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Report: QB Nick Patti leaving Boise State

Nick Patti, Mark Nzeocha AP

Boise State’s quarterback depth took a hit on Tuesday when the Orlando Sentinel revealed that Nick Patti asked for and was granted a release from his scholarship so he can transfer to another school.

At 5-foot-10 and 200 pounds, Patti is an undersized passer with excellent mobility. He made the trek to Boise in 2012 after starring at Dr. Phillips High in Orlando and looked to be in the mold of past Bronco quarterbacks — scrappy and fearless, with a knack for making plays.

But Patti was embroiled in a stiff quarterback competition at Boise and wound up redshirting his first season. He played sparingly as a 2013 redshirt freshman, completing 8 of 11 passes for 63 yards and no touchdowns. A brief suspension before the Hawaii Bowl (he was later reinstated in time for the game) brought his freshman year to an ignominious end.

Patti will transfer immediately and will likely have to sit out the 2014 season. The Sentinel speculated that his destination could be hometown UCF now that Blake Bortles has moved on to the NFL.

As for Boise State, it was probably going to go with senior Grant Hedrick as its starter in 2014 anyway, but with Joe Southwick graduating and Patti transferring, that leaves freshman Ryan Finley as the only other scholarship quarterback on the roster. The Broncos will need to sign at least two quarterbacks this recruiting cycle if they want to avert a potential disaster in 2015.

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Oregon State beats Boise State for first bowl win since 2008

Sean Mannion AP

Sean Mannion threw for 259 yards and one touchdown and Oregon State (7-6) snapped a five-game losing streak with a 38-23 victory over Boise State (8-5) in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve night.

It was OSU’s first bowl win since beating Pittsburgh, 3-0, in the 1998 Sun Bowl.

The Beavers made quick work of the Broncos, jumping out to a 31-6 halftime lead thanks in large part to two fumble return touchdowns by cornerback Rashaad Reynolds.

Oregon State, which came in averaging just 86 yards rushing per game, accumulated 197 yards on the ground. Storm Woods got a game-high 107 of those yards on just 16 carries to notch his first 100-yard rushing game of the season.

Boise State had 537 total yards and made a solid attempt at a comeback, but couldn’t recover from the early deficit. Quarterback Grant Hedrick played well, throwing for 382 yards and one touchdown on 32 of 44 passing. Wide out Matt Miller caught 11 passes for 206 yards, but the Broncos were unable to convert those yards into points.

The loss capped a tumultuous month for Boise State. First Chris Petersen skipped town to take the head coaching job at Washington, then senior quarterback Joe Southwick was sent home for allegedly urinating off a balcony. New head coach Bryan Harsin will take over a team coming off its worst season since 1998. He’s got a lot of work to do, but the talent is in place for Boise State to once again dominate the Mountain West.

Meanwhile, Oregon State restored some of its pride after slumping horribly down the stretch this season. The Beavers will return Mannion, all of its leading rushers and most of its top receivers (assuming Brandin Cooks goes pro), so this win could act as a springboard to an even better 2014 in Corvallis.

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Sneak Peek: 2013 Sheraton Hawaii Bowl

Sean Mannion AP
WHO: 8-4 Boise State (MWC) vs. 6-6 Oregon State (Pac-12)

WHAT: Sheraton Hawaii Bowl (12th year)

WHERE: Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

WHEN: Dec. 24 at 8 p.m. ET

WHY: Boise State gets ready to play its first game without Chris Petersen on staff since the 2000 season. Things are already off to a shaky start as quarterback Joe Southwick has been suspended and sent home for a violation of team rules. Backup Grant Hedrick, a junior who has 1,443 yards and 15 touchdowns this season, will get the start in his place. The Broncos’ top weapon on offense is sophomore running back Jay Ajayi, who has 1,328 yards and 17 touchdowns. Assistant Bob Gregory is serving as the interim coach until Bryan Harsin takes over.

Boise will be hard-pressed to stop the dynamic OSU pass-catch duo of Sean Mannion and Brandin Cooks. Mannion threw for 4,403 yards and 36 touchdowns while Cooks won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top receiver thanks to 120 catches for 1,670 yards and 15 touchdowns.

