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CFT Previews: Your Dec. 26 Bowl Viewer’s Guide

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Taking a quick-hit look at the Dec. 26 bowl menu, which today features two ACC teams, the first two Power Five vs. Power Five matchups and the MWC runner-up.

WHO: Boston College (7-5) vs. Boise State (10-3)
WHAT: The 1st SERVPRO First Responder Bowl
WHEN: 1:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
WHERE: Cotton Bowl, Dallas, Texas
THE LINE: Boston College, +2½
For the remainder of an extended preview, click HERE.

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WHO: Minnesota (6-6) vs. Georgia Tech (7-5)
WHAT: The 5th Quick Lane Bowl
WHEN: 5:15 ET on ESPN
WHERE: Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan
THE SKINNY: Thanks to the time of day it’ll be played, this will mark the first Power Five vs Power Five matchup of the 2018-19 bowl season. … This will also (presumably) mark the last game of the storied coaching career of Paul Johnson, who announced in late November that he would be stepping down as Georgia Tech’s head coach as it’s “time to take a break” from the coaching profession. … If you’re talking Tech you’re talking running-game prowess and the Yellow Jackets didn’t disappoint in 2018, with their triple-option attack finishing the regular season tops in the nation in rushing yards per game (334.9) and second in rushing yards (4,019).  Their 45 rushing touchdowns are fourth nationally behind Memphis (48), Army (47) and Clemson (46). … Those numbers don’t bode well for a Minnesota defense that is 76th in the country in run defense at 170.7 yards per game.  More to the point, Minnesota gave up huge rushing yardage to a pair of teams, Illinois (430) and Nebraska (383), that leaned heavily on the run this season and are currently inside the Top 30 at the FBS level. … Then again, in its last two games of the regular season, Minnesota gave up just 95 yards on the ground to Northwestern and 170 to a Wisconsin team that averages nearly 270 a game. … The win over the Badgers, incidentally, was the Gophers’ first in the rivalry game since 2003. That win also pushed the Gophers to bowl eligibility for the first time in the second season under P.J. Fleck and helped pave the way for a contract extension for the head coach. … Both teams will enter today’s matchup riding two-game bowl winning streaks. … Both teams will also enter today’s matchup never having faced the other in football. … With Johnson’s retirement after this game, it means that, with Geoff Collins taking over the Yellow Jackets, the triple-option offense will leave the Power Five altogether and be limited to the three service academies (Air Force, Army, Navy) moving forward.  In other words, tune in and enjoy its brutal brilliance one last time.
THE LINE: Minnesota, +5½
THE PREDICTION: Georgia Tech 44, Minnesota 24

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WHO: Cal (7-5) vs. TCU (8-5)
WHAT: The 30th Cheez-It Bowl
WHEN: 9 p.m. ET on ESPN
WHERE: Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona
THE SKINNY: In the past, this bowl game has been known as the Copper Bowl (1989-96), the Insight.com Bowl (1997-2001), the Insight Bowl (2002-11), the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl (2012-13), and the Cactus Bowl again from 2014-17 before it took on the Cheez-It brand name for this season. … TCU is playing in its fifth straight bowl game under Gary Patterson, having won three of the last four of those matchups.  All told, the Horned Frogs are 10-5 in bowl games under Patterson; that number improves to 9-3 if you take into account those played since 2005. … Cal, meanwhile, is playing in its first bowl game since the 2015 season and just its second since 2011. … If you’re a fan of the defensive side of the football, this is the postseason game for you. Cal is 24th nationally in points per game allowed (21.3) and 16th in total defense (319 yards per game). TCU, meanwhile, is 44th in the former category (24.4 ppg) and 27th in the latter category (344 ypg). … Neither defense will, at least statistically and on paper, be going up against an offense that will offer much of a challenge.  TCU is 92nd in yards per game (375), Cal is 111th (350); TCU is 98th in scoring offense (24.7ppg), Cal is 109th (22.8). … The Horned Frogs ended the regular season winning three of its last four, while the Golden Bears won two of three. … As is the case in the game that precedes it, this will mark the first-ever meeting between the football programs. … TCU’s starting quarterback is senior Grayson Muehlstein making just his second career start, and you should watch the game based solely on that name alone.
THE LINE: TCU, +1
THE PREDICTION: TCU 17, Cal 16

Florida State apologizes for MLK Day tweet

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As the old adage goes, the best-laid plans of mice and men’s Twitter accounts often go awry.

