Everything sorted out Sunday with the College Football Playoff revealing it’s final four and then, the “New Year’s Six” bowl games being locked in place.
Then, all of the other bowls eventually filled out Sunday afternoon, too.
Here’s the recap:
As expected, Oklahoma, the Big XII champs, grabbed the final CFP #4 spot and will play #1 Alabama, the SEC champs, in the Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium in a semi-final game on Saturday December 29th. #2 Clemson, the ACC title winner, will play #3 Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas in the other semi-final later that night.
So that gave way to fill out the New Year’s Six Bowls this way:
The Gators will play Michigan in the Peach Bowl in Atlanta, also on Saturday 12/29. Then, UCF enters “the big time” for the second straight year with their 25 game win streak, and will play LSU January 1st in the Fiesta Bowl in Arizona. The Knights stunned Auburn in the Peach Bowl last January first to complete their 13-0 season.
Later in the day Big Ten champ Ohio State will meet Pac 12 winner Washington in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. And New Year’s night concludes with a “runners-up game” from Saturday with Georgia and Texas battling in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.
As we mentioned above, once that process concluded, the other bowls involving prominent Florida schools and sites filled out this way:
FIU will play Toledo in the Bahamas Bowl the next afternoon, 12/21 in Nassau.
The Miami Hurricanes accepted a bid to rematch Wisconsin (who beat them in the Orange Bowl game last year) in the Pinstripe Bowl on Thursday afternoon 12/27 at Yankee Stadium in Bronx, NY.
The Gator Bowl in Jacksonville will be the final college football game of 2018 calendar year, as it will be played New Year’s Eve between N.C. State and Texas A&M at TIAA Bank Field.
New Year’s Day will see the first game of 2019 with Mississippi State playing Iowa back at Raymond James Stadium at noon. And, the Citrus Bowl will have Kentucky playing Penn State at 1 p.m. at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.
Ole Miss hires Lane Kiffin after FAU title game win
It didn’t take long after FAU’s rout of UAB in the Conference USA Championship Game for the “Lane Train” to depart Boca Raton for Mississippi.
Shortly after the post game festivities were done on the field at FAU Stadium, Ole Miss made official what had been reported Friday night that Kiffin is their new head coach:
OFFICIAL | @Lane_Kiffin named head football coach at Ole Miss
— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) December 7, 2019
First, Kiffin’s Owls had little to no trouble with UAB, as they broke out to a 35 – 6 halftime lead and never looked back. Sophomore quarterback Chris Robison threw three touchdown passes and FAU also blocked a punt, scooped it up and ran it in for another touchdown, as they built the large halftime advantage.
UAB did not muster a hundred yards of offense until the fourth quarter of the game and by then, the issue was settled. It’s the Owls second Conference USA title win in three seasons under Kiffin.
“I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Coach Kiffin to the Ole Miss family,” Carter said. “As we entered this process, we were looking for energy, innovativeness and a program builder who could excite our student-athletes and fans. Coach Kiffin checked every box and is a home run for our program. I look forward to locking arms with him to take Ole Miss Football to a championship level.”
Kiffin returns to the SEC, where he was formerly the offensive coordinator from 2014 – 16 at Alabama under Nick Saban. He also was the University of Tennessee head coach for the 2009 season going 7 – 6. Kiffin left the Vols controversially after just one year to coach at Southern Cal from 2010 – 13. He was fired in the middle of his fourth season with the Trojans.
As we wrote Friday night, a report in Mississippi surfaced that Ole Miss officials had been in Boca Raton to meet with Kiffin on Thursday night and offered him the job. That obviously turned out to be correct.
Ole Miss is looking to rebuild quickly and an attempt to challenge Alabama, LSU and Auburn. The Rebels went just 4 – 8 this past season firing former player and assistant, Matt Luke at the end of the year.
KIffin leads FAU in Championship Game- in final game?
There is only one game involving an FBS team in the State of Florida on Saturday and there’s as much drama behind the scenes as there will be on the field in Boca Raton. This for Florida Atlantic’s bid to win another Conference Championship Game.
The Owls and Coach Lane Kiffin get set to host UAB, are going for the Conference USA Championship for the second time in three years.
However, the bigger story is one that broke on Friday night that Kiffin, the former head coach at USC and Tennessee before coming to South Florida, is apparently headed back to the SEC to coach Ole Miss.
As we wrote last night, the deal is apparently all but done to bring Kiffin to Oxford, MS. That’s where he will coach in the SEC West, including against Nick Saban and Alabama. Kiffin recently the offensive coordinator at Bama from 2014 – 2016, including helping them win the College Football Playoff Title Game in January 2016.
Back to the game on the field Sunday afternoon. The Owls qualified to host the Title game last Saturday by beating Southern Miss 34 – 17. They are led by quarterback Chris Robinson and outstanding tight end, Harrison Bryant. Bryant had two touchdown catches in the first half of the game last week and is FAU’s best weapon in the air.
UAB is a great story in their own right, as they are the defending C-USA champions and qualified for the title game by upsetting North Texas last Saturday. The Blazers overcame their program being defunded by the state of Alabama’s Board of Regents in 2014. With football dormant for 2 years, coach Bill Clark resurrected it and they resumed playing with new players in 2017.
UAB , won the Conference USA title a year ago on the road at Middle Tennessee State and had the first-ever 10-win season in program history.
The Blazers look to run the football between the tackles with bruising back Spencer Brown. He’s a mid-round NFL prospect and had a hundred yards in their win over North Texas. Brown has 11- 100 yard games in his career and wants to help them grind the clock.
Again, this game does not have the impact of the SEC, Big 12 or Big 10 title games on Saturday, which are vying for the College Football Playoff. But, it still should be exciting and the post-game press conference with Kiffin about his possible new job in the SEC will be “must see,” as well.