This one will come down to which defense can at least hold its own. The Beavers, losers of five straight, have been porous this year, giving up an average of 32 points per game. Boise State has been better, allowing 23.8 per game, but the Broncos have been gashed when they’ve gone up against quality offenses this year. With all the turmoil going on in Boise, the advantage has to lie with the Beavers in this one.

PREDICTION: Oregon State 38, Boise State 31

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Boise State sends QB Joe Southwick home from Hawaii Bowl

Colorado State v Boise State Getty Images

Here’s a bit of a surprising news to get your weekend started. Boise State has sent quarterback Joe Southwick home from the Hawaii Bowl for a violation of team rules. Interim head coach Bob Gregory announced the news Friday afternoon during a press conference leading up to Tuesday’s Hawaii Bowl.

Southwick made a brief appearance in Boise State’s final home game of the season for senior day after missing playing time due to injury. On the depth chart heading in to the bowl game Southwick was listed back as a potential starter along with Grant Hedrick. According to Brian Murphy of the Idaho Statesman, Nick Patti has been reinstated by the team after serving a brief suspension. Expect Hedrick to get the start for the Broncos with Patti serving as the back-up. Both Southwick and Patti were suspended for some disciplinary reason, although the details and specifics are unknown.

For Southwick, this will close the books on his collegiate career as a quarterback at Boise State. The senior certainly is going out on a low note of course, and despite a promising season out of the gate the injury derailed a potential run to the Mountain West Conference championship game.

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BYU goes bowling, clinches Fight Hunger Bowl bid with Boise State win

Ross Apo AP

For the first time in program history, BYU defeated Boise State. The Cougars topped the Broncos by a score of 37-20 Friday night in Provo. Taysom Hill passed for 339 yards, three touchdowns and rushed for 69 yards and another touchdown in the victory. With the win, BYU automatically qualifies to fill their previously arranged spot in the Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco, so BYU is the first team to officially be going bowling this season.

BYU was in control from start to finish in this game, taking advantage of a more talented and deeper roster than a Boise State team that is in a bit of a rebuilding mode. BYU has put together some impressive wins this season and that is worth recalling. Aside from their blowout win over Texas and how they played against Boise State, BYU has played well in victories over Utah State (without Chuckie Keeton), Georgia Tech and previously undefeated Houston. If not for a the horrendous weather conditions in the season opener against Virginia, BYU has looked the part of a program worthy of consideration for a BCS at-large, in the same boat as Fresno State and Northern Illinois. You could even make an argument BYU has put together a better profile than Fresno State or Northern Illinois, but if nothing else we know BYU will be playing in the Fight Hunger Bowl. BYU will take on a team from the Pac 12 in the San Francisco-based bowl game played in the home of baseball’s San Francisco Giants.

Boise State is certainly not the same program they were in recent years. In addition to being without injured starting quarterback Joe Southwick, the Broncos lack the same kind of defensive talent they had during their BCS runs in recent seasons. Fortunately for the Broncos, the loss to BYU means nothing for the fate of this season. Boise State will still be sitting at the top of the Mountain West Conference’s Mountain Division after Saturday’s college football action, and the Broncos will still be in control of their potential path to a conference championship game. Having already lost two games this season, any shot at a BCS spot was lost a while ago, but a chance to play for the conference championship is still their’s to lose in their division.

Boise State’s Dillon Lukehart was ejected for a hit on BYU’s Cody Hoffman on a catch that looked like it would be good for a touchdown. But the hit jarred the football loose and a video review upheld the ejection. Because there was helmet to helmet contact, there was little to dispute with this particular targeting call. With the ejection taking place in the second half of the game, Lukehart will have to sit out the first half of Boise State’s game next week at Colorado State.

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BYU taking advantage of Boise State’s flaws for 24-3 halftime lead

JD Falslev, Taysom Hill AP

In a battle of 5-2 teams, BYU is on pace to get to six wins by the end of the night while Boise State is really struggling to play on the same field as the Cougars. BYU is leading Boise State at halftime, 24-3

BYU has 376 yards of offense at the half, compared to 203 yards for the Broncos. BYU quarterback Taysom Hill has completed 21 of 28 pas attempts for 253 yards and two touchdowns. Hill also has rushed for a team-high 53 yards, including 20 yards on a touchdown run to open the game’s scoring. The Cougars have been keeping Boise State’s back-up quarterback Grant Hedrick in check. Hedrick, filling in for an injured Joe Southwick, has 120 passing yards at the half but is averaging just 5.5 yards per attempt.

