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Georgia State wins first bowl game in school history

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Georgia State (7-5) won the first bowl game in school history on Saturday with a 27-17 victory over Western Kentucky (6-7) in the Autonation Cure Bowl in Orlando, Florida.

Conner Manning passed for 276 yards and a score and the Panthers racked up 419 yards of offense to overcome a big day through the air for Western Kentucky quarterback Mike White (251 yards, 2 TD). The Panthers pulled into the bag of tricks for an exclamation point touchdown in the fourth quarter. The Hilltoppers also had three turnovers in the game, making it difficult to scratch together a win.

The seven wins in the 2017 season set a new school record for most wins in a single season, eclipsing the six games won in the 2015 season. That season ended with a loss in the Cure Bowl. For Panthers head coach Shawn Elliott, it has been quite a ride in his brief head coaching career. Two years ago, Elliott was mired in a 1-5 run as the head coach at South Carolina after replacing Steve Spurrier. Now, in his first season as the head coach at Georgia State, he has delivered a bowl victory for the first time in program history.

This marks the first postseason bowl loss for Western Kentucky since joining Conference USA in 2014. The Hilltoppers had been riding a three-game winning streak in bowl games entering this season.

Western Kentucky’s 2018 season will kickoff on August 31 at Wisconsin. The Hilltoppers will also play a road game against Louisville on September 15. Georgia State will begin their season on August 30 at home against FCS opponent Kennesaw State.

CFT Previews: Your Dec. 16 Bowl Viewer’s Guide

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Taking a quick-hit look at the Dec. 16 bowl menu, which on opening weekend features five FBS bowl games as the 2017 postseason officially kicks off.  The featured teams include the first Power Five squad to make its 2017 postseason debut, the first Group of Five member ranked in the College Football Playoff Top 25 and one of the two Sun Belt Conference co-champions.

WHO: Troy (10-2) vs. North Texas (9-4)
WHAT: The 17th R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
WHERE: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, New Orleans, Louisiana
WHEN: 1 p.m. ET on ESPN
THE SKINNY: The first of three Conference USA-Sun Belt Conference tilts on the day kicks off opening weekend, and also marks the 10th-ever meeting between the two teams — the Trojans lead 8-2 — and the first in the postseason.  With a win, the Mean Green would reach double digits for the first time in the 65-year history of the program; the Trojans, meanwhile, have won 10 games in back-to-back seasons and would set its own school record by defeating the former SBC program.  One of those 10 wins for Troy came against LSU in Death Valley while one of the losses came on the road to Mountain West champion Boise State in the opener.  The other loss?  An inexplicable one to 4-8 South Alabama… at home, no less.  Three of UNT’s losses came to Florida Atlantic (twice, the second of which came in the conference championship game) and Iowa in Iowa City.  One data point of note: the Mean Green is 20th nationally in scoring offense at 35.9 points per game, the Trojans are 11th in the country in scoring defense at 17.5 points per game.  If defenses can win championships, they can also win bowl games.
THE LINE: North Texas, +6½
THE PREDICTION: Troy 34, North Texas 23

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WHO: Western Kentucky (6-6) vs. Georgia State (6-5)
WHAT: The 3rd AutoNation Cure Bowl
WHERE: Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida
WHEN: 2:30 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network
THE SKINNY: This is one of my favorite stats of the postseason: Georgia State is 5-1 on the road this season… and 1-4 at home.  As Orlando is nearly 450 miles from GSU’s Atlanta campus, the Panthers should feel right at home six hours away from home.  One thing that might make them feel a little queasy and a bit uneasy?  Mike White.  The senior quarterback from Western Kentucky has thrown for over 3,800 yards this season after putting up nearly 4,400 last year.  To make matters worse, GSU is 91st in the country in allowing 242.4 yards per game through the air.  In its fifth year of existence, the Panthers have never finished a season with a record above .500 — the closest they came was 6-7 in 2015 — something they could do with a win.  A loss, on the other, hand, would give the Hilltoppers their worst season since going 2-10 in 2010.  WKU had put up back-to-back 10-win seasons under Jeff Brohm, now at Purdue, before slipping in Mike Sanford‘s first year.  Neither team comes in on much of a winning roll, with WKU losing four of its last five while GSU lost its last two by a combined 38 points.  Both of those losses, of course, came at home.
THE LINE: Georgia State, +6½
THE PREDICTION: Western Kentucky 38, Georgia State 35

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WHO: No. 25 Boise State (10-3) vs. Oregon (7-5)
WHAT: The 26th Las Vegas Bowl
WHERE: Sam Boyd Stadium, Whitney, Nevada
WHEN: 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC
THE LINE: Boise State, +7½
For the remainder of an extended preview, click HERE.

