Will there be enough bowl teams in 2014? Pressure is on

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While the most popular question this college football season has been “Who’s in,” with regard to the new College Football Playoff, it is easy to forget the rest of the bowl games will be played too and need teams to fill those spots. Heading to mid-November a total of 51 teams have clinched bowl eligibility, and 23 more schools could join them with one more win. With 38 bowl games and 51 teams ready for postseason play, that leaves 25 bowl spots still to fill. With a few weeks to play, the odds are still good all 25 vacancies will be accounted for, but the pressure is on for a handful of teams to finish the season strong.

There are 51 teams currently bowl eligible, but that number could easily be increased to 52. Georgia Southern has been playing very well in its first year in the Sun Belt Conference and already has enough wins for typical bowl eligibility. However, because this is its first season playing FBS football, Georgia Southern is technically ineligible for postseason play until 2015. Georgia Southern could still go bowling this season though if a waiver for postseason play is approved. If there are bowl spots to fill, this would increase the likelihood of Georgia Southern going to a bowl game this season.

For a quick rundown of which teams are currently eligible, which are close and which are not, here is a conference-by-conference breakdown of the entire bowl picture. Here is how each conference is broken down.

Eligible: Already bowl eligible

On Deck: One win away from clinching bowl eligibility

On Thin Ice: One loss away from being ineligible

Out: Already making plans for 2015

American Athletic Conference

Eligible: Memphis, East Carolina

On Deck: Cincinnati, UCF, Houston, Temple

On Thin Ice: Tulane, USF

Out: Connecticut, Tulsa, SMU

ACC

Eligible: Florida State, Clemson, Louisville, Boston College, Duke, Georgia Tech, Miami

On Deck: NC State

On Thin Ice: Virginia

Out: Syracuse, Wake Forest

Big 12

Eligible: Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma, TCU, West Virginia

On Deck: Oklahoma State, Texas

On Thin Ice: Kansas, Texas Tech

Out: Iowa State

Big Ten

Eligible: Iowa, Maryland, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, Nebraska, Wisconsin

On Deck: Michigan, Penn State, Rutgers

On Thin Ice: Indiana, Northwestern

Out: Purdue

Conference USA

Eligible: Louisiana Tech, Marshall, Rice

On Deck: Middle Tennessee, UAB, UTEP

On Thin Ice: Old Dominion, North Texas

Out: FIU, FAU, UTSA, Southern Mississippi

MAC

Eligible: Bowling Green, NIU, Toledo, Central Michigan, Western Michigan

On Deck: Ohio

On Thin Ice: Buffalo, Ball State

Out: Eastern Michigan, Miami, UMass

Mountain West Conference

Eligible: Colorado State, Boise State, Utah State, Air Force, Nevada

On Deck: San Diego State

On Thin Ice: Fresno State, San Jose State, Wyoming, New Mexico

Out: Hawaii, UNLV

Pac-12

Eligible: Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon, USC, UCLA, Utah

On Deck: Stanford, California, Washington*

Out: Colorado, Washington State

SEC

Eligible: Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, LSU, Missouri, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Texas A&M

On Deck: Florida, Kentucky

Out: Vanderbilt

Sun Belt Conference

Eligible: Georgia Southern**, Louisiana-Lafayette, Arkansas State

On Deck: Texas State, South Alabama

On Thin Ice: Louisiana-Monroe

Out: Troy, New Mexico State, Idaho, Georgia State

Independents

Eligible: Notre Dame

On Deck: BYU

On Thin Ice: Army

* Washington needs to win seven games because the Huskies play a 13-game schedule, which is allowed due to playing a road game at Hawaii. Adding the extra game adds a win to the required win total.

** Georgia Southern has met the normal bowl eligibility win requirement, but would have to have a waiver approved by the NCAA due to being in a transition year from FCS to FBS.

Highest-rated signee in Texas A&M Class of 2018, Leon O’Neal, enters transfer portal

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For nearly the dozenth time this cycle, a Texas A&M football player is looking to leave College Station.  And this one was a huge 2018 get.

On his personal Twitter account Thursday evening, Leon O’Neal announced that he has decided to leave the Aggies and continue his playing career elsewhere.  No reason for his decision to enter the NCAA transfer database was given.

“I want to thank Texas A&M for everything,” the defensive back wrote. “Every game was one I’ll never forget. Win, lose or draw The 12th Man never lost [their] spirit. I want to thank my brothers for the love and support. Our bond will last forever.”

A four-star member of the Texas A&M football Class of 2018, O’Neal was the No. 8 player at any position in the state of Texas.  He was also the No. 8 safety in the country.  Most notably, O’Neal was the highest-rated member of the Aggies’ class that year.

