NCAA Football News

College Football Rankings 2015: Power Ranking All 128 Teams for Week 12

The 2015 college football season only has a few weeks left, during which time the playoff picture will clear up, and teams will either be preparing for a bowl game or having the offseason start earlier than hoped. So much can still happen between now and early December, and the results of the next few weeks will have a major impact on the rankings.   

Not just the playoff ones and those that are part of media and coaches polls, but also the Bleacher Report power rankings.

Bleacher Report's power rankings are comprised of an average of five sources: B/R's weekly Top 25, the Associated Press Top 25, the Amway Coaches Poll, ratings guru Jeff Sagarin's computer rankings and the author's personal rankings for every FBS school. The top 50 teams are broken down individually, while the rest of the 128 FBS teams are summarized in a few easy-to-digest chunks.

Check out where everyone ranks after 11 weeks of action, and then give us your thoughts in the comments section.

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Bowl Projections 2015: Updated CFP Predictions for Week 12

The 2015 College Football Playoff picture didn't change too much at the very top, which should be reflected in the Week 12 rankings that release this evening.

Every team in the top five managed to win this past weekend, as the respective Nos. 6 and 7 Baylor and Stanford both fell and are all but out of the running for the Top Four.

Perhaps most intriguing is to see what unfolds in the Big Ten. Reigning national champion Ohio State is bracing for the hardest part of its schedule, while Iowa has made a surprising undefeated run and is likely to pose a huge challenge to the Buckeyes in the conference-title game.

Read on for some projections as to what the final CFP matchups will be and predictions for those prospective showdowns.


Orange Bowl: No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 4 Notre Dame

Impressive as the Hawkeyes have been under steadfast coach Kirk Ferentz, they won't have enough to topple Ohio State for the Big Ten championship.

Although Iowa allows only 3.34 yards per carry, it hasn't faced a back like the Buckeyes' Ezekiel Elliott all year. Elliott is arguably the best at his position in the country and is the primary reason the oft-lethargic crystal football defenders are still undefeated.

Dane Brugler of notes how selfless Elliott has been despite his immense individual impact as a ball-carrier:

Both OSU and Notre Dame have experienced turbulence under center this season yet have managed to weather it. The Buckeyes have bounced back and forth between Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett, now settled on the latter. Malik Zaire was lost for Notre Dame due to injury and replaced by DeShone Kizer.

Barrett lost his starting job to Jones because of injury in last year's regular-season finale. After being suspended for the Minnesota game for a OVI arrest and acquitting himself well in his return against Illinois, the sophomore captain is going to be determined to lead OSU this time around.

Having someone like Elliott to complement him certainly helps, which Barrett is quick to recognize.

"Boy, Zeke is something else, ain't he?" said Barrett of Elliott after OSU's 28-3 win over Illinois on Saturday, per "A positive run play is four yards, so when he's popping out six, eight, nine yards on first and second down, that's what you love in a running back."

Nothing has quite jelled for the Buckeyes all year despite their perfect 10-0 mark. They are simply too talented to fall short of the national title game, though.

Ohio State's defensive line is headed by top-flight NFL draft prospect Joey Bosa as an edge-rusher. Linebacker Darron Lee is instinctive, flies to the football against the run and is athletic enough to drop in coverage. The secondary is led by safety Vonn Bell and would hold up well enough to limit the splash plays from Notre Dame's premier deep-threat receiver, Will Fuller.

Having had the experience of covering Devin Smith last year every day in practice, this seasoned OSU defense would be as equipped as any to combat Fuller's explosiveness.

Prediction: Ohio State 31, Notre Dame 20


Cotton Bowl: No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 3 Clemson

After the most impressive shutdown of LSU stud RB Leonard Fournette, Alabama's encore in Week 11 was to stymie Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott in a dominant 31-6 victory on the road.

Derrick Henry is really starting to get rolling for the Crimson Tide as well, currently just 16 rushing yards behind Fournette for the national lead. Henry has three games of more than 200 yards in his past four contests—all against SEC foes.

Few, if any, teams appear capable of stopping Alabama at the moment. Coach Nick Saban's bunch is proving once again to be the class of the nation's most reputable conference. The only hope Clemson might have is a tremendous dual-threat signal-caller in Deshaun Watson.

Marty Smith of ESPN notes how Watson is able to hit big downfield plays in addition to the deep cast of playmakers around him:

In a second straight 10-point win over Syracuse this past Saturday, Watson attempted more than 40 passes while also running for 100 yards. He is definitely putting the Tigers on his back and willing Clemson to the regular-season finish line.

After struggling to contain athletic QBs in the recent past, Alabama seems to be past its tribulations in light of how Prescott couldn't lead Mississippi State to the end zone this past week.

A stout Tide front seven headlined by linebacker Reggie Ragland would shut down Clemson's rushing attack in a hypothetical Cotton Bowl matchup. It would force Watson to freelance to manufacture yards on the ground on his own and make the Tigers largely one-dimensional.

Those factors would be too much for Clemson to overcome and pull off an upset. This year nevertheless marks an exciting step forward for the program, who will welcome Watson back for at least one more year in 2016.

Prediction: Alabama 27, Clemson 14


Note: Stats courtesy of unless otherwise indicated.

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Texas Football: What Longhorns Must Fix During Bye Week

Even with a bye, there's not much the Longhorns are going to be able to fix before their final two games.

After shooting themselves in the foot with a 38-20 loss to West Virginia, the 4-6 Horns have a tough finish ahead of them. They get the bye this week but will have to beat both Texas Tech and Baylor in order to reach a bowl. 

There's no magic formula for getting it done. No matter what the coaches do, this is still going to be a young team. An extra week with the offense isn't going to turn Jerrod Heard into Vince Young, nor offensive coordinator Jay Norvell into Bill Walsh.

The Longhorns are 4-6 for a reason, and fixing that will take much longer than a bye week. 

But there are some things Charlie Strong and his staff can do to make these last two games more palatable. Most of that will involve getting healthy on defense, sticking to an offensive identity and eliminating silly mistakes.

