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
While we came awfully close to seeing Florida play an in-state squad from the AAC (ahem, UCF) this postseason, we’re guaranteed just such a matchup down the road when the Gators hook up with USF for a previously scheduled three-game series. While that 2-for-1 was put on the books back in May, it was just announced by the schools that they’re making a change already.
According to a release, the single game that USF is responsible for at Raymond James Stadium has been shifted up to 2021 instead of the 2023 date originally agreed upon. The pair of games at the Swamp in Gainesville will remain on the docket for 2022 and 2025 so this is just a slight tweak to the series.
The moves help the Gators fill out their (more near-term) future schedules a bit more as they have just a single opening in 2021 after the Bulls adjusted their end of the series. In-state foes USF and Florida State are, however, all that’s on the docket for Florida starting in 2022 and beyond so AD Scott Strickland has some work to do over the coming months and years on that front.
The flip side is that USF has quite the slate of difficult opponents in 2021, with the home-game in Tampa against Florida sandwiched between trips to BYU and N.C. State in the same season. The team does have one more non-conference opening that year, which you would assume would wind up being a lower-level school at home.
North Dakota State is sticking with what works. Namely, that includes promoting from within.
The program announced on Thursday that defensive coordinator Matt Entz will indeed become the Bison’s next head coach in the coming weeks, taking over the job from new Kansas State head coach Chris Klieman after he was hired by the Big 12 school earlier this week.
“Having watched Matt as the defensive coordinator for the past five years, I knew he possessed the qualities to be the head football coach at North Dakota State: leadership, integrity, toughness, and a sincere appreciation for the history and tradition of Bison football,” ,” AD Matt Larsen said. “I’m eager to work with Coach Entz and his staff as they continue building upon the championship tradition of Bison football.”
This will be Entz’ first head coaching gig and comes after serving the past five years as NDSU’s defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. Prior to joining Klieman’s staff, he found plenty of success as a DC at previous stops with FCS Western Illinois and Northern Iowa.
“Great things happen to great people, and I am so happy for the Entz family,” Klieman added. “Matt is the right guy for the job. I know the Bison will have unbelievable success. The program is in great hands.”
Both Klieman and Entz will remain in their current roles with NDSU until the conclusion of their FCS playoff run before moving on to their new gigs. The former had been promoted once Craig Bohl left for Wyoming a few years ago and that’s worked out just fine for the Bison so it appears the school has no qualms at going back to the well and doing the same thing with the latter. Entz certainly understands expectations around the ol’ Fargo Dome going forward, which includes this weekend’s upcoming semifinal game against South Dakota State.
Seemingly like clockwork, when a Power Five school hires a new head coach they typically will wind up improving facilities in some fashion shortly thereafter. Consider that the case at Texas Tech following the ouster of Kliff Kingsbury and the recent hire of Matt Wells to lead the football program.
The school’s board of regents met on Thursday down in Lubbock and among the agenda items was approving a $20 million renovation to the team’s football facilities. As is nearly always the case in the state, the project was naturally approved and will move forward, per the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, as soon as Wells is able to sign off on any changes he wants to the plans:
That wasn’t the only football-related move on the agenda for the Red Raiders however, as athletic director Kirby Hocutt put in his pitch to open up beer and wine sales at Jones AT&T Stadium as soon as the upcoming season.
As noted above, there are numerous Big 12 schools who have opened the taps in general seating areas over the years. Oklahoma State was the most recent to do so in 2018 but it’s been brought back at Texas and West Virginia, among others, to great success (i.e. $$$) the past few years.
Air Force appears to finally have their man to lead the Falcons’ athletic department.
Some eight months after former AD Jim Knowlton departed for California, it appears the program is on the verge of plucking Holy Cross AD Nathan Pine to fill the same position in Colorado Springs. The Worcester Telegram & Gazette first reported the news.
Col. Jennifer Block has served as interim athletic director in the wake of Knowlton’s departure but it’s clear that the Air Force has always wanted to keep a civilian in the top post long term. To that end, this will be the first time the Falcons’ AD will be hired and paid under the umbrella athletics corporation at the school, per the Colorado Springs Gazette.
Pine has a lengthy background out West despite spending the past five years leading the Crusaders. An Oregon State alum, he has worked for the Beavers and fellow Pac-12 program California as well. In addition, he’s made stops at Maryland and, funny enough, academy rival Army too.