CFT Previews: Your Dec. 27 Bowl Viewer’s Guide

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Taking a quick-hit look at the Dec. 27 bowl menu, which among its five games features nine Power Five conference teams, the lone exception being Cincinnati.

WHO: Cincinnati (9-3) vs. Virginia Tech (6-6)
WHAT: The 7th Military Bowl presented By Northrop Grumman
WHERE: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, Maryland
WHEN: 1 p.m. ET on ESPN
THE SKINNY: Were it not for a four-point win over in-state rival Virginia in the regular season finale, Virginia Tech would’ve been home for the postseason holidays for the first time since 1992.  And this was a team that began the season 2-0, with the second win coming on the road by 14 points over College Football Playoff participant Ohio State.  The low point of a 4-6 skid to close the regular season was a 6-3 double overtime loss to Wake Forest in Week 13 that left Tech needing a win the following weekend to become bowl-eligible.  Cincinnati, meanwhile capped its second consecutive nine-win season with a co-AAC championship.  The Bearcats also come into this game on a veritable roll, following up a three-game losing streak in late September and early October with a seven-game winning streak.  The two teams had a trio of common opponents: Ohio State, Miami and East Carolina.  The Hokies were 1-2 against those teams (35-21 win over OSU, losses of 28-21 and 30-6 to ECU and The U, respectively) while the Bearcats went 1-2 as well (54-46 win over ECU, 50-28 and 55-34 losses to OSU and The U, respectively).
THE LINE: Virginia Tech, +3
THE PREDICTION: Cincinnati 31, Virginia Tech 20

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WHO: No. 15 Arizona State (9-3) vs. Duke (9-3)
WHAT: The 80th Hyundai Sun Bowl
WHERE: The Sun Bowl, El Paso, Tex.
WHEN: 2 p.m. ET on CBS
THE SKINNY: To say that Arizona State is disappointed with its bowl destination would be a massive understatement.  After nine games, ASU was looking at a spot in the Pac-12 championship game and, possibly, a berth in the College Football Playoff.  Two losses in their last three games — an inexplicable 35-27 loss to 5-7 Oregon State and a seven-point loss to in-state rival Arizona in the finale — shattered both of the dreams and sent them to this mid-major bowl.  How the Sun Devils respond to being sent to a lower profile bowl than what had been expected a month ago will go a long ways in determining the outcome.  Duke, though, is in a similar situation.  With three games remaining, all Duke needed was a pair of wins to clinch its second consecutive ACC Coastal title.  Instead, they lost two of three — 17-16 to Virginia Tech, 45-20 to North Carolina — to hand the division and a marquee bowl berth to Georgia Tech.  The Blue Devils, though, are playing in their third consecutive bowl game, the first time in the football program’s history that’s happened.  In fact, prior to the start of that streak in 2012, the program had a total of three bowl appearances in a span of 54 years. ASU will mark the first ranked opponent Duke has faced since Georgia Tech Oct. 11.
THE LINE: Duke, +7½
THE PREDICTION: Arizona State 34, Duke 24

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WHO: Miami (6-6) vs. South Carolina (6-6)
WHAT: The 39th Duck Commander Independence Bowl
WHERE: Independence Stadium, Shreveport, La.
WHEN: 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC
For the remainder of an extended preview, click HERE.

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WHO: Boston College (7-5) vs. Penn State (6-6)
WHAT: The 5th New Era Pinstripe Bowl
WHERE: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY
WHEN: 4:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
THE SKINNY: If you’re suffering with a bit of insomnia, boy do we have a cure for you.  Although, if you love tremendous defense, you’re in luck.  Boston College is 19th in the country in points allowed (20.5 ppg) while Penn State is even stingier, coming in at seventh (17.7 ppg).  The latter gave up more than 30 points just twice (Michigan State 34, Ohio State 31) and 20 or fewer eight times.  As good as they are defensively, both teams are woeful offensively.  BC is 123rd in passing yards (132 ypg) and 84th in scoring (25.9 ppg), with PSU a paltry 115th in scoring offense (19.8 ppg).  The lone redeeming offensive quality in this game will very likely be BC quarterback Tyler Murphy.  While he was just 111th among quarterbacks in passing yards (1,526), he was third to only Navy’s Keenan Reynolds (1,182) and Georgia Southern’s Kevin Ellison (1,096) in rushing yards at the position (1,079).  The best hope for the Nittany Lions?  That quarterback Christian Hackenberg reverts to the promising form he showed as a true freshman.  In 2013, Hackenberg tossed 20 touchdowns against 10 interceptions.  This season, it was eight touchdown passes and 15 interceptions in just 42 more attempts.  If Hackenberg can somehow recapture that 2013 magic, the Nittany Lions, playing in its first bowl game since being slapped with a postseason ban by the NCAA in 2012, could very well see their first bowl win since 2009.
THE LINE: Penn State, +3
THE PREDICTION: Boston College 13, Penn State 10

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WHO: Nebraska (9-3) vs. No. 24 USC (8-4)
WHAT: The 37th National University Holiday Bowl
WHERE: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, Calif.
WHEN: 8 p.m. ET on ESPN
For the remainder of an extended preview, click HERE.

Kansas settles David Beaty lawsuit for $2.55 million when they could’ve just paid his $3 million buyout two years ago

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Our long national nightmare when it comes to a former Kansas football coach is over.  Or something like that.