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WHO: Marshall (7-5) vs. Colorado State (7-5)
WHAT: The 12th Gildan New Mexico Bowl
WHERE: Dreamstyle Stadium, Albuquerque, New Mexico
WHEN: 4:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
THE SKINNY: Pay attention, America, and introduce yourself, if you haven’t already, to one of the best wide receivers in the country that not enough people talk about.  Colorado State’s Michael Gallup is currently tied for third in the FBS with 94 receptions and fifth in receiving yards with 1,345.  Gallup is part of an offense that averages just north of 500 yards per game; Marshall, though, is stingy defensively, finishing the regular season second in Conference USA and 17th nationally by giving up 19.3 points per game.  If you’re a fan of streaks, here’s one: the Thundering Herd has won five straight bowl games, while the Rams have dropped three straight in the postseason.  CSU’s last win, though?  The 2013 New Mexico Bowl.  The two teams, which will be facing each other in football for the first time ever, come stumbling into this matchup as Marshall has lost four of five while Colorado State has dropped three of four.
THE LINE: Marshall, +5½
THE PREDICTION: Colorado State 44, Marshall 27

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WHO: Middle Tennessee State (6-6) vs. Arkansas State (7-4)
WHAT: The 4th Raycom Media Camellia Bowl
WHERE: Cramton Bowl, Montgomery, Alabama
WHEN: 8 p.m. ET on ESPN
THE SKINNY: The final Conference USA-Sun Belt matchup of the day, history suggests that the day’s nightcap could be the closest of the five played opening weekend.  Three Camellia Bowls have been played, with that trio of games being decided by a combined 10 points.  MTSU and ASU have met 12 times previously as members of the SBC, the last coming in 2012.  The Blue Raiders, who have lost four straight bowl games and haven’t won one since 2009, come into their matchup with their former conference rivals on a mini-roll with three wins in their last four to squeeze into a bowl slot.  The Red Wolves are playing in their seventh consecutive bowl game after playing in just one in the program’s history prior to the streak kicking off in 2011 under head coach Hugh Freeze.  After losses to Nebraska and SMU sandwiched between a win over an FCS team, ASU went 6-2 the rest of the way in nearly claiming at least a share of its third straight SBC championship and sixth in seven seasons.  Quarterback Brent Stockstill is expected to be back close to 100-percent health after battling injuries throughout the season, and MTSU’s late-season roll not so coincidentally coincided with his return.  In that vein, and while acknowledging ASU’s own threat at QB in Justice Hansen, Stockstill’s healthy presence should be enough to tip the scales in favor of the Blue Raiders’ hopes of snapping their bowl-win drought.
THE LINE: Middle Tennessee State, +3½
THE PREDICTION: Middle Tennessee State 41, Arkansas State 38

Virginia’s Micah Kiser claims prestigious ‘Academic Heisman’ trophy

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For the second time, Virginia is the home to one of the most prestigious academic honors in all of collegiate sports.

At the 60th annual National Football Foundation Awards Dinner in New York City Tuesday night, the William V. Campbell Trophy was presented to UVa. linebacker Micah Kiser. The Campbell Trophy, often referred to as the “Academic Heisman,” recognizes “an individual [who is] the absolute best in the country for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary community leadership.

Kiser is the 28th recipient of the Campbell Trophy.

“Micah Kiser’s exceptional accomplishments on and off the field rank him among the best student-athletes in the history of our sport, making him the ideal Campbell Trophy® recipient,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell in a statement. “He truly embodies the scholar-athlete ideal and we are proud to have him as a member of this elite fraternity. He stands as the perfect example for the next generation to emulate.”

Western Michigan quarterback Zach Terrell was the winner of the 2015 award.

Kiser was one of 13 finalists for this year’s award. Below are those baker’s dozen players, with their GPAs and majors for good measure:

Final 2017 College Football Bowl Projections

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Sad as it is to say, the 2017 college football campaign in on its last legs and is moving on to the final phase: the postseason. While it’s a bummer that we only have a handful of games left in the year, the excitement is also about to pick up even more because it means the chase for the national title is down to four in the College Football Playoff.

With all that in mind, CFTalk decided to peer into our crystal ball and take a look at the postseason picture one final time — figuring out which teams wind up in certain bowl games prior to the official announcements on Sunday afternoon. 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 Oklahoma* No. 3 Georgia*
Sugar Bowl No. 1 Clemson* No. 4 Alabama

New Year’s Six

Bowl Teams
Peach Bowl UCF* Notre Dame
Fiesta Bowl USC* Penn State
Orange Bowl Miami Wisconsin
Cotton Bowl Ohio State* Auburn

2017 FBS Bowl Games

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

+Accepted bowl invite

*Clinched New Year’s Six Bowl bid

Note: Buffalo, Middle Tennessee and Western Michigan also qualified for a bowl but were not selected

2017 College Football Bowl Projections after Week 13

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Thanksgiving weekend in college football brought plenty of turkey, gravy and an extra dose of chaos as the postseason picture in the sport was shaken up from coast-to-coast. No matter if you were looking at the College Football Playoff or trying to figure out the various conference races, chances are you saw a surprise outcome or two in Week 13 given the number of results that ranged from eye-opening to downright shocking.

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 Oklahoma No. 3 Auburn
Sugar Bowl No. 1 Clemson No. 4 Alabama

New Year’s Six

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

2016 FBS Bowl Games

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

*Accepted bowl invite

+ Buffalo, Middle Tennessee and UTSA also qualified for a bowl