Time for Hawks to Handle Business in Carolina

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As rough as things have gone recently for the Seattle Seahawks, the NFC South-leading Carolina Panthers might be in worse shape mentally than the reigning Super Bowl champions.

Trying to avoid their first three-game, single-season skid in three years, the visiting Seahawks look for a fourth consecutive victory over the frustrated Panthers on Sunday.

Seattle (3-3) is ready to move on from a rough eight-day span that started with a 30-23 loss to Dallas at home, followed by the surprising trade of versatile receiver Percy Harvin to the New York Jets and concluded with a 28-26 loss at St. Louis last Sunday.

The Seahawks haven’t dropped three in a row in the same season since Oct. 23-Nov. 6, 2011.

“(There are) dudes with a lot of heart in here,” linebacker Bruce Irvin said. “Like anywhere else, when you face adversity it’s how you respond.”

Amid their frustration, the Seahawks intend to focus on the positive strides made while nearly overcoming a 21-3 deficit at St. Louis. Seattle scored touchdowns on their final three possessions, each covering at least 80 yards.

Russell Wilson threw for 313 yards and rushed for 106 to become the first quarterback to pass for at least 300 and run for 100. Without Harvin, Doug Baldwin caught seven passes for 123 yards and TD as the Seahawks outgained the Rams 463-272.

However, Seattle allowed a 90-yard punt return for a touchdown, a 75-yard kickoff return that set up a Rams’ touchdown and a fake punt late in the fourth that allowed St. Louis to run out the clock.

“We’ve got work to do, we’ve got work to do to get consistent,” coach Pete Carroll said.

A Seahawks team ranked first in total defense (273.6 yards per game) and points allowed (14.4) last season had yielded at least 300 in the four games prior to facing the Rams and ranks 19th giving up 23.5 points per contest.

Injuries haven’t helped, but Carroll is optimistic cornerbacks Byron Maxwell (calf) and defensive tackle Jordan Hill (ankle) could play Sunday.

Wilson, meanwhile, ranks among the league leaders completing 65.7 percent of his passes while throwing 10 TDs, two interceptions and posting a 101.9 passer rating. Though he’s rushed for more than 100 yards in two of the last three contests, Wilson would rather succeed with his arm than his legs.

”I really don’t want to run, to be honest with you,” he said. ”I’m trying to throw it all the time and keep my eyes down the field.”

Wilson went 25 of 33 for 320 yards during last season’s 12-7 victory at Carolina. He connected with Jermaine Kearse on a 43-yard scoring play early in the fourth quarter for the decisive touchdown.

Cam Newton completed 53.8 percent of his passes for 266 yards with a TD and was sacked five times as Seattle has held the Panthers to 19 points in winning the last two meetings in as many seasons.

Newton threw for 284 yards with two TDs and ran for 107 with another score in the 37-all tie at Cincinnati on Oct. 12, but was held to 246 total yards in last Sunday’s 38-17 loss at Green Bay.

The Panthers (3-3-1), who lead the South only because no other team in the division has more than two wins, trailed 28-0 before Graham Gano’s 33-yard field goal ended the first half.

”We’re number one in the division right now, but if we continue to play the way we have it won’t last long,” linebacker Thomas Davis said.

The reigning South champions ranked just behind Seattle allowing 15.1 points per contest last season when they gave up 30 or more once. Ranked 29th in scoring defense (27.9) this season, Carolina has given up an average of 34.8 points its last five games since allowing 21 total in consecutive wins over Tampa Bay and Detroit to start the season.

“What are we going to do? Quit? Absolutely not,” Newton said. “We have to keep going, keep fighting and we’ll figure out a way to get out of this.”

Carolina will have linebacker and reigning defensive player of the year Luke Kuechly on the field after he was ejected but not fined for making contact with back judge Steve Freeman in the third quarter at Green Bay. Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Wednesday the NFL informed him that Kuechly was wrongfully ejected.

Running back DeAngelo Williams could be back after missing the last three games with an ankle injury, but it’s uncertain how the offensive line will look.

Rookie guard Trai Turner is out with a sprained knee and ankle while the statuses of tackle Byron Bell (elbow) and guard Amini Silatolu (calf) remain uncertain.

