The latest AP poll nudged Alabama up from its previously held No. 2 ranking to the No. 1 spot this week. The USA Today coaches’ poll followed in kind a short time later, as Bama previously trailed LSU in the preseason poll.
As a result, Alabama is the country’s consensus No. 1 team in the eyes of voters. The Tide secured 37 first-place votes on its way to the top, while the Tigers of LSU fell two spots to No. 3 after beating North Texas 41-14. USC rose to second place after defeating Hawaii, and just like in the AP poll, Oregon moved up ahead of Oklahoma to grab the No. 4 spot.
Florida State, Georgia, West Virginia, South Carolina and Arkansas rounded out the top 10. Michigan State and Clemson moved up in the coaches’ poll as well to spots No. 11 and No. 12, while Wisconsin fell one spot to No. 13. Nebraska moved up two spots to No. 14 and Texas stayed at No. 15. Oklahoma State, TCU, Virginia Tech, Michigan and Kansas State complete the top 20. The Wolverines fell 11 spots as well following the 41-14 loss to Alabama.
Rounding out the top 25 are Stanford, Notre Dame, Florida, Louisville and Boise State. Unlike the AP top 25, no teams fell out of the coaches’ top 25 poll.
Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.
Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.
And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.
“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”
Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.
You know how I know we’re gradually creeping up on the end of another regular season? Watch lists are being whittled.
The first major honor to do so is the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given out annually to the best quarterback who is a college senior or fourth-year junior. The preseason watch list was 30 quarterbacks strong; the newest list has been cut in half to 15.
The most recent list includes one of the top Heisman contenders (TCU’s Trevone Boykin) and the top two nationally in passing yards (Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty), as well as a quarterback who’s closing in on the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns (Navy’s Keenan Reynolds).
The Pac-12 leads all conferences with three watch listers, followed by two each from the AAC, ACC and Big Ten. The SEC has as many players (one, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott) as the FCS (North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz).
Last year’s winner was Marcus Mariota of Oregon.
Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Everett Golson, Florida State
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Cody Kessler, USC
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah