DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 26: Perry Hills #11 of the Maryland Terrapins passes the ball as Zach Allen #2 of the Boston College Eagles attempts to block the pass during the first quarter of the game at Ford Field on December 26, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

Boston College holds off Maryland to win first bowl game since 2007

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Boston College (7-6) held off Maryland (6-7) in the Quick Lane Bowl by batting down pass after pass and not letting the Terrapins into the end zone despite multiple first-and-goal opportunities in the fourth quarter. Boston College secured its first bowl victory in nine years by winning in Detroit on Monday, 36-30.

Boston College sacked Maryland quarterback Perry Hills eight times, which tied the school record for most sacks in a game. the Eagles also forced four turnovers in the game and held Maryland to converting just four of 15 third-down plays. Maryland was also 0-for-2 on fourth down in the game, which also saw 11 penalties called on Maryland (and six more on Boston College). Maryland had a great chance to carve into the Boston College lead late in the game, but was unable to crack the end zone when it needed to the most.

Boston College quarterback Patrick Towles completed just 10 of his 22 pass attempts for 151 yards and two touchdowns, and he also caught a 20-yard touchdown pass. Jon Hilliman led the Boston College running game with 79 yards and a touchdown. Maryland quarterback Hills passed for 229 yards and two touchdowns when his passes were not being batted down at the line of scrimmage. Deep passes were the keys to the Maryland offense, with Teldrick Morgan taking one play 63 yards and Levern Jacobs going for 52 yards on touchdown plays. Boston College jumped out to a 16-0 lead in the first half but Maryland chipped away before stalling in the fourth quarter.

The ACC is now 1-0 in the bowl season, while the Big Ten opens up its postseason with a loss. Boston College won its first bowl game since 2007, while Maryland will continue to look for its first bowl victory since firing Ralph Friedgen (2010) when it takes the field in 2017.

Maryland will begin the 2017 season on the road on September 2, 2017 against Texas, which will serve as the Longhorns coaching debut of Tom Herman in Austin. Boston College will also start the 2017 season on the road with a September 1 game at Northern Illinois.

Boston College uses big plays to score 29 points in first half of Quick Lane Bowl. Yes, THAT Boston College

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 26: Matt Milano #28 of the Boston College Eagles sacks quarterback Perry Hills #11 of the Maryland Terrapins during the first quarter of the game at Ford Field on December 26, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images
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Things may have gotten off to a rusty start in the Quick Lane Bowl, but Maryland and Boston College started heating things up a bit in the second quarter to set the stage for what could be an entertaining second half in Detroit. Boston College’s defense has set the tone and allowed the Eagles from the ACC to get a good lead on the Terrapins from the Big Ten, but big plays on the ground have allowed Maryland to chip away. At halftime in the Quick Lane Bowl, Boston College leads Maryland, 29-13. Boston College has not scored 29 points in a game against a Power Five opponent since 2014, and they just did it in the first half of this afternoon’s Quick Lane Bowl.

Boston College running back Jon Hilliman punched in a touchdown from the goal line in the first quarter, but Boston College missed the extra point attempt. The Eagles extended their lead to 16-0 in the second quarter with a touchdown pass from Patrick Towles to a wide open Tommy Sweeney and a field goal. Until that point, Maryland could do almost nothing on offense against Boston College’s stingy defense. Maryland running back Ty Johnson finally found a path to break a long touchdown run to get the Terrapins on the board, running 62 yards to the house to cut the Boston College lead to 16-7. Boston College responded with some big plays of its own, including a reverse that saw Jeff Smith toss a touchdown pass to quarterback Patrick Towles to regain the 16-point advantage.

On Maryland’s ensuing possession, Johnson struck gold once more with a 30-yard run up the middle of the defense, trimming the Boston College lead to 10. Then, rather than kick the extra point, Boston College chose to chase the points and run a two-point conversion play that was pretty horrible in execution, not to mention the timing.

We’ll see if that one point comes back to haunt Maryland in the second half. They’ll have a lot of work to do in order to make that relevant.

Towles went deep to Michael Walker for a 49-yard touchdown in the final minute, taking advantage of a late offensive possession. The Eagles got the ball off a Maryland punt at their 30-yard line and two plays later were boosting their lead to 29-13 (missing the extra point for a second time).

The 10 best and 10 worst bowl matchups, as ranked by F/+

EL PASO, TX - DECEMBER 30:  The Miami Hurricanes kick off to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Sun Bowl on December 30, 2010 in El Paso, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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2016’s most even bowl matchup will happen in El Paso, Texas, while the most lopsided game will take place in Boise, Idaho.

Those on-paper analyses are based on the end-of-the-season F/+ rankings, which are explained here on Football Outsiders. Personally, they’re a go-to for getting a rough idea of how good a certain team is, so why not use them to preview the best and worst bowl matchups?