Boise State’s offense has turned the football over on downs twice and the Broncos have punted three times. After BYU took a 17-3 lead with 3:45 to play in the half, Boise State lost a fumble four plays later to set BYU up for one more score before the half.

There was a scary moment in the second quarter when senior BYU defensive back Daniel Sorensen remained on the ground for several minutes after making a tackle along the Boise State sideline. Replays showed his head may have been hit by a Boise State player’s knee but he was able to walk off the field with the help of some trainers. He immediately was taken to the locker room under his own power. Sorensen is BYU’s fourth-leading tackler this season.

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Boise State QB Joe Southwick breaks ankle in win

Joe Southwick AP

Boise State scored a nice Mountain West Conference victory Saturday night, but quarterback Joe Southwick suffered a broken ankle that will keep him out of action for an undetermined amount of time. Boise State defeated Nevada, 34-17.

Southwick suffered the broken ankle on Boise State’s first offensive snap of the game. Southwick rushed for a seven-yard gain before being tackled by Nevada’s Jonathan McNeal. Grant Hedrick took over from there. After the game, Boise State head coach Chris Petersen said only that Southwick broke his ankle and is out for a while.

Hedrick managed to run the offense just fine for the Broncos. He was efficient and accurate with his pass selections, completing 18 of 21 attempts for 150 yards and used his legs to open thigns up with 115 rushing yards and two touchdown runs. Running back Jay Ajayi also stepped up to carry the offense with 222 rushing yards and three touchdowns. On this night, the running game was able to carry Boise State to a victory. If Southwick is going to miss some significant time though, they may need a few big plays from the arm of Hedrick.

Boise State remains in first place in the Mountain West Conference’s West Division but has some challenges ahead of them before thinking about a potential rematch with Fresno State in the conference championship game. Next up will be a non-conference game on the road against BYU next Friday night.

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Boyd, Murray, McCarron on updated Golden Arm Award watch list

Alabama v Texas A&M Getty Images

Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, Alabama’s AJ McCarron and Clemson’s Tajh Boyd remain the most recognizable names on the watch list for the 2013 Golden Arm Award, presented to the top senior quarterback in college football by the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm educational Foundation. In all, 15 players were announced as finalists for the quarterback award, trimming the initial watch list down from 30 players.

The SEC has four players still up for the award, with Murray and McCarron joined by Missouri’s James Franklin and South Carolina’s Connor Shaw. Franklin’s injury suffered in a win at Georgia this past weekend will likely keep him out of the running for the award moving forward.

The Pac 12 has with Arizona State’s Taylor Kelly, Oregon State’s Sean Mannion and Washington’s Keith Price still on the list. Mannion was this past weekend’s top Golden Arm Award performer among those on the original 30-player watch list. He currently leads the nation in passing yards and touchdown passes and is the only quarterback in the country averaging 400 yards per game.

The ACC has two quarterbacks on the updated list, with Boyd accompanied by Miami’s Stephen Morris. There are no quarterbacks from the Big 12 or Big Ten that made the cut.

Here is a look at the updated Golden Arm Award watch list.

  • Blake Bortles, UCF
  • Tajh Boyd, Clemson
  • Derek Carr, Fresno State
  • Cody Fajardo, Nevada
  • James Franklin, Missouri
  • Taylor Kelly, Arizona State
  • Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois
  • Sean Mannion, Oregon State
  • AJ McCarron, Alabama
  • Stephen Morris, Miami
  • Aaron Murray, Georgia
  • Keith Price, Washington
  • Connor Shaw, South Carolina
  • Joe Southwick, Boise State
  • Keith Wenning, Ball State

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Fresno State nearly blows BCS opportunity, rallies to save it vs Boise State

Air Force Fresno St Football AP

Boise State has been the little engine that could that all programs not associated with a power conference have been aspiring to be. Fresno State used to be there before Boise State emerged, and Friday night the Bulldogs took a giant step in getting back to that level. In a back-and-forth game from start to finish, Fresno State ended the night with a 41-40 victory in what could be a preview of the first Mountain West Conference championship game later this year.

