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Alabama's head coach Saban instructs his players as they take on the LSU Tigers during their NCAA football game in Baton Rouge
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Checking in on the nation’s longest winning & losing streaks

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Unbelievably, at the end of today, we’ll be more than one-third of the way through the 2016 regular season as the calendar flips from September to October. And, not surprisingly, some teams are faring better than others — and some, suffice to say, are not.

In “water’s wet, sky’s blue” news, defending national champions and undefeated top-ranked Alabama holds the nation’s longest winning streak at 16 in a row. ‘Bama’s last loss came Sept. 19 a year ago against Ole Miss. In fact, the Tide hasn’t really come close to seeing that streak end since as just two of their last 16 games have been decided by 10-plus points, with the lone exceptions being a 19-14 win over Tennessee in October of last year and 43-37 over Ole Miss just two weeks ago.

What might surprise you, though, is the second-longest streak behind ‘Bama. The holder of that honor? San Diego State, which has peeled off 13 wins in a row entering Week 5. Tennessee is the only other team in double digits, with 10 wins in a row dating back to last season.  The Vols’ last loss?  To the Tide, of course, a defeat that UT will get to avenge two weeks from today in the friendly confines of Neyland Stadium.

A total of nine teams will also take the field Saturday with a winning streak of at least five in a row:

7 — Houston, Washington
6 — Louisville, Utah, Western Michigan, Wisconsin
5 — Boise State, Navy, Ohio State

Clemson could join some combination of the above at that five-game winning-streak plateau Saturday, but to get there they’ll have to beat… Louisville.

On the other side of the won-loss ledger, the “proud” owner of the nation’s longest losing streak entering the 2016 season was Kansas* at 15 straight, followed by UCF (13), Charlotte (10), Eastern Michigan (10), Oregon State (nine) and Boston College (eight).

All six of those teams have seen those losing streaks come to a merciful end, with EMU actually off to a 3-1 start to the year. The team that was just behind BC, Wake Forest, carried a six-game losing streak into 2016 before surprisingly (stunningly?) winning their first four games of the season.

So, with all of that winning from last year’s biggest losers, who’s the current “top” loser? That title now belongs to the Northern Illinois Huskies, the winners of the last six MAC West championships — and three of the last six conference titles — who have started this season with four straight losses to stretch their ignominious streak to a nation’s best/worst seven in a row. Just three other teams have a streak that began during the 2015 season: Florida International, which has lost six in a row and already fired their head coach; Arkansas State, which lost its first four of this season to push its streak to five in a row; and Georgia State, 0-3 on the season to add to a loss in the 2015 Cure Bowl for a four-game losing streak.

Two additional teams are winless on the season after winning their last game of 2015: Miami of Ohio and Rice, which are each 0-4 in 2016.

(*While Kansas’ overall losing streak came to an end, they’ve still lost 17 in a row against FBS opponents, with the last one of those coming in early November of 2015 against Iowa State.)

Florida International fires head coach Ron Turner after 10-30 run

HADLEY, MA - SEPTEMBER 17:  Head coach Ron Turner of the FIU Golden Panthers looks on during the game against the Massachusetts Minutemen at Warren McGuirk Alumni Stadium on September 17, 2016 in Hadley, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)
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The firing season in college football is getting started earlier and earlier. Just ask Ron Turner.

The Florida International head coach was fired early Sunday in a move that was hardly surprising aside from its timing.

“I want to thank Coach Turner for his contributions to the FIU football program, most importantly his commitment to academics and community service,” athletic director Pete Garcia said in a short statement. “At this time Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Ron Cooper has been named interim head coach.”

Turner went 10-30 over four years at the school but was 0-4 to begin the season after a 53-14 loss to Central Florida last week. While he is far from the first coach fired in 2016, Turner did become the first head coach to be fired after the season got underway.

Cooper had a 45–55 record in nine seasons as a head coach at Eastern Michigan, Louisville and Alabama A&M. He was elevated to FIU’s defensive coordinator prior to the season and notably served as LSU’s defensive backs coach when Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu starred in Baton Rouge.

The Panthers are set to play local rival Florida Atlantic on Saturday.

Wes Brown’s suspension to bleed over to Maryland’s first three games

COLLEGE PARK, MD - NOVEMBER 07: Running back Wes Brown #5 of the Maryland Terrapins rushes against the Wisconsin Badgers during the first half at Byrd Stadium on November 7, 2015 in College Park, Maryland.(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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The rocky tenure of Wes Brown at Maryland will officially have yet another speed bump to overcome.

In mid-November of last year, Maryland announced that Brown had been indefinitely suspended for violating the student-athlete code of conduct.  That suspension cost him the final two games of the 2015 season, and, even as he was permitted to participate in spring practice, will also cost him the first three games of the upcoming season as well.

First-year head coach D.J. Durkin confirmed Wednesday that the running back will miss games against Howard, FIU and UCF, the latter two on the road, as the unspecified violation will bleed into the new season.

“Obviously, we’re honoring that. We’re going to serve that,” said Durkin, who wasn’t yet the Terps head coach when the suspension was handed down.

