New Mexico State Aggies

ANNAPOLIS, MD - NOVEMBER 14: Sean Reaver #99 of the Navy Midshipmen and teammates run onto the field holding U.S. flags before playing against the Southern Methodist Mustangs at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on November 14, 2015 in Annapolis, Maryland. The Navy Midshipmen won, 55-14. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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Provisional plans in place in case Navy, ahem, wreaks bowl havoc

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As un-American as it is, there are numerous individuals associated with the bowl process, including bowl officials and affected schools, who will be rooting for Navy to lose later on today.

Why? Because if the service academy beats Temple in the AAC championship game, it was initially thought, a portion of the bowl process could be paralyzed as Navy would be in line for the Group of Five’s New Year’s Six bid but still has its annual rivalry game with Army to play next weekend. A handful of bids would likely be delayed for another seven days, potentially putting some teams in a predicament where they would have as little as a 72-hour turnaround from learning where they will play in the postseason to actually playing in the game.

However, Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com reports, a provisional plan has been hatched that would allow 37 of the 40 bowl bids to be announced Sunday as planned regardless of what happens in the AAC title game this afternoon. The plan is based on four teams in particular winning this weekend, with one of the four, Washington, taking care of business Friday night by beating Colorado in the Pac-12 championship game.

The other teams that need to win? No. 3 Clemson (in ACC title game vs. Virginia Tech), 5-6 Louisiana-Lafayette (at 4-7 Louisiana-Monroe) and 5-6 South Alabama (vs. 3-8 New Mexico State). If those three teams win, McMurphy reports, this is what would transpire when it comes to the remaining three bowl games that wouldn’t be able to offer bids this weekend:

Navy is the highest-ranked Group of 5 champion
Navy goes to the Cotton Bowl, Western Michigan plays North Texas in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, and Army plays a Big 12 team, most likely Baylor, in the Armed Forces Bowl.

Western Michigan is the highest-ranked Group of 5 champion
Western Michigan goes to the Cotton Bowl, Army plays North Texas in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, and Navy plays a Big 12 team, most likely Baylor, in the Armed Forces Bowl.

That said, it’s still possible this tentative plan could be blown to smithereens and the postseason hurled into temporary chaos.

However, bowl officials stressed that those scenarios get blown up if more than three 5-7 teams are needed to fill bowls or there are major upsets in the Power 5 championship games.

“If so,” a source said, “then we’ll have to reshuffle the cards again.

The Group of Six bid, the Cotton Bowl, will come down to either No. 19 Navy or No. 17 Western Michigan, which remained unbeaten with a win in the MAC championship game Friday night.

Lamar Jackson, Jabrill Peppers headline list of major awards finalists

ANN ARBOR, MI - OCTOBER 22: Jabrill Peppers #5 of the Michigan Wolverines signals a teammate while playing the Illinois Fighting Illini on October 22, 2016 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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The college football version of the Oscars are coming, and the nominees were just announced. The National College Football Awards Association, basically every major award south of the Heisman, jointly dropped its finalists on Monday evening.

Winners will be unveiled at the annual Home Depot College Football Awards show set to air from the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta on Thursday, Dec. 8 (7 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Let’s get right to them.

Chuck Bednarik Award (best defensive player)
– Jonathan Allen, Alabama
– Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
– Jabrill Peppers, Michigan

Biletnikoff Award (best wide receiver)
Austin Carr, Northwestern
– Zay Jones, East Carolina
Dede Westbrook, Oklahoma

Butkus Award (best linebacker)
– Kendall Beckwith (LSU)
– Zach Cunningham (Vanderbilt)
– Jarrad Davis (Florida)
– Rueben Foster (Alabama)
– Josey Jewell (Iowa)

Lou Groza Award (best kicker)
– Daniel Carlson, Auburn
– Zane Gonzalez, Arizona State
– Younghoe Koo, Georgia Southern

Ray Guy Award (best punter)
– Micheal Dickson, Texas
– Cameron Johnston, Ohio State
– Mitch Wishnowsky, Utah

Mackey Award (best tight end)
Jake Butt (Michigan)
O.J. Howard (Alabama)
Jordan Leggett (Clemson)

Maxwell Award (best player)
– Lamar Jackson, Louisville
– Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
– Jabrill Peppers, Michigan

Davey O’Brien Award (best quarterback)
– Lamar Jackson, Louisville
– Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
– Deshaun Watson, Clemson

Outland Trophy (best interior lineman)
– Pat Elflein, Ohio State
– Cody O’Connell, Washington State
– Cam Robinson, Alabama

Jim Thorpe Award (best defensive back)
Dalvin Cook, Florida State
– D’Onta Foreman, Texas
Donnel Pumphrey, San Diego State

Wuerffel Trophy (best community servant)
Christian McCaffrey (Stanford)
– Trevor Knight (Texas A&M)
– Garrett Adcock (New Mexico State)

The Home Depot awards show will also recognize the Home Depot Coach of the Year, the NCFAA Contributions to College Football Award, the Disney Spirit Award (already awarded to Pittsburgh’s James Conner), the William V. Campbell Trophy (to be awarded two nights prior at the National Football Foundation dinner in New York), the Allstate Good Works Team and the Walter Camp All-America team.

