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
Even as he now resides in South Florida, it appears Mark Richt has lost control of Georgia football’s Twitter account.
Shortly before Saturday’s second spring game under Kirby Smart, UGA’s Twitter account for the football program was suspended. That marked the sixth time since January 17 of 2017 in which the account was suspended, and that suspension remains in effect as of this posting.
While there has been no official word from the university or athletic department on the latest suspension, it appears that it is related to, once again, a Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown notice. Essentially, UGA is accused of using copyrighted music in their tweets, which has led to their five previous suspensions.
Along with the most recent suspension as well as the first in January of last year, UGA’s account was suspended June 20, 2017; July 27, 2017; August 14, 2017; and February 7, 2018. The last one came during National Signing Day, with USA Today noting at that time that “[t]he DMCA suspends accounts after three violations within a certain period.”
Western Kentucky quarterback Steven Duncan was arrested Sunday morning on a charge of driving under the influence.
The WKU Herald reports that Duncan was booked at 2:43 on Sunday morning and, in addition to DUI, was charged with failure to produce insurance and failure to illuminate his headlights. “We are aware of the situation and currently gathering more information,” the program told the Herald. “We take this matter very seriously as a football program.”
Duncan is a redshirt sophomore from Charleston, S.C. He completed 2-of-2 passes for two yards as a redshirt freshman in 2017, and is in open competition with fifth-year senior Drew Eckles, Davis Shanley and Graydon Kulick to replace the graduated Mike White as starting quarterback. White threw for 4,177 yards with 26 touchdowns against eight interceptions in head coach Mike Sanford‘s first season.
WKU concluded its spring on Saturday with a 92-play scrimmage.
“Spring game, beautiful day, great to have the fan base out here, it was a fun game,” Sanford said. “Obviously, it wasn’t a traditional spring game, tackle, playing with two true teams, but the work we wanted to get out of it we absolutely got out of it. We got 92 plays in the scrimmage. We wanted to make sure every single person on our roster got a rep today and that was good to see. Overall, I’m pleased with what I saw.”
Former Notre Dame defensive lineman Kona Schwenke died at his Laie, Hawai’i, home on Sunday, the program confirmed on Monday. He was 25.
Cause of death was not known as of press time.
Hailing from the same hometown as Manti Te’o, Schwenke was a 3-star member of Notre Dame’s 2010 class and appeared in 31 games with nine starts over the following four seasons. He collected 30 career tackles, helped the Irish post an undefeated regular season with an appearance in the BCS National Championship as a junior and won the Irish’s Next Man In Award as a senior.
He was signed to the rosters of the Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks but did not appear in a game before concluding his football career in 2016.
“We will tell the stories of how things were different with you. I love you my brother. Thank you for everything over the years,” fellow Hawaiian and former Notre Dame player Robby Toma wrote in an Instagram post on Sunday. “I am grateful for the time we got to spend with you on earth. My heart hurts, but I know the memories we have will last a lifetime. Look over us, my USO. My prayers are with my Schwenke Family. #RIPuso”
Funeral arrangements were not available as of press time.
Ohio State running back Antonio Williams is moving a bit closer to home to continue playing his college football. The North Carolina native reportedly will transfer to the University of North Carolina to play for the Tar Heels. Williams announced his transfer news via Twitter.
“Though being at Ohio State provided me with the right path to reach those goals, the timing for me to be at OSU wasn’t the most ideal,” Williams said in a statement on Twitter. “With that being said, following the end of this semester, I will be transferring to the University of North Carolina.”
Williams appeared in 12 games for the Buckeyes last season, carrying the football 57 times for 290 yards and three touchdowns in a backup role. Ohio State’s running game was led by freshman breakout star J.K. Dobbins and sophomore Mike Weber. Both are back this fall to continue carrying the ball for Ohio State, which would have left Williams sitting no higher than third on the team’s depth chart.
Before attending Ohio State, Williams previously committed to UNC during his recruiting cycle. He switched his commitment status to Wisconsin before making one final switch to Ohio State.
Williams will have two years of eligibility after sitting out the 2018 season due to NCAA transfer rules. Williams will likely burn his unused redshirt season this fall to retain two years of eligibility at UNC.