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).

Nebraska players were pumped to go to Kendrick Lamar concert thanks to tickets from Mike Riley

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Nebraska coach Mike Riley has the well-earned reputation of being the nicest guy in college football and his players can probably give him a wholehearted endorsement after this week.

That’s because the Cornhuskers were able to attend rapper Kendrick Lamar’s concert in Lincoln on Friday night after their coach surprised the whole team with tickets to the show. Naturally, said players were quite pumped to be going.

As cool as taking the team to a Kendrick Lamar concert is, I personally can’t wait to see what one-upmanship this inspires across college football. One can already imagine Jim Harbaugh taking the team to see Migos in London next summer…

Indiana freshman DB Bryant Fitzgerald ruled a non-qualifier after compliance error

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A key member of Indiana’s recruiting class won’t be able to play for the Hoosiers this season as a result of a serious compliance gaff at the school.

Freshman defensive back Bryant Fitzgerald was ruled by the NCAA to be a non-qualifier according to a statement released by the program and, as a result, will now be unable to play or practice for the team. A waiver was requested but both it and the appeal were denied.

At the heart of the matter seems to be the IU compliance office incorrectly advising Fitzgerald what classes to take in order to be eligible right away at the school in the eyes of the NCAA. As the above statement and a later one from athletic director Fred Glass make clear, this was a mistake on the school’s part that will cost the defensive back a full season and not about anything he did or didn’t do.

Fitzgerald was a three-star recruit coming out of high school in nearby Avon, Ind. but was expected to make a serious run at playing time given past comments by head coach Tom Allen. It certainly seems like a bummer all around for player, school and coach but the situation is what it is at this point.

Lane Kiffin lands yet another talented transfer in WVU wideout Jovon Durante

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We can joke about Lane Kiffin turning FAU into the real ‘Last Chance U’ in 2017 but… it’s kind of happening for real.

In addition to adding several alums from the Netflix show, the Owls have been stocking the roster left and right with FBS transfers this offseason and added yet another just before the season starts in West Virginia wide receiver Jovan Durante.

Durante has started 17 games in his first two seasons in Morgantown, racking up 331 yards and two touchdowns as a sophomore in 2016. He was expected to assume a starting role once again this year but didn’t report to the Mountaineers preseason camp for what WVU coach Dana Holgorsen described as personal issues.

The South Florida native will have to sit out the 2017 season but will have two seasons of eligibility for the Owls after he redshirts this year.

BYU linebacker looking to transfer to Utah after being forced to redshirt

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When BYU announced this week that linebacker Francis Bernard was going to redshirt this season, only a few people seemed to think anything was really amiss. That does not seem to be the case anymore just a week before the Cougars start their season.

The Salt Lake Tribune talked with Bernard’s brother, James, about the matter and it appears the family is not too happy over the situation and is now looking to transfer. While that wouldn’t normally be much to write home about, the fact that the younger Bernard wants to move up the road to Holy War rival Utah is bound to raise some eyebrows.

“Just to be clear: My brother wants to transfer, regardless,” James Bernard told the paper. “We talk almost every day. He just doesn’t want to stay there any more.”

He went on to say that the reason that first prompted the redshirt announcement was not related to academics or playing time but a potential Honor Code issue with the school. What exactly that violation was however, is not exactly being made clear by the program to the family.

Bernard was suspended from the team’s bowl game last year for an unspecified violation of team rules but was given every indication that he would be back in the good graces of the team prior to preseason camp. That is obviously not the question and it appears a brewing transfer battle to move from Provo to Salt Lake City will soon be taking place between two bitter rivals over the junior linebacker.