Getty Images

CFT Previews: Your Dec. 29 Bowl Viewer’s Guide

Leave a comment

Taking a quick-hit look at the Dec. 29 bowl menu, which today features the only two postseason games that truly matter… until the national championship game in a week and a half, that is.

WHO: No. 10 Florida (9-3) vs. No. 7 Michigan (10-2)
WHAT: The 51st Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
WHEN: Noon ET on ESPN
WHERE: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia
THE LINE: Florida, +5½
For the remainder of an extended preview, click HERE.

__________

WHO: South Carolina (7-5) vs. Virginia (7-5)
WHAT: The 17th Belk Bowl
WHEN: Noon ET on ESPN
WHERE: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina
THE SKINNY: South Carolina has won five of its last six bowl appearances, and are 1-1 in the postseason under Will Muschamp. … Virginia, meanwhile, hasn’t won a bowl game since the 2005 Music City Bowl, going 0-3 in that stretch. … The Gamecocks didn’t win more than two games in a row this season — they did that once — but they also didn’t lose two games in a row at all in 2018.  All five of USC’s losses this season were followed by wins the following game. … The Cavaliers come in having lost two games in a row, although both of those losses were by a combined six points.  Those twin defeats also came on the road. … The two schools are actually former conference rivals as South Carolina played in the ACC from the league’s founding in 1953 before leaving following the 1971 season and, after a stint as a football independent, joining the SEC in 1992.  They have met 34 times in football, the first coming in 1912 and the most recent in 2003. The Gamecocks lead the overall series 21-12-1. …  Over the last five games of the regular season, Jake Bentley topped 300 yards passing on three different occasions, including a school-record 510 yards in USC’s loss to Clemson. He also tossed 16 of his 27 touchdown passes in that five-game span. … The Gamecocks will be down three starters, two because of injuries (defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw, cornerback Keisean Nixon) and one, leading receiver Deebo Samuels, who decided to skip the game to focus on draft preparations. … With a win, the Cavaliers would post its best record since going the same 8-5 back in 2011.
THE LINE: Virginia, +5½
THE PREDICTION: South Carolina 38, Virginia 34

__________

WHO: Arkansas State (8-4) vs. Nevada (7-5)
WHAT: The 4th NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl
WHEN: 1:15 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network
WHERE: Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee
THE SKINNY: If there is ever a bowl game to get lost in the viewing wash it’s this one as it kicks off in the middle of a Big Ten-SEC postseason clash and will end after the first of two playoff semifinals has started. … To pique your interest, though, this is the only 2018-19 bowl game in which both teams have the word “Wolf” or a derivative in their nickname — the Red Wolves of Arkansas State, the Wolf Pack of Nevada. … Arkansas State will be making its school-record eighth bowl appearance in a row, with three wins and four losses in that postseason stretch. … Nevada will be playing in its first bowl game since the 2015 season. … After starting the year a pedestrian 4-4, the Red Wolves ripped off four straight wins to close out the regular season. They won all four of those games by at least 14 points. … The Wolf Pack also ended the season on a run, although a loss to in-state rival UNLV in the finale snapped what had been a four-game winning streak. … Speaking of which, the two teams had one common opponent this season: UNLV.  ASU beat UNLV 27-20 in late September, while Nevada fell 34-29 late last month. … Nevada holds a 3-2 edge in the all-time series, with the last meeting coming in 1999. … The Wolf Pack, though, will be without its leading receiver as McLane Mannix announced his transfer to Texas Tech earlier this month.
THE LINE: Nevada, +1½
THE PREDICTION: Arkansas State 31, Nevada 27

__________

WHO: No. 2 Clemson (13-0) vs. No. 3 Notre Dame (12-0)
WHAT: The College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic
WHEN: 4 p.m. p.m. ET on ESPN
WHERE: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
THE LINE: Notre Dame, +10½
For the remainder of an extended preview, click HERE.

__________

WHO: No. 1 Alabama (13-0) vs. No. 4 Oklahoma (12-1)
WHAT: The College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl
WHEN: 8 p.m. ET on ESPN
WHERE: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida
THE LINE: Oklahoma, +14
For the remainder of an extended preview, click HERE.

Matthew Baldwin’s decision leaves Ohio State with two scholarship QBs

Getty Images
1 Comment

And then there were two.

