Cotton Bowl moves up to Friday, Dec. 29, in prime time


The Cotton Bowl will be played under Friday night lights.

Organizers announced that the game is moving to Friday night, Dec. 29, from Saturday, Dec. 30. The move will take advantage of a prime-time television audience that proved beneficial last season: The Orange Bowl was moved from an early afternoon kickoff Dec. 31 to a prime-time start Friday, Dec. 30, and ended up drawing big ratings.

The exact kickoff time for the Cotton Bowl is pending. It had been scheduled to start Saturday afternoon as part of a tripleheader with the Fiesta and Orange bowls.

The Orange Bowl between Florida State and Michigan, won with a late touchdown by the Seminoles, ended up being the second-most watched of the New Year’s Six bowl last season. Only the two semifinal games drew a larger average audience than the 11.7 million the Orange Bowl pulled in.

The College Football Playoff semifinals are back on New Year’s Day this season in the Rose and Sugar bowls. The Peach Bowl will start the Jan. 1 tripleheader.

Kiffins to team up? A person with knowledge of the move says Lane Kiffin plans to hire his father, Monte Kiffin, to be part of the staff at Florida Atlantic.

The person spoke Friday to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because Monte Kiffin’s role has not been completely defined or announced by the university.

The move will give FAU three Kiffins: Lane Kiffin is the new head coach, and younger brother Chris Kiffin is the Owls’ defensive coordinator.

Monte Kiffin worked on the staffs at Tennessee and USC when Lane Kiffin was head coach at those schools. The 77-year-old spent last season assisting the Jacksonville Jaguars and is best known as the architect of the “Tampa 2” defense, which the Tampa Bay Buccaneers used to win a Super Bowl.

The Sporting News first reported Monte Kiffin’s hiring.

USC hires running backs coach: Southern California has hired Deland McCullough to be its new running backs coach and run game coordinator.

USC coach Clay Helton announced the hire Friday.

McCullough spent the past six years in the same job at Indiana, coaching a series of above-average backs for the Hoosiers. He played at Miami of Ohio before a brief NFL career with Cincinnati and Philadelphia.

McCullough replaces Tommie Robinson, who left the Rose Bowl champion Trojans to join former USC coach Ed Orgeron at LSU.

McCullough inherits a deep stable of talent at Tailback U., including 1,000-yard rusher Ronald Jones II and incoming freshman Stephen Carr, one of the nation’s top high school prospects.



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