New Year's Eve Bowl primer

College football fans should be in for quite a show over the next two days, as the College Football Playoff has ushered in the era of the 'New Year's Six,' a package of bowl games spread over New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, including a pair of semifinal games that will determine who plays for the very first CFP national championship.

<p> Before we settle in and get set for the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl games featuring Oregon-Florida State and Alabama-Ohio State, respectively, three contests take center stage on the final day of 2014.

So let's break down the trio of marquee games…

Peach Bowl (Atlanta): TCU (11-1) vs. Ole Miss (9-3) 12:30 pm ET on ESPN

The Horned Frogs, favored by 3.5 points, will be playing in the Peach Tree State for the first time since 1988, when they played Georgia. Gary Patterson's squad, which did not make the College Football Playoff despite entering the final weekend of the regular season at No. 3 in the CFP rankings, is trying to earn its third victory against a Top 10 team this year. Meanwhile, the Rebels defeated Mississippi State to close out the regular season and snap a three-game losing streak that knocked them out of playoff consideration despite a breakthrough season in which they defeated conference power Alabama. Ole Miss has won five of six meetings between the teams in the series.

Senquez GolsonSenquez Golson ranks second in the nation with nine interceptions.

Can Horned Frogs dual-threat quarterback Trevone Boykin play a clean game in the Georgia Dome against an Ole Miss defense that leads the nation in giving up just 13.8 points per game? Boykin had one of the most exceptional years at the QB position, finishing fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting as he was the face of a team that scored 46.8 points per game. He has big-play ability with his arm and his legs, but cornerback Senquez Golson ranks second in the nation with nine interceptions, and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy finalist was the one who pulled in the interception in the end zone to help give the Rebels their win over the Crimson Tide. But how much can Ole Miss rely on its defense? Quarterback Bo Wallace must play a clean game as he relies on tight end Evan Engram, running back Jaylen Walton and the rest of his playmakers (without star Laquon Treadwell, of course) to find openings against linebacker Paul Dawson and the stout TCU defense.

Fiesta Bowl (Glendale): Arizona (10-3) vs. Boise State (11-2) 4:00 pm ET on ESPN

The Wildcats, favored by 7 points, have notched 10 wins for the second time in program history and are looking to put behind their loss to Oregon in the Pac-12 title game and claim a top-tier bowl win for the first time since beating Miami (FL) in the 1994 Fiesta Bowl. Rich Rodriguez's offense is led by quarterback Anu Solomon, who put together a fantastic redshirt freshman campaign after winning a preseason position battle for the starting gig. He threw for 3,458 yards and 27 touchdowns against just seven interceptions this fall. The 'Cats are also paced by freshman running back Nick Wilson, who rushed for 1,289 yards and 15 touchdowns while helping make fans forget about All-American Ka'Deem Carey. Defensively, linebacker Scooby Wright was a beast all season and will continue to garner Heisman Trophy consideration heading into next season. He claimed All-America honors as well as national awards and will try to make things difficult for the Boise State offense after recording 153 tackles, including 27 behind the line of scrimmage.

That Broncos offense features running back Jay Ajayi, who will be playing his final game with the team before entering the 2015 NFL Draft. He is tied for the national lead in scoring at 13.4 points per game, has accounted for 2,225 all-purpose yards and 29 scores, and is the centerpiece of a unit that also features quarterback Grant Hedrick, who led the nation by completing 70 percent of his passes. However, he also tossed 13 interceptions and will try to keep the Broncos' offense balanced and turnover-free. Boise State, which has 17 straight winning seasons and is in an upper-tier bowl game in the first season under new head coach Bryan Harsin, has five defensive scores on the year.

Orange Bowl (Miami): Georgia Tech (10-3) vs. Mississippi State (10-2) 8:00 pm ET on ESPN

The Yellow Jackets are looking to finish off a standout season in the AP Top 10, which is quite the accomplishment considering that many college football observers thought that head coach Paul Johnson could be out the door at the end of the 2014 campaign. GT enters Sun Life Stadium with a quarterback that has the ability to move the ball through the air as well as with his legs, which makes the triple-option offense even more dangerous. Quarterback Justin Thomas has paced the strong offensive attack along with running backs Zach Laskey and Synjyn Days, who recorded three touchdowns in the ACC championship game against Florida State. Bulldogs defensive end Preston Smith and the rest of the defense will have to play a sound game if it wants to thwart the GT offensive attack.

