WHAT: The 83rd Orange Bowl
WHEN: Friday, December 30, 8 p.m. ET on ESPN
WHERE: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida
THE SKINNY: At the beginning of the season, it would have surprised nobody to see the Wolverines and Seminoles meeting in a New Year’s Six bowl. That they’re facing off in the Orange Bowl and not a national semifinal is the mildly startling thing about this postseason matchup after both squads were considered trendy national title picks at the beginning of the year.

Michigan and swashbuckling head coach Jim Harbaugh are in South Florida nearly came close to getting into the playoff but a pair of last second (and overtime) losses kept them out of the Big Ten title game. Instead the team will be looking to cap off another banner year in Ann Arbor under their former quarterback, who actually beat Florida State back in 1986 when he was calling shots from under center. Leading the way this season has been do-everything Heisman finalist Jabrill Peppers, who could be playing his final game in maize and blue and should be featured on both sides of the ball on Friday night.

Standing in the Big Ten powerhouse’s way is a familiar site for those in South Florida. The Seminoles rose all the way up to No. 2 in the country early on but a young team was done in by mistakes during surprising losses to Louisville, North Carolina and Clemson. FSU has bounced back however, and closed strong down the stretch to wind up in the Orange Bowl thanks to their studs on either side of the ball in tailback Dalvin Cook and defensive end Demarcus Walker. Both veterans have contributed to a talented team that has reloaded once again and has a dangerous offense full of game-breaking playmakers like Travis Rudolph and Kermit Whitfield.

It should make for one of the better bowl matchups this season and doubly so with more attention on the game thanks to its shift to Friday night. This is a fun matchup of strength vs. strength as the Florida State offense is one of the best around and Michigan’s defense is the stingiest this side of Alabama. Each coaching staff figures to have a few tricks up their sleeves for this game but in the end, the Wolverines’ defense and ground game help propel them to a close victory over the Seminoles.

THE PICK: Michigan 27, Florida State 24

Baker Mayfield named winner of 2017 Manning Award

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Baker Mayfield‘s collegiate career may be over, but he’s not finished collecting some hardware from this level.

Thursday, the Allstate Sugar Bowl announced that Mayfield has been named as the winner of the 2017 Manning Award.  The award, named in honor of the quarterbacking Mannings — ArchiePeyton and Eli — is the only one to take into account a quarterback’s performance in the postseason.

“I would like to thank the Allstate Sugar Bowl for creating this award in our family’s name 14 years ago,” said Archie Manning in a statement. “It is an honor to have our name associated with the top quarterback in the nation each year. I would also like to congratulate Baker Mayfield, who capped a tremendous career with an outstanding senior season to earn this honor. To say he took a different path to success would be an understatement. I doubt there’s ever been a player who walked on to two different teams and reached this level of success.”

The 2017 Heisman Trophy winner won this honor over a field of finalists that included J.T. Barrett (Ohio State), Kelly Bryant (Clemson), Sam Darnold (USC), Jalen Hurts (Alabama), Lamar Jackson (Louisville), Trace McSorley (Penn State), McKenzie Milton (UCF), Mason Rudolph (Oklahoma State), Jarrett Stidham (Auburn) and Khalil Tate (Arizona).

Clemson’s Deshaun Watson had been the winner of the last two Manning Awards.

Report: Death of Bill Snyder’s grandson being investigated as a suicide

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The situation in Manhattan is tragic enough.  This latest development merely serves to add to the sorrow.

Kansas State confirmed in a statement Thursday morning that the grandson of legendary head football coach Bill Snyder and longtime K-State assistant Sean Snyder, 22-year-old Matthew Snyder, passed away unexpectedly Wednesday afternoon.  While details are scant, USA Today Sports is reporting that Snyder’s death is being investigated as a suicide.

A police spokesperson told the Kansas City Star that the young man’s passing is being classified as an “unintended death,” an umbrella under which suicide falls.

“Right now it is still being classified as an unintended death,” the spokesperson told the Star. “A suicide does fall under that category, but at this time ‘unintended death’ is the language that we are using until we can further investigate.”

Emergency personnel were called to Snyder’s residence in Manhattan yesterday afternoon on an unspecified medical call.  The address of the house to which the first responders were called is listed as being owned by Sean Snyder and his wife.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Snyder family during this very difficult time,” a statement from KSU athletic director Gene Taylor read. “We are deeply saddened to learn of this news and ask that the family’s privacy continue to be respected. Sean, Wanda, and the entire Snyder family are greatly appreciative of the outpouring of support displayed by the K-State Family as they cope with this tragedy.”

In wake of Tyler Hilinski’s suicide, Drew Bledsoe sends powerful message to men

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As Washington State continues to come to grips with tragedy, there are those connected to the program who are hoping, even pleading, that something good can come out of the pain.

Tyler Hilinski‘s body was found Tuesday evening at his residence, dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot to the head.  As those close to Hilinski mourn the sudden death of the 21-year-old redshirt sophomore quarterback, some, including teammate John Bledsoe, took to social media to express their grief.

Bledsoe is a freshman quarterback at Wazzu who is also the son of Cougar great Drew Bledsoe. On his Instagram account Wednesday, the elder Bledsoe, who acknowledged that he didn’t know Hilinski well, sent out a heartfelt message imploring men “to learn to TALK about how we are feeling.”

“If we sprain an ankle we go see a doctor,” Bledsoe wrote. “If we’re struggling emotionally we have to learn to treat it the same way.”

Everybody needs help at some point.  Male or female, if you’ve gotten to that point, reach out for the help.  As Bledsoe stated, it’s not a sign of weakness it’s the ultimate sign of strength.  Talk to a family member, friend, co-worker, clergy, anyone.  If you’re too embarrassed to talk to someone you know, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is just a phone call away at 1-800-273-8255.

Just talk to someone.  Whether you believe it at the time or not, your life is worth it.

In statement, K-State ‘deeply saddened’ over death of Bill Snyder’s grandson

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In a statement, Kansas State has confirmed the passing of head coach Bill Snyder‘s grandson and assistant coach Sean Snyder‘s son.

Emergency personnel were called to the home of Matthew Snyder Wednesday afternoon for what was described as a medical emergency.  Other than the 22-year-old was deceased, no further details of the events surrounding his death have been released.

While neither of the long-time Wildcats coaches have, understandably, addressed the tragedy, K-State athletic director Gene Taylor did in a statement.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Snyder family during this very difficult time. We are deeply saddened to learn of this news and ask that the family’s privacy continue to be respected. Sean, Wanda, and the entire Snyder family are greatly appreciative of the outpouring of support displayed by the K-State Family as they cope with this tragedy.