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The Scoop on the Pizza Bowl - CMU vs. WKU

Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl - Western Kentucky vs. Central Michigan (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

College football serves up some Christmas leftovers, Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl style, tonight when Western Kentucky faces Central Michigan at Ford Field in Detroit.

After being left out of the bowl picture last season at 7-5, Western Kentucky will play in the program's first bowl game tonight, but without head coach Willie Taggart, who has departed for South Florida. Lance Guidry will step in Taggart's place as the interim head coach, a role he previously succeeded in at Miami (Ohio)

The Hilltoppers subscribe to a ground-and-pound philosophy, led by Sun Belt-leading rusher Antonio Andrews' 1,609 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. The junior has also nabbed 34 passes for 411 yards and three scores and ranks 14th nationally in punt returns and 16th in kickoff returns. Andrews picked up steam as the season closed, rushing 62 times for 468 yards (7.55 ypc) and three scores over the team's final two games.

Western Kentucky may be the only team in college football whose leading receiver employs a cowboy collar, as tight end Jack Doyle has hauled in a team-best 47 grabs for 530 yards and four touchdowns. 

The Hilltoppers' defense holds up its end of the "pound" in ground-and-pound, ranking first or second in the Sun Belt in rushing defense, pass efficiency defense, total defense, scoring defense, sacks and tackles for loss. 

Central Michigan climbed out of a 3-6 hole to reach the first bowl game in year three of Dan Enos' tenure, ripping off a 34-31 win over Eastern Michigan, a 30-16 defeat of Miami (Ohio) and a 42-21 blowout of Massachusetts to set up a trip to Detroit. Central Michigan's season reached a high point with its 32-31 win at Iowa, but its six victories have come against teams that finished with 15 combined wins. 

The Chippewas don't stand out on either side of the ball, but running back Zurlon Tipton ranks 15th nationally with 1,396 rushing yards and 19 scores. Tipton emerged from a mid-season lull ripping off 146 carries for 894 yards (6.12 ypc) and 13 touchdowns with six 100-yard games in the last half of the season. 

In case you haven't seen it, here is Guidry's speech before the 2011 GoDaddy.com Bowl. Miami (Ohio) beat Middle Tennessee that night, 35-21. We hear he has something special up his sleeve for tonight's pre-game speech.

Tuberville: Patience is key for a coaching career

Asked what has been the biggest lesson that he has learned over the course of his entire coaching career, Tommy Tuberville noted that learning patience has been one trait that has stuck out to him that is needed for a succesful coaching career..

"I had to learn patience," Tubs explained. "This is a hard business because you're competing with a lot of different teams."

"And it's about people. Dealing with different people every year. I don't care if you've got a hundred on your team and you have no seniors and they're all coming back the next year. It's a different challenge because these young guys are growing up."

Tubs noted that bringing guys from all different backgrounds, and areas together to work toward a common goal is something that every coaching staff is trying to do, and doing that successfully requires a balance between being patient and also having a sense of urgency to get your staff and players all on the same page.

In the beginning of the video, Tubs also explains what attracted him to the Cincinnati job and why he thought it was a good fit for him and his family.

VIDEO: Gary Andersen's first 48 hours in Madison

Good video here from Wisconsin chronicling Gary Andersen's first 48 hours in Madison.

The video starts with the plane touching down, and moves to a tour of the facilities and his inaugural press conference before covering his first encounter with the entire team during a team meeting.

Wednesday Bowl TV - Little Caesars Bowl

We hope that everyone had a safe and happy holiday. Central Michigan and Western Kentucky will get the bowl season restarted tonight in the Little Caesars Bowl.

As always, Eastern time is listed.

NFL:

No games

College:

Little Caesars Bowl - Central Michigan vs. Western Kentucky - 7:30 - ESPN

High School:

No games

 

The Scoop on the Hawaii Bowl - SMU vs. Fresno State

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl - SMU vs. Fresno State (8 p.m. ET, ESPN)

SMU returns to the scene of its only bowl victory since 1984, and June Jones returns to the stadium where he lead Hawaii for nine seasons. In his first season at Fresno State, Tim DeRuyter has already brought home a share of the Mountain West title and now looks to win the Bulldogs' first bowl game since 2007.

Fresno State is one of the most underrated teams in the country. This is a team that ranks in the FBS top 20 in 10 of the 17 official statistics tracked by the NCAA. The Bulldogs' defensive backfield, led by FootballScoop Defensive Backs Coach of the Year finalist Tim McDonald, ranks sixth nationally in pass efficiency defense and fourth in pass defense, and are tied for fourth in the nation with 20 interceptions. The defensive unit ranks 19th in total defense and tackles for loss, tied for 11th in sacks and fifth in turnover margin.

On offense, Fresno State is led by the diminutive but powerful runner Robbie Rouse, who ranks 13th nationally with 1,468 yards and 12 touchdowns and also boasts 58 grabs for 406 yards and two scores. Rouse's backfield mate, quarterback Derek Carr, places 12th nationally in total offense and ninth in passing efficiency with 3,742 passing yards to go with 36 touchdowns and five picks. 

Fresno State has won five straight contests by an average score of 47-21.

Attempting to slow down Fresno State is an SMU team that needed a 35-27 upset of Tulsa, in which Tulsa's comeback bid fell one yard short of potentially tying the game, to reach 6-6. The Mustangs are keyed by running back Zach Line, Conference USA's leading rusher, and his 1,207 rushing yards and a dozen scores. In his first year since transferring from Texas, Garrett Gilbert has accumulated 2,720 passing yards and 13 touchdowns. Gilbert struggled early, throwing 14 interceptions in his first seven games, but has completed 93-of-161 passes for 1,062 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions over his last five outings.

SMU ranks 59th or lower in every defensive category but, like Fresno State, has forced 33 turnovers this fall. SMU may not have the best defensive unit but it does boast the best defensive player in defensive tackle Margus Hunt. A 6-foot-8 former discus thrower from Estonia, Hunt has posted six sacks, one interception, 4.5 TFL and holds the NCAA record with 10 career blocked kicks. 

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