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Orangeyes Daily Articles for Wednesday for Football


No recent Cali or Iggy awards; Mr Irrelevant
Aug 15, 2011

Welcome to Boxing Day!

Boxing Day is a day of the gathering of family and friends. Leftovers from Christmas are commonly eaten. Popular foods include baked ham, mince pies, Christmas cakes, and other desserts. In many countries of celebration, it is a shopping day similar to Black Friday. Sales take place and many retailers run them the whole week. Although, in some places, such as in parts of Canada, stores aren't allowed to be open, in order to give families time to be together instead.

SU News


Syracuse football vs. West Virginia: See our picks, make your predictions (PS; Staff)

The Syracuse football (9-3) team will face West Virginia (8-3) at 5:15 p.m. Friday (ESPN) at the Camping World Bowl in Orlando, Florida.

It's time for our predictions. Hop in the comments and offer your picks.
Syracuse 45, West Virginia 31

This game has a bit of a mystery angle to it as West Virginia will have a quarterback on the field who has barely played. I think the Orange pass rush and Andre Cisco's ballhawk abilities will make it tough on Jack Allison to be successful for four quarters. Syracuse's offense will take advantage of a West Virginia defense that has given up points all season and bring the Camping World Bowl Trophy home ( and the Ben Schwartzwalder trophy in spirit).

Syracuse 41, West Virginia 38

Even without Will Grier, the Mountaineers and Orange will put up some points in Orlando. And with two defenses (and a special teams group at SU) that frequently make game-changing plays, this could shape up to be one of the more entertaining contests of bowl season.

College football: Syracuse pleased to have Babers at helm of bowl game and into future (; St Croix)

The sentiment coming from Syracuse University football practices ahead of Friday’s Camping World Bowl is best represented by a billboard displayed on Interstate 690 — a large photo of coach Dino Babers that reads: “All we want for Christmas, never mind we got it.”

Orange players joined fans and members of the SU administration in expressing excitement for the recent long-term contract extension signed by Babers during their media appearances before kicking off the program’s first bowl game in five years.

No. 17-ranked Syracuse (9-3 overall) will face No. 15 West Virginia (8-3) in the Camping World Bowl at 5:15 p.m. Friday at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla., set to be televised on ESPN.

The university announced on Dec. 12 that Babers, who is nearing the end of his third season at the helm, had agreed with SU Director of Athletics John Wildhack on a long-term contract extension. Terms of the deal were undisclosed and because SU is a private institution, they aren’t required to make details public.

West Virginia, Syracuse missing key players for Camping World Bowl (; Habel)

West Virginia was one of the nation's top teams and fielded one of college football's best offenses this season, but both those declarations will be in question, in a big way, when the No. 16 Mountaineers battle No. 20 Syracuse in the Camping World Bowl in Orlando, Fla., on Friday.

The Mountaineers will be without record-setting star quarterback Will Grier, who has chosen to sit out the bowl game on his way to being one of the top quarterbacks available for the upcoming NFL draft.

That leaves West Virginia (8-3) with two available quarterbacks, Jack Allison and Trey Lowe III.

West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen told the media this week that his playbook will be wide open for both quarterbacks in the Camping World Bowl. Both are expected to see action.

RELATED No. 7 Michigan, No. 10 Florida meet in Peach Bowl
"We just didn't add them to our team yesterday," Holgorsen said. "I know what those guys can do. Guys get into a backup mode, and they just plateau for a while and then once they're no longer a backup quarterback, those guys elevate pretty quickly."



David Long Jr (11)

WVU spends Christmas prepping for Syracuse (; Woodson)

Not everyone got to spend Christmas day with their families.

That includes the West Virginia Mountaineers, who spent Tuesday in sunny Florida preparing for Friday’s Camping World Bowl against Syracuse.

“Not really,” said West Virginia senior receiver David Sills V, on whether it felt like Christmas day. “Christmas Day is when you’re sitting around the tree with your family and everything, so it really doesn’t feel like Christmas Day, but it’s a great time of year to be playing football. If you can play football at this time, then you’ve had a pretty successful season. We’re excited about being out here practicing.”

