Oklahoma State makes huge jump in coaches’ poll

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The question is, will it be enough to push them into the No. 2 hole in the final BcS rankings when they’re released at 8:15 ET Sunday night?

In last week’s release of the USA Today coaches’ poll, Oklahoma State was sitting in fifth, 166 points behind No. 2 Alabama.  A week later, Oklahoma State is at No. 3 and, more importantly, just 32 points behind the Tide.

The coaches’ poll is one of three elements the BcS uses to determine its rankings, the other two being the Harris poll and the average of six computer models.  In order for the Cowboys to jump the Tide in the final BcS rankings, and given the current coaches’ poll and four of the six computers projected to have OSU at No. 2, BcS expert Jerry Palm predicts that OSU will need to finish with five more points than UA in the final Harris poll that will be released later on this afternoon.

To put that seemingly insignificant number into its proper perspective, and realizing that a first-place vote is worth 25 points, a second-place vote 24, etc., an idle Oklahoma State was 352 points behind Alabama in last Sunday’s Harris poll.  While that deficit is not insurmountable for Boone’s boys, it’s going to take a seismic shift among the 115 Harris pollsters to merely close the gap as significantly as the coaches did let alone actually pass the Tide.

As far as the rest of the coaches’ poll is concerned, and for the seventh consecutive release, LSU sits firmly and very solidly at No. 1.  It’s also the fifth straight week that the Tigers have been a unanimous selection.

Thanks to losses in conference championship games, Virginia Tech (then-No.3, now No. 11), Houston (No. 6/No. 17) and Michigan State (No. 9/No. 13) all dropped out of the Top Ten.  Idle Stanford held steady at No. 4, while Oregon (No. 5) and Boise State (No. 6) each moved up two spots.  Wisconsin and South Carolina each gained four spots to No. 8 and No. 9, respectively, while Kansas State gained five in rounding out the Top Ten.

For those interested, West Virginia (No. 22) is ahead of Cincinnati (No. 24) and Louisville (unranked and with zero votes).  Those three tied for the Big East title, and their ranking in the BcS’ final release tonight will decide the conference’s representative to a BcS bowl; based on the coaches’ poll plus the fact that the Mountaineers were ranked ahead of both in the BcS last week, it’s safe to assume WVU will represent the Big East in the Orange Bowl next month.

And, in a bit of an oddity, no teams dropped from the previous week’s Top 25 for the first time this season.  Speaking of an oddity, and in the worst segue ever, click HERE to vote in our poll on which team deserves to play No. LSU for the BcS championship.

You’re getting old part 9,374: Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne’s son commits to Boston College

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Today in ‘You’re getting old,’ part 9,374: Ron Dayne’s kid will soon play college football.

While it seems like just yesterday that the ‘Great Dayne’ was running wild at Wisconsin and winning the 1999 Heisman Trophy, the soon-to-be 40-year-old will be back in college football in a different light: as a dad. That’s because his son, Javian Dayne, just committed to Boston College as part of the class of 2018.

The elder Dayne amassed 7,125 yards on the ground over four seasons at Wisconsin, a mark that is more than any other player in college football history but good for second on the NCAA all-time list behind San Diego State’s Donnel Pumphrey due to the lack of counting bowl stats back in the day. The younger Dayne doesn’t have quite the same size and stats as his dad but wasn’t too shabby at Waunakee (Wis.) High in running for 4,269 yards and 56 touchdowns the past three years.

“I absolutely hated the process,” Javian told the Wisconsin State Journal of his recruitment. “I was one of those people who wanted to get it over with. I didn’t like the process at all. … We did a lot of traveling around.”

The six-foot, 200 pound recruit is listed as a two-star by 247Sports and was recruited heavily by the Eagles since November. He’ll have a tough time becoming the starter with A.J. Dillon coming off a 1,500 yard season as a freshman but could be in the mix with several others to see some carries early on with primary backup Jon Hilliman transferring to Rutgers.

