A previous version of this post reported that the Ohio Bobcats football team will be presenting its regular Coffee with the Coach event, featuring head Bobcats coach Frank Solich, on Friday, March 29 at 10:15 a.m. in Athens’ Union Street Diner. Contrary to our earlier report, the event will not feature Frank Solich smiling while holding his hand in a scalding pot of coffee and daring all onlookers to do the same. We regret the error.
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The story of one postseason college football contest, as told through social media.
Now that ULM has gone bowling, every team in the country minus the 4 that joined in 2012 has reached an FBS bowl game.
— Paul Myerberg (@PaulMyerberg) December 28, 2012
#MACtion on a midday afternoon, what a sweet, sweet sound.
— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) December 28, 2012
Not sure how it looks on TV, but #ShreveKota has warmed up, and while it’s overcast, there’s no rain. All pluses for ULM.
— Steven Godfrey (@38Godfrey) December 28, 2012
I love that this bowl game is sponsored by a pyramid scheme.
— edsbs (@edsbs) December 28, 2012
— Paul B. Crk (@PaulBryantC) December 28, 2012
The 2012 Independence Bowl is just hours away. We’re sure you have so many questions. We’re here to help. (For an X’s and O’s breakdown, click through to Mallory Rubin’s game preview.)
• What’s all this, then? You have to go to Shreveport to go to this game, and we’re not about to do that. The last time we set foot in Shreveport, the elevator to the Independence Stadium press box broke and we were trapped inside with eight assistant coaches wearing track suits constructed of non-breathable fabrics. BUT: The town is known for its drive-thru daiquiri joints, if that sways you. It very nearly sways us. Anyway. This is the Independence Bowl. It is no longer sponsored by a brand of weed killer.
• When is this game on television? Coverage begins at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN, featuring the voices of Dave Lamont, Kelly Stouffer and Cara Capuano. The game will also be streamed on WatchESPN.
• Whom does it feature? Currently, SEC versus ACC.
• What about this year? A treat! Two of our favorite Profiterole programs, the Ohio Bobcats and Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks, will dance in Shreveport this night.
• Does the bowl have a social media presence? Technically, yes, although as of Thursday night it had sent out precisely four tweets in the space of a week leading up to the game. That’s just its INDEPENDENT spirit. Don’t box in the Independence Bowl. Nobody likes a smartass, dear reader.
• No. 17 Nebraska 13, Iowa 7. Bo Pelini was asked in his postgame on-field interview whose decision it was to insert the oft-injured Rex Burkhead into the Huskers’ final regular-season game. He laughed. “His!” The senior standout, absent for much of this season while nursing a knee injury, made the most of his time on the turf, leading Nebraska’s ground attack (69 yards on 16 carries) and scoring the Huskers’ only touchdown of the contest on a three-yard run in the third quarter.
Those of you who find our occasional gleeful odes to MACtion tacky are in for a real treat with today’s box score, where you will find just one player with an individual stat line totaling more than 100 yards. (The lucky lad: Taylor Martinez, who completed 9 of 14 passes for 63 yards and rushed for an additional 41.) Burkhead was trailed by Ameer Abdullah (50 rushing yards on 14 carries) and Braylon Heard (46 yards on four carries). For the Hawkeyes, James Vandenberg completed 11 of 24 pass attempts for 92 yards and threw two interceptions. Mark Weisman led Iowa in rushing with 91 yards on 29 attempts.
Vandenberg also gave the Hawkeyes their only lead of the game, with a one-yard rushing touchdown late in the first quarter, a lead Iowa hung onto until Burkhead’s run. And for a moment there, late in the fourth quarter, it looked as though we might have a ballgame on our hands again. Given the ball on a Nebraska punt at their own 27 with about three and a half minutes to play, the Hawkeyes executed two consecutive six-yard plays before Vandenberg threw his second interception with just 2:11 remaining on the clock. And practically before time had expired in the stadium, we had that all-important BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP GAME TICKETS: ON SALE NOW email land in our inbox. The Huskers have earned at least a share of the division title and will play Wisconsin in Indianapolis on Saturday, December 1. Nebraska won their first meeting in September, 30-27. [BOX | RECAP]
• Northern Illinois 31, Toledo 24. We do so love what’s become an annual late-season scramble for division supremacy between the Huskies and Rockets, and last night’s contest did not disappoint. The Huskies, who have won 10 games for the third straight year, will represent the MAC West in Detroit for the third consecutive season, and will face either Kent State or Bowling Green once they get there. Quarterback Jordan Lynch threw for 407 yards (a career best) and rushed for 162 more. No, by himself. No, seriously. Lynch was sent here by the football gods to make sure we all properly appreciate MACtion for the weeknight blessing it is. Message received. [BOX | RECAP]
• Ball State 52, Ohio 27. The Bobcats trailed by four points heading into halftime and were nearly doubled up by the end of the game, thanks mostly to a 21-point fourth-quarter scoring barrage from the Cardinals. Ball State scored three touchdowns in less than nine minutes on a Horactio Banks run, a Kelly Page pass and a Jahwan Edwards run. Page replaced starter Keith Wenning, who left the game in the second quarter with an Achilles injury. Also, this happened. [BOX | RECAP]
Our weekly highlight show of lesser FBS luminaries. Non-AQs and independents, be welcome.
