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CFT Previews: Your Jan. 1 Bowl Viewer’s Guide

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Taking a quick-hit look at the Jan. 1 bowl menu, which today features three ranked-on-ranked matchups as well as a pair of Big Ten-SEC clashes.

WHO: Mississippi State (8-4) vs. Iowa (8-4)
WHAT: The 33rd Outback Bowl
WHEN: Noon ET on ESPN2
WHERE: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida
THE SKINNY: This is the first college football game of 2019, so it has that going for it.  Which is nice. … Historically, Mississippi State performs well in bowls as they are 6-2 the last eight seasons in such games.  That includes a current three-game winning streak, although that came under current Florida head coach Dan Mullen. … Iowa, conversely, hasn’t fared well of late as, prior to last year’s win in the Pinstripe Bowl, the Hawkeyes had lost five straight bowl games. …  This also marks Iowa’s sixth appearance in the Outback Bowl, tied with fellow Big Ten member Michigan for the most in the game’s history.  The Hawkeyes have claimed two Outback wins (the game following the 2003 regular season, 2008) and three losses (2005, 2013, 2016). … If you’re searching for offensive fireworks you should probably change the channel on this one as Mississippi State leads the nation in scoring defense at 12 points per game, while Iowa is 11th at 17.4 ppg. On the other side of the ball, the Hawkeyes are 47th in scoring offense and the Bulldogs 65th at 31.5 ppg and 29.1 ppg, respectively. … Iowa began the 2018 season 6-1 before dropping three in a row.  The Hawkeyes rebounded to win its last two games of the regular season. … Mississippi State comes into its postseason matchup having won four of its last five, with the lone loss coming to top-ranked Alabama in Tuscaloosa. … This game will be the first-ever meeting between the Bulldogs and Hawkeyes in football.
THE LINE: Iowa, +7
THE PREDICTION: Mississippi State 24, Iowa 10

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WHO: Kentucky (9-3) vs. Penn State (9-3)
WHAT: The 72nd VRBO Citrus Bowl
WHEN: 1 p.m. ET on ABC
WHERE: Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida
THE LINE: Kentucky, +6
For the remainder of an extended preview, click HERE.

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WHO: No. 11 LSU (9-3) vs. No. 8 UCF (12-0)
WHAT: The 48th PlayStation Fiesta Bowl
WHEN: 1 p.m. ET on ESPN
WHERE: State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
THE LINE: UCF, +7½
For the remainder of an extended preview, click HERE.

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WHO: No. 9 Washington (10-3) vs. No. 6 Ohio State (12-1)
WHAT: The 104th Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual
WHEN: 5 p.m. ET on ESPN
WHERE: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California
THE LINE: Washington, +7
For the remainder of an extended preview, click HERE.

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WHO: No. 15 Texas (9-4) vs. No. 5 Georgia (11-2)
WHAT: The 84th Allstate Sugar Bowl
WHEN: 8:45 p.m. ET on ESPN
WHERE: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, New Orleans, Louisiana
THE LINE: Texas, +13
For the remainder of an extended preview, click HERE.

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.