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Notre Dame LB Greer Martini out for USC game after knee procedure

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The greatest intersectional rivalry in college football between USC and Notre Dame is turning into a potential battle of walking wounded on defense. The latest name on the injury list? Irish linebacker Greer Martini.

The starter and team leader has been dealing with a knee injury he suffered in practice and while there was some thought he could be back for Saturday’s massive showdown with the team’s rivals from Los Angeles, that appears not to be the case. Indianapolis Star beat writer Laken Litman reported on Thursday afternoon that Brian Kelly confirmed after practice Martini would miss the game and that he had a surgical procedure to clean up an unspecified meniscus injury on his knee.

Martini is a captain on the team and the third leading tackler on the defense. In his absence, junior Te’von Coney likely slides into the starting lineup at linebacker. The good news might be that Martini could be back for an equally important game against N.C. State that could loom large in any College Football Playoff discussion next month.

The Trojans are dealing with the loss of defensive tackle Josh Fatu and linebacker Porter Gustin for this week’s trip to South Bend as well so both sides have a number of injuries that could hamper their ability to stop the run on Saturday. Given that the game will feature two of the best tailbacks in the country in Ronald Jones and Josh Adams, things could turn into a track meet come kickoff time on NBC.

Starting USC DT Josh Fatu in concussion protocol after car wreck

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This is one you don’t see very often.

USC’s Josh Fatu was involved in a multi-car accident and is currently in concussion protocol because of a head injury he received in the incident, head coach Clay Helton confirmed Tuesday.  The coach added that the accident in which Fatu sustained the injury was not the defensive tackle’s fault.

Fatu has not been ruled out for Saturday’s game against Notre Dame, and is officially listed as day-to-day for the annual rivalry clash.

Heading into Week 8, Fatu had started every game along the defensive line this season for the Trojans.  His seven tackles for loss are currently second on the Trojans behind Christian Rector‘s eight, while his five sacks are behind just Rector’s 6.5.

If Fatu is unable to go against the Irish, Brandon Pili will likely take over as the starter.

Big 12, Oklahoma lead the way on AP Midseason All-America team

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The Associated Press has released its first-ever Midseason All-America team, and it’s a Sooner-centric squad. Lincoln Riley‘s club leads all teams with threeL selections and the Big 12 leads all conference with six members of the 25-man team. The Big 12 claimed both starting wide receiver spots in Oklahoma State’s James Washington and West Virginia’s David Sills V. Washington leads the nation in yards per game with 34 grabs for 882 yards and six touchdowns, and Sills is far-and-away the national leader in touchdown grabs with 12, three ahead of the next closest competitor.

Baker Mayfield earned the First Team nod at quarterback (Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph was on the Second Team) after completing the first half of the year with a nation’s best 207.33 quarterback rating. He has completed 72.7 percent of his throws for 12.0 yards per attempt with 17 touchdowns against one interception. Mayfield also led the nation in efficiency last season, and finished third in 2015.

Not surprisingly, Saquon Barkley and Bryce Love claimed both running back slots. Love leads the country with 1,387 rushing yards on an astounding 10.27 yards per carry. Barkley has amassed 649 rushing yards and six touchdowns to go with 395 receiving yards and two touchdowns and a kickoff return touchdown. The pair are the leading betting candidates for the Heisman to this point.

While the Big 12 led the way with six selections, the Pac-12 and Big Ten followed closely behind with five. The SEC garnered four spots (but none on offense), while the ACC notched three. In addition to Oklahoma’s three, Alabama, NC State and Washington State put multiple players on the First Team.

OFFENSE
QB: Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
RB: Saquon Barkley, Penn State
RB: Bryce Love, Stanford
WR: James Washington, Oklahoma State
WR: David Sills V, West Virginia
TE: Jaylen Samuels, NC State
OT: Orlando Brown, Oklahoma
OT: David Edwards, Wisconsin
OG: Quinten Nelson, Notre Dame
OG: Cody O’Connell, Washington State
C: Billy Price, Ohio State
AP: Dante Pettis, Washington
K: Matt Gay, Utah

DEFENSE
DE: Bradley Chubb, NC State
DE: Austin Bryant, Clemson
DT: Hercules Mata’Afa, Washington State
DT: Maurice Hurst, Michigan
LB: Roquan Smith, Georgia
LB: Josey Jewell, Iowa
LB: Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Oklahoma
CB: Jalen Davis, Utah State
CB: Levi Wallace, Alabama
S: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
S: DeShon Elliott, Texas
P: Johnny Townsend, Florida

Alabama remains Bovada’s national championship favorite, but Buckeyes are rising

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After a handful of upsets throughout the top 10 this past weekend, the national championship odds updated by Bovada had some interesting developments. Alabama remains the easy favorite, but Ohio State continued to move up the board from Bovada this week.

Alabama is being given 10/11 odds of winning the national championship this week, after being 5/4 odds a week ago. Ohio State now has the second-best national championship odds with 5/1 odds on the Bovada board. Despite the loss on Friday night at Syracuse, Clemson is still third on the board with 9/1 odds.

Undefeated Georgia and Penn State each have 10/1 odds from Bovada, with undefeated Wisconsin getting a 20/1 shot to win it all. TCU and Miami, each also undefeated, share the same 28/1 odds to win it all, which are the same odds given to one-loss USC. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State each have 25/1 odds.

Washington (40/1) and Auburn (75/1) took big hits on the Bovada board after losses this weekend, but Washington State dropped from 50/1 all the way down to 300/1, while Texas moved from 200/1 to 1,000/1. On the flip side, Michigan State jumped on the board after being off last week. The Spartans are 100/1 this week.

AP Poll: Alabama a unanimous No. 1, Penn State to No. 2 and Ohio State now the highest 1-loss team

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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