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North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech: Complete Game Preview

The Virginia Tech Hokies (5-5, 3-3) return home to Lane Stadium on Saturday to host the No. 12 North Carolina Tar Heels (9-1, 6-0) in legendary head coach Frank Beamer's final home game.

It's been a dream season for UNC and head coach Larry Fedora. The Tar Heels sit atop the Coastal Division and are poised to appear in their first ACC title game.

For the Hokies, it's another disappointing season that began with high expectations. Now, they're just looking to send Beamer out a winner and become bowl-eligible for the 23rd consecutive season.  

Virginia Tech leads the all-time series 20-11-6 and has won the past two meetings. The Hokies are 9-2 against Carolina in ACC play. 

Entering this week, Tech is on a two-game winning streak after a last-second win at Georgia Tech. The Tar Heels come to Blacksburg as winners of nine straight.

  • When: Saturday, November 21
  • Where: Lane Stadium; Blacksburg, Virginia
  • Time: Noon ET
  • TV: ESPN
  • Radio: Virginia Tech IMG Sports Network. Here is a complete list of stations by area.
  • Spread: North Carolina is presently a 6.5-point favorite, per Odds Shark

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Bowl Projections 2015: Predicting Playoff Standings and Bowl Games Post Week 11

Another week closer to the postseason means the bowl picture starts to come into focus even more.

Nowhere was that more clear than when it comes to the College Football Playoff (and New Year’s Six) and the Pac-12, which more than likely dropped from two teams in the prestigious postseason group to just one after losses by both Utah and Stanford.

Neither the Utes nor the Cardinal were treated all that well by the selection committee prior to this week (they were generally lower than their AP Poll positions), and that should continue with Tuesday’s updated set of rankings. With one Power Five league beating itself up to knock itself out of the playoff, who is the biggest beneficiary?

Look no further than Oklahoma.

The Sooners delivered a resounding, complete game on Saturday to knock off Baylor and essentially control their own destiny when it comes to winning the Big 12. Given their already name-brand status, a long-time quality coach in Bob Stoops, and the potential for four Top 25 wins in the month of November, Oklahoma has a lot of momentum toward capturing the fourth and final seed.

There is still plenty of football left to be played, but this postseason snapshot is as solid as they come… until next week, that is.

For now, though, this is how the bowl picture looks. A hearty disclaimer that these are projecting the rest of the season and, as such, are not completely reflective of the state of college football at the moment.

- Here are the full Top 25 rankings. The College Football Playoff selection committee will release its second set of rankings on Tuesday, Nov. 17, around 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.

- The Buckeyes may not look like the top team in the country, but it’s clear that the committee respects what they’ve done and the amount of talent on the squad. Combine that with the potential for a closing run over Michigan State, Michigan and Iowa, and nobody can move to the top of the rankings as easily as they can based on quality wins this month. Because Oklahoma is projected to be the No. 4 seed and Norman is just up the road from the Cotton Bowl semifinal, Ohio State remains in the Orange Bowl to provide them some minor geographic advantage.

- The order of Alabama/Clemson can be flipped with little to no consequence. A win in the ACC title game and the clean record gives the Tigers the ever-so-slight edge over the Crimson Tide.

- We’ve maintained that Houston will be the Group of Five selection for weeks now, and that was further reinforced by the comeback win against Memphis this past weekend. They still need to beat Navy (at home) to win their division and host the AAC title game, but it still seems like this is a train with one destination in the postseason. Even with a loss in the AAC title game, I think it’s still possible the Cougars get the bid over Navy or (in this scenario) Temple, thanks in part to Boise State’s loss all but knocking them out of the running, and Houston owning wins over the other top teams in the AAC.

- With LSU’s loss and the committee not likely to penalize Florida for losing to Alabama in the SEC title game, the Gators will likely stay as the highest ranked SEC team ahead of the Tigers and earn a trip to New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl. With Oklahoma moving into the final four, Baylor gets the slight nod to get the Big 12 spot in the same bowl, but that could be moot if Oklahoma State wins on Saturday in Stillwater.

- The Pac-12 has only seven secure tie-ins in the bowl structure but may have as many as 10 teams in the postseason this year, thanks partially to Arizona State beating Washington and Arizona upsetting Utah. The result is the 6-6 teams from out West will find a home in a diverse set of bowl games.

- That said, Cal accepting a bid to face Memphis has to have NFL scouts drooling about a potential Jared Goff vs. Paxton Lynch game.

- Speaking of bowl teams, we’re ahead of schedule in projecting at least the minimum number of 6-6 teams. That means no 5-7 squads sneaking in. Sorry Rutgers, but good news for MAC teams.

- The announcement that the Poinsettia Bowl has been added to the MAC lineup as a normal bowl partner instead of a secondary one this year means the potential for a really nice Group of Five matchup between MWC champ/runner-up San Diego State and either Toledo, Bowling Green or Northern Illinois. We’re going with the Rockets for this tilt.

- If you like points, look no further than the Russell Athletic Bowl between UNC and TCU. A Marshall/Cincinnati matchup is a nice undercard in the state of Florida too.

- If you like good ol’ fashion football, look no further than the Pinstripe Bowl between Pitt and Wisconsin.

- The Texas Bowl should salivate over a potential Texas Tech/Texas A&M matchup. Both teams were bitter rivals in Big 12 play and obviously Red Raiders head coach Kliff Kingsbury earned his job in large part to the work he did in College Station.

- Sneaky good game brewing between predicted CUSA champ Louisiana Tech and likely Sun Belt champ Arkansas State in the New Orleans Bowl.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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Top Candidates to Replace Gary Pinkel as Missouri Head Coach

The latest job set to be open in what is already shaping up to be a wild coaching carousel is perhaps the most surprising one, as longtime Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel announced last week he would be resigning at the end of the season due to health reasons.

Pinkel revitalized the Missouri program during his 15 seasons as a head coach, as he'll have a shot at reaching his 11th bowl game with the Tigers in the next several weeks. Under Pinkel, Missouri took home five division titles in two different conferences, winning at least 10 games in each of those seasons.

