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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.)

Miami confirms SMU’s Rhett Ashlee as new OC

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The offensive marriage of Miami and Rhett Lashlee has been consummated.

Friday, it was reported that Lashlee was set to become the offensive coordinator at The U. Saturday, the Hurricanes confirmed the hiring.  Lashlee will also serve as quarterbacks coach.

” Lashlee’s hire is pending completion of a standard University background check,” the university’s release added.

” We are thrilled to welcome Rhett Lashlee and his family to the UM family,” Miami head coach Manny Diaz said in a statement. “Rhett has directed some of the most innovative offenses in college football in recent years. Offenses that attack quickly, creatively and efficiently. We are excited to see how Rhett will look to spread the ball around and utilize.”

Lashlee spent the past two seasons in the same jobs at SMU. At the FBS level, he’s also been the coordinator at Arkansas State (2012), Auburn (2013-16) and UConn (2017).  He was also the coordinator at FCS Stamford in 2011.

This past season, Miami ranked 98th in the nation in total offense with an average of 367.2 yards per game. SMU averaged 489.8 ypg, the ninth nationally. The Hurricanes ranked 90th in the country with 25.4 points per game. The Mustangs had one of the top-scoring offenses with 41.8 points per game, seventh at the FBS level.

At the collegiate level, Lashlee began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Arkansas in 2006.  He was also a graduate assistant at Auburn in 2009-10.

Lashlee played his college football at Arkansas.  He was a quarterback for the Razorbacks from 2002-04.

Miami nabs Rhett Lashlee from SMU to coach offense

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The Miami Hurricanes were shut out in their bowl game, which was a brutal reminder the Hurricanes need a lot of help in getting the offense in gear moving forward. Heda coach Manny Diaz will hand that responsibility off to his new offensive coordinator, Rhett Lashlee.

Lashlee is reportedly on his way from SMU to Miami to fill the same position as an offensive coordinator.

Miami has not officially announced any coaching staff additions as of yet, although one could be expected as soon as early next week.

Miami ranked 98th in the nation in total offense with an average of 367.2 yards per game. SMU averaged 489.8 yards per game with the 9th-ranked total offense in 2019. The Hurricanes ranked 90th in the nation with 25.4 points per game. SMU had one of the nation’s top-scoring offenses with 41.8 points per game (7th in the nation). While there is a difference in the overall level of competition both programs faced in 2019, those are still drastically different and enough reason to be encouraged about Miami’s potential future on offense with Lashlee calling the plays.

Lashlee has been all over the place the past few years in his coaching career. After a four-year run at Auburn as an offensive coordinator and quarterback coach from 2013 through 2016, Lashlee spent the 2017 season at UConn and the past two seasons with SMU. This will be Lashlee’s first time coaching in the ACC.

Suspensions will leave FAU without three starters for bowl game, illness a fourth

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Thanks to a handful of suspensions, FAU won’t be at full strength for its bowl game.  To say the least.

According to OwlAccess.com, academic suspensions will sideline three starters for Saturday’s Boca Raton Bowl vs. SMU. Those three starters are wide receivers Pico Harrison and DeAngelo Antoine as well as linebacker Keke Leroy.

As if that isn’t bad enough, Harrison Bryant is ailing and isn’t expected to play as well. The All-American apparently came down ill traveling to accept the Mackey Award as the nation’s best tight end.

Bryant leads the Owls in receptions (65), receiving yards (1,004) and receiving touchdowns (seven). At 61-771-5, Antoine (pictured) is second on the team in all three of those categories.  Harrison is third in yards with 523 and fourth in catches with 33. His 15.8 yards per catch average leads the team.

As for Leroy, he only leads the team in tackles with 101, tackles for loss with 15½ and sacks with 7½.  And forced fumbles with five for good measure.

As if that’s not enough, running back Malcolm Davidson will be sidelined as well. Davidson’s 711 yards on the ground are tops on the team.

On top of all of that, FAU’s head coach, Lane Kiffin, left for the job at Ole Miss and won’t coach in the bowl game.

As of this posting, FAU has yet to publicly address the statuses of any players mentioned.

College Football Bowl Preview: Your Dec. 21 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. 21 bowl menu, which on opening weekend features six games.  Included in that is a battle of 10-win teams and, most notably, the Chris Petersen Bowl.

