TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 01:  Da'Shawn Hand #9 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts after tackling Benjamin Snell Jr. #26 of the Kentucky Wildcats at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 1, 2016 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

AP Top 25: SEC, ACC lead the way with six ranked teams


The Alabama Crimson Tide remain firmly in first place after the votes from the AP voters were tabulated this weekend. No. 1 Alabama received 53 first-place votes to stay comfy on top of this week’s AP poll. They are followed by No. 2 Ohio State, with six first-place votes, and No. 3 Clemson, with one first-place vote. Michigan also received a first-place vote once again this week and is fourth in the latest AP ranking. Following a dominating victory over Stanford, Washington jumped up five spots to crack this week’s top five at No. 5.

No. 6 Houston remained in the same spot this week, but No. 7 Louisville fell just behind them following a road loss at Clemson Saturday night. No. 8 Texas A&M, No. 9 Tennessee and No. 10 Miami all moved up this week to round out the top 10 in the AP poll.

No. 11 Wisconsin fell just three spots following a defensive battle in Ann Arbor. This is mildly interesting, as Louisville fell four spots following a different kind of back-and-forth game on the road against Clemson, whom the voters rank higher than Michigan this week.

No. 14 Ole Miss moved up two spots following a win at home against Memphis. At 3-2, the Rebels remain nine spots ahead of 3-2 Florida State (No. 23). The Seminoles won a head-to-head matchup with Ole Miss but the voters appear to be crushing FSU for a last-second loss at home to No. 17 North Carolina and a blowout loss at Louisville more than Ole Miss giving up double-digit leads to Alabama and FSU in losses. Polls can be funny sometimes.

There is nothing funny about Colorado, though. The Buffs return to the AP Top 25 this week and debut at No. 21. It is the first time since 2005 the Buffs are ranked by the AP voters, and they also made a return to the coaches poll today. North Carolina, No. 22 West Virginia and No. 25 Virginia Tech also make their first appearance sin the AP poll this season, and No. 22 Oklahoma makes its return after falling out after a 1-2 start.

Here is the AP Top 25 breakdown by conference:

  1. SEC – 6 (Alabama, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Florida)
    ACC – 6 (Clemson, Louisville, Miami, UNC, Florida State, Virginia Tech)
  2. Big Ten – 4 (Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nebraska)
    Pac-12 – 4 (Washington, Stanford, Colorado, Utah)
  3. Big 12 – 3 (Baylor, Oklahoma, West Virginia)
  4. American Athletic Conference – 1 (Houston)
    Mountain West Conference – 1 (Boise State)

Here is this week’s AP Top 25, with first-place votes noted:

  1. Alabama (53)
  2. Ohio state (6)
  3. Clemson (1)
  4. Michigan (1)
  5. Washington
  6. Houston
  7. Louisville
  8. Texas A&M
  9. Tennessee
  10. Miami
  11. Wisconsin
  12. Nebraska
  13. Baylor
  14. Ole Miss
  15. Stanford
  16. Arkansas
  17. North Carolina
  18. Florida
  19. Boise State
  20. Oklahoma
  21. Colorado
  22. West Virginia
  23. Florida State
  24. Utah
  25. Virginia Tech

San Diego State will play at Qualcomm Stadium through 2020

SAN DIEGO, CA - JANUARY 01: A general view of the San Diego Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs en route to Chiefs 37-27 win over the Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on January 1, 2017 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images
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The Chargers have left San Diego for Los Angeles and San Diego State is working on figuring out the best possible plan for a long-term football home. For the time being, the Aztecs will continue to call Qualcomm Stadium home. The current lease with the football stadium in San Diego was to expire after the 2018 season, but the university has agreed to tack on two additional years to the lease.

Qualcomm Stadium still continues to be a short-term solution for the Aztecs. The university is hoping to find a suitable plan that will see a brand new football stadium constructed that is more suitable for the program’s fans and perhaps more accommodating. San Diego state is also reportedly open to the idea of sharing a new stadium with a potential Major League Soccer franchise, which typically plays in smaller venues than NFL stadiums.