Boise State mounted a furious comeback in the fourth quarter, scoring two touchdowns to cap a 21-point rally and take a lead after trailing 34-19 late in the third quarter, but Derek Carr guided the fresno state offense down field to retake the lead on a short touchdown pass to Josh Quedaza. The defense held Boise State on a fourth down around midfield to takeover on downs and run out the clock.

Carr finished the night with 460 passing yards and four touchdowns. Isaiah Burse and Davante Adams each had 100 receiving yards, and Adams extended his scoring streak to 11 games.

Boise State quarterback Joe Southwick had his up and down moments, passing for 313 yards and one interception. Southwick made some plays to help the Broncos come back in the fourth quarter but was lucky a video review went in his favor after losing the football on a run down toward the Fresno State end zone. On Boise State’s final possession of the night Southwick succumbed to the pressure brought by Fresno State’s defense and failed to pick up one last first down.

Fresno State moves to 4-0 and now can begin putting together whatever kind of BCS Buster profile they can manage while taking things one game at a time.

Fresno State’s path to an undefeated team has few road blocks standing in the way. With two of the toughest games now behind them (Rutgers, Boise State), the Bulldogs should be in a favorable position moving forward against a relatively weak schedule. Next week Fresno State heads to Hawaii and the final game of the regular season at San Jose State could be another shootout to be cautious of. The Spartans have another of the top quarterbacks in the conference with David Fales. Fresno State should be considered a strong favorite to advance to the conference championship game, and with this win they could very well be hosting Boise State in a rematch, or Utah State.

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Ajayi, Southwick lead Boise State over Air Force

Joe Southwick AP

Is it too early to throw Boise State back in the BCS buster conversation? Or is it too late? Boise State scored a 42-20 victory over Air Force in Mountain West Conference play on the familiar blue turf Friday night, showing glimpses of what the true identity of the Broncos may be this season.

After getting blown out at Washington and returning home to blow away an FCS squad, Boise State turned in a solid full-team effort Friday. Quarterback Joe Southwick completed 27 of 29 pass attempts for 287 yards and a touchdown and added a rushing touchdown as well. The completion percentage is a new Boise State school record. The previous record was held by Jared Zabransky, who completed 21-of-23 pass attempts against Utah State in 2006.  Running back Jay Ajayi rushed for 125 yards and four touchdowns to help the Broncos pull away in the second half.

The difference in this game was visibly clear. Boise State brought a much more balanced offense that had more options to work with against Air Force and their traditional triple option run first, second, third and fourth down philosophy. Air Force quarterback Jaleel Awini attempted just nine passes on the night and completed four for 99 yards. One pass was completed for 53 yards and a second pass was completed for 34 yards, so Air Force’s selective passing game was as hit-or-miss as you could get.

Boise State has a huge game coming up next week, and it will not be an easy one. The Broncos head to Fresno State to take on Derek Carr and the high-flying Bulldogs. Fresno State will also have the advantage of getting a week off due to a postponement on the schedule. Fresno State was supposed to play at Colorado on Saturday but due to the flooding problems in Boulder, Colorado the game has been postponed to a date to be determined. As a result, Fresno State will stay home and rest up a roster that is already in good health. Fresno State has picked up two wins at home already this season, topping Rutgers in a wild overtime opener in week one and against Cal Poly in week two. The game between Fresno State and boise State could be a potential preview of the first Mountain West Conference championship game, although we should not look past Utah State and San Jose State either.

Air Force will play their next game at home next week when they host Wyoming in prime time. The Falcons will look to even their record to 2-2.

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Boise State, Air Force running up and down field on each other

Donte Deayon, Jay Ajayi, Gabe Linehan AP

When there is only one game on the college football schedule, it can be hit or miss. So far, Boise State and Air Force has been pretty entertaining. The Broncos and Falcons have gone up and down the field on each other in the first half, with neither defense looking to have much of an impact on the game so far. At the half, Boise State leads Air Force by a score of 21-17.