Not everyone felt like Sills, with quarterback Will Grier and offensive lineman Yodny Cajuste sitting out the bowl game to prepare for the NFL draft, while receiver Gary Jennings will do the same, although he has been nursing a high ankle sprain in recent weeks. Jack Allison and Trey Lowe will replace Grier, while Kelby Wickline will fill in for Cajuste and Jennings could be replaced by several options, including Marcus Simms and T.J. Simmons.

Motivation could prove to be a key part of Friday’s contest with former Big East rival Syracuse, which is 9-3 on the season, the most wins for the Orange since 10 wins were reached in 2001. It is also Syracuse’s first bowl game since 2012, their last season in the Big East before leaving for the ACC.

“Yeah, no doubt,” said West Virginia defensive coordinator Tony Gibson, when asked if it was a bad sign when coaches have to generate excitement for a bowl game. “And you can tell with this bowl right now, even back in December back home, they were excited about getting back out there. Now, that was coming off a couple of losses, some heartbreakers, and I think we needed football at that point to get back out and start working and start doing some things. They approached it well, and we went out and had that first practice and there was a lot of juice, a lot of energy and it has continued to carry on.”

Syracuse players confident Orlando distractions won't derail push to win Camping World Bowl (; Culver)

Syracuse running back Dontae Strickland knows the Orange are in Orlando to win a football game.

No. 20 Syracuse (9-3, 6-2 ACC) is playing in its first bowl game since 2013. The Orange take on No. 16 West Virginia (8-3, 6-3 Big 12) at 5:15 p.m. Friday in the Camping World Bowl at Camping World Stadium.

That’s not going to stop Strickland, a senior from Dayton, N.J., from enjoying the Florida weather. The high in Syracuse on Monday was 36 degrees and there was a chance for snow in the area. Orlando’s high was in the upper 60s with clear skies.

“We’re still young kids,” Strickland said with a smile. “You know, young-minded and everything. You’ve got to get excited for other stuff. But at the end of the day, we’re here for one thing and one thing only.

“Just got to lock in. When it’s time for practice, take coaching again and just try to get better. Like I said before, we’re down here for one thing and one thing only. We’ve just got to have the mindset the whole time we’re out here.”

Syracuse’s schedule is packed. Monday, after the 2.5-hour flight to Orlando, the team hit Best Buy for a shopping spree. Christmas Day includes a breakfast with Santa, practice at Camping World Stadium and a visit to Universal Studios. The team will participate in Camping World Bowl Day for Kids on Wednesday and pep rallies on Thursday.

West Virginia will participate in the same events, albeit at different times — its theme park visit was set for Tuesday and its shopping spree is on Wednesday.

Syracuse coach Dino Babers said he’s not worried about his team getting sidetracked.

WVU football: Holgorsen happy to get a good look at QBs Allison, Lowe during bowl preparation (; Bragg)

Quarterback Will Grier’s decision to skip Friday’s Camping World Bowl left the West Virginia University football team with an opportunity.

Grier was a redshirt senior. If he had played, it would be his last game as a Mountaineer. Now that he is out of the picture, redshirt sophomore Jack Allison and freshman Trey Lowe can get a head start on their auditions for the starting job going into the 2019 season.

Allison was a well-regarded recruit coming out of high school and landed at the University of Miami. He wouldn’t stay long in Coral Gables, leaving the Hurricanes after a redshirt season and landing in Morgantown. He spent 2017 sitting out as a transfer and has served as Grier’s backup this season. Allison saw limited playing time, completing 6 of 10 pass attempts for 75 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

“I think Jack has been outstanding when it comes to a backup quarterback. The time that he’s been able to go in and play, I thought, he went in and played pretty well,” Dana Holgorsen said during his session with the media Monday in Orlando.

“Guys change quickly when they get out of the backup mentality, the backup role. Guys change. I’ve been excited and encouraged to see what he’s been doing with the practice reps that he’s gotten over the last couple of weeks. He’s attacked it the right way, and I’ve been satisfied with that.”

