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College Football Rankings 2015: Latest Standings and Predictions for Week 10

Brace yourself for a wild week of college football.

We've had a few upsets and plenty of crazy finishes in recent weeks, but Week 10 finally brings the marquee matchups we've been waiting for this season. 

Starting Tuesday night with Toledo, Week 10 features ranked teams playing four different nights. And it's all capped off with a classic SEC battle between LSU and Alabama on Saturday night. 

The updated polls and the Week 10 schedule and spreads are below followed by a breakdown of a few of the most intriguing matchups of the week.

Note: Due to key injuries, the lines for Michigan State-Nebraska and Florida State-Clemson have not been posted as of Monday morning, according to Odds Shark. No against-the-spread picks have been given for these games.

 

Notable Games

Baylor (-18.5) at Kansas State

It's safe to assume Baylor would be favored by at least three touchdowns with a healthy Seth Russell under center, but the unknown factor of freshman Jarrett Stidham taking over drops the line a few points. 

We've seen Art Briles' staff plug in unknown quarterbacks into this system and churn out highly productive passers year after year, and there's little reason to expect a drop-off with Stidham. 

Stidham is not the typical off-the-radar recruit being groomed to fit Briles' offense. He was graded as a 4-star recruit by both Rivals and ESPN, making him one of the most highly touted high schoolers to join Briles at Baylor. 

#Baylor WR Lynx Hawthorne on Seth Russell, "we'll miss him greatly, but catching pass from @Jarrett_Stidham is almost like a gift from God."

— David Smoak (@DavidSmoak) October 28, 2015

A night game in Manhattan is not the ideal environment for Stidham to make his debut, as Bill Snyder has a knack for getting his squad to play its best on the biggest stages. But this Kansas State group, which is currently winless in Big 12 play, appears to be in rebuilding mode and not ready to keep pace with the Baylor offense. 

Prediction: Baylor 48, Kansas State 24

 

No. 17 Florida State at No. 3 Clemson

Clemson will be the favorite in this game, but the spread will be heavily influenced by the status of Dalvin Cook and Everett Golson. 

The Florida State star running back and quarterback both missed the Seminoles' game against Syracuse. Golson was held out due to a concussion, while Cook missed the game with an ankle injury

Head coach Jimbo Fisher offered little clarity on the status of his star players after Florida State's victory over Syracuse but did say he would "evaluate" the quarterback situation, according to ESPN.com's Jared Shanker:

In his postgame interview, FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said he will "evaluate" the quarterbacks. Everett Golson or Sean Maguire against Clemson?

— Jared Shanker (@JShankerESPN) October 31, 2015

The key to the game could be Cook's health. Clemson has allowed just 437 rushing yards in five ACC games this season, with an average of just 2.7 yards per attempt.

Florida State has won three straight in this matchup, but the Tigers have won five of the last six at home

Prediction (assuming Cook, Golson are healthy): Clemson 35, Florida State 28

 

No. 4 LSU at No. 7 Alabama (-7)

Alabama has won four straight against LSU, holding the Tigers to 17 or fewer points in every game. 

Despite the recent success, it's difficult to get behind the Crimson Tide as a touchdown favorite against one of the most dangerous rushing attacks in the nation.

LSU's passing attack has struggled at times this season, but quarterback Brandon Harris has shown development as the season has progressed. According to CFB Film Room, Harris is completing over 50 percent of his passes in his last two games against SEC opponents, a dramatic improvement over his early-season performance:

If the last two weeks is the real Brandon Harris, LSU might run away with the SEC.. pic.twitter.com/4nos2FBcpK

— CFB Film Room (@CFBFilmRoom) October 23, 2015

If LSU can make some plays down the field in addition to the production it's sure to get from Heisman Trophy candidate Leonard Fournette, this should be a close battle—if not an outright win for the Tigers. 

Prediction: LSU 21, Alabama 17

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Bowl Predictions 2015: Latest CFP Projections Based on Week 10 Rankings

Bowl predictions are a bit easier to gauge at this point in the 2015 NCAA football season. The year's first College Football Playoff rankings are due to release Tuesday, and the Top Four is where postseason projections of any kind ought to begin.

The Associated Press and Amway polls offer a glimpse into what to expect from the CFP committee, though. As has been commonplace all year, Ohio State remains No. 1 in the country, and there isn't much variation between the two polls' first four.

