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AP Poll: Auburn edges Miami to crack top 10, Penn State highest ranking since 2008

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Just like the coaches poll before it, the AP Top 25 had some shuffling to do this week after a couple of top 10 teams took losses on their home field on Saturday. But at the top, it remains a two-team race between Alabama and Clemson.

No. 1 Alabama received 43 first-place votes to continue to stay comfortably ahead of No. 2 Clemson, with the Tigers picking up 18 first-place votes. no other team received first-place consideration this week. With No. 12 Oklahoma (down nine spots) and No. 17 Michigan (down 10 spots) dropping this week, that led to No. 8 Washington State and No. 10 Auburn wiggling their way up into the top 10 this week.

No. 3 Penn State moved up one spot in the AP poll to earn its highest-AP ranking since reaching third in the 2008 season. No. 4 Georgia and No. 5 Washington each moved up one spot in the AP poll this week as well. No. 6 TCU moved up two spots, as did No. 7 Wisconsin. No. 9 Ohio State also moved up a spot and remains in front of the only team to beat them head-to-head this year (Oklahoma).

No. 16 Notre Dame moved up five spots in this week’s poll following a road win at North Carolina, as the Irish likely benefitted from seeing a team they defeated (No. 21 Michigan State) crack the top 25 with a win over a top 10 program. Notre Dame also gets more benefit of the doubt for a close loss to Georgia earlier in the year as the Bulldogs continue to roll.

In addition to Michigan State, No. 23 Stanford, No. 24 Texas Tech, and No. 25 Navy all appear in the poll after not being ranked last week.

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

  1. Alabama (43)
  2. Clemson (18)
  3. Penn State
  4. Georgia
  5. Washington
  6. TCU
  7. Wisconsin
  8. Washington State
  9. Ohio State
  10. Auburn
  11. Miami
  12. Oklahoma
  13. USC
  14. Oklahoma State
  15. Virginia Tech
  16. Notre Dame
  17. Michigan
  18. USF
  19. San Diego State
  20. NC State
  21. Michigan State
  22. UCF
  23. Stanford
  24. Texas Tech
  25. Navy

Florida’s statement on Jim McElwain’s death-threat claim is interesting, to say the least

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Maybe it’s nothing, maybe it’s something.  Regardless, it’s something that bears watching.

Losers of two in a row and off to a 3-3 start to the season,  Florida has underperformed and underwhelmed to say the least.  So much so, in fact, that head coach Jim McElwain indicated Monday that he, his family, his coaching staff and players have been subjected to death threats by unknown individuals.

The head coach went into no detail publicly regarding the nature of the threats.  Apparently, it was the same privately when discussing the situation with his employer.

OK then.

Again, it could be in the same neighborhood as naked shark humping — nothing. Bears watching, though, as one very outspoken member of the Florida media is very much already doing publicly about a situation that was apparently reported to the media before it was reported to the police or even the university.

LOOK: Arizona State to wear Pat Tillman-themed uniforms

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Pat Tillman is essentially the Knute Rockne of Arizona State football, the central figure that will be as important to the program 100 years from now as he is today. And while Notre Dame will wear Rockne-themed uniforms later this season, so, too, will Arizona State.

The program revealed Tillman-centric uniforms on Monday for their Nov. 4 game with Colorado, based on the uniform Tillman wore as a member of the U.S. Army while fighting in Afghanistan.

Tillman played linebacker at Arizona State from 1994-97 (he was named the Pac-10’s Defensive Player of the Year as a senior) and then spent four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals before the events of 9/11 inspired him to join the U.S. Army. He was a member of the Army Rangers before he was killed in action in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004, at age 27.

Arizona State unveiled a Tillman statue at Sun Devil Stadium at its season-opening win over New Mexico State.

“Pat spent his whole life trying to be the best person he could possibly be,” Kevin Tillman, Pat’s brother, said at the unveiling. “He didn’t focus on money, he didn’t focus on fame, he didn’t focus on a pretty statue. It was, ‘How can I make myself a better person in all these different facets of my life?’ And ASU gave him an opportunity to do that.”

Jim McElwain says family, players have received death threats over 3-3 start

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Florida has lost two in a row and is off to a 3-3 start, and that streak will probably reach three on Saturday after the Gators meet No. 3 Georgia. While everyone knows SEC fans are passionate about their football, some have taken Florida’s struggles too far.

How far? By threatening to kill the players and coaches.

“I think it’s a pretty good lesson for the way things are,” head coach Jim McElwain said, via Only Gators. “There’s a lot of hate in this world and a lot of anger. And yet, it’s freedom to show it. The hard part is, obviously, when it’s threats against your own players, death threats to your families, the ill will that’s brought upon out there. And yet, I think it’s really one of those deals that really is a pretty good testament to what’s going on out there nationally. There’s a lot of angry people, and in this business, we’re the ones you take the shots at. And that’s the way it is.”

In my experience, it seems people lodging death threats are far more serious about the threat part than the, uh, other. But that’s easy for me to say, I’ve never received one.

Report: Sam Darnold expected to return to USC in 2018

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Sam Darnold was appointed the No. 1 pick of the 2018 NFL Draft on the second day of 2017. As a redshirt freshman, Darnold torched Penn State to the tune of 33-of-53 passing for 453 yards with five touchdowns and one interception in a 52-49 Rose Bowl win.

One problem, though. Darnold hasn’t played like a No. 1 pick this season.

While he hasn’t been the most disappointing player on what’s turning out to be a disappointing USC team, Darnold has posted pedestrian numbers (for him): hitting 63.5 percent of his passes for an even eight yards per attempt with 17 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. He ranks 38th nationally in passing efficiency. This puts him, coincidentally, one spot ahead of former USC quarterback Max Browne.

On Monday, NFL Draft analyst Benjamin Allbright shared a report that Darnold is expected to return to USC next season.

Considering Ronald Jones could return next season and that Stephen Carr is just a freshman, the prospect of Darnold returning in 2018 has to take the sting out of a lost 2017 for Trojans fans.