Normally, the headlining teams for the final polls of the season would be the first and second-place teams. But Notre Dame and Alabama are on a path to the BCS championship game. You knew that part.
The Irish and the Tide remained No. 1 and No. 2 in the latest USA Today coaches’ poll, a factor in the BCS rankings. Non-division winners Oregon and Florida came in at No. 3 and No. 4. If the BCS rankings reflect the coaches’ poll, the Ducks and the Gators will automatically go to a BCS bowl — likely the Fiesta and Sugar Bowls, respectively. Georgia, seconds away from toppling the Tide and making its own BCS championship appearance, drops to No. 5. Big 12 champion Kansas State comes in at No. 6 and Pac-12 champion Stanford moves up one spot to No. 8. The Cardinal will play Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl after last night’s Big Ten championship blowout. Texas A&M and South Carolina round out the top 10.
This is where things get more interesting. Oklahoma ranks at No. 11 and has a share of the Big 12 championship. However, non-automatic qualifier programs Boise State and Northern Illinois come in at No. 15 and No. 16. BSU did not move in the coaches’ poll, but NIU jumped up two spots from No. 18. Those two received assistance from UCLA losing to Stanford (the Bruins dropped three spots to No. 19) and Nebraska getting rocked by Wisconsin (the Huskers dropped eight spots to No. 21). Louisville, the Big East champion, is ranked 18th. A non-AQ team only needs to finish in the BCS top 16 to receive a berth so long as it finishes ahead of a champion from an AQ conference. If that happens, it would likely knock Oklahoma out of a Sugar Bowl appearance.
Could some coaches’ poll positioning mean an Orange Bowl trip for either Boise State or Northern Illinois? We’ll find out tonight. Final standings will also depend on Harris Poll results.
In other coaches’ poll news, Wisconsin (the Big Ten champion) and San Jose State moved into the top 25 while Kent State and Rutgers dropped out.
Alabama’s still six months or so away from beginning the defense of its 2017 national championship, but there is some scheduling news for the following season to note.
According to FBSchedules.com, Alabama has signed a contract to play a game Nov. 23, 2019, against Western Carolina at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. The FCS program will receive a $525,000 guarantee to play what’s essentially a scrimmage that counts in the standings.
That game completes the Crimson Tide’s schedule for the 2019 season. UA had previously announced games against Duke on Aug. 31 of that year, as well ones against New Mexico State (Sept. 7) and Southern Miss (Sept. 21).
The game against the Blue Devils will be a “neutral-site” affair in Atlanta as one of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games that year.
As for the game against Western Carolina, it will mark Alabama’s fifth matchup with the FCS school. The Tide won the previous four meetings, obviously, and won that quartet games by a combined score of 201-20. The first meeting came in 2004, the last in 2014.
Mike Sanford is getting back to the roots that helped him land his first head-coaching job in the first place.
Last season, Junior Adams served as the offensive coordinator at Western Kentucky in addition to his duties as wide receivers coach. While he will maintain those continue carrying those titles in 2018, the Bowling Green Daily News reports, Sanford will take over as the game-day play-caller. Prior to coming to WKU, Sanford was the coordinator at both Notre Dame (2015-16) and Boise State (2-14).
Last season, the Hilltoppers were 89th nationally and 10th in Conference USA in scoring at 25.5 points per game.
In addition to Sanford taking over as the primary play-caller, the school also noted on its official website that “Sanford intends to take a more hands-on approach to the quarterbacks this season and will be aided with the addition of Matthew Mitchell as quarterbacks coach.” Last season, Mitchell was an offensive graduate assistant for the Hilltoppers.
The need for a new quarterbacks coach arose after Steve Spurrier Jr. left in February for a job at Washington State.
A day after it was announced on social media, Cal has officially added a Power Five transfer.
Sunday, Maurice “Moe” Ways revealed on Instagram that he would be transferring from Michigan to Cal. Monday evening, the Golden Bears announced that the wide receiver has signed a financial aid agreement with the university and will play for the football team in 2018.
Ways will be coming to Berkeley from Ann Arbor as a graduate transfer. The upcoming season will be his final year of eligibility.
In addition to the, uh, addition of Ways, Cal also announced that junior college outside linebacker Deon White has also been added to the roster.
“We are excited that Maurice and Deon are joining our program,” head coach Justin Wilcox said in a statement. “Both have tremendous upsides and with their skill sets we feel that they will help us immediately.”
A three-star member of the Wolverines’ 2014 recruiting class, Ways was rated as the No. 8 player at any position in the state of Michigan.
In 25 career games, the former Detroit Country Day high schooler caught eight passes for 71 yards. Ways started two of those contests, with both of those starts coming during his redshirt freshman season in 2015.
When Ryan Finley announced he would put off the NFL Draft in order to spend his senior season at NC State, Jalan McClendon announced he would not spend his own senior year backing up Finley.
Now we reportedly know where McClendon will spend his final season.
According to Yahoo‘s Pete Thamel, McClendon will pursue a graduate transfer to Baylor.
A Charlotte native, McClendon appeared in 21 career games as a Wolfpack. He completed 26-of-47 passes (55.3 percent) for 262 yards with one touchdown against four interceptions while rushing 40 times for 156 yards and two touchdowns.
At Baylor, McClendon will step into a depth chart with a hole left by a transfer of its own. The Bears spent 2017 juggling their QB1 spot between Arizona graduate transfer Anu Solomon, sophomore Zach Smith and freshman Charlie Brewer. Solomon graduated and Smith has transferred to Tulsa, meaning McClendon will have to compete with the rising sophomore and brother of former Texas Tech and Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Brewer. The younger Brewer was Baylor’s best signal caller in a downtrodden ’17 campaign, hitting 139-of-204 passes (68.1 percent) for 1,562 yards with 11 touchdowns against four interceptions.