Category: Marshall Thundering Herd

PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 06:  Head coach Justin Fuente of the Memphis Tigers leaves the game after a 42-35 loss to the UCLA Bruins at Rose Bowl on September 6, 2014 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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Memphis, Temple exit Week 5 unbeaten, still eyeing New Year’s Six prize


For one it wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t pretty for the other, but both Memphis and Temple kept pace Friday night with the best the Group of Five has to offer — and kept their hopes for that group’s lone New Year’s Six bid very much alive in the process.

In rain-soaked Charlotte, drenched thanks to the outer edges of Hurricane Joaquin, the Owls overcame a choppy, weather-related start to pull away from the home-standing 49ers 37-3.  Down in South Florida, the Tigers overcame an early 10-0 hole to post a hard-fought and extremely defensive 24-17 win over the Bulls.

The win moves Memphis to 5-0 on the season, and 2-0 in the AAC West.  It was also the U of M’s 12th straight win dating back to last season, matching TCU’s current streak for the second-longest in the nation and behind only Ohio State’s 17 straight.

Temple, meanwhile, has won four straight to start the season and, at 2-0, is the only team in the AAC East that even has a conference win in 2015.

In the very early stages of Week 5, Memphis and Temple are currently two of five undefeated Group of Five teams — and four of those teams come from the AAC, with the other two teams from that conference being Navy and Houston at 3-0.  The only other undefeated G5 is the MAC’s Toledo at 3-0.

Given the four AAC members in this unbeaten group, the undefeated ranks will have no choice but to thin in the coming weeks.  In a span of three straight weeks from Nov. 7-21, Memphis will play, in order, Navy, Houston and Temple, with the latter two coming on the road — and that’s not even mentioning their Oct. 17 road trip to Oxford to face third-ranked Ole Miss.  Houston and Navy both play each other as well as fellow West foe Memphis, while Temple catches a break in that they only face Memphis, at home, of that West threesome.

Eight other G5s have just one loss entering Week 5: Tulsa (2-1) of the AAC; Marshall and Western Kentucky (each 3-1) of Conference USA; Ohio (3-1) of the MAC; Air Force (2-1) and Boise State (3-1) of the Mountain West; and Appalachian State (2-1) and Georgia Southern (3-1) of the Sun Belt.

None of those teams mentioned above are ranked in either the Associated Press or coaches’ Top 25 polls.  Toledo, though, is the first team in the AP’s “others receiving votes” category, while Boise State is three spots behind UT in that same category.  Houston, Temple, Memphis and Navy also received AP votes in the most recent Top 25.

All of those teams also received votes in the coaches’ poll, although Boise at an unofficial No. 31 is currently the highest of the G5s.

Of course, the picture for the Group of Five will remain murky and muddled until the first release of the College Football Playoff rankings Nov. 3.  And, even then, there will still be five more weeks of jostling for positions and the right to claim a spot in a lucrative New Year’s Six bowl.

Herschel Walker to get the statue treatment at Georgia

Herschel Walker - University of Georgia Bulldogs
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From the “I Can’t Believe This Didn’t Already Exist” Department, a sculptor is putting the finishing touches on a Herschel Walker statue to be placed on the University of Georgia campus.

Walker, of course, was a force-of-nature tailback that turbocharged Georgia to the 1980 national championship and himself to the 1982 Heisman Trophy. A three-time consensus All-American (in three seasons, mind you), Walker entered the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999.

Stan Mullins, a Georgia art school graduate, is at work on a Walker statue, and hopes to have the man himself put the finishing touches on the project, which he hopes to complete next month. “The hope is to get Herschel down here to help me finish it himself,” Mullins told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He said he would. He’s such a hands-on guy and he’s totally down with it.”

Mullins also carved statues for Hall of Fame Bulldogs coach Vince Dooley, legendary Georgia Southern coach Erk Russell and a memorial statue at Marshall.

Mullins says the master plan is to finish Walker’s statue, then work in conjunction with the UGA athletics department to carve statues for legendary Bulldogs Charley Trippi and Frank Sinkwich, placing each in a corner of the Sanford Stadium property. As for a fourth? He’s leaving the spot open for a current or future Dawg.

“The fourth would be an un-carved block of Carrara marble,” Mullins said. “As in, who’s next? That could be Nick Chubb. Who knows?”

AP poll keeps Ohio State unanimous No. 1, SEC sets record with 10 ranked teams


Unlike the coaches poll released earlier in the day, Ohio State remains the unanimous number one in the latest AP Top 25 poll. The Buckeyes received all 61 of the possible number one AP votes in the first poll of the regular season the day after turning aside Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. There was some movement within the top 10 though, as No. 2 Alabama swapped positions with No. 3 TCU just as they did in the coaches poll. Notre Dame also crept into the top 10 after moving up from No. 11 to No. 9 after demolishing Texas in South Bend. No. 10 Georgia dropped down one spot as the Irish passed them but the Bulldogs round out the latest AP top 10.

In all, a total of 10 teams from the SEC appear in the AP top 25 poll this week. That is a new record for a single conference, which will surely get some play as the week unfolds. The previous record of eight teams was hel d by the sEC in the preseason ranking.

No. 4 Baylor, No. 5 Michigan State, No. 6 Auburn, No. 7 Oregon and No. 8 USC all stayed in their preseason rank. Florida State dropped out of the top 10, moving down one spot to No. 11 in the AP poll. The Seminoles are followed by ACC Atlantic rival Clemson, UCLA, LSU and Georgia Tech. Similar to the coaches poll, Texas A&M makes a splash in its debut in the AP top 25 this season, cracking the poll at No. 16 after a resounding win against Arizona State. The Sun devils dropped out of the poll after being ranked No. 15 in the preseason AP poll. Other teams making a debut in the AP poll this week are No. 24 Utah and No. 25 Mississippi State.

AP top 25 (9/8/2015)