Eastern Michigan’s Silver Field, UNLV Bowl Eligible Plus Other NCAA Football News
By Fran Stuchbury
Las Vegas Informer
UNLV ONCE AGAIN BOWL ELIGIBLE THIS SEASON
In April, UNLV’s appeal was denied over a postseason ban due to low academic scores. Due to the bowl ban they lost two players, senior running back Adonis Smith who transferred to Arizona and senior offensive lineman Cameron Jefferson, who went to Arkansas. That was allowed because any player who eligibility left during a ban that would run out, were allowed to transfer to another school without sitting out.
UNLV was very unhappy about this because they finally played in their first bowl game since the 2000 Las Vegas Bowl. They lost to North Texas in the Heart of Dallas Bowl 36-14. After three straight two win seasons Bobby Hauk got them to seven wins last season and rewarded him with a three-year contract extension through the 2016 season.
Thinking they would not be able to play in a bowl game, on May 30th they added a 13th game to their schedule at Houston on Sept, 20th. NCAA bylaws allowed them do that because any team that plays a road game at Hawaii can. UNLV will also collect $400,000 for that game.
On June 26tUNLV got some great news! It was announced they would be bowl eligible this season due to miscalculations in the academic scores. It’s a major relief for a team that is starting to turn the corner and be competitive in the Mountain West Conference. UNLV is thrilled they will be compete this season to play in the Mountain West Conference Championship and will be bowl eligible if they go 7-6, since they added a 13th game. If UNLV is capable of pulling off an upset week one August 29th at Arizona, with the game being shown on nationally ESPN, that would be a great start for them.
EASTERN MICHIGAN INSTALLS A SILVER FIELD
Eastern Michigan decides to be creative and will install a silver football turf this season. After taking a look at, it looks a lot like the silver turf the Los Angeles KISS of the Arena Football League have.
It looks like this turf is just something else for fans to talk about besides all the losing they have suffered through. Eastern Michigan has not been to a bowl game since the 1987 season and they have not had a winning season since 1995, when they went 6-5.
Ron English who was a solid defensive coordinator at Michigan and Louisville was supposed to be able to turn this team around. He was not able to at all, going 12-48 in five seasons and was fired after the season. Chris Creighton was named the new head coach.
Eastern Michigan claims they are putting down silver turf to help build a championship. I think it’s just a way for fans to be distracted when the losing this season continues.
UMASS MAY HAVE NO CONFERENCE TO PLAY IN
UMASS football team will be leaving the Mid-American Conference after the 2015 season. The move is not that big of a surprise because they would have had to move its college basketball program from the Atlantic 10 to the MAC and that was not going happen.
In two seasons in the MAC, UMASS went 2-22 and have a 2-14 conference record. Right now have no other options to get a conference for their college football team to play at. The American Athletic Conference will have Navy as a 12th team in 2015 and they have no interest in adding more teams. The Sun Belt Conference wants a 12th team but having UMASS for them would make no sense travel wise.
I don’t see Conference USA as a good fit either. Unless there is more conference realignment, UMASS will have to be an independent and may have the tough task of finding 12 opponents for them to play every season. They may have to consider moving back to FCS if they program finds it to challenging to remain a FBS team.
GREAT MOVE TO HAVE SAM HOUSTON TO PLAY EASTERN WASHINGTON ON AUGUST 23RD
The FCS is doing a wise thing starting their season early with a marquee match-up against two top 25 teams when Sam Houston State plays at Eastern Washington Saturday afternoon August 23rd being nationally televised by ESPN.
Eastern Washington won the 2010 FCS Championship defeating Delaware 20-19. They finished last season ranked 3rd in The Sports Network FCS Final Poll.
Sam Houston State played in the FCS Championship in 2011 and 2012, losing both times to North Dakota State. They finished ranked 14th in the final FCS Poll.
Fans who are hungry for college football will tune in and it gives the FCS great exposure with nothing else going on sports wise that afternoon besides baseball games.
Yes some fans do watch the FCS Championship in January, but in general that’s a day people are more focused on watching NFL playoff games. Hopefully the FCS continues to have games like this a week before the regular college football season starts. Also with this game being played at Eastern Washington, who plays on a red football field, people flipping channels will see that and it may catch their attention.
NO PROBLEM WITH MORE BOWL GAMES BEING ADDED
Four new bowl games will be added this season. Some consider it five with a new bowl game in Detroit replacing the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, but I don’t. The Camellia Bowl in Montgomery Alabama that will have the Mid-American Conference vs. the Sun Belt Conference. The Miami Beach Bowl, a bowl eligible BYU team against the American Athletic Conference. The Boca Raton Bowl, Conference USA vs. Mid-American Conference and Bahamas Bow, Conference USA vs. Mid-American Conference. In 2015 another Bowl game will be added in Orlando called the Cure Bowl, American Athletic Conference vs. Sun Belt Conference.
These games had to be added because the smaller conferences were getting locked out of other bowl games and they needed one for their teams to have. I have no problem for more bowl games. It’s an outstanding award for players to go to and for fans to attend.
As long as team is has a 6-6 record they should be able to play in a bowl game. If it gets to the point where 5-7 teams gets then we know games have to be cut. No way should a team be playing in a road game with a losing . During bowl season I try to watch at least a part of every game that is played so I’m fine with more bowl games being added.
Fran Stuchbury has a history of covering alternatives football leagues. Fran has covered the Arena Football League, the United Football League and the XFL. Fran has covered six ArenaBowls, 2 af2 ArenaCups, two UFL Championships and a CFL Grey Cup in Montreal in 2001.