NFL Week 8


Sunday, Oct. 26
Game Time/Score TV Location/Tickets
Detroit at Atlanta 6:30 am FOX Wembley Stadium -
St. Louis at Kansas City 10:00 am FOX Arrowhead Stadium -
Chicago at New England 10:00 am FOX Gillette Stadium -
Buffalo at N.Y. Jets 10:00 am CBS MetLife Stadium -
Miami at Jacksonville 10:00 am CBS EverBank Field -
Seattle at Carolina 10:00 am CBS Bank of America Stadium -
Minnesota at Tampa Bay 10:00 am FOX Raymond James Stadium -
Baltimore at Cincinnati 10:00 am CBS Paul Brown Stadium -
Houston at Tennessee 10:00 am FOX LP Field -
Philadelphia at Arizona 1:05 pm FOX University of Phoenix Stadium -
Indianapolis at Pittsburgh 1:25 pm CBS Heinz Field -
Oakland at Cleveland 1:25 pm CBS FirstEnergy Stadium -
Green Bay at New Orleans 5:30 pm NBC Mercedes-Benz Superdome -
Monday, Oct. 27
Game Time/Score TV Location/Tickets
Washington at Dallas 5:30 pm ESPN AT&T Stadium -

Dawgs may have a “Devil” of a time Saturday……..


Arizona State took a big step by beating Stanford, knocking off the team that had become a nemesis of sorts.

But there’s no time to let up now. In what may be the deepest and most dangerous conference in football, the Sun Devils have plenty more hurdles still to get past if they want to play for the Pac-12 Championship for a second straight season.

”We need to move forward from here,” Arizona State coach Todd Graham said.

Beating the Cardinal last week was a big step for the 14th-ranked Sun Devils, though another potentially tough test lies ahead Saturday night when they visit Washington.

Arizona State was roughed up by Stanford twice last season, including a disheartening defeat in the desert to prevent the Sun Devils from getting back to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1997.

That, in part, is what made last Saturday night’s 26-10 win so sweet. Not only did the Sun Devils finally get past Stanford, they did it by dominating in the way the Cardinal had done to them in the past, controlling the line of scrimmage, making big plays on special teams, shutting down their offense.

”To turn the tables and beat a team like that and dominate them physically the way we did, because of the respect we have for their program, that one meant more to me personally than any win we have had,” Graham said.

The confidence-boosting win keeps Arizona State (5-1, 3-1 Pac-12) right in the thick of the Pac-12 South race.

The defending South champions, the Sun Devils are a half-game behind Southern California, though would hold the tiebreaker advantage after knocking off the Trojans on a Hail Mary. They’re also a half-game ahead of Arizona and Utah in the South, and still have both teams left on their schedule.

Arizona State also has games left against Notre Dame, Oregon State and Washington State.

But before the Sun Devils get to those, they must first get past a difficult road game at Washington.

Giants and Royals get Chippy Series Tied 1-1


The first showdown of brilliant bullpens went to the Kansas City Royals.

After Kansas City took the lead with a five-run sixth inning, the trio of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and All-Star closer Greg Holland shut down the hot-hitting San Francisco Giants.

Kansas City cruised from there to a 7-2 victory Wednesday night, evening the World Series at a game apiece as it shifts to the Bay Area for the next three games.

”It’s a huge luxury for me,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. ”After the sixth inning, my thinking is done. I don’t have to mix and match.”

Nope, just call on the gas.

Herrera’s blistering 101-mph fastballs kept the free-swinging Giants on their heels, and Davis breezed through a perfect eighth inning with his own heat. The hard-throwing Holland worked around a single in the ninth, punctuating the victory by punching the air.

”We’ve got a pretty good recipe for success with Herrera, Davis and Holland,” Yost said.

Meanwhile, the San Francisco bullpen that had the fifth-best ERA in the majors and had tossed 12 2-3 scoreless innings in its last four games was lit up like the crown-shaped scoreboard in center field.

With the game tied 2-all and Giants starter Jake Peavy in trouble in the sixth, manager Bruce Bochy summoned reliever Jean Marchi to face Billy Butler. The big designated hitter responded with a hard single to left field, giving the Royals a 3-2 lead and igniting a crowd that had been waiting since a 7-1 loss in Game 1 for something to get excited bout.

Playing the matchups, Bochy called on Javier Lopez to face Alex Gordon, and he did his job. The slumping Gordon flied out to left field for the first out of the inning.

”Those are the matchups we were trying to get,” Bochy said.

Bochy ambled out to the mound once more, this time asking for Hunter Strickland. This time, the move backfired – Salvador Perez ripped a two-run double into the gap in left field, and Omar Infante sent a pitch soaring into the bullpen in left field to make it 7-2.