Now, in the wake of Pinkel's announcement, Missouri must find someone to replace the consistent head coach in what will be a crowded market—jobs are already coming open at USC, South Carolina, Miami, Virginia Tech, Maryland and Illinois.

Fortunately for the Tigers and their leadership, Missouri will be able to point to the big money, facilities and opportunity for success in the SEC East, as well as strong traditions of NFL talent production and passionate fan support in their upcoming coaching search.

Here are five of the top candidates to watch in the upcoming search for Missouri athletic director Mack Rhoades, as well as a few wild cards to consider. Whether it's a hot name in the coaching ranks for a strong internal hire, Missouri can definitely go in several intriguing directions with how it replaces a school icon such as Pinkel.

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Alabama's Become a Threat to Score on Any Play, Not Just on Offense

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The spark came from a different source, which was very bad news for everyone else in college football.

Cyrus Jones fielded the low punt, cut to his left, made the first defender miss and that was pretty much it. Some 69 yards later, the University of Alabama had its first seven points on Saturday, and with the defense keeping Mississippi State out of the end zone, they were all it needed during the 31-6 victory.

“It was a big lift,” Jones said.

It was more than that. Alabama’s first return for a touchdown this season gave it another way to reach the end zone and served notice that there’s really no play in which the Crimson Tide can’t score.

A fumble recovery for a touchdown hasn’t happened yet, but after notching nine sacks against the Bulldogs—two resulting in fumbles—that’s probably just a matter of time.

Through 10 games, Alabama (9-1, 6-1 SEC) has already scored six non-offensive touchdowns, including four on interception returns. It nearly had another against Mississippi State, helping the secondary play with a growing sense of conviction.

“Overall, as a whole, I think we’re much more confident,” Jones said. “You have to have a swagger about yourselves.”

Only Alabama seems to have it just about everywhere now as its weaknesses are becoming harder to find. The offense has the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy and dangerous receivers, while the defense tops the Southeastern Conference in total defense, rushing defense, pass-efficiency defense, interceptions and sacks.

Even special teams, which a month ago were struggling, are getting better and standing out with plays like junior defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson leaping over an LSU lineman to block an extra-point attempt.

He tried it again at MSU only to be upended.

But the more ways a team can hurt the opposition, the better it is overall. When Jones broke free early in the second quarter, Alabama’s offense had mustered just 40 yards of total offense. Four of its five offensive possessions had resulted in a three-and-out, and the exception came to an end with an interception.

Over the next five minutes, Alabama struck twice again with a 60-yard catch-and-go reception by freshman wide receiver Calvin Ridley and a 74-yard touchdown run by junior running back Derrick Henry.

“I think in a close game it's always turnovers and explosive plays that usually have a huge impact,” head coach Nick Saban said. “I don't think it was any different this year, but especially in this last game because we didn't have that kind of consistent long drives that score points.

“[I] would like to see us make more. I think there were more out there for us if we had executed with a little better consistency."

All three of the offensive touchdowns ended up being big plays, as Henry broke a 65-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, which Saban said made it kind of a “weird” game for the Crimson Tide. Yet that wasn’t unexpected, as Alabama knew beforehand that patience would be particularly important against the No. 17 Bulldogs.

Mississippi State’s offense is designed to essentially force defenses into man-to-man coverage, and with its big, talented receivers, mismatches are inevitable. Defenses try to take away the short passes, and that’s when the Bulldogs attack downfield—plus there’s always the threat of quarterback Dak Prescott taking off.

Alabama shut down the running game (89 yards), contained Prescott and the closer the Bulldogs got to the end zone, the tougher it got for them to move the ball due to the shorter field.

The Crimson Tide also quickly made substitutions and kept inserting fresh players, as Saban’s cut cheek demonstrated after junior defensive lineman Jonathan Allen accidentally hit him on one such change.

“They tried to go fast, but we still got our guys in,” Robinson said.

On the flip side Mississippi State’s defense stacked the box and tried to force Alabama to pass. It attacked with numerous stunts, something that had been giving the offensive line some problems, and tried to force the Crimson Tide to throw.

The risk was that, should an Alabama player get past the front seven, the chances of him breaking into open field dramatically increased. Maybe a defensive player would overshoot his stunt, someone would miss a tackle or Henry would apply an effective stiff arm.

“We hit them where they’re most vulnerable at, and they brought pressure,” senior center Ryan Kelly said. “We knew coming into it that it wouldn’t be an easy day running. It certainly wasn’t.

“We got some good plays for Derrick, and they were the kinds of plays that really changed the momentum of the game.”


Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

Christopher Walsh is a lead SEC college football writer. Follow Christopher on Twitter @WritingWalsh.

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Sonny Dykes Contract: Latest News, Rumors on Negotiations with Cal

The California Golden Bears football program has begun negotiations with head coach Sonny Dykes on a contract extension.

Continue for updates.

Cal AD Speaks on Dykes' FutureMonday, Nov. 16

In the aftermath of Cal's 54-24 victory over Oregon State, athletic director Mike Williams has reaffirmed his commitment to Dykes as the leader of the Golden Bears for the long haul, per Scout's Ryan Gorcey:

Sonny has my full confidence and it is our intention to keep him here. Three years ago, he took over a program that was not in a good place and in need of significant turnaround and improvement in many areas. Since then, Sonny has done everything we have asked of him. He has turned around football's academic performance and our student-athletes are doing quite well in the classroom at the world's number three university. He has changed the culture within the program and it is where it needs to be. And the team's performance on the field has improved significantly. We have gone from 1 to 5 to 6 wins (and counting) and are now bowl-eligible for the first time since 2011. Sonny is our guy and we plan on him being here.

Dykes had the team off to a hot start in 2015 before losing four consecutive games in the tough Pac-12 conference. His improvement over the past two-plus seasons and ability to develop star quarterback Jared Goff have likely contributed to extending his stay in Berkeley, though.

