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Mountain West Conference lands rich new TV deal with two TV partners

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The Mountain West Conference has a brand new TV deal locked in, and it’s a big one for the conference. The Mountain West announced it has agreed to terms on a new media rights deal with CBS Sports Network and FOX that will run through 2025-2026. The six-year contract is valued at $270 million for the conference.

The new media contract with CBS Sports and FOX will send 23 Mountain West Conference football games to CBS, CBS Sports Network, FOX, or FOX Sports 1, and an additional 10 games may be added to CBS Sports Network or CBS’s streaming digital platform, which is a paid service. FOX will air game son both network television and FOX Sports 1. FOX will have first dibs on any Boise State home games as part of the deal. FOX will broadcast the Mountain West Conference championship game as part of its package of games on either FOX or FOX Sports 1.

Boise State continues to be a winner in the new deal with a higher percentage of conference TV revenue share. However, it has been noted this will be the final time Boise State gets such an advantage.

Also of note, Hawaii will be keeping its own local rights agreement. In return, Hawaii will hand over conference games as part of the TV deal. Hawaii’s revenue share will be calculated differently as well.

The new media deal is certainly heavy on traditional television outlets as opposed to the push for digital streaming options. Even though the media landscape continues to move away form traditional cable options, the Mountain West Conference going with a relatively shorter contract shows the conference is still comfortable with the media landscape’s stability for the near future. And for how much the conference will distribute to conference members for the next six years, everyone should be pretty happy about the deal. As far as Group of Five conferences go, the Mountain West has a very good deal in place with multiple viewing options to expand the visibility of the conference’s football and basketball brands.

Air Force plays keep away to beat Wazzu in the Cheez-It Bowl

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The 2019 Cheez-It Bowl made due with eight fewer interceptions than last year but somehow was just as entertaining to watch.

In the postseason game that pitted the starkest contrast in offensive philosophies possible, Air Force played keep away on the clock and did just enough defensively to preserve a 31-21 win over Washington State, closing out the season with eight victories in a row for Troy Calhoun’s program.

The Falcons’ option was humming early and often out in the valley of the sun as the team turned a first quarter goal line stand into a remarkable 20 play, 98 yard touchdown drive that took over 12 minutes off the clock. That effort alone contributed heavily to the team running away with the time of possession (winding up at 43:24 in the end) but it was far from the only impressive drive of the night. QB D.J. Hammond III’s passing numbers paled in comparison to his counterpart (4-of-12, 30 yards, 1 INT) but that certainly isn’t the part of his game that has turned this team into a machine ever since losing to rival Navy the first week in October. The signal-caller had a modest 62 yards rushing but found the end zone twice and was near perfect in his decision making and pitching.

Tailback Kadin Remsberg was Air Force’s leading rusher with 178 on the ground but saved his best for last with a memorable dive for the pylon on 4th down to score the game-sealing touchdown in the final few minutes. Taven Birdow chipped in with 108 yards and a TD of his own as well as the team just rolled over a Pac-12 opponent for the second time this season.

As for Mike Leach’s squad, the Air Raid offense put up some hefty numbers as usual but failed to capitalize on a few chances and didn’t do enough in their limited opportunities with the ball in their hands. QB Anthony Gordon threw for 340 yards and a trio of touchdowns to close out his career on the Palouse, often finding fellow senior Brandon Arconado when in need of a big play. The wideout always seemed to find an open spot and hauled in 11 passes for 167 yards and a touchdown.

Tailback Max Borghi had a very quiet night with under 30 yards rushing and under 35 receiving, including getting stuffed twice on 4th down inside the five yard lines to end a pair of promising drives. As a result, the Cougs fell below .500 on the season for the first time since 2014 and further contributed to the Pac-12’s recent bowl season woes.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Air Force closed out 2019 with an 11-2 record overall for the third best mark in school history. Their two losses came on the road to the Midshipmen and Mountain West champ Boise State and the strong finishing kick should ensure them of a top 25 ranking in the final polls as a result.

Air Force leads Washington State at halftime of Cheez-It Bowl

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It was always going to be difficult to come close to matching the, uh, magnificence of last year’s Cheez-It Bowl but the 2019 edition is doing its best in the biggest contrast of styles college football has to offer.

Air Force’s option offense soaked up clock and churned up the yards to take a 17-14 lead over Washington State at halftime of a game that was every bit as fun as expected coming in.

The Falcons set the tone early, making a goal line stand on 4th down defensively and then turning right around and putting together what might have been the drive of the year. In something fit for a museum, the offense went 20 plays, 98 yards and took 12:23 off the clock before D.J. Hammond III eventually plunged in for the touchdown. The triggerman completed two of his six passes for 12 yards and a pick but was naturally more effective on the ground in rushing for 27 yards and making a number of nifty pitches. Kadin Remsberg was the leading rusher with 91 yards on 12 carries as the flexbone was stopped just once in the first half in the closing seconds.

Wazzu hung around though as Mike Leach’s Air Raid attack predictably moved the ball quickly even if their defense was on the field over 21 minutes. QB Anthony Gordon was already up to 194 yards and two touchdown throws while all-purpose threat Max Borghi being limited to a single yard on two touches might have been the upset of the game so far.