Dak PrescottDak Prescott threw for 24 touchdowns and ran for 13 more scores this fall.

Meanwhile, Dan Mullen's squad was once No. 1 in the country, but the tough SEC West gauntlet ultimately prevented the Bulldogs from being a part of the inaugural College Football Playoff. But the Bulldogs remain a tough out because of a Benardrick McKinney-led defense and dual-threat signal-caller Dak Prescott, who was a major player in the Heisman Trophy race for the majority of the year. He threw for 24 touchdowns and ran for 13 more scores, but he struggled a bit with accuracy and seemed to tire down the stretch. He gets help offensively from running back Josh Robinson, who may be the nation's most underrated premiere back. Both Prescott and Robinson will try to find running room against Yellow Jackets linebackers Paul Davis and Quayshawn Nealy.

Dave Miller, the college football editor for the National Football Post, is on Twitter @Miller_Dave.

Cowboys place Henry Melton on injured reserve

The Dallas Cowboys placed star defensive tackle Henry Melton on injured reserve with a bone bruise to his right knee.

He was replaced on the roster by linebacker James Anderson.

Melton got hurt against the Washington Redskins. He had 10 tackles and five sacks this season.

Melton has a $9 million guaranteeed salary in 2015 if his option is picked up.

“I can't think about that,” Melton said.I love it here in Dallas, love the fans, love everything. So right now we're just working for this playoff push and take it one day at a time.”

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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun

Troubled Justin Blackmon not in Jaguars' plans

The Jacksonviille Jaguars aren't counting on troubled wide receiver Justin Blackmon.

He's not in their plans at this point as he deals with his off-field problems.

“We hope for him, we pray for him, our thoughts are with him,” general manager David Caldwell said. “We hope he comes back because he's talented. We also know that he's a good person fighting a tough battle.

“I think we have to treat it as a luxury. If he comes back, that's great. If he doesn't, we feel good about the three guys that we've got and if he comes back, that's even better.”

Blackmon has sought treatment after being arrested in July for possession of marijuana.

“There is no risk,” Caldwell said of keeping Blackmon on the roster without pay in the event that he gets his life on track.

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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun

Sources: Dolphins offered Rex Ryan defensive coordinator position

Update (12/31 at 6:45pm PST): I completely dropped the ball on this story and would like to apologize to all parties involved for the incorrect information regarding the Miami Dolphins' interest in former New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan. There is no excuse for this type of error. Miami did not offer Ryan the opportunity to become the team's new defensive coordinator. Again, my deepest apologies to all involved.

Dismissed Monday after six seasons as the head coach of the New York Jets, Rex Ryan won’t have trouble finding work if he chooses to return to the National Football League in 2015.

Sources familiar with the situation have informed the National Football Post that the Miami Dolphins offered Ryan a multi-year contract this week worth approximately $8 million to become the team’s next defensive coordinator.

Rex RyanRyan went 46-50 during the regular season in six years with the Jets.

However, while Ryan built his reputation as the defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens from 2005-2008, the prevailing line of thinking is that the 52-year-old would prefer to accept a head coaching position rather than take a role as an assistant. That assertion is furthered by the recent reports indicating Ryan is scheduled to meet with both the Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers about their current vacancies.

As for Miami, Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin was noncommittal on Monday regarding the future of current defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle, who has been with the team since 2012. Coyle’s defense got off to a hot start in 2014, holding the opposition to just 18.8 points per game with 25 sacks and 18 turnovers through the first eight contests of the season. But with a playoff berth on the line, the Dolphins wilted down the stretch and were torched for an average of 35.2 points per game over the team’s final four outings.

The Dolphins’ attempt to lure Ryan to Miami clearly indicates that the organization is looking to shake things up on the defensive side of the ball. Whether or not the team succeeds in landing an upgrade remains to be seen, but head coach Joe Philbin has gone just 23-25 with the club since taking over in 2012 and no doubt enters the 2015 campaign on the hot seat.