After going 1-11 in his maiden year at the helm, Dykes' rebuild made progress last season en route to a 5-7 record. His 2015 team has already eclipsed that win total this season with a 6-4 mark.

A successful three-year stint at Louisiana Tech preceded Dykes' arrival at Cal. It appears he'll be afforded even more time to solidify the Golden Bears as a Pac-12 contender in the coming years.

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Should LSU Worry 4-Star QB Feleipe Franks Will Flip Commitment?

LSU is the school that currently holds the nation's top-rated recruiting class, with 4-star quarterback Feleipe Franks being one of the pillars of the Tigers' star-studded group.

The 6'5", 220-pound Sunshine State standout committed to head coach Les Miles and his staff in June 2014, and he's scheduled to enroll early.

However, as Shea Dixon of Geaux247 details, Franks' recruitment may not be 100 percent over, as he has taken visits to both Florida State and Florida since the beginning of October.

Is Franks just doing his due diligence in looking around, or is LSU in jeopardy of losing its potential quarterback of the future? Furthermore, should LSU fans be worried about the status of his pledge?

Regardless of where he lands, it appears there is work to do on the part of Miles and his staff to keep Franks in the fold.

Given that both the 'Noles and Gators are in-state powers, Tigers fans won't rest easy until Franks is on campus in Baton Rouge.

As noted by Ourlads, the Tigers have only three scholarship quarterbacks currently on their roster, which makes adding a touted passer in the 2016 cycle a necessity.

Franks admits he's contemplating the thought of taking an official visit to see each of the in-state programs again before arriving at a final conclusion, according to Dixon:

Honestly, I don't know [about official visits]. I am taking it day by day talking about official visits or just an official visit. I don't even know yet. I'm just talking to my parents about when we can get free, because my dad has a lot of military duty coming up. I'm just trying to get a weekend where we can get all of us down there.

While Florida State already has a commitment from fellow 4-star passer Malik Henry, the Seminoles are a threat thanks to the track record of head coach Jimbo Fisher.

Fisher has groomed his fair share of NFL passers, and Franks has the tools necessary to be a potential star under Fisher's tutelage.

Meanwhile in Gainesville, Gators head coach Jim McElwain has the program and the offense trending in the right direction. The other thing he can offer Franks is an appealing depth chart.

With the uncertainty surrounding Will Grier, and Treon Harris scheduled to be a junior next season, the Gators would love to add a premier arm to the 2016 class. Florida has a pledge from 3-star Texas native Kyle Trask, but adding Franks would go a long way toward helping shore up the future of that position in Gainesville.

Franks told Dixon he's paying attention to small details surrounding each of the programs he's still considering. He's also finalized a timeline on when he would like to arrive at a conclusion:

After the Army game, I will enroll. Like I said, I am still committed to LSU. But sometime in December (I will know a final decision). I wouldn't really say it would take something significant (to change my mind). It's not like I can say this or this has to happen. I just have to fall in love with the school. My heart would have to tell me to go there.

However, while he maintains he's still committed to the Tigers, he's keeping an open mind until his process comes to a close in the coming weeks. That likely makes for an interesting few weeks for Tigers fans hoping that Franks sticks with his original pledge.


Sanjay Kirpalani is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand, and all recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.

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College Football's Most Important Offers of the Week

With the recent firing of head coach Al Golden, Miami’s 2016 class has taken its share of hits.

Last week, the ‘Canes lost a commitment in 3-star defensive end Joshua Uche.

Just days after he reopened his recruitment, the 6’2”, 212-pounder received an offer from SEC West power Auburn.

As detailed by Keith Niebuhr of AuburnUndercover, Uche was excited to receive an offer from the Tigers.

“It’s a school me and my coach had talked about before any of these offers had come in," Uche told Niebuhr. “To get it was pretty cool."

While Miami is still in the picture, Uche also noted that Alabama, Florida and South Florida are schools that have begun the recruit him aggressively.

Those schools are in line to get official visits, and the Tigers are hoping to land one of his remaining two trips. 

Uche’s versatility as a player who can line up at linebacker or defensive end makes him a prized target for Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp

If Auburn can get him on campus, Uche’s recruitment could be one of the more intriguing ones to follow in the weeks leading up to national signing day.


Michigan offers recent Michigan State Decommit

Another player who reopened his recruitment last week was 3-star running back Abdul Adams

One day after decommitting from Big Ten power Michigan State, chief rival Michigan offered the 5’11”, 205-pounder.

Alabama, Indiana, Maryland and Oklahoma are among the other schools that Adams is considering in the wake of his decommitment. 

However, with the Wolverines offering, perhaps head coach Jim Harbaugh and his staff could become a factor if they turn up the heat on Adams.


Oregon Offers 2017 CB

One of the premier corners in the 2017 cycle is 4-star Georgia native William Poole III

The 6’0”, 170-pounder has nearly 40 offers to his credit, and he added to his haul last week when Oregon tendered him.

Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State and Georgia are among the other schools who have offered Poole.

However, the Ducks are hoping to lure him to play his college ball in the Pac-12.


FSU offers 2019 DE 

Few schools have recruited as well as Florida State has in recent years. 

Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher and his staff have always had an eye for talent, and they looked into the future to offer defensive end Zacch Pickens last week.

The offer represents the first for the 6’4”, 240-pound Pickens.

However, with Pickens hailing from South Carolina, he could become a tough pull for the ‘Noles if and when in-state stalwarts Clemson and South Carolina come calling. 

Regardless, Pickens has the makings of a recruit whose offer list should grow in the coming months.


Best of the Rest









Sanjay Kirpalani is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand and all recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.

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Michigan State vs. Ohio State: Complete Game Preview

Welcome to the official start of Ohio State's 2015 football season.

The third-ranked Buckeyes (10-0) have breezed through their schedule despite looking less than stellar against overmatched teams, but the slate will be much tougher as they move toward another berth in the College Football Playoff.

