WHO: No. 13 Georgia (9-3) vs. No. 21 Louisville (9-3)
WHAT: The 13th Belk Bowl
WHERE: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, N.C.
WHEN: 6:30 p.m. ET Dec. 30 on ESPN
THE SKINNY: Hey, it’s another bowl game pitting a defensive coordinator against his former team! After four seasons running Georgia’s defense to varying degrees of success, Todd Grantham left Athens for Louisville and a large payday to work for Bobby Petrino. Few teams were tougher to move the ball against than Grantham’s Cardinals, who ranked eighth nationally in pass efficiency defense by holding opponents to 53.6 percent completions for 6.2 yards per attempt while intercepting a nation’s best 25 passes against only 13 touchdown passes while also placing third in rushing defense (93.67 yards per game allowed) and allowed just 2.94 yards per carry (fourth nationally). Compare that to a Georgia defense that ranks 11th in pass efficiency defense but 77th in rushing defense under first-year coordinator Jeremy Pruitt.
However, Georgia doesn’t have to defend Nick Chubb, Louisville does. Despite never carrying the ball more than 11 times until Oct. 11, Chubb ripped off a 1,200-yard season by rushing for 143, 202, 156, 170, 144, 113 and 129 yards over the back half of the season. Combine that with the efficient Hutson Mason at quarterback (20 touchdowns, four interceptions) and you have to like Georgia’s chances in the even this game becomes a shootout.
Louisville won its final three games of the regular season with three different players leading the club in passing, and either Kyle Bolin or Reggie Bonnafon could start. Whoever it is should throw lots and lots of balls to DeVante Parker.
Finally, Georgia will be without offensive coordinator Mike Bobo and offensive line coach Will Friend, who are both off to new jobs at Colorado State. This leaves tight ends coach John Lilly as the Bulldogs’ play-caller. In a game of evenly-matched teams, taking the squad with Bobby Petrino running its offense opposite a tight ends coach.
THE PICK: Louisville 31, Georgia 27
Rutgers is looking for a new head coach and Mississippi State head coach Joe Moorhead is supposedly the so-called frontrunner for the job, according to reports out of New Jersey. But would the Mississippi State head coach leave the SEC to take on the massive undertaking at Rutgers? For now, at least, the Bulldogs head coach is saying all the things you would expect a coach in a current job to say.
“It’s not something that’s under consideration,” Moorhead said to Paul Finebaum of SEC Network when asked about his potential interest in the job on Friday afternoon. “My focus is here at Mississippi State. This is where we want to be and this is what we want to do.”
Moorhead is in his second season as head coach of Mississippi State. Moorhead’s northeastern roots as a New Jersey native seem like a natural fit to take on the Rutgers coaching job. Whether Moorhead is leaving one program stuck in the bottom half of its own division in the SEC for a chance to be stuck in the bottom half of its division in the Big Ten remains to be seen. Moorhead is saying everything a current head coach should be expected to say, whether he genuinely means it or not.
Rutgers fired Chris Ash at the end of September after a 1-3 start capped by a blowout loss at Michigan. Tight ends coach Nunzio Campanile has been serving as the team’s interim coach while the search for a permanent replacement for Ash is found.
As the trend of allowing alcohol at college football games continues to sweep the nation, the state of Idaho has moved one step closer to allowing schools like Boise State to potentially join the trend. According to a report from Idaho Press, the state’s education board has granted preliminary approval to allow universities to decide for themselves if alcohol will be permitted.
The Idaho State Board of Education previously stood in the way of schools within the state from allowing alcohol at collegiate athletic events, such as Boise State football games. Although certain battles have been won in recent years to allow for restricted alcohol availability under certain parameters, the state’s board of education is essentially preparing to step out of the way entirely.
This doesn’t mean Boise State or Idaho Vandal fans will be able to soak in the suds this season though. A revised policy from the board is tentative to be voted on in December for final approval to allow universities to decide for themselves. As it turns out, the decision to pass on the decision-making to university presidents may be more of a way to prevent the board from wasting time on the subject entirely.
“This Board needs to focus on strategic direction for education policy,” board member Andrew Scoggin said, according to the Idaho Press report. “We have very capable and competent chief executive officers at these institutions and there are very clear requirements for safety and security that they will have to meet in order to authorize these permits.”
If the refined policy to pass on the responsibility to individual institutions, that could pave the way for Boise State to have alcohol sales expanded at football games as early as next season if the university is interested in the trend.
Virginia Tech is possibly about to lose a defensive lineman from its roster. Defensive tackle Rob Porcher has entered the transfer portal, a report with confirmation from Virginia Tech confirmed Friday afternoon.
Andy Bitter of The Athletic reported news of the transfer portal development, via Twitter.
Porcher is a redshirt sophomore, so he will have two more years of eligibility at another FBS program. Porcher would have to sit out the 2020 season at another FBS program, per NCAA transfer rules, if he does end up leaving the Hokies. Any player entering the transfer portal is free to have contact with any other college football program as they evaluate their options. A decision to remain in Blacksburg is always possible too, although the report from Bitter suggests that may not be the end-result for Porcher.
Porcher has appeared in five games this season. In that time, Porcher has recorded three tackles with one sack.
The almighty transfer portal has added another college football player’s name to its database. Michigan State tight end Noah Davis has reportedly entered the transfer portal, according to Detroit Free Press reporter Rainer Sabin (via Twitter).
Davis appeared in four games for Michigan State this season, but he has not caught a pass this season. Three other tight ends on the Michigan State roster have contributed on offense this season. Senior Matt Seybert is Michigan State’s third-leading receiver with 15 receptions for 185 yards and three touchdowns. Matt Dotson and Trenton Gillison have also played a part in the passing game at times this season. Davis did not play in 208 due to injury. Davis will have one final year of eligibility in 2020.
By entering the transfer portal, Davis is free to have contact with any other college football program that may be interested in recruiting him to their program. Davis may also choose to stay with the Spartans.
Davis is the sixth Michigan State player to enter the transfer portal since the season got underway. Previous players entering the transfer portal from Michigan State include running backs Connor Heyward (HERE) and La’Darius Jefferson (HERE), wide receivers Weston Bridges (HERE) and Cam Chambers, and linebacker Brandon Bouyet-Randle (HERE).