Tis the season for car commercials with big-ass bows and conference math. We attempted to explain, in bewildering detail, how the MAC races could shake out from here in our Wednesday night MACtion preview. We are here to inform you (with some glee, as we adore late-season chaos) that the MAC has far from the most convoluted conference race situation at the moment. Very quickly, the current states of the remaining non-AQ conference races, as teams not named Navy or BYU begin to prettify themselves for postseason suitors:
• Conference USA: Two teams with perfect 6-0 league play records top the two divisions: Central Florida in the East and Tulsa in the West. After Saturday, one squad’s record will bear some blemish when the two clash in Tulsa, but don’t expect that to affect the race. The Knights have only UAB to clear after that in the regular season, and hold a head-to-head advantage over East Carolina, the only other team in the division with fewer than three conference losses. Tulsa’s championship game aspirations could still be spoiled with a loss tonight and another at SMU November 24, assuming the Mustangs (4-2 in league play) beat Rice in the meantime.
Make tonight a MACtion night, won’t you? We’re here to answer any questions you may have, as long as they do not involve divining a winner of the MAC East.
Ohio at Ball State
• What information do I, the discerning consumer, require in order to consume this game? The Bobcats and Cardinals are scheduled to kick off at 8 p.m. ET at Scheumann Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPNU and streamed on WatchESPN.
• What’s at stake here? Jockeying for bowl invites, mostly. Both squads have clinched bowl eligibility, with 8-2 Ohio and 7-3 Ball State each holding a 4-2 record in the conference, respectively.
As to whether Ohio can still win the MAC East: If Kent State loses its last two games, giving it two conference losses, one would have to be to Ohio in the regular-season finale. That would leave both teams with identical 6-2 league records, and Ohio would hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Golden Flashes.
But Bowling Green — which is 5-1 in the MAC and beat Ohio last Wednesday — plays Kent State Nov. 17. Both teams can’t lose (and the MAC is very, very good this year, so that isn’t even a joke!), so while the Bobcats could end up tied with the Falcons at two losses apiece, they’ve already lost the tiebreaker.
Ball State, too, has two teams sitting above it in the West standings, Northern Illinois (6-0 in the MAC) and Toledo (5-1). The Cardinals lost to the Huskies in October, so even a two-game skid by NIU wouldn’t help them at all. Ball State holds a head-to-head advantage over Toledo, but a Rockets loss to NIU would only be enough to nudge the Cardinals into second place in the division.
That all make sense? We have now thoroughly confused ourselves, to the point where general consensus in our office is that Johnny Manziel will probably win the MAC East, by himself.
• Bowling Green 26, Ohio 14. In the span of less than two weeks, the Bobcats have lost both their shot at a perfect regular season and an undefeated home season, but this year’s class of seniors will still depart as the winningest in school history. Tyler Tettleton was sacked four times by three different Falcons, but he did manage to become the school’s all-time leading passer, with his 145 aerial yards bumping his career total to 5,475. The Falcons scored 19 points in the second quarter and were led offensively by Anthon Samuel, who rushed for 181 yards and two scores. [BOX | RECAP]
• It’s that time of year. We don’t really get into recruiting as part of our bloggy antics here, but it’s always proper to mark that special day on the calendar when the commitment of the nation’s top recruit is called into question. Keep up with the movements of Robert Nkemdiche with this StoryStream from our friends at SB Nation.
A full, uninterrupted week of glorious football continues with a little Wednesday night MACtion. We’re sure you have so many questions.
• What information do I, the discerning consumer, require in order to consume this game? The Falcons and Bobcats are scheduled to kick off at 8 p.m. ET in Athens’ Peden Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPN2 and streamed on WatchESPN.
• What’s at stake here? With Ohio’s loss to the Miami RedHawks, the Bobcats and Falcons are both 4-1 in league play, trailing 5-0 Kent State in the MAC East. Kent State’s remaining regular-season opponents, by the way: Miami, Bowling Green and Ohio. November in the MAC is gonna be FUN. More sentimentally: A win tonight would wrap up an undefeated home season for the Bobcats (their first since 1988). Ohio has won four of the past five meetings in this series, including last year’s 29-28 nail-biter in Bowling Green.
• Miami 30, Virginia Tech 12. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: An ibis and a turkey walk into the bar, and the bartender says: “Wait, so Virginia Tech can’t even hang on special teams anymore?” Logan Thomas threw for 199 yards and rushed for 124 more, including a 73-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter. No other Hokie entered the end zone last night, or managed a score of any kind in the entire second half. The specter of an all-Florida ACC championship game looms, unless Duke gets its way. And isn’t the possibility of Duke getting its way one of the more purely delightful things about this season? [RECAP | BOX]
• Middle Tennessee State 34, Western Kentucky 29. The Blue Raiders and Hilltoppers hit the locker rooms at halftime tied 17-17, and traded scores throughout the final two quarters. MTSU scored the final touchdown, but WKU went down swinging with a safety-producing stop of Logan Kilgore in the final five seconds. [RECAP | BOX]
• Sandusky case update. Former Penn State president Graham Spanier was formally charged Thursday with perjury, obstruction, endangering the welfare of children, failure to properly report suspected abuse and conspiracy relating to his handling of the Jerry Sandusky case. Additional charges were also filed against Tim Curley and Gary Schultz. SI’s Michael Rosenberg has more.
• BIG OL’ BREAKING NEWS. BCS bowls would consider inviting a two-loss Notre Dame team? WELL, I NEVER.