Kansas State and UCLA each ended their seasons with disappointing losses to knock them out of college football’s top-10. The two teams will have a chance to rebound and end their once promising seasons with a win in the Alamo Bowl on January 1. Despite having two loses on their resume, Kansas State remained in the discussion for the College Football Playoff in December with a game against sixth-ranked Baylor looming. However, the ninth-ranked Wildcats were unable to keep up with Baylor’s high-powered offence and dropped to 0-3 on the season against top-10 ranked teams. UCLA also remained in the College Football Playoff debate despite also having two losses and sat just one win away from reaching the Pac-12 Championship and a rematch against Oregon. Stunningly, the heavily-favoured Bruins were held to just 162 yards passing and routed 31-10 by six-win Stanford. The loss gave Arizona a spot in the Pac-12 Championship as the South division representative and erased UCLA’s hopes of reaching the four-team playoff. To make matters worse for UCLA, star quarterback Brett Hundley injured a finger on his throwing in his the loss, putting his bowl availability in jeopardy. With over a month to heal, Hundley is expected to play against Kansas State in what will likely be his final game as Bruin. The redshirt junior quarterback entered the year with Heisman expectations and, though he fell short of being a finalist, the signal caller put together a solid season. Hundley finished the year with 21 touchdowns and five interceptions passing, while he rushed for another eight scores. With NFL scouts watching closely, Hundley will hope to rebound from his worst start of the season against Kansas State’s susceptible pass defence – which allowed 412 yards to Bryce Petty and Baylor. Like UCLA, Kansas State’s offence also relies on a passing attack, led by senior quarterback Jake Waters. Waters threw for over 200 yards in every game this season and finished with 3,163 yards and 20 touchdowns to six interceptions. Like Hundley, Waters also presents a rushing risk for opposing defences. Waters crossed the 100-yard mark rushing twice this season; burning Iowa State for 138 yards in September and running for 105 yards against Texas Tech. Waters will look to target fellow senior Tyler Lockett early and often against the Bruins 82nd-ranked pass defence. Lockett led the Wildcats receivers with 93 receptions, 1,351 yards and nine touchdowns this season. He posted 196 receiving yards in a game twice this season, in Kansas State’s 41-20 loss to TCU and again in their win over West Virginia. For Kansas State, the Alamo Bowl offers the opportunity to prove the team can rise to the occasion in big games. Losses to their lone SEC-opponent in Auburn and to big Big 12 rivals TCU and Baylor relegated the team to outside the top-10. Their lone win over a ranked team came in mid-October over No. 11 Oklahoma. Waters completed 15 of his 23 pass attempts for 225 yards and two touchdowns without an interception as Kansas State won 31-30, will the help of a blocked extra point in the fourth quarter. UCLA, meanwhile, will try to rebound from their embarrassing upset loss to Stanford and early ending to their season. UCLA only suffered one loss to a ranked team – to No. 12 Oregon on Oct. 11 – but suffered two losses to unranked teams. With a win, the Bruins can put together back-to-back 10-win seasons for just third time in school history. Kansas State, in Waters and Lockett’s final game, will be not be short of motivation as they hope to stay in the conversation of the Big 12’s top teams, behind TCU and Baylor. The two teams are hard to separate on paper, with a spread of two points or less favouring UCLA. If Hundley can put together a signature effort in the game coach Jim Mora said would be his last, then UCLA should take the bowl. However, Kansas State has been more the consistent team throughout the season, falling only to top-six teams. If UCLA fails to bring their full effort, as they did against Stanford, the Wildcats should be able to take advantage. Eye on Sunday QB Brett Hundley, UCLA Hundley has been a polarizing figure in the NFL draft community since before the season. Initially considered an early first-round pick, Hundley has slipped back on draft boards and even out of the first round on some. The Alamo Bowl will present a major stage for Hundley to prove why he deserves to be in the conversation with Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota as the top draft-eligible quarterback, or why he doesn’t. WR Tyler Lockett, Kansas State Lockett had a terrific season for Kansas State and, for that matter, a terrific career. At 5’11, Lockett hardly boasts ideal size, but his production is undeniable. Lockett broke Kansas State records for career receptions, yards and touchdowns this season, which were all marks formerly held by his father, Kevin. He was also named a second-team All-American for his efforts this season and should be drafted in 2015. LB Eric Kendricks, UCLA Kendricks was awarded the Dick Butkus Award as college football’s most outstanding linebacker in 2014. Every player to win the award since 2005 has been drafted in the first two rounds, including four top-10 picks. Kendricks posted a career-high 96 solo tackles in 2014 and holds the NCAA record for career tackles. After adding three interceptions and two touchdowns to his résumé this season, expect Kendricks to be heavily involved against the Kansas State offence. Jordan Retro 5 For Sale Cheap
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. The weekend at Oriole Park has been less kind, with three players suffering varying degrees of injury. The worst ailment of the three, at least optically, is the deep bone bruise suffered by Adam Lind when he fouled a pitch off the top of his right foot in the sixth inning of Saturdays game.PHOENIX - Relishing no longer being in the villain role, Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman is painting his teams Super Bowl opponent as occupying that position.He also doubts that the Patriots will be punished by the NFL if they are found guilty of doctoring footballs in the AFC championship game.I think the perception is the reality, Sherman said Sunday after the defending champions arrived in Phoenix. It is what it is. Their resume speaks for itself. The past is what the past is. Their present is what their present is. And, will they be punished? Probably not.The All-Pro cited NFL Commissioner Roger Goodells close relationship with New England owner Robert Kraft as his main reason for being skeptical.Not as long as Robert Kraft and Roger Goodell are still taking pictures at their respective homes. He was just at Krafts house last week for the AFC championship, Sherman added. You talk about conflict of interest.But as long as that happens, it wont affect them at all. Nothing will.Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Saturday the team followed every rule to the letter in preparing footballs on game day. New England arrives in Phoenix on Monday as the leagues investigation into under-inflated balls continues.This is the second Super Bowl in which accusations of cheating have followed the Patriots. During their unbeaten 2007 regular season, they were fined $250,000 and Belichick was docked $500,000 for spying on New York Jets coaches signals. New England lost to the New York Giants in that Super Bowl.For many of the Seahawks, the focus on football deflation is a non-topic. Quarterback Russell Wilson brushed aside questions about the subject the wway he escapes onrushing defenders.dddddddddddd All-Pro safety Earl Thomas admitted he knew nothing at all about it: Ive been in my own little world. I dont watch TV too much.Sherman, as always, was not reticent about discussing it.I think more people might be inclined to root for us, to see history made, Sherman said, noting the Seahawks are seeking to become the first repeat champions in a decade — when the Patriots did it. I guess the controversy gives us a little edge in that respect.When it was revealed that some of the Patriots footballs were under-inflated in the AFC championship, Sherman said I didnt think it was a big deal at the time.Its a big deal, Sherman added, laughing.The edge that Sherman plays with has helped him become one of the premier players in pro football. It also catapulted him into that villain role last year after his rant against 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree following the NFC title game.He didnt understand the reaction.To be painted villains I guess you need to do something heinous, he said, and I didnt. You learn a lot about people around you and about society.While he was at it, Sherman also criticized the NFL for not coming through on the booty he is entitled to for being selected to the Pro Bowl. Players who make the Super Bowl are replaced for the Pro Bowl.Only thing Im disappointed about is that we didnt get our gifts from the Pro Bowl, he said. Which is kind of dumb; the NFL is the only league that punishes the players who actually make the all-stars by not giving them their gifts.He believed the gifts included watches and stuff.___AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
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