TCU gets the nod in the playoff picture in the Amway poll over Clemson, who is slotted even ahead of LSU in the AP.

Read on for some CFP projections from yours truly based on the Week 10 hierarchy and some conjecture as to what will transpire for the remainder of the regular season.

 

Orange Bowl: No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 4 Clemson

Coach Urban Meyer's Buckeyes have wobbled but not ultimately wavered in reigning supreme all season long. OSU figures not to be tested too severely until its final two games: home versus Michigan State and at Michigan.

It's almost as though this loaded Ohio State team has been waiting around and not quite hitting its stride. A similar phenomenon unfolded last season, as the Bucks peaked at the perfect time en route to a surprise national title.

That's why college football spectators have to believe OSU will flip the switch on again. Running back Ezekiel Elliott has been thriving despite a turbulent quarterback situation, and a defense stacked with NFL-caliber talent is jelling better of late, yielding just 17 points over the last two games.

Clemson would present an intriguing opponent in a hypothetical matchup and seems the best suited to lock up the College Football Playoff's last berth. The ACC is the easiest to navigate among those in contention as opposed to the Pac-12 and SEC.

In the Tigers' last contest, a defense that saw the departure of NFL first-round picks in Vic Beasley and Stephone Anthony finally seemed to show against NC State. Thankfully, sophomore QB Deshaun Watson was there to rise to the occasion, throwing for 383 yards and five touchdowns in a 56-41 victory.

Rivals.com's Mike Farrell applauded Watson for his progress, as he carved up what was a Wolfpack defense that ranked among the best in the country entering Saturday's game:

Explosive as Watson is as a passer and runner, he'd need to be special to evade a Buckeye pass rush led by Joey Bosa, scramble and elude a savvy linebacker corps headlined by Darron Lee and beat the stout OSU secondary.

J.T. Barrett also needs to redeem himself following an impending suspension this week due to an arrest for operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

Barrett lost his job to Cardale Jones to injury last year, and while his off-field mishap is seen as a negative, yours truly foresees one of two positive possibilities. Either the sophomore captain comes back reinvigorated and further fired up to prove himself or Jones runs with his reprieve after being benched and doesn't look back.

Having a runner like Elliott and a defense with the Buckeyes' personnel to complement give whoever moves forward under center plenty of support to guide OSU to the promised land once again.

Prediction: Ohio State 34, Clemson 21

 

Sugar Bowl: No. 2 TCU vs. No. 3 LSU

The best of both worlds from the AP and Amway occur in these projections to a degree because of the Horned Frogs' home-field advantage against Big 12 rival Baylor in the regular-season finale.

Baylor lost star QB Seth Russell for the season in its last win over Iowa State, have yet to play a game without him and thus can't be endorsed as a viable playoff entrant.

In the video below, TCU signal-caller Trevone Boykin and stud LSU running back Leonard Fournette are endorsed as the top two Heisman Trophy contenders, and rightly so. They have been nothing short of phenomenal this year.

After West Virginia lost to the Horned Frogs 40-10 and Boykin accounted for four total touchdowns, Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen had effusive praise for the face of TCU's program.

"Trevone Boykin is the best player in college football," said Holgorsen, per ESPN.com's Jake Trotter. "I'm glad we never have to see him again."

Boykin leans heavily on Horned Frogs receiver Josh Doctson, though, and LSU has a supremely athletic secondary that could bracket coverage to his side of the field and at least somewhat limit him.

Once Fournette gets going downhill, there's no stopping him. This would especially be the case against a TCU defense that yields 172.5 yards per contest on the ground.

ESPN Stats & Info referenced the latest new ground Fournette broke:

The biggest challenge Fournette faces this year will come this Saturday against Alabama. No matter who's been placed before him, the sensational sophomore has gone off. It also helps that Tigers QB Brandon Harris is continuing to make strides and has yet to throw an interception in 2015.

There's no denying Boykin is a big-time talent and can extend plays to help Doctson spring free. It's just unlikely the Horned Frogs would have enough beef up front to stop Fournette and also account for Harris, who is only getting better the more live reps he gets in game action.

If Ohio State and LSU were to meet in the national title game, it'd be a fascinating duel between Meyer and Tigers coach Les Miles, two of college football's most aggressive and savvy gridiron strategists. And the ball-carrier battle between Fournette and Elliott would be quite special as well.

