2021-12-14 09:07

And that was the Army-Navy game and the regular season is over.

And the Midshipmen did again screw my pick. LOL.

Army vs Navy
Both teams did play a close match.
Army did look slightly better, from my point of view, in the 1st half.
Navy had a moment of momentum shift in the 1st half, stopped Army for -12 yards and got the ball in a good position, afterwards, but the Midshipmen then were stopped of a field goal try and missed the 53 yarder.
Army did then hit a field goal on the next drive and led by that 13-7 at the half.
Navy then came out of the half high motivated and scored a TD to take the lead and somehow did Army never entered the game again.
Navy did stop them, for good, the whole 2nd half.
At the end did Navy win the game 17-13 and by that did split the military academy games between the 3 academies.
By rule Army keeps the Commander-In-Chief-Trophy.
The season is over for Navy, Army will play in a bowl.
Army 13 vs Navy 17 -> Jacks TOP GAMES Scores: 31-15

Some coaches news.

At first, I have an information on the pending situation at Auburn.
To give you the picture, Auburn did make COVID-19-vaccination mandatory latest to 8th of December.
That was in late October.
Not long ago had a federal judge halt such rules fpr federal employees, pending a final verdict on several trials.
Based on THAT did Auburn postpone their rule and extended the time period into roughly mid-January.
That means Brian Harsin, who did not state his vaccinated-status openly and (not sure that's a fact or rumor) state religious belief. It was looming that Auburn would need to terminate Harsins contract like Wazzu had to deal with their HC, but now at least 'til January the situation is safe as it can be.

Then did Florida International hire Mike MacIntyre, since 2020 the DC of Memphis and former HC of San Jose State and Colorado, as their new HC.
He had a successful run with the Spartans guiding them from a 1-win season in 3 years total to a 10 win season.
That performance did land him the gig at Colorado, where he was able to rebuild the Buffalos resulting in a division championship in his 4th season there and the first winning season there since 2005, with 10 wins total. But the team did fall back into losing after that and he was let go after 2018 season.
His overall record as HC is 46-65, but he did always take over teams in bad situations, which of cause results in more losses.
So, it's fitting he takes over at FIU, which did only win 1 game this season.
FIU could have the tools to be a winning college, but more invests and commitments are needed for football, I think.
He predecessor left quite angry and described the situation as 'sabotage'.

Fresno State hired Jeff Tedford as new HC, who was already the HC for the Bulldogs from 2017-2019, but left because of health issues.
He was very successful then, won the division in 2017 and the conference in 2018. 2019 was a losing season and after the season he resigned.
His record with the team was 26-14.
Prior to that, from 2002 to 2012 he was the HC of Cal, winning the conference once and having an overall record of 82-57 with the team.
He was fired in 2012 after a 3-9 season.

Duke found their next coach by hiring Mike Elko, the DC of Texas A&M. It's his 1st HC job, he did serve as DC for several schools, Texas A&M, Notre Dame, Wake Forest, Bowling Green and Hofstra (FCS). He is 44 years old and will find a challenging situation at Duke.
I'm curious to see his results.

Virginia hired Tony Elliott, Clemsons OC. He is a longtime Clemson assistant, OC since 2015. Now he gets the job at Virginia, where likely the hope is that he does further modernize the institution, like Mendenhall did so far. Some processes need time. I hope Virginia says on course and stays in the competition on the upper level and will not drop again. It's his 1st HC position.

Nevada selected Ken Wilson, Oregons DC, as new HC. He is in the upper 50s and does here get his 1st HC position. He was a longtime Nevada assistant from 1989 to 2012, which means he did serve under one of the most successful Nevada coach Chris Ault. Time will tell whether he was a good hire.

Surprising hire by Oregon, getting Georgias DC Dan Lanning. He is 35 years old and is some sort of shooting star, thanks to Georgias success this season.
He came to Georgia in 2018 and was promoted to DC in 2019. His youth might compensate the inexperience in organization parts, not sure how this will work out.
I hope he will hire a good mix of old and young guys to help him.

The only open position right at HC now is Temple.

And the end of the regular season does mean the bowl season is about to start.

