Ohio State clings to No. 2 in latest AP poll while Texas, Trojans tumble

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Following Ohio State’s closer-than-expected win against an unranked Illinois team and Oregon’s second-half shellacking of a Top-Ten Stanford squad, it was thought that the Buckeyes might slip from their season-long perch at No. 2 in the major polls.  While it remains to be seen what happens in the coaches’ poll, the media has kept the status quo.

Barely.

With Alabama tightening it’s grip on the top spot in the Associated Press poll — they picked up one first-place vote and now hold 58 of 60 — the Ducks inched closer to the Buckeyes, and leapfrogged Boise State in the process.

Oregon jumped from No. 4 to No. 3 following their impressive home win, and come in just 22 points behind Ohio State.  The Buckeyes came into the weekend with a 75-point lead on Boise State, which fell to No. 4.

TCU remains at No. 5, while both Oklahoma and Auburn moved up two spots to No. 6 and No. 8, respectively.  Nebraska fell one to No. 7, and Arizona jumped up five to No. 9.  Utah rounds out the top ten with a three-spot move to No. 10.

Both Florida and Stanford fell seven spots, the Gators to No. 14 and the Cardinal to No. 16.  Wisconsin fell even further, dropping from No. 11 to No. 20.

Michigan State made the largest jump of the week, going from No. 24 to No. 17 — ahead of in-state rival Michigan (No. 18) incidentally — on the strength of their win over the Badgers.  Nevada, which made it’s first poll appearance since 1948 last week, moved up four spots to No. 21.

By far the biggest news in the latest release of the rankings, however, is who’s not included.  Both Texas (then-No. 21) and USC (No. 18) tumbled out of the rankings following losses this past weekend; it’s the first time in nearly a decade that neither school has appeared in an in-season AP poll.  

The Longhorns are unranked for the first time since Oct.15, 2000, a streak of 162 weeks in the rankings.  Ohio State now owns the longest such streak at 90 straight appearances.

Replacing the Longhorns and Trojans, as well as Penn State and North Carolina State, were Oklahoma State (No. 22), Florida State (No. 23), Missouri (No. 24) and Air Force (No. 25).

For all of the pertinent rankings, click AP Poll Week Five.PNG

After stops at TCU, Arkansas State, Cameron Echols-Luper to give WKU a try

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Maybe the third time will be a charm for Cameron Echols-Luper?

On his personal Instagram account Wednesday, Echols-Luper revealed that he has decided to continue his collegiate playing career at Western Kentucky.  According to the Bowling Green Daily News, the decision was made following a visit to the school earlier this week.

As a graduate transfer, the wide receiver will be eligible to play immediately in 2017 for the Hilltoppers. However, he has to finish up some schoolwork at his former school, Arkansas State, before officially moving on to WKU.

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Echols-Luper began his collegiate career at TCU in 2013, transferring to ASU in 2015. After sitting out that season, he was third on the Red Wolves in receptions (26) and receiving yards (407). His 15.7 yards per reception was second on the team.

Ex-USC DL Noah Jefferson won’t be transferring to Arizona after all

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In early March, Noah Jefferson announced on Twitter that he would be transferring from USC to Arizona.  Nearly five months later?

Never mind.

Wednesday, UA head coach Rich Rodriguez announced that Jefferson will not, as previously expected, be playing for the Wildcats this season.  No reason for the abrupt and unexpected about-face was given.

The coach did, though, intimate that a future pairing between the player and the program isn’t out of the question.

Jefferson wouldn’t have been eligible to play in 2017 for the Wildcats even if his move to the desert had come to fruition. He would’ve, though, had two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2018 at his disposal.

A four-star member of USC’s 2015 recruiting class, Jefferson played in 14 games, starting one of those, as a true freshman. After starting the season-opening loss to Alabama last season, Jefferson never played another down for USC.

Hugh Freeze makes first public comments since exiting Ole Miss in disgrace

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For the first time since his unceremonious exit from Ole Miss, Hugh Freeze has spoken publicly.  Somewhat.

In what was described as a brief interview with USA Today Sports Wednesday, the former Ole Miss head coach said his family and church have helped him get through the storm of the last few days. When asked if his family was standing by him, Freeze responded, “Oh, gosh, yeah.”

“God is good, even in difficult times,’’ Freeze told the website. “Wonderful wife and family, and that’s my priority.”

“I got some good friends,” the former head coach added.

The stunning news dropped last Thursday night that Freeze’s tenure as the head coach at Ole Miss had come to an end because of at least one call from his university-issued cell phone to a known escort service.  While Freeze blamed the call on a misdial, the administration found a “pattern of misconduct” during a deep dive into his phone records, leading the school to confront the coach about the situation.

After meetings with Freeze Wednesday night and then again Thursday morning, it became apparent that, if he didn’t resign, the school was going to fire him.

Because of a moral turpitude clause in his contract, there was neither a buyout nor a settlement.

Five-star 2017 Auburn signee undergoes ‘minor procedure,’ should be a go for start of summer camp

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It appears Auburn has dodged what could’ve been a significant injury bullet.

Citing a person familiar with the situation, Brandon Marcello of the Auburn arm of 247Sports.com is reporting that Calvin Ashley underwent a procedure on one of his eyes recently.  SECCountry.com described it as “a minor procedure”; both websites stated that the touted offensive tackle will be ready for the start of summer camp on July 31, this coming Monday.

The reports come a few days after Ashley posted a picture on social media of what appeared to be him in a hospital room.

The football program has not yet, at least publicly, addressed what if any type of health issue with which Ashley is dealing.

A five-star member of the Tigers’ 2017 recruiting class, Ashley was rated as the No. 6 tackle in the country; the No. 1 player at any position in Washington D.C.; and the No. 27 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board.  Ashley was the highest-rated player in AU’s class this year, the only five-star recruit pulled in by Gus Malzahn and company this cycle.

The 6-6, 310-pound Ashley is expected to compete immediately for the starting job at left tackle.