 

No major injuries as one Texas State team bus rear-ends another

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - SEPTEMBER 17:  Head Coach Everett Withers of the Texas State Bobcats on the sidelines during the first half of a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Razorback Stadium on September 17, 2016 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
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It appears that one FBS football program has averted what could’ve been a significant tragedy.

According to the San Marcos Daily Record, one of Texas State’s team buses rear-ended another while the Bobcats were en route to their game against New Mexico State in Las Cruces.  While it was initially feared that some of the injuries were significant, it was subsequently determined that there were no life-threatening injuries were involved.

Five people were transported to the hospital for further evaluation.  None of those injured were players or coaches, and the conditions of those that were involved is unknown at this time.

The El Paso Times reports that the accident was causing significant traffic backups on I-10 East in Vinton, Tex., near the New Mexico border.

The Daily Record writes that “players and coaches were loaded on a replacement bus and are headed toward the stadium.” Because of the accident, the game originally scheduled to kickoff at 4 p.m. ET has been pushed back to 5:15.

Both the Bobcats and Aggies will enter this afternoon’s game at 2-7.  The former will be looking for its first Sun Belt win of the season as well as end a seven-game conference losing streak.

Eastern Michigan (likely) bowling for first time since 1987

BATON ROUGE, LA - OCTOBER 03:  Head coach Chris Creighton of the Eastern Michigan Eagles watches from the sideline during the game against the LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium on October 3, 2015 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
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There’s some partying going on in Ypsilanti, and for good reason. And, no, it has absolutely nothing to do with the historical results of the presidential election.

Down 21-0 in the first quarter, Eastern Michigan outscored Ball State 48-20 the rest of the way to lock down its sixth win of the season versus four losses. The 21-point comeback tied the largest deficit overcome by an Eagles team in program history.

Brogan Roback threw for a career-high 468 yards in the win, the fourth straight game in which he’s thrown for 300-plus yards.  The junior had entered the 2016 season with just one such game in his career.

Roback, who also contributed four touchdowns (three passing, one rushing), was part of an offense that stuffed a season-high 622 yards into the box score.  That offensive explosion helped propel the Eagles to a historic night.

With six wins, EMU is now bowl-eligible for the first time since the 1995 season.  The Eagles didn’t go bowling that season, leaving 1987 and the California Bowl as the football program’s lone bowl game prior to this year.  It’s all but guaranteed that the Eagles will go to a bowl game in 2016 — but not fully guaranteed, as EMU’s head coach made sure to note in the postgame.

“I know we are bowl-eligible, but that does not mean we are bowl-guaranteed,” Chris Creighton said in quotes distributed by the school. “We still have lots of work to do and much to improve on. Our goal has always been to be bowl-eligible, so we are moving closer to that each game.

“I know this isn’t the best step or the guaranteed step into this goal, but it was a monster step forward for us tonight. Winning away from home, and winning a conference game, I am very proud of what we accomplished tonight.”

New Mexico State still holds the ignominious honor of the longest bowl drought in the FBS at 55 straight seasons heading into 2016.  The Aggies’ last postseason appearance came in the 1960 Sun Bowl.  At 2-6 this season, NMSU would need to win its final four games to snap that streak.

PJ Fleck tells Cubs to Row the Boat, and a brief look at longest conference title droughts in college football

EVANSTON, IL- SEPTEMBER 03: P.J. Fleck head coach of the Western Michigan Broncos reacts after his teams win against the Northwestern Wildcats on September 3, 2016 at Ryan Field in Evanston, Illinois. the Western Michigan Broncos won 22-21. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
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The World Series gets underway tonight in Cleveland. The Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs are each looking to bring an end to a championship drought that dates back over 70 years. The Cubs are playing in their first World Series since 1945. The Indians have been back to the Fall Classic a small handful of times since last winning a World Series in 1948. There are three college football programs from the Power Five that have similar droughts they continue to look to end, as far as a conference championship is concerned.

No team has waited as long to win a conference title than Iowa State, who last saw a conference championship in 1912. That came in the old Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association. That conference would pave the path to the old Big Eight Conference, which of course later merged with departing members from the Southwest Conference. As the conference has evolved, Iowa State has struggled to compete for a conference crown.

The only two conference championship droughts comparable to the current droughts of the Cubs and Indians reside in the SEC. Mississippi State has not won a conference championship since 1941 (SEC), and Vanderbilt has to go all the way back to 1923 for its last conference title (Southern Conference). Playing in the same conference as college football powers like Alabama, LSU, Florida, Tennessee and Georgia over the years has not allowed for much opportunity for either SEC program, and that likely will remain the case for many years to come.

While not quite as long of a wait, Western Michigan looks to be on track to snapping their conference championship drought that goes back to 1988. The Broncos are undefeated and have a favorable schedule the rest of the way, aside from a regular season finale against Toledo. Western Michigan head coach PJ Fleck gave the Cubs a pep talk during a stop on SportsCenter this morning.

Row the boat, Cubs (or Indians, depending on your rooting interests)!

Longest Conference Title Droughts By Conference

ACC: North Carolina State (1979)

Big 12: Iowa State (1912)

Big Ten: Minnesota (1967)

Pac-12: Arizona (1993)

SEC: Vanderbilt (1923)

American: Temple (1967)

Conference USA: Rice (1994)

MAC: Ohio (1968)

Mountain West Conference: New Mexico (1964)

Sun Belt Conference: New Mexico State (1978)