Thanks to Ohio State’s NCAA sanctions, there are no Big Ten teams in the USA Today coaches’ poll for the first time in history. The Buckeyes are undefeated and ranked at No. 8 in the latest Associated Press poll, but because the coaches’ poll chooses not to rank teams serving punishments from the NCAA, they won’t be considered.
On to those who are in the poll, Alabama and Oregon stayed at the top two spots. The Tide had a bye week and the Ducks handled No. 23 Washington 52-21. South Carolina jumped up three spots to No. 3 following an impressive thrashing of then-No. 5 Georgia. West Virginia moved up to No. 4 thanks to a thrilling victory in Austin over Texas, and Kansas State rounded out the top five after beating in-state rival Kansas.
Florida moved up five spots to No. 6 because of a 14-6 win over then-No. 3 LSU; Notre Dame climbed three spots to No. 7 after dismantling Miami; USC and Oklahoma re-entered the top 10 with wins at Utah and Texas Tech, respectively.
A shocking 17-16 loss at unranked North Carolina State sent Florida State out of the top 10 and into the No. 11 spot and Georgia fell seven spots to No. 12. Clemson and Oregon State came in at No. 13 and No. 14 thanks to wins over Georgia Tech and Washington State, and Texas fell to No. 15 after losing to WVU. Three Big East teams find themselves in spots 16-20, with Louisville at No. 16, Rutgers at No. 19 and Cincinnati at No. 20. It’s no coincidence that those three appear to have the most realistic chance at competing for that conference title at the end of the year.
Texas A&M enters the coaches’ poll at No. 21 and Boise State comes in at No. 22 following a victory over winless Southern Miss. TCU falls 10 spots to No. 23 after losing at home to now-No. 25 Iowa State, and Louisiana Tech enters the latest coaches’ poll at No. 24. The Aggies and Bulldogs will face each other next Saturday.
Falling out of the USA Today poll are Texas Tech, Northwestern and Nebraska.
It appears the tentacles of an NCAA investigation centered in Oxford could ultimately have an impact on Austin as well.
247Sports.com was the first to report that Texas and defensive backs coach Chris Vaughn are expected to part ways. The recruiting website writes that “[i]t is unclear whether Vaughn will resign or be fired.”
Subsequent to that initial report, multiple media outlets have reported the same.
It surfaced late last month that the Ole Miss football program, the subject of an NCAA investigation, had received a Notice of Allegations from The Association regarding alleged violations in three sports, including football. There were 28 total violations spread out amongst the sports, 13 of which reportedly involved football — with nine of those occurring since Hugh Freeze took over for Houston Nutt in December of 2011.
Vaughn was a member of Nutt’s Rebels coaching staff from 2008-11 when four of the alleged NCAA violations occurred, and from which his current employment issue currently stems:
Vaughn, who was an assistant at Ole Miss six years ago, may have been implicated in part of the NCAA allegations recently levied against Ole Miss.
Vaughn coached for the Rebels from 2008 to 2011 and served as the team’s defensive backs coach and recruiting coordinator. Sources tell Horns247 the facts against Vaughn “were damning.”
And then there’s this ominous-sounding Twitter update from Brian Davis of the Austin-American Statesman:
Vaughn has spent the past two seasons with Charlie Strong and the Longhorns, and has been a key recruiting component for the program. In between his stints at Ole Miss and Texas, Vaughn was the cornerbacks coach at Memphis from 2012-13.
Oregon has already landed FCS transfer Dakota Prukop this offseason. Now, the Ducks have landed another FCS player who could potentially provide protection for the quarterback this coming season as well.
The Ducks announced via Twitter Wednesday that Zac Morgan has been added to the football roster. The offensive lineman began his collegiate career playing at Dayton of the FCS.
The upcoming season will be Morgan’s final year of college football, and he will be eligible to play immediately for the Ducks.
The Ducks will be getting a lineman who has the experience to step in and contribute right away.
Over the past three seasons, the 6-7, 280-pound Morgan started 26 games, including all 12 at left tackle in 2015. Following this past season, Morgan was named to the first-team All-Pioneer Football league squad.
Seeking a better opportunity for playing time, Walter Tucker has bid adieu to The U.
Reports began to circulate Wednesday that Tucker was likely leaving Miami, with the player taking to social media to reveal he is “no longer a #cane.” A day later, the Hurricanes confirmed in a press release that Tucker has left the team to pursue other collegiate opportunities.
The running back came to a final decision following a Wednesday meeting with first-year UM head coach Mark Richt.
“Walter and I spoke yesterday and he felt like he would have a better opportunity to finish his college football career and education at another university,” Richt said in a statement. “I wish him the very best.”
Tucker played in 32 games the past three seasons, mainly on special teams. He carried the ball three times for eight yards in 2015, and caught one pass for eight yards the year before.
It’s expected Tucker will play his final season of college football — he’ll be a fourth-year senior — at the FCS level.
Texas and Texas A&M can’t seem to get together to renew their rivalry on the football field, but the two programs still find their scheduling paths crossing every now and again.
Texas and Rice announced in separate press releases Thursday afternoon that the two schools have reached an agreement on a new three-game series that will renew the in-state rivalry yet again. The first game of that series will be played at NRG Stadium in Houston on an undetermined date in 2019. The final two games will be played in Austin during the 2021 and 2023 seasons.
The 2019 game on Rice’s end will replace a previously-scheduled matchup with A&M. According to Rice, A&M requested a release from that game because of a scheduling conflict.
The Longhorns and Owls have met 94 times previously, the most recent coming just this past season. Those 94 games represent the most Rice has ever played against a single opponent.
UT owns a 72-21-1 edge in the all-time series. The Owls only win in the series since 1965 came in October of 1994.