Each possession in the first half resulted in points (other than Air Force’s half-ending possession with just seconds left to play), with Air Force driving right down field to open the game on a 75-yard touchdown drive. Air Force has already gone over 200 yards on the ground but it was a 53 yard pass down the middle of the field from Jaleel Awini to Sam Gagliano in the second quarter that provided one of the non-scoring highlights of the first half. After establishing the run, Air Force pulled out the deep pass out of nowhere to catch Boise State by surprise.

Boise State’s Joe Southwick has been extremely accurate and productive, completing 15 of 16 first half pass attempts for 152 yards and three total touchdowns. After a rough start to the season, Southwick appears to have found himself in the offense just in time for Mountain West Conference play. He has even tucked the football and taken off with it, running twice for 20 yards. Jay Ajayi is the leading rusher for the Broncos and his 20-yard touchdown run down the left sideline was pretty spiffy.

Fortunately for Boise State and Air Force, storms have held off in Boise. Thunderstorms have been moving through the area but there has been no need to delay the game due to weather as we have seen a number of times over the past two weeks.

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The Fifth Quarter: Week 2 Rewind

Florida v Miami Getty Images

As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.

WINNERS

A-C-C! A-C-C! A-C-C!
Well would you look at what basketball conference has done a little bit of football growing up the first two weeks of the season.  And what football program grabbed a signature win by the throat after years of NCAA turmoil.  It was far from pretty offensively — most games involving the team from Gainesville are — but unranked (for now) Miami was able to punch its way to a 21-16 win over No. 12 Florida, the biggest win for The U since, what, Ohio State in 2011?  Florida State or Oklahoma in 2009?  Regardless, it was Al Golden‘s biggest win in his two-plus years with the Hurricanes, and a clear signal that, while they might not be there yet, The U is certainly pointed in the direction of the national stage.  It’s also a sign that, after Clemson’s win over then-No. 5 Georgia opening weekend, the ACC will no longer be a pushover at the top.  Or that the SEC East is vastly overrated.  One of the two.

Big OBC monkey, be gone!
For both No. 11 Georgia in general and Aaron Murray specifically, there has been a mountain-sized monkey on their respective backs, a South Carolina one for the former and a big-game one for the latter.  In one fell swoop, the simian has left the building thanks to the Bulldogs’ highly-entertaining 41-30 win over the No. 6 Gamecocks.  For UGA it snapped a three-game losing streak against the ‘Cocks, made even sweeter coming off the tough three-point loss to Clemson.  For Murray, it was just his second win — versus four losses — against a team ranked in the Top Ten.  With the Bulldogs defense (again) struggling, Murray turned in a career-like performance, throwing for 309 yards and four touchdowns.  Here’s to guessing Murray’s home won’t get TP’d and/or egged this year.

Teddy Heisman?
Tabbed as the gambling Heisman Trophy frontrunner earlier this week, Teddy Bridgewater did little to break that momentum this weekend.  In No. 8 Louisville’s thumping of  FCS-level Eastern Kentucky, the quarterback completed 23-of-32 passes for 397 yards and four touchdowns.  On the season, Bridgewater has completed 77 percent of his passes for 752 yards, nine touchdowns and an interception.  Granted, the competition has been a MAC school and one from the FCS — and the schedule doesn’t get much tougher moving forward — but the junior is doing what he has to do: putting up big numbers when he’s supposed to, all the while hoping that some teams from the AAC step up their level of play.

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CFT Preseason Top 25: three in a row, Roll Tide Roll

Alabama head coach Saban is doused with Gatorade after they defeated Notre Dame in the NCAA National Championship college football game in Miami AP

I have some good news and bad news for you, Tide Nation.

The good? In the 2011 edition of CFT’s preseason Top 25, I predicted the Tide would rise again and claim its second BCS title under Nick Saban; five months later, Alabama did just that. The bad? More times than not, my preseason prognostications are historically and prodigiously horrendous… and that doesn’t even begin to do it justice.

