Tyler Wilson

S-E-C! Easy as 1-2-3 in latest AP poll

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Thanks to Ralph Russo over at the Associated Press, I’ve now learned my one new thing for the day: the only other time one conference occupied the top three spots in the AP poll in its 75-year history for college football was in in 1971 when the Big 8 had Nebraska, Oklahoma and Colorado finish the season first through third.

The SEC just did one better with the West division holding down the top three spots in the latest AP poll with LSU, Alabama and Arkansas, respectively. After a day of BCS madness, the Razorbacks have the opportunity to wreak more havoc next weekend if they can upend the Tigers on the road. No easy task, but if the Hogs didn’t feel like they had the chance before, Iowa State, Baylor and USC just gave them three more reasons why they should now.

Theoretically, Arkansas could miss the SEC championship and still make it to the national title. Stanford, just a week after losing to Oregon, is in the same boat in the Pac-12 at No. 4. The Cardinal and No. 5 Oklahoma State — yep, those guys — aren’t out of the BCS title race yet. Neither is No. 6 Virginia Tech. The Hokies have had one of the easiest roads to a BCS appearance and show that if you keep winning, you keep moving up.

I may have spoken a bit prematurely yesterday when I said No. 7 Boise State’s BCS dreams were kaput. The Broncos will not receive an automatic bid to a spot to the BCS because of their loss to TCU, but their at-large hopes are still holding on by a thread. How the next few weeks sort out will have the greatest impact to Boise’s BCS chances, but really, it comes down to Houston losing a game.

Speaking of the Cougars, they come in at No. 8 with a win-and-they’re-in game plan for one of the BCS spots. Oregon slips to No. 9 after falling to No. 10 USC  38-35. Wait, shouldn’t that be the other way around?

Michigan State moves up to No. 11 and secured a spot in the Big Ten title game and Oklahoma drops to No. 12 after losing to Baylor. The Sooners’ BCS chances likely hinge on beating Oklahoma State next week. Georgia comes in at No. 13 as they head to the SEC title game — another chance to shake things up in the BCS standings.

No. 18 Clemson’s chances at a BCS game are done unless the Tigers can win the ACC title. TCU stays at No. 19 after securing at least a share of the Mountain West crown. Penn State and Baylor move up to No. 21 and No. 22 after wins over Ohio State and Oklahoma, and Nebraska falls to No. 23 following a loss to No. 17 Michigan. No. 24 Virginia has a chance to represent the ACC Coastal with a win over Va Tech next week. Dropping out of the rankings was Southern Miss after an embarrassing loss to UAB on Thursday.

Ex-LSU AD repeats claim Les Miles turned down Michigan, more money in 2011

BATON ROUGE, LA - OCTOBER 03:  Head coach Les Miles of the LSU Tigers leads the team on to the field at Tiger Stadium on October 3, 2015 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
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One of the biggest open secrets in all of college football has been confirmed (?) by a person who purportedly had a front-row seat to the spectacle.

Shortly after Rich Rodriguez was fired following the 2010 season, Michigan put on the full-court press to land Les Miles as his replacement.  It was known at the time that then-UM athletic director David Brandon and other school officials flew down to Baton Rouge to meet with Miles, who played his football for the Wolverines in the mid-seventies and was an assistant at his alma mater a decade later.

The open secret many still swear by?  That on that trip south Brandon had offered the job, along with a significant raise to what he was making at LSU, to Miles, who ultimately decided to turn it down and stay with the Tigers.

During a radio interview Wednesday, Skip Bertman, LSU athletic director from 2001-2008, confirmed that version of events

“Les Miles turned that job down for more money at Michigan. He turned it down,” Bertman told the ESPN Radio affiliate in Baton Rouge. “He would never say that because he’s a very humble guy. But I was there; he turned it down.”

Renowned Michigan historian John Bacon, however, disputes not only the 2011 claim, but the 2007 claim by Kirk Herbstreit and one made in 2014 as well.

The football program hired Rodriguez in 2007 and Brady Hoke in 2011, then stuck with Hoke through a rough 2014 season that had Miles-to-Ann Arbor speculation flying yet again. Ultimately, though, the university finally landed its Michigan Man in Jim Harbaugh.  I’m thinking that’s working out just fine for the program, regardless of how exactly things transpired with Miles in the past.

Big Ten to use commemorative coin to honor Sam Foltz, Mike Sandler

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Tributes to Nebraska punter Sam Foltz and former Michigan State punter Mike Sadler have seemingly been a weekly occurrence across college football the first four weeks of the season, and the players’ conference will get on board in Week 5.

A commemorative coin will be used to honor both Foltz and Sadler at all seven Big Ten games this weekend, the league announced Wednesday.  As this is the first full weekend of conference action, the coins, with Foltz on one side and Sadler on the other, will be used for the coin flip prior to each league matchup.

The Cornhuskers have decided to use the coins for the remainder of the season.

Folks and Sadler were killed in a July car accident on their way home from a kick camp in Wisconsin. LSU kicker Colby Delahoussaye was injured in the wreck, but is kicking this season for the Tigers and honoring both by wearing special cleats.

Below are the coins that will be used, courtesy of the Big Ten:

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mike-sadler

Nick Saban would ‘love’ for Blake Barnett to stay at Alabama

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 05:  Blake Barnett #6 of the Alabama Crimson Tide throws before the Advocare Classic against the Wisconsin Badgers at AT&T Stadium on September 5, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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At least from Alabama’s side of it, the door’s not completely shut on Blake Barnett‘s future being in Tuscaloosa.

Earlier Wednesday, a report surfaced that Barnett had decided to leave the football program and transfer out.  In meeting with the media a short time later, Nick Saban confirmed that Barnett had “expressed some concern about his future” at a meeting earlier in the day.

The head coach said he “didn’t know” when asked if Barnett, who lost the starting quarterback job to true freshman Jalen Hurts earlier this year, was still a part of the team, although he made it clear that the redshirt freshman was still welcome in the locker room if he changes his mind.

“Blake is a fine young man,” Saban said. “He’s done a great job with his program, and we’d love to see him be a part of the program in the future, but we also want him to do what’s best for him.”

Barnett, who started the opener against USC but held on to the job for just tw series, was a five-star 2015 recruit who 247Sports.com rated as the No. 2 pro-style quarterback in the country.  The California high school product originally committed to Notre Dame in November of 2013 before decommitting from the Irish in June of the following year.

SEC overturns Florida WR Brandon Powell’s half-game suspension for phantom punch

GAINESVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 03: Brandon Powell #4 of the Florida Gators scores on a 77 yard touchdown reception during the second quarter of the game against the Mississippi Rebels on October 3, 2015 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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Fortunately for both Brandon Powell and Florida, common sense in the league office prevailed.

In the fourth quarter of UF’s loss to Tennessee, Powell was flagged for an unsportsmanlike call and ejected from the game for seemingly throwing a punch at a Vols player.  Because of SEC rules, Powell was also set to be suspended from the first half of this Saturday’s game against Vanderbilt.

The conference, however, overturned the suspension upon review, no doubt determining that Vols safety Rashaan Gaulden performed a flop of such magnitude that it would’ve made an international soccer star stand up and cheer, then bow down and claim they’re not worthy.

We’ve received word that he’ll go,” head coach Jim McElwain said Wednesday. “Nothing from there, so he was full go from Monday afternoon on.”

Powell is currently second on the team with 15 receptions for 145 yards and two touchdowns.