”I let the team down,” said Strickland, who has allowed five postseason homers after giving up three during the regular season – all at Double-A.

He also let his emotions get the better of him.

Infante was rounding the bases as Perez headed for home, and Strickland got into a shouting match with the Royals’ big catcher. Players from both benches streamed onto the field, and a few of the Royals’ relievers ran in from the outfield bullpen, before order was restored.

”He started to look at me, so I asked him like, `Hey, why you look at me?”’ Perez said. ”So he was telling me, `Get out of here, whatever.’ So I don’t know. `You don’t have to treat me like that. Look at Omar. Omar hit a bomb. I didn’t hit a bomb. I hit a double.”’

Regardless, one thing had become clear: The World Series suddenly had some life.

Now it shifts to AT&T Park, a quirky ballpark that very few Royals have played in. Jeremy Guthrie will be on the mound for them in Game 3 on Friday night, while veteran Tim Hudson makes the first World Series start of his 16-year big league career for San Francisco.


Mike Vick Speaks on Harvin

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Count Michael Vick among those in the New York Jets camp who feels that Percy Harvin somehow left all the baggage and reported behind-the-scenes turmoil back in Seattle.

Harvin, who apparently may have burned one too many bridges with the Seahawks before the team shipped him off to the Jets last week for arguably a pittance in return  — Seattle will receive a fourth-round pick at best in exchange and a sixth-round pick at worst — is eager for yet another fresh start in the NFL.

Vick knows all about fresh starts, which is why he appears almost overconfident that Harvin can rehabilitate his tarnished image in New York, arguing that the purportedly disruptive influence Harvin is rumored to be will be a non-issue with the Jets.

“He won’t be a monster here,” Vick told the New York Post. “He won’t be a monster here. I can assure all the fans of that. That won’t take place here.”

When asked how he can be so sure about his prediction, Vick said, “‘Cause I know,” which really isn’t the most convincing declaration.

Despite Harvin’s tumultuous history, starting quarterback Geno Smith echoed his backup’s comments, guaranteeing that the extremely gifted wide receiver won’t be the locker room cancer he has been labeled during his NFL career this time around.

“I know it won’t be a problem with Percy being here while he’s here,” Smith said. “I guarantee Percy cleans his act up while he’s here. So we ain’t gonna have no problems … So Jets fans can relax and just enjoy what Percy’s gonna bring to the table.”

With the team sitting at 1-6 and seeing their season slip down the drain, taking a flier on Harvin was almost a no-brainer. The risk was minimal at best given how the Jets have struggled thus far this season. Harvin can certainly bolster the team’s offensive attack, that’s for certain.

Vick praised Harvin’s ability to “stretch the field” while Smith talked about how Harvin can “take a short pass or a short run and make it a home-run play.”

Those assessments of Harvin’s onfield gifts have never been a topic of debate. It’s the headache he appears to become, now with two organizations who seemingly felt it was better to let him go and lose his immense talents than be forced to deal with him on a day-to-day basis.

Whether Harvin is able to finally shed the image as a surly malcontent during his time with the Jets remains to be seen. He certainly gives the team a dynamic offensive weapon in the interim, and he has seemed capable of being the consummate good teammate for a decent stretch of time.

But when things start going south — something that could easily happen with the Jets as the team stumbles through the first half of the season, whispers of locker room controversy and behind-the-scenes strife inevitably begin to surface. It’s too soon to know which Percy will show up when times get tough.

World Series


Two teams that truly believe they are part of destiny collide in the World Series starting here Tuesday night.

The Kansas City Royals, nearly wiped out by Oakland in the Wild Card Game, arose from the dead that night and have swept through the playoffs  since, going a record 8-0 in the postseason.

The Royals, making their first World Series appearance since 1985, have done so with some old-fashioned baseball — spectacular defense, speed on the basepaths and a suffocating, shutdown bullpen.

The San Francisco Giants simply expect to be here. As they aim for their third World Series title in five years, they will bank their hopes on timely hitting, experience, excellent starting pitching and a terrific bullpen of their own.

So how do the teams match up?


Neither team can be described as an offensive juggernaut, especially in the playoffs.