“There’s a lot of really good football fans in this town that maybe don’t want to drive four or five hours to see a football game when they can see a pretty good product right here at home, and maybe they’ll become fans of our team,” San Diego State head coach Rocky Long said during a news conference on Thursday to announce a new contract extension. “I think that college football has a lot of things to offer that pro football does not.”

Long’s recently extended contract with San Diego state runs through the 2021 season. The hope is Long will be able to coach the Aztecs into a new home stadium in the final year currently under contract.

Alabama RB Derrick Gore transfers to ULM

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 03:  Derrick Gore #27 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates his fourth quarter touchdown against the Florida Gators during the SEC Championship game at the Georgia Dome on December 3, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
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It seems to happen every now and then, but Alabama is losing a running back to a transfer this spring. Derrick Gore, a redshirt junior, is transferring to Louisiana-Monroe to continue his college football career, as reported by The News-Star.

Gore will be given a better chance to compete for a significant role in ULM’s offense as he gets out from the deep running back stable at Alabama that makes it difficult to get everyone involved. Gore had played a reserve role on offense behind the likes of Derrick Henry, Bo Scarbrough and Kenyan Drake at a position that is generally stacked for the Crimson Tide. Gore did find a role for himself on special teams. Gore blocked a punt against Florida in the SEC Championship Game last December and returned it for a touchdown. He was a walk-on at Alabama.

Gore will be eligible immediately to play for ULM starting this fall and will have two years of eligibility to use with the Warhawks.

Mike Locksley’s new role on Alabama staff will be co-offensive coordinator

PISCATAWAY, NJ - NOVEMBER 28:  Head coach Mike Locksley of the Maryland Terrapins looks on during a game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at High Point Solutions Stadium on November 28, 2015 in Piscataway, New Jersey.  (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images
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Alabama took advantage of a staff opening on its coaching staff this week to promote Mike Locksley to a full-time offensive assistant’s role. Now, his role appears to be a bit more defined. According to a report from Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports, Locksley will be taking on the role of co-offensive coordinator.

Locksley has previous offensive coordinator experience, of course. Locksley coached the offense at Maryland and Illinois prior to arriving at Alabama. Feldman reports Locksley turned down “several coaching offers” so he could remain a part of the Alabama coaching staff for the 2017 season.

Locksley was previously added to the Alabama football staff as an analyst. Now he will share the offensive coordinator duties with another recently promoted analyst, Steve Sarkisian. Sarkisian was promoted to offensive coordinator in the week leading up to the College Football Playoff national championship game after Nick Saban made the decision to force Lane Kiffin out of the position and send his offensive coordinator to take on the full-time work of being the new head coach of FAU.

NCAA proposal to shut down spring break off-campus practices passes

FILE - In this Oct. 3, 2015, file photo, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh calls for a flag in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Maryland in College Park, Md. Michigan and Florida both entered the season hoping to revive storied programs that had begun to look more pedestrian than they were accustomed to. Enter Wolverines coach Harbaugh and Gators coach Jim McElwain, who both brought their own style and approach to the sidelines in their first seasons on the job. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File
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Michigan’s spring break trip to conduct spring practices at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida will be its last. An NCAA proposal to ban such trips outside of the college football season passed by a count of 58-22 on Friday.

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh caught a lot of criticism for his decision to take Michigan’s spring practices down to Florida over Michigan’s spring break. The move was a bold strategy for Harbaugh and the Michigan program, but it ruffled the feathers of coaches from the ACC and SEC, leading to a move to ban such practice plans in the future. The debate over such a move was debated with similar intensity that satellite camps received, and now we await to see just how Harbuagh will respond, because he is known to chime in when something like this happens.

So no more trips to Florida for Michigan football players over spring break. That means Harbaugh will just have to go to the drawing board to find a new idea to find an edge.