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LSU, two B1G schools will have most players on Super Bowl rosters

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The LSU Tigers football program represented the sport well in winning the 2019 national championship, and now they’re set to be well-represented when the next level crowns its Super Bowl champion as well.

Sunday afternoon, the Kansas City Chiefs again overcame an early deficit to beat the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Championship game. In the NFC championship game, the San Francisco 49ers pummeled the Green Bay Packers to earn a berth opposite the Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV. That game will be played at the home of the Miami Hurricanes, Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Feb. 2.

The 49ers, seeking their first Super Bowl win since 1994, have four former LSU football players currently listed on their official online roster*. The Chiefs, in search of their first title since 1969, have one former LSU football player on their Super Bowl roster. That total of five is tied for the most for a single school in this year’s game.

The number for LSU is matched by a pair of schools from the Big Ten — Iowa and Penn State — for the most players on Super Bowl rosters this year. Three former Nittany Lions and Hawkeyes play for the 49ers, two for the Chiefs.

Two SEC schools, Florida and Vanderbilt, each have four former players as part of the game, as does Stanford. Middle Tennessee State and San Diego State are two of a gaggle of schools with three players on teams playing in the game, which is the most of any Group of Five conference member.

Conference-wise, it was the SEC leading the way (again) with 32 players, followed by the Big Ten’s 22. The ACC (17), Pac-12 (16), Big 12 (12) and Conference USA (11) were the only other FBS leagues in double digits.

As for the other conferences?

  • Mountain West, nine
  • AAC, six
  • MAC, five
  • Sun Belt, four

Football independents accounted for six players. There were a total of 21 players who played at levels of football other than the FBS.

Below are all of the individual schools that will be represented on Super Sunday:

FIVE
Iowa
LSU
Penn State

FOUR
Florida
Stanford
Vanderbilt

THREE
Arizona
Auburn
Clemson
Kansas State
Middle Tennessee State
Mississippi State
Notre Dame
Ohio State
Oklahoma
Pittsburgh
San Diego State
South Carolina

TWO
Alabama
BYU
Central Michigan
Duke
FAU
Florida State
Georgia Southern
Michigan
Michigan State
NC State
Ole Miss
Oregon
Purdue
Southern Miss
Tennessee
Texas
Texas A&M
USF
Utah
Virginia

ONE
Air Force
Alabama A&M
Appalachian State
Arizona State
Arkansas
Baylor
Boston College
Bowling Green State
Buffalo
Cal
Cincinnati
Colorado
Colorado State
Colorado State-Pueblo
Eastern Illinois
Eastern Michigan
Eastern Washington
Georgia
Georgia Tech
Grand Valley State
Harvard
Hawaii
Illinois
Indiana
James Madison
Louisiana Tech
Louisiana
McGill (Canada)
Minnesota
Montana State
New Hampshire
New Mexico State
North Texas
Northern Illinois
Northern Iowa
Oklahoma State
Old Dominion
Oregon State
Princeton
Samford
San Diego
San Jose State
SMU
South Carolina State
TCU
Temple
Texas Tech
UConn
Utah State
Valdosta State
Villanova
Virginia Tech
Wagner
Washington
West Alabama
Western Illinois
Western Kentucky
Wyoming

(*Includes players on injured reserve, practice squad, etc.)

Eastern Michigan loses assistant to head job at Div. III school

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Thanks to a lower level of football, the Eastern Michigan football program has a hole on its coaching staff to fill.

Monday, it was announced that Aaron Keen has been named as the head coach of Washington University in St. Louis.  Keen played his college football at Washington University and began his coaching career at his alma mater.

Keen will replace his former coach Larry Kindbom, who retired after 31 seasons.

“My family and I are excited about the opportunity to return home to Washington University. I want to thank [athletic director] Anthony J. Azama and the search committee for the opportunity and the trust to lead the football program at WashU,” said Keen in a statement. “I look forward to building on the traditions that Coach Kindbom has created here over the last 31 years, and helping to take the program to new heights.”

Keen has spent the past six seasons as part of the Eastern Michigan football staff.  From 2014-16, he was the special teams coordinator and tight ends coach.  From 2017-19, he served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

“WashU absolutely nailed this hire!” Eastern Michigan football head coach Chris Creighton stated. “Coach Keen is passionate about the game of football and understands the powerful influence it can have on the people who play it. He has an excellent football mind and being a head coach is in his DNA. Coach Keen has profoundly impacted Eastern Michigan Football these past six years. WashU is fortunate to have Coach Keen and the entire Keen family back in St. Louis.”

Eastern Michigan QB Mike Glass apologizes for accidental ref punch

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As far as mea culpas go, this was textbook for Eastern Michigan quarterback Mike Glass III.  And, honestly, expected.

Very late in EMU’s Quick Lane Bowl loss to Pitt Thursday night, Glass went, for lack of a better phrase, batspit crazy.  With 10 seconds or so left in the game, he slapped one Panther defender upside his helmet with an open hand.  Then, he went to punch another Panther defensive player.  Instead of his intended target, he caught a game official with a glancing blow to the jaw.

The official went down and Glass was, obviously, ejected.

In a tweet posted very early Friday morning, Glass wrote, “I let God and my family down!” Friday night, Glass issued a formal apology through EMU’s sports information department.

In the apology, Glass stated he “sought out and had a private conversation with the official to express my regret.

