USC v Stanford

Trojans tumble out of Top 10 of AP poll


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

Louisville QB Lamar Jackson torched youth football rivals like Mike Vick

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This might surprise you, but Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson looked up to Mike Vick when he was growing up, and his playing style has been modeled after The Mike Vick Experience. Now, Jackson even has Vick himself singing his praises. But Jackson knew from an early age he was capable of doing Vick things, and he left his youth football opponents in the dust as a result.

I don’t feel sorry about it at all,” Jackson joked in a radio interview with Dan Patrick, referring to using his skill to his advantage so often.

Jackson was a guest on The Dan Patrick Show on Monday. During his interview segment, Patrick asked Jackson about his favorite moments from the 2015 season so far and whether he’s ever been to New York. Jackson said his trip to Syracuse was his first time in New York, to which Patrick joked he was no longer welcome back to Syracuse after what he did to them this season.

Jackson, the Heisman Trophy favorite, will be making another trip to New York in December.

Tennessee RB Alvin Kamara out for South Carolina

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 1:  Alvin Kamara #6 of the Tennessee Volunteers against the Northwestern Wildcats during the Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium on January 1, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images
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Tennessee will be witout running back Alvin Kamara this weekend when they take on South Carolina in SEC East play. The details of the injury have not been disclosed by Vols head coach Butch Jones or the program.

“As of right now, he does not need surgery and we’re anticipating him being back here in the next week or two,” Jones said on Monday. Given that, it sounds like this is not a major injury for Kamara, and if Jones thinks there is a chance Kamara will be back in the next couple of weeks that should be encouraging.

The schedule also allows Tennessee to move on without Kamara without fearing too much about the result of the game. The Vols do have to go on the road to play the Gamecocks, so you never know exactly what will happen. But next week, Tennessee plays host to Tennessee Tech and the week after that they play the Kentucky Wildcats (in what is suddenly, potentially an important game in the SEC East race).

Kamara is Tennessee’s second-leading rusher this season behind Jalen Hurd with 313 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

No suspensions for Georgia linebackers Natrez Patrick and Roquan Smith

NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 12:  Darrius Sims #6 of the Vanderbilt Commodores is tackled by Johnathan Abram #25, Natrez Patrick #6, and Roquan Smith #3 of the Georgia Bulldogs during the first half at Vanderbilt Stadium on September 12, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images
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After having a bit of a cloud of uncertainty floating above them the past few days, Georgia linebackers Natrez Patrick and Roquan Smith will not face any discipline from the university and football program. Georgia announced that decision on Monday, saying the legal manner has been resolved from an on-campus dorm search by campus police.

“After receiving an incident report last week, we determined that neither Roquan Smith nor Natrez Patrick had violated any Athletic Association rules that would require suspension,”Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity said in a released statement. “This included drug testing, which was negative for both student-athletes.”

Campus police were called to Patrick’s dorm room on October 15 to investigate a potential marijuana smell. No substances were discovered and no arrests were made.

Not losing Patrick and Smith is good news for the Bulldogs, as the two are the leading tacklers on Georgia’s defense, with 42 and 39 tackles, respectively. Each player released a brief statement in addition to McGarity’s statement.

“Since November 2015, I have dedicated myself to moving forward,” Patrick said in a released statement. “I’m blessed to have done that despite hurdles I’ve had to clear. This incident was simply another hurdle and I was confident I would successfully clear it. I’ll continue to move forward and I’m anxious to play on Saturday.”

“As a student at the University of Georgia and a member of the football team, I take this opportunity very seriously,” Smith said in his statement. “I have followed the rules of the Athletic Association and I am happy this situation has been rightfully resolved. I look forward to representing my school and my team on Saturday in Jacksonville.”

Northwestern CB Matt Harris retiring due to concussions

EVANSTON, IL - NOVEMBER 15:  A general view of the stadium as the crowd of 40,681 watches the game between Michigan and Northwestern on November 15, 2003 at Ryan Field at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Michigan defeated Northwestern 41-10. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/ Getty Images)
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Northwestern cornerback Matt Harris is retiring from football after a series of concussions have put his health at risk.

“This is an incredibly difficult decision to reach, but it is the right one for me and for my future,” Harris said in a released statement. “There are few things I love more than playing the game of football and the game has provided me with so many opportunities, including the chance to attend this University. It has been a blessing to be a part of this community and learn so many lessons. Northwestern has given me so much, I look forward to taking full advantage of my chance to give back to the world around me in the future.”

Harris, a team captain in 2016, earned All-Big Ten honors in 2015 and has been named a two-time Academic All-Big Ten player during his time at Northwestern. Harris will retire having notched 161 tackles, six interceptions and three forced fumbles on the football field.

Harris is another name added to the growing list of football players making the decision to retire at such a young age. As time goes by, we learn more and more about the possible long-term effects of head injuries seen in sports, particularly in football. As a result, we are seeing players more frequently decide to step away from the sport in order to preserve their long-term health in the years to come. It is an unfortunate reality of the sport of football today, and one that continues to be addressed  at all levels.