Standing in their way this week is No. 13 Michigan State (9-1), who's looking for revenge from last year's 49-37 loss to Ohio State. Quarterback Connor Cook was knocked out of last week's 24-7 win over Maryland with a shoulder injury, but the senior insists he'll be ready to go against the Buckeyes, according to Kyle Austin of

ESPN's College GameDaywill be in town, and the selection committee will be watching closely this Saturday. Can Michigan State get even, or will Ohio State's playoff run surge on?


Viewing Information

Date: Saturday, November 21

Time: 3:30 p.m. ET

Place: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio


Radio: Ohio State Football Radio Network, Spartan Sport Network

Spread: Ohio State (-13), via Odds Shark 

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FCS Rankings 2015: Week 13 Coaches Poll Standings Revealed

The FCS Coaches Poll was released Monday, and after a weekend that saw the top contenders all win, there unsurprisingly weren't too many shake-ups atop the rankings. 

Below, we'll take a look at the Week 13 poll and break down some of the weekend's biggest results. 





Jacksonville State and the nation's eighth-ranked rushing offense (277.4 rushing yards per game) continued to roll through its FCS schedule Saturday, stomping Southeast Missouri State 56-28. Troymaine Pope (17 rushes for 137 yards and two touchdowns) and Christian LeMay (six rushes for 124 yards and two scores) led the way for the Ohio Valley Conference champions, who are a win over Murray State away from finishing the season as the nation's top-ranked team.  

"Offensively, that's the best day we've had in a while," head coach John Grass said, per Creg Stephenson of "I'm excited for our guys. They came out and played well, took care of business and beat a good football team. I'm excited to be sitting in the position that we're in. Now we just have to finish it out."

McNeese State had the week off, giving schools like North Dakota State and Coastal Carolina the chance to prove they deserve to be the No. 2 team in the nation. Neither could quite make the jump.

And nothing on Saturday came easy for the Bison, who had to fight tooth and nail to earn a 27-24 win over Youngstown State after trailing 24-10 heading into the fourth quarter. It's been an up-and-down year at Youngstown State for head coach Bo Pelini, who had a complete meltdown toward the end of the game after disagreeing with several calls.

But he was flagged twice for unsportsmanlike conduct, basically killing any chances of a comeback for his team with under a minute remaining. It also led to the following exchange on the television broadcast, per

"I've never seen anything like this in my life," said one commentator.

"Nebraska fans have," replied his broadcast partner, who then cited various instances when Pelini was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct during his tenure as the Cornhuskers head coach. 

Whether Pelini had a case against the officials or not, his behavior down the stretch cost his team the chance to win a crucial game on the final drive. That makes the result a major disappointment on numerous levels for the program. 

Coastal Carolina won with a bit less controversy, smashing Kennesaw State 45-13. That kept it in the Top Four of the rankings this week after South Dakota State needed a fourth-quarter comeback of its own to get past South Dakota 30-23.

With the season coming down to the wire and playoff seeds still up for grabs, the remaining games on the schedule for several programs will have huge implications. And then the real fun begins.  


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UCLA Bruins vs. Utah Utes Betting Odds, Analysis, College Football Pick

Utah is 2-2 straight-up in its first four meetings with UCLA since joining the Pac-12 four seasons ago, 3-1 against the spread and a field goal from being 4-0. Two teams coming off tough losses but still clinging to hopes of a division title meet when the Utes host the Bruins Saturday afternoon in Salt Lake City.


Point spread: Bruins opened as two-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report)

College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 37.4-31.4 Bruins


Why the UCLA Bruins can cover the spread

UCLA had won three games in a row, averaging 39 points in the process, but gave up a late touchdown and lost in an upset last week at home to Washington State 31-27. The Bruins took a late lead on quarterback Josh Rosen's 37-yard scoring scramble but left too much time on the clock and allowed the Cougars to drive 75 yards in less than a minute for the deciding score.

On the night, UCLA outgained Wazzu by 130 yards and ran the ball for 214, but two early drives inside the Cougars' 5-yard line bogged down into two short Bruins field goals, and four points decided the game.

Two weeks ago, UCLA looked pretty good in a 41-0 victory over Oregon State, outgaining the Beavers by more than 400 yards. Then again, that was Oregon State. The Bruins are only 4-3 in Pac-12 play, but if they beat Utah this week and USC in the season finale, they win the Pac-12 South.


Why the Utah Utes can cover the spread

Utah started this season 6-0, lost at USC and then won two more in a row before losing last week at Arizona in overtime, 37-30. The Utes trailed early 10-0, and later 20-10, rallied back to take a 27-20 lead in the third quarter but then gave up a touchdown on the first play of the second overtime and couldn't reply in kind.

For the game, Utah outrushed the Wildcats 224-158 and won the time-of-possession battle by almost 15 minutes. Usually numbers like that result in wins and covers.

At 5-2 in conference play, the Utes trail first-place USC by a tiebreaker in the Pac-12 South. But with a win over UCLA and with help from the Bruins next week, Utah would play in the conference championship game.


Smart pick

UCLA owns an edge on offense, but Utah owns the edge on defense, especially against the run. And the team that has won the ground battle has won the last four meetings in this series. Take the Utes here, the home team at the short spread.


Betting trends

UCLA is 1-4 ATS in its last five games against Utah.

The total has gone under in five of Utah's last six games at home.

UCLA is 5-0 ATS in its last five games on the road in November.


All point-spread and lines data courtesy of Odds Shark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line-movement updates, and get the free odds-tracker app.

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Power Ranking Top 25 2016 College Football Recruiting Classes

There's plenty to sort through on the 2016 college football recruiting trail less than three months shy of national signing day. While a significant collection of top-tier high school talent still remains uncommitted, elite classes were established a while ago and continue to add quality pieces.

Inevitable coaching staff changes and a frenzied span of official visits will ultimately help define the latter stages of this cycle, though we already have a strong indication of which programs are set to secure the country's most impressive prospect hauls in February.

Here's a look at our latest 2016 recruiting class rankings, favoring teams that prefer value over volume. This list may evolve into something quite different by the time signing day arrives, but for now it provides an indication of where things stand as this season enters its final stretch.