Expect plenty of fireworks either way from Chase Field down the stretch as two polar opposite philosophies battle it out in the Valley of the Sun to all of our enjoyment.

College Football Bowl Preview: Your Dec. 27 Viewer’s Guide

college Football Bowl Preview
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Your trusty and semi-daily college football bowl preview that today takes a quick-hit look at the Dec. 27 bowl menu, one that features five games and schools from every Power Five conference.

WHO: North Carolina (6-6) vs. Temple (8-4)
WHAT: The 12th Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman
WHERE: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, Maryland
WHEN: Noon ET on ESPN
THE LINE: Temple, +5
For the remainder of an extended preview, click HERE.

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WHO: Michigan State (6-6) vs. Wake Forest (8-4)
WHAT: The 10th New Era Pinstripe Bowl
WHERE: Yankee Stadium, New York City, New York
WHEN: 3:20 p.m. ET on ESPN
THE LINE: Wake Forest, +3½
For the remainder of an extended preview, click HERE.

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WHO: Oklahoma State (8-4) vs. Texas A&M (7-5)
WHAT: The 14th Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl
WHERE: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
WHEN: 6:45 p.m. ET on ESPN
THE LINE: Oklahoma State, +6½
For the remainder of an extended preview, click HERE.

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WHO: USC (8-4) vs. Iowa (9-3)
WHAT: The 42nd San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl
WHERE: SDCCU Stadium, San Diego, California
WHEN: 8 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1
THE LINE: USC, +2
For the remainder of an extended preview, click HERE.

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WHO: Air Force (10-2) vs. Washington State (6-6)
WHAT: The 31st Cheez-It Bowl
WHERE: Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona
WHEN: 10:15 p.m. ET on ESPN
THE SKINNY: Ye Olde College Football Bowl Preview has decreed that there may be more disparate college football teams than Air Force and Washington State, but it certainly wouldn’t take long to call the roll. The Cougars lead the nation — by a wide margin — in passing, averaging 444.3 yards per game; LSU’s 386.8 ypg is second.  The Falcons, meanwhile, are 124th at 131 ypg.  Conversely, the military academy is third at the FBS level in averaging 292.5 ypg on the ground. … Average number of runs per game for Air Force: 57.  Average number of passes per game for Washington State: 56. … Wazzu’s Anthony Gordon is second in the FBS with 45 touchdown passes this season.  In two games (vs. UCLA in September, vs. Oregon State in November), Gordon threw a combined 15 touchdown passes; in 12 games this year, Air Force threw 14. …  The Falcons will be playing in their first bowl game since 2016.  The Cougars are playing in their fifth straight, and will be looking for back-to-back bowl wins for the first time since the mid-nineties. … A win today would be Air Force’s 11th, which would be the football program’s most since 1998. … A loss for Wazzu would leave them under .500 for a season for the first time since 2014, Mike Leach‘s third year in Pullman. … Coming into the postseason, the Falcons have won seven straight.  The Cougars started the 2019 campaign 3-0 before losing six of their last nine, including the Apple Cup to rival Washington. … Wazzu has played in this game once (1992), back when it was called the Copper Bowl.  Air Force’s only appearance came three years later. … In addition to the Cheez-It Bowl and Copper Bowl, this game has also answered to names such as Insight.com Bowl, Insight Bowl, Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl and Cactus Bowl. … Regardless of how this game plays out, it can’t possibly match the ugly duck that was last year’s game.  In a matchup that featured nine interceptions (nine!!!) and 15 punts, TCU came away with a 10-7 overtime “win” over Cal.
THE LINE: Washington State, +3
THE PREDICTION: Air Force 28, Washington State 34

San Diego State loses QBs coach Blane Morgan to FCS head job

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For the second time this spinning of the coaching carousel, a Left Coast FBS program has lost an assistant to its little brother level of college football.

First, it was Cal losing offensive coordinator Beau Baldwin to the head job FCS Cal Poly.  This time around it’s San Diego State, with FCS Lamar officially introducing Blane Morgan as its new head football coach.

Morgan spent the past five seasons as the quarterbacks coach at SDSU.  Before that, he was at alma mater Air Force for a dozen years as, at various times, wide receivers coach, quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator.

ROCKY LONG, HEAD COACH, SAN DIEGO STATE
Blane has been a key part of our 48-18 record over the past five years. He understands what it takes to win and is a proven winner. He’s gotten the most out of his players, and their consistent play is a big reason for our two conference championships since he’s been here. He should make an outstanding head coach.

FISHER DEBERRY, FORMER HEAD COACH, AIR FORCE
Blane Morgan is going to be a great college head coach! He was a tremendous quarterback as a player and was one of the most competitive players and coaches that we had in the program at the Air Force Academy. Being the son of a great and very successful high school coach, and also being on the staff of one of the nation’s premier defensive coaches in the college game makes him well qualified and ready for this responsible job. He will be a great role model and mentor to the players! Players and supporters will love his beautiful family and they will be inspired by his leadership. Lamar University has found a nugget.

TROY CALHOUN, HEAD COACH, AIR FORCE
In Blane Morgan and his family, Lamar is getting a first-class leader that bleeds for their home state of Texas. He’s a superb coach and will be a tremendous representative of the university.