S-E-C! Easy as 1-2-3 in latest AP poll

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Thanks to Ralph Russo over at the Associated Press, I’ve now learned my one new thing for the day: the only other time one conference occupied the top three spots in the AP poll in its 75-year history for college football was in in 1971 when the Big 8 had Nebraska, Oklahoma and Colorado finish the season first through third.

The SEC just did one better with the West division holding down the top three spots in the latest AP poll with LSU, Alabama and Arkansas, respectively. After a day of BCS madness, the Razorbacks have the opportunity to wreak more havoc next weekend if they can upend the Tigers on the road. No easy task, but if the Hogs didn’t feel like they had the chance before, Iowa State, Baylor and USC just gave them three more reasons why they should now.

Theoretically, Arkansas could miss the SEC championship and still make it to the national title. Stanford, just a week after losing to Oregon, is in the same boat in the Pac-12 at No. 4. The Cardinal and No. 5 Oklahoma State — yep, those guys — aren’t out of the BCS title race yet. Neither is No. 6 Virginia Tech. The Hokies have had one of the easiest roads to a BCS appearance and show that if you keep winning, you keep moving up.

I may have spoken a bit prematurely yesterday when I said No. 7 Boise State’s BCS dreams were kaput. The Broncos will not receive an automatic bid to a spot to the BCS because of their loss to TCU, but their at-large hopes are still holding on by a thread. How the next few weeks sort out will have the greatest impact to Boise’s BCS chances, but really, it comes down to Houston losing a game.

Speaking of the Cougars, they come in at No. 8 with a win-and-they’re-in game plan for one of the BCS spots. Oregon slips to No. 9 after falling to No. 10 USC  38-35. Wait, shouldn’t that be the other way around?

Michigan State moves up to No. 11 and secured a spot in the Big Ten title game and Oklahoma drops to No. 12 after losing to Baylor. The Sooners’ BCS chances likely hinge on beating Oklahoma State next week. Georgia comes in at No. 13 as they head to the SEC title game — another chance to shake things up in the BCS standings.

No. 18 Clemson’s chances at a BCS game are done unless the Tigers can win the ACC title. TCU stays at No. 19 after securing at least a share of the Mountain West crown. Penn State and Baylor move up to No. 21 and No. 22 after wins over Ohio State and Oklahoma, and Nebraska falls to No. 23 following a loss to No. 17 Michigan. No. 24 Virginia has a chance to represent the ACC Coastal with a win over Va Tech next week. Dropping out of the rankings was Southern Miss after an embarrassing loss to UAB on Thursday.

Ex-Western Michigan WR reportedly holding up payouts in $208 million lawsuit with NCAA

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It’s been well over a year since the NCAA reached a settlement in a class-action lawsuit over grant-in-aid/cost of attendance and yet the $208 million the organization is still just sitting in a bank account waiting to be doled out. While you might first think that this is the result of the usual dragging of their feet from those in Indianapolis, it turns out that is not the case at all.

USA Today is reporting that it’s actually former Western Michigan wide receiver Darrin Duncan who is the one holding things up. He withdrew from the class-action case but his attorney, Caroline Tucker, “attempted to obtain $200,000 from the plaintiffs’ lawyers in exchange for dropping the objection.” The lawyers on the plaintiffs’ side have naturally responded in force, asking either of the two to post a five-figure bond to cover their own legal fees resulting from this delay. The judge in the case, Claudia Wilken, knocked that down to $5,000 last Friday by calling Tucker/Duncan’s objection to the case “meritless and thus his appeal is unlikely to succeed.”

At this point, Duncan/Tucker can either put up the money and risk losing it to continue their objection or drop things and let the payments — which could go as high as $6,000 per athlete — begin. While this is naturally focused on money, there’s a bit more to what the former Broncos receiver is going through:

All of this is occurring against the backdrop of Duncan dealing with personal hardship.