Last season there were only 29 Bowls, which was a major reduction to the usual numbers in season before that (40), this season we have 42 bowls, 41 regular bowls including the Semis and 1 bowl as Championship game.
The interesting part this season is, that the period for creating and approving of bowls was skipped and last week out of nowhere a 42nd bowl was created to fit all eligible teams.
This might become a rule, which allows a volatile adjustment in bowls, based on eligible teams.
Only future will tell.

Friday, December 17
Bahamas Bowl
Middle Tennessee vs Toledo

@Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, Nassau, NP
Last season this bowl was canceled, but (so far) this season it's planned to play it.
It's a CUSA vs MAC Bowl and it was played so far 6 times.
The conference have split the wins, 3-3, so far.
Both 2021 teams have already played in this bowl, MTSU in 2015, Toledo in 2018, but both teams have lost those games.
Right now the betting line is -10.0 Toledo, making the 7-5 Rockets the favorite against the 6-6 Blue Raiders.
MTSU best win was likely against Marshall, who finished the season ahead of the Raiders, while Toledo did not win against teams with better final record than itself.
I expect a quite open game. Not sure both teams are really that far apart from each other.
Toledo will win, if they can actually run against the Raiders and with their balanced attack, I don't see a good argument to bet against them.
I just think it might get closer than 10 points.
Rockets win.

Tailgreeter Cure Bowl
Northern Illinois vs Coastal Carolina

@Exploria Stadium, Orlando, FL
The bowl returns to its regular home in Orlando, where the stadium usually is used for soccer games.
In 2020 the bowl was played in the stadium usually used for the Citrus bowl (also in Orlando).
The bowl exists since 2015 and usually has American vs Sun Belt as plan, but statistics show, in all seasons did the Sun Belt send a team (record 2-4), but the other team was of different origins, including the American.
Actually, an indy team, Liberty has won the bowl 2 times in a row in 2019 and 2020, but they are not back this season, here.
Instead, Coastal Carolina, who were also here last season and lost in OT, are back and play the MAC Champion, NIU.
CCU had high hopes this season, but the injury of their QB during the season did hit them a bit hard and they did finish strong after his return for a 10-2 record. But of cause at that time the way to the Sun Belt Championship game was blocked already.
NIU had an even rougher season, but did also finish strong and won the MAC-Championship quite convincing.
CCU is favored by 10 points and even it did bite me when I did bet against NIU in the Championship game, I'm willing to bet against them again.
I can even see Coastal Carolina winning by more than those ten points.
Chanticleers win.

Saturday, December 18 Boca Raton Bowl
Western Kentucky vs Appalachian State

@FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, FL
A bowl since 2014 it's a game between always new negotiated conference tie ins, usually for 2 seasons, but I couldn't find a real tie-in-verification this season. But who cares ...
It's played on the home field of the Florida Atlantic Owls.
This season we have the CUSA-Championship-game loser against the Sun Belt Championship-game loser.
Both teams did lose close games, WKU had a high scoring game, while Appalachian State lost in a more defense driven game.
WKU has a record of 8-5, while the Mountaineers have 10-3.
Both teams did by the way lose against their conference champs twice during the season.
The Hilltopper have already played in this game in 2016 and won, Appalachian State has their 1st game here.
My initial reaction was Mountaineers will win without a doubt, and that's also the majority in the country thinking.
But they are only 3.0 points favorite by now and that's an indication that either they don't know how do deal with those teams or they think they are close.
My personal feeling is, that Appalachian State did play well and should be able to control WKU, but if WKU can find holes in the Mountaineers defense, this will be an open game.
I would be a bit surprised if the Hilltoppers win here, but we have seen a lot of strange upsets during the season.
Mountaineers win.

