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CFT Previews: Your Dec. 31 Bowl Viewer’s Guide

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Taking a quick-hit look at the Dec. 31 bowl menu, which today features a whopping six games involving 11 Power Five schools (at least one from each of those conferences) and one 10-win team from the Group of Five.

WHO: Cincinnati (10-2) vs. Virginia Tech (6-6)
WHAT: The 11th Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman
WHEN: Noon ET on ESPN
WHERE: Jack Stephens Field at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, Maryland
THE SKINNY: Thanks to Florida State’s all-time record being snapped, Virginia Tech now owns the nation’s longest bowl appearance streak at 26 straight seasons. The Hokies are 1-1 in bowl games under Justin Fuente. … Cincinnati hasn’t played in a bowl game since 2015 and hasn’t won in the postseason since 2012, the final year under Butch Jones. … Coming into the postseason, Cincinnati won four of its last five regular-season games, with the lone loss being to unbeaten UCF. … Virginia Tech rebounded from a four-game losing streak that ran from mid-October to mid-November to win its last two games and keep its bowl appearance streak alive. … The Hokies have allowed at least 31 points in six straight games, the longest such streak for the football program in more than 60 years. … In that six-game stretch, the Hokies have given up an average of 290 yards rushing per contest. For the season, they are 105th nationally in giving up 206.5 yards per game.  That doesn’t bode well as the Hokies will be facing a Bearcats rushing attack that’s 16th in the country at 238.1 yards per game. … Cincinnati is also extremely stingy on the scoreboard as they lead the AAC and are seventh in the country in giving up just 16.1 points per game. … The football programs have met 10 times previously, with the most recent meeting coming in the 2014 Military Bowl.  The Hokies won that game 33-17, and hold a 6-4 edge in the series all-time.
THE LINE: Virginia Tech, +5½
THE PREDICTION: Cincinnati 34, Virginia Tech 17

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WHO: Stanford (8-4) vs. Pitt (7-6)
WHAT: The 84th Hyundai Sun Bowl
WHEN: 2 p.m. ET on CBS
WHERE: Sun Bowl Stadium, El Paso, Texas
THE LINE: Pitt, +5½
For the remainder of an extended preview, click HERE.

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WHO: Michigan State (7-5) vs. Oregon (8-4)
WHAT: The 17th Redbox Bowl
WHEN: 3 p.m. ET on FOX
WHERE: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California
THE LINE: Michigan State, +2½
For the remainder of an extended preview, click HERE.

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WHO: Missouri (8-4) vs. Oklahoma State (6-6)
WHAT: The 60th AutoZone Liberty Bowl
WHEN: 3:45 p.m. ET on ESPN
WHERE: Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, Tennessee
THE LINE: Oklahoma State, +8½
For the remainder of an extended preview, click HERE.

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WHO: Northwestern (8-5) vs. Utah (9-4)
WHAT: The 41st San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl
WHEN: 7 p.m. ET on ESPN
WHERE: San Diego, California
THE LINE: Northwestern, +7
For the remainder of an extended preview, click HERE.

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WHO: NC State (7-5) vs. Texas A&M (7-5)
WHAT: The 73rd TaxSlayer Gator Bowl
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
WHERE: TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville, Florida
THE SKINNY: Because of injuries, Texas A&M will be without its leading tackler in linebacker Otaro Alaka and its second-leading tackler in defensive back Donovan Wilson.  The former also leads the Aggies in tackles for loss, the latter in interceptions. … A&M will be making its 10th straight bowl appearance, although the Aggies have lost three in a row after winning four straight from 2011-14. … NC State, meanwhile, has won two consecutive bowl games and are 3-1 in the previous five under Dave Doeren. …  The Wolfpack comes into the game having won three in a row and, if they make it four straight, will reach double digits in wins for the first time since the 2002 season.  It would also mark just the second such season in the football program’s history. … A&M also comes in on a mini-roll as the Aggies have won three straight as well, the last of which was the 74-72, seven-overtime thriller against LSU in the regular-season finale. … One player to watch, and this is no joke: punter Braden Mann.  The 2018 Ray Guy Award winner has averaged 51.1 yards per punt this season and could break the single-season record of 50.3 set by LSU’s Chad Kessler back in 1997. Mann has already set one FBS record this season as his 60.8 yards per punt against Alabama broke the single-game mark of 60.4 set by BYU’s Lee Johnson in 1983. … Based on statistics, don’t expect much from the running game for either team as A&M is second in the country in giving up 92 yards per game on the ground while NC State is 13th at 109.1. … The scoreboard operator could get some work, though, as NC State is tied for 21st in scoring offense at 35.6 points per game and A&M is 27th at 34.7 ppg. … The two teams, which will be meeting for the first time in football, have one common opponent this season in Clemson.  NC State lost to the second-ranked team in the country 41-7 in late October, while A&M fell 28-26 the second week of the season.
THE LINE: NC State, +7
THE PREDICTION: NC State 37, Texas A&M 31

Veteran WRs coach Gunter Brewer joins Louisville staff

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After a brief foray in the NFL, Gunter Brewer is back in college football and, more specifically, back in the ACC.