Orange in Orlando: How Are Players, Fans Getting Ready for Bowl Game? (; Staff)

Orlando is turning Orange this week as Syracuse football players and fans invade the city of Disney for the Camping World Bowl.

Former Big East foes, the 20th-ranked Orange will take on No. 16 West Virginia, now a member of the Big 12 conference.

Spectrum News Sports Director Mark Larson is down in Orlando along with videojournalist Brad Vivacqua to bring you the sights and sounds from practice, fan events, and of course, the game itself on Friday.

Before the 5:15 p.m. kickoff, catch our pre-game show live at 4:30 p.m. from outside Camping World Stadium, and hear from Coach Dino Babers right after the game on Live with the Coach.

West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen confident in quarterbacks who will replace Will Grier in Camping World Bowl (; Culver)

West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen isn’t too worried about what he’s going to get from the two quarterbacks who will take the place of redshirt senior Will Grier in Friday’s Camping World Bowl against No. 20 Syracuse.

Redshirt sophomore Jack Allison and freshman Trey Lowe III both will play in the bowl game at Camping World Stadium with Grier — the one who led No. 16 West Virginia’s high-powered offense all season — sitting out to prepare for the NFL draft.

Holgorsen worked with both of his quarterbacks during a Christmas Day practice at Boone High School ahead of Friday’s bowl game.

“It’s not like we haven’t practiced them for the last year,” he said during a Christmas Eve press conference.

Allison has thrown at least one pass in four different games this season and enters Friday’s game 6 for 10 passing on the season for 75 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

“I think Jack has been outstanding when it comes to a backup quarterback,” Holgorsen said.

“The time that he’s been able to go in and play, I thought, he went in and played pretty well. Guys change quickly when they get out of the backup mentality, the backup role. Guys change. I’ve been excited and encouraged to see what he’s been doing with the practice reps that he’s gotten over the last couple of weeks. He’s attacked it the right way, and I’ve been satisfied with that.”

WVU's Sills wasn't going to miss his final chance to play for the Mountaineers (; Bragg)

There was a choice that had to be made by several West Virginia University football players in days and weeks that followed the end of the Mountaineers' regular season.

For some, that meant cutting their time as WVU football players short, but for senior receiver David Sills the choice was easy. No chance he was going to pass up a final opportunity to play football for the Mountaineers.

Sills will get to do just that Friday when WVU (8-3) takes on Syracuse (9-3) in the Camping World Bowl (5:15 p.m., ESPN) in Orlando, Florida. It will be a final chance to be a college football player for the kid who was famously committed to play at Southern California as a 13-year old.

"It really wasn't a hard decision for me," Sills said last week in Morgantown. "I looked at it as another opportunity to put good film out there but also to end and leave with a win -- something that I think is very important to me. This university and this state has done a lot for me, and I want to go out there and play and do everything I could lead this team and leave this university with a win."

Holgorsen: Simmons to Start at Inside Receiver on Friday - West Virginia University Athletics (; Antonik)

We know Jack Allison and Trey Lowe III are going to handle the quarterbacking duties for West Virginia in the 2018 Camping World Bowl this Friday night against 17th-ranked Syracuse.

And junior Kelby Wickline is going to slip in at left tackle in place of Yodny Cajuste. The other remaining question for the Mountaineer offense is the player filling in for Gary Jennings Jr. at inside receiver.

Dana Holgorsen said Monday afternoon that junior T.J. Simmons will be that guy.

Simmons caught a 59-yard touchdown in the season opener against Tennessee and had a season-high six catches for 53 yards in the Kansas win. The former Alabama transfer has caught 22 passes for 277 yards and a touchdown so far this season.

"With Gary not being here we've had the opportunity to move (Simmons) in and he's got two, three weeks of work and I think that will benefit him next year," Holgorsen said before a small gathering of reporters this afternoon in Orlando. "He looks good in there. That's his natural position and that's where he feels the most comfortable."