The Giants, hitting just .244 with a .313 OBP and five homers in the postseason, rely on veteran plate appearances from guys who have been there and done that — catcher Buster Posey, right fielder Hunter Pence and third baseman Pablo Sandoval (.814 OPS in the playoffs). And then there’s left fielder Travis Ishikawa, who blasted a walk-off homer in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series that got the Giants here.

Posey (.656 OPS in the postseason) and Pence (.674) have yet to sizzle in the playoffs, and the Giants have not gotten much up the middle from shortstop Brandon Crawford, second baseman Joe Panik and center fielder Gregor Blanco, although Panik and Crawford each has delivered a homer.

Giants first baseman Brandon Belt, who has six RBI and a .781 OPS in the playoffs, is a talented young hitter a bit like Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer.

The Royals, hitting. 259 in the playoffs, counter with speed (13 postseason steals) and a penchant for manufacturing runs.

But for a team that was last in baseball in homers (95) during the regular season, Kansas City also has delivered some rare punch in the postseason. Hosmer and third baseman Mike Moustakas, both former first-round draft picks, are shining in the playoff spotlight. Hosmer is hitting .448 with a 1.314 OPS, and Moustakas leads all of baseball with four postseason homers (tied with Matt Carpenter of the Cardinals).

The top of the order — shortstop Alcides Escobar (.714 OPS), right fielder Nori Aoki and center fielder Lorenzo Cain (.820 OPS) — has done a decent job of table-setting. DH Billy Butler (five RBI) and left fielder Alex Gordon (nine RBI) haven’t been smoking the ball but have come through with clutch hits.

Catcher Sal Perez (.118 average) and second baseman Omar Infante (.207) have continued their dreadful late-season slumps into the playoffs.

Both teams are solid defensively and will have to be to defend two of the biggest ballparks in baseball. The Royals’ outstanding trio of Gold Glover Gordon, AL Championship Series MVP Cain and speedy Jarrod Dyson (a late-inning defensive replacement) will have to get used to the quirky dimensions of AT&T Park but has the speed to make up for most mistakes.

Ishikawa, Blanco and Pence can’t match the speed of the Royals’ outfield but are savvy defenders.

EDGE: Royals


Giants Game 1 starter Madison Bumgarner (four playoff starts, two wins, 1.42 ERA) has been a horse in the playoffs, and clearly has been the best starter in the postseason. The Giants also are benefiting from a revived Jake Peavy (1.86 ERA) and can get a quality start out of veteran Tim Hudson (two starts, 3.29 ERA). Ryan Vogelsong (5.19 ERA) is the shakier option after that.

The Royals will counter in Game 1 with Big Game James Shields, who has wobbled mightily (5.63 ERA, 1.63 WHIP) in the postseason. Fireballer Yordano Ventura had one terrific start against the Angels (seven innings, one run) but also struggled against the Orioles, not getting out of the sixth inning. The Royals shoved left-hander Danny Duffy, perhaps their best starter in the regular season, to the bullpen after he suffered a late-season shoulder injury. He is fine now, but the Royals feel more secure with veterans Jeremy Guthrie (1.80 ERA) and Jason Vargas (2.38 ERA) after Games 1 and 2.

EDGE: Giants


The back end of the Royals’ bullpen — the three-headed monster of Kelvin Herrera (1.08 ERA in the playoffs), Wade Davis (0.96 ERA) and Greg Holland (1.13 ERA, six saves) — has been the talk of baseball, both during the regular season and now in the playoffs. Royals games typically are decided after six innings if they have the lead with Herrera owning the seventh, Davis the eighth and Holland the ninth. Rookie left-hander Brandon Finnegan has been effective in a variety of roles.

The Giants’ back end of the bullpen obviously has been no slouch, either. San Francisco has more versatility than the Royals with left-handers Javier Lopez and Jeremy Affeldt. And the Giants’ quartet of Affeldt, Lopez, Sergio Romo and closer Santiago Casilla has experience — the foursome has been together since 2010. Long man/short man Yusmeiro Petit gives the Giants even more versatility. Among those five relievers, only one (Romo) has given up a run in the playoffs — and he allowed just one. Casilla has four saves and has been tagged for only two postseason hits.

EDGE: Even


Giants manager Bruce Bochy hasn’t had to go to his bench much in the postseason, other than with Michael Morse (2 for 4, one homer), and Bochy will use Morse in Kansas City as the designated hitter. Juan Perez (.154 average) is the fourth outfielder.