In 2009, 2010 and 2012, Oklahoma, Florida and USC, respectively, ranked as CFT’s preseason No. 1. Five losses later for the Sooners and Gators, and six for the Trojans, none of those three finished the season ranked in either the final Associated Press or coaches’ poll. The eventual BCS champions those seasons — Alabama (2012), Auburn (2010) and Alabama again (2009) — were ranked No. 3, No. 15 and No. 19 by CFT in the preseason.

So, will 2013 be CFT’s Nostradumbass norm for the Tide, or will the 2011 exception take hold? Or, will the Tide fall somewhere in between? More than anyone else, and based on my track record, I don’t have a clue; that’s why they play the games, as the saying goes.

And that’s why, for better or worse and for posterity’s sake, the complete 2013 edition of CFT’s fifth-annual preseason Top 25 appears after the jump.  By conference, you’ll find six teams from the SEC — all in the Top 12 — five from the Big 12, four each from the Big Ten and Pac-12, three from the ACC and one apiece from the AAC, MWC and Independents.

I’d ask y’all to be some semblance of kind and/or gentle in the comments section, but there’s really no point…

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2013 winner Manziel one of 30 QBs on Manning Award watch list

Johnny Manziel, Archie Manning AP

The Davey O’Brien Award preseason watch list has already been released, but there’s another award up for grabs for a quarterback this year too.

Enter the Manning Award, created by the Allstate Sugar Bowl in honor of the college football accomplishments of Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning. Unlike the O’Brien Award, bowl performances are taken into consideration. The players on the watch list were selected in conjunction with the release of ESPN’s new Total Quarterback Rating (QBR). The top 30 returning quarterbacks according to the QBR make up the watch list, but others can be added later.

The winner, announced on Jan. 8, will still be selected by a voting panel, which includes national media and each of the Mannings, after the bowls. Last year’s winner was Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, who is on this year’s list.

Below is the Manning Award watch list. You can also check out our preseason watch lists repository HERE.

David Ash, Jr., Texas
Blake Bortles, Jr,. UCF
Tajh Boyd, Sr., Clemson
Teddy Bridgewater, Jr., Louisville
Terrance Broadway, Jr., UL-Lafayette
Kolton Browning, Sr., UL- Monroe
Derek Carr, Sr., Fresno State
Rakeem Cato, Jr., Marshall
Kain Colter, Sr., Northwestern
Cody Fajardo, Jr., Nevada
David Fales, Sr., San Jose State
Brett Hundley, So., UCLA
Chuckie Keeton, Jr., Utah State
Taylor Kelly, Jr., Arizona State
Logan Kilgore, Sr., Middle Tennessee
Jordan Lynch, Sr., Northern Illinois
Sean Mannion, Jr., Oregon State
Johnny Manziel, So., Texas A&M
Marcus Mariota, So., Oregon
Taylor Martinez, Sr. Nebraska
A.J. McCarron, Jr. Alabama
Braxton Miller, Jr., Ohio State
Stephen Morris, Sr., Miami (FL)
Aaron Murray, Sr., Georgia
Bryn Renner, Sr., North Carolina
Connor Shaw, Sr., South Carolina
Brett Smith, Jr., Wyoming
Joe Southwick, Sr., Boise State
Eric Soza, Sr., UTSA
Bo Wallace, Jr., Ole Miss

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Wednesday night one-liners

Colorado State v Boise State Getty Images

Meandering our way through the offseason, a single one-liner at a time…

– Entering his second season as the starter, Boise State quarterback Joe Southwick is “in a great place right now.”

– Music to Michigan State fans’ ears: “We do need to be a little bit more creative, a little bit more imaginative, take some chances,” said new co-offensive coordinator/play-caller Dave Warner.

– A new offense could mean more opportunities for Tennessee’s tight ends.

– Florida looking for a few good middle men to bolster defense.

– Going up against a top-tier receiving corps is paying practice dividends  for Maryland’s secondary.

– No one’s more excited about Wisconsin running a 3-4 defense than linebacker Vince Biegel.

– Cincinnati will conduct a scrimmage later this month at Paul Brown Stadium, home of Ohio State’s spring game two weeks later.

– On the recruiting front, Oklahoma lands a nonbinding verbal commitment from high-touted Texas high school Samaje Perine.

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