Recruit ratings courtesy of 247Sports composite rankings. 

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Sean Maguire Named FSU Starting QB over Everett Golson

Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher confirmed Monday that quarterback Sean Maguire would get the start against Chattanooga over Everett Golson.

“(Maguire) will start this week,” Fisher told, via Sam Cooper of Yahoo Sports. “Yes, he will.”

Fisher later told reporters that Maguire will be the starter "moving forward."

Maguire replaced Golson Saturday against NC State after the Notre Dame transfer struggled, turning the ball over three times. Maguire took over and threw for 231 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, erasing a 10-point deficit and leading the Seminoles to a 34-17 win. 

Golson was the team's starter for the first seven games of the season but missed two contests after suffering a concussion and showed rust against NC State. Maguire has played well when called upon, meanwhile, throwing for 816 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions. And he clearly was the better player Saturday.

“The energy grew," Fisher said of Maguire coming into the game. "He was being vocal, being a leader. And then all of our guys got that bounce and got some urgency and he was the spark. He made a couple really nice plays under pressure. The guys appreciated that.”

While a game against Chattanooga should be a gimme, the Seminoles close the season against Florida in a matchup that will have huge implications for the team's postseason status, which will truly put Maguire to the test. 


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Who's More Likely to Leave Alabama First: Lane Kiffin or Kirby Smart?

Coaching silly season is about to crank up, and the eyes of athletic directors around the country should be fixated on Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

The Alabama Crimson Tide staff is loaded with future head coaches, including offensive line coach Mario Cristobal (who has been linked to his alma mater, Miami, according to CBS Miami), defensive coordinator Kirby Smart and offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin.

The last two assistants are interesting for two very different reasons.

Smart has been on head coach Nick Saban's staff since Saban got the job in 2007, and he has served as Alabama's defensive coordinator since 2008. During that time, the Crimson Tide has never finished a season outside of the top 12 nationally in total defense.

Sure, Saban has his fingerprints on that side of the ball, but as Bleacher Report's Chris Walsh noted, the defense is all Smart.

"I think [they] see it as easier than it really is," Alabama Crimson Tide Sports Network and Reece's Senior Bowl executive director Phil Savage told Walsh. "Alabama, though, subtly and within that building, I think there’s a high regard and appreciation for what Kirby does in terms of putting it all together."

Smart has established himself as one of the best coordinators in the country but has done nothing to suggest whether he's capable of running a program.

For Kiffin, it's about rehabilitating his image. 

The one-year Tennessee experiment and the next four-and-a-half years at USC tarnished his reputation due to his attitude, NCAA issues and the inability to lead a contending program despite loads of talent on the roster. He's still getting paid by USC, according to Michael Casagrande of, and is on the second year of a three-year deal in Tuscaloosa.

Who will get a head-coaching job first: Smart or Kiffin?

It's definitely Smart.

That's not to say that Kiffin won't get looks. He will. There were reports last week that he had interviewed for the vacancy at Maryland, which were later refuted (via: Even though he might not have technically interviewed, Kiffin's marketability at a school like Maryland that is fueled by Under Armour in a Big Ten that also features Urban Meyer, Jim Harbaugh and James Franklin seems like the perfect storm of college football fun.

Because Kiffin has another year on his deal and has an image problem rather than an experience problem, he's more likely to stick around and wait for the perfect fit and perfect team to take the next step.

Smart probably has to take the next step after this season, and the way the silly season is shaping up, he's going to find a nice landing spot.

Whether that's at a high-profile place like Virginia Tech, South Carolina or Missouri; or at a smaller school that is either already open or opens up after dominoes fall—like perhaps Houston or Memphis—there's bound to be something that tickles Smart's fancy.

Plus, a short stint at a smaller school will answer the one remaining question on Smart's resume: Can he be a head coach?

Hugh Freeze and Gus Malzahn answered this question in back-to-back seasons at Arkansas State in 2011 and 2012, before moving on to Ole Miss and Auburn, respectively. They both led their programs to various degrees of success early, which always helps stabilize programs.

Conversely, Will Muschamp jumped straight from being a hot-shot coordinator to a big head-coaching job at Florida, and was dismissed after just four years. Vanderbilt's Derek Mason looked completely lost in his first season at Vanderbilt after serving as Stanford's defensive coordinator for three years, but now he has a defense that's top 20 nationally in total defense and yards per play, and top five nationally in red-zone and third-down defense.

Even the best assistant coaches need to find their voice as head coaches. In a "win-now" business, that's more difficult to accomplish at a major program that expects immediate results.

Smart would benefit by finding a nice spot to slide that final piece into his coaching puzzle and then assess the coaching situation over the next few years at some of the SEC's big potential landing spots.

He essentially has two really attractive options outside of Tuscaloosa headed his way this offseason; take a leap to the big job if one of the big programs with a vacancy wants to take a chance on him, or jump at one of the smaller schools that either is open now or opens up later due to the coaching carousel.

Kiffin likely will only be attracted by the former, because the idea of him coaching a smaller school like Louisiana-Monroe—which just opened up—is about as likely as the NFL being able to accurately determine what constitutes a completed catch.

Smart seems like the most obvious choice to move on between the two, with Kiffin hanging around and being a little more selective with his next step.


Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Statistics are courtesy of

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and national college football video analyst for Bleacher Report, as well as a host on Bleacher Report Radio on SiriusXM 83. Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettSallee.

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LSU Tigers vs. Mississippi Rebels Betting Odds, Analysis, College Football Pick

LSU owns 10 wins in its last 13 rivalry meetings with Ole Miss, and two wins in three tries with the current head coaches. But the Rebels are 2-1 against the spread over those last three meetings and 6-3 ATS over the last nine. The Tigers and the Rebels hook up for the latest edition of the Magnolia Bowl Saturday afternoon in Oxford.


Point spread: Rebels opened as 4.5-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report)

College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 41.9-33.9 Rebels


Why the LSU Tigers can cover the spread

LSU is coming off consecutive losses that have knocked it from championship contention, but it can still salvage perhaps a New Year's Day bowl with a couple of victories to finish this regular season. Two weeks ago, the Tigers fell to Alabama 30-16, and last week they lost to Arkansas 31-14.