Now 28, he has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, according to his mother and a GoFundMe page established on his behalf about a year ago. He has received death threats because of his objection to the settlement, his mother, Arleen Pollard, said in an interview with USA TODAY Sports.

It does appear as though a solution to this long-running saga is in the cards somewhat soon but until then, the wait continues before the checks can start hitting the mail.

Pitt reportedly poaches Mississippi State staffer to be new director of recruiting

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Could we have the start of a budding rivalry between Pitt and Mississippi State? No, but the two programs did see one poach a staffer from the other.

A source told FootballScoop that Mississippi State assistant director of football operations Reed Case has taken the director of recruiting position at Pitt. Both positions are off-the-field roles but as anybody who has worked in a football office will tell you, each is crucial to the day-to-day success of a program.

Per the folks over at FootballScoop, this is one of the first big jobs that Case has had at an ACC program in the Northeast but he’s got a diverse background from stops at Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and East Carolina among others.

The move by Pat Narduzzi fills the vacancy left behind by long-time staffer Mark Diethorn, who previously served as the Panthers’ director of recruiting for six years before heading to a new job at his alma mater of Virginia Tech last week.

Recruit who reportedly didn’t have offer still commits to Virginia, Hoos pick up actual pledge from Danish recruit instead

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Ahh ‘crootin.

The lifeblood of every college football program, recruiting can sometimes give us some awkward moments and it appears we have another courtesy of Virginia. Let us first bring up this tweet from Philadelphia (Pa.) Imhotep Class of 2019 wide receiver Anthony Gordon, who seemingly committed to the Cavaliers last Thursday.

Great for the kid, right? Well, there’s just one problem, 247Sports says that Gordon is not actually a commitment for the program for a rather big reason:

There was an issue though, the 6-foot-1, 175-pound wide receiver never had the scholarship offer from UVA he reported in March. According to multiple sources, Virginia had not been in contact since March and no call was made to the Virginia staff before the post on social media.

So… yeah. This immediately brings Kevin Hart (no, not that one) to mind after the former offensive lineman staged a ceremony to commit to Cal even though the Golden Bears never recruited him nearly a decade ago. It does seem like there is at least some contact between Virginia and Gordon in this case though, as that report makes clear, it has been a while since the two have talked.

All is not lost for Cavs fans though, as the program did add a commitment from Emil Bo Andersen at their summer camp. Why would we mention this? Well, Anderson is not only a 6-foot-5, 280-pount defensive tackle that comes at a position of need, but he’s actually Danish and is apparently ticketed to a full-ride across the pond thanks to what he showcased at the UVA camp. Very cool and not the first ACC player to come from overseas either should his pledge hold up.

It’s never dull in the ‘crootin world.

Syracuse QB Rex Culpepper on beating cancer: It felt like beating Clemson

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There’s been a lot of cool moments across college football this past spring but one of the best came in one of the most unlikely of places: Syracuse. At the Orange’s spring game in mid-April, backup quarterback Rex Culpepper suited up in between chemotherapy treatments and managed to throw a (tear-jerking) touchdown pass in the final drive of the afternoon.

Fast forward a few months and Culpepper, after undergoing over 100 hours of treatment, was declared cancer-free in early June. Fully healthy and finally cleared to return to regular football activities, the signal-caller recently went through an offseason workout with his teammates and later spoke to the media about everything that has happened throughout the process.

And how did he describe beating cancer? Well, naturally he brought an a very special on-the-field victory from last season.

“The closest thing I can say is it felt like beating Clemson,” Culpepper said, according to Syracuse.com. “You just feel so incredibly ecstatic that nothing in your life could ever go wrong.”

We’re pretty confident that even Tigers fans won’t mind hearing that given what the quarterback has been through and what a joyful moment that it was for the program back in October.

Next up for Culpepper and the team? Fall camp later this year as he competes with senior Eric Dungey in one of the more impressive quarterback rooms in the ACC for a variety of reasons.