Brewer was announced as Louisville’s wide receivers coach on Tuesday, completing Scott Satterfield‘s initial staff.

This will be Brewer’s fourth different tour of duty in the ACC. He joined the conference as a Wake Forest wide receiver in 1985-86, then joined the Deacons’ coaching staff as a strength and conditioning assistant in 1986-87. He returned to the conference as North Carolina’s wide receivers coach from 2000-04, then coached the Tar Heels’ wideouts again from 2012-17.

In between those stints, Brewer has coached wide receivers at East Tennessee State, Marshall, Oklahoma State and Ole Miss. He has tutored two Biletnikoff Award winners and a third finalist — Randy Moss at Marshall (1997 winner) and Dez Bryant (2008 finalist) and Justin Blackmon (2010 winner) at Oklahoma State. (Blackmon also won the honor in 2011, but Brewer was at Ole Miss by then.)

Brewer spent the 2018 campaign as the wide receivers coach for the Philadelphia Eagles. His NFL stint ended with Alshon Jeffrey‘s drop against the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Divisional round.

Les Miles hires NAIA head coach to Kansas support staff

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Stay with me here, but Les Miles has made a smart, visionary hire to help his offensive coaching staff.

Bethel University head coach Brent Dearmon is leaving his post to become a senior offensive consultant at Kansas. The announcement was made by Bethel; KU has yet to confirm the hire.

“It has been one of the greatest joys of my life to come back home to Bethel and help rebuild the program,” Dearmon said in a statement. “This place will always be very a special place to me and my family. Bethel molded me into the player I was, the coach I am, and the man God designed me to be.”

Dearmon led Bethel, an NAIA school in McKenzie, Tenn., to its best season in school history. The Wildcats went 10-1, including an undefeated regular season and a ranking as high as No. 3, while averaging a staggering 55 points and 540.3 yards per game.

Dearmon’s offense was the highest scoring unit not just in NAIA, but all of college football.

Meanwhile, Kansas is still without an offensive coordinator after Chip Lindsey left to become the head coach at Troy.

“We are happy for Coach Dearmon and this opportunity for him but at the same time we regret to see him leave,” Bethel AD Dale Kelley said. “He did a marvelous job and the team was exciting to follow. The excitement around the program this past year was phenomenal. We wish him and his family the very best.”

The 2018 campaign was Dearmon’s first as head coach at Bethel, his alma mater. He had spent the previous three campaigns as the offensive coordinator at Division II Arkansas Tech, and prior to that deposited two seasons as an analyst on Gus Malzahn‘s staff at Auburn.

Missouri, Colorado reportedly ink home-and-home to celebrate Fifth Down anniversary

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Colorado and Missouri are set to reunite to celebrate the anniversary of one of the most infamous officiating gaffes in college football history, according to a pair of reports.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on Friday that the Buffs and Tigers will play a home-and-home in 2025 and 2030, which was confirmed on Tuesday by CBS Sports‘s Dennis Dodd.

The 2025 game will be in Boulder and the 2030 game in Columbia, according to the Post-Dispatch. Specific dates have not been disclosed.

The pair will “honor” the anniversary of the famous Fifth Down game, an Oct. 6, 1990 game in which officials mistakenly gave Colorado two second downs in the closing moments of their meeting in Columbia. That mistake allowed Buffaloes quarterback Charles Johnson to score a 1-yard keeper as time expired, allowing Colorado to escape with a 33-31 win. Adding to the controversy, replays showed Johnson’s knee was down before the ball reached the goal line, but Colorado was allowed to keep its ill-gotten win and went on to share the 1990 national championship with Georgia Tech, the school’s only title.

Colorado and Mizzou have not met since both schools left the Big 12 following the 2010 season. Missouri won the final five games, including a 26-0 blanking in 2010, and holds a 41-31-3 all-time lead in a series that dates back to 1930.

The series will not be the first time either school faces a former Big 8/12 bunk mate since their respective departures. Missouri has a home-and-home with Kansas State set for 2022-23, while Colorado faces Texas A&M in 2019 and ’20, meets Nebraska in 2023-24 and squares off with Kansas State in 2027-28.

Colorado is set to open its 2025 season with Georgia Tech on Aug. 30 and visit Houston a week later. Mizzou has games with North Dakota, Miami (Ohio) and Massachusetts set for 2025. Neither team has another game on the docket for 2030 as of yet.

Penn State transfer TE Danny Dalton lands at Boston College

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One of the dozen(ish) members of the Penn State football program who has decided to transfer from the Nittany Lions this offseason has found himself a new college football home.

Over the weekend, Danny Dalton took to Twitter to announce that he has decided to transfer to Boston College and continue his playing career with the Eagles.  The tight end is on schedule to graduate from Penn State in June, meaning he’ll be eligible to play immediately in 2019.

Including the upcoming season, the Marshfield, Mass., native will have two years of eligibility remaining.

A three-star member of the Nittany Lions’ 2016 recruiting class, Dalton was the top-rated player at any position in the state of Massachusetts.  After not playing at all his first two seasons in Happy Valley, the 6-4, 247-pound redshirt sophomore appeared in three games