Louisiana State went down to the Razorbacks 21-0, rallied to within one score at 21-14 but faded from there. On the night, LSU gave up 440 yards of Arkansas offense, but almost half those yards came on three long Hogs scoring plays.

Prior to the loss to the Tide two weeks ago, the Tigers had started this season 7-0 SU and 4-3 ATS, outrushing every opponent. And last year LSU upset then-unbeaten Ole Miss 10-7 in Baton Rouge, outrushing the Rebs 264-137. If they can win the ground battle Saturday, the Tigers could win this game outright.


Why the Mississippi Rebels can cover the spread

Ole Miss had won back-to-back contests against Texas A&M and Auburn, outgaining those two by a combined 400 yards, but lost a crazy game against Arkansas two weeks ago 53-52 in overtime. The Rebs then had last week off.

Ole Miss went toe-to-toe with the high-powered Hogs, and led late, but gave up the game-tying score with just under a minute to go. Then, in overtime, the Rebs became the latest victim of college football's recent bout of lateral-happy craziness, giving up a first down on a 4th-and-25. Arkansas then scored, and an Ole Miss facemask penalty gave the Hogs a second chance on the two-point conversion, which they converted.

On the day, the Rebs racked up 590 yards of offense, 222 on the ground, but it's hard to coach against miracles. Ole Miss was ranked No. 3 in the country last season when it lost at LSU; perhaps the Rebs have a dose of revenge in mind for Saturday.


Smart pick

LSU deserved to lose to Alabama and Arkansas; Ole Miss beat the Tide earlier this season and did not deserve that loss to the Hogs. Also, LSU Heisman candidate running back Leonard Fournette has been held to a total of 122 yards rushing over the last two games. Ride the Rebs here, the home team at a reasonable spread.


Betting trends

LSU is 5-13 ATS in its last 18 games against Mississippi.

Mississippi is 5-15 SU in its last 20 games in November.

LSU is 17-2 SU in its last 19 games after a loss.


All point-spread and lines data courtesy of Odds Shark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line-movement updates, and get the free odds-tracker app.

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College Football Playoff 2015: Date, Start Time, TV Schedule for 3rd Rankings

Another wacky weekend of college football graced the 2015 season throughout Week 11, leaving the College Football Playoff selection committee with plenty of work to do before Tuesday night's reveal of their third rankings.

But while a number of would-be playoff contenders fell by the wayside and proved they aren't contenders after all, none of the teams in last week's Top Four did so. That could mean a repeat of last week's rankings, at least at the very top.


College Football Playoff Rankings Reveal

Date/Time: Tuesday, November 17 at 9:30 p.m. ET



Clemson Tigers

It wasn't pretty, but the Clemson Tigers did what they needed to do, overcoming the Syracuse Orangemen in a 37-27 victory to stay undefeated and remain the cream of the crop in college football.

It seemed to be guaranteed that head coach Dabo Swinney's squad would roll through the rest of the season undefeated once they beat Florida State in Week 10, but that may no longer be the case. While nobody on the remaining regular-season schedule is all that daunting, an ACC title-game clash with North Carolina could prove tough—the Tar Heels are dominating everyone they've stepped onto the field with in recent weeks.


Alabama Crimson Tide

After dropping an early-season contest at home to Ole Miss, almost anyone could recognize that Alabama needed to turn things around immediately and win out to make another appearance in the CFP. Well, the Crimson Tide are doing that.

They stomped Mississippi State into the ground on the road Saturday, winning 31-6 in a game many pegged as a big chance for the Tide to be upset. Running back Derrick Henry is sprinting his way to the top of the Heisman Trophy conversation, and bringing Alabama closer and closer to another national semifinal in the process.

Should Alabama avoid slipping up against the likes of Auburn and then Florida in the SEC title game, they'll most certainly be in.


Ohio State Buckeyes

The Ohio State Buckeyes didn't have a whole lot of danger on the majority of their schedule. Once they won the national championship last season, many folks knew they wouldn't step on the field with a team close to as talented as them until a late-season clash with Michigan State.

That's where the Buckeyes are headed for Week 12 as they welcome the Spartans to Columbus, once again sporting an undefeated record, as ESPN Stats & Info noted:

Even in the one season of Urban Meyer's reign in Columbus that they didn't start 10-0, they finished winning it all. But if they have those same aspirations for 2015, taking care of the Spartans at home will be a must before facing Michigan to end the season.


Notre Dame Fighting Irish

No matter what injuries or adversity seem to strike the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, they just keep trudging through their schedule and on the way to an appearance in a national semifinal.

Notre Dame outclassed Wake Forest on Saturday to win 28-7 and remain with just one loss on its record, which came against the top-ranked Clemson Tigers. The defense is proving dangerous, the offense is picking things up amid injuries and as long as they don't slip up at the end of the season against Stanford, they should be in.

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The College Football Week 11 All-Heart Team

It takes heart to survive the grueling month of November in college football.

Several teams learned that firsthand last Saturday in what turned out to be a day of survival for several ranked programs. One had to get an all-time performance from its determined quarterback to pull off a win. Another needed a ferocious comeback sparked by its former starting signal-caller, and yet another needed to turn to the bench when a disastrous loss seemed to be in the cards.

A few defenses put their collective hearts on full display with narrow wins—some with title implications, others with pure pride on the line. An entire team showed what it was made of with a tight win after one of the most eventful weeks a program could ever experience.

Here is the Week 11 All-Heart team made up of players and units that had the biggest game-defining performances in victories this past weekend. 

Of course, limiting an entire weekend of heart-filled performances to just a handful of names means some didn't get the extra spotlight this week. Tell us who you think showed the most heart in the comments below.

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B/R Recruiting Notebook: 3 Schools in Front for 4-Star RB Devwah Whaley

As a national top-five running back, Devwah Whaley is a wanted individual.

