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Finalists announced for a number of individual awards

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The final week of the regular season is upon us. Heck, some teams still have two games to play between now and bowl season. Still, it’s awards season in college football, and the petty matter of actual games won’t get in the way of the pageantry.

Let’s dive right in.

Bednarik Award (best defensive player)
Bradley Chubb, NC State
Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
Roquan Smith, Georgia

Biletnikoff Award (best wide receiver)
Michael Gallup, Colorado State
David Sills V, West Virginia
James Washington, Oklahoma State

Bronko Nagurski Trophy (best defensive player)
Bradley Chubb, NC State
Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
Josey Jewell, Iowa
Ed Oliver, Houston
Roquan Smith, Georgia

Butkus Award (best linebacker)
Devin Bush, Michigan
Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech
T.J. Edwards, Wisconsin
Dorian O’Daniel, Clemson
Roquan Smith, Georgia

Davey O’Brien Award (best quarterback)
J.T. Barrett, Ohio State
Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State

Doak Walker Award (best running back)
Saquon Barkley, Penn State
Bryce Love, Stanford
Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin

Jim Thorpe Award (best defensive back)
DeShon Elliott, Texas
Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
Josh Jackson, Iowa

John Mackey Award (best tight end)
Mark Andrews, Oklahoma
Troy Fumagalli, Wisconsin
Mike Geisicki, Penn State

Lou Groza Award (best kicker)
Daniel Carlson, Auburn
Dominik Eberle, Utah State
Matt Gay, Utah

Maxwell Award (best overall player)
Saquon Barkley, Penn State
Bryce Love, Stanford
Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

Outland Trophy (best interior player)
Orlando Brown, Oklahoma
Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame
Ed Oliver, Houston

Ray Guy Award (best punter)
Michael Dickson, Texas
J.K. Scott, Alabama
Mitch Wishnowsky, Utah

Wuerffel Trophy (best community servant)
Blaise Taylor, Arkansas State
Courtney Love, Kentucky
Drue Tranquill, Notre Dame

Winners will be announced at the Home Depot College Football Awards show in Atlanta, Thursday, Dec. 7 on ESPN.

Texas officials “will frown” on possible bowl game with Texas A&M

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It’s rivalry week in college football, which means we once again must address the lost series between the Texas Longhorns and Texas A&M Aggies. When Texas A&M moved from the Big 12 to the SEC, a rivalry on the field was killed off, but the rivalry still lives on between power players on both sides and the topic of conversation has never died down between the two programs and their fans. And as much as people on both sides will sometimes argue they don’t need the other, we all know it would be great to see the Longhorns and Aggies take the field once again.

With the season winding down and Texas and Texas A&M each heading to not-so-glamorous bowl destinations, the possibility of a Texas Bowl for the ages has been popping up to some degree. A Texas Bowl featuring Texas and Texas A&M would make for the best Texas Bowl in the history of the bowl game, but one Texas beta reporter suggests that would not be a welcomed bowl pairing for some Texas officials.

Big surprise.

Texas officials have always seemed wary of reviving the series with Texas A&M, which makes sense from the Texas point of view. To Longhorn officials, a rivalry with Texas A&M does more to help those in College Station than it does in Austin. There is some elitism in that line of thinking, but there is also some truth to that as well. But that is the risk of an in-state rivalry for any program in the country.

As a fan from a neutral point of view, I can say the day Texas and Texas A&M work out an arrangement to play football against each other again will be a proud day for the sport of college football. It would be a shame to see it have to happen through a bowl game on a neutral field, but if that’s what it takes to make it happen, so be it. Other than the Cotton Bowl, which is not an option this year, the Texas Bowl in Houston would be a pretty good spot to make it happen.

2017 College Football Bowl Projections after Week 12

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Sad as it is to say but we’ve got only one week left in the regular season for nearly everybody in the Power Five conferences and are just two weeks out from the all important Selection Sunday. The College Football Playoff race has turned into a modified eight team playoff with all of the conference title games going on and the continued jockeying for a New Year’s Six bid and other major bowl berths is filtering down to teams far and wide.