Here are the 10 best games based on how close the two participants’ F/+ rankings are:

Sun Bowl (+1): No. 25 Stanford vs. No. 26 UNC
Fiesta Bowl (+2): No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 4 Clemson
Rose Bowl (+2): No. 7 USC vs. No. 9 Penn State
Sugar Bowl (+2): No. 8 Auburn vs. No. 10 Oklahoma
Armed Forces Bowl (+2): No. 51 Louisiana Tech vs. No. 53 Navy

Peach Bowl (+4): No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 5 Washington
Quick Lane Bowl (+4): No. 93 Boston College vs. No. 97 Maryland
New Mexico Bowl (+5): No. 81 New Mexico vs. No. 86 UT-San Antonio
Citrus Bowl (+6): No. 5 LSU vs. No. 11 Louisville
Cotton Bowl (+10): No. 12 Wisconsin vs. No. 22 Western Michigan

Obviously, the two College Football Playoff games (Ohio State-Clemson, Alabama-Washington) are among the closest, but it’s good to see three of the four other New Year’s Six bowls in here as well. The Orange Bowl (No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 13 Florida State) just barely missed the cut.

As for the 10 biggest mismatches:

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (+71): No. 29 Colorado State vs. No. 100 Idaho
Birmingham Bowl (+61): No. 33 South Florida vs. No. 94 South Carolina
Military Bowl (+54): No. 18 Temple vs. No. 72 Wake Forest
Cactus Bowl (+52): No. 14 Boise State vs. No. 66 Baylor
Miami Beach Bowl (+45): No. 44 Tulsa vs. No. 89 Central Michigan

Arizona Bowl (+38): No. 49 Air Force vs. No. 87 South Alabama
Las Vegas Bowl (+30): No. 20 Houston vs. No. 50 San Diego State
Poinsettia Bowl (+27): No. 30 BYU vs. No. 57 Wyoming
Heart of Dallas Bowl (+26): No. 85 Army vs. No. 111 North Texas
Russell Athletic Bowl (+25): No. 15 Miami vs. No. 40 West Virginia

It’s not surprising three of these games involve top-level Group of Five teams (South Florida, Temple, Boise State) playing 6-6 Power Five teams (South Carolina, Wake Forest, Baylor), given that’s where a lot of bowl mismatches can take place. It was a little surprising to see the gulf between Houston and San Diego State be so significant, though.

But while these matchups may either be close or lopsided, always remember the ironclad rule of bowl season: Weird stuff is gonna happen. One team may not care while the other does, one team may not deal with the elements (especially in the northern bowls) as well as the other, or one team may come in with something to prove while the other team doesn’t. The best-case scenario for us college football fans is that every game is interesting and worth watching, no matter what the on-paper numbers may say.

Big Ten Network announces 10 primetime kickoffs

EVANSTON, IL - NOVEMBER 15:  A general view of the stadium as the crowd of 40,681 watches the game between Michigan and Northwestern on November 15, 2003 at Ryan Field at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Michigan defeated Northwestern 41-10. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/ Getty Images)
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A week after ESPN announced its Big Ten primetime slate, the Big Ten Network rolled out 10 games slated for evening kickoffs this upcoming season (which is less than four months away now!).

The BTN games are below, all of which are played on Saturdays. Kickoffs are in Eastern Time.

Sept. 3: Fresno State at Nebraska (8 p.m.)

Sept. 10: Iowa State at Iowa (7:30 p.m.)

Sept. 10: North Carolina at Illinois (7:30 p.m.)

Sept. 17: Duke at Northwestern (8 p.m.)

Sept. 24: Nebraska at Northwestern (7:30 p.m.)

Oct. 1: Michigan State at Indiana (8 p.m.)

Oct. 22: Michigan State at Maryland (7:30 p.m.)

Nov. 5: Iowa at Penn State (7:30 p.m.)

Nov. 12: Minnesota at Nebraska (7:30 p.m.)

Nov. 19: Penn State at Rutgers (8 p.m.)

BTN will also televise games Thursday, Sept. 1 (Oregon State at Minnesota) and Friday, Sept. 2 (Furman at Michigan State).

 

Suspended Maryland RB Wes Brown returns for spring football

Penn State's Christian Campbell brings down Maryland's Wes Brown in the second half of an NCAA college football game at Beaver Stadium, Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014, in State College, Pa. (AP Photo/York Daily Record,  Chris Dunn)  YORK DISPATCH OUT
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Maryland opened its first spring under the leadership of new head coach DJ Durkin this week, and running back Wes Brown was on the practice field and on the spring roster. This is the first time Brown has been seen with the team since being suspended indefinitely by the program last November.

Durkin did not address the return of Brown, according to Daniel Martin of CSN Baltimore. Perhaps Durkin has given the team a clean slate as he comes in to lead the program, which is common for new head coaches (Iowa State’s Matt Campbell is doing this).

Brown was suspended by interim head coach Mike Locksley in mid-November for violating the student-athlete code of conduct. It was the second time Brown had been suspended by the program. Brown previously missed the spring football practice schedule a year ago as he was recovering from surgery to repair a torn labrum at the end of the 2014 season. Brown missed the 2013 season as a result of an off-field legal situation that eventually led to charges being dropped and Brown being readmitted to the university.