The Royals rarely pinch hit, though they likely will have veteran Josh Willingham if needed. But what manager Ned Yost will use is his speed and defense off the bench. Dyson usually enters the game in the seventh inning to replace Aoki, taking over center field while Cain moves to right. And speedster Terrance Gore (three steals) is a fabulous weapon late in games when the Royals are trying to manufacture a run.

EDGE: Royals


The big question is how much San Francisco’s October experience will play into the Series. The Giants obviously know what this stage is like, having won the World Series in 2010 and 2012. There is something to be said about simply knowing how to win, and the Giants always seem to find a way. Throw in the fact that national observers consider this a managerial mismatch — Bochy over Yost — and the edge would seem to go to the Giants.

But not so fast. This Royals team has been feeling a bit invincible ever since their improbable comeback in a wacky 9-8 Wild Card Game win over Oakland. The Royals are an unprecedented 8-0 in the postseason and may simply be the charmed team right now. On top of that, they are built for the postseason with their elite defense, speed and bullpen — all crucial elements when trying to win close games.   

Indeed, it’s time to party like it’s 1985.

EDGE: Royals



Seahawks Get Faked Out in 28-26 Loss


 Walking off the field, his back to the huddle, Austin Davis had no idea the St. Louis Rams would gamble in this spot. Not backed up at their 18.

The quarterback glanced back in surprise to see Johnny Hekker, arm cocked, about to let one go.

It certainly surprised the Seattle Seahawks, even though they’ve seen it before.

”That’s pretty sweet,” Hekker said of the pass to a wide-open Benny Cunningham that helped the Rams run out the clock and beat the defending Super Bowl champions 28-26 on Sunday. ”We’ve been practicing that play for a long time.”

Hekker is a former high school quarterback and is the holder on place kicks. His TD pass on a fake field goal to Danny Amendola, who’d pretended to jog off the field, was the go-ahead score and the lone touchdown for the Rams in a 19-13 win over Seattle in September 2012.

The Seahawks were familiar with the fake punt/pass but didn’t expect trickery in that situation. They got fooled more than once.

Stedman Bailey had a 90-yard touchdown on a trick return that had the Seahawks thinking another player was going to field the punt. Cunningham had a 75-yard kickoff return on a squibbed kick that had rolled into the end zone and perhaps put the Seahawks on their heels. It set up an early touchdown for the Rams (2-4).

The Rams won for just the third time in 19 games against Seattle. They scored more than 20 points against Seattle for the first time in 15 meetings since 2006.

”It was great execution by them on a couple different scenarios,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. ”It made a huge difference in this game.

”If they don’t catch that ball, it’s ours and we kick the field goal and it’s over. A very gutsy play.”

Russell Wilson rushed for 106 yards on seven carries and also passed for two touchdowns while going 23 for 36 for 313 yards, becoming the first quarterback in NFL history with 300 yards passing and 100 yards rushing.

But the struggling Seahawks fell to 3-3 with a second straight loss.

The Seahawks dominated statistically, outgaining the Rams 463 yards to 272. Doug Baldwin’s’ 9-yard reception cut the deficit to two with 3:18 to go, but the Rams were able to run out the clock after Hekker’s completion to Cunningham on fourth-and-3, and somehow recovered a fumble by Tre Mason in the final minute.

NFL spokesman Michael Signora said the play was reviewed by the league and that there was ”no evidence of a clear recovery by either St. Louis or Seattle.”

Cory Harkey was credited with a fumble recovery, and the Rams finished it with a kneel-down. The Seahawks’ Richard Sherman had the ball after it popped out of Harkey’s grasp, but Harkey apparently grabbed it back in the scrum.

”I stripped the ball and it was a big scuffle and I was just trying to help Sherm get the ball,” safety Earl Thomas said. ”He had it but somehow … I don’t know.”

11 Years in a Row..Oregon Dominates


While Oregon’s coaches believe something has clicked for Royce Freeman in the past two games, the Ducks’ true freshman running back considers his recent success more a natural progression.

Freeman ran for 169 yards and four touchdowns on Saturday night as No. 9 Oregon extended its winning streak over Washington to 11 games with a 45-20 victory.

”A turning point?” Freeman asked. ”I’m just trying to go every each and every week and improve and get a breakthrough. I’m just trying as hard as I can.”

Marcus Mariota threw for 336 yards and two touchdowns for the Ducks (6-1, 3-1 Pac-12), who won their second straight game as they distance themselves from a loss at home to Arizona on Oct. 2.

