WHO: UCLA (8-4) vs. Nebraska (5-7)
WHAT: The 14th Foster Farms Bowl
WHERE: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California
WHEN: 9:15 p.m. ET, Dec. 26 on ESPN
THE SKINNY: UCLA hit a few bumps in the road this season but still managed to put together a respectable eight-win season in the debut season of freshman quarterback Josh Rosen. The much-hyped freshman lived up to much of the hype surrounding him coming out of high school as he passed for 3,351 yards and 20 touchdowns with just nine interceptions thrown. The scary thing is there is room to improve. Rosen was picked off twice in the final game of the season against SUC, which helped hand the Trojans the Pac-12 South Division and lock the Bruins out of the conference title game. Against Nebraska, Rosen will have a chance to build on his impressive debut season and head to the spring with some good momentum.
Providing a steady and dependable resource for Rosen was junior running back Paul Perkins, who rushed for 1,275 yards and 13 touchdowns this season. Perkins should be a key player for UCLA against Nebraska, as the Huskers bring the nation’s eighth-best rushing defense with them to Santa Clara.
Nebraska managed to take full advantage of a surplus of bowl vacancies to fill without enough bowl-eligible teams to fill them. With a 50-7 record, Nebraska was extended an invite to the postseason by the NCAA by way of APR scores. See? It pays to hit the books for football programs. Regardless of how or why Nebraska got into a bowl game in the first place, it is important to also remember just how close Nebraska was to being bowl eligible the right way.
Nebraska fans were on the edges of their seats all season long with tight games ended in defeat against BYU and Miami as well as Illinois, Wisconsin and Northwestern. Nebraska also gave Iowa a run and the Huskers are the only team to have defeated Michigan State this season. Nebraska should be expected to play a bit of a roller coaster type game once more, with Tommy Armstrong capable of going through upswings and down swings at any moment of any quarter.
THE PREDICTION: UCLA 34, Nebraska 30
Clemson has officially bid adieu to a highly-touted member of its 2017 recruiting class.
Earlier in the day Monday, reports surfaced that Hunter Johnson had decided to transfer from the Tigers, with a couple of Big Ten schools already listed as potential landing spots. Not long after that news made the rounds, Dabo Swinney acknowledged the reports, calling the quarterback “one of the best young men I’ve ever coached” in sending his former player his well-wishes.
“While it is always disappointing to lose a great person and a great player, I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to work with Hunter and watch him grow and develop over the last year and a half,” the full statement attributed to the head coach began. “Hunter is one of the best young men I have ever coached and has a very bright future ahead of him.
“I wish him all the best as he decides on his destination.”
Johnson himself issued his own statement through the school’s sports information department addressing the development.
“I want to thank Coach Swinney and the Clemson family for giving me the opportunity to be a part of something special,” said Johnson. “I’ve met some amazing people who I will forever call family. I am a better man and a better football player because of my time spent at Clemson. Go Tigers!”
The composite board on 247Sports.com had Johnson rated as the No. 2 pro-style quarterback in the country and the No. 30 player at any position for the Class of 2017. As a true freshman, Johnson completed 21 of his 27 passes for 234 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in seven appearances.
It’s believed that Johnson, who will have to sit out the 2018 season but would then have three years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2019, is eyeing Northwestern or Purdue as potential transfer destinations.
By a vote of 9-3, former USC running backs coach Todd McNair has lost his defamation lawsuit against the NCAA. Following six days of deliberation, the verdict brings to a close the Reggie Bush scandal that began more than a decade ago, a scandal that saw the Trojans lose their 2004 BCS national championship and Bush be stripped of his 2005 Heisman Trophy.
McNair sued the NCAA after it found him guilty of unethical conduct while Bush received impermissible benefits. He was given a 1-year show-cause penalty, and has not worked since his contract expired in the summer of 2010.
McNair sought $27 million in damages from the NCAA.
McNair’s attorney Bruce Broilett told ESPN his team was “very disappointed … disappointed in the result. Assessing the situation and considering our next steps.”
Kansas fired athletics director Sheahon Zenger earlier today. If the move was immediately greeted as a vote of no-confidence in Zenger’s ability to find and hire the next Jayhawks football coach — and, thus, a vote of no-confidence in the David Beaty era — that’s because it pretty much is.
“But Athletics continues to face a number of challenges, and progress in key areas has been elusive. To achieve the level of success we need and expect, I have determined a change in leadership is necessary,” KU chancellor Douglas Girod said in his statement announcing Zenger’s firing.
The playbook is well documented by now: to replace the head coach, you must first replace the AD who hired the head coach, and the replacement will then hire the new head coach. We’ve seen it play out at a number of places, most recently Nebraska, where Bill Moos was brought in to replace Shawn Eichorst, and Moos promptly fired Mike Riley and hired Scott Frost.
Beaty is a well-liked coach, but college football is a results business and a 3-33 record speaks for itself. Beaty surely knows that score better than anyone.
Hours after the news went public, Beaty released a statement of his own on Monday afternoon.
As if the 3-33 mark wasn’t obvious enough, the beginning of the end of the Beaty era likely came on Monday.
It’s been about four months since we checked in on the Week 1 betting lines in college football, highlighted by Alabama’s installation as a massive favorite for its date with Louisville in Orlando.
And in the four months since, the public has clearly lost faith in the Nick Saban Football Machine.
After starting as a 29.5-point favorite, Alabama has been downgraded… to a 28.5-point favorite, according to lines released by Bet Online.
Other lines of note:
- UCF (-20.5) at Connecticut
- Northwestern (+4.5) at Purdue
- Colorado (-6) vs. Colorado State (at Denver)
- San Diego State (+14.5) at Stanford
- Florida Atlantic (+23) at Oklahoma
- Oregon State (+38) at Ohio State
- Texas (-10.5) at Maryland
- Boise State (-10.5) at Troy
- Arizona (-14) vs. BYU (at Phoenix)
- Auburn (-3.5) vs. Washington (at Atlanta)
- Ole Miss (-1.5) vs. Texas Tech (at Houston)
- West Virginia (-7) vs. Tennessee (at Charlotte)
- North Carolina (+6) at California
- Michigan (+2) at Notre Dame
- Alabama (-28.5) vs. Louisville (at Orlando)
- Miami (-3) vs. LSU (at Dallas)
- Virginia Tech (+6.5) at Florida State
Check out the entire list of lines here.