Trojans tumble out of Top 10 of AP poll

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As expected, given the fact that five ranked teams went down in defeat throughout the day Saturday, a shakeup was expected when the polls were released Sunday afternoon.

Just as expected, USC — along with Michigan State — took the biggest tumble of the teams that stayed in the Top 25 despite a loss.

Ranked as the No. 2 team in the country last the two weeks by the Associated Press after opening the 2012 season at No. 1, the Trojans suffered its first loss of the season against Pac-12 nemesis Stanford, a 21-14 loss that dropped USC all the way out of the AP’s Top 10 and into the No. 13 spot.

Conversely, the huge “upset” propelled the Cardinal, ranked No. 21 last week, into the Top 10.  In the latest set of rankings, Stanford sits at No. 9.

Notre Dame was also the poll beneficiary of a huge win over a highly-ranked opponent.  The Irish jumped all the way from No. 20 to No. 11 on the strength of its dominating 20-3 over then-No. 10 Michigan State.  The Spartans fell the same number of spots as the Trojans and are ranked this week at No. 21.

Also as expected, Alabama remained the No. 1 team in the country.  Somewhat unexpectedly, it wasn’t unanimous.

While Alabama was the runaway leader in first-place votes (58), LSU, which replaced USC as the No. 2 team, received the other two No. 1 nods from the media.

Oklahoma, which was apparently unimpressive playing Bye Weekend University yesterday, dropped one spot to No. 6.  Oregon, (No. 3), Florida State (No. 4), South Carolina (No. 7), West Virginia (No. 8) and Clemson (No. 10) each moved up one spot from a week ago.  Georgia rounded out the Top 10, moving up two spots from No. 7 to No. 5.

Ohio State, which escaped with a seven-point win at home against Cal, by far dropped the furthest of the teams that won, falling from No. 12 to No. 16.

Virginia Tech actually dropped the furthest of any team regardless of the situation this week, going from No. 13 to the ranks of the, um, unranked courtesy of its stunning 35-17 loss to hapless Pittsburgh.  Tennessee (then-No. 23) and BYU (No. 25) also fell from the Top 25.

Taking their places were Mississippi State (No. 23), Boise State (No. 24) and Nebraska (No. 25.).

Below is the complete set of AP rankings, courtesy of our good buddies at NBCSports.com:

Arizona State, Mississippi State ink home-and-home

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Arizona State and Mississippi State on Tuesday announced a home-and-home series to be played in 2024-25. Arizona State will host the first game in Tempe on Sept. 7, 2024, and the clubs will meet in Starkville on Sept. 6, 2025.

The Sun Devils and Bulldogs have never met previously.

The Arizona State trip is not Mississippi State’s only upcoming trek from the Deep South to the Southwest. The Bulldogs also lined up a visit to Arizona in 2020 and Texas Tech in 2029. Mississippi State will open the 2024 season against Eastern Kentucky and visit Southern Miss the week after its Arizona State visit, on Sept. 14. The Bulldogs have no other games lined up in 2025 as of yet, according to FBSchedules.

Likewise, Mississippi State is not the Sun Devils’ lone upcoming SEC opponent. Arizona State has a home-and-home with LSU on the docket for 2026-28, per FBSchedules. The Mississippi State games complete both of the Sun Devils’ non-conference schedules for these respective seasons. Arizona State opens with Wyoming and visits Texas State in 2024, and hosts Northern Arizona and Texas State in 2025.

UCLA lands Texas Tech graduate transfer OL Justin Murphy

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Help is on the way for Chip Kelly‘s offensive line. One graduate transfer offensive lineman has the Bruins on his list, but another has already pulled the trigger for UCLA.

Texas Tech graduate transfer Justin Murphy on Tuesday committed to UCLA in a post on his Twitter account.

A native of Belton, Texas, Murphy signed with Texas Tech in 2014 and made four starts at right guard as a redshirt freshman. He again started four games at right guard in ’15 before moving out to tackle, where he started another four games. But after battling a series of knee injuries, Murphy announced in the middle of the 2016 season he had medically retired from the game.

After sitting out 2017, Murphy announced in March he planned to make a comeback.

UCLA remarkably started the same offensive linemen in all 13 games last season, but tackle Kolton Miller entered the NFL draft, guard Najoee Toran and center Scott Quessenberry graduated.

Toledo posts, then deletes, tweet offering to change mascot to Shrek

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There are plenty of annoying trends on Twitter, but perhaps the worst is the “I’ll do X if this gets retweeted X-thousand amount of times.” I blame Wendy’s.

But blanket policies are never a good way to go through life, and an exception was made on Tuesday when Toledo offered to change its mascot from a rocket to Shrek with 500,000 retweets.

Sadly, some dreams are simply too beautiful to live in this fallen world, and the tweet was outed to be a hoax. “We are definitely not changing the school mascot to Shrek,” Toledo media relations specialist Christine Billau told USA Today. “The tweet was meant to be fun, but it caused too much of a distraction.”

Meanwhile, Bowling Green gleefully hopped on the dog pile with both elbows pointed out.

UMass grad transfer lineman narrows choices to Auburn, UCLA, USC

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It’s not yet known to where Jack Driscoll will transfer, but the field has been significantly narrowed.

Earlier this offseason, Driscoll decided to transfer from UMass.  Tuesday, the offensive tackle confirmed to Rivals.com that he’s down to three schools as a potential landing spot — Auburn, UCLA and USC.

Neither football program will have to wait long for a decision as Driscoll expects to make an announcement Wednesday.  Driscoll had taken an official visit to all three of the campuses prior to whittling down his transfer to-do list.

“It will come down to one of those three schools,” the lineman told AuburnSports.com. “I feel like all three of the schools would be a good fit.”

Driscoll will graduate from UMass early next month, and will be eligible to play immediately in 2018 at whichever program he selects.  The upcoming season will be the first of two years of eligibility the 6-5, 294-pound lineman has remaining.

After starting eight games as a redshirt freshman in 2016, with most of those starts coming at left guard, he started all 12 games in 2017.  All of those starts this past season came at right tackle for the football-independent Minutemen. He was named to Phil Steele’s All-Independent first team while he earned second-team All-Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) honors for good measure.