West Virginia's offense benefitted from having one of the most productive wide receiver tandems in the country this year in David Sills V and Jennings. The two combined to catch 115 passes for 1,813 yards and 28 touchdowns in 11 regular season games.

Opportunities abound for WVU in bowl game (; Hertzell)

Bowl games traditionally are looked up on the exit door to the last season, a final chance for teams to win a meaningful game together, a reward if not for the success of the previous season in this day and age of meaningless bowl games, at least a reward for the effort put forth via a trip to (hopefully) a warm-weather site and a gift package.

But that exit door swings both ways, for it is the first step into the next season, a chance to peer into the future and few teams are looking more into a crystal ball than West Virginia as it moves forward.

In the past, a bowl game was always a farewell party for the stars, but with the trend being for star players to skip lower-rung bowls rather than face the fear of injury, it gives you a look at tomorrow’s replacements.

At WVU that means quarterback Will Grier, wide receiver Gary Jennings and left tackle Yodny Cajuste are sitting out.

That means front and center will be both backup quarterbacks, the Miami transfer Jack Allison and the high school recruit who has redshirted his first year, Trey Lowe III, who each will have playing time.

Robinson could be WVU's next breakout player on defense (; Hertzell)

When you have a month between football games, as West Virginia has had between dropping it’s final two games of the regular to wind up facing Syracuse in the Dec. 28 World Camping Bowl, the mind has a chance to do some analytical thinking.

As it did, one began to wonder wildly what would become of the West Virginia defense next year should star linebacker David Long, the Big 12’s Defensive Player of the Year, opt out of his senior season to enter the NFL draft.

While there is no indication he will, there is also no indication he won’t.

Should he go, who becomes the focal point in the WVU defense, the man who time after time comes up with the big tackle and leaves the offense shaking its head in disbelief and the WVU fans nodding their heads in glee?

There is such a person, you know, a player who will be a junior and who seems to be ready to have a breakout season in which he becomes a candidate to succeed Long as the conference’s Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and push for All-America honors.

We’re talking of Kenny Robinson, who has suddenly come out of nowhere to arrive at the cusp of stardom.

He came out of Wilkensburg, Pennsylvania, via Imani Christian, a small private school in Pittsburgh with just 218 students from nursery through 12th grades.

WATCH: Coach Gibson, Mountaineers preview Camping World Bowl (; videos; Trinone)

Defensive coordinator Tony Gibson and select Mountaineers met with the media ahead of Tuesday's practice in Orlando to preview WVU's Camping World Bowl match up vs. Syracuse.

Bowl games 2018: Picks, predictions for West Virginia vs. Syracuse in 2018 Camping World Bowl (12/28/18) (; Kratch)

Who: No. 15 West Virginia (8-3) vs. No. 17 Syracuse (9-3).
When: Friday, December 28, 2018.
Where: Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida.
Time: 5:15 p.m. Eastern.
All-time series: Syracuse leads, 33-27.
Syracuse's all-time bowl record: 15-9-1.
West Virginia's all-time bowl record: 15-21.
Live stream: WatchESPN.
TV broadcast team: Dave Flemming is the play-by-play man. Rod Gilmore is the analyst. Quint Kessenich is the field reporter.
Radio: ESPN Radio.
Radio broadcast team: Dave LaMont is the play-by-play man. John Congemi is the analyst. Molly McGrath is the field reporter.

Line: Syracuse -1 (via Vegas Insider).
Over/under: 67 points (via Vegas Insider).

Did you know? Syracuse has won the last three games in the series, including a 38-14 win in the 2012 Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 29, 2012 at Yankee Stadium in New York.

West Virginia was a mess last year in its bowl game without Will Grier. The star passer was injured and the Mountaineers lost to Utah, 30-14, in the Heart of Dallas Bowl to end the year on a three-game losing skid. Now that Grier is sitting this one out before he heads to the NFL, it's a similar situation. This game should be more competitive, because WVU is more talented than Syracuse, but the Orange will score enough points to win a shootout. PICK: Syracuse.