Despite missing the last half of November, Brown was still second among U of M backs with 317 yards on the ground and three rushing touchdowns.  Despite being hampered by a labrum issue, he was third on the Terps in rushing in 2014 as well with 357.

Brown had been suspended from the university in early August of 2013 following a physical run-in with Baltimore police, and did not play at all that season even as all of the charges against him had been dropped.  In January of 2014, Brown was readmitted by the university.

Headed by ACC’s 15, record 88 player named to Wuerffel watch list

GAINESVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 28:  Quarterback Danny Wuerffel #7 of the Florida Gators readies to throw during a game against the Kentucky Wildcats on September 28, 1996 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.  The Gators defeated the Wildcats 65-0.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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Records were made to be broken, even this kind of a record, I guess.

Continuing the watch list avalanche is the Wuerffel Trophy, which announced 88 players have been recognized as part of the annual preseason grouping.  That number is a record for the award, which is named in honor of former Florida great Danny Wuerffel and is awarded to the FBS player that “best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.”

The 2015 winner of the Wuerffel was Oklahoma’s Ty Darlington.

As far as the conference-by-conference breakdown?  From the release:

The Atlantic Coast Conference led all conferences with 15 players appearing on the 2016 watch list. Following the ACC are the SEC with 12 players, Conference USA with 10 and the Big 10 and Big 12 with 9 players each. The American Athletic followed with 8 players while the Sun Belt added 7, the PAC 12 submitted 6 and the MAC and Mountain West followed with 4 each. All FBS Conferences are represented on the list, as were Independent representatives BYU and United States Military Academy (Army) with 1 nominee each.

Below is the complete 2016 Wuerffel Trophy preseason watch list:

JK Scott, Alabama, Junior, P
O.J. Howard, Alabama, Senior, TE
Darian Small, Appalachian State, Senior, DL
Vilami “Laiu” Moeakiola, Arizona State, Senior, LB
Brooks Ellis, Arkansas, Senior, LB
Blaise Taylor, Arkansas State, Junior, DB
Andrew King, Army, Senior, LB
Daniel Carlson, Auburn, Junior, PK
Seth Russell, Baylor, Senior, QB
Mitchell Juergens, BYU, Senior, WR
Jonny Linehan, BYU, Senior, P
Jack Austin, California, Junior, WR
Jamal Covington, Charlotte, Senior, OL
Deshaun Watson, Clemson, Junior, QB
Sefo Liufau, Colorado, Senior, QB
Zack Golditch, Colorado State, Junior, OL
DeVon Edwards, Duke, Senior, DB
Zay Jones, East Carolina, Senior, WR
Jarrad Davis, Florida, Senior, LB
Shalom Ogbonda, Florida Atlantic, Senior, DL
Michael Montero, Florida International, Senior, OL
Alec Eberle, Florida State, Sophomore, OL
Jeb Blazevich, Georgia, Junior, TE
Keith Rucker, Georgia State, Senior, TE
KeShun Freeman, Georgia Tech, Junior, DE
Greg Ward, Jr., Houston, Senior, QB
Joe Spencer, Illinois, Senior, OL
Mitchell Paige, Indiana, Senior, WR
LeShun Daniels, Jr., Iowa, Senior, RB
Cole Netten, Iowa State, Senior, PK
Fish Smithson, Kansas, Senior, DB
Dante Barnett, Kansas State, Senior, DB
Antwan Dixon, Kent State, Sophomore, WR
Nick Cuthbert, Kent State, Senior, LB
Karmichael Dunbar, Louisiana, Senior, DL
Brandon Radcliff, Louisville, Senior, RB
Colin Jeter, LSU, Senior, TE
William Likely, Maryland, Senior, DB
Ryan Yurachek, Marshall, Sophomore, TE
Jake Elliott, Memphis, Senior, PK
Brad Kaaya, Miami, Junior, QB
Josiah Price, Michigan State, Senior, TE
Brent Stockstill, Middle Tennessee, Sophomore, QB
Damarius Travis, Minnesota, Senior, DB
Evan Engram, Mississippi, Senior, TE
Brandon Holloway, Mississippi State, Senior, WR/RB
Drew Brown, Nebraska, Junior, PK
Jeremy Maculey, Nevada, Senior, OL
Nick Weller, North Carolina, Senior, PK
Tony Adams, North Carolina State, Junior, OL
Drew Hare, Northern Illinois, Senior, QB
Matthew Harris, Northwestern, Senior DB
Jarrod Barnes, Ohio State, Senior, DB
Samaje Perine, Oklahoma, Junior, RB
Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State, Junior, QB
Tyler Compton, Old Dominion, Senior, OL
Ryan Nall, Oregon State, Sophomore, RB
Adam Biniswaty, Pittsburgh, Senior, OL
James Conner, Pittsburgh, Junior, RB
Mike Caprara, Pittsburgh, Senior, LB
Darik Dillard, Rice, Senior, RB
Daniel Brunskill, San Diego State, Senior, TE
Tim Crawley, San Jose State, Senior, WR
Nick Mullins, Southern Mississippi, Senior, QB
Jason Emerich, Syracuse, Senior, OL
Aaron Curry, TCU, Senior, DL
Brendan McGowan, Temple, Senior, OL
Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee, Senior, QB
Trevor Knight, Texas A&M, Senior, QB
Felix Romero, Texas State, Junior, OL
Patrick Mahomes, II, Texas Tech, Junior, QB
Brad Spelman, Toledo, Junior, LS
John Johnson, Troy, Junior, WR
Marshall Wadleigh, Tulane, Senior, TE
Dane Evans, Tulsa, Senior, QB
Justin Holman, UCF, Senior, QB
Bobby Puyol, UConn, Senior, PK
John Plattenburg, USC, Junior, DB
Travis Seefeldt, Utah State, Senior, DL
Oren Burks, Vanderbilt, Junior, LB
Matt Johns, Virginia, Senior, QB
Sam Rogers, Virginia Tech, Senior, RB
Ryan Janvion, Wake Forest, Senior, DB
Jeff Lindquist, Washington, Senior, TE
Skyler Howard, West Virginia, Senior, QB
Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky, Senior, OL
Marcus Ward, Western Kentucky, Senior, DB
Zach Terrell, Western Michigan, Senior, QB

