Bryce Petty

Baylor leapfrogs Ohio State in AP poll


Unlike the coaches, the media has decided the status quo inside the Top Five was not to their liking.

In a development that’s not completely unexpected, Baylor leapfrogged Ohio State and moved to No. 3 of the latest release of the Associated Press Top 25 poll.

The Bears had entered Week 12 seven points behind the Buckeyes.  Thanks to a combination of 29-point BU win over Texas Tech — after falling behind early — and OSU’s 25-point win over Illinois that was a two-score game late, the Bears now own an eight-point lead on the Buckeyes.

(It’s at this point in the program where we feel compelled to remind you that the AP is not one of the two polls utilized by the BCS.)

Of course, Alabama and Florida State remain 1-2 for the second consecutive week.  The Seminoles picked up two first-place votes and now have five, while the Tide claimed the remaining 55.

Thanks to Stanford’s loss, Oregon (No. 5), Auburn (No. 6), Clemson (No. 7), Missouri (No. 8) and Texas A&M (No. 9) all moved up one spot from a week ago.  The Cardinal stayed inside the Top 10 at No. 10.

Despite each winning, UCF (No. 17) and Louisville (No. 21) were the only teams other than Stanford to drop more than one spot this week.  Arizona State, from No. 21 to No. 19, was the only team to move up more than one spot.

Texas (No. 23), Miami (No. 24) and Georgia (No. 25 all fell out of the Top 25, replaced by USC, Ole Miss and Duke at Nos. 23-25, respectively.  The Blue Devils, incidentally, are ranked for the first time since Dec. 6, 1994.

Vols ‘very confident there was no inappropriate conduct’ between Butch Jones, player

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 11:  Head coach Butch Jones of the Tennessee Volunteers watches the action during a game against the Chattanooga Mocs at Neyland Stadium on October 11, 2014 in Knoxville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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In the midst of reports that he had a physical altercation with one of his Tennessee players during summer camp this year, Butch Jones labeled the speculation “absolutely ridiculous.”

Apparently, his bosses agree with the head coach.

At a board meeting Thursday, UT-Knoxville chancellor Jimmy Cheek stated that he and athletic director Dave Hart had done their “due diligence” in investigating the accusations that Jones and senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder were involved in some type of physical skirmish during practice this past August.  The end result of interviews with Jones, coaches and players was the conclusion that there was nothing to the reports and message-board rumors.

“There’s been a lot of rumor and misinformation on social media and message boards about an alleged incident during football practice,” Cheek said according to‘s Wes Rucker. “It’s not our practice to respond to rumors, but I thought it was important to let you know that we’ve done our due diligence and Dave Hart and I are very confident there was no inappropriate conduct with any players or coaches.”

Shortly after Cheek spoke at the board meeting, Crowder took to Twitter with a series of missives that speaks around the issue.

Michigan’s keeping ‘fingers crossed’ for leading rusher’s availability

De'Veon Smith
Associated Press
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Michigan played without its leading rusher in Week 5.  The Wolverines are hoping there won’t be a repeat in Week 6.

De'Veon Smith sustained a lower-leg injury in the Week 4 win over BYU and didn’t travel with the team for last Saturday’s win over Maryland.  Smith has been practicing with his teammates throughout the first few days of this week, and head coach Jim Harbaugh is guardedly optimistic that the running back will be available for what’s turned into a huge Big Ten matchup with Northwestern Saturday in the Big House.

“He’s practicing and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he’s going to stay good and be ready to play,” Harbaugh said during a radio appearance Thursday morning. “But we’ll (keep) looking at that every day.”

Despite essentially missing a game and a half, Smith currently leads the Wolverines with 331 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. He’s added four receptions for 35 yards and a touchdown coming out of the backfield the first four games.

Should Smith be unable to go again, the Wolverines have three other backs with at least 100 yards on the ground: Ty Isaac (187, 7.2 yards per carry), Drake Johnson (125, 4.2 ypc) and Derrick Green (100, 3.3 ypc).

In addition to Smith, Harbaugh is hopeful Channing Stribling will be available this weekend as well.  The starting cornerback didn’t play against the Cougars because of injury