NCAA Football

George O'Leary Retires: Latest Comments, Reaction

UCF head football coach George O'Leary has retired from coaching as of Sunday amid a dreadful season in which the Knights have lost their first eight games.

ESPN's Brett McMurphy initially reported O'Leary would resign. Shannon Green and Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel indicated he would leave coaching altogether and added that quarterbacks coach Danny Barrett will take over his post on an interim basis.

SI.com's Stewart Mandel alluded to how quickly things have gone downhill for O'Leary and the Knights this season:

The 2015 campaign marked O'Leary's 12th season at the helm in Orlando. His tenure ended in unsavory fashion, as UCF fell to Houston 59-10 on Saturday. Otherwise, though, he has a lot to be proud of in building a program that's exploded onto the national scene in recent years.

The apex of O'Leary's tenure came in 2013, when current Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles led the team to a 12-1 record and a triumph in the Fiesta Bowl.

O'Leary, 69, finished with a solid 81-68 record despite the eight defeats this year and the time it took to transform the Knights program. That included an 0-11 mark in his first year, which just goes to show how magnificent of a job he did.

He already resigned as UCF's interim athletics director this month, but O'Leary's departure is nevertheless a surprise considering he signed a lucrative four-year contract extension last May.

O'Leary also experienced success as coach of Georgia Tech, leading the Yellow Jackets to an AP Top 25 ranking in each of his last five seasons from 1997 through 2001.

 

Note: Coaching record courtesy of Sports-Reference.com.

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College Football Rankings 2015: Top Reaction to Week 9 AP Poll and Standings

Perhaps a quarterback change was all Ohio State needed to get its offense going—and to remain the overwhelming No. 1 team in the nation in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll.

The Buckeyes notched 39 first-place votes in the Week 9 poll, a step up from the 28 they received the week prior. The improvement is largely from a change under center from the struggling Cardale Jones to J.T. Barrett, who led Ohio State to a dominating 49-7 win over Rutgers to improve to 8-0.

While Urban Meyer's crew stayed atop the rankings yet again and Baylor remained right behind OSU, that's where the stability ends. Clemson made a big jump up to No. 3 in the newest AP poll, a move up three spots after its emphatic blowout of Miami on the road.

That's only the beginning of the takeaways from the AP's new Top 25 poll, so let's take a look below at how it shakes out and what to take from all of it.

 

Poll Reaction

Let's begin at the very top, shall we?

That's where the Ohio State Buckeyes have sat ever since their surprising national championship at the end of last season. Even amid troubling times and near-defeats throughout 2015, the Buckeyes are appearing to find their groove as the season passes the midway point.

That was on display Saturday, when Ohio State walked into Rutgers' house and outgained them by more than 200 yards. The Buckeyes didn't allow any points until the fourth-quarter garbage time, playing a penalty-free game and finally looking like the nation's No. 1 team.

Most importantly, they seemed to find the answer on offense, as Barrett dazzled with more than 100 rushing yards and five total touchdowns. There's no telling what it means for Jones' future, but the important part is Ohio State is rolling, as ESPN's Mike Greenberg noted:

As nice as that victory proved to be, it wasn't even close to the most impressive win of Week 8. That title undoubtedly goes to the Clemson Tigers, who dominated Miami 58-0 and handed the Hurricanes their worst loss in program history.

With Florida State losing to Georgia Tech, Clemson is the lone unbeaten left in the ACC and holds the conference's hopes of a College Football Playoff berth.

Right behind Clemson lies the top-ranked SEC team, as the LSU Tigers moved to No. 4 after dispatching Western Kentucky at home. It marks LSU's highest ranking in years, as Ross Dellenger of the Advocate reported:

LSU, Clemson and Ohio State are only half of the teams that notched first-place votes among the new AP poll. Also joining that group is Baylor, TCU and Alabama, which all sit in the Top Seven and very much in the CFP picture.

There appears to be a new king of the Pac-12 as well, with previously third-ranked Utah falling on the road to USC in a blowout. The Utes dropped to 13th in the new poll, leaving No. 8 Stanford as the top-ranked Pac-12 squad.

Throughout a weekend that only produced one matchup between Top 25 foes, not much movement was expected heading into the Week 9 standings. But as college football tends to do, surprises emerged when we least expected them.

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College Football Rankings 2015: Hits and Misses from the Week 9 Polls

Week 8 of the 2015 college football season is officially behind us. Fans are starting to get restless about rankings, which can only mean we're getting that much closer to the playoff committee's poll. 

In the meantime, we'll just have to dissect the latest USA Today coaches poll and the Associated Press Top 25. With some unexpected endings playing spoiler, there's a lot to discuss. Was Utah overrated, or did it suffer a bad game? Is Ohio State back to being No. 1?

Where did pollsters get it right? Where did they swing and miss? We give our two cents in the following slides based not only on the past week's action but also on what has transpired so far this season.

Begin Slideshow

AP College Football Poll 2015: Week 9 Top 25 Rankings Announced

The college football season is becoming defined by game-winning plays on special teams. Did anyone see that coming?

Michigan and Florida State certainly didn't.  

As has been the norm this season, Week 8 offered another crazy slate of exciting finishes and surprising results for college football fans. Let's take a look at how the Associated Press and Bleacher Report polls were impacted by those results and analyze the week's action.

 

 

Analysis

Welcome to the one-loss club, Utah and Florida State.

USC stunned the Utes on Saturday night, as linebacker Cameron Smith's three interceptions—including one returned for a touchdown—paced the Trojans in their 42-24 upset win.

"These guys want to prove to everybody what type of team they are," interim head coach Clay Helton said, per ESPN. "When we play together and play like we did tonight, they're a very hard football team to beat. There's a lot of talent in that room."

While Utah remained in first place in the Pac-12 South, the loss dropped it down to a pool of one-loss teams that will be jockeying for position for one of the four spots in the playoff. Ohio State, Baylor, TCU, Michigan State, Clemson, LSU and Oklahoma State remain the top-ranked unbeaten programs.

Stanford remains in control of the Pac-12 North after a 31-14 win over Washington on Saturday, as California picked up its second conference loss Thursday night, losing to UCLA 40-24. Washington State remains a game behind the Cardinal, though at this point, Utah and Stanford seem to be on a collision course for the Pac-12 title game. 

Florida State's chances of reaching the ACC title game—or the College Football Playoff—were dealt a major blow Saturday, as the Seminoles lost to Georgia Tech 22-16, with Lance Austin returning a blocked field goal 78 yards for the game-winning touchdown as time expired. 

A certain fanbase up North could sympathize with Florida State's heartache, as Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk noted:

Another playoff contender, Alabama, nearly dropped out of the one-loss club, needing a late touchdown run from star running back Derrick Henry to get past Tennessee 19-14. It was certainly far from Alabama's finest performance, though the Crimson Tide kept their national title hopes alive.

"They just found a way to win, because we didn't play that great," Alabama head coach Nick Saban said rather succinctly, per ESPN.

Next week promises another intriguing slate of games, as Florida faces Georgia, USC takes on California, Notre Dame travels to Philadelphia to battle unbeaten Temple (yes, you read that correctly) and Stanford and Washington State clash in a key Pac-12 showdown.

It may not look like the greatest collections of matchups on paper, but if the last two weeks are any indication, another slew of upsets and crazy finishes are likely on tap.

 

 

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