week 13 wrap

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2016 College Football Bowl Projections after Week 13

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As we exit a wild Thanksgiving week filled with rivalry game upsets and head toward the final week of the regular season, it’s crazy to think that college football is over for a lot of teams. At the same time, there are dozens of others wondering what’s next on the docket with the postseason picture still slowly coming into focus. Most teams are left wondering just how the bowl picture will shake out and it could come right down to the end for several teams looking to find a spot from the College Football Playoff on down.

With all that in mind, CFTalk decided to peer into our crystal ball and see how every game the rest of the year plays out and which teams wind up in certain bowl games. 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 17:

College Football Playoff

Bowl Teams
Peach Bowl No. 1 Alabama No. 4 Washington
Fiesta Bowl No. 2 Clemson No. 3 Ohio State

New Year’s Six

Bowl Teams
Rose Bowl Wisconsin USC
Sugar Bowl Oklahoma Florida
Orange Bowl Florida State Michigan
Cotton Bowl Penn State Western Michigan

2016 FBS Bowl Games

Bowl Teams
New Mexico Bowl UTSA New Mexico
Las Vegas Bowl North Texas+ San Diego State
Cure Bowl UL-Lafayette UCF
Camellia Bowl Arkansas State Central Michigan
New Orleans Bowl Southern Miss Appalachian State
Miami Beach Bowl Tulsa Toledo
Boca Raton Bowl Western Kentucky Houston
Poinsettia Bowl BYU* Wyoming
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Colorado State Miami (OH)
Bahamas Bowl Old Dominion* Eastern Michigan*
Armed Forces Bowl Navy* Mississippi State+
Dollar General Bowl Troy Ohio
Hawaii Bowl Middle Tenn. State Hawaii
St. Petersburg Bowl South Florida Army
Quick Lane Bowl Maryland Boston College
Independence Bowl South Carolina N.C. State
Heart of Dallas Bowl Louisiana Tech South Alabama
Military Bowl Wake Forest Temple
Holiday Bowl Iowa Stanford
Cactus Bowl Baylor Air Force
Pinstripe Bowl Northwestern Pitt
Russell Athletic Bowl Virginia Tech West Virginia
Foster Farms Bowl Indiana Washington State
Texas Bowl Texas A&M Kansas State
Birmingham Bowl Vanderbilt Memphis
Belk Bowl Georgia Tech Kentucky
Alamo Bowl Oklahoma State Colorado
Liberty Bowl Tennessee TCU
Sun Bowl North Carolina Utah
Music City Bowl Minnesota Georgia
TaxSlayer Bowl Miami (FL) Arkansas
Outback Bowl Nebraska LSU
Citrus Bowl Louisville Auburn
Arizona Bowl Idaho Boise State

*Accepted bowl invite
+ 5-7 team selected based on APR

Report: Oregon close to pulling trigger on dismissing Mark Helfrich

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Two Power Five openings were officially closed Saturday.  In the very near future, yet another one could come open.

Heading into the latest Civil War matchup with Oregon State, Mark Helfrich, according to some, was fighting for his coaching life.  After Oregon’s 34-24 loss in the rivalry game, it’s seemingly when not if Helfrich is offed by the Ducks.

From USA Today‘s Dan Wolken and George Schroeder:

Oregon has made preparations for a coaching search that will follow the eventual firing of Mark Helfrich, but the school has not officially pulled the trigger on the move as of late Saturday night, multiple people with knowledge of the process tell USA TODAY Sports.

Given the fragility of Oregon’s season ticket base and the potential for things to get even worse, Oregon officials are coming to terms with the necessity of making a change.

Helfrich just completed his fourth season as the Ducks’ head coach. After going 11-2 in his first season and 13-2 the second, the latter of which resulted in an appearance in the first College Football Playoff championship game, Helfrich has guided the Ducks to an eight-win season last year and four wins this year.

The four wins are the fewest for the program since 1991.

Should Helfrich be fired, Western Michigan’s P.J. Fleck, Purdue’s top target, would be a highly sought-after option for the program. If Brian Kelly and Notre Dame, as was intimated Saturday night, part ways, both the Irish and the Ducks could find themselves in a bidding war for the 35-year-old Illinois native.

A Helfrich dismissal would also bring another round of Chip Kelly rumors back into play.  Yippie?

No. 9 Colorado captures Pac-12 South title with tough win over No. 22 Utah

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Colorado’s dream season isn’t over yet.

