Stunner: NC St. hands ‘Noles first loss of season

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Well, so much for Florida State being back.  Or, at least, all the way back.

In one of the more stunning upsets of the 2012 season, the Seminoles’ — and thus the ACC’s — hopes at a shot at a BcS championship went down in complete and utter flames as North Carolina State shockingly upended the No. 3 team in the country.

The Wolfpack, playing without three starting offensive linemen, trailed 16-0 deep into the fourth quarter, but mounted a comeback that shattered FSU’s dreams of a return to the big-boy stage of college football.  The final dagger for the ‘Noles came late in the quarter, with a Mike Glennon touchdown pass of two yards to Bryan Underwood proving to be the game-winning score.

For FSU, the loss was the latest — and arguably the greatest — hiccup for a football program that hasn’t been relevant nationally for a decade or more.  For the ACC, it saw its lone unbeaten team crash and burn, scorching any hopes it had entertained to be in the postseason title mix as well.

While it’s of little comfort to Seminole Nation, FSU was far from the only highly-ranked program to suffer its first blemish.  In fact, three of the top five teams in the country — No. 4 LSU and No. 5 Georgia as well as the ‘Noles — had its first mark ion the right side of the won/loss ledger.  Additionally, two other previously unbeaten and ranked teams — No. 15 TCU and No. 24 Northwestern — suffered their first loss of the season.

As it stands now, there are 16 undefeated teams at the FBS level, 13 from so-called BcS-level schools.  The SEC has the most remaining with four, while (surprise!) the Big East is next with three.

Given how wild the 2012 season has been just six weeks in, it’s anyone’s guess how many will be left even a week from now let alone at season’s end.

WATCH: Colorado State OL Luis Lebron forced to walk after Atlanta airport shuts down

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Colorado State played in the New Mexico Bowl on Saturday, and afterward the players were released to return home to their families for Christmas break.

For freshman offensive lineman Luis Lebron, that meant a cross-country trip to Jacksonville. And, like many a trip cross-country, that required a stop at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

That quickly turned into a problem when the entire airport shutdown due to a power outage on Sunday. Without any other options, Lebron started walking. He said he walked six miles before he ran into a reporter from the local Fox affiliate.

The story comes with a happy ending: Lebron eventually hitched a ride.

I could say something snarky here, but it’s Christmas so instead I’ll just say this: the Colorado State program and the Lebron family should be proud of how Luis carried himself on a day that would cause many of us to snap. And I’ve no doubt they are.

Report: Kent State to hire Syracuse co-OC Sean Lewis as head coach

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The final open job in FBS is no longer open. According to a report from FootballScoop, Syracuse co-offensive coordinator Sean Lewis will be the new head coach at Kent State. (Full disclosure: I also work for FootballScoop.)

Lewis’s ascension to head coach completes a meteoric rise through the FBS coaching ranks. He was a graduate assistant at Akron in 2011, then joined Dino Babers‘s staff at Eastern Illinois in 2012-13. He followed Babers to Bowling Green where he served as wide receivers coach in 2014 and as co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in ’15, then did the same at Syracuse from 2016-17.

The site also reported that former Babers staffer and current Chattanooga defensive coordinator Tom Kaufman will join the staff as defensive coordinator.

Lewis is set to take over one of the most down-trodden programs in FBS. The Golden Flashes carry a lifetime record of 321-500-8 and have three all-time bowl appearances, all of them losses. Kent State has one MAC championship in its history, coming under Don James in 1972.

The 2017 Flashes went 2-10 and ranked 129th nationally in yards per play and scoring, beating out UTEP for the cellar for both spots.

Report: Florida State TE Mavin Saunders pursuing graduate transfer to Kansas

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Florida State tight end Mavin Saunders will pursue a graduate transfer to Kansas, according to a report from Bud Elliott of SBNation.

Saunders did not record a statistic as a redshirt junior in 2017. He caught 10 passes for 182 yards in 12 appearances in 2016, and made two starts as a redshirt freshman in 2015.

A native of the Bahamas, Saunders graduated from The Kinkaid School in Houston before enrolling at Florida State. The Jayhawks are losing their top tight end from the 2017 team. Senior Ben Johnson finished second on the club with 30 receptions for 363 yards and one touchdown this fall. He was the only tight end to catch a pass this season.

Scott Frost adds AP Coach of the Year to award haul

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Scott Frost will have to make room for a little more hardware as he moves to Nebraska. On Monday, the Associated Press named Frost its coach of the year for the 2017 season.

Frost received 21 first-place votes and 100 total points in the voting consisting of 57 voters in the AP Top 25. Frost beat out Georgia head coach Kirby Smart and Clemson’s Dabo Swinney for the award following an undefeated 12-0 season at UCF that ended with an AAC championship and a berth in the Peach Bowl as the highest-ranked Group of Five conference champion. Despite already being hired to be the head coach at Nebraska and UCF hiring a new head coach, Frost has stayed committed to coaching the Knights in the bowl game even if it makes for some long days flying between Lincoln and Orlando as he pulls double duty.

Frost turned UCF football around in short order. After inheriting a team that had gone 0-12 just prior to his arrival, Frost reinvigorated the mindset of the program and led UCF to a 6-7 season in his debut as UCF head coach in 2016. To follow that up in 2017, Frost led UCF to an undefeated season and conference championship to help return the program to a big bowl game for the first time since facing Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl with Blake Bortles at quarterback.

Frost already collected a few coach of the year honors with the Eddie Robinson Award from the Football Writers Association of America and the Home Depot Coach of the Year award.