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day Monday, Florida State’s official recruiting account on Twitter posted an inspirational quote from the slain Civil Rights leader. It would’ve been fine for all involved if the account would’ve stopped there; unfortunately for all involved, they didn’t stop there.

Instead, a photoshopped image of Dr. King wearing a football glove and apparently performing the Tomahawk Chop was included as part of the tweet.

Not surprisingly, the Twitter account caught significant heat and flack for the image on social media. Just as unsurprisingly, the tweet was deleted less than an hour after it was posted and an apology subsequently issued.

Rutgers hires Andy Buh to coordinate defense

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Rutgers has hired Andy Buh as its defensive coordinator, the program has announced.

“We are excited to add Andy to the Rutgers football family,” head coach Chris Ash said in a statement. “He is an outstanding linebackers coach and has extensive experience in the Big Ten. Andy and I share a defensive philosophy and he is very familiar with the scheme we run, which will benefit the continued development of our defense.”

Ash and Buh worked together previously at Wisconsin, where Ash was the defensive coordinator and Buh the linebackers coach. He spent the past three seasons as the defensive coordinator at Maryland and has previous coordinator experience at Stanford, Nevada and Cal.

Buh replaces Jay Niemann, who served as the Scarlet Knights’ defensive coordinator for the first three seasons of the Ash era. Rutgers was 69th in total and yards per play defense and 89th in scoring in 2018, surrendering 31.4 points per game. Buh’s Maryland defense placed 78th, allowing 28.7 points per outing.

Rutgers is 7-29 under Ash and 3-24 in Big Ten play.

North Texas inks home and homes with Baylor, Tulane

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North Texas celebrated MLK Day by announcing a slew of future football opponents.

The Mean Green announced Monday it will play home-and-homes with Baylor and Tulane in the 2028 and ’29 campaigns. North Texas will visit the Bears and Green Wave in 2028, then host both in 2029. UNT will visit Baylor on Sept. 2 and Tulane on Sept. 23 in 2028, while the Mean Green will host Baylor and Tulane in back-to-back weeks to open 2029, with the Bears coming on Sept. 1 and the Green Wave on Sept. 8.

A previously scheduled home game with Army was bumped from 2027 to 2028 in conjunction with Monday’s announcements. North Texas also announced a home game with Texas Southern for Sept. 24, 2022.

Baylor will be the fourth Power 5 program and the second Big 12 opponent to visit Apogee Stadium, which opened in 2011. Indiana visited in Apogee’s opening season, Cal will make a visit in 2022 and Texas Tech will come to Denton in 2027.

“I am thrilled to announce two quality home-and-home series have been added to our schedules,” Mean Green AD Wren Baker said in a statement. “Baylor joins Cal and Texas Tech as Power 5 conference teams coming to Denton over the next few years. Tulane is a quality American Athletic Conference team that will be a fun trip for our fans when we return to New Orleans. I appreciate (COO) Jared Mosley‘s diligent efforts to find compelling games for our fans.”

North Texas and Baylor have met 13 times previously. The Bears have won 12 of those meetings but North Texas took the most recent meeting in Denton, a 52-14 thumping in 2003. That remains UNT’s most recent win over a Big 12 opponent.

The Mean Green and Green Wave have played just once previously, a 21-14 Tulane victory in New Orleans in 2013.

Baylor has a previously scheduled trip to Oregon slated for 2028, a return trip for the Ducks’ flight to Waco in 2027. Tulane also has a home-and-home with Iowa State in 2028-29, with the home dates flipped from the UNT series.

Boise State to replace iconic blue turf (with more, newer blue turf)

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Boise State became a household name through playing on its trendsetting blue turf (and winning a lot), such that the school now owns a trademark for any non-green collegiate field.

The current blue playing surface is set to go away this spring, only to be replaced by a newer, bigger, bluer (probably) version.

“It’s needed,” Boise State AD Curt Apsey told the Idaho Statesman. “We’re not just doing it to do it. It’s near the end of the usual lifespan.”

The current playing surface was installed ahead of the 2010 season; FieldTurf surfaces usually have a lifespan of eight to 10 years.

“The field is shredding,” Broncos head coach Bryan Harsin told the paper last summer. “It’s just old. It needs to be replaced. It’s just time.”

Boise State has played on a blue surface since 1986, when then-AD Gene Blaymaier put in blue AstroTurf at a cost of $750,000. The school did not even join FBS until a decade later.

The new surface will extend beyond the playing field to cover the area that previously held the Broncos’ track. It is expected to cost between $600,000 and $1 million, but the school is approved to spend $600,000 as of now.