K-State is the BCS’ new No. 1 team

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Thanks to Texas A&M, there are now only three undefeated teams fighting to fill one of two spots in this year’s BCS championship game.

Your new No. 1 team? Kansas State, fresh off a win over TCU. As we said Saturday night, the Wildcats should be feeling good about their BCS chances so long as they can win their remaining games against Baylor and No. 15 Texas, which has quietly rebounded after dropping a pair of Big 12 games in early October. Manhattan, KS, could be a rocking town here in a couple of weeks.

Oregon comes in at No. 2 as the Ducks prepare for a difficult stretch against No. 13 Stanford and No. 16 Oregon State. Despite being the top-ranked team in both the AP and USA Today coaches’ polls, the Ducks are still looking at a No. 4 computer average. That should figure to go up if Chip Kelly’s team can get through the next few weeks unscathed.

Left out as of the BCS championship picture as of tonight, once again, is No. 3 Notre Dame. It’s still hard to imagine the Irish could be undefeated with quality wins against Oklahoma, Stanford and perhaps USC and still be left out of the championship game, but that’s the way things appear to be lining up.

Alabama falls to No. 4 after losing a heartbreaker at home to A&M, and is the first of six straight SEC teams in the BCS top 10 — yet the SEC’s streak of six straight BCS championship game appearances could very well be coming to an end — before Florida State rounds out the list.

Staying in the ACC, Clemson comes in at No. 11, Oklahoma comes in at No. 12 and Nebraska is ranked 14th. Rivals UCLA and USC come in at No. 17 and No. 18, respectively, and will be playing for the Pac-12 South lead next Saturday. In fact, the Pac-12 BCS at-large picture gets interesting in the next few weeks with Stanford, Oregon State, UCLA and USC all playing in important games. To receive a BCS at-large bid, a team must be ranked in the top 14.

Louisville drops nine spots to No. 19 after losing a shocker to Syracuse and Louisiana Tech, still eyeing a BCS bowl appearance, checks in at No. 20.

Michigan, Rutgers, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Washington round out the BCS top 25.

Third ex-Vandy football player sentenced to 15 years for rape

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A third former Vanderbilt football player will spend a sizable portion of his adult life behind bars.

In June of this year, Brandon Banks was found guilty on one count each of aggravated rape and aggravated sexual battery related to a 2013 gang rape of an unconscious woman. Friday, Banks was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

In July of last year, one of Banks’ former teammates, Cory Batey, was sentenced to 15 years after being found guilty of aggravated rape. Four months later, another former Vandy football player, Brandon Vandenburg, was sentenced to 17 years after being found guilty of the same charge as Batey. The judge gave Vandenburg a longer sentence than Batey because the former was the leader in the attack and betrayed the woman’s trust.

Banks, Vandenburg, Batey and another ex-Vandy football player, Jaborian ‘Tip’ McKenziewere initially charged Aug. 9, 2013, with five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery each after a police investigation determined that the four had raped an unconscious woman.

On June 28 of 2013, Vanderbilt announced that four unnamed players had been indefinitely suspended amid reports that the players were connected to an alleged sex crimes case.  The next day, Vandy officials further clarified the players’ statuses, releasing a statement announcing the dismissals of the four.  That release further added that none of the four will be permitted to return to campus without permission from the office of student conduct and academic integrity.

McKenzie has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.  He has agreed to testify against his former teammates in exchange for what he hopes is a lighter sentence.

Georgia Tech dismisses leading rusher Dedrick Mills

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I believe this one would qualify as a significant development.

In a very brief press release, Georgia Tech announced Friday afternoon that Dedrick Mills has been dismissed by Paul Johnson from the football team.  The only reason given was an unspecified violation of Tech athletics department rules.

The head coach is expected to meet with the media following practice later on this afternoon.

Regardless of the specific reason for the dismissal, Mills’ departure serves as yet another blow for the run-heavy Yellow Jackets.

Last season, Mills’ 771 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns led all Tech ball carriers.  169 of those yards came in the bowl win over Kentucky.  Mills put up all of those numbers as a true freshman despite being suspended on two different occasions for a total of three games.

Mills’ dismissal is the second huge blow to their 2017 running game as Marcus Marshall, who was second on the team last season with 624 yards, announced in late November that he would be transferring from Tech.  Less than a month later, he moved on to James Madison.

With those twin departures, Clinton Lynch‘s 415 yards last season makes him the team’s leading returning rusher.

LOOK: Notre Dame unveils alternate uniforms honoring Knute Rockne’s legacy

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As you may know, I’m hardly a fan of the alternate uniform craze.  These, though, I can very easily get behind.

Notre Dame on Friday released images of new uniforms the Fighting Irish will wear for their Nov. 18 game against Navy.  From helmet to shoes, the new duds will serve as a head-to-toe tribute to the legendary Knute Rockne.

The players will all have the name “ROCKNE” emblazoned on the backs of their jerseys, while the helmets replicate the leather ones of Rockne’s era.  The cleats also will pay homage to the era in which Rockne, also a former player at the school, coached the Fighting Irish to five national championships from 1918-1930.  In those 13 seasons, the Irish lost just 12 games under Rockne.

Additionally, the sleeves will be adorned with the words from one of Rockne’s most famous speeches.



Penn State OKs James Franklin’s new deal, reportedly worth nearly $6 million annually

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James Franklin is now in some very heady financial company.

Friday morning, Penn State’s Board of Trustees Committee on Compensation, as expected, unanimously approved an amended contract for their head football coach.  While no details were released — that’s expected to happen later today — it’s believed the amended deal will extend through the 2023 season.  Franklin’s old contract ran through 2019.

Additionally, Bruce Feldman of SI.com is reporting that the new six-year deal will average $5.8 million annually.  What Franklin’s compensation for 2017 and beyond will, again, be divulged later on today.

The average of $5.8 million a year would make him the fourth-highest-paid coach in college football, behind only Alabama’s Nick Saban and a pair of fellow Big Ten coaches — Ohio State’s Urban Meyer and Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh.

Set to enter his fourth season with the Nittany Lions, Franklin has an overall record of 25-15 at the school.  After a pair of 7-6 seasons to begin his tenure, 2016 was a breakout one for the program as they went 11-3 and won the Big Ten championship for the first time since 2008.

Expectations are extremely high coming off that breakout season as the Nittany Lions are ranked sixth in the preseason coaches’ poll.