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CFT Previews: San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl

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WHO: No. 16 Michigan State (9-3) vs. No. 18 Washington State (9-3)
WHAT: The 40th Holiday Bowl
WHEN: 9 p.m. ET on FS1
WHERE: SDCCU Stadium in San Diego, California
THE SKINNY: The most eccentric coach in the country takes on the most stern-faced as a clash of styles meet down in Southern California.

The Cougars are back in the Holiday Bowl for the second straight season and hoping things go much better than last year’s edition, where they looked awful in a loss to a Minnesota team that had literally quit a few weeks prior. This will be the swan song for quarterback Luke Falk, who holds just about every Pac-12 passing record and could be set to move up some more on the all-time FBS lists with a good outing.

Wazzu isn’t just a pass-happy team with Mike Leach’s Air Raid though as the defense is one of the best units you’ll find on the West Coast. They’re lead up front by All-American Hercules Mata’afa (who will sit the first half due to a targeting penalty) and are ranked 15th in total defense this year despite playing a bunch of prolific offenses in the regular season.

A few Michigan State fans might not be happy at ending up in the Holiday Bowl but that would be a disservice to the terrific turnaround in East Lansing after hitting the mat hard in 2016. Quarterback Brian Lewerke might not have the numbers his counterpart in this game has but he’s been an excellent fit in the offense and thrown for 17 touchdowns. He also brings a huge threat with his legs and is the second leading rusher on the team with nearly 500 yards and five scores on the ground.

This is a Mark Dantonio-coached team so you know the defense is pretty solid as well. The Spartans are in the top 25 in a number of categories and safety David Dowell has five picks to lead another salty secondary that may be young but loves to make plays.

Both sides have been up and down this season so this game could unfold a number of different ways down in San Diego. MSU has done well when they can play the underdog card and you can bet they will as they sneak out a hard-fought victory in the Holiday Bowl.

THE PICK: Michigan State 28, Washington State 24

Iowa DT Brady Reiff arrested for public intoxication

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Iowa defensive tackle Brady Reiff could face some upcoming internal discipline following an arrest over the weekend. Reiff was arrested for public intoxication early Saturday morning by Iowa City police.

According to Hawk Central, Reiff was released from jail at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, a little less than seven hours after his arrest. A statement from Iowa Athletics Director stated the university was aware of the incident and was gathering more information on the story.

At this time, there has been no discipline handed out to Reiff from within the Iowa football program or athletics department, but some form of punishment should probably be expected down the line. A loss of playing time in the season opener would appear to be the most likely result given the misdemeanor caliber of the crime involved.

Reiff recorded 13 tackles, one sack and one interception while appearing in 12 games for the Hawkeyes last season. Reiff is expected to compete for a starting job on Iowa’s defensive line this season.

South Florida shows off new Adidas uniforms

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South Florida is switching apparel providers this season, leaving behind Under Armour for a new deal with Adidas. And with a new apparel partner now officially on board, the time has come to see what Adidas has up their sleeves for the Bulls.

South Florida shared a video on its Twitter account with the first look at the new uniform design, which looks fairly common to what most Adidas uniforms look like. One of the most notable changes to the uniform is the removal of “USF” from the front chest of the uniform and replacing it with text that reads “South Florida.”

The pants read “Bulls” on the legs and the USF “U” logo makes appearances on the hips and wrist bands. The first look at the helmet looks pretty interesting as well, with a chrome green face mask. The details of the helmet can be a bit more difficult to make out, although it appears at one point to be a green USF logo outlined in white (and gold?) on a gray helmet.

Reaction to the new uniforms among USF fans seems to be a bit mixed, but we will have to wait and see how the feelings are when USF reveals the full home and away assortment of uniforms down the road. As with many uniforms these days, it should be expected USF will have some combinations to keep them looking fresh on a weekly basis.

Miami’s signature Turnover Chain could be back in 2018, and WR Ahmonn Richards wants one too

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If you thought it was just a short-term fads designed to inspire Miami’s defense, well, you were probably right. But that short-term fad could very well be appearing once again this season on a Miami Hurricanes sideline near you.

After fielding plenty of questions about the iconic Turnover Chain, representatives of Miami at the ACC Football Kickoff last week showed no reason to doubt the chain will not be back again this fall. The Turnover Chain was a pop culture sensation in the world of college football as defensive players recovering a fumble or picking off a pass for an interception would race to the sideline to have the sparkling turnover chain placed around the necks. People either loved it or loathed it. So get ready to love it or loathe it again this fall.

Miami head coach Mark Richt didn’t shut down the idea while addressing the media at the ACC media day event, and he jokingly called it the greatest thing since sliced bread. Even wide receiver Ahmonn Richards was asked about the turnover chain and the possibility of having an equivalent prize for offensive players.

I think so. I think it’s time,” Richards said, according to The Sun Sentinel. “But those guys work hard, and they’re really enjoying it, and it helps them out, also, wanting to make plays and stuff. So I think we should have something, but it’s not up to me.”

Miami tied for third in the nation with the most takeaways with 31 (Wyoming led the nation with 38; UCF was second with 32 and Miami tied with Memphis and Central Michigan). In 2016, the Hurricanes had just 19 takeaways for the entire season.

Rutgers AD takes to Twitter to support head coach Chris Ash, downplay any hot seat talk

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We’re weeks away from the 2018 season beginning and with media days underway across the country, there’s inevitably some talk of which coaches are on the hot seat and who might be a few losses away from feeling the heat.

CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd complies a list every year of who might be feeling some pressure and who is safer than can be around the sport. One of the coaches who he listed as ‘start improving now’ (or a 4 on a 1-5 hot seat scale) was Rutgers head coach Chris Ash. The Scarlet Knights job is one of the hardest in football given their place in the Big Ten and while there has been some progress in the rebuild, Ash is 6-18 overall and only picked up his first conference win last season.

It’s only Year 3 of Ash’s tenure though and it seems that kind of pressure isn’t quite reflecting reality from the administration as athletic director Pat Hobbs took to his Twitter account on Saturday to say that there’s no hot seat at all for the young head coach:

We’re sure that Ash appreciates the extra bit of support publicly in what he’s doing with the program but something says he’ll be asked to comment about the whole thing next week at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago. The Scarlet Knights certainly looked much improved in 2017 between the lines but digging out of such a big hole for the program is going to only get tougher as they try to get over the hump and make a bowl game in 2018.