LSU supplants Sooners atop coaches’ poll

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As expected, a pair of top-five upsets Saturday has led to a significant shakeup in the top half of the USA Today coaches’ poll Sunday.

After spending the first eight polls at No. 1, Oklahoma’s stunning home loss to Texas Tech has opened the door for LSU, ranked No. 1 by the Associated Press the past four weeks, to take over the top spot in the eyes of the coaches.  Alabama, No. 3 last week, moves into the No. 2 hole behind their conference brethren, setting the stage for the next game of the week/year/millennium Nov. 5 in Tuscaloosa.

The two SEC schools were the only teams to receive first-place votes, with the Tigers garnering 41 and the Tide 18.

With the Sooners and Wisconsin, victims of a last-second Hail Mary in an instant classic against Michigan State, falling from the ranks of the unbeatens and dropping out of the Top Five, there were obviously a handful of beneficiaries in one of the two polls that actually matter when it comes to the BcS standings.

Stanford, Oklahoma State, Boise State and Clemson each moved up two spots to come in at Nos. 3-6, respectively.  Clemson gained one spot and sits at No. 7, while Arkansas climbed from No. 10 to No. 8 despite a lackluster performance against woeful Ole Miss.  The Spartans miracle win over the Badgers moved MSU to No. 10, up three from a week ago.

Rounding out the Top Ten is OU, which fell eight spots to No. 9.  UW, incidentally, tumbled seven spots and comes in at No. 11 this week.

The biggest risers of the week were Arizona State from No. 25 to No. 20 and Kansas State from No. 16 to No. 12.  West Virginia took the biggest fall of the week, dropping 10 spots to No. 24 following their embarrassing drubbing at the hands of Syracuse Friday.

Falling completely out of the rankings were Georgia Tech (then-No. 19), Illinois (No. 21), Auburn (No. 23) and Washington (No. 24).  Replacing them were Georgia (No. 21), Texas Tech (No. 22), Cincinnati (No. 23) and Southern Miss (No. 25).

Two BYU football players involved in alcohol-related incident were actually ex-BYU football players

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The curious case of Francis Bernard has taken yet another twist.

In mid-August, it was announced that Francis Bernard, a 12-game starter at linebacker for BYU in 2016, would miss the entire 2017 season because of unspecified “personal reasons.” Very early Saturday morning, Bernard (pictured, No. 13) was arrested on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol, driving without a valid license and failing to register his vehicle/having an expired registration.

With him during the traffic stop was teammate Marvin Hifo, who was cited for having an open container.

Monday, Kalani Sitake was asked about the situation.  In addressing it, the head coach revealed that both players had previously left the team in the last couple of weeks —  Bernard withdrew from school and requested a release from his scholarship, while Hifo, a senior defensive back, decided to simply quit.

Notably, Sitake seemingly indicated that, as of at least a couple of weeks ago, he was leaving the door open for a potential Bernard return at some point in the future.

“[Bernard] was looking at all of his options, and one of them was possibly returning here with a release in hand,” the coach said according to the Deseret News. “I wish him the best in finding what is the best place for him and I care about him.”

Bernard was third on the Cougars last season in tackles.  Should he continue playing football at the collegiate level, he would presumably be a fourth-year junior in 2018.

Florida’s statement on Jim McElwain’s death-threat claim is interesting, to say the least

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Maybe it’s nothing, maybe it’s something.  Regardless, it’s something that bears watching.

Losers of two in a row and off to a 3-3 start to the season,  Florida has underperformed and underwhelmed to say the least.  So much so, in fact, that head coach Jim McElwain indicated Monday that he, his family, his coaching staff and players have been subjected to death threats by unknown individuals.

The head coach went into no detail publicly regarding the nature of the threats.  Apparently, it was the same privately when discussing the situation with his employer.

OK then.

Again, it could be in the same neighborhood as naked shark humping — nothing. Bears watching, though, as one very outspoken member of the Florida media is very much already doing publicly about a situation that was apparently reported to the media before it was reported to the police or even the university.

LOOK: Arizona State to wear Pat Tillman-themed uniforms

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Pat Tillman is essentially the Knute Rockne of Arizona State football, the central figure that will be as important to the program 100 years from now as he is today. And while Notre Dame will wear Rockne-themed uniforms later this season, so, too, will Arizona State.

The program revealed Tillman-centric uniforms on Monday for their Nov. 4 game with Colorado, based on the uniform Tillman wore as a member of the U.S. Army while fighting in Afghanistan.

Tillman played linebacker at Arizona State from 1994-97 (he was named the Pac-10’s Defensive Player of the Year as a senior) and then spent four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals before the events of 9/11 inspired him to join the U.S. Army. He was a member of the Army Rangers before he was killed in action in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004, at age 27.

Arizona State unveiled a Tillman statue at Sun Devil Stadium at its season-opening win over New Mexico State.

“Pat spent his whole life trying to be the best person he could possibly be,” Kevin Tillman, Pat’s brother, said at the unveiling. “He didn’t focus on money, he didn’t focus on fame, he didn’t focus on a pretty statue. It was, ‘How can I make myself a better person in all these different facets of my life?’ And ASU gave him an opportunity to do that.”

Jim McElwain says family, players have received death threats over 3-3 start

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Florida has lost two in a row and is off to a 3-3 start, and that streak will probably reach three on Saturday after the Gators meet No. 3 Georgia. While everyone knows SEC fans are passionate about their football, some have taken Florida’s struggles too far.

How far? By threatening to kill the players and coaches.

“I think it’s a pretty good lesson for the way things are,” head coach Jim McElwain said, via Only Gators. “There’s a lot of hate in this world and a lot of anger. And yet, it’s freedom to show it. The hard part is, obviously, when it’s threats against your own players, death threats to your families, the ill will that’s brought upon out there. And yet, I think it’s really one of those deals that really is a pretty good testament to what’s going on out there nationally. There’s a lot of angry people, and in this business, we’re the ones you take the shots at. And that’s the way it is.”

In my experience, it seems people lodging death threats are far more serious about the threat part than the, uh, other. But that’s easy for me to say, I’ve never received one.