Taking a quick-hit look at the Dec. 19 bowl menu, which, after the “opening weekend” buffet of five bowl games, is more like a snack than anything remotely resembling a meal. This one, though, features the Lane Train rolling into the postseason station.
WHO: Akron (7-6) vs. Florida Atlantic (10-3)
WHAT: The 4th Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl
WHERE: FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, Florida
WHEN: 7 p.m. ET on ESPN
THE SKINNY: This game is easily, in the minds of the wagering establishment at least, the biggest mismatch of bowl season, one of just three games — UCF (+10) vs. Auburn, Peach Bowl; Southern Miss (+16) vs. Florida State, Independence Bowl — remaining on the postseason schedule that features double-digit point spreads. In his first season with the Owls, Lane Kiffin has the Owls sitting at 10-3 and winners of nine in a row, including nine in a row for one of the longest winning streaks in the country. FAU also features the No. 9 scoring offense in the nation (39.8 ppg) and is 14th in total offense (508.6 ypg). Akron, meanwhile, is tied for 60th in scoring defense (26.3 ppg) and gives up 432.2 yards per game, 98th overall at this level. Oh, and did we mention that the Owls will be playing in the comfy confines of their home stadium, where they are 6-1 this season and winners of six straight? The Zips did qualify for the MAC championship game, which they promptly dropped by 17 to Toledo. This game has all the making of a lopsided affair, with anything other than that, especially a Zips win, marking a monumental upset. History doesn’t appear to be on the Midwestern squad’s side, either, as each of the first three Boca Raton Bowls by at least 15 points. So, maybe we’re due for a close one — or even an upset? Nah, never mind.
THE LINE: Akron, +23½
THE PREDICTION: Florida Atlantic 51, Akron 17
Nebraska fans now have an extra incentive for hoping their beloved Cornhuskers win the Big Ten this season, if they buy their tickets from the right ticket broker.
Ticket Express is offering a promotion to Nebraska fans that will refund all ticket purchases made before June 1 if Nebraska wins the Big Ten this upcoming season. The refund promo is good for single-game tickets as well as season packages.
Nebraska has played for the Big Ten championship once since joining the Big Ten in 2011, and it did not go well. Nebraska was blown out by Wisconsin in the 2012 Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis, 70-31. Nebraska’s last conference championship was won in 1999 under current Ohio head coach Frank Solich, when the Huskers were still at the top of the Big 12. Solich, by the way, will be welcomed back to Nebraska for an event next January for a service award from the Football Writers Association of America.
Nebraska is coming off a 4-8 season and faces a difficult schedule in the first season with new head coach Scott Frost. Nebraska’s schedule is arguably the toughest in the Big Ten this season with road games at Ohio State, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Michigan, and Iowa and a home crossover game with Michigan State. Just getting to the Big Ten championship game out of the West Division would be a pleasant surprise this fall, let alone topping the East Division champion in Indy.
Ticket Express liekly has an insurance policy to recoup the losses should things go Nebraska’s way, but this feels like a solid promotion with little risk for the broker.
No, we’re not repeating a story. For the second time today, it has been reported a player is transferring from Ohio State to a school at the FCS level. This time it is defensive back Wayne Davis, who will reportedly transfer to FCS powerhouse James Madison of the CAA.
JMU beat reporter Greg Madia of the Daily News-Record in Harrisonburg, Virginia reported the transfer news on Friday afternoon. The report cites a quote from Davis’s high school coach confirming the transfer is in progress. Paperwork still needs to make the transfer official, but that may just be a formality that is settled within days.
Because Davis would be moving to a FCS program, he will be eligible to play right away this fall and not have to sit out a season. His addition to the roster would certainly give the James Madison secondary a boost. Davis was a four-star recruit out of Norfolk, Virginia in the Class of 2016. He will have three years of eligibility at James Madison beginning this fall.
Earlier, linebacker Jared Drake announced his decision to transfer from Ohio State to Western Illinois.
Former Indiana head coach Bill Mallory, 82, has passed away. Mallory passed away after not improving from brain surgery this week. Mallory was Indiana’s all-time winningest college football coach and also coached at Miami Ohio, Colorado, and Northern Illinois.
Mallory had to undergo brain surgery this week after falling on Tuesday. After no improvement following surgery, Mallory was placed in hospice care on Thursday. His son, current Indiana State head coach Curt Mallory, announced the medical updates via Twitter.
Mallory began his coaching career at Bowling Green in 1960. After five seasons with the program, Mallory took on an assistant coaching job at Yale in 1965 and then Ohio State in 1966 under Woody Hayes. Mallory soon became the head coach at Miami Ohio in 1969 and went on to coach at Colorado and Northern Illinois before wrapping up his coaching career with the Hoosiers from 1984 through 1996. After going 0-11 in his first year in Bloomington, Mallory improved the program and took Indiana to six bowl games in eight years. Indiana finished ranked in the top 25 in 1988 for the first time since Lee Corso did so in 1979. Mallory’s 68 wins at Indiana remain the most in school history, as do his two bowl victories.
Following a loss to Michigan State in 1987, with the winner taking a trip to the Rose Bowl, Mallory entered the Michigan State locker room for one of his signature moments.
So much for getting a chance to play against his former team. Notre Dame wide receiver Freddy Canteen says he is going to look for a new program to play football. Canteen previously transferred to Notre Dame from Michigan (Notre Dame hosts Michigan in Week 1 of the 2018 season).
“I will be transferring to another university to obtain a graduate degree that unfortunately Notre Dame does not offer,” Canteen said in a statement on Twitter. “I will also utilize my remaining two years of eligibility to play football.”
Canteen played in just three games for Notre Dame in 2017, with one reception for seven yards. A torn labrum brought his 2017 season to an abrupt end. The former Michigan player transferred to Notre Dame after the 2016 season, which was also wiped out by injury after his 2015 season was ruined by an injury.
As a graduate transfer, Canteen will be eligible to play right away this fall for whatever program he transfers to. And, as confirmed by Canteen, he will have two more years of eligibility to continue playing football for the 2018 and 2019 seasons.