Sneak Peek: 2013 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

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WHO: 8-4 Buffalo (MAC) vs. 7-5 San Diego State (MWC)

WHAT: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (16th year)

WHERE: Bronco Stadium in Boise, Idaho

WHEN: Dec. 21 at 5:30 p.m. ET

WHY: The San Diego State Aztecs are starting to get used to this bowl routine. For the fourth straight season San Diego State is making a bowl trip, a school record. After a dreadful start to the season, it is somewhat remarkable San Diego State is even playing at this point of the year.

San Diego State opened the season with a 0-3 start that included a road loss at Ohio State and a home loss to FCS Eastern Illinois, who were just eliminated in the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs last weekend. San Diego State has certainly not been shy on drama this season either. The Aztecs played in four overtime games this season, losing just one of those to Mountain West Conference champion Fresno State but defeating Boise State.

Look for San Diego State to try to run the football against Buffalo. Adam Muema rushed for 1,015 yards and 12 touchdowns this season, including a season high 233 yards and three touchdowns against New Mexico. He will try to find some success against the MAC’s third best rushing defense. The Bulls have allowed 159.75 rushing yards per game this season, holding four opponents under 100 yards this season. But Buffalo has given up some big numbers on the ground at times as well. Bowling Green ripped off 260 yards in a regular season finale and Toledo put together 323 rushing yards in a game. Buffalo does have a defense that is tough to score against though, allowing just 22.3 points per game this season despite giving up a combined 110 points to Baylor and Ohio State in the first two weeks of the season.

Buffalo has one of the more exciting defensive players to watch this bowl season. Senior linebacker Kahlil Mack has 94 tackles this season, including 19.0 for a loss (10.5 sacks). He has also forced five fumbles and intercepted three passes. As if that was not enough, he also has two touchdowns this season.

The blue turf in Boise has been the scene for some wild games in the bowl previously known as the Humanitarian Bowl, so this seems like the perfect place to let some MACtion run wild.

PREDICTION: San Diego State 31, Buffalo 28

Oregon LB arrested for removing parking boot dismissed by Ducks

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In April, Fotu Leiato was arrested on a couple of charges related to the illegal removal of a parking boot from his vehicle.  A month later, we’ve learned Leiato was given the boot from his current football program for good measure.

247Sports.com was the first to report that Leiato has been dismissed by first-year Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal.  Further to the point, the linebacker’s dismissal came a day after his April arrest but the news didn’t surface until Thursday.

In the April incident, Leiato was arrested on charges of second-degree criminal mischief, second-degree theft and criminal trespassing.  That was actually his second arrest this year as he was charged with misdemeanor trespassing in January.

The combination of the two arrests led Cristobal to pull the trigger on a dismissal.

Coming to Eugene as a three-star safety, Leiato played in 37 of 38 games the past three seasons.  The Washington native earned the first start of his collegiate playing career during the 2017 season.

The senior had been in line to earn a starting job exiting spring and heading into the summer phase of the offseason.

LB Darrin Kirkland announces transfer from Tennessee

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Darren Kirkland‘s injury-plagued time on Rocky Top has come to an end.

On his personal Twitter account Thursday evening, Kirkland announced that he has decided to transfer out of first-year head coach Jeremy Pruitt‘s Tennessee football program.  The linebacker gave no specific reason for his decision to move on from the Volunteers.

“Tennessee will always hold a special place in my heart,” Kirkland wrote. “These moments have been priceless and I’m a better player and man from this experience.”

As a graduate transfer, Kirkland would be eligible to play for another FBS program in 2018.  Not only that, but he will have two seasons of eligibility remaining counting this year.

A four-star 2015 signee, Kirkland started 10 games as a true freshman and then another six in a sophomore campaign marred by a high-ankle sprain that forced him to miss four games.  In summer camp last year, he suffered a knee injury severe enough to sideline him for the entire 2017 season.

The rehab from that injury kept Kirkland from being a full participant in Pruitt’s first spring practice this year.

North Texas dropping $625,000 to install new turf that naturally includes new design

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Seth Littrell has done a great job turning around the program at North Texas but fans getting a look at the 2018 edition of his team will notice something right away that’s different when they take the field for the home opener: new turf. The Denton Record Chronicle reports that UNT is ponying up $625,245 for the latest “FieldTurf CoolPlay” turf at Apogee Stadium.

“We are excited about the turf,” Littrell said recently, according to the paper. “It was much needed. That turf has been used a lot and has gotten worn down. The new field will improve safety and will be a great resource for our kids.”

The old turf had a good run at the stadium after being installed back in 2011 but obviously the summer heat and 300+ pound bodies playing football will cause a little wear and tear. The Record Chronicle says that “North Texas” and “Mean Green” will be the end zones text while the midfield school logo will include a “dark green outline of the state of Texas.”

Completion of the project is expected to be done well in time for the first game against SMU in September. The school has released some shots of Apogee Stadium without the old turf and it certainly looks kind of wild to see a stadium sans a playing field:

Kansas State AD open to scheduling Nebraska in the future

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Conference realignment ended a bunch of big rivalries, from the major (Texas-Texas A&M) to the mundane. Former Big 8 and Big 12 rivals Kansas State and Nebraska were somewhere on the middle of that scale after playing each other in football for decades. While nobody is clamoring for the two to get together quite like they are the Longhorns and Aggies, there’s plenty who would still love to see them schedule a non-conference series given how close Lincoln and the Little Apple are to each other (135 miles across the border).

Wildcats athletic director Gene Taylor has been in the job just over a year and it seems like he’s very aware of the scheduling situation between the two schools and is open to getting something done eventually. He was asked about adding the Cornhuskers to the slate in a Q&A on the school’s website and had this to say:

“That is a school that makes a lot of sense,” said Taylor. “We are pretty well-scheduled out in football with our one Power Five opponent, but we do play them in baseball and have had conversations in men’s basketball. If the opportunity were to arise, they are someone we would certainly entertain if it made sense for us.”

KSU is fully booked on the scheduling front through 2022 but have been open to adding home-and-homes with former Big 12 opponents with Missouri on tap for 2022/23 and Colorado on 2027/28. They’ve got a Power Five opponent on the docket until 2031 so it seems like the team wouldn’t be able to get something done with Nebraska until after then. That is, to say the least, a long ways away.

Who knows, maybe they’ll be able to meet in a bowl game at some point over the next few years. The Cornhuskers and Wildcats last met in 2010 in a series that is heavily weighted to Big Red. At least Taylor is leaving the door open and leaving a chance of the two programs hooking back up on the gridiron.