SEC East remains perfect as Vols top Hawkeyes

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All those who thought the East would be the SEC’s postseason “savior,” raise your hands.  Now put them right back down because all y’all are lying.

Yet that’s where things stand as Tennessee (7-6), after jumping out to a 35-7 lead at halftime, cruised home to a 45-28 win over overmatched Iowa (7-6) in the TaxSlayer Bowl.  It marked the football program’s first bowl win since the 2007 season, a 21-17 win over Wisconsin in the 2008 Outback Bowl.  Since that win, UT has changed coaches on three different occasions.

The win also kept the SEC East’s record in the 2014-15 bowl cycle perfect at 4-0, with Florida, in the Birmingham Bowl vs. East Carolina Saturday, still remaining.  The SEC West, the dominant division in 2014, went an abysmal 2-5.

Another thing the impressive win did?  Set UT’s bar for the 2015 season high, perhaps unreasonably high.  The Vols were one of the youngest teams in the country, and will likely be one of those trendy “dark-horse” selections in preseason Top 25s.  They might be a year away from such heights, however.

Regardless, it was an impressive display against the Hawkeyes, with Josh Dobbs again leading the way.

In leading the Vols to a fourth win in five games since taking over under center, Dobbs accounted for three touchdowns (two rushing, one passing) and 205 yards of offense.  For his efforts, Dobbs was named as the Player of the Game.

Freshman Jalen Hurd ran for a career-high 122 yards, and scored two touchdowns in a game for the first time as a Vol.

Jordan Canzeri ran for 120 yards, on 12 carries, in the loss, the second time in his career the junior has topped 100 yards in a game. On his third reception of the game, Kevonte Martin-Manley set an Iowa record for career receptions with 174.

Iowa was losing 45-14 late in the fourth quarter before a pair of touchdowns in the last 3:30 made the game seem a lot closer than it actually was.

With the Hawkeyes’ loss, the Big Ten is now an even 5-5 this postseason, a mark that’s behind the Pac-12 (5-1) and SEC (6-5) among Power Five conferences.  Including all FBS leagues, that mark would be behind Conference USA (4-1) as well.

Ohio State, with a date with Oregon two Mondays from now, is the lone remaining B1G team with a game left to play.

Wayne Gretzky voices support for Oklahoma State RB Chuba Hubbard Heisman Trophy campaign

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The Heisman Trophy campaign for Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard is officially on, and it already has the support of The Great One. Hall of Fame hockey icon Wayne Gretzky was featured in a video shared by the Edmonton Oilers lending his support for Canada’s own Hubbard.

“I just want to pass on our congratulations from everyone in Edmonton,” Gretzky said in a short video clip shared by the Edmonton Oilers. “We’re all really proud of you. Keep going.”

Hubbard, a native of Edmonton, was appreciative of the message and words of encouragement from an Edmonton sports hero.

Hubbard is a native of Edmonton. Hubbard rushed for 6,880 yards and 82 touchdowns in high school. Hubbard currently leads the nation in rushing with 182.33 yards per game. As of today, Hubbard is the only running back with 1,000 rushing yards midway through the season. The next closest to Hubbard in rushing yards is Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins (826 yards) and Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor (825 yards).

Hubbard is hoping to become the second Heisman Trophy winner in Oklahoma State program history. Barry Sanders won the Heisman Trophy in 1988.

WR son of Jerry Rice commits to Colorado over Michigan, Oregon, Arizona State

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Next up in the latest installment of “You Know You’re Getting Old”: Jerry Rice.

Or, more to the point, the son of the former San Francisco 49er great and NFL Hall of Famer, with Brenden Rice announcing Tuesday evening on Twitter that he has verbally committed to play his college football at Colorado.  The wide receiver chose Mel Tucker‘s program over three other finalists in Arizona State, Michigan and Oregon.

At one point in the recruiting process, it appeared Rice was ticketed for Oregon; Arizona State then became the front-runner over the summer.  Official visits to Michigan and Colorado further clarified the process, with the trip to the latter, for CU’s come-from-behind win over Nebraska, seemingly sealing the deal.

“Coach Tucker’s enthusiasm really stood out,” Rice told 247Sports.com. “He is only loud when he needs to be and it was great to be able to see him in the locker room at that game against Nebraska. It was just different and it gave me goosebumps. I think I could run through a brick wall for that guy and it definitely makes me feel like that vision is something special.”

The 6-2, 204-pound Rice is a three-star 2020 prospect, rated as the No. 70 receiver in the country and the No. 12 player at any position in the state of Arizona.

West Virginia loses ex-Alabama LB VanDarius Cowan to season-ending injury

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Suffice to say, VanDarius Cowan‘s second season in Morgantown after leaving Tuscaloosa hasn’t gone as planned.

In late August, it was confirmed that Cowan would have to sit out the first four games of the 2019 season because of unspecified eligibility issues.  After serving that suspension, Cowan made his WVU debut in the Oct. 5 loss to Texas; a week later, the linebacker suffered a knee injury in the loss to Iowa State.

Tuesday, first-year head coach Neal Brown announced that Cowan underwent surgery and will be sidelined for the remainder of the season.  The specific nature of the injury wasn’t divulged.

Cowan was originally a four-star member of Alabama’s 2017 recruiting class.  In July of last year, he was dismissed by the Crimson Tide after being charged with misdemeanor assault.  A month later, he landed at West Virginia.

The Florida native sat out the 2018 season to satisfy NCAA transfer bylaws.

In less than two full games this season, Cowan was credited with six tackles and a sack.

Weather postpones Game 4 of Astros-Yankees, pushing Ohio State-Northwestern from FS1 to Big Ten Network

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UPDATED 1:21 PM ET: Due to the weather-forced change in schedule for Game 4 of the American League Championship Series between the Houston Astros and New York Yankees, Friday night’s Ohio State-Northwestern game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.

The game had originally been scheduled to air on FS1.

Kickoff time for the Big Ten clash is still set for 8:30 p.m. ET.

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This isn’t exactly optimal.

Due to the forecast of inclement weather, Major League Baseball announced that Game 4 of the American League Championship Series Wednesday night between the Houston Astros and New York Yankees has been moved to Thursday night.  That means Game 5 of the ALCS, originally scheduled for Thursday night, has been pushed to Friday night and will be televised on FS1, with first pitch set for 7:08 p.m. ET.

So, why is news on the postseason of a stick-and-ball sport appearing on a college football website?

Ohio State is scheduled to travel to Evanston to square off with Northwestern Friday.  On FS1. With kickoff set for 8:30 p.m. ET.

The ALCS is airing on FS1 because FOX is televising its newly-acquired WWE Friday Night Smackdown franchise, so a network broadcast won’t be possible for the Big Ten matchup.  More than likely, the game will air on either the Big Ten Network or FOX business.

As of this posting, neither the conference nor FOX has offered up exactly where the game will air.

Regardless of how it ultimately plays out, this will be a huge black eye for a league that shouldn’t be hijacking high school football’s night in the first place, regardless of how few games there are on Fridays (for now).