Prediction: LSU 38, TCU 28

 

Note: Stats courtesy of NCAA.com unless otherwise indicated.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Tennessee Volunteers vs. South Carolina Gamecocks: Complete Game Preview

Even during the lean times of coach Butch Jones' Tennessee tenure, the Volunteers found a way to beat South Carolina.

This weekend, they'll try to do so as the favorite.

Riding a two-game winning streak over the Gamecocks, the Vols are also playing the best football of the Jones era after dominating Kentucky, hanging with Alabama a couple of weeks ago and upsetting Georgia before the bye week. 

UT is clicking on all cylinders offensively, and the Vols boast the nation's best special teams. Though they've still got some holes on defense, defensive coordinator John Jancek's unit is making strides because it is getting after opposing quarterbacks and forcing mistakes.

The Gamecocks are trying salvage something this season under interim coach Shawn Elliott, who took over after Steve Spurrier abruptly resigned. They're 3-5 on the year and just 1-5 in the SEC, but they showed signs of life with Perry Orth at the helm against Texas A&M in a 35-28 loss.

Last year, the Vols really got things going in the right direction with a comeback, overtime victory over Carolina in Columbia, and this season, they'll try to keep the positive vibes going.

Let's take a look at everything you need to know for this weekend's game.

 

Date: Saturday, Nov. 7

Time: 4 p.m. ET

Place: Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, Tennessee

TV: SEC Network

Radio: Vol Network, Gamecock IMG Sports Network, Sirius XM 190

Spread: Vols by 15, according to Oddsshark.

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Robert Beal to Notre Dame: Fighting Irish Land 4-Star DE Prospect

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish continue to put together a quality football recruiting class for 2017.

Robert Beal, a defensive end from Norcross, Georgia, has committed to play for head coach Brian Kelly's Fighting Irish, according to Scout.com's Chad Simmons.

Beal chose Notre Dame over 22 other schools that presented him with offers, according to 247Sports, which lists him as the third-best weak-side pass-rusher in the entire class. He became the fourth 4-star recruit to commit to Notre Dame's 2017 recruiting class and the fifth overall.

The edge-rusher from Norcross High School chose Notre Dame over the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Baylor, Florida and Michigan.

Simmons said Beal's current rankings can be deceiving, because he's still getting better:

He has a great frame and he has added about 15 pounds since last season, he is really getting stronger, and with that weight and strength, he is becoming a better all-around football player.  In 2015, he has shown the ability to push big offensive linemen backwards, disengage, and make a play on the ball.  He can still improve his consistency in the pad level department, but it has gotten better.

With his size, length, and athleticism, he can really close on the ball.  One of his biggest strengths is still his speed and quickness in pursuit.  His length is a big asset too.  He is really learning how to use it to his advantage to keep offensive linemen off his body.

Beal's decision to go to Notre Dame is another big-time get for Kelly. He's already gotten 2017 verbals from offensive tackles Dillan Gibbons and Joshua Lugg, and the addition of Beal means Kelly is determined to focus on the trenches.

Those two will join 4-star offensive linemen Tommy Kraemer and Liam Eichenberg from the 2016 class.

Notre Dame has also gotten 2017 commitments from tight ends Brock Wright (Cypress, Texas) and Cole Kmet (Arlington Heights, Illinois). 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

ASU's Deonte Reynolds Involved in Fight, Shots Reportedly Fired in Tempe

An Arizona State Sun Devils football player was involved in an altercation Saturday that ended when someone reportedly fired gunshots.

According to Miguel Otarola of the Arizona Republic, Sun Devils defensive lineman Deonte Reynolds got into a fight with someone at a gathering of nearly 300 people near an American Legion hall in Tempe, Arizona. Otarola noted “someone in the crowd fired multiple rounds during the fight, scattering the crowd, witnesses said.”

Brad Denny of 3TV Sports provided an image of the aftermath at the scene:

Reynolds was treated for minor injuries, although there were no reported firearm injuries in nearby hospitals.

Police found blood at the scene, although witnesses said it was from a fistfight. Nobody was arrested, and police are attempting to sort out the details.

According to Doug Haller of the Republic, Reynolds missed 15 days of practice while waiting for NCAA clearance before the season started.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

ASU's Deonte Reynolds Involved in Fight, Shots Reportedly Fired in Tempe

An Arizona State Sun Devils football player was involved in an altercation Saturday that ended when someone reportedly fired gunshots...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

College Football Week 10 Opening Odds Roundup: Alabama Betting Favorites vs. LSU

The Alabama Crimson Tide trail the LSU Tigers in this week's AP Top 25 poll, but they still opened as the betting favorites at sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark for the matchup between the two rivals at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday night.