Seeing the Justin Fields writing on the wall, Tate Martell transferred from Ohio State in mid-January and ultimately landed at Miami.  Three months later, another OSU signal-caller, Matthew Baldwin, confirmed on Twitter Thursday night that he too has decided to take his leave of the Buckeyes and place his name into the NCAA transfer database.

“[S]pring was a tough time for me personally. My family and I have prayed and talked a lot about where I belong and what is best for me,” Baldwin wrote as part of a very classy Twitter post revealing his decision. “In the end, we feel like it’d be better for me to step away from Ohio State.”

A four-star member of OSU’s 2018 recruiting class, Baldwin was rated as the No. 12 pro-style quarterback in the country coming out of high school in Austin, Texas.  Baldwin didn’t play a down for the Buckeyes as he continued his rehab from an ACL injury he suffered late in his high school career at Lake Travis.

With the twin departures of Baldwin and Martell, OSU is now down to two scholarship quarterbacks — the Georgia transfer Fields (HERE) and West Virginia transfer Chris Chugunov (HERE).  Fields was widely expected to be the Buckeyes’ starter under center in the 2019 opener; Baldwin’s decision ensures that, barring injury, that will indeed be the case.

Arkansas to add former Notre Dame OL Luke Jones

Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
Leave a comment

A week and a half after word broke Luke Jones was intending to leave Notre Dame comes the announcement Jones is going to be playing closer to home. The Arkansas native announced with a message on Twitter he is coming home to play for the Arkansas Razorbacks.

“I would like to thank the University of Note Dame for giving me the opportunity to pursue my dream of playing college football,” Jones said in a brief message on his Twitter account. “However, I have decided to transfer and play football for the University of Arkansas. I will be enrolling in the summer and am excited for this new chapter in my life!”

Jones spent a brief moment with the Notre Dame program as he was a member of the Class of 2018 in South Bend. Prior to committing to the Fighting Irish, Jones had been committed to the Arkansas football program in his recruiting process, but Notre Dame emerged victorious in the recruiting game during a coaching change with the Razorbacks.

Jones will be required to sit out the 2019 season under standard NCAA transfer rules, although those seem to be more like guidelines these days, so we’ll wait to see if there is a chance Jones gets to jump into the mix in the offensive line for the Razorbacks this fall.

Ex-Pitt TE Tyler Sear announces transfer to Temple

Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Tight end Tyler Sear is hopping on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and heading from one metropolitan corner of the state to the next. Sear announced on his Twitter account on Thursday he is transferring from Pitt to Temple.

The Class of 2017 recruit of the Panthers left the program last October for what was simply described as personal reasons. It was unknown if the leave of absence was a short-term or long-term plan as the decisions about the status were being kept close to the vest within the Pitt program.

Sear did battle some injury concerns during his time at Pitt that prevented him from potentially reaching his full potential for the Panthers. He caught two passes for nine yards last season prior to his stepping away from the team.

Perhaps a clean slate with a new program will do Sear good as he steps in to try contributing with the Owls in the AAC. Sear will have to sit out the 2019 season due to standard NCAA transfer rules, unless an exception is granted by the NCAA. It is unknown if a waiver will be filed by Sear and Temple for immediate eligibility.

Sear has not used a redshirt year yet so he could burn that in 2019 while waiting to get back on the field if he is forced to sit out the 2019 season. That ould leave Sear with two years of eligibility remaining beginning with the 2020 season.

Michigan CB Myles Sims enters transfer portal

Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images
4 Comments

Add another name to the growing list of players entering the transfer portal. This time it is Michigan cornerback Myles Sims. According to a report from 247 Sports, the former four-star prospect in Michigan’s Class of 2018 is evaluating his options.

Any player who adds his name to the transfer portal is allowed to make contact with potential programs of interest, but it does not automatically mean that player is gone for god. Sims will have the option of pulling his name out of the portal in the event he decides to stay in Ann Arbor. How quickly Sims will make any decision one way or the other remains to be seen.

Sims did not see the field last season for Michigan so he can use the 2018 season as his redshirt year. That gives the former four-star recruit four years of eligibility remaining, although he will likely have to burn one year of eligibility by sitting out the upcoming 2019 season.

Standard NCAA transfer rules require a player to sit out a full season before being ruled eligible to play again, although exceptions have been made a bit more frequently over the past year. Whether or not Sims will have the chance to play right away this fall will have to wait to be determined when he decides what his plans will be moving forward.