Nick Saban

Week 8 coaches’ poll sees little change


After a handful of weekends that saw a steady stream of changes in the weekly USA Today coaches’ poll, Week 8 was the calm in the middle-of-the-season storm.

In the newly-released coaches’ poll, nine of the Top 10 from a week ago remained in that grouping, although were a couple of tweaks as to how they were positioned.

While Alabama and Oregon remained 1-2 for the fifth consecutive release — with the Tide again a unanimous No. 1 — Florida and Kansas flipped spots despite both enjoying blowout wins, with the Gators moving up one to No. 3 and the Wildcats dropping one to No. 5.  Notre Dame, LSU and Oklahoma held serve at Nos. 5-7, while USC moved up one to No. 8.

Oregon State, 6-0 for the first time since 1907, moved up two spots and into the Top 10 at No. 9.  Florida State remained static from a week ago at No. 10.

South Carolina, routed by the Gators by 33 points in their second straight loss, dropped just eight spots to No. 16.  Fellow SEC member Texas A&M fell just two spots to No. 21 despite their loss.

West Virginia, with back-to-back losses by a combined 76 points, somehow still remain in the Top 25, although they did tumble from No. 15 to No. 22.

The biggest mover upward of the week was Michigan, with the Wolverines climbing all the way to No. 20 from No. 25 on the strength of their two-point win over bitter in-state rival Michigan State.  Mississippi State (No. 12), Boise State (No. 18) and Stanford (No. 19) each moved up four spots from last week.

Cincinnati (No. 18), TCU (No. 21) and Arizona State (No. 24) all dropped out of this week’s Top 25, replaced by Ohio (No. 23), Texas (No. 24) and Wisconsin (No. 25).  This week marks the first time the Bobcats have ever broken into the coaches’ rankings.


Rutgers reinstates WR Leonte Carroo to football team

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 28:  Wide receiver Leonte Carroo #4 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights makes a touchdown catch on the first play of the game against the Washington State Cougars at CenturyLink Field on August 28, 2014 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
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While the news of late has been littered with the exits of two SEC wide receivers, one team from the Big Ten is welcoming back a player who plays the same position.

In a press release, Rutgers confirmed that Leonte Carroo has been reinstated to the Scarlet Knights football program.  The release stated that head coach Kyle Flood, who is suspended himself, “reinstated Carroo after the student-athlete agreed to the conditions of his reinstatement and after he accepted the responsibility that comes with his return to the team.”

The reinstatement comes one day after a domestic violence charge against him was dropped after the alleged victim decided not to testify against he former boyfriend.  Carroo had been accused of slamming a woman with whom he had a previous relationship into the concrete outside of the RU football facility last month.

Carroo has missed the last two games (Penn State, Kansas) because of the suspension.  He will be eligible to return to practice today and play in Saturday’s game against 10th-ranked Michigan State.

Despite missing those two contests, Carroo is still tops on the team in receiving yards with 181 and tied for the team lead with three receiving touchdowns.  He’s also averaging nearly 26 yards per reception.

Carroo led the Scarlet Knights last season in receptions (55), receiving yards (1,086) and receiving touchdowns (10).

Pig Howard dismissed by Vols

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 5: Pig Howard #2 of the Tennessee Volunteers fumbles the ball through the end zone during overtime of the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Neyland Stadium on October 5, 2013 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
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It’s been a bad week for talented SEC wide receivers.

On the heels of Auburn giving the boot to D’haquille Williams following an alleged bar rampage, Tennessee announced Wednesday that Pig Howard has been dismissed from Butch Jones‘ football program.  Violations of unspecified team rules was the only explanation offered.

Howard had been suspended for the season opener for the same reason due to an unspecified incident several months before.  It’s unknown if the dismissal is related in any way to that suspension.

Injuries had allowed the senior to play in just two games this season, against Oklahoma and Western Carolina.  He had one reception for eight yards, with that coming in the overtime loss to the Sooners.

The past two seasons, Howard led the Vols in receiving with 54 and 44 receptions in 2014 and 2013, respectively.  He accounted for 1,006 receiving yards in that span, and has also scored a pair of rushing touchdowns.