LSU is No. 4 and Alabama is No. 7 in the latest AP Top 25, but the Crimson Tide opened as seven-point favorites for Saturday's meeting in Tuscaloosa. LSU is a perfect 7-0 straight up and 4-3 against the spread on the season, with Alabama at 7-1 SU and 3-5 ATS.

When the schools met last year the Crimson Tide won 20-13 as a seven-point road favorite, resulting in a push on the betting lines. Alabama is 4-0 SU in its last four games against LSU but just 2-1-1 ATS, according to the OddsShark College Football Database. The road team is 4-1 SU in the last five games in this matchup, while the Crimson Tide are 0-5 ATS in their last five games at home.

LSU vs. Alabama is just one of three ranked matchups on the Week 10 board, with No. 3 Clemson hosting No. 17 Florida State and No. 12 Oklahoma State getting a visit from No. 5 TCU in the other two marquee contests. The line for Clemson vs. Florida State was off the board early in the week as the Seminoles sort through their injury situations at quarterback and running back, while TCU opened as a five-point favorite against Oklahoma State.

Top-ranked Ohio State opened as a 23-point home favorite against Minnesota for this week, with Cardale Jones getting the start at quarterback in place of the suspended J.T. Barrett for the Buckeyes. Ohio State is riding a nine-game SU win streak against Minnesota. No. 2 Baylor, meanwhile, opened as a big 18.5-point road favorite for its Thursday night game against Kansas State.

Up to No. 8 in the AP Top 25, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish opened as 7.5-point road favorites against Pittsburgh for their game on Saturday, with the betting trends for the week pointing out that the Fighting Irish are just 1-5 both SU and ATS in their last six games against the Panthers in the month of November and 0-5 ATS in their last five November games overall.

And No. 9 Stanford opened as a 16-point road favorite against Colorado for Saturday. The Cardinal are 7-0 SU and 6-1 ATS since their Week 1 defeat, and they beat the Buffaloes by a combined score of 96-7 in the two matchups between the schools back in 2011 and 2012.

 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Norm Chow Fired by Hawaii: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

On the heels of its sixth straight loss, the University of Hawaii announced it has fired head coach Norm Chow effective immediately. 

The 69-year-old head coach was in the midst of his fourth season with the Rainbow Warriors, with whom he compiled an overall record of 10-36. Hawaii is 2-7 this season with victories over the Colorado Buffaloes and UC Davis Aggies.

Hawaii athletics director David Matlin thanked Chow for his service in a statement:

I'd like to thank Coach Chow for his dedication to our football program for the past four years. Ultimately, we feel this decision is in the best interest of the University and Athletics Department and we need to move in a different direction. Coach Chow should be commended for helping our football program achieve all-time highs in APR scores and graduation rates.

This was the first head coaching job for Chow, who began his collegiate coaching career as an assistant at BYU and remained with the team in some capacity for 27 seasons. He spent three seasons in the NFL as the offensive coordinator with the Tennessee Titans. In addition, he also served as an assistant coach for North Carolina State, USC, UCLA and Utah before taking the Hawaii job.

Chow certainly didn't have the talent to work with previous Hawaii teams had, but the administration had seen enough losing after the team's relative success prior to Chow. Hawaii played in seven bowls between 2002-2010.

The school announced assistant coach Chris Naeole will take over interim duties for the remainder of the season.   

Tom D'Angelo of the Palm Beach Post reacted to the fact there are now 10 vacant FBS head coaching jobs:

The Rainbow Warriors have no chance at the postseason, but with teams like 2-6 Fresno State and UNLV still on the schedule, they have a shot at making this season respectable. Firing Chow now as opposed to after the season will give the school more time to search for a coach and talk with recruits about the process.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

College Football Rankings 2015: Twitter Reacts to Week 10 AP, Amway Polls

The Ohio State Buckeyes swept the latest version of the Amway Coaches, Associated Press (AP) and Bleacher Report polls as the unanimous No. 1 team in the nation. A 49-7 win over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on October 24 understandably strengthened the Buckeyes' hold on the top spot.

 

Not Everyone on Buckeyes' Bandwagon

There are obviously enough voters who believe that Ohio State is the nation's best team, but not everyone believes it will make it to the College Football Playoff. 

