Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

New Years Six lineup: Ohio State vs. USC, Penn State vs. Washington, Miami vs. Wisconsin, UCF vs. Auburn


Now that the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl matchups are set in stone for this season’s College Football Playoff, let’s take a look at the other games in the New Years Six lineup. This year’s field includes the champions from the Big Ten, Pac-12 and the American Athletic Conference. It also includes two additional teams from the Big Ten spread out among the bowl lineup after the conference was left out of the playoff for the first time.

COTTON BOWL: No. 5 Ohio State vs. No. 8 USC (December 29, 8:30 p.m. ET)

With the Rose Bowl serving as a host site for a College Football Playoff semifinal (Clemson vs. Alabama), the Cotton Bowl will serve as a Texas Rose Bowl this year with a matchup between the Pac-12 champions (USC) and Big Ten champions (Ohio State). From a historical perspective, this is a fantastic matchup, and one worthy of a prime bowl matchup. This game likely would have been played in the Fiesta Bowl but it would have been a third straight trip to the game for Ohio State, which reportedly led to the Fiesta Bowl in need of some fresh faces. Speaking of which…

FIESTA BOWL: No. 9 Penn State vs. No. 11 Washington (December 30, 4 p.m. ET)

The Nittany Lions are heading back to the Fiesta Bowl for a game against Washington. Washington’s defense against Penn State’s offense should be a great matchup, even with Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead moving to Mississippi State to be the head coach. This should also help settle some scores from last year’s playoff debate. Washington was selected with the No. 4 seed in last year’s College Football Playoff, sending No. 5 Penn State to the Rose Bowl.

ORANGE BOWL: No. 6 Wisconsin vs. No. 10 Miami (December 30, 8 p.m. ET)

The Orange Bowl was one of the easiest matchups in the New Years Six to figure out. The game is contracted to have one team from the ACC and the highest-ranked team available from the pool of Big Ten and SEC teams without a conference championship. With Clemson in the playoff, the Orange Bowl was locked into getting the conference runner-up, Miami. And because the Orange Bowl could not get Ohio State, the Big Ten champion, for a rematch of a past BCS national championship game, that left the Orange Bowl with Wisconsin as the No. 6 team in the ranking.

PEACH BOWL: No. 7 Auburn vs. No. 12 UCF (January 1, 12:30 p.m. ET)

As the highest-ranked Group of Five conference champion, UCF was guaranteed a spot in the New Years Six. They will face Auburn, who will return to Atlanta for a second-straight game after losing the SEC Championship Game. Nebraska head coach Scott Frost has said he will coach UCF in the bowl game, which could add some good recruiting sales pitches to his arsenal if he can advertise beating an SEC team as he moves to the Big Ten.

Head coach Mike Sanford assumes Western Kentucky play-calling duties

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Mike Sanford is getting back to the roots that helped him land his first head-coaching job in the first place.

Last season, Junior Adams served as the offensive coordinator at Western Kentucky in addition to his duties as wide receivers coach.  While he will maintain those continue carrying those titles in 2018, the Bowling Green Daily News reports, Sanford will take over as the game-day play-caller.  Prior to coming to WKU, Sanford was the coordinator at both Notre Dame (2015-16) and Boise State (2-14).

Last season, the Hilltoppers were 89th nationally and 10th in Conference USA in scoring at 25.5 points per game.

In addition to Sanford taking over as the primary play-caller, the school also noted on its official website that “Sanford intends to take a more hands-on approach to the quarterbacks this season and will be aided with the addition of Matthew Mitchell as quarterbacks coach.”  Last season, Mitchell was an offensive graduate assistant for the Hilltoppers.

The need for a new quarterbacks coach arose after Steve Spurrier Jr. left in February for a job at Washington State.

Cal confirms addition of Michigan transfer Moe Ways

Getty Images
Leave a comment

A day after it was announced on social media, Cal has officially added a Power Five transfer.

Sunday, Maurice “Moe” Ways revealed on Instagram that he would be transferring from Michigan to Cal.  Monday evening, the Golden Bears announced that the wide receiver has signed a financial aid agreement with the university and will play for the football team in 2018.

Ways will be coming to Berkeley from Ann Arbor as a graduate transfer.  The upcoming season will be his final year of eligibility.

In addition to the, uh, addition of Ways, Cal also announced that junior college outside linebacker Deon White has also been added to the roster.

“We are excited that Maurice and Deon are joining our program,” head coach Justin Wilcox said in a statement. “Both have tremendous upsides and with their skill sets we feel that they will help us immediately.”

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.

Report: Former NC State QB Jalan McClendon Baylor-bound as graduate transfer

Getty Images
Leave a comment

When Ryan Finley announced he would put off the NFL Draft in order to spend his senior season at NC State, Jalan McClendon announced he would not spend his own senior year backing up Finley.

Now we reportedly know where McClendon will spend his final season.

According to Yahoo‘s Pete Thamel, McClendon will pursue a graduate transfer to Baylor.

A Charlotte native, McClendon appeared in 21 career games as a Wolfpack. He completed 26-of-47 passes (55.3 percent) for 262 yards with one touchdown against four interceptions while rushing 40 times for 156 yards and two touchdowns.

At Baylor, McClendon will step into a depth chart with a hole left by a transfer of its own. The Bears spent 2017 juggling their QB1 spot between Arizona graduate transfer Anu Solomon, sophomore Zach Smith and freshman Charlie Brewer. Solomon graduated and Smith has transferred to Tulsa, meaning McClendon will have to compete with the rising sophomore and brother of former Texas Tech and Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Brewer. The younger Brewer was Baylor’s best signal caller in a downtrodden ’17 campaign, hitting 139-of-204 passes (68.1 percent) for 1,562 yards with 11 touchdowns against four interceptions.

American, ACC announce officiating alliance

Getty Images
1 Comment

The ACC and the American have struck a deal for a football officiating alliance, the American announced Monday. The new program will see the two conferences cooperate on all things officiating, from training to scheduling to evaluation.

With the move, the ACC’s Dennis Hennigan will oversee the alliance, while the American’s Terry McAulay will step down as the league’s coordinator of football officiating and the American will hire a new supervisor of football officials.

“We are excited to partner with the ACC regarding the administration of our football officiating program,” AAC commissioner Mike Aresco said in a statement. “This alliance will provide both conferences with a deep roster of the best college football officials and will provide for greater efficiency and consistency in the training and evaluation of officials as well as enhanced opportunities for the recruitment of officials. We look forward to working with Dennis Hennigan, who was regarded as one of the top on-field officials in college football and has since become a leader on the administrative side. I also want to thank Commissioner John Swofford for his cooperation in reaching this mutually beneficial arrangement.”

The new alliance means ACC officials could oversee a Tulane-Tulsa game, while AAC officials would work a Clemson-Georgia Tech game. The ACC-AAC Alliance will go into effect for the 2018 season.