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

14 Comments

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

SEC leads NFL Draft for 11th straight year as Alabama and Michigan set school records

Brandon Wade/AP Images for NFLPA
4 Comments

The 2017 NFL Draft has come and gone, and once again it is the SEC claiming another NFL Draft national championship. A grand total of 53 players from the SEC were drafted by NFL teams. It is the 11th straight year the SEC has had the most players drafted by NFL teams.

The ACC ended the draft with 42 players drafted, followed by the Pac-12 (36) and Big Ten (35). The Big 12 ended the draft with just 14 players drafted.

Helping to contribute to the SEC’s NFL Draft total was Alabama setting a school record with 10 players drafted.

Alabama’s nine players drafted in the first 80 picks was also a new Alabama record.

Michigan ended up having more players drafted than any other Big Ten team, slipping past Ohio State by the time the draft closed up shop this year. For the Wolverines, 11 players ended up being drafted. The previous school record for draft picks was 10, set in 1972 and tied in 1974. Head coach Jim Harbaugh will get plenty of the praise for developing that many players getting a chance to be drafted, but Brady Hoke should be recognized for recruiting those players as well (and blamed for not developing the talent he brought in).

 

Air Force changes rules for football players with NFL aspirations

AP Photo/The Colorado Springs Gazette, Michael Ciaglo
2 Comments

One of the top players from Air Force was ineligible to be drafted by the NFL this weekend, and it had nothing to do with NFL rules. It also had nothing to do with NFL teams backing away from a particular player due to off-field concerns. Instead, a policy at Air Force is what is to blame for wide receiver Jalen Robinette not moving on to the NFL at this time.

The U.S. Air Force will not approve requests from academy graduates to defer their two years of active duty in order to be allowed to play professional football. Just a year ago, the Department of Defense changed the policy to allow for the possibility, which made it possible for Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds to be allowed to play. Reynolds later joined the Baltimore Ravens. Reynolds had received a recommendation to be allowed to play by the U.S. Naval Academy.

“The Air Force notified academy leaders [Thursday] that the service would not approve requests to waiver active duty military commitments for cadet athletes,” a statement from Air Force read. “Cadets will be required to serve two years active duty prior to entering Ready Reserve, which would allow their participation in professional sports. The Air Force places tremendous value on our cadet athletes and their contributions to the nation as we continue to build leaders of character, engage in combat operations overseas and continue to ensure our highest military readiness at home.”

Because of the policy change and confirmation, Robinette was not able to be drafted. He may still have been a long shot to be drafted by an NFL Team, but the policy also means he is unable to be signed as an undrafted free agent as well.

Rawleigh Williams carted off at Arkansas scrimmage

AP Photo/Chris Brashers
Leave a comment

Any time a player that has previously undergone neck surgery goes down on the field and needs to be carted off is quite the scary moment. On Saturday, the Arkansas football program had that exact scare when Rawleigh Williams went down on the field in pain and ended up having to be carted off the practice field during the Arkansas scrimmage.

Williams was placed on a stretcher and taken out of the facility on a cart to receive medical attention. His legs and arms were moving on the ground, a slight sigh of relief given the hit and his injury history. In 2015, Williams was carted off and had to undergo surgery on his neck. Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema said the injury concern on Saturday was apparently not related to the previous neck injury, which was expected to have a full recovery.

It is an unfortunate ending to the spring for Williams, because all indications seemed to be he was certainly improving running the football. Bielema said earlier in the week Williams was running with more patience, which is always a key for a running back.

Arkansas moved its final scrimmage of the spring indoors due to bad weather rolling through the area.

Justin Herbert shines in first Oregon spring game under Willie Taggart

Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images
Leave a comment

A glimpse of a brand new era of Oregon football took center stage in Eugene, Oregon on Saturday as the spring football season drew to a close. Willie Taggart showed fans a little bit of what to expect from Oregon in the fall as the program looks to bounce back from a down season under the coach who has shown a knack for improving programs. As is usually the case in a spring game, Oregon’s quarterback situation was under a microscope, and sophomore Justin Herbert took advantage of the opportunity.

Herbert completed 16 of 26 passes for 327 yards and established a connection with wide receiver Darren Carrington. The two connected for three touchdowns in the game. Sophomore Travis Jonson and early enrollee Braxton Burmeister also saw playing time in the game, but Carrington was confident in saying this is Herbert’s job to lose.

”Our chemistry has definitely improved this spring, and it’ll improve more by the time fall comes, but Herbert, I mean, that’s the guy right now to beat,” Carrington said after the spring game.

As for the team as a whole, Taggert knows there is much still to address as a new system and style are implemented and the roster adjusts physically to the demands of the new coach.

‘We’re still building. We’re nowhere where we need to be as a football team yet. We have some good players. We don’t have a lot of depth that we need to have, that’s going to be a work in progress,” Taggart said. ”The thing for us as coaches is just to make our guys better than they were before. If I guy wasn’t good enough we want to make him look better than he was before. If I guy was good we want to make him great.”

Og course, it wouldn’t be an Oregon spring game without having that typical Oregon uniform flair. Even with a new head coach and with the talk suggesting the Ducks will go for a more traditional approach to uniforms in the fall, the spring game was used for some sizzle on the unis.

Oregon’s spring game crowd of 36,821 assured the Ducks of having the highest spring game attendance among Pac-12 school for a third consecutive year.