Stewart Mandel of Fox Sports and former Missouri Tigers receiver and radio contributor T.J. Moe don't have Ohio State in their final four. 

This could be due to the instability at quarterback. Days after J.T. Barrett accounted for five touchdowns in the win over Rutgers, he was arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Per Mark Schlabach of ESPN.com, Barrett will be suspended for the team's upcoming home game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

Truth be told, the Buckeyes probably don't need Barrett to beat the Gophers. The question is: What will the fallout be from Barrett's arrest and suspension? Will he lose his starting spot, and if so, can the Buckeyes win the tougher games on the rest of their schedule—namely the all-important November 21 battle with the Michigan State Spartans—with Cardale Jones at quarterback?

While the Buckeyes won with Jones en route to the national championship late last season and through the early part of this year, they looked like a much better team with Barrett at the helm. Head coach Urban Meyer has some work to do to regulate the situation after being dealt an unexpected curveball.

 

Baylor No. 2 for Now

The doubters are out in full force for the nation's No. 2 team. Quarterback Seth Russell is out for the season after neck surgery, and that means true freshman Jarrett Stidham will have to step up.

Baylor Bears head coach Art Briles sent out positive wishes for Russell just prior to the procedure. 

Stidham has a tall task ahead of him. Even if he were an experienced backup, it would be tough to be thrown into the fire the way Stidham will be. After the game against the Kansas State Wildcats on November 5, the Bears will have to somehow battle their way through a rigorous string of games against ranked conference opponents.

Following the Wildcats matchup is a home game against the No. 14 Oklahoma Sooners and two road contests against the No. 12 Oklahoma State Cowboys and No. 5 TCU Horned Frogs.

Stidham will likely be the hero and goat down the stretch. Those games will make or break Baylor's chances to reach the CFP.

 

Duke Drops on Miracle Play

You may or may not have seen the Miami Hurricanes stun the Duke Blue Devils with an eight-lateral touchdown on Saturday. The 30-27 loss cost Duke, as they dropped out of the polls with the defeat to the unranked Hurricanes.

Dan Wolken of USA Today didn't seem to think much of the Blue Devils' plummet:

You have to have some sympathy for Duke and its fanbase. Miami wasn't exactly a horrible team, as it came into the game with a 4-3 record. The game ended in such an unpredictable way and with some apparent home cooking from several members of the officiating crew.

With suspensions being levied against the on-field officiating crew as well as the replay official and communicator, per Andrea Adelson of ESPN.com, Duke could make the case that it was forced to beat Miami and the refs.

Still, nothing will pull the loss off Duke's record or ascend it in the polls—at least not until the November 7 battle against in-state rival and No. 21-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels.

 

Heavy SEC Presence

The SEC Network proudly tweeted the six teams in its conference that are in the latest AP poll.

Legitimately, the Florida Gators, Alabama Crimson Tide and LSU Tigers all have a shot to make the CFP. Bama and Florida both have one loss, but the two teams could make a strong case they deserve to be in the final four if they run the table and win the SEC title game. Take a look at the strength-of-record rankings, per Alabama Media Group's Cole Cubelic:

Because LSU and Bama clash in a game that will likely decide the SEC West on Saturday, it'll be hard—or impossible—for both teams to make the playoffs. If the winner beats Florida in the conference title game, the Gators are likely out. 

There's a slight chance the Gators and the SEC West champion could make the playoffs—especially if it's the Tigers who prevail on Saturday.

LSU narrowly defeated Florida 35-28 on October 17 in Baton Rouge. A win by Florida in the conference title game might just even the score. With both teams having only one loss—assuming they both win their other games—both could make the case they have the right to play for the national title.

Week 10 will be a big one in college football, as we should know a lot more about the big picture after LSU vs. Alabama, Florida State vs. Clemson and TCU at Oklahoma State.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Top 5 Candidates to Replace Frank Beamer as Virginia Tech Head Coach

College football has lost another icon. 

Following reports from Mike Jurecki of Fox Sports 910 and ESPN's Mark Schlabach, among others, Virginia Tech confirmed head coach Frank Beamer will retire at the end of the 2015 season. 

“I have always said that ‘I want what is best for Virginia Tech,’” Beamer said a statement released by the school. “Because of my love and passion for this great university, this program and our tremendous fans, I have decided after 29 years that it’s time. Today, I informed Dr. Timothy Sands and Whit Babcock of my decision to retire at the conclusion of the 2015 season."

