AP makes Clemson-FSU a ‘consensus’ Top-Five showdown

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Thanks to Stanford’s upset loss to Utah, Florida State cracked the coaches’ poll Top Five Sunday afternoon.  Thanks to that same loss, this weekend’s biggest game now has the rankings across the board to prove it.

Just as they did in the coaches’ voting, the Seminoles moved into the Top Five at No. 5 of the Associated Press‘ latest poll release.  With Clemson entrenched again at No. 3, this Saturday’s game will mark the fourth all-time meeting between two ACC schools ranked in the Top Five, and the first since No. 5 Miami defeated No. 3 Virginia Tech in 2005.

Florida State and Clemson are two of the three ACC teams in the AP’s Top 10, with the other being Miami.  That’s the first time since Oct. of 2005 that three teams from that conference have been ranked in the Top 10 the same week.

As expected, Missouri also made a significant upward move on the strength of its win over Georgia.  Just as they were in the coaches’ poll, the Tigers are ranked 14th exiting Week 7 after cracking the AP’s Top 25 last weekend for the first time in two years.  UGA, on the other hand, fell eight spots to No. 15.

There was also history of sorts made with this release, with a whopping eight teams from the SEC littered throughout the rankings.  That’s the first time eight teams from a single conference have been included in the AP Top 25.  Three of those SEC teams (No. 1 Alabama, No. 6 LSU and No. 7 Texas A&M) are in the Top Ten.  The other three outside of those three plus Mizzou and UGA are South Carolina (No. 11), Florida (No. 22) and Auburn (No. 24).

The 5-1 Tigers are making its 2013 AP poll debut, and their first appearance since Oct. of 2011.

Baylor moved up three spots to No. 12, the football program’s highest showing since 1991.  The Bears are also the highest-ranked team in the Big 12, the first time that’s happened in that conference’s history.

Outside of those already mentioned, the Top 10 is rounded out by Oregon (No. 2), Ohio State (No. 4), Louisville (No. 8) and UCLA (No. 9).  The Bruins are inside the Top 10 for the first time since Oct. of 2005.

Interestingly, and probably not wholly surprising, undefeated Louisville, coming off a blasé win last Thursday night, was leapfrogged by a pair of one-loss SEC teams (LSU, A&M).

Of the 14 FBS teams that remain unbeaten, Houston is the only one not in this week’s Top 25.  The Cougars, in fact, aren’t even close; their three votes are behind 10 other teams in the “Others Receiving Votes” category.

Michigan (No. 18) and Northwestern (No. 19) dropped out this week thanks to losses, replaced by Auburn and Wisconsin (No. 25).

(Much thanks to the esteemed Ralph Russo for a couple of the exciting tidbits contained above.  Hit him up HERE on Twitter)

AP Week Seven Poll

Georgia third string QB Stetson Bennett considering transfer

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Georgia lost quarterback Jacob Eason to a transfer, but gained a younger, more highly-regarded signal caller in Justin Fields with the 2018 recruiting class. With Fields on the roster and Jake Fromm not going anywhere, another Bulldog quarterback is considering leaving as well.

Stetson Bennett IV — who, outside of the current U.S. Attorney General, sports the best Southern name in circulation — has told Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart he might rather leave than spend his career as the No. 3 man in Athens.

“He’s looking at some different options,” Smart told the Macon Telegraph. “Stetson has done a tremendous job for us. We’re really excited what he has done for us. We’re exhausting every option to try to keep Stetson with us. We think he’s a very talented young man. I’ve spoke on behalf of that multiple times. We hope we keep him here. He has not made that decision yet.”

Listed at an even 6-foot-nothing and 172 pounds, Bennett was a successful quarterback at Pierce County High School and listed as a 2-star recruit before choosing to walk-on at Georgia rather than take scholarship offers from Group of 5 and FCS programs. Bennett redshirted as a freshman in 2017, sharing Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year honors with three other players.

Should Bennett transfer, his stature and walk-on status would draw easy comparisons to Baker Mayfield, which is ironic considering Bennett was tasked with mimicking the 2017 Heisman winner ahead of Georgia’s Rose Bowl win over Oklahoma.

Both of Bennett’s parents are Georgia graduates, so leaving would be a tough decision for the redshirt freshman.