PUBG Mobile New Mexico Bowl
UTEP vs Fresno State

@University Stadium , Albuquerque, NM
Last season this game was played in Texas, thanks to COVID.
This season it returns to the campus of the New Mexico Lobos, where it was played since the start at 2006.
It's a ESPN operated bowl and usually fields teams from MWC and CUSA.
This season the matchup looks not very attractive.
UTEP from CUSA has a 7-5 record and finished in mid field of the CUSA, one of the worst conferences in FBS.
Fresno State on the other hand did play 9-3 and finished 2nd inside their MWC division, but now lost their HC to Washington and will play under interims tag.
So far the CUSA was only to win 1 game here, with 4 losses.
MWC did play 15 games and won 10.
Both teams did already play here twice each and lost all games.
So, a streak will break here.
Fresno State is 11.0-point favorite to win this.
Not sure it's fair that high, but it puts the distance of the teams strength, at last the felt team strength, in perspective.
UTEPs game performance over the past few weeks is bad, they lost 4 of 5, while Fresno State did drop only 1 game of the last 5.
I will not pick against the Bulldogs.
Not sure the game will have a higher margin than the 11.0 points, my gut feeling is yes.
Bulldogs win.

Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl
UAB vs #13 BYU

@Independence Stadium, Shreveport, LA
Not played last season, thanks to COVID, the Independence Bowl is back.
Played since 1976 and current tie-ins are an indy team (BYU or Army) against a team from PAC-12, CUSA or American.
A wild mix, with a plan behind it. How this will turn out, if BYU enters the BIG 12, who knows.
At the end it's only important who is on the sheet this season and we got a quite one-sided-matchup.
The plan for this season did work out and we got BYU vs a CUSA team, with UAB being the 2nd place team inside the West division with a 8-4 record.
BYU did play a great season as indy team and finished 10-2.
Both teams did never play in this before.
I'm a bit surprise the betting line is only -7.0 points BYU, I expected double digits.
UAB is for sure one of the better teams from the CUSA the past few seasons, but BYU had really a great run and lost only to Boise State and Baylor.
I expect BYU to get this wrapped up fast and then securing the win with good time management and consistent drives.
Cougars win.

LendingTree Bowl
Eastern Michigan vs Liberty

@Hancock Whitney Stadium, Mobile, AL
The bowl was renamed several times in its past, but it was founded 1999 and is usually a group of 5 vs group of 5 bowl.
They play it in the home of the South Alabama Jaguars.
It's this time a MAC team vs an indy team, which never happened before.
Eastern Michigan is 7-5 this season and did play a good season but lost almost every game against better listed teams.
Liberty as indy team did play not as fantastic as last season, still did turn some heads, even they did finish only 7-5 this season.
The Flames are favored by 9.5 points, which seems a lot, but the Liberty QB is really something special.
Granted Liberty did lose the last 3 games, but that did include a SEC team, the Sun Belt Champ and Army.
Eastern Michigan did in the last 3 games twice, against Ohio and Central Michigan.
I love how the Eagles were coached to a much better team than they were before their current HC took over, but I think Liberty will win here.
Flames win.

Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl Presented by Stifel
Utah State vs Oregon State

@SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, CA
And a new bowl for 2021, planned since 2 years and with tie-ins to Mountain West and PAC-12.
I will not go into the naming thing here, but it's a bit unusual, naming a bowl based on a living person.
As planned is the Mountain West Champ Utah State matched up against a PAC-12 team, Oregon State.
The Aggies have a record of 10-3, while Oregon State has a record of 7-5.
The Beavers are 7.0-point favorite in this and they do look quite good on paper, since they won some great games against other PAc-12 opponents, against whom they usually do not play well.
But Utah State did win against Washington State, while Beavers lost. Of course, that is all said and done long ago, still I think they are not that far apart.
So, do I believe in PAC 12 magic or in MWC underdog fate?
I like both teams, and I was impressed by the Aggies final, so I guess I pick the underdog here, in a close one.
Aggies win.

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
#23 Louisiana vs Marshall

@Caesars Superdome, New Orleans, LA
This exists since 2001 and is a SUN BELT vs Conference USA game.
This season they got Sun Belt winner Louisiana with a 12-1 record against a 7-5 Marshall team, finishing 2nd inside the CUSA East.
There is no doubt, who is the favorite here.
The Cajuns are ranked and played a great season, did win all games, except the opener against Texas.
Marshall did play so-so-season but are only a 5.0-point underdog.
The only con for Louisiana is, they lost their HC to a better paid job, but his successor came from withing the program is knows the team well.
For me, not issue to bet against the Cajuns.
Ragin' Cajuns win.