Hundreds, if not thousands, of words could be spent on what Beamer has meant to the Hokies program, which he took over in 1987. He leaves with a (currently) 235-120-2 (.661) winning record during 29 years at Virginia Tech. He led the Hokies program to a national championship game appearance in 1999 and won four ACC titles plus two more Big East titles outright. 

With Beamer moving on to the next phase of his life, Virginia Tech is tasked with finding a coach who can pick up where Beamer left off. Here are five candidates the Hokies should consider based on merit and potential fit. 

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Bowl Predictions 2015: Updated Playoff Projections Heading into Week 10

Survive and advance was the theme of Week 9 for the College Football Playoff contenders. 

While most of the title contenders were at home on their bye week, those that took the field gave their fans a scare on Halloween. 

Clemson, Notre Dame and Stanford were among the playoff hopefuls that found themselves in tight contests, a few of which came down to the wire. 

Below is an updated projection for the College Football Playoff matchups and other New Year's Six bowl games, followed by a breakdown of a few of the notable teams that were in action on Saturday. 

 

Notable teams

Clemson Tigers

N.C. State kept it interesting thanks to Jacoby Brissett and a few big special teams plays. But in the end, Deshaun Watson and the Tigers' front seven were too much for the Wolfpack. 

Don't know who's noticing but D. Watson of Clemson is putting on a clinic throwing the ball. #heismanfuture

— shannon sharpe (@ShannonSharpe) October 31, 2015

The closer-than-expected game shouldn't be taken as an indictment of Clemson, as plenty of championship-caliber teams have been caught looking ahead with worse performances than this in years past. 

Dabo Swinney and his squad now begin preparation for Florida State, the biggest hurdle remaining between Clemson and the College Football playoff. 

Florida State has owned Clemson in recent years, winning three straight, including a 51-14 blowout the last time the teams met in Clemson in 2013. 

That one blip against the eventual national champions aside, Clemson has historically defended its home turf in this rivalry. Dating back to 2003, the Tigers are 5-1 at home against Florida State. 

 

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Having knocked off USC and Temple in consecutive games, Notre Dame now appears to be among the strongest one-loss teams in the nation. 

Each of the four teams in the playoff picture in this projection are currently undefeated, but the Irish are just on the outside waiting for someone to slip up. 

Notre Dame is hurt slightly by its lack of a conference championship game, which the committee made clear was an important criterion last year when it left Baylor and TCU out of the playoffs. 

However, it's worth noting that Notre Dame does wrap up its regular season at Stanford on November 28. So while Brian Kelly's squad is hurt by the lack of conference affiliation, they do have the ability to close out the season with a statement victory on the road. 

 

Houston Cougars

A win over Vanderbilt certainly isn't going to put Houston in the playoff hunt, but it is the Cougars' second victory over a Power Five conference opponent.

With two Power Five victories, the Cougars have a strong enough resume to deserve serious consideration to represent the Group of Five schools in one of the New Year's Six bowl games. 

Most points a very good Vandy defense has given up all year, but keep discounting Houston.

— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) November 1, 2015

The real test for Houston awaits in two weeks, when the Cougars host Memphis on November 14.

The winner of that game becomes the overwhelming favorite to earn a New Year's Six bowl berth but will still have a tough matchup in the AAC championship game, likely against Temple. 

 

Stanford Cardinal

A close call against Washington State might hurt Stanford in the polls initially, but in terms of the playoff picture, it's unlikely to be a significant factor. 

The Cardinal still control their own destiny in the Pac-12 race and hold a two-game lead in the North division. 

Stanford will have multiple opportunities to erase the memory of this game, as it closes out the regular season against Notre Dame, followed by a likely Pac-12 title game showdown with Utah, UCLA or USC. 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

College Football Rankings 2015: Hits and Misses from the Week 10 Polls

Yep, college football got weird on Halloween night. How appropriate. 

Michigan survived an emotional rally against Minnesota on a goal-line stand. The Miami Hurricanes needed a kickoff return for the ages—which, as we now know, shouldn't have counted to begin with—against Duke. Stanford needed a #collegekickers moment to escape against an upset-minded Washington State. 

How did it all shake out in the latest USA Today Amway Coaches Poll and the Associated Press Top 25?

With five Top 10 teams on a bye in Week 9 and few losses among Top 20 teams, the rankings didn't change all that much. Still, resumes are being built (or dismantled). With the College Football Playoff selection committee to release its first Top 25 poll this week, we're getting close to the critical point in the year. 