On Sunday, the 4-star prospect from Beaumont, Texas, announced that three schools lead the race for his verbal commitment, which is expected to come at the Under Armour All-America Game on Jan. 2.

Whaley said Georgia, Arkansas and Texas are the front-runners. The 6'0", 210-pound running back is expected to be at Arkansas this weekend for an official visit. He visited Georgia in September and is still working out plans for a potential official visit to Texas. A visit could come in December, he said.

"I'm still wide-open at this point," Whaley said. "I took an unofficial [to Arkansas], but I didn't really get to do much or hang with the players. That's what I'm looking for, to get a better feel for everything and to get around the campus."

One school that seems to be losing steam is Texas A&M. The Aggies picked up a new commit in 4-star Trayveon Williams and now have two running back pledges in Williams and 3-star Rakeem Boyd.

"They aren't planning on taking three [running backs]," Whaley said. "I'm not saying A&M is out of the question, but they have two committed already. It is what it is."

Whaley's 247Sports Crystal Ball points to Georgia, and Whaley's a fan of the program and its direction. He said he enjoyed his trip in September and has thought about him and 4-star running back commit Elijah Holyfield being a one-two punch similar to Georgia's 2014 tandem of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel.

"It'd be a cool deal," Whaley said. "Elijah's a good person. We hung out together at Dawg Night [in July]. We've gotten to know each other. He's a good football player. It would be pretty cool to make up the next Sony-and-Chubb combo." 

The winner of the Whaley sweepstakes gets a running back who rushed for 1,389 yards and 22 touchdowns for Central High School in his senior year. He rushed for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns in his junior year. In those two seasons, Whaley showed his durability by rushing 416 times, including 234 as a senior.


Out-of-state school on watch for California ATH

Although many feel the race for Long Beach, California, 4-star athlete Jack Jones will come down to the two Los Angeles rival schools, USC and UCLA, Jones said that one out-of-state school has been showing the most interest.

Jones, the nation's No. 3 athlete, said Texas A&M has been the most active of the schools interested in him. He's being recruited to Texas A&M by tight ends coach/recruiting coordinator Jeff Banks and receivers coach Aaron Moorehead.

"They've been talking to me every night," said Jones, a 6'0", 170-pound athlete who can play receiver, cornerback and be a solid returner on special teams. "They've been consistent, and they're telling me I can play both sides [of the ball]."

Choosing a school is one issue Jones has to worry about; deciding whether he wants to play receiver or cornerback at the next level is another issue. Jones has made official visits to Arizona State (week of Sept. 25) and Texas A&M (week of Oct. 2) and added that while he has an idea of the top contenders, he is in no rush to make any sudden moves.

"Everything is straight right now. It's all starting to slow down," Jones said. "I haven't thought about any other visits. They can get real tiring, but it's always fun to check out a new school."

Jones said a decision could come on national signing day, Feb. 3.


"Moose" watch: Race for Kansas DT continues

Lawrence, Kansas, 4-star defensive lineman Amani "Moose" Bledsoe tweeted a top six back in August that included Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina State, Oklahoma, Oregon and UCLA. That half-dozen hasn't changed for the defensive end, and three schools are currently fighting for two available official visits.

Bledsoe visited Oregon in September and Oklahoma and North Carolina State last month. Kansas, Missouri and UCLA are hoping to host Bledsoe on upcoming official visits, and with new offers from Baylor and USC, Bledsoe said the final two visits are considered tossups.

"I'm going to take my time with it all," Bledsoe said. "I'm just looking for somewhere that I can fit in, somewhere where I can make an impact and develop as a player. I want to be the best I can be."

Bledsoe, a 6'5", 265-pound athlete who can line up in the trenches on both sides of the ball, said he hears most from Kansas and Oklahoma. The Sooners, in fact, lead Bledsoe's 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions.

Bledsoe said he is considering holding off until national signing day to make a decision. However, he isn't opposed to ending his recruiting process if he feels completely sold on a program.


Potential package deal with Georgia prospects?

Ellenwood, Georgia, linebacker Elysee Mbem-Bosse has nearly 20 reported offers, and while he admitted that he's still weighing his options, he said a decision could come with the help of another teammate.

Mbem-Bosse, the nation's No. 14 inside linebacker, plays for Cedar Grove High School and is a teammate of Antwaun Jackson, the nation's No. 9 defensive tackle. Mbem-Bosse said the idea of the two being college teammates isn't a foreign topic.

"We've talked about playing together at the next level," Mbem-Bosse said. "That's a conversation we have every day. But we'll just have to see how things work out."

Mbem-Bosse, a shade under 6'3" and 227 pounds, is being recruited as a linebacker but can also play tight end and wide receiver if necessary. He has offers from Auburn, Michigan, North Carolina State and a host of other programs. He's taken an official visit to North Carolina State and said he's considering a visit to Oklahoma this weekend, depending on his team's playoff schedule. Cedar Grove is three games away from a Georgia state championship.

"NC State was amazing. It was good to get out and see one of my former D-tackles, Quentez Johnson," Mbem-Bosse said. "With Oklahoma, I really like the staff there and the defense that they run. They run a 3-4 [defense] and just let their linebackers play football."


Sleeper alert: Texas RB rushes for 8 TDs in win

Replacing Chris Warren III isn't an easy task for any running back at Rockwall (Texas) High School in. Warren, now a freshman at Texas, rushed for 58 touchdowns and more than 4,100 yards for his high school career.

2016 running back Caleb Broach is doing his best to fill Warren's shoes and made a statement in a playoff win over the weekend. Broach rushed for 309 yards and eight touchdowns in the victory.

At 5'9" and 195 pounds, Broach has 1,347 yards and 20 touchdowns this season. His numbers are even more impressive considering that this is his first varsity season lining up at running back. Broach was a defensive back during Warren's time at running back.

Broach, who runs the 40-yard dash in 4.53 seconds, according to his Hudl page, is still looking for his first FBS offer.


Damon Sayles is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand. All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings. Follow Damon via Twitter: @DamonSayles

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