In early November of 2018, Kansas announced that David Beaty would be fired as head football coach upon the conclusion of that regular season.  At the time, athletic director Jeff Long stated that the university would honor the terms of Beaty’s contract, which included a $3 million buyout payable over a six-month period.  That never actually happened.  And led to a contentious lawsuit.  One that involved the school needing to euphemistically find “a dead hooker” in Beaty’s past.  Because of minor NCAA violations.

Friday, the university announced that it has reached a settlement with Beaty.  For $2.55 million.  Which means, after nearly two years worth of lawyers fees and such are factored in, the university likely ended up… costing itself money they could’ve saved if they had just paid Beaty the money he was contractually owed in the first place.

Kudos, KU.  Below is the university’s attempt at a face-saving statement:

Today, Kansas athletics entered into a $2.55 million financial settlement with former head football coach David Beaty, ending all litigation and disputes. Despite the settlement, the University maintains that the facts and principles behind its position remain intact.  For the betterment of KU, and driven by a willingness to move forward during a time of uncertainty in college athletics, the University has now put this matter behind us.  All funds to be paid as part of the settlement will come from the original amount placed in escrow during the 2018-2019 fiscal year following Beaty’s separation from KU.

In four seasons as the Jayhawks head coach, Beaty went 6-42 overall and 2-34 in Big 12 play.  In mid-November of 2018, Kansas confirmed that former LSU head coach Les Miles would be taking over for Beaty.

Former North Carolina standout Tommy Davis killed in motorcycle accident

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A North Carolina football program running on an offseason high is now mourning the loss of one of its own.

According to multiple media outlets, Tommy Smith died Thursday from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident.  Details surrounding the accident are not known.

The Goldsboro, North Carolina, native was 37 years old.

From 2002-05, Smith was a standout defensive lineman for the Tar Heels.  In a statement, the North Carolina football program addressed his passing.

We are shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic death of one of our Tar Heel brothers, Tommy Davis. The Carolina Football Family extends its deepest condolences to Tommy’s family and friends.

His first two seasons in Chapel Hill, Smith was a part-time starter.  In his last two seasons, Smith started every game for the ACC school.  Smith combined for 18 tackles for loss and 11½ sacks his junior and senior seasons.

The 6-2, 257 Smith went undrafted in 2016.  Over the next three years, he spent time on practice squads with New Orleans Saints, New York Giants and Washington.

In 2011, he returned to North Carolina as a graduate assistant.  He spent the 2012 season in that capacity as well.  In 2013, Smith served as the defensive line coach at Saint Joseph’s, a Div. II program in Indiana.

Iowa confirms addition of Northern Illinois grad transfer Jack Heflin

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Iowa has officially added a talented and experienced Group of Five player to its roster.

In May, Jack Heflin was one of three Northern Illinois starters to enter the NCAA transfer database the same day.  A little over a week later, the defensive tackle announced on Twitter that he’s headed to Iowa football.

Friday, Iowa football confirmed Heflin’s addition to the Hawkeyes as the lineman signed with the program.  As a graduate transfer, Heflin is eligible to play immediately for the Big Ten school.  The upcoming season, though, will serve as his final year of eligibility.

Based on his resume, Heflin should contribute immediately to the Hawkeyes.

Heflin was a two-star member of the 2016 recruiting class for the Huskies.  NIU was his only FBS offer coming out of high school in Indiana.

In leading NIU in tackles for loss with 8½, sacks with three and forced fumbles with three, Heflin started all 11 games in which he played in 2019. MAC coaches named him second-team all-conference this past season.  He was also third-team All-MAC the previous season.  All told, Heflin started 28 of the 38 games in which he played.

In those appearances, Heflin was credited with 72 tackles, 17½ tackles for loss, nine sacks, three forced fumbles and one blocked kick.

College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history, including USC officially being stripped of its 2004 BCS championship

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The sports world, including college football, has essentially screeched to a halt as countries around the world battle the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there’s a dearth of college football news as spring practices have all but been canceled at every level of the sport. And there’s even some concern that the health issue could have an impact on the 2020 college football campaign.

In that vein, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives that stretch back to 2009 and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on June 6, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this college football hiatus, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: Three West Virginia safeties now in transfer portal
THE SYNOPSIS: And two of those were starters.  Even for the portal, this is a bit of overkill.

2017

THE HEADLINE: USC QB Sam Darnold remains prohibitive Heisman favorite according to latest odds
THE SYNOPSIS: This is exactly why, while fun, preseason Heisman odds are utterly useless.  In 2017, Darnold didn’t even finish in the Top 10 in the voting.  The voting, incidentally, that earned Baker Mayfield the stiff-armed trophy that year.

2015

THE HEADLINE: Jeff Gordon to drive Penn State car at Pocono
THE SYNOPSIS: This post had a surprisingly healthy number of comments.  For whatever reason.

2014

THE HEADLINE: Incoming Tar Heel charged for stealing $53,000 in watches and jewelry
THE SYNOPSIS: Just gotta get this off my chest.  It’s charged “with.” Not charged “for.” You’re arrested “for.” And as “for” the player?  Tight end Avery Edwards ended up catching 19 passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns.  At Maryland.

2012

THE HEADLINE: Bobby Bowden would serve on playoff selection committee
THE SYNOPSIS: The former Florida State head coach and College Football Hall of Famer never did serve.  Because he wasn’t asked.  Dadgummit, though, they should’ve asked the coaching legend.

2011

THE HEADLINE: USC stripped of ’04 BcS title
THE SYNOPSIS: This headline won’t pick any Trojan Nation scabs, will it?