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Texas A&M puts up a fight, but No. 1 Alabama just too much in the end


At this point in the season, the top of the SEC has been more or less established as Alabama and either Georgia or Auburn in some order trailing the Crimson Tide. Who might be the fourth-best team in the league though?

Based on Saturday night’s result, Texas A&M may very well lay claim to that spot.

Sure the Aggies lost to the No. 1 team in the country 27-19 but that slimmer-than-expected margin is pretty notable considering the Tide beat their past two conference foes by a combined 125-3. If Alabama is the measuring stick, A&M measured up pretty well for a young team in defeat all things considered.

After all, Nick Saban was bright red several times throughout the night as his juggernaut of a team looked fairly mortal, especially on offense. The Tide turned the ball over for the first time all season, trailed for 13 seconds early, allowed the Aggies’ famous 12th man to block a  J.K. Scott punt for safety and gave up a touchdown for the first time in three weeks. Were it not for two fumbles and a goal line interception by Minkah Fitzpatrick, it could have been a downright close call for the team on a day where one top three team already went down and another saw their quarterback hurt.

Quarterback Jalen Hurts did not have the sharpest of outings but still did plenty enough to capture the victory, throwing for 123 yards (one touchdown) and rushing for another 56 on the ground with a score as well. Damien Harris was the lead tailback and rightfully so, ripping off a 75-yard touchdown to take back the lead in the first quarter and finishing the game with 124 yards on just 14 carries.

On the other sideline, freshman quarterback Kellen Mond had his best game of the season when you factor in the competition. While he wasn’t quite Johnny Football in slaying a giant, he was pretty solid outside of two turnovers and finished with 237 yards passing and a touchdown while scrambling for another 14 yards and a score on a night where the running lanes were hard to come by.

In the end though, it was yet another Alabama victory as they stayed perfect on the season and won their 70th in a row to an unranked team. The biggest winner when all is said and done however, might just be Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin, who is as embattled as any coach in the country and just might have the second best team in the division after an effort like that.

Louisville and UCF line up future home-and-home series

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Former conference foes will be getting together for a reunion of sorts in 2021 and 2022. Louisville and UCF have agreed to a home-and-home series in those years.

Louisville will host UCF on Sept. 18, 2021. The Knights will host the Cardinals in the second game of the home-and-home scheduling agreement the following season on Sept. 17, 2022.

Louisville and UCF have met just once before, and it came as conference foes back in 2013. Blake Bortles and the Knights pulled an upset on the road against Charlie Strong and Teddy Bridgewater, 38-35, which gave the Knights the path to an American Athletic Conference championship in the first season of the conference’s existence. UCF went on to beat Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl and Louisville ended the year with a Sugar Bowl smackdown of the Florida Gators. After one year as conference foes, Louisville left the AAC to join the ACC and the two schools have not crossed paths since.

The addition of the UCF series will nearly complete Louisville’s nonconference schedule in both seasons with just one vacancy to fill each of those years. Louisville will open the 2021 season in Atlanta against Ole Miss. The Cardinals also continue their regular season rivalry with Kentucky of the SEC in each season. Louisville will also play South Florida in the 2022 season.

Despite the argument from the AAC that it is a power conference, the scheduling of UCF does not satisfy the ACC’s power conference scheduling requirement for its members unless an exception is made. Of course, Louisville playing Kentucky annually meets that requirement.

The addition of Louisville in 2021 and 2022 will ensure UCF will face at least one power conference opponent on an annual basis through 2025 as the future schedules currently show. UCF will play North Carolina and Pittsburgh this upcoming season, Stanford and Pittsburgh in 2019, North Carolina and Georgia Tech in 2020, Texas in 2023, and North Carolina in 2024 and 2025.

Transferring Michigan WR Maurice Ways lands at Cal

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Nearly four months after leaving Ann Arbor, Maurice Ways is set to settle in on the West Coast for the next step in his collegiate playing career.

On his Instagram account Sunday, Ways announced that he has decided to transfer to Cal.  On November 29 of last year, the wide receiver took to the same social media website to announce his transfer from the Michigan football program.

As a graduate transfer, Ways will be eligible to play for the Bears in 2018.  The upcoming season will be his final year of eligibility.

A three-star member of the Wolverines’ 2014 recruiting class, Ways was rated as the No. 8 player at any position in the state of Michigan.

In 25 career games, the former Detroit Country Day high schooler caught eight passes for 71 yards.  Ways started two of those contests, with both of those starts coming during his redshirt freshman season in 2015.

Central Michigan adds former Oregon State interim coach Cory Hall to staff

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After coaching the second half of the season for Oregon State in 2017, Cory Hall is now making his way to the MAC. Hall has officially been added to the Central Michigan coaching staff, where he will serve as the team’s secondary coach and defensive pass game coordinator.

“We brought Cory in, and he made a presentation to the defensive coaching staff,” CMU head coach John Bonamego said in a released statement. “(Defensive coordinator) Greg Colby and the rest of us were impressed with his preparation and what he had to say. “There is no doubt he is a high-energy coach, and he’s a great fit for our program.”

Hall was named the interim head coach at Oregon State midway through the 2017 season following the removal of Gary Andersen. According to The Oregonian, Hall did not interview with new Oregon State head coach Jonathan Smith to remain a part of the Beavers coaching staff in 2018.

Steven Montez throws 2 TDs, 2 INT in Colorado spring game

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Spring football practices concluded for the Colorado football program on Saturday with the playing of the annual spring game. Starting quarterback Steven Montez had his ups and downs with three total touchdowns and a pair of interceptions thrown in the scrimmage.

Montez led six and a half drives during the game, ending his day going 8-of-15 for 90 yards and two touchdown passes and two interceptions. He was also the leading rusher in the scrimmage with three carries for 43 yards. Co-offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini shrugged off the two picks by Montez after the game in a postgame interview.

“That’s going to happen, especially if we’re calling stuff that’s aggressive, it’s going to happen,” Chiaverini said. “What I like about him is he comes right back. It doesn’t bother him. Some guys get shy and won’t let it go. He comes right back in that two-minute drill and pulls the ball and runs for 60 yards. I like the fact that the kid loves to play football. That’s something you can’t teach kids. He loves to play, he loves to compete.”

Montez completed 609.5 percent of his passes in 2017 for 2,975 yards and 18 touchdowns with nine interceptions.

Colorado is coming off a 5-7 season, a year removed from playing for the Pac-12 championship in 2016. Colorado ended the 2017 season on a three-game losing streak to prevent the Buffs from being able to play in a bowl game at the end of the year.

Colorado estimates a total of about 4,500 fans attended the live scrimmage.