ACC Bowl Games: Ranking The Most Important Games Of ACC (; Van Diver)

Bowl season is finally upon us, and that means we are getting that much closer to the conclusion of an action-packed season chock full of upsets, marquee individual performances from Heisman candidates across the country and meteoric ascensions for some big names set to headline the first round of the NFL Draft in April.

That being said, 11 of the 15 ACC teams in the conference are in bowl games this year. They lead the country and tie the SEC in conference teams making Bowl game appearances. The number of ACC teams competing during this time of year is up from last year’s amount of 10 games as well. Bowl season’s official kickoff is tomorrow afternoon – Saturday, December 15 – and competition for ACC teams begin a week later on Saturday, December 22.

Notre Dame Football: Clemson Tigers Cotton Bowl Q&A with Shakin the Southland (; Rick and Kantor)

Believe it or not, folks, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team still has at least one game remaining in the 2018-2019 season.

This Saturday, the Irish will square off against the #2 Clemson Tigers in the Cotton Bowl, with the winner getting a bid to play in the National Championship on January 7th against probably the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Clemson has been similar to ND this season in terms of running the table but having played against a pretty easy schedule, but the Tigers have faced even lesser competition but looked even more dominant.

With that said, neither Cotton Bowl team has seen an opponent this season as good as the other team in this one, so in order to get more info on the powerhouse that is Clemson and how this year’s squad matches up with the Irish, I spoke to Ryan Kantor, an editor over at Shakin the Southland, to get his perspective on the Tigers, the Irish, and a WHOLE LOT more.

Let’s dive into the awesome responses Ryan put together for me and prepare ourselves for what should be an extremely fun Cotton Bowl.

1. With Clemson having been so dominant most of the year and having seen that Alabama is beatable in their narrow win over Georgia in the SEC Championship, what’s your confidence level entering the CFP — what do you think is the likelihood of the Tigers winning it all again? How much of a chance do you think Notre Dame has to pull the upset?
Ryan Kantor: At the outset of the season, I picked Clemson to reach the National Title Game before falling to Alabama. That’s looking pretty accurate right now.

I think the Tigers have about a four-in-five chance to advance and then maybe a two-in-five chance to beat Alabama with a healthy Tua Tagovailoa (obviously those odds are better if he is banged up or if we play Oklahoma).

ACC Football Rx: 2018 Quick Lane Bowl Preview (RX; HM)

Sports Illustrated says their Pick: Minnesota +3.5

Confidence Level: High (on a scale of Low/Moderate/High/Very High/Extremely High)

(That doesn't mean that the Gophers will win, just that they will cover). From the SI article...

Georgia Tech likes to run the ball and has been effective doing so. But while Minnesota's run defense has unimpressive overall numbers, thanks in large part to surrendering too many big plays, the Gophers are solid in areas that could cause the Yellow Jackets' option offense to stumble. Minnesota is 39th in the country in defensive rushing opportunity rate, allowing rushes of five yards or more on only 44.6% of carries. And the Gophers are ranked ninth in the country in stuff rate, stopping opposing rushers at or behind the line of scrimmage on 25.3% of carries.

Yeah, yeah, yeah... here's what I think of this bowl:


ACC Football Rx: 2018 First Responder Bowl Preview (RX; HM)

Boston College vs. Boise State: For the second time in school history the BC Eagles will play Boise State. In their one previous matchup in 2005, Boston College beat the Broncos 27-21 in the MPC Computers Bowl. BC will be playing for its first 8-win season since 2009 and second bowl win in the Steve Addazio era. The 2018 First Responders Bowl will be held in Dallas on December 26th at 1:30 pm.

ACC Football Rx: Links, news and rumors - 12/25/18 (RX; HM)

From SBJ: Predictions: The deals of 2019

Here are the college football-related predictions - including one of particular interest here:

CBS will sign a long-term extension with the SEC.

...CBS knows its deal for an SEC game of the week is a bargain... I expect them to open the rights deal early and sign a long-term extension.