Monday, December 20
Myrtle Beach Bowl Pres. by TaxAct
Old Dominion vs Tulsa

@Brooks Stadium , Conway, SC
This is played the 2nd time now, since it was founded last season.
They play in the stadium of the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers football.
The bowl is owned by ESPN and has conference tie ins with Conference USA, SUN BELT and the MAC.
So, interesting we got an American Conference team instead, with so many eligible teams and so many bowls it is likely the case that some conference had more teams eligible than spots and some conference had less teams eligible than spots.
And keep in mind that some bowls usually are allowed to s e l e c t their teams based the expected audience response which sometimes leads to a selection not 100% fitting in the planned spot distribution.
Regardless, Tulsa as American 6-6 team does face the CUSA 6-6 team of Old Dominion.
Both were inside the conference 5-3, which means they both lost 3 non-conference games.
Since the American is in terms of strength ranked higher than the CUSA, it's no wonder Tulsa is 9.5-point favorite here.
I was quite disappointed by Old Dominions start of the season, but they won 5 of 5 games at the end.
Tulsa did only win 3 out of 5, but the last 3 straight, including a road win against SMU on the last gameday to get the bowl spot.
I will not bet against them.
Golden Hurricanes win.

Tuesday, December 21
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Kent State vs Wyoming

@Albertsons Stadium, Boise, ID
This is a quite long running bowl, since 1997, and it's played on the smurf turf field of Boise State Broncos.
It's basically a Mountain West bowl with some other team invited, this season from the MAC.
Kent State had the chance to win the MAC, but lost to NIU and finished 7-6.
Wyoming had a rough season and finished 6-6, with only 2 wins inside the conference.
This is for sure an interesting game, since Kent State has a great season, despite the loss in the championship game, and Wyoming is playing on health support from a much stronger conference.
This should make this matchup even, if not in favor for the seemingly weaker team from the MAC.
Wyoming is only favored by 3.0 points and I'm torn between the poor performance of Wyoming and Kent State.
Not sure who is getting eventually some boost out of the field conditions.
Wyoming did play in the past here, once, and won. Kent State never played in this bowl before.
My feeling is, Wyoming has the potential to win here, based on experience and a deeper, stronger, roster.
Kent State will only win, if they are 100% motivated and can force Wyoming to give the game away.
Cowboys win.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl
UTSA vs #24 San Diego State

@Toyota Stadium, Frisco, TX
This bowl was not played in 2020, but is back for 2021.
Founded in 2017, it's an American Conference Bowl against an at-large-team, meaning, they s e l e c t whoever they think will draw interest.
The stadium is a soccer stadium for a MLS team from Dallas.
This season we have an attractive matchup, not featuring any American Conference team, so much for the planning.
UTSA from CUSA is the champ of the CUSA and had a fantastic season. Their coach was in discussion for several openings, but for whatever reason did it not happen. Good, since those 12-1 Roadrunners will face an also very good playing San Diego State team from Mountain West, who lost their Conference Championship game against Utah State, still having a 11-2 record.
Even if the conference are a bit apart in terms of overall strength, THIS matchup is not that clear.
Vegas even makes the Roadrunners a 2.5-point favorite.
Whoever can stop the run efficiently will win here.
As more local team, the Roadrunners should have an edge here and if they come out motivated, they should win.
Expect a close one.
Roadrunners win.

Wednesday, December 22
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
Missouri vs Army

@Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, TX
This is played on the field of the SMU Mustangs and the bowl is alive since 2003.
As far as I know, not planned matchups for this season, but obviously the SEC got a spot and Army as indy team got the other.
It's a quite disturbing matchup, for me at least, since I can't get an opinion on the Tigers.
They did finish 6-6 and did regularly win and lose games the whole season.
Overall it seems they had some level of strength and lost basically every game against teams being in the final standings higher listed.
Army on the other hand had a winning season, but thanks to their loss to, from my point of view, quite weak Navy, they are now 8-4 and, in my head, clearly the underdog in this game.
Vegas sees Army as 3.5 point favorite, I'm a bit skeptical, they really can beat a SEC team, which did finish mid-level inside the conference, while Army was unable to beat a lower third finishing American team, even it was a rivalry game.
I go with Mizzou.
Tigers win.

That's it for the 1st wave of Bowl games.

'Til next time

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