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.

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Maty Mauk Suspended for Remainder of Season: Latest Comments, Reaction

Shortly after they reinstated Maty Mauk to the team, the Missouri Tigers suspended Mauk once again for disciplinary reasons. The junior quarterback will miss the remainder of the 2015 season, per Fox Sports' Stewart Mandel.

"Quarterback [sic] are held to a whole different standard than anyone else on the team," said Mizzou head coach Gary Pinkel, per Tod Palmer of the Kansas City Star. "Responsibility is huge."

Dave Matter of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Mauk isn't dismissed from the program entirely, and the coaching staff could re-evaluate his status once the season is over.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Ben Frederickson believes the close nature of the two suspensions reflects badly on both the player and the school:

Gabe DeArmond of PowerMizzou.com noted how the Tigers' 2012 recruiting class, which included Mauk, Dorial Green-Beckham, Markus Golden and Russell Hansbrough, has provided mixed returns for the team:

Pinkel originally suspended Mauk for the South Carolina game in late September for an unspecified violation of team rules. The QB then missed Missouri's matchups with Florida, Georgia and Vanderbilt—all of which were losses for the Tigers—while still on suspension.

Drew Lock replaced Mauk in the starting lineup and has largely struggled in the role. The freshman has thrown for 538 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in the last four weeks, with Missouri failing to register a touchdown since its 24-10 win over the Gamecocks on Oct. 3.

"It puts a remarkable amount of pressure on a young player," Pinkel said of how Mauk's suspension will impact Lock, per David Morrison of the Columbia Daily Tribune. "At the end of the day, we don't asterisk things."

With Mauk ruled out for the rest of the campaign, Pinkel will hope Lock makes a little more progress on the field so the Tigers can become bowl-eligible.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

AP College Football Poll 2015: Top 25 Rankings for Week 10

After weeks of craziness near the top of the Associated Press poll, a state of inertia has washed over the latest college football rankings. 

All eight remaining Power Five unbeatens kept their loss columns clean, so not all that much changed from Week 9 to Week 10. Ohio State retained its tenuous grip on the No. 1 spot by earning 39 first-place votes and is followed by Baylor for the fourth straight week. Clemson, LSU and TCU round out the Top Five.

Here is a look at the entire Top 25:

With the Buckeyes and Bears idle, the focus was intently on the teams behind them. LSU was also off, but Clemson and TCU were in action against unranked opponents. Only the Horned Frogs looked their best. Trevone Boykin continued his Heisman Trophy-worthy campaign with four total touchdowns in TCU's 40-10 thrashing of West Virginia on Thursday. It's the seventh straight game the Frogs have topped 40 points after their ugly 23-17 win over Minnesota in Week 1.

ESPN Stats & Info provided context for TCU's recent success:

Clemson, meanwhile, had a bit more trouble. The Tigers defense nearly squandered a sensational performance by Deshaun Watson with a number of breakdowns in a 56-41 win over North Carolina State. The Clemson quarterback accounted for six touchdowns, including five through the air, as he continued his breakout sophomore season. Watson has thrown for at least one score and rushed for at least one score in each of the last three games.

Stewart Mandel of Fox Sports commented on his performance against the Wolfpack:

Oklahoma State and Iowa, the two unbeatens no one seems to believe in, continued their respective runs over the weekend. The Cowboys spotted Texas Tech 17 points and trailed 38-28 at halftime before turning up their offensive efficiency in the second half en route to a 70-53 win. James Washington caught touchdown passes of 75 and 73 yards in the fourth quarter from J.W. Walsh, who has thrown for nine touchdowns on 23 attempts this season.

Oklahoma State accounted for 478 passing yards with four players throwing the ball. Walsh also added eight rushes for 80 yards as he continues to shine in one of the country's most interesting quarterback situations.

"I thought [offensive coordinator] Mike [Yurcich] and the staff did a great job of staying with our game plan and not extending ourselves," Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy said, per the Sports Xchange (via the Times Record). "We had to stay balanced, but we had to slowly but surely work ourselves back into the game."

The next shoe will drop for either TCU or Oklahoma State on Saturday, when the Frogs travel to Stillwater for the weekend's lone battle of unbeatens.

