Taking a quick-hit look at the Dec. 19 bowl menu, which, after the “opening weekend” buffet of five bowl games, is more like a snack than anything remotely resembling a meal. This one, though, features the Lane Train rolling into the postseason station.
WHO: Akron (7-6) vs. Florida Atlantic (10-3)
WHAT: The 4th Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl
WHERE: FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, Florida
WHEN: 7 p.m. ET on ESPN
THE SKINNY: This game is easily, in the minds of the wagering establishment at least, the biggest mismatch of bowl season, one of just three games — UCF (+10) vs. Auburn, Peach Bowl; Southern Miss (+16) vs. Florida State, Independence Bowl — remaining on the postseason schedule that features double-digit point spreads. In his first season with the Owls, Lane Kiffin has the Owls sitting at 10-3 and winners of nine in a row, including nine in a row for one of the longest winning streaks in the country. FAU also features the No. 9 scoring offense in the nation (39.8 ppg) and is 14th in total offense (508.6 ypg). Akron, meanwhile, is tied for 60th in scoring defense (26.3 ppg) and gives up 432.2 yards per game, 98th overall at this level. Oh, and did we mention that the Owls will be playing in the comfy confines of their home stadium, where they are 6-1 this season and winners of six straight? The Zips did qualify for the MAC championship game, which they promptly dropped by 17 to Toledo. This game has all the making of a lopsided affair, with anything other than that, especially a Zips win, marking a monumental upset. History doesn’t appear to be on the Midwestern squad’s side, either, as each of the first three Boca Raton Bowls by at least 15 points. So, maybe we’re due for a close one — or even an upset? Nah, never mind.
THE LINE: Akron, +23½
THE PREDICTION: Florida Atlantic 51, Akron 17
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.
This one seemingly comes from out of nowhere.
The starting quarterback for Lane Kiffin‘s resurgent FAU program for most of 2017, Jason Driskel was hoping again to trigger one of the most potent offenses in the country in 2018. Instead, Driskel announced on his personal Twitter account that he is retiring from the sport.
“After a lot of thinking, talking with friends and family, and prayer, I have made the decision to end my college football career,” Driskel, who has one year of eligibility remaining, wrote in the social media missive. “I undoubtedly will miss my teammates and the game with all of its trials and tribulations; but I will not regret the decision to move into the next chapter of my life.”
After going 1-2 the first three games of the 2017 season, Lane Kiffin benched starter Daniel Parr and inserted Driskel. After losing his first start at Buffalo, Driskel proceeded to help lead the Owls to 10 straight wins to close out the regular season with a school-record 11 wins. FAU won the Conference USA championship and also claimed the program’s first bowl win since 2008 for good measure.
Driskel passed for 2,247 yards, five touchdowns and just four interceptions in what turned out to be his last season at the school. He was also third on the Owls with 427 yards rushing, while his eight rushing touchdowns were second on the team.
With Driskel out, a pair of transfers, Florida State’s De'Andre Johnson and Oklahoma’s Chris Robinson, will likely battle for the starting job beginning in the spring. Even if he hadn’t retired, Driskel would’ve had to beat out that duo for the starting job, his head coach confirmed after the Boca Raton Bowl rout of Akron.
Tragedy has struck at the heart of the Kansas State football program.
According to the Manhattan Mercury, 22-year-old Matthew Snyder died Wednesday in Manhattan. Snyder is the grandson of legendary K-State head coach Bill Snyder and the son of longtime Wildcats assistant Sean Snyder.
Scant details surrounding the younger Snyder’s death have been released. From the Mercury‘s report:
Emergency personnel responded to a medical call Wednesday afternoon in the 3300 block of Claflin Avenue in Manhattan. Riley County police confirmed that there had been a death but declined to give any further information.
The house at 3309 Claflin Ave. belongs to KTMW LLC, which is owned by Sean and Wanda Snyder, according to county records.
The football program is expected to release a statement or statements on Matthew Snyder’s passing later on Thursday.
Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to those affected by the young man’s death.
Wednesday evening, Jeff George Jr. announced that he was leaving the Illinois football program as a graduate transfer. A short time later, another of his fellow Fighting Illini quarterbacks confirmed his exit as well — albeit with a twist.
On his personal Twitter account, Chayce Crouch announced that not only is he leaving the Illini but he’s leaving the sport, period. “I don’t think there’s anything left to give,” the redshirt junior wrote. “I have decided to hang up the cleats and end my career as a Fighting Illini.
“At this point in my life, this is what is best for me.”
Crouch started the first four games of the 2017 season before being benched in favor of George Jr. in early October; he started another game later on in the year. The Ohio native finishes his collegiate career completing 78 of his 157 passes for 852 yards, four touchdowns and six interceptions. He also ran for 360 yards and another four touchdowns on 108 carries.
With the departures of Crouch and George, rising sophomore Cam Thomas is the only scholarship quarterback currently on the Illini’s roster. A three-star recruit signed last December, MJ Rivers, won’t enroll until the summer. There’s also the possibility of adding another recruit during the “usual” February signing period, and there’s also the possibility (probability?) that a graduate transfer at the position will be added as well.