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Notre Dame set to begin construction on new indoor facility with aim of being done before 2019 season

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The latest entrant to the college football arms race just might be one of the sport’s superpowers.

Notre Dame announced late Friday that the school would soon be putting shovels in the ground for a new 111,400-square-foot indoor facility on campus that is appropriately going to be called the… Irish Indoor Athletics Center. The fundraising for the building has already been secured and the hope is that the entire space can be completed as scheduled before the time fall camp rolls around in July of 2019.

“Much as we have done with our approach to the Compton Family Ice Arena and the recent additions surrounding the football stadium, our focus when developing athletic facilities is to create uses that extend beyond varsity athletics,” athletic director Jack Swarbrick said in a release. “In this instance, in addition to creating what we believe will be the best indoor football practice facility in the country, we are creating additional recreational, club sport and community opportunities, while also ensuring that the students on our other varsity teams are practicing at times that allow for a more typical student experience.”

A big reason for the new indoor facility was simply the fact that the Irish have pretty much outgrown their current setup at the now-30-year-old Loftus Center, which is also shared among other Notre Dame sports. Given the weather at times in South Bend, it’s understandable how that can create a logjam during busy times in the fall or spring and the new building is intended to give the football team in particular some more breathing room.

The entire thing is set to be built essentially on top of one of the team’s current practice fields in the LaBar Practice Complex. In addition to housing football and both of the Irish’s soccer teams, the school notes the additional space could be used for “campus-wide and community events, sports camps, recreational and club sports, pep rallies, game-day hospitality and other programming” as well.

Combined with recent renovations at Notre Dame Stadium and other campus venues, the Irish are certainly doing their best to keep up with other programs the past few years when it comes to the facilities arms race in college athletics and this latest move just might be the final piece of the puzzle for head coach Brian Kelly and others on that front.

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 Rivals.com 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 AuburnSports.com. “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.