Four top-10 teams losing to unranked opponents in one week tends to shake things up a bit.
For starters, Alabama is now unanimously viewed as the No. 1 team in the country. The Tide earned every available No. 1 vote in Sunday’s Coaches’ Poll and the companion AP poll, released Sunday. Penn State moved up to No. 2, the program’s highest ranking since 1999. Georgia followed behind at No. 3, while TCU and Wisconsin filled out the top five.
A fifth straight blowout was enough for Ohio State to jump three spots forward to No. 6, putting the Buckeyes at the front of the 1-loss train, ahead of Clemson.
LSU re-joined the poll after knocking off then-No. 10 Auburn, but remained three spots ahead of the blue-and-orange Tigers. West Virginia bumped then-No. 24 Texas Tech out and moved in at No. 23, while Memphis made its 2017 debut, replacing No. 25 Navy.
And, cementing the AP’s status as the greater of the sport’s two opinion polls, voters moved Michigan State ahead of Michigan a week after the Spartans’ win in the Big House.
The full poll:
1. Alabama — 1,525 total points (61 first-place votes)
2. Penn State — 1,432
3. Georgia — 1,417
4. TCU — 1,322
5. Wisconsin — 1,241
6. Ohio State — 1,184
7. Clemson — 1,117
8. Miami — 1,109
9. Oklahoma — 1,066
10. Oklahoma State — 900
11. USC — 886
12. Washington — 811
13. Notre Dame — 798
14. Virginia Tech — 727
15. Washington State — 578
16. South Florida — 573
16. NC State — 573
18. Michigan State — 563
19. Michigan — 558
20. Central Florida — 387
21. Auburn — 303
22. Stanford — 274
23. West Virginia — 157
24. LSU — 108
25. Memphis — 62
Entering Week 7, Houston and Navy were 1-2 in the AAC West. Exiting it? Not so much.
At 2-0, Houston led the conference’s West division. At 3-1, No. 25 Navy was right behind. In a span of about a half-hour Saturday, however, both teams put the finishing touches on losses, the former to Tulsa 45-17 and the latter to Memphis 30-27.
The Cougars’ loss, especially the margin, is borderline stunning as the Golden Hurricane came into the contest sporting a 1-5 overall record and a 0-2 mark in conference play. Just a week ago, Tulsa was taken to the woodshed by West rival Tulane in a 62-28 whooping.
Meanwhile, the Tigers’ win over the Midshipmen, coupled with the Cougars’ loss, pushes the U of M to the top of the division with a 3-1 record in conference play. While unranked, Memphis could replace Navy in the Top 25 when the new set of rankings are released Sunday afternoon.
Also lurking in the division are SMU, which enters the weekend 1-1 and will leave with the same mark as the Mustangs are on their bye, and Tulane, also 1-1 and will be that way entering Week 8 as they face Conference USA’s Florida International Saturday night.
In the midst of its game against Navy, Memphis was forced to address an off-field issue involving one of its now-former football players.
According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, Tigers defensive tackle Ernest Suttles was arrested early Saturday morning on a charge of rape. Other than the alleged incident occurred at an off-campus residence and that the police were called after the alleged victim reported the alleged assault at a local hospital, no further details surrounding the incident have been released.
Suttles was initially suspended by the university. After it was learned that he had been charged, the lineman was dismissed by the football program.
“[Suttles] has been removed from campus as this matter is reviewed by the Office of Student Accountability, Outreach and Support for violations of the UofM Student Code of Conduct,” a portion of a statement from the university read. The Commerical Appeal went on to write that “Suttles arrest comes in the wake of on-campus protests last week against rape and sexual assault.”
Entering the 2017 season, Suttles, who graduated in May of this year, had started 19 of the 38 games in which he played. Prior to the off-field issue, the fifth-year senior was listed as a co-starter at tackle for the Tigers.
Suttles originally began his collegiate career at Nebraska, but was dismissed following a physical altercation with a teammate. He transferred to Memphis in August of 2013.
And then there were 20.
Tuesday, the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award announced that its 47-player preseason watch list has been whittled down to 20. The award has been given annually since 1987 to the to the top quarterback in the country who is either a senior or fourth-year junior for his accomplishments both on and off the field.
“The Golden Arm Award considers character, citizenship, integrity, leadership, and honor – characteristics that were displayed by my father – to be every bit as important as the quarterback’s completion rate or number of touchdowns scored,” John C. Unitas, Jr., president of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation and son of the quarterbacking legend in whose honor the award is named. “Despite my Dad’s outstanding accomplishments, he never forgot his humble beginnings and that won him a permanent place in the hearts of everyone who ever knew him.”
Last year’s winner was Clemson’s Deshaun Watson. Below is the complete list of the 20 players to survive the latest cut:
J.T. Barrett, Ohio State
David Blough, Purdue
Jesse Ertz, Kansas State
Luke Falk, Washington State
Riley Ferguson, Memphis
Ryan Finley, NC State
Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi St.
Quinton Flowers, South Florida
Justice Hansen, Arkansas St.
Kenny Hill, TCU
Stephen Johnson, Kentucky
Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
Trace McSorley, Penn St.
Josh Rosen, UCLA
Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State
Brandon Silvers, Troy
Nick Stevens, Colorado St.
Clayton Thorson, Northwestern
Mike White, Western Ky.
Logan Woodside, Toledo
Memphis (4-1, 1-1 AAC) quarterback Riley Ferguson tied an American Athletic Conference record with seven touchdown passes thrown in a single game Friday night in a 70-31 road win at UConn (1-4, 0-3 AAC). Tigers wide receiver Anthony Miller had himself a big night to contribute to Ferguson’s success with 15 catches for 224 yards and a school-record four touchdowns.
The record for most touchdown passes in a single game by a player form the AAC was previously set by former Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch, who is now in the NFL with the Denver Broncos.
Here’s a look at the touchdown that moved Ferguson into a tie with the former Memphis quarterback…
Miller ended his night with 224 receiving yards and four touchdowns, pretty much doubling his season total coming into the night.
Ferguson completed 34-of-48 pass attempts for 431 yards and the seven touchdowns before finally getting a rest in the fourth quarter as David Moore stepped in to replace him. Memphis accumulated 711 yards of total offense, more than making up for what at times was a rough showing by the Memphis defense. But UConn did themselves no favors with three turnovers and going just 2-for-11 on third down attempts.
Memphis will hope to keep this momentum going next week when they host Navy in what looks to be a pivotal game in the AAC West standings. The Midshipmen are already 3-0 in conference play, while Memphis evened their record against conference opponents after getting rolled over by UCF last week.
Uconn will look to get something on track next week with a road game at Temple.