62 centers, 11 from ACC, make up Rimington Trophy watch list

COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 26:  Pat Elflein #65 of the Ohio State Buckeyes  blocks against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Ohio Stadium on October 26, 2013 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
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Back in mid-May, the Rimington Trophy released a spring watch list consisting of 57 players.  Nearly two months later?  The updated watch list has grown.

Continuing the Great Watch List Dump of 2016, the the folks charged with overseeing the Rimington released a watch list that, now, contains a total of 62 players.  The Rimington Trophy, named in honor of former Nebraska standout Dave Rimington, is presented annually to the top center in the nation and is determined by the consensus All-American center pick from three existing All-America teams — Walter Camp. Sporting News and FWAA.

None of the trio of finalists for the 2015 award, won by Alabama’s Ryan Kelly, are included on this year’s initial watch list as all three have since moved on with expired eligibility.

Of the 62 centers, 29 are listed as seniors and three as graduate students.  Of the rest, 18 are classified as juniors and 12 as sophomores.

There are 14 teams in the ACC; a full 11 of them have a center named to the preseason watch list, the most of any single conference.  Next up are the Big Ten and SEC with 8, followed by the Big 12 (seven) and Group of Five leagues the AAC and Mountain West with seven each as well.  The Pac-12 has the fewest of any Power Five league with three centers named.

Below is the complete 2016 Rimington Trophy preseason watch list:

AAC (7)
Deyshawn Bond, Cincinnati
Evan Brown, SMU
Ryan Crozier, UConn
Drew Kyser, Memphis
Brendan McGowan, Temple
Chandler Miller, Tulsa
Will Noble, Houston

ACC (11)
Jon Baker, Boston College
Freddie Burden, Georgia Tech
Lucas Crowley, North Carolina
Alec Eberle, Florida State
Jason Emerich, Syracuse
Eric Gallo, Virginia Tech
Jay Guillermo, Clemson
Nicholas Linder, Miami
Jackson Matteo, Virginia
Alex Officer, Pittsburgh
Joe Scelfo, North Carolina State

BIG 12 (7)
Jonathan Alvarez, Oklahoma
Kyle Fuller, Baylor
Brad Lundblade, Oklahoma State
Tony Morales, Texas Tech
Tyler Orlosky, West Virginia
Dalton Risner, Kansas State
Austin Schlottmann, TCU

Brian Allen, Michigan State
Mason Cole, Michigan
Michael Dieter, Wisconsin
Pat Elflien, Ohio State
Brendan Moore, Maryland
Joe Spencer, Illinois
Dylan Utter, Nebraska
Sean Welsch, Iowa

Nick Clark, Old Dominion
Dillon Deboer, FAU
Max Halpin, Western Kentucky
Michael Montero, FIU
Daniel Stephens, Middle Tennessee State
Cameron Tom, Southern Miss

Tim McAuliffe, Bowling Green
James O’Hagan, Buffalo

Jake Bennett, Colorado State
Asotui Eli, Hawaii
Arthur Flores, San Diego State
Nathan Goltry, Nevada
Will Kreitler, UNLV
Austin Stephens, Utah State

PAC-12 (3)
Toa Lobendahn, USC
Coleman Shelton, Washington
Riley Sorenson, Washington State

SEC (8)
Jamaal Clayborn, Mississippi State
Robert Conyers, Ole Miss
Alan Knott, South Carolina
Brandon Kublanow, Georgia
Frank Ragnow, Arkansas
Ethan Pocic, LSU
Coleman Thomas, Tennessee
Jon Toth, Kentucky

Andy Kwon, Georgia Southern
Steve Matlock, Idaho
Gabe Mobley, Georgia State
Devin Mondie, Arkansas State