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Temple adds future home-and-homes vs. Akron, UMass

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Here’s your (latest) sign that we’re plunging deeper into the heart of the 2018 college football offseason.

Temple announced Monday that it has added a pair of future home-and-home series, versus Akron and UMass. Akron will play host to Temple Sept. 11, 2021, with the Zips traveling to Philadelphia to open the 2023 season. UMass will host the first game of its home-and-home Oct. 10, 2020, with Temple closing it out with a home game Sept. 24, 2022.

The Owls and Zips were members of the MAC from 2007-2011 and met each of those five seasons. Temple won all five by a combined score of 178-46.

The Owls and Minutemen played even more recently, squaring off in a two-game series in 2015 and 2016. The two teams split those contests, the first of which was played at Lincoln Financial Field in Philly and the second at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.

Th school noted in its release that locations of the future games remain undetermined.

Auburn WR Anthony Schwartz challenges Tyreek Hill to race, Kansas City Chiefs star seems up for it

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There’s long been a debate in scouting circles about how much track speed can translate into football speed but, if we’re lucky, we might be able to add another data point to the discussion.

On Tuesday, Auburn wide receiver Anthony Schwartz tweeted at Kansas City Chiefs star Tyreek Hill and wondered when the two could race. While both are in the middle of the respective seasons on the gridiron, it seems the two speedsters are at least open to squaring off in the near future to figure out just who might be the fastest man in all of football based on Hill’s response on Thursday.

Now, this isn’t just some crazy college kid challenging one of the NFL’s fastest receivers to a race, there’s enough intrigue here for fans at both levels of football to get excited.

Schwartz, a freshman wideout who has 12 catches for 122 yards and two touchdowns with Auburn this year, was named 2018 Gatorade national boys’ track and field athlete of the year coming out of high school and took home a silver in the 100m at the IAAF U20 world championships in July. Hill has been running away from defenders for years now at just about every level of football but was quite the track star of his own back in high school and, briefly, at Oklahoma State.

No details were given on the surface or timing of any potential race but it’s safe to say it could be a close one if the two do indeed lace ’em up. Hill’s best 100m time was 10.19 back in 2014 while Schwartz posted a personal best of 10.09 in June and got his silver medal in Finland at the IAAF world championships with a 10.22.

Michigan State finds ‘Blue M’ painted near Sparty statue ahead of rivalry game, police open investigation

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It’s Michigan-Michigan State week in college football which means hijinks are bound to happen around the region between supporters of Big Blue and the Spartans.

Case in point came on Thursday as police opened an investigation into an incident near MSU’s Sparty statue on campus after a bit of vandalism occurred yesterday morning that had many blaming their cross-state rivals. Per the Lansing State Journal: 

Michigan State University Police were called Tuesday just before 4 a.m. to the area of the Sparty statue for a report of vandalism, Capt. Doug Monette said. They found a blue “M” spray painted on the sidewalk near the statue, likely in support of the University of Michigan. Monette said the investigation is open and ongoing.

Yeah, going to go out on a limb there and confirm the ‘blue M’ was the handiwork of somebody who roots for the Wolverines on Saturday.

The story didn’t specify where the spray-painted logo was in relation to the Sparty statue but it couldn’t have been too close because it appears that students typically sit around the statue during rivalry week to protect it from vandalism just like this. Head coach Mark Dantonio was caught delivering pizzas to those watching over the statue by Big Ten Network just hours before the reported spray painting took place as luck would have it.

Next year it appears as though Michigan State will have to expand their perimeter of student onlookers so as to discourage such hijinks in the future after this latest incident in East Lansing.

LSU unveils new uniform to pay respect to 1918 season, including new color-shifting helmet

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No. 5 LSU hosts No. 22 Mississippi State this weekend in Death Valley for a big game within the SEC West that also holds some significant national implications as well. This contest between the Tigers and Bulldogs has been an underrated game the past few years and you can bet the night game atmosphere on Saturday will only add to that.

LSU is ramping things up a bit more however with a surprising new uniform for the game however. The new look, unveiled on Twitter Thursday afternoon, is designed to pay homage to the 1918 “Silent Season” at the school where students and players left campus to fight in World War I instead of clashing on the gridiron.

The video below details everything that goes into the all-white uniform thanks to a pretty epic voice over that is sure to fire up Tigers fans about the clean, yet sharp look the team will take the field in. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the entire thing is the helmet, which is called “color-shifting” from gold to purple depending on how you look at it in the lights — similar to a set of Mardi Gras beads.

LSU generally has a pretty slick set of uniforms when they use their home whites but this is a nice step up while also doubling as a good history lesson for those not too familiar with the school’s past. We’ll have to see just how good that helmet looks under the lights in Death Valley but the early returns are pretty good based on what we’ve seen so far in the video above.

NIU needed to buy back $273,619 worth of tickets to hit NCAA attendance requirements

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College football is a great sport but, while everybody is playing the same game between the lines, what happens off the field is hardly a bastion of equality. For every time Michigan packs the Big House or Alabama sells out Bryant Denny Stadium, there are other schools — chiefly at the Group of Five level, but not always — who are just struggling to get by in the booming business college athletics has become.

Which leads us to another form of #MACtion that is far less exciting than the midweek games you’re used to seeing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays: buying tickets to meet NCAA attendance minimums.

As detailed by student newspaper Northern Star, Northern Illinois announced their home attendance for the 2017 season at 67,748, but an audit obtained by the paper showed that scanned tickets totaled only 44,084 in the same time period. With six home games, that latter figure would have put the school below the NCAA’s FBS attendance threshold of 15,000 per home game.

The end result? NIU had to purchase 56,345 tickets for a whopping $273,619 in order to comply with the regulations and hit the minimum number of paid tickets for each home game.

“I’d garner if you did research on [on ticket buy backs], you would probably find 100 percent ratio where schools our size or in our conference do something similar to what we do,” athletic director Sean Frazier said.

Frazier is probably not wrong about NIU being one of many schools who have to employ the practice but it speaks to the wild NCAA accounting hoops that some schools have to go through each year. As a result, the next time you hear a Group of Five school is getting a big check as part of a revenue guarantee game, just note that part of that money could be going to tickets at home as well if the stadium isn’t quite rocking like it should be on a Saturday afternoon.