A senior, Glass threw for 3,155 yards and 23 touchdowns this past season.  He broke Charlie Batch‘s single-season school record in the latter category, while also topping the former EMU great’s mark for total offense.

Because his eligibility has expired, Glass will face no sanctions from either EMU or the MAC as a result of the incident.

College Football Bowl Preview: Your Dec. 26 Viewer’s Guide

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Your trusty and semi-daily college football bowl preview that today takes a quick-hit look at the Dec. 26 bowl menu, one that features a pair of ACC schools as well as one each from Conference USA and the MAC.

WHO: Louisiana Tech (9-3) vs. Miami (6-6)
WHAT: The 44th Walk-On’s Independence Bowl
WHERE: Independence Stadium, Shreveport, Louisiana
WHEN: 4 p.m. ET on ESPN
THE SKINNY: If Miami wasn’t the most disappointing team in college football (again), it wouldn’t take long to call the roll.  In Manny Diaz‘s first season as head coach, the Hurricanes went 6-6 in the regular season, the program’s worst since 2014.  A loss would equal that season’s mark, which was Al Golden‘s second-to-last with the program. … If The U is to break its two-game bowl losing streak — and reverse a trend that has them 1-8 in their last nine bowl games — they’ll have to do so against a school that treats the postseason as its own personal playground.  Heading into Shreveport, Louisiana Tech has won five-straight bowl games and six of their last seven. … Another win would also give the Bulldogs their 10th on the season, marking the first time in program history they hit double digits. … Miami lost its last two games of the regular season, one to a Florida International team that had never beaten them before and the other to a Duke team that came into the game with just four wins. … That same FIU team that beat Miami 30-24in November?  Louisiana Tech beat them 43-31 in September. …  Miami scored more than 27 points in just one of its five wins against FBS teams.  Louisiana Tech scored at least 41 points in seven of their eight FBS wins. … Independence Bowl fun fact: The ACC has won its last four appearances in this game.  The conference’s last loss in this game?  South Carolina’s 24-21 win in 2014 over, you guessed it, Miami. … Oh, and Miami still doesn’t have a clue as to who will be its quarterback.
THE LINE: Louisiana Tech, +6
THE PREDICTION: Louisiana Tech 41, Miami 27

__________

WHO: Pitt (7-5) vs. Eastern Michigan (6-6)
WHAT: The 6th Quick Lane Bowl
WHERE: Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan
WHEN: 8 p.m. ET on ESPN
THE SKINNY: If for nothing else, watch this game for one of the most reliable set of hands — and statistical anomalies — you’ve probably never heard of in Maurice Ffrench (pictured).  The Pitt wide receiver is first in the ACC and third nationally in receptions per game at 8.4. Despite that, the senior has yet to crack 700 yards receiving (685). Additionally, he has just three touchdown receptions on his 84 catches. … Eastern Michigan is playing in back-to-back bowl games for the first time in its history, and is looking for its first postseason win since 1987.  The MAC school is just 1-2 all-time in bowl games. … Pitt will be seeking its first bowl win since 2013, which would snap a four-game losing streak. … EMU and Pitt have played twice previously, with the Panthers winning both games (1995, 2007). … Both teams have stumbled a bit heading into this game.  The Panthers have lost three of their last five, including the last two.  The Eagles have lost three of their last five as well. … Quick Lane Bowl fun fact: A Power Five team has won each of the first five games played.  Granted, three of those games were P5 vs. P5 matchups, but still.  Three of the five have also been decided by 19 or more points as well.
THE LINE: Eastern Michigan, +10½
THE PREDICTION: Pitt 20, Eastern Michigan 10

Ohio State QB Justin Fields says knee is ’80-85 percent’ ahead of playoffs

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For Ohio State and Justin Fields, I wouldn’t think this will be exactly optimal.

In the third quarter of No. 1 Ohio State’s most recent win over Michigan, the sophomore quarterback went down with what looked could be a rather significant injury to his left leg.  After a brief trip to the medical tent, Fields returned and, on his first play back, tossed a 30-yard touchdown pass.  Following the game, Fields acknowledged that he had actually sprained the MCL in the huge win over Penn State the week before; for the Big Ten championship game win over Wisconsin that secured a spot in the playoffs, Fields was at less than 100-percent healthy and his mobility, a big part of his game, was somewhat limited by the combination of the injury and the bulky brace he wore to protect it from worsening.

Last week, Ryan Day stated Fields is “going to be at 100 percent” given the amount of rest he’s gotten.  With kickoff for the College Football Playoff semifinal vs. Clemson just four days away, however, Fields estimates that, right now, the knee is at 80-85 percent.

My knee is probably not where I wanted it to be right now,” Fields said. “I’m probably going to wear the same knee brace that I started out with for the Team Up North game. I brought the big one just in case anything happens.

“I mean, I definitely thought I would be closer to 100 percent. If I gave a percentage right now, I’d probably be 80 or 85.”

The injury has not caused Fields to miss any practice time leading up to the semifinals, it should be noted.

In his first season as a starter, Fields has thrown 40 touchdown passes vs. just one interception, with a pass efficiency rating of 200.3 that leads the Big Ten and is third nationally.  The true sophomore’s 10 rushing touchdowns are currently tied for ninth among FBS quarterbacks.

Fields finished third in the Heisman ballotting, and he’s already the way-too-early favorite for the 2020 award according to at least one sportsbook.