O’Neal was part of Jimbo Fisher‘s first recruiting class after taking over as the A&M football head coach in December of 2017.

As a true freshman, O’Neal appeared in all 13 games for Texas A&M football.  Most of that action came on special teams.  This past season, the safety started eight of the 12 games in which he played.

Boise State DB DeAndre Pierce opts to enter transfer portal

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The playing career of one injury-plagued Boise State football player has come to an end.  At least, in Idaho it has.

According to 247Sports.com, DeAndre Pierce has made the decision to move on from the Boise State football program.  A BSU football official subsequently confirmed overnight that the defensive back’s name is listed in the NCAA transfer database.

No specific reason for the parting of ways was given.

If Pierce follows through and transfers away from Boise State football, he would do so as a graduate transfer.  That would allow him to play at another FBS school immediately in 2020.  If that’s the tack he chooses, of course.

Pierce was a three-star member of the Broncos’ Class of 2016.  The California native took a redshirt as a true freshman.  In 2017, Pierce started 11 of the 14 games in which he played.  He earned honorable mention All-Mountain West Conference honors for that season.

Then, the injuries hit.

The safety started four of the first five games in 2018 before a lacerated spleen sidelined him for the rest of the season.  In 2019, Pierce started five games… but missed the other nine because of various injuries.

When healthy, Pierce was credited with 144 tackles, seven tackles for loss, six passed defensed, one sack and one interception.

Even with legal case (mostly) settled, WR Joshua Moore’s status at Texas won’t be determined until closer to start of 2020 season

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Even as the off-field aspect was cleared up for one member of the Texas Longhorns football program, there’s still no clarity as it relates to him getting back onto the field.  And likely won’t be clarified for a few months.

In August, Joshua Moore was arrested on a charge of unlawful carrying of a weapon. Thursday, the wide receiver pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor weapons charge. Moore avoided jail time with the plea, with the Austin American-Statesman writing that “[t]he deferred adjudication agreement states [Judge Nancy] Hohengarten will not enter a guilty finding if Moore stays out of further legal trouble over the next year, completes 60 hours of community service and fulfills any counseling conditions the probation department recommends.”

Because of the off-field situation, Moore was not permitted to play in games for Texas Longhorns football last season. He was, though, allowed to practice with the rest of his UT teammates.

A Texas Longhorns football official stated after the player’s plea that a decision on whether Moore will be permitted to play in games in 2020 won’t be determined until closer to the season kicking off.

A four-star 2018 signee, Moore played in the first six games as a true freshman before going down with a season-ending shoulder injury. In that half-season of work, the 6-1, 180-pound receiver totaled 53 yards and a touchdown on seven receptions.

If he’s cleared to play in games — the odds are very much in his favor, provided he doesn’t violate the terms of his plea agreement — Moore is expected to take on a bigger role in the Texas Longhorns football passing game in 2020.

New Colorado head coach Karl Dorrell retains four of Mel Tucker’s assistants

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Karl Dorrell‘s first Colorado football coaching staff will have a decidedly Mel Tucker feel to it.

Feb. 12, Tucker left Colorado football to take over as the head coach at Michigan State.  Eleven days later, Dorrell was the surprise hire as Tucker’s replacement.  Dorrell’s first hirings four days his official hiring will actually be retentions as the program announced that four of Tucker’s former assistants will remain as part of the new coaching staff.

Those four are:

  • Darrin Chiaverini (wide receivers coach/assistant head coach under Tucker)
  • Darian Hagan (running backs coach)
  • Brian Michalowski (outside linebackers)
  • Tyson Summers (defensive coordinator/safeties)

According to the release from Colorado football, the holdovers’ “exact responsibilities will be determined once the remaining six assistant positions are filled, which Dorrell hopes to conclude sometime early next week.” It’s believed that Chiaverini will serve as Dorrell’s offensive coordinator, although, obviously, that hasn’t yet been confirmed.

“It’s always important if you can maintain some continuity during a coaching change,” the new Colorado football head coach said in a statement. “I’ve been around enough college and professional teams where doing so offers some stability. I had great conversations with all four and while I haven’t determined their exact roles as of yet, I am excited that we share the same goals and vision for the program. I am excited about all four and am looking forward to working with them.”

Both Chiaverini and Hagans have been a part of the Colorado football program for the past four seasons.  Both Summers and Michalowski were in their first years in Boulder.

Prior to his departure for East Lansing, Tucker had just completed his first season in Boulder, going 5-7.  Since a 10-4 2016 season, the Buffaloes have gone 5-7 each of the past three seasons.  That 2016 season is the program’s only winning record since 2005.