Associated Press crowns Tide, too

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Prior to the BcS title game Monday night, there was a school of thought that, if LSU were to lose a close game to Alabama, the Associated Press could vote the Tigers as its No. 1 team thanks to their previous 13-game body of work.

Courtesy of the Tide’s utter evisceration of said body work, that’s officially a moot, albeit non-unanimous, point.

In the final release of the AP poll, Alabama earned 55 of the 60 first-place votes.  Four of the other five went to No. 3 Oklahoma State, while No. 2 LSU received the lone remaining first-place nod.  The lone wolf among voters?  Erik Gee of KNML-AM in Albuquerque, who voted LSU No. 1 and Alabama No. 2.

The fact that Gee voted for LSU should not come as a surprise, however.

I will vote for LSU no matter what happens in the National Championship Game,” Gee wrote prior to the title game. “How in the world can they be the SEC West champ, the outright SEC champ, and lose to Alabama in a ‘neutral’ site game (I guess you can debate the Superdome being a neutral site) after they have already beaten them in Tuscaloosa, have the series split 1-1 and not at least have a share of the national title?”

Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald, Seth Emerson of the Macon Telegraph, Matt Markey of the Toledo Blade and Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News each had Oklahoma State No. 1 and Alabama No. 2.

Oregon finished No. 4 and Arkansas No. 5, giving the SEC, as in the coaches’ poll, three of the top-five teams in the country.  While they were ineligible for the coaches’ poll, that wasn’t the case in the AP poll as USC came in at No. 6, followed by Stanford (No. 7), Boise State (No. 8), South Carolina (No. 9) and Wisconsin (No. 10) to round out the Top 10.

West Virginia made the biggest move up from the previous poll released in early December, climbing from No. 23 to No. 17.  The team the Mountaineers took to the woodshed in the Orange Bowl, Clemson, took the biggest tumble, falling from No. 14 to No. 22.

As was the case in the coaches’ poll, Penn State (then-No. 24, was the only team to fall out of the rankings, replaced by Cincinnati (No. 25).

VIDEO: LSU RB Derrius Guice squats 650 pounds

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Derrius Guice may be the most underrated player in college football.

Playing in the shadow of Leonard Fournette, Guice posted an eye-popping 8.55 yards per carry (51 rushes for 436 yards) as a freshman in 2015, then kept his big-play ability as his usage increased while Fournette battled injuries in his final college season. Guice rushed 183 times for 1,387 yards and 15 touchdowns; his 7.58 yards per carry average was the most among Power 5 rushers with at least 180 carries.

So, yes, Guice is really good. He’s also a physical freak.

LSU captured and tweeted video Friday of Guice squatting 650 pounds, more than three times his listed 212 pounds.

If — and this is a massive, Les Miles-firing if — LSU can consistently throw the ball in 2017, go ahead and make Guice your darkhorse Heisman contender in 2017.

(HT CBS Sports)

Former Miami TE Jovani Haskins headed to West Virginia

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Jovani Haskins announced two weeks ago he was leaving Miami for “somewhere else.” That somewhere else proved to be a favorite destination of other Sunshine State transfers: West Virginia.

“WVU is my new home and I can’t wait to perform in front of the fans of West Virginia!” he tweeted on Saturday.

A 3-star prospect out of Bergenfield, N.J.., Haskins was offered by West Virginia in the class of 2016 and most recruiting experts actually had him signing with the Mountaineers before a surprise commitment to Miami.

Haskins joins two former state of Florida players on WVU’s roster: starting quarterback Will Grier (Florida) and former Miami quarterback Jack Allison (Miami). The Mountaineers also employed Florida State transfer Clint Trickett at quarterback and Miami transfer Antonio Crawford at cornerback.

Haskins redshirted in 2016 and will presumably sit out 2017 before gaining eligibility in ’18. West Virginia could use the help immediately; the roster lists one scholarship tight end at present. WVU currently has two tight ends pledged for the 2018 class in addition to Haskins.

 

BYU wearing special patch in honor of LaVell Edwards

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BYU got the summer media day fun started on Friday with their football media day. BYU tends to pull out all the stops on its media day with coach and player interviews, alumni returning, and a handful of announcements about the future of the program. In addition to news about their relationship with ESPN, BYU also announced the football team will be sporting a patch this season in honor of the late LaVell Edwards.

In addition to players wearing the patch on their jerseys, BYU coaches will also wear the patch on their sleeves.

Edwards passed away in December at the age of 86. The BYU coaching legend spent 29 seasons on the sidelines in Provo and accumulated 257 wins along the way. Among those was a national championship season in 1984, which remains the most recent national championship to be claimed by a program not currently in a power conference. Edwards took 22 BYU teams to a bowl game.

Now if we can just keep getting BYU to stick to that lighter shade of blue as their main home uniform, we’ll be in great shape.

Former Vanderbilt football player Brandon Banks found guilty of rape

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Former Vanderbilt football player Brandon Banks was convicted by a jury on Friday for rape of a female Vanderbilt student. Following 15 hours of jury deliberations, the verdict of guilty on one count of aggravated rape and one count of aggravated sexual battery was in.

”He’s shocked but understands that this is only the first part of this process, there’s a lot more to do from here on,” Banks’ lawyer, Mark Scruggs, said after the verdict. ”We have some really good issues to raise.”

Part of Banks’ defense was built on succumbing to peer pressure, suggesting he feared he may be beaten up by teammates if he did not participate in the scandalous activity. The jury, having reviewed videos and photos from the incident, some of which were shot by Banks, determined that was not a viable defense.

”Making fun of another person is not right, but we know it happens,” Assistant District Attorney Roger Moore said in closing arguments, according to the Associated Press. ”But it doesn’t give you a legal defense to commit a crime, particularly not an aggravated rape, an aggravated sexual battery. I mean if that’s the case, then we’d have the ‘football team defense.”’

Banks will serve a minimum of 15 years in prison. One count of aggravated rape has a minimum sentence of 15 years.

Other former Vanderbilt players had previously been convicted for their roles in the 2013 rape. Cory Batey was found guilty of aggravated rape and sentenced to 15-25 years in prison in April 2016. Brandon Vandenbeurg was found guilty and sentenced to 17 years in prison.