The College Football Playoff will not expand.

[bummer - HM]

The ACC Network launch will be considered a modified success.

The ACC Network’s launch will look more like that of the Big Ten Network — which endured a couple of years of brutal carriage fights — than the launch of the SEC Network — which nearly had full distribution from the start. ESPN already has a negotiating blueprint thanks to its Altice deal. Plus, you won’t find a better distribution executive than Justin Connolly, who was behind the SEC Network’s launch. It won’t be an unqualified success, but it will be good enough to keep schools happy.

The American Athletic Conference will renew its ESPN deal.

...Expect rights fee to settle in the $8 million per school range — up from its current $2 million...

The Mountain West Conference will sign with Facebook.

...expect the Mountain West to sign deals with ESPN for a handful of games and Facebook for the rest.

Gambling companies will try to buy media rights.

b[ut won't have much success, according to the author - HM]

Media companies will acquire gambling sites.

[I just don't like where this is going - HM]


ACC Football Rx: Two Videos from College Football Lifer (RX; HM)

Here are a couple of old YouTube videos by "College Football Lifer" that are worth a watch, IMO:

The ACC Network = Stability

The ACC Network = Stability | Saturday Subjects

I have followed the Atlantic Coast Conference since I was a little kid, and have always felt it was the runt of the litter in college football. The last few years have not done anything to refute that, but the announcement by John Swofford of the launch of the ACC Network may change that. In this video, I want to take a look at what it means for the conference and its programs going forward, ESPN and the future of television, and even what this means for the future expansion in the Big 12. Tell me: What do YOU think of the ACC Network?


College football TV schedule: What time, TV channel is the Servpro First Responder Bowl? Prediction, odds, preview (; McDonald)

As crazy as it might sound, the Boise State football program still looks for nationwide respect. The Broncos have another national stage to prove their worthiness when they take on Boston College from the ACC on Wednesday afternoon in South Dallas at the storied Cotton Bowl.

Despite some stellar past seasons, top 15 rankings and players moving to the NFL, the Broncos still feel somewhat underappreciated on the national scale.

Boston College (7-5) in 2018 became a team no one wanted to play during the regular season, especially their ACC foes. The Eagles notched wins this year against Wake Forest, Temple and Miami, all bowl-bound teams. They knocked off Virginia Tech, and their only losses were to Purdue, N.C. State, Clemson, Florida State and Syracuse.

Boise State (10-3) seeks an 11-win season with a bowl win, and the Broncos had losses at Oklahoma State and at home to San Diego State before losing in the Mountain West Conference championship to Fresno State, a team they’d beaten earlier in the season. The Broncos have won seven of their last eight games.

2018 Servpro First Responder Bowl
Boston College Eagles vs Boise State Broncos
Cotton Bowl Stadium • Dallas, Texas
Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2018
Time: 1:30 p.m. ET/10:30 a.m. PT
TV Channel: ESPN


Alamo Bowl pits No. 25 Iowa State vs. No. 12 Washington State (; Xchange)

When No. 25 Iowa State faces 12th-ranked Washington State in the Valero Alamo Bowl on Friday in San Antonio, it won't be the first time the Cyclones have played against a variation of Mike Leach's prolific "Air Raid" passing offense.

Big 12 opponents Oklahoma with head coach Lincoln Riley and West Virginia under head coach Dana Holgorsen are Leach disciples with Leach's wide-open offense that includes a one-back scheme in which the running back is as much of a receiving threat as the four other receivers.

The Cyclones (8-4) held the Mountaineers to 14 points and NFL-bound quarterback Will Grier compiled only 100 yards through the air, with one touchdown and one interception in Iowa State's 30-14 win on Oct. 13. In Oklahoma's 37-27 win over Iowa State on Sept. 15, the Sooners and Heisman winner Kyler Murray scored nearly 13 points lower than the season average for college football's top offense.


Every Christmas Eve, hundreds of people line up outside Columbus Bakery on Pearl Street in Syracuse just to get fresh bread. It's become a CNY tradition.
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