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Defending champ North Dakota State tops FCS preseason Top 25

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College football is not a game with a lot of parity, at least not at the very top. In FBS, Alabama has won five of the last nine national championships and enter 2018 as the favorite. In Division III, Mount Union has won two of the last three and (coughs) 13 of the last 25 national titles, and the Purple Raiders enter 2018 as the favorites.

Such is life in FCS as well.

North Dakota State won five straight national championships from 2011-15, lost a stunner to eventual champion James Madison in the 2016 FCS semifinals, then avenged that loss in January with a 17-13 triumph over the Dukes to make it six crowns in seven tries.

The STATS FCS preseason Top 25 came out Monday, and the Bison are the clear No. 1, earning 151 of the 157 available first-place votes. Reigning runner-up James Madison checked in at No. 2, while South Dakota State was No. 3 and perennial contender Sam Houston State was No. 4. In just its fourth year of existence, Kennesaw State came in at No. 5.

The 2018 season begins with No. 14 North Carolina A&T against No. 6 Jacksonville State at Montgomery, Ala.’s Cramton Bowl on Aug. 25 (7 p.m. ET, ESPN).

The full poll:

1. North Dakota State — 3,919 total points (151 first-place votes)
2. James Madison — 3,764 (6)
3. South Dakota State — 3,470
4. Sam Houston State — 3,228
5. Kennesaw State — 3,120
6. Jacksonville State — 3,041
7. New Hampshire — 2,873
8. Weber State — 2,815
9. Eastern Washington — 2,541
10. Wofford — 2,087
11. Samford — 2,003
12. Elon — 1,812
13. Northern Iowa — 1,612
14. North Carolina A&T — 1,480
15. Delaware — 1,470
16. Central Arkansas — 1,383
17. McNeese — 1,133
18. Nicholls — 1,056
19. Villanova — 920
20. Stony Brook — 798
21. Illinois State — 795
22. Austin Peay — 709
23. Furman — 685
24. Montana — 626
25. Youngstown State — 541

North Dakota State has been ranked in the Top 10 for 99 consecutive weeks, which is 21 weeks longer than their next-closest competitor (South Dakota State) has been ranked in the Top 25.

Warde Manuel essentially claims ‘SCOREBOARD!’ in latest Michigan-Michigan State salvo

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The most recent public pissing match between a pair of in-state rivals shows no sign of abating anytime soon.  At all.

To recap:

In response to that statement, U-M athletic director Warde Manuel released his own statement Monday night.  In it, Manuel began by writing about a pregame conversation with his MSU counterpart, Bill Beekman, that he preferred to keep private.  To end it, Manual not-so-discreetly declared “SCOREBOARD!” on his rivals.

“It is a great rivalry between two Michigan Universities, and the focus should remain on the game, the way it’s played and,” wait for it… “the final result.”

Well played, Mr. Manuel.  Well played.

I had a conversation on the field with Michigan State Athletic Director Bill Beekman prior to the game regarding the situation that occurred during pregame warmups. My preference is to keep that conversation and any further discussions between us. I will work with our staff and the conference to see how this situation can be prevented from happening in the future. It is a great rivalry between two Michigan Universities, and the focus should remain on the game, the way it’s played, and the final result.

Report: TCU WR/KR KaVontae Turpin also also arrested in March

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TCU wide receiver/kickoff returner KaVontae Turpin was suspended Monday after he was arrested for allegedly dragging his girlfriend across a parking lot and slamming to the ground at an apartment complex in Fort Worth on Saturday night.

“Texas Christian University is aware that one of its students was recently arrested for a reported domestic situation,” the university said in a statement. “The university takes these types of reports very seriously and is continuing to gather information to determine next steps. TCU expects its students to behave in an ethical manner, abide by campus policies and adhere to state and federal law.”

But it appears that isn’t all.

According to 

Turpin failed to appear at a July 16 pre-trial hearing and is now subject to a bench warrant by the Las Cruces Magistrate Court.

If convicted, Turpin would face up to six months in prison for battery of a household member. He entered not guilty please to battery of a household member and criminal damage to the property of a household member under $1,000.

Michigan State releases statement on field altercation vs. Michigan

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Now more than two days after it happened, the (don’t call it a -gate, don’t call it a -gate) field altercation before the Michigan-Michigan State game on Saturday continues to live.

Jim Harbaugh addressed the controversy on Monday, this time taking a personal shot across the bow at Mark Dantonio. “I’ll go one step further and use Coach Dantonio’s words from a few years back,” Harbaugh said. “‘It’s not a product of the team, but their program.’ Again, that’s using his words. That could’ve been an unfortunate deal. I’m proud of our guys for keeping their cool.”

To recap: During the Spartans’ traditional arm-in-arm walk across the field before the game, Michigan players came away accusing Michigan State of clotheslining defensive lineman Lawrence Marshall and ripping the headphones out of defensive back Lavert Hill‘s ears.

Which led to linebacker Devin Bush tearing up the Spartans’ midfield logo.

On Monday, Michigan State released a statement that basically amounts to: Yeah, but you shouldn’t have been standing there.

According to the Spartans, Michigan State released a pre-game schedule of events, which both teams agreed upon ahead of Saturday and which is part of the norm for every Spartans home game. According to said schedule, Michigan State opens up the field more than two hours before the game, with the understanding the field will be cleared before Michigan State conducts its Spartan Walk.

And that’s where Michigan State’s explanation of events pretty much ends.

So, yeah. There’s no disputing of Michigan’s account, just that they shouldn’t have been standing there.

Michigan won the game, 21-7.

Jalen Hurts undergoes procedure for sprained ankle suffered vs. Tennessee

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Jalen Hurts suffered a high ankle sprain during No. 1 Alabama’s 58-21 destruction of Tennessee on Saturday, head coach Nick Saban revealed on Monday.

Alabama is off this week, and it’s not believed he will have to miss the Tide’s Nov. 3 game with No. 4 LSU (8 p.m. ET, CBS).

“They did a minor procedure to try to help the healing,” Saban said, via AL.com. “I think he will be out for one week, probably this bye week and he will probably be ready to start working again next week.”

Hurts sprained his ankle during his 21-yard touchdown run during the third quarter of Saturday’s game. He remained in the game until he was replaced by third-string quarterback Mac Jones in the fourth quarter.

Hurts finished the game 2-of-3 passing for 21 yards and an interception (which was returned for Tennessee’s third and final touchdown) and rushed twice for 24 yards, including the 21-yard touchdown.

The junior from the Houston area has appeared in all eight games this season for Alabama. He’s 39-of-53 passing for 589 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions while rushing 28 times for 136 yards and an additional touchdown.