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.

LOOK: Jim Harbaugh hooks Pope Francis up with Michigan helmet, pair of Jordans

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There’s a series of words I’d never imagined I’d string together in a headline.

As you may have heard, Jim Harbaugh has taken his Michigan football team to Italy for an offseason European vacation.  As part of the trip, the team is in the Vatican City today and took in the Pope’s Wednesday address to the masses in St. Peter’s Square — the players and athletic director Warde Manuel sat amongst the crowd while the head coach and his wife were seated on the same stage as Pope Francis.

Following the address, and after a wait of nearly a half-hour, Harbaugh was able to meet with and speak to His Holiness.  The coach didn’t come empty-handed, either, as Pope Francis was gifted with a Michigan football helmet and a pair of Air Jordans.  Michigan-themed, of course.

“This is as good as it gets,” Harbaugh said according to mlive.com after his meeting with the pope. “This has been the experience of my lifetime.”

Tulane turns to Jonathan Banks as starter at QB

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Last season, there was just one FBS team — Army and its triple-option (967) — that passed for fewer yards than Tulane’s 1,360.  Tulane’s team passing efficiency rating of 93.12 was 128th of the 128 teams at this level of football.  Their completion percentage of 42.2 was, again, 128th in the FBS.  Their 5.3 yards per attempt was… 127th.

This season, the Green Wave’s passing hopes in a run-heavy offense will likely land on the shoulders of a junior college transfer.

Throughout the spring, Jonathan Banks had taken the majority of reps with the first-team offense.  Tuesday, Willie Fritz confirmed that Banks will be his starter under center heading into summer camp and, presumably, for the program’s season opener against Grambling at home Sept. 2.

At least for now, Banks has staked his claim to the job after a competition that included Glen Cuiellette and Jonathan Brantley, the starter and backup, respectively, last season.

“He did a good job this spring picking things up,” the head coach said according to nola.com. “We evaluated practices 1 through 15 and I thought, for a guy coming into a new situation, he did a very good job. He provides us with both a passing and a running threat, which in our offense you need to have.

“We’re excited about his development.”

Drew O’Bryan leaves Western Kentucky, drops down to FCS level

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Another day, another FBS player has transitioned away from his first college football home.

On his personal Twitter account recently, Drew O’Bryan acknowledged his decision to transfer from Western Kentucky. Additionally, he announced his next destination for good measure — Eastern Kentucky.

The linebacker said he made the decision “[a]fter talking with my family and many prayers.”

As EKU plays at the Football Championship Subdivision level, O’Bryan will be eligible to play immediately for the Colonels in 2017.

O’Bryan was a two-star member of WKU’s 2016 recruiting class, rated as the No. 18 player at any position in the state of Kentucky. He took a redshirt as a true freshman.

Pair of Alabama defenders undergo surgery after Tide’s spring game

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Alabama’s spring game wrapped up on Saturday and with it, the last of the Crimson Tide’s spring practices. While that means the coaching staff is free to fly across the country to visit recruits during the evaluation period, it also results in several players going under the knife to correct injuries in order to be back by fall camp.

Two of those players are starting cornerback Anthony Averett and (likely starting) linebacker Christian Miller, both of whom underwent sports hernia surgery this week according to AL.com.

The report states that Averett played with the hernia most of last season while the Tide marched their way to the national title game. Miller was one of the stars of the show on Saturday during Alabama’s spring game, recording two sacks while dealing with the injury.

Both are expected to be fully healthy for camp in August as Nick Saban and company vie for yet another conference title and berth in the College Football Playoff.