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

Mike Zimmer wants Adrian Peterson back for 2015

The status of suspended Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson for next season remains unresolved.

Peterson has a $15.4 million salary-cap figure and isn't eligible for reinstatement until April due to his child-abuse case involving his four-year-old son whom he hit with a wooden switch.

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer wants Peterson back.

“Adrian was always great with me. I think he's a good person,” Zimmer said. “I think obviously he's a great running back, and if it works out that way and things work out and he gets his life in order — that's the most important thing, he gets his life in order, he gets the opportunity to come back — then I will be in his corner whatever the decision is made. I think he would add value to any team, to be honest with you. I think the kid's a heck of a football player.”

Peterson's future remains unresolved until the NFL issues a decision.

“We would love to know ASAP, just so we can start going because, a guy like him, your football team and your offense can be different if you have him and you don't have him,” Zimmer said. “It's how you want to build the team around him, at least in my opinion, anyway.”

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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun

49ers, Falcons to interview Rex Ryan next week

Fired by the New York Jets, Rex Ryan has two interviews lined up already for head-coaching positions.

He's set to interview with the Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers.

The Falcons fired Mike Smith. The 49ers have parted ways with Jim Harbaugh.

Ryan coached the Jets for six seasons, including 46-50 and went 4-2 in the playoffs.

Ryan went 4-12 this season.

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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun

Ndamukong Suh wins appeal, fined $70,000

Detroit Lions star defensive tackle Ndamukung Suh won his appeal and had his one-game suspension overturned by appeals officer Ted Cottrell.

Suh was instead ordered to pay a $70,000 fine.

Suh was suspended by the league for stepping on the calf and ankle of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

The NFL said Suh “unnecessarily stepped on [the] opponent's unprotected leg as he lay on the ground unable to protect himself.”

Rodgers doubted it was unintentional.

“The only thing I can say is if you step on something in your everyday life or if you step on somebody on the field,” Rodgers said Tuesday, “the first reaction seems to be looking back and maybe apologizing with your hands or maybe pulling your foot back right away, and I'm just not sure that's what happened on Sunday,”

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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun

Aaron Rodgers thought he tore his Achilles at first

Green Bay Packers star quarterback strained his calf against the Detroit Lions.

At first, he thought it was a lot more serious.

“My initial thought was I popped my Achilles,” Rodgers said during his weekly radio show. “That’s why I kind of stayed down. It was a very painful sensation.”

Rodgers remained in the game, but later got stepped on by Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.

“I don’t think it’s a good thing,” Rodgers said. “The fact that the inside [of the calf] was real weak because that was the initial point of strain in the Tampa game, the outside just kind of gave out on the scramble and the throw to Randall [Cobb]. Fortunate that we have two weeks here because I feel confident that I’ll be in a better spot than I was going into the Lions game with an extra week of rest.”

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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun

Nick Saban sounds content at Alabama

Alabama coach Nick Saban doesn't sound inclined to go back to the NFL.

Saban seems content at Alabama and not inclined to chase NFL jobs, including the New York Jets.

“Let's start with the fact that I'm not really interested in any situation in the NFL,” Saban said during a Sugar Bowl press conference. “Rex Ryan is a great friend of mine, who I have a tremendous amount of respect for. We're hopeful that he gets an opportunity that's helpful to him, in terms of what he wants to do. We have a tremendous amount of respect for the New York Jets.”

Saban is the highest-paid college football coach with an annual salary of $6.9 million. He's under contract through the 2021 season. Saban went 15-17 in two seasons with the Miami Dolphins.

“As I've talked about before, I think sometimes you've got to pick what you want your legacy to be,” Saban said. “Where do you get the most positive self-gratification from, what you want to be and where you think you have the best impact on people. We're extremely happy with being a college coach and what we've been able to do as a college coach and the challenges we have in trying to continue to do it.”

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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun

Jaguars fire offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch

The Jacksonville Jaguars have fired offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch, the team announced.

The Jaguars finished last in the NFL in scoring.

The Jaguars were 31st in total offense, 31st in passing and allowed a franchise-record 71 sacks.

Fisch was previously the offensive coordinator with the University of Miami.

Rookie quarterback Blake Bortles' talent will make this a job that people want.

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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun