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AP makes Clemson-FSU a ‘consensus’ Top-Five showdown

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Thanks to Stanford’s upset loss to Utah, Florida State cracked the coaches’ poll Top Five Sunday afternoon.  Thanks to that same loss, this weekend’s biggest game now has the rankings across the board to prove it.

Just as they did in the coaches’ voting, the Seminoles moved into the Top Five at No. 5 of the Associated Press‘ latest poll release.  With Clemson entrenched again at No. 3, this Saturday’s game will mark the fourth all-time meeting between two ACC schools ranked in the Top Five, and the first since No. 5 Miami defeated No. 3 Virginia Tech in 2005.

Florida State and Clemson are two of the three ACC teams in the AP’s Top 10, with the other being Miami.  That’s the first time since Oct. of 2005 that three teams from that conference have been ranked in the Top 10 the same week.

As expected, Missouri also made a significant upward move on the strength of its win over Georgia.  Just as they were in the coaches’ poll, the Tigers are ranked 14th exiting Week 7 after cracking the AP’s Top 25 last weekend for the first time in two years.  UGA, on the other hand, fell eight spots to No. 15.

There was also history of sorts made with this release, with a whopping eight teams from the SEC littered throughout the rankings.  That’s the first time eight teams from a single conference have been included in the AP Top 25.  Three of those SEC teams (No. 1 Alabama, No. 6 LSU and No. 7 Texas A&M) are in the Top Ten.  The other three outside of those three plus Mizzou and UGA are South Carolina (No. 11), Florida (No. 22) and Auburn (No. 24).

The 5-1 Tigers are making its 2013 AP poll debut, and their first appearance since Oct. of 2011.

Baylor moved up three spots to No. 12, the football program’s highest showing since 1991.  The Bears are also the highest-ranked team in the Big 12, the first time that’s happened in that conference’s history.

Outside of those already mentioned, the Top 10 is rounded out by Oregon (No. 2), Ohio State (No. 4), Louisville (No. 8) and UCLA (No. 9).  The Bruins are inside the Top 10 for the first time since Oct. of 2005.

Interestingly, and probably not wholly surprising, undefeated Louisville, coming off a blasé win last Thursday night, was leapfrogged by a pair of one-loss SEC teams (LSU, A&M).

Of the 14 FBS teams that remain unbeaten, Houston is the only one not in this week’s Top 25.  The Cougars, in fact, aren’t even close; their three votes are behind 10 other teams in the “Others Receiving Votes” category.

Michigan (No. 18) and Northwestern (No. 19) dropped out this week thanks to losses, replaced by Auburn and Wisconsin (No. 25).

(Much thanks to the esteemed Ralph Russo for a couple of the exciting tidbits contained above.  Hit him up HERE on Twitter)

AP Week Seven Poll

Record-breaking QB one of two coaches hired by New Mexico State

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Doug Martin‘s 2017 on-field coaching staff will have a decidedly familiar feel to it, even as it’s in some ways brand-new.

New Mexico State announced that two coaches have been hired by Martin, Chase Holbrook and Kai Brown.  The former will serve as tight ends coach, the latter as defensive ends coach.

Holbrook spent the 2016 season as a quality control coach for Mike Leach at Washington State.  A former NMSU quarterback, he still owns the school’s single-season and career records for passing, passing attempts, completions, touchdowns, total offense and total touchdowns.

Brown was a graduate assistant the past three seasons for the football program.

“We are really excited about Chase coming back to New Mexico State,” Martin said. “Having a former great quarterback that has his name written all over the Aggie record book will have a huge impact on us taking that next step. Chase really believes and cares deeply about the football program here. To have a coach of his talent join our staff makes us a better program immediately. …

“Kai has been a very loyal hard working coach for us as a GA and it gives me great pride to add him to our staff in a full time role. He brings a lot of enthusiasm to our program and has a great relationship with our players.”

This will be both coaches’ first foray into full-time coaching responsibilities at the FBS level.

Cal turns to Fresno State to complete Justin Wilcox’s staff

EAST LANSING, MI - SEPTEMBER 14:  A member of the California Golden Bears spirit squad waves a team flag while standing next to the Bears' mascot in front of the Michigan State Spartans crowd on September 14, 2002 at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Michigan.  California defeated Michigan State 46-22.  (Photo by Danny Moloshok/Getty Images)
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In late December, Fresno State hired Tony Tuioti as part of Jeff Tedford‘s first coaching staff with the Mountain West program.  Two months later, Tedford’s former Pac-12 employer has poached said staff.

By way of a press release, Cal announced that Tuioti has been hired as Justin Wilcox‘s outside linebackers coach.  Tedford served as Cal’s head coach from 2002-12; Tim DeRuyter, Fresno’s head coach for five seasons before being fired and replaced by Tedford, is now Wilcox’s defensive coordinator with the Golden Bears.

“Tony has a tremendous resume that showcases his diverse skill set and abilities both on and off the field,” Wilcox said in a statement. “Not only is he an excellent coach, but the experience he has as a director of player personnel will be a tremendous benefit to us in the structuring and organization of our recruiting operation. Finding someone with a skill set as unique and diverse as Tony’s is challenging. We are fortunate that we have found that in Tony and are looking forward to his contributions to our program.”

“Working at Cal for a coach like Justin Wilcox was an opportunity I could not pass up,” a statement from Tuioti began. “I have a tremendous feeling about the positive direction Cal is headed, and I really wanted to be a part of that and contribute all I could to a football program with tremendous potential.”

In 2016, Tuioti worked as a football staffer at Michigan.  His last on-field job at the collegiate level came at Hawaii (2012-13, linebackers coach; 2010-11, defensive line).

Georgia raising money to build Devon Gales a home

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It’s been close to a year and a half since Southern football player Devon Gales fractured his C6 vertebrae when covering a kick at Georgia. While the two sides will forever be linked, Georgia has gone above and beyond its duties to help improve his life.

In addition to regularly visiting him in the hospital and paying for his parents’ travel to Georgia, the Bulldogs will now raise funds to build him a house.

Gales received an NCAA Sportsmanship Award at the Bulldogs’ basketball game on Saturday, and it was announced that the UGAAA will launch a “Drive to Build a Dawg House” for Gales and his family.

“Anybody can just their prayer for you and send you on your way, but they didn’t. They took me as one of their kids, not just as another player, but as one of their children,” Gales said.

To contibute, text (707) 204-1707 to donate $5 toward the fund.

Mike Gundy says Sugar Bowl loss to Ole Miss wasn’t on a “level playing field”

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 01:  Laquon Treadwell #1 of the Mississippi Rebels celebrates scoring a 14-yard touchdown against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the fourth quarter of the Allstate Sugar Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 1, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
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Mike Gundy originally blamed himself for Oklahoma State’s 48-20 loss to Ole Miss at the Sugar Bowl that closed the 2015 season.

Speaking at the AFCA Convention in Nashville last month, I heard Gundy explain to thousands of fellow coaches he felt he overtrained his Cowboys in preparation to play the physically imposing Rebels. The end result backfired. As I wrote for FootballScoop:

As Oklahoma State prepared to face No. 12 Ole Miss in the Sugar Bowl, Gundy pushed his players harder than usual in December practices. “They’re going to knock us off the ball and it’s not going to look pretty,” he remembers thinking. That strategy backfired on him, though, as the Rebels pounded Gundy’s team 48-20. Oklahoma State was out-rushed 207-63 and averaged only 6.7 yards per pass attempt to Ole Miss’s 9.9. “We weren’t physical and we were slow,” Gundy said.

But now Gundy thinks something else may have contributed to that 28-point spanking.

As he explained to the Tulsa World‘s Bill Haisten, Gundy said he couldn’t help but think of the Sugar Bowl when he learned of the NCAA’s charges against Ole Miss.

“The first thing I thought about was (OSU’s recent experience with the NCAA),” Gundy said, “and the second thing was the Sugar Bowl and my players and what they went through.”

He continued: “We’ll never know what we could have done in the Sugar Bowl if it was a level playing field. That is the truth. I’m not sure we would have won the Sugar Bowl, but we’ll never know.”