Nebraska-Iowa

Iowa-Nebraska to be played day after Thanksgiving

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Many thought that Nebraska’s years-long tradition of playing the day after Thanksgiving would fall by the wayside once the school moved to the Big Ten this year.

For at least a couple of years, however, that tradition will continue.

According to a press release issued by the schools, the Iowa-Nebraska games the next two seasons will be played on the Friday immediately following Turkey Day. The 2011 game in Lincoln will be played on Nov. 25, while the 2012 game in Iowa City will be played Nov. 23.

“Iowa playing Nebraska on any given weekend is a great match-up between two historic football programs,” said Iowa athletic director Gary Barta. “Having the game on Thanksgiving Friday will add to the excitement and the potential for a strong national television audience.”

“I think our fans have enjoyed the tradition of playing on the day after Thanksgiving, and we are pleased the Big Ten Conference has allowed us to continue to do so,” Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne said. “The University of Iowa is a natural opponent to play on that day, and we look forward to great matchups between the two schools for years to come.”

The release went on to state that the change in dates was recently approved by the Big Ten Conference Administrator’s Council. No times for the games have been determined.

Regardless of exactly what time of day they go down, both coaches involved applauded the move.

“Our staff and players are excited to begin competing with Nebraska the day after Thanksgiving this season and in 2012,” said Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz. “College football played on this day has a well-established rivalry history, and we feel it will be a great opportunity for our program to join in a new chapter of Big Ten history. These Friday games should help create great atmosphere, both in Lincoln this fall and in Kinnick Stadium in 2012.”

“Obviously, I have the philosophy that you show up and play when and where the schedule dictates,” added Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini. “That being said, playing the day after Thanksgiving has been good for our program in terms of national exposure, and we look forward to that continuing as we move into the Big Ten Conference. We have a lot of respect for Iowa’s football program and these games should be a good showcase for the league.”

The move to the Friday after Thanksgiving continues a recent tradition for the Cornhuskers dating back 20-some years. From 1990 through 1995, the school squared off with Oklahoma, then from 1996 through last year they faced Colorado.

And, in case you were wondering, Nebraska holds a 26-12-3 all-time advantage in the series. The two schools last met on the gridiron in 2000, and the geographic next-door neighbors have played just six times since 1946.

Nebraska has won the last three meetings, with Iowa’s last win coming in 1981.

UCF announces largest financial gift in school history for athletics department renovations

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UCF announced the largest financial gift in school history from UCF alum Kenneth Dixon. The donation will help give UCF the support needed to move forward with its athletics facility upgrades, including an athletics village. Among those upgrades will be an expansion to the school’s baseball stadium and basketball facility, as well as a better atmosphere outside the football stadium for fans.

As far as the football program is concerned, the upgrades to the football operations and athletics headquarters have received a $2 million commitment to date. Most of the renovations will help bring the school’s other sports programs up to a more level playing field, but the football stadium will be given a fresh look on he outside with a plaza and promenade to make for a more inviting atmosphere for UCF fans before and after home football games.

In all, UCF is looking to invest $25 million in the renovation project, and the recent donation from Dixon has helped the school cross the $10 million benchmark.

“With more than $10 million committed to our $25 million facilities vision, our goal is to build the best Athletics Village in the nation,” UCF Athletics Director Danny White said in a released statement. “Thanks to Ken Dixon’s gift of more than $5 million, we’ve taken a major step in that direction.”

Duke QB Thomas Sirk to transfer

Duke quarterback Thomas Sirk (1) looks to pass against North Carolina during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
AP Photo/Gerry Broome
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Duke quarterback Thomas Sirk is leaving Durham in search of a new place to play football in his final year of eligibility. Duke announced Monday morning Sirk will transfer in 2017.

Sirk was recently declared a no-go for Duke’s spring football practices as he returns from an Achilles injury suffered last season. Sirk was granted an extra year of eligibility, his sixth, from the NCAA last November. It will be his final year of eligibility.

Sirk was Duke’s leading passer in 2015 with 2,625 passing yards and 16 touchdowns with eight interceptions. He was also Duke’s leading rusher that season with 803 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns. Naturally, he will likely be a quality dual-threat option for whatever program lands his services in 2017. As a graduate transfer, he will be eligible to play this fall at any FBS program.

Minnesota Row the Boat bobblehead features Gopher mascot rowing a boat

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 3: Goldy, mascot for the Minnesota Golden Gophers performs before the game against the TCU Horned Frogs on September 3, 2015 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
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With the rights to use “Row the Boat” successfully acquired through a deal with Western Michigan, Minnesota is going all in with the merchandising efforts to capitalize on the motto of P.J. Fleck. Aside from being able to use the motto for program-building measures, Minnesota has the rights to market the saying on merchandise, including an upcoming bobblehead featuring Minnesota’s Gopher mascot.

A limited edition University of Minnesota bobblehead featuring Goldy Gopher rowing a boat was unveiled on Friday by the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum. Though just an illustration now, it looks incredibly promising and I sort of want to add it to my bobblehead collection.

The bobbleheads are available for pre-order at a cost of $40.00. They should begin shipping in July of this year, in plenty of time for the first season of the Fleck era at Minnesota.

Ex-Rutgers QB transferring to San Diego State

PISCATAWAY, NJ - OCTOBER 15: Quarterback Chris Laviano #5 of Rutgers attempts a pass during the second quarter against Illinois on October 15, 2016 in Piscataway, New Jersey. Illinois defeated Rutgers 24-7. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
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It appears one of Rutgers’ transferring quarterbacks has found a new home.

In late November, Chris Laviano became one of three Scarlet Knights signal-callers who decided to transfer from Chris Ash‘s football program.  Over the weekend, as relayed by the San Diego Union-Tribune, Laviano has decided to continue his collegiate playing career at San Diego State.

As Laviano would be coming to the Mountain West program as a graduate transfer, he’d be eligible to play immediately in 2017. This coming season will be his final year of eligibility.

Laviano had started 18 consecutive games for the Scarlet Knights until he was benched in October of last year.

In 2015, Laviano completed nearly 61 percent of his passes for 2,247 yards, 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. The completion percentage was the best for an RU player since 2008, while the yardage was good for eighth in school history.

Overall, he tossed 21 touchdowns and 15 picks during his time in Piscataway.