Freeman’s four TDs were the most rushing touchdowns in a single game for a Duck since Kenjon Barner had five against USC in 2012.

”You saw some of his elusiveness that was legendary in fall camp,” said coach Mark Helfrich, who said Freeman is playing freer.

Offensive coordinator Scott Frost said Freeman has turned a corner after becoming the team’s first 100-yard rusher with 121 yards and two touchdowns in Oregon’s victory last weekend against UCLA.

”If he just runs downhill – as big and as strong as his is – he’s a force,” Frost said.

Cameron Van Winkle hit a pair of field goals for Washington (5-2, 1-2), which hasn’t defeated Oregon since the 2003 season. Sophomore Cyler Miles struggled to find a rhythm, throwing for 147 yards and a touchdown with an interception and a fumble.

”That’s very tough. It’s a rivalry. Some people don’t think its rivalry, but it is a rivalry and it means a lot. It means a lot to us and we really wanted this game but unfortunately, the Ducks prospered today,” Huskies receiver Jaydon Mickens said. ”They were the better team today so hats off to them.”

Oregon celebrated the 20th anniversary of ”The Pick,” Kenny Wheaton’s 97-yard interception return for a game-saving touchdown over the Huskies in 1994 that helped send the Ducks to their first Rose Bowl in 37 years.

Many Oregon fans believe that play was the spark for the Ducks’ rise to national prominence.

Bowl Projections

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Dec. 20: R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Louisiana-Lafayette vs. San Jose State

Dec. 20: Gildan New Mexico Bowl: San Diego State vs. Louisiana Tech

Dec. 20: Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl: Boise State vs. UCLA

Dec. 20: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Utah State vs. Northern Illinois

Dec. 20: Raycom Media Camellia Bowl: South Alabama vs. Bowling Green

Dec. 22: Miami Beach Bowl: BYU vs. East Carolina

Dec. 23: Boca Raton Bowl: Central Michigan vs. Rice

Dec. 23: San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl: Colorado State vs. Navy

Dec. 24: Popeyes Bahamas Bowl: UAB vs. Western Michigan

Dec. 24: Sheraton Hawaii Bowl: Middle Tennessee State vs. Nevada

Dec. 26: Heart of Dallas Bowl: Northwestern vs. California

Dec. 26: Quick Lane Bowl: Penn State vs. Pittsburgh

Dec. 26: BITCOIN St. Petersburg Bowl: UCF vs. UTEP

Dec. 27: Military Bowl: Temple vs. N.C. State

Dec. 27: Hyundai Sun Bowl: Utah vs. Boston College

Dec. 27: Duck Commander Independence Bowl: Miami vs. Memphis

Dec. 27: New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Rutgers vs. Virginia

Dec. 27: National University Holiday Bowl: Wisconsin vs. Arizona

Dec. 29: AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Kentucky vs. West Virginia

Dec. 29: Russell Athletic Bowl: Duke vs. TCU

Dec. 29: AdvoCare Texas Bowl: South Carolina vs. Oklahoma

Dec. 30: Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Missouri vs. Louisville

Dec. 30: Belk Bowl: Texas A&M vs. Virginia Tech

Dec. 30: San Francisco Bowl: Iowa vs. Stanford

Jan. 1: Outback Bowl: Minnesota vs. Georgia

Jan. 1: Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl: Nebraska vs. Auburn

Jan. 2: Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl: Houston vs. Air Force

Jan. 2: TaxSlayer Bowl: LSU vs. Maryland

Jan. 2: Valero Alamo Bowl: Baylor vs. Arizona State

Jan. 2: Cactus Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Washington

Jan. 3: Birmingham Bowl: Tennessee vs. Cincinnati

Jan. 4: GoDaddy Bowl: Arkansas State vs. Toledo

MORE:  Week 8 photos  |  Biggest upsets of 2014

Playoff Bowl Projections

Dec. 31: Fiesta Bowl: USC vs. Alabama

Dec. 31: Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: Marshall vs. Ole Miss

Dec. 31: Capital One Orange Bowl: Michigan State vs. Clemson

Jan. 1: AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic: Ohio State vs. Kansas State

Jan. 1: Rose Bowl Game (Playoff Semifinal): Oregon  vs. Florida State

Jan. 1: Allstate Sugar Bowl (Playoff Semifinal): Notre Dame vs. Mississippi State

Jan. 12: College Football Championship Game: Florida State vs. Mississippi State