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Notre Dame into top 5, Texas in top 10 in latest AP poll


Notre Dame is back in the top five and Texas back in the top 10 after major wins on Saturday.

The Irish went to Blacksburg and knocked off then-No. 24 Virginia Tech 45-23, the club’s second straight convincing win over a ranked opponent. Texas has rocketed up the rankings after its third win over a ranked opponent in the past four weeks; the AP voters put the Longhorns at No. 9, two spots ahead of vanquished Oklahoma. (The pathetic Coaches’ Poll still has OU ahead of Texas, despite the Sooners owning a neutral field head-to-head loss and an objectively worse resume.)

The No. 9 ranking is Texas’s highest ranking in October or later since finishing the 2009 season at No. 2.

West Virginia moved up three spots to No. 6 to claim the top spot among the Big 12’s three ranked teams.

Florida rose eight spots and LSU dropped eight after the Gators’ 27-19 win over the Tigers, putting LSU one spot ahead of Florida at No. 13. Mississippi State and Texas A&M both re-joined the poll after wins over No. 13 Kentucky (now No. 18) and No. 8 Auburn (now No. 21).

A pair of AAC unbeatens joined the poll for the first time this season; 5-0 South Florida is in at No. 23 and 6-0 Cincinnati made its debut at No. 25. The ranking marks a significant milestone in Year 2 of the Luke Fickell era. After going 4-8 a year ago, Cincinnati is ranked for the first time since Oct. 14, 2012.

The full poll:

1. Alabama — 1,522 total points (59 first-place votes)
2. Georgia — 1,426
3. Ohio State — 1,420 (1)
4. Clemson — 1,331 (1)
5. Notre Dame — 1,315
6. West Virginia — 1,174
7. Washington — 1,098
8. Penn State — 1,097
9. Texas — 956
10. UCF — 917
11. Oklahoma — 879
12. Michigan — 875
13. LSU — 794
14. Florida — 719
15. Wisconsin — 710
16. Miami — 591
17. Oregon — 505
18. Kentucky — 485
19. Colorado — 419
20. NC State — 342
21. Auburn — 335
22. Texas A&M — 257
23. South Florida — 144
24. Mississippi State — 136
25. Cincinnati — 114

Ohio State co-DC Jeff Hafley reportedly rebuffed interview overtures from Cincinnati Bengals

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The Cincinnati Bengals were rebuffed in its pursuit of an SEC defensive coordinator this past week.  As it turns out, they pursued another coordinator at the collegiate level — and were shot down yet again.

According to a report from the NFL Network, the Bengals sought an interview with new Ohio State co-defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley for their still-vacant coordinator job. “However,” the report stated, “he’s not going to renege on his commitment to OSU after taking the job last month.”

On Jan. 7, the Buckeyes confirmed Hafley and Michigan assistant Greg Mattison had been named as co-coordinators on Ryan Day‘s first OSU coaching staff.

The 39-year-old Hafley — he’ll turn 40 in April — has spent the past three seasons as the defensive backs coach for the San Francisco 49ers.  All told, Hafley worked at the NFL for the last seven seasons.

Hafley’s last job at the collegiate level coming at Rutgers in 2011 as part of the coaching staff of Greg Schiano, who was let go by Day as OSU’s defensive coordinator early last month.

Ex-Illinois WR Mike Bellamy returning to Illini as RBs coach

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A familiar face will reportedly be next up on the offensive side of Lovie Smith‘s Illinois coaching staff.

Bob Asmussen of the Champaign News-Gazette was one of a handful reporting Friday that Smith is set to name Mike Bellamy as his new running backs coach.  While there’s nothing yet official from the football program, a school official stated that a staff announcement could come as early as this weekend.

The hiring of Bellamy, who would replace an assistant lost to a MAC school, would mark a Champaign homecoming on a couple of fronts.

In the late eighties, Bellamy was a first-team All-Big Ten wide receiver and second-team All-American kick returner for the Illini.  Then, from 2012-15, Bellamy served as wide receivers coach at his alma mater.

The past two seasons, Bellamy was the wide receivers coach at Toledo.  In between his stints at Toledo and Illinois, he was a quality control coach at Mississippi State in 2016.

Arkansas reportedly hiring Auburn staffer for on-field role

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One SEC West school has turned to another from the same division to fill a hole on its coaching staff.  Reportedly.

According to, and citing two sources familiar with the decision, Chad Morris is expected to hire Kenny Ingram as Arkansas’ defensive line coach. Morris’ move to add a new assistant to his Razorbacks staff was triggered by John Scott‘s move to South Carolina earlier this offseason.

Ingram, who played his college football at Arkansas State, has spent the past two seasons as the Director of Player Relations at Auburn.

Prior to his time on The Plains, Ingram worked as the defensive line coach at Cincinnati from 2015-16.  From 2006-09, he was on the coaching staff at Memphis, including a turn as defensive coordinator his last season with the Tigers.

In 2012, Ingram worked with the defensive line at his alma mater ASU.

Lincoln Riley’s brother named App State running backs coach

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Garrett Riley is a bright, accomplished coach in his own right, but until he wins back-to-back Heismans with two different quarterbacks (or, at least becomes a head coach in his own right), he’s going to be known as his big brother’s little brother. With that in mind: Lincoln Riley’s brother has been announced as Appalachian State’s new running backs coach.

“I’m excited to be part such a traditionally successful program,” Riley said in a statement. “I’m humble and grateful to have the opportunity to be around this organization and work with Coach Drink and the rest of the staff that I’ve known about for several years. Look forward to continuing the great success that Appalachian State’s had, and I can’t wait to start working with the players.”

Garrett followed Lincoln to Texas Tech and East Carolina before branching out on his own at Kansas, where he joined the staff as an offensive analyst in 2016 and was promoted to quarterbacks coach in 2017 and tight ends/fullbacks coach in 2018.

Appalachian State has not announced an offensive coordinator under new head coach Eli Drinkwitz — and certainly the head coach, a former offensive coordinator himself, will have tremendous sway on his favored side of the ball initially — it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Riley become the Mountaineers’ offensive coordinator in 2020 or 2021. “We’re looking to be cutting edge on offense, and we expect him to continue to push that,” Drinkwitz said Friday. “His experience coaching in North Carolina will also benefit our program.”