WHO: Central Michigan (8-5) vs. San Diego State (9-3)
WHAT: The 14th New Mexico Bowl
WHERE: Dreamstyle Stadium, Albuquerque, New Mexico
WHEN: 2 p.m. ET on ESPN
THE SKINNY: Talk about going from worst to (nearly) first.  Last season, Central Michigan went a school-worst 1-11. This season, under first-year head coach Jim McElwain, CMU won the MAC West title and came within six points of winning in the conference championship game. … With a win, San Diego State will reach 10 (or more) for the fourth time in five seasons. The Aztecs have already won seven or more games each of the past 10 seasons. … Here’s a statistic to note: The Chippewas are undefeated (8-0) when they rush for at least 140 yards this season. … Here’s another statistic, this one to chew on: The Aztecs are currently second nationally in run defense, giving up 72.3 yards per game. … Of the 54 touchdowns CMU scored on offense, 35 came on the ground. The Aztecs’ seven rushing touchdowns allowed are the fourth-fewest in the country. … Do you sense a key-to-the-game vibe I’ve got going on here? … If not, how about this one: San Diego State hasn’t given up more than 23 points in any game this season, while CMU is 0-5 when they score fewer than that number in 2019. … This game will mark the first-ever meeting between the two football programs.
THE LINE: Central Michigan, +3½
THE PREDICTION: San Diego State 23, Central Michigan 15

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WHO: Liberty (7-5) vs. Georgia Southern (7-5)
WHAT: The 5th FBC Mortgage Cure Bowl
WHERE: Exploria Stadium, Orlando, Florida
WHEN: 2:30 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network
THE SKINNY: Cure Bowl fact: All four previous games have been decided by 10 or more points. … In just its second season at the FBS level, Liberty has qualified for its first bowl berth. So pleased with the program’s progress, university administrators have already handed first-year head coach Hugh Freeze a contract extension. … While not quite the neophyte as their opponent, Georgia Southern will be playing in just its third bowl game. In fairness, they have only played at the FBS level for six seasons. … The Flames and Eagles have one common opponent this season: FCS Maine.  GSU beat them 26-18, while Liberty won their matchup 59-44. … Another similarity? Both teams went 2-2 in the last four games of the regular season. … To say that GSU is run-heavy is a bit of an understatement. The Eagles’ 261.5 yards rushing per game is eighth nationally and second in the Sun Belt. To further highlight how ground-dependent they are, leading passer Shai Werts has rushed for nearly as many yards (683) as he has thrown for (704). … GSU’s run-pass ratio this season is 621-136. … For those curious, the Flames’ give up 192.7 yards per game on the ground, which is 100th in the country. … One final note: Liberty’s starting quarterback goes by the nickname “Buckshot” — and Stephen Calvert‘s thrown 26 touchdowns vs. just five interceptions — so I know who I’m going with.
THE LINE: Liberty, +4
THE PREDICTION: Liberty 34, Georgia Southern 21

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WHO: SMU (10-2) vs. Florida Atlantic (10-3)
WHAT: The 6th Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl
WHERE: FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, Florida
WHEN: 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC
THE LINE: FAU, +3
For the remainder of an extended preview, click HERE.

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WHO: Florida International (6-6) vs. Arkansas State (7-5)
WHAT: The 6th Camellia Bowl
WHERE: Cramton Bowl, Montgomery, Alabama
WHEN: 5:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
THE SKINNY: A win in the second-to-last game of the regular season clinched bowl eligibility for Butch Davis and Florida International for the third time in his three seasons at the Conference USA school.  The fact that it came at the expense of Davis’ old school, Miami, was simply icing on the cake and still makes me ROTFLMAO every single time I think about it. … Blake Anderson‘s wife lost her brave fight with cancer in mid-August and, after being away for a couple of weeks, the head coach rejoined the team in Week 2. Over the last nine games of the year, the Red Wolves went 6-3. … One of the best matchups of the early bowl season could be Omar Bayless vs. the FIU secondary.  The Arkansas State All-American has caught 84 passes (tied for ninth nationally) for 1,473 yards (second) and 16 touchdowns (second). He’s also averaging 17.5 yards per reception.  Conversely, FIU is sixth in the country in allowing 178.5 yards passing per game.  The Panthers give up just 6.45 yards per attempt as well. … If you’re a gambling man/woman, and I’ll bet you are, keep this tidbit in the back of your mind as you open your wallet: The first five Camellia Bowls have been decided by a combined 17 points.  Average score, rounded down? 31-27.
THE LINE: FIU, +2½
THE PREDICTION: Arkansas State 24, FIU 23

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WHO: Boise State (12-1) vs. Washington (7-5)
WHAT: The 28th Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl
WHERE: Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, Nevada
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC
THE LINE: Boise State, +3½
For the remainder of an extended preview, click HERE.

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WHO: Appalachian State (7-5) vs. UAB (6-6)
WHAT: The 19th R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
WHERE: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
WHEN: 9 p.m. ET on ESPN
THE LINE: UAB, +16½
For the remainder of an extended preview, click HERE.