First Things First: Players will get some awesome gifts during bowl season.
As a member of the Michigan football team, for their participation in the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1, they'll receive a Best Buy shopping spree worth $315, a Timely watch, a beach towel, a EA sports video game and a pair of slides from ISlide USA.
For each player on TCU and Oregon, the Alamo Bowl is giving away a pair of Beats Wireless headphones, and the Military Bowl will hand out an Xbox One with Kinect Bundle to the Navy and Pittsburgh rosters.
What Michigan State will receive for their New Year's Eve bowl game against Alabama has not been revealed to the public by the Cotton Bowl officials.
Second Thing: Daelin Hayes and Bleacher Report have teamed up.
We know that Hayes, the Ann Arbor Skyline four-star linebacker, decommited from Southern Cal in the wake of the Steve Sarkisian drama, before taking official visits to Michigan, Notre Dame and Ohio State.
After in-home visits from head coaches Mark Dantonio and Brian Kelly this past Monday, Hayes has verbally committed to the Irish, announcing the decision on Thursday.
Third Thing: Denzel Valentine's stock is rising in NBA mock drafts.
Both Draft Express and Basketball Insiders (Utah Jazz) have the senior guard going 16th in next year's draft, while the latest mock draft from ESPN's Chad Ford has Valentine being selected by the Atlanta Hawks at No. 24.
Kyle Korver and Thabo Sefolosha take the bulk of the minutes at the 2 for the Hawks, but both are on the wrong side of 30 and Atlanta could use an injection of life at the wing. Valentine lacks elite athleticism, but he has become a triple-double machine as a senior and should fit right in with the Hawks' culture.
Fourth Thing: Michigan State's assistants don't get paid that much.
A USA Today Report released on Wednesday ranks the top assistant coaches from the FBS, with Michigan State's staff coming in at No. 24 in the country, as well as fourth in the Big Ten by a composite salary of $3,195,154.
Offensive coordinator Dave Warner is the highest paid MSU assistant, earning $423,499 this year, almost half a million less than former defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi earned last year at $907,033.
Warner is also the 112th highest paid assistant in the country, while the top four assistants all came from the Southeastern Conference this year in Auburn (Will Muschamp), LSU (Cam Cameron), Alabama (Kirby Smart) and Texas A&M (John Chavis), respectively.
Fifth Thing: Negativity surrounds Connor Cook among NFL scouts.
He was named the Big Ten Championship Game MVP following Michigan State's win over then No. 4 ranked Iowa. It was overshadowed though by Cook's exchange with Ohio State's two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin, having some believing that Cook's actions were disrespectful and rude.
On Thursday, ESPN's NFL draft analyst Todd McShay appeared on the Russillo & Kanell show to discuss the draft stock of the four starting quarterbacks in this year's college football playoff. Here's the transcript from College Spun, in which McShay compares Cook and Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler for their similar personalities.
"On the field – helped. Off the field, there are some real questions. It’s amazing. Everyone I talk to – the fact that he was not a captain, the way he carries himself, (there’s) a little bit of a Jay Cutler, turns people off," McShay said.
"NFL teams are saying this to you?" Russillo asked.
"Oh, yeah," McShay said.
"Wow," Russillo said.
"It started from all the NFL scouts, teams doing due diligence on him. So that’s really going to be the big thing. Now, he doesn’t have the strongest arm in the world, and there are some minor things in his game that aren’t great, but I really believe he would be a first-round pick if he was clean or perfect in terms of the intangibles and the personality that you’re bringing in," McShay said.
"He didn’t help himself at all at the (Big Ten Championship Game) ceremony," Kanell said.
"No (he didn’t)," McShay said.
Final Thing: Another Christmas song!
This week's holiday jingle is brought to you by Run-D.M.C, enjoy.