Either way, the first time the cameras find Ron Dayne on the sidelines at a Boston College game watching his son will be yet another reminder that we’re all getting very, very old.

Oregon reportedly poaches Wazzu assistant Jim Mastro as Ducks’ new running backs coach

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Alex Grinch isn’t the only member of Mike Leach’s staff who is ticketed out of Pullman this offseason.

According to Sports Illustrated’s Bruce Feldman, Oregon had poached Washington State assistant Jim Mastro to be the Ducks’ new running backs coach and run game coordinator.

Mastro has been with the Cougars since joining Leach’s initial staff at Wazzu back in 2012 and has quite a bit of experience out west, including 11 seasons at Nevada and a year at UCLA. He replaces Donte Pimpleton, who followed former Oregon coach Willie Taggart to Florida State several weeks ago.

Interestingly, this is the third straight offseason that the Ducks have poached an assistant from their Pac-12 North rivals. Quarterbacks coach David Yost left for Eugene back in 2015 while Taggart hired defensive line coach Joe Salave’a last year. Mastro should have plenty to work with upon arrival with senior Tony Brooks-James and youngster Darrian Felix likely leading the way on the ground.

Kevin Sumlin brings familiar Texas A&M face with him to Arizona’s coaching staff

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Kevin Sumlin is still sorting out his new staff at Arizona but reportedly has his special teams coordinator locked up and it’s a familiar face from his previous stop in College Station.

While Texas A&M’s former special teams coordinator Jeff Banks was hired for the same position at Alabama, Sumlin has hired his No. 2 in Jeremy Springer to be the Wildcats’ new special teams coordinator, a source told Sports Illustrated this week. The trio worked together for three years with the Aggies as Springer assisted Banks in the crucial third phase of the game.

Springer was originally ticketed to join another former Sumlin assistant in David Beaty as a staffer at Kansas but instead will head west to the desert. His most recent formal title was quality control special teams/tight ends assistant at Texas A&M but he’ll be an on-field coach in Tucson.

Springer played linebacker for UTEP and is still pretty fresh-faced in the coaching profession having graduated from the school in 2011.

Tennessee still trying to remove Butch Jones billboard at Neyland Stadium… months after he was fired by the Vols

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It’s been nearly two weeks since the national championship game which means that Jeremy Pruitt has been in Knoxville as the new Tennessee head coach for some time now leading the program. Despite that fact, there’s still a visible reminder every day when he drives into work of the previous regime that was in charge of the Vols.

That’s because there’s a giant 35-by-30-foot picture of former head coach Butch Jones still up on the outside of Neyland Stadium… over two months after he was fired by Tennessee. According to the Times Free Press, the picture could even be up past signing day in February as the rather slow change is made for an item that isn’t as easy for the school to alter as the media guide is.

“That’s not an easy process,” athletic director Phillip Fulmer told Knoxville NBC affiliate WBIR. “There’s mechanical things involved to get that done. It’s not just, ‘Let’s take down a picture off the wall or a graphic.’ We’re working through that.

“It is important to us, because it is important to reflect what we’re doing. It’ll be done in due time. I’ve heard the same thing from the chancellor. She wants me to speed it up, too. We will. We’ll get there.”

Funny enough, the giant picture of Jones (flanked by UT legends Reggie White and Robert Neyland) replaced an image of Fulmer from when the team won the BCS title 20 years ago. Something says they might revert back to that look with their now-AD until Pruitt can establish himself with the program over the next few years to prevent a repeat of this fiasco.

As the Times Free Press notes, it took Florida State just a week to scrub Jimbo Fisher‘s likeness from Doak Campbell Stadium but it might be three months before the Vols can do the same with their coaching change. It may not delight the fan base to see Jones some more but this is clearly one area on Rocky Top that is decidedly not moving at SEC-speed at the moment.