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Top nine unchanged in updated AP Poll; UCF moves into top 15

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Though there were a handful of upsets on Saturday but since most of those didn’t occur in the top 10, the bulk of the places near the top remained unchanged heading into Week 4.

In fact the only change was No. 11 Michigan and No. 10 Utah flipping places after the Wolverines had the weekend off ahead of their matchup against No. 13 Wisconsin. The Badgers were actually tied at that ranking with co-No. 13 Penn State as changes were few and far between from No. 14 on up.

One pleasant surprise was the continued ascent of UCF, which moved into the top 15 following the Knights destruction of a Stanford team ranked in the top 25 just two weeks ago.

Speaking of the Pac-12, the conference really dominated the AP Poll’s back half. No. 16 Oregon, No. 19 Washington State and No. 22 Washington were joined by No. 23 California and No. 24 Arizona State. The six schools from the league tied the SEC for most by one league — though it just meant a little bit more for the latter with No. 17 Texas A&M being the lowest ranked of that bunch.

TCU also debuted in the poll at No. 25 while Michigan State, USC and Maryland dropped out.

The full AP Top 25 heading into Week 4:

  1. Clemson
  2. Alabama
  3. Georgia
  4. LSU
  5. Oklahoma
  6. Ohio State
  7. Notre Dame
  8. Auburn
  9. Florida
  10. Utah
  11. Michigan
  12. Texas
  13. Penn State/Wisconsin

15. UCF

16. Oregon

17. Texas A&M

18. Iowa

19. Washington State

20. Boise State

21. Virginia

22. Washington

23. California

24. Arizona State

25. TCU

Virginia, Arizona State, Cal, Kansas State make debuts in latest Coaches Poll

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The latest Amway/USA Today Coaches Poll is out heading into Week 4 and there were a handful of movers and shakers after a somewhat quiet weekend that produced four ranked sides going down.

The Pac-12 may be the conference who receives the least respect nationally but fresh off a major upset and continued solid play from others, the league is at least being given its due by the coaches across the country.

Making their debuts in the top 25 were No. 25 Kansas State (after their upset of Mississippi State), No. 24 Arizona State (after beating Michigan State in East Lansing), No. 23 Cal and a No. 22 Virginia side that was ranked by the AP last week but finally sees the coaches coming around to the ACC Coastal Division favorite after holding on against Florida State on Saturday.

The Spartans and Bulldogs were among the four teams that were dropped from the poll as a result, joining USC and Maryland in moving out of the top 25 following losses.

Here’s the full poll:

  1. Clemson (62 first place votes)
  2. Alabama (3)
  3. Georgia
  4. Oklahoma
  5. LSU
  6. Ohio State
  7. Notre Dame
  8. Florida
  9. Auburn
  10. Michigan
  11. Utah
  12. Penn State
  13. Texas
  14. Wisconsin
  15. Texas A&M
  16. UCF
  17. Oregon
  18. Iowa
  19. Washington State
  20. Boise State
  21. Washington
  22. Virginia
  23. Cal
  24. Arizona State
  25. Kansas State

Cal’s season-opening starting TE to transfer

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That certainly escalated quickly.

McCallan Castles began the 2019 season as Cal’s starting tight end in the Week 1 win over UC-Davis. In Week 2, the redshirt freshman was supplanted on the depth chart by a pair of redshirt sophomores — Jake Tonges and Gavin Reinwald.

Ahead of the Week 3 matchup with North Texas, Castles took to Twitter to announce that he has decided to enter the NCAA transfer database.

“[T]hanks to [head coach Justin] Wilcox and the entire football staff for support and lessons they taught me,” Castles wrote, “but the fit was just not right for me.”

Castles was a three-star member of the Golden Bears’ 2018 recruiting class, rated as the No. 18 tight end in the country. Only two signees in Cal’s class that year, offensive lineman Will Craig and wide receiver Nikko Remigio, were rated higher than Castles.

As a true freshman, Castles caught one pass for 15 yards. He didn’t have any receptions in his two appearances this season.

Pac-12 After Midnight: Cal upsets No. 14 Washington after long weather delay

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No. 14 Washington and division rival California officially kicked off at 7:40 p.m. PT but their conference tussle ended eons beyond what any normal college football game would have run on Saturday night… into Sunday morning.

Yes, behold folks: Pac-12 After Midnight.

The Golden Bears waited out a nearly three hour weather delay in Seattle to take home a 20-19 upset win at 1:24 a.m. local over the Huskies in the Week 2 action that never seemed to end despite the clock advancing well past midnight on both the East and West Coasts.

As was expected given the lengthy time spent in the locker room due to the delay and the fact that the matchup pitted two of the best defenses in the Pac-12, a low-scoring affair broke out by Montlake. UW quarterback Jacob Eason completed just 18 passes for only 162 yards and tossed an interception — numbers which were actually solid given the conditions and the fact that he wasn’t helped all that much by drops and false starts. Salvon Ahmed added 119 yards and a score on the ground as the home team did just enough to keep things interesting in their first test in Pac-12 play.

The numbers for the Golden Bears were along those same lines in a game could have been mistaken for a throwback to a contest decades before even the coaches were born. Cal was a borderline Wing-T team in rushing for 192 yards, using the punishing style of Chris Brown Jr. to tag team with the two scores from the shifty Marcel Dancy. Maybe the most impressive part, aside from Cal scoring their first offensive touchdown against Washington since 2016, was the fact that they never backed down.

QB Chase Garbers was 11-of-18 for 111 yards through the air but picked up a number of key first downs on the ground in rushing for 42 yards. They also marched 74 yards for the go-ahead field goal and scored on three of their four second half drives.

Neither coach is likely to wake up a few hours later on Sunday all that happy with what transpired deep into the night from Husky Stadium. Things will certainly sting for Chris Petersen, having not only dropped a division game but doing so in painful fashion to one of his old coordinators. Washington was held up as one of the few Pac-12 playoff contenders given their ranking that might be thrown out the window in light of the result while Cal continues to be the thorn in the division’s side with yet another upset.

LeBron James throws support behind California bill to pay players

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Football players and other college athletes in the state of California appear to be getting a big boost of support from the state’s most famous basketball player.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James tweeted his support on Thursday for California Assembly Bill SB 206, which is labeled as the “Fair Pay to Play Act” and is designed to allow players at the state’s major universities to receive compensation related to their name, image and likeness.

The bill has drawn the ire of the NCAA and the schools that will be impacted despite the fact that it would only go into effect in 2023 if passed. As it currently stands, players receiving any compensation for their names, image or likeness is a violation of the organization’s bylaws.

While the NCAA has created a committee to study such payments and any related changes, the folks in Indianapolis are not at all happy to be dealing with lawmakers intent on pushing them into something before they’re ready. California isn’t even the only one pursuing the idea as a federal version is also in the works from by Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) and Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT).

James has been an outspoken critic of the NCAA over the years so it’s not surprising to see him voice his support for something like SB 206. The bill appears likely to pass once it makes its way through the legislative process and that seems doubly so after one of the biggest names on the planet is encouraging those to get out the vote on the subject.