“We need to keep Stetson there and help us,” Smart told the Telegraph. “We don’t really have many other guys to be honest. We have two young quarterbacks who will be walk-ons, who we think are good players. But we’ve invested a lot in Stetson with the development he took this spring, and with what he did in bowl practices. I’m excited to see what he can do. We’re encouraging him to stay so he gets that opportunity. I certainly respect what he has done this far for the University of Georgia and he’s a really good student as well. We’re selling him on the University of Georgia education.”

Tulane extends Willie Fritz through 2023

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Major news on the Kansas football front came down the pike Tuesday when Tulane announced it has extended head coach Willie Fritz through 2023.

Wait, what? Let’s back up a bit.

Kansas fired AD Sheahon Zenger on Monday, citing that a “change in leadership is necessary” because “progress in key areas has been elusive.” While Kansas chancellor Douglas Girod did not come out and say this move was related to football, he did feel the need to mention head coach David Beaty in his release announcing Zenger’s firing. “In addition, earlier today I spoke with Coach Beaty and shared my expectation that he will continue recruiting hard and getting his team ready for the season,” Girod said.

It doesn’t take Leonardo DiCaprio to read Girod’s thoughts here. Beaty is 3-33 in three seasons as KU’s head coach, including a 1-26 mark in Big 12 play. Coaches that average a win a year don’t typically last until Year 5. Just last year, Nebraska cleared out its AD so the new AD could fire the existing football coach and hire a new one, and it appears Kansas is headed down the same path later this year.

With Beaty apparently on his way out, I tweeted on Monday where Kansas should direct its incoming search.

Fritz-to-Kansas makes sense on a number of levels. Fritz is a proven program builder, a more-with-less guy that won at Blinn Junior College, Central Missouri, Sam Houston State, Georgia Southern and, now, Tulane. Overall, Fritz is 202-89-1 with two junior college national titles and conference championships in three separate leagues — all at places that have no business posting a collective .693 winning percentage. Simply put, Kansas is the rebuild job of the century, and there is not a more proven general contractor than Fritz.

And even better for Kansas, Fritz seems likely to take the job. He’s a Sunflower State native and at an age — 58 — where he’d likely take any Power 5 job offer that came his way, lest it be the last one.

All that said, it did not seem a coincidence that Tulane announced an extension for Fritz on Tuesday, who is 9-15 in two seasons with the Green Wave.

“I couldn’t be more excited with the direction in which our football program is headed,” Fritz said in a statement. “It is an absolute joy to coach at this institution. We have total buy-in from everyone on our staff to our administration, and I know we have a bright future.”

With Tulane being a private school, financial terms were not disclosed, but the key number will be the buyout.

Of course, Fritz could also pass on a potential Kansas offer. Or he may not get an offer. Or the job may not open at all. But even the prospect of an offer has already turned into a win for him.

DB Craig Watts leaves USF, lands at Div. II school

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With transfer season in full swing, South Florida is the latest to see its roster sustain a bit of attrition.

Craig Watts took to his personal Twitter account Monday to reveal that he will be transferring from Charlie Strong‘s USF program.  The defensive back also posted a photo of him signing paperwork for Valdosta State, indicating a move to the Division II school.

As he’s dropping down a couple of levels, Watts, who’ll be a redshirt sophomore in 2018, will be eligible to play immediately this coming season.

After coming to the Bulls as a three-star recruit on 247Sports.com‘s composite board, Watts took a redshirt as a true freshman.  He played in 12 games last season and was credited with five tackles.

Nevada’s Devin Porter arrested for failure to appear

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After a dozen days, it’s time to, once again, flip the switch on a “Days Without An Arrest” reset.

The latest to do the off-field deed is Devin Porter, with the Reno Gazette Journal reporting that the Nevada linebacker was arrested over the weekend for failure to appear.  The redshirt junior had been scheduled to appear in court for a traffic citation.

From the Gazette Journal‘s report:

The charge is a misdemeanor. If a defendant skips a court date, a judge can issue a bench warrant for their arrest. If 30 days pass before a defendant surrenders himself, an additional charge for “failure to appear” can be issued. The maximum sentence for such issue includes four years in prison and/or $5,000 in fines, although both are rare.

Porter was issued a $415 bail, which he posted and was released.

Porter is a walk-on to the Wolf Pack football program who has yet to see any game action for the Mountain West Conference school.  According to the newspaper, “[h]is brother, Cliff, was a starter at left guard for Nevada as a sophomore last season before graduating early and giving up the rest of his eligibility.”

(Tip O’ the Cap: ArrestNation.com)