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CFT Previews: Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl

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WHO: No. 12 UCF (12-0) vs. No. 7 Auburn (10-3)
WHAT: The 50th Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
WHEN: 12:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
WHERE: Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta
THE SKINNY: Before we go any further, let’s establish one thing — teams from so-called mid-major conferences are 7-3 against Power 5 leagues in BCS/New Year’s Six games. Any advantage you think Auburn gains simply from being in the SEC or UCF cedes from playing in the AAC needs to be wiped from your mind immediately. If Auburn wins, it will have to be because the Tigers are better on the field than the Knights, not from any osmosis-like strength gained simply from playing Georgia and Alabama.

That said, Auburn is very much capable of winning because Auburn is quite good. The Tigers’ defense, specifically the defensive front, is two steps beyond anything UCF has faced this season. This is a team that held Clemson to 2.67 yards a carry and Georgia to 1.44. Jarrett Stidham is an efficient signal-caller, hitting two-thirds of his throws for 8.6 yards per attempt with 17 touchdowns against four interceptions, and Kerryon Johnson is ready to handle the load after rushing just 13 times in the SEC Championship loss to Georgia.

Having said that, UCF’s offense is also better than anything Auburn has faced this season. In a world where Baker Mayfield does not exist, McKenzie Milton is within a whisker of Jameis Winston‘s 2013 season for posting the most-efficient season by a quarterback in the past six years. He connects on 69.2 percent of his throws for an insane 10.5 yards per attempt with 35 touchdowns versus nine picks. Milton’s last time out saw him complete 28 passes for 494 yards and five touchdowns, while also rushing 69 times for another touchdown, in a 62-55 AAC championship win over Memphis.

As with any bowl game, the question of motivation and focus is at play here. Scott Frost and his staff have delayed their impending moves to Nebraska to coach this game, which could end up working to UCF’s favor or its detriment. Auburn played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in its most recent game, and will also open the 2018 season there against Washington.

If UCF can contain Johnson, the Knights have a chance to win. If not, they won’t.

THE PICK: Auburn 31, UCF 27

Arizona State, Mississippi State ink home-and-home

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Arizona State and Mississippi State on Tuesday announced a home-and-home series to be played in 2024-25. Arizona State will host the first game in Tempe on Sept. 7, 2024, and the clubs will meet in Starkville on Sept. 6, 2025.

The Sun Devils and Bulldogs have never met previously.

The Arizona State trip is not Mississippi State’s only upcoming trek from the Deep South to the Southwest. The Bulldogs also lined up a visit to Arizona in 2020 and Texas Tech in 2029. Mississippi State will open the 2024 season against Eastern Kentucky and visit Southern Miss the week after its Arizona State visit, on Sept. 14. The Bulldogs have no other games lined up in 2025 as of yet, according to FBSchedules.

Likewise, Mississippi State is not the Sun Devils’ lone upcoming SEC opponent. Arizona State has a home-and-home with LSU on the docket for 2026-28, per FBSchedules. The Mississippi State games complete both of the Sun Devils’ non-conference schedules for these respective seasons. Arizona State opens with Wyoming and visits Texas State in 2024, and hosts Northern Arizona and Texas State in 2025.

UCLA lands Texas Tech graduate transfer OL Justin Murphy

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Help is on the way for Chip Kelly‘s offensive line. One graduate transfer offensive lineman has the Bruins on his list, but another has already pulled the trigger for UCLA.

Texas Tech graduate transfer Justin Murphy on Tuesday committed to UCLA in a post on his Twitter account.

A native of Belton, Texas, Murphy signed with Texas Tech in 2014 and made four starts at right guard as a redshirt freshman. He again started four games at right guard in ’15 before moving out to tackle, where he started another four games. But after battling a series of knee injuries, Murphy announced in the middle of the 2016 season he had medically retired from the game.

After sitting out 2017, Murphy announced in March he planned to make a comeback.

UCLA remarkably started the same offensive linemen in all 13 games last season, but tackle Kolton Miller entered the NFL draft, guard Najoee Toran and center Scott Quessenberry graduated.

Toledo posts, then deletes, tweet offering to change mascot to Shrek

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There are plenty of annoying trends on Twitter, but perhaps the worst is the “I’ll do X if this gets retweeted X-thousand amount of times.” I blame Wendy’s.

But blanket policies are never a good way to go through life, and an exception was made on Tuesday when Toledo offered to change its mascot from a rocket to Shrek with 500,000 retweets.

Sadly, some dreams are simply too beautiful to live in this fallen world, and the tweet was outed to be a hoax. “We are definitely not changing the school mascot to Shrek,” Toledo media relations specialist Christine Billau told USA Today. “The tweet was meant to be fun, but it caused too much of a distraction.”

Meanwhile, Bowling Green gleefully hopped on the dog pile with both elbows pointed out.

UMass grad transfer lineman narrows choices to Auburn, UCLA, USC

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It’s not yet known to where Jack Driscoll will transfer, but the field has been significantly narrowed.

Earlier this offseason, Driscoll decided to transfer from UMass.  Tuesday, the offensive tackle confirmed to that he’s down to three schools as a potential landing spot — Auburn, UCLA and USC.

Neither football program will have to wait long for a decision as Driscoll expects to make an announcement Wednesday.  Driscoll had taken an official visit to all three of the campuses prior to whittling down his transfer to-do list.

“It will come down to one of those three schools,” the lineman told “I feel like all three of the schools would be a good fit.”

Driscoll will graduate from UMass early next month, and will be eligible to play immediately in 2018 at whichever program he selects.  The upcoming season will be the first of two years of eligibility the 6-5, 294-pound lineman has remaining.

After starting eight games as a redshirt freshman in 2016, with most of those starts coming at left guard, he started all 12 games in 2017.  All of those starts this past season came at right tackle for the football-independent Minutemen. He was named to Phil Steele’s All-Independent first team while he earned second-team All-Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) honors for good measure.