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It’s Winston over Lynch in HeismanPundit Straw Poll with one week to go

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With one week to go before voters must submit their final ballots, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is in the driver’s seat to win the 2013 Heisman Trophy.

The redshirt freshman captured 7 of 10 first-place votes to lead the penultimate HeismanPundit Heisman Straw Poll of the season released on Tuesday (Nov. 3).

His 24 total points was six ahead of second place Jordan Lynch of Northern Illinois, who picked up the other three first-place votes in the weekly survey of Heisman voter sentiment. Lynch climbed from fourth place in last week’s poll, when he tallied just seven points.

Both Winston and Lynch have games on Saturday, so there is still potential for movement in the race. With a legal investigation of Winston ongoing, many voters remain unsure about how their final ballots will look.

“This is the toughest vote I can recall,” said one voter. “I’m going to wait until the 11th hour (to make my decision).”

Despite the doubts, Winston actually improved his standing from last week’s poll, which he led while appearing on just six of 10 ballots for a total of 18 points. He appeared on nine of 10 ballots this time around. Lynch appeared on eight.

The biggest plunge in support since last week’s poll took place with Boston College running back Andre Williams, who dropped from second place last week (with 16 points, just two points behind Winston) to a tie for seventh this week with one point.

Now in its eighth season, the HeismanPundit.com Heisman Straw Poll is the college football world’s most trusted gauge of Heisman voter sentiment. It has been the most accurate Heisman poll in the country during the past seven seasons, with the final 2012 poll correctly picking the top five finishers and the final 2011 poll picking the top seven. This year’s poll is made up of 10 anonymous Heisman voters from across the country. Each week during the season they will pick three players. Tabulations for the preseason poll are tabulated like a real Heisman ballot, with three points awarded for a first-place vote, two points for a second-place vote and one point for a third-place vote.

Each week’s poll is released on Tuesdays throughout the season at HeismanPundit.com. The final poll will come out next Monday, Dec. 9.

The HeismanPundit.com Heisman Straw Poll, 12/3/2013

Total Points (with first place votes in parentheses)

1. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State — 24 (7)

2. Jordan Lynch, QB, Northern Illinois — 18 (3)

3. (tie) AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama — 4

Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State — 4

5. Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor — 3

6. (tie) Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon — 2

Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh — 2

7. (tie) Andre Williams, RB, Boston College — 1

Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville — 1

Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State — 1

Number of ballots

Winston — 9

Lynch — 8

McCarron — 4

Petty — 2

Miller — 2

The rest — 1 each

Report: NCAA finds 13 violations against Ole Miss football, nine under Hugh Freeze

BATON ROUGE, LA - OCTOBER 25:  Head coach Hugh Freeze of the Mississippi Rebels reacts to a call during the game against the LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium on October 25, 2014 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
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When word first broke of NCAA violations against Ole Miss, word from the Rebels’ football program was one of caution, for it was uncertain how many were targeted against football versus women’s basketball and track and field.

It appears we now know.

On Tuesday evening, the Associated Press reported the NCAA levied 13 allegations out of a possible 28 against the Ole Miss football team, nine of which occurred under the watch of head coach Hugh Freeze. However, it appears the most serious violations were either already know or took place during the Houston Nutt regime.

Included in the allegations are Laremy Tunsil‘s improper benefits, for which the left tackle already sat seven games. Also included are accusations former Nutt assistant David Saunders participated in a scheme to produce fraudulent test scores for recruits — the same allegations currently levied against Louisiana-Lafayette.

The remaining allegations, as detailed by the AP, include run-of-the-mill violations such as having the wrong people provide transportation on recruiting visits or assistant coaches making improper contact with recruits, many of which Ole Miss has already self-reported.

Half of all FBS signees lived between Texas and North Carolina

ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 29: Johnny Jefferson #5 of the Baylor Bears carries while defended by Dominquie Green #26 and Des Lawrence #2 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during the first half of the Russell Athletic Bowl game at Orlando Citrus Bowl on December 29, 2015 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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ESPN recruiting analyst Gerry Hamilton provided a massive public service through his Twitter account on Tuesday, releasing a data dump of fascinating information about the signing class of 2016.

In short, Texas was the most popular breeding ground for FBS prospects, but half of all signees came from a clean sweep from Texas, across the Gulf of Mexico to Florida and up to North Carolina.

The Lone Star State produced 359 players, with nearly half of those heading to Power 5 institutions. In fact, Hamilton reports, 72 of 128 FBS programs and 38 of 64 Power 5’s signed at least one player from Texas.

Florida trailed with 327 players, followed by California with 248 players and Georgia with 225. For what it’s worth, Ohio was not included in the study.

Data dump, begin!

AAC releases 2016 conference schedule

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The American Athletic Conference released its 2016 conference schedule highlighted by, oddly enough, non-conference games that pit league gem Houston against Oklahoma (on opening day at Houston’s NRG Stadium) and Louisville (in Houston on Nov. 19).

Those two games, more than any others, will sink or swim the conference’s chances of not only grabbing the Group of Five spot in the New Year’s Six, but a spot in the College Football Playoff itself.

The 2016 conference slate kicks off with Navy meeting Connecticut on Sept. 10 and concludes with the second annual AAC title game on Dec. 3 at a to-be-determined campus site.

The AAC led the way in scheduling Power 5 opponents — highlighted by a Week 3 schedule that will see the entire East Division punching up a weight class — and includes the likes of Florida State, Maryland, N.C. State, Virginia, Syracuse, Kansas, TCU and Oklahoma (for all intents and purposes) visiting AAC campuses.

View the full AAC slate here:

 

Former Notre Dame QB Tommy Rees hired as Chargers offensive assistant

SOUTH BEND, IN - NOVEMBER 02: Tommy Rees #11 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish passes against the Navy Midshipmen at Notre Dame Stadium on November 2, 2013 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Just like we all thought when watching him play at Notre Dame, Tommy Rees will be in the NFL in 2016. Just not as a quarterback.

The San Diego Chargers announced his hiring as an obnoxiously vague offensive assistant, assisting with the club’s offense in some form that they aren’t inclined to elaborate on.

After completing a career in which he threw for 7,670 yards with 61 touchdowns against 37 interceptions from 2010-13, Rees was cut by the Washington Redskins in 2014, then spent the 2014-15 seasons as a graduate assistant at Northwestern.