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Ducks taking Horned Frogs on early trip to woodshed

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Stop me if you’ve heard this one before this postseason: Team A is waxing Team B in the X Bowl.

Continuing what’s been the dominant theme of the 2015-16 bowl cycle, Oregon is having little issue whatsoever thus far in taking care of business against TCU, jumping out to a 21-0 first-quarter lead en rout route a 31-0 halftime lead in the Alamo Bowl.  By just about any statistical measure, this one has been about as close as the current score would indicate.

The Ducks rolled up 360 yards of first-half offense, while the Horned Frogs were limited to just 142.  UO out-first downed TCU 18-5 as well.

The Horned Frogs ran just eight offensive plays in Duck territory, and punted on five of their seven possessions.  Their deepest penetration was to the Duck 30-yard line on a drive that ended on downs; their only other drive, other than the one to run out the final :32 of the half, came to a halt on an interception.

A microcosm of TCU’s first-half struggles?  Their special teams appeared to have provided a spark with five minutes left in the half by blocking a Duck punt deep in UO’s territory… only to see the Ducks recover it and legally advance it for a first down to keep the drive alive.

Vernon Adams Jr. continued to show why many an observer felt that, if he had been healthy the entire season, Oregon could’ve very well been involved in the playoffs instead of stuck in a mid-tier bowl.  The FCS graduate transfer completed 13-of-19 passes for 197 yards and a touchdown in the first two quarters.  The Ducks had three players rush for 40 or more yards in the half — Royce Freeman (72), Tony Brooks-James (50), Taj Griffin (40) — as part of a rushing attack that accounted for 163 yards and a 5.8 yards per carry average.

Freeman also accounted for two of the Ducks’ three rushing touchdowns.

Arguably the only negative in the first half was Adams being knocked out of the game late in the second quarter following a hard, but legal, hit.  Adams was taken off the field under his own power and into the locker room, with his return in the second half unknown as of this posting.

This was expected to be one of the better — and more competitive — bowl games, but the arrest and suspension of star TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin, as well as injuries to two starting offensive lineman and leading receiver, changed the complexion of the contest entirely.

Colorado to retire Ralphie V after home finale vs. Washington

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Colorado has retired Ralphie V at the end of this season, AD Rick George announced Tuesday.

Actually, the retirement is already partially in effect because, as The Ringer’s Rodger Sherman pointed out on Twitter, she had become too powerful.

Ralphie turned 13 in October and is in great health; she receives regular veterinarian check-ups.  As the season progressed, she just wasn’t having the consistency she had displayed in prior years.  With past Ralphies, as they aged, their speed typically decreased; with Ralphie V, she has been so excited to run that she was actually running too fast, which created safety concerns for her and her handlers.  She also wasn’t consistently responding to cues from her handlers, and her temperament was such that she was held back from leading the team out for CU’s last two home games against USC and Stanford.

“Ralphie V has served the department and the university well,” George said.  “She has been a very special buffalo and has truly been adored by many.  We hope she lives for many years to come and look forward to finding her successor.”

Ralphie V, Colorado’s mascot since 2008, will make her last appearance Nov. 23 against Washington, where she will not lead the Buffaloes on to Folsom Field but will appear on the sidelines.

“Ralphie V was our first Ralphie to serve in the age of social media,” Ralphie Program Manager John Graves said.  “Thanks to her, we were able to incorporate an educational aspect to the Ralphie Program and hundreds of thousands of fans were able to meet her and learn more about her and buffalo in general, while countless more learned via social media.  As one of the biggest and fastest Ralphies, her love for running and power was showcased every home game during her career.  It’s almost like she knew she was the queen of campus and she loved to show that fact off when she ran onto the field and at her public appearances.”

Colorado officials are currently reviewing film and making recruiting trips to select Ralphie VI, who will make her debut in 2020.

Alabama sees title odds plunge off loss to LSU

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Coming off the loss to LSU this past Saturday, it wasn’t a matter of if but how far Alabama plunged in the eyes of wagering establishments.  Tuesday, we have that answer.

According to the odds released by one offshore sportsbook, Alabama is listed at 10/1 to win the 2019 College Football Playoff championship.  That’s down from 11/4 the week before the LSU loss.

As was the case a week ago, Ohio State, ranked No. 1 in the initial CFP Top 25, is the favorite at 2/1, shortened from 5/2.  LSU, which is expected to be the new No. 1 when the playoff rankings are released later on tonight, has moved up to 5/2 (9/2 last week) while Clemson is right behind at 3/1 (11/4).

Georgia (10/1) and Oklahoma (20/1) are next up with shorter odds at 9/1 and 16/1, respectively.

A pair of Pac-12 teams are further back in the wagering pack, with Oregon (16/1) posting longer odds at 15/1 and Utah putting up the same 40/1 they were at a week ago.  A pair of unbeatens are even further back — Minnesota at 50/1 (100/1 last week) and Baylor at the same 66/1.

The only Group of Five school listed is Cincinnati, with the Bearcats going from 250/1 seven days ago to 500/1 now.

Miami’s Evidence Njoku tweets decision to enter transfer portal

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Following a standout career at Miami, David Njoku was a first-round pick of the Cleveland Browns in the 2018 NFL Draft.  Njoku’s younger brother had hoped to follow in his footsteps at The U, but, as it turns out, that won’t be the case.

On his personal Twitter account Monday afternoon, Evidence Njoku announced that, “after Deep Thought And Discussion I Have Decided To Enter The Transfer Portal To Furthermore Continue My Athletic And Academic Career.” The tight end gave no specific reason for his decision.

“He’s a good young man,” Miami head coach Manny Diaz said. “We wish him well wherever he ends up.”

Njoku was a three-star member of the Hurricanes’ 2017 recruiting class who came to The U as a wide receiver before converting to tight end.  After playing in eight games as a redshirt freshman last season, he had played in just one game thus far in 2019.

The 6-6, 226-pound New Jersey native finishes the Hurricanes portion of his collegiate p[laying career with just one catch for 11 yards, with that coming in the last year’s regular-season finale against Pitt.

Florida announces future home-and-home with Arizona State

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With the 2019 regular season rapidly drawing to a close, Florida has dropped some future scheduling news on the masses.

Early Tuesday afternoon, Florida confirmed that it has agreed to a future home-and-home series with Arizona State.  The Gators will travel to Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe in 2028, with the Sun Devils making the trek to The Swamp in Gainesville in 2031.

The 2028 game will be played on Sept. 16, while the backend of the series will be played either Sept. 6 or 13 of 2031.

That first matchup in 2028 will mark the first-ever meeting between the football programs.

Arizona State last played at the home of an SEC school in 2009, a 20-17 loss to Georgia in Athens.  Florida’s last trip to a Pac-12 school was a 1983 tie with USC.  The Gators last played host to a school from that conference the year before, with the Trojans serving as the opponent once again.