With all that in mind, CFTalk decided to peer into our crystal ball and take a look at the postseason picture — figuring out which teams wind up in certain bowl games prior to the official announcement. Running through all the scenarios, here’s how the bowl picture could play out from the final four to the very first one on December 16th:

College Football Playoff

Bowl Teams
Rose Bowl No. 2 Clemson No. 3 Oklahoma
Sugar Bowl No. 1 Alabama No. 4 Ohio State

New Year’s Six

Bowl Teams
Peach Bowl UCF TCU
Fiesta Bowl USC Wisconsin
Orange Bowl Miami Georgia
Cotton Bowl Notre Dame Penn State

2016 FBS Bowl Games

Bowl Teams
New Mexico Bowl Colorado State North Texas
Las Vegas Bowl Oregon Boise State
Cure Bowl UTSA Georgia State
Camellia Bowl Arkansas State Akron
New Orleans Bowl Southern Miss Troy
Boca Raton Bowl Temple Marshall
Frisco Bowl Houston Central Michigan
Gasparilla Bowl USF Florida Atlantic
Bahamas Bowl Florida International Northern Illinois
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Wyoming Ohio
Birmingham Bowl La. Tech Memphis
Armed Forces Bowl Army* UAB
Dollar General Bowl Toledo App. State
Hawaii Bowl Fresno State SMU
Cactus Bowl Kansas State Utah
Quick Lane Bowl Western Michigan UNLV
Heart of Dallas Bowl Western Kentucky UCLA
Independence Bowl Florida State Arizona State
Pinstripe Bowl Boston College Purdue
Texas Bowl Iowa State Missouri
Foster Farms Bowl Stanford Iowa
Military Bowl Virginia Navy
Camping World Bowl Virginia Tech Oklahoma State
Alamo Bowl Texas Washington State
Holiday Bowl Washington San Diego State
Belk Bowl Wake Forest South Carolina
Sun Bowl Louisville Arizona
Music City Bowl Kentucky Northwestern
TaxSlayer Bowl N.C. State LSU
Liberty Bowl West Virginia Texas A&M
Arizona Bowl Utah State N.M. State
Outback Bowl Mississippi State Michigan
Citrus Bowl Michigan State Auburn

*Accepted bowl invite

WVU QB Will Grier reportedly out several weeks with broken finger

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If you saw it live, or even on replay, you could sense this was coming.

In the first quarter of Saturday’s loss to Texas, Will Grier dove toward the left pylon in an attempt to get West Virginia on the scoreboard.  What was initially thought to be a touchdown was instead determined to be a fumble out of the end zone resulting in a touchback, giving the ball back to UT.  That was the least-distressing development on the play as, somehow, Grier got up from a dive with a finger on his right (throwing) hand pointing in a direction God never intended.

Asa result of that gruesome injury, Grier has been ruled out for several weeks, ESPN.com reported.  The same website is also reporting that Grier flew to Charlotte after the game and is expected to have surgery in that city Sunday.

A WVU official told CFT that a determination on Grier’s availability for a bowl game will likely be determined by when the game is played, meaning an official decision isn’t expected until next weekend at the earliest.

Grier, who has one more season of eligibility remaining, came into Week 12 second in the country in touchdown passes with 34.  With the Florida transfer sidelined for the foreseeable future, sophomore Chris Chugunov will get the start against fourth-ranked Oklahoma in the regular-season finale next Saturday.

After replacing Grier, Chugunov completed 14-of-26 passes for 189 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions in the 28-14 loss.

Oklahoma locks up one spot in Big 12 title game, TCU has inside track for the other

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After the Big 12 entered Week 12 somewhat convoluted, they exited with much more clarity.  Maybe.

First and foremost, Oklahoma, 7-1 in Big 12 play, assured itself of one of the two spots in the Big 12 championship game by virtue of a 41-3 pasting of hapless Kansas.  TCU, now 6-2, earned the inside track to the second spot thanks to a 27-3 win over Texas Tech in Lubbock Saturday afternoon.

That sets up a relatively simple scenario for Week 13: if TCU handles one-win Baylor at home, they will face Oklahoma in the inaugural renewal of the Big 12 championship game.  If not?  Matt Campbell‘s upstart squad has a chance, albeit a very slim one.

As it stands now*, there are currently four Big 12 teams with three conference losses — Iowa State (finishes against Kansas State), Oklahoma State (Kansas), Texas (Texas Tech) and West Virginia (Oklahoma).  OSU, Texas and WVU all lost to TCU, so they would be eliminated from contention even if TCU happened to stumble against BU.

While Iowa State beat TCU, they also lost to Texas, WVU and OSU.  Thus, in case of a three-way tie — or more — TCU would get the spot in the conference championship game based on wins over everyone but ISU amongst the group of teams in line for a potential tie for second place.  ISU, then, needs losses by all four of those teams plus a win over bowl-eligible K-State.

(*I believe these scenarios to be accurate, although I’ve reached out to the Big 12 for confirmation.)