The ninth-ranked Buffaloes used a battering defense and several timely second half scores to beat No. 22 Utah 27-22, securing the Pac-12 South title and the school’s first trip to the conference title game.

Quarterback Sefo Liufau was battered and bruised by a tough pass rush but scrambled out of several bad situations to throw for 270 yards and a touchdown — numbers that would have been much greater had his wideouts not dropped several big passes in the first half. The signal-caller also led the team in rushing with 59 yards as tailback Phillip Lindsay was bottled up for the most part.

Yet it was the Buffs’ defense that really won them the game and showed why they are one of the best units in the country. In addition to limiting Utah quarterback Troy Williams to 13-of-40 passing (with two interceptions, one touchdown), Kenneth Olugbode’s scoop and score extended the Colorado lead to two scores and gave the team all of the second half momentum. Safety Tedric Thompson tied a school-record for interceptions in a season late in the fourth quarter with his seventh pick of the year to seal the game.

Utes running back Joe Williams managed just 3.7 yards a carry on a night where his normally reliable offensive line had trouble with everything the opposing front-seven threw their way. Utah failed to capitalize on multiple trips to the red zone and made it to the opposing four yard line but came away with just nine points. The score was only as close as it was because of the team’s terrific special teams that managed to find the end zone on a 55 yard punt return.

The win, arguably the biggest in Mike MacIntyre’s tenure given the stakes, sets up a juicy Pac-12 title game next Friday in Santa Clara. Washington is bound to move up into the top four in the rankings with a clear path to the College Football Playoff and only one game left standing in the way.

Colorado has been proving people wrong all season long though and will have one more chance to do it again against the Huskies.

Report: Brian Kelly exploring coaching options outside Notre Dame

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Throughout a tumultuous 2016 season, Notre Dame has steadfastly maintained that Brian Kelly will be the Fighting Irish’s head coach in 2017.  Could the coach, though, leave of his own volition?

According to Yahoo Sports‘ Pat Forde, that could very well be the case. “Kelly has reached out through representatives to explore coaching options outside Notre Dame,” Forde wrote Saturday night.

Kelly and his squad put the finishing touches on a disappointing, to put it mildly, season Saturday, with the loss to USC dropping the Irish to 4-8 on the year. Outside of a 3-9 season under Charlie Weis in 2007, it was the worst year record-wise for the iconic football program in more than a half-century.

After a 10-1 start to the 2015 season, the Irish have lost 10 of their last 14 games.  This season has seen Kelly fire his defensive coordinator and throw his players under the bus for good measure.  Former Irish football players sounded off and took aim as well.

Earlier this week, the football program was sanctioned by the NCAA for academic misconduct that occurred on Kelly’s watch.  Saturday, one of Kelly’s players cast his program in a negative light by showing his ass.

So, is it time for a parting of ways?  While Forde reported that Kelly will explore other coaching options, he also writes that “Notre Dame sources said Saturday night that Kelly has expressed no desire to leave the school.”

At least collegiately, Kelly’s options, when it comes to high-profile jobs, will likely be limited, depending on what happens in the coming days.  Kelly’s name has been mentioned in connection to NFL jobs over the last few years, so that may be a viable option as well, and could be the direction in which his reps have been directed to explore.

Following the loss to USC, Kelly answered “absolutely” when asked if he thought he’d be back at Notre Dame in 2017.  Whether that proclamation will hold true in the coming days and weeks is still to be determined.

Temple will travel to Navy for AAC championship game

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For the second consecutive year, Temple will play for the American Athletic Conference championship.  And, yet again, they’ll have do so on the road.

Thanks to Temple’s 27-10 win over East Carolina Saturday, the Owls will represent the East division in the AAC’s title game.  Temple actually finished tied with USF, but, based on the Oct. 21 win over the Bulls, it’s the Owls that can claim the division.

USF needed both a win over  FIU and a Temple loss.  While they got the former, the latter eluded them.

With the division in and, Temple will now turn its attention to the conference championship game against matchup with West champion Navy.  Both the Owls and Midshipmen finished with identical 7-1 records in league play; because the Midshipmen came in at No. 25 in the most recent College Football Playoff rankings and the Owls weren’t ranked, and CFP rankings are the first tiebreaker per AAC rules, the service academy will play host to the title game Dec. 3 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis.

Last season, Temple dropped a 24-13 decision to Houston in the first-ever AAC title game.  Navy, in its second season in the league, will be making its first appearance.