Iowa moved to 4-0 in the Big Ten with a 31-15 win over Maryland. The Hawkeyes only ran for 110 yards and passed for 183, but they forced four turnovers and led 21-0 at halftime on three rushing touchdowns by three different players. In the fourth quarter, Perry Hills intercepted a pass and returned it 88 yards for a touchdown.

Moving into the poll this week are No. 21 North Carolina and No. 25 Texas A&M.

 

Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter.

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Frank Beamer to Retire: Latest Comments and Reaction

Longtime Virginia Tech head football coach Frank Beamer is retiring at the end of the 2015 season.

Mike Jurecki of Fox Sports initially reported the news Sunday. ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach confirmed the report and said the Hokies would publicly announce the news at approximately 2:15 p.m. ET.  

Beamer commented on the decision in a release from HokieSports.com:

I have always said that "I want what is best for Virginia Tech." Because of my love and passion for this great university, this program and our tremendous fans, I have decided after 29 years that it's time. Today, I informed Dr. Timothy Sands and Whit Babcock of my decision to retire at the conclusion of the 2015 season.

I was going to wait until the end of the season to make this announcement, but I've always believed in being open and honest with my players and coaches. I know Hokie Nation will continue to give our players and our coaches their full support in these last three games, and hopefully through a bowl game. I will be forever grateful to everyone who made these past three decades the best years of my life. It's an emotional day for me and my family. I am so honored and humbled to have served as your head coach.

I will speak about my retirement at my regular press conference tomorrow, and after that, my sole and absolute focus will return to coaching these players as best as I can and encouraging our coaches and staff who I care for so deeply.

Beamer, 69, has been at the helm of the Virginia Tech program since 1987. He was a three-year starting cornerback for the Hokies and graduated from the university in 1969.

He oversaw the glory days of quarterback Michael Vick and led Virginia Tech to No. 2 in the postseason Associated Press poll in 1999. Beamer has compiled a record of 235-120-2, including 4-5 this season, with 22 straight bowl appearances.

Babcock, the Hokies athletics director, commented on Beamer's decision, per the release:

Coach Beamer contacted me earlier today with his decision to retire following this season. Coach will always remain one of the most beloved figures in college football history. He's a future Hall of Famer, an educator and a role model. His contributions to Virginia Tech and the game of football—both on and off of the field—are unquestionable and beyond measure.

[...] He coached the game the right way and no one coached it better, no one. You cannot "replace" Coach Beamer. What an amazing run it was over the past 29 years! He will be missed on the sideline, but he and Cheryl will always be part of the Virginia Tech family.

Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports also weighed in on the situation:

Known for placing a premium on special teams and defense, the "Beamer Ball" approach the Hokies have deployed under their coach has produced game-changing plays in those phases of the game more often than most other marquee programs. It is a primary reason Beamer has remained consistent for so many years.

In 28 seasons at the helm entering this one, he won at least 10 games 13 times. He also hasn't posted a losing record since 1992.

Although the Hokies have hovered close to .500 in recent years, Virginia Tech is still attracting and developing premier talent. Notable former players to recently hit the NFL scene include Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor and 2014 first-round pick Kyle Fuller, a cornerback for the Chicago Bears.

The legacy Beamer has built and the lengthy tenure he's had with the Hokies are a testament to his football acumen and how well his players respond to him. Beamer's blend of football savvy and relentless recruiting has made him one of the biggest success stories in recent college football history.

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Alabama Football: How Crimson Tide's Top Commits Performed This Weekend

Alabama has become synonymous with recruiting excellence in recent years.

If the play of a handful of current Crimson Tide commits over the weekend is any indicator, head coach Nick Saban and his staff have plenty to be excited about with regards to the future of the program. 

Four offensive standouts in the Tide’s 2016 class—which currently sits as the No. 5 class in the country—enjoyed monster games.

4-star quarterback Jalen Hurts displayed his abilities to burn defenses through the air and with his feet. 

According to Brian Perroni of 247Sports, Hurts finished 5-of-12 passing for 104 yards and two touchdowns. He added another 227 yards rushing on 14 carries, with more four scores on the ground in leading Channelview (Texas] High School to a 49-25 win over Baytown Sterling.

The 6’2”, 208-pounder is scheduled to be an early enrollee for the Tide, and his dynamic playmaking ability will add another element to the Tide’s group of signal-callers hoping to take over for Jake Coker next fall. 

Not to be outdone, 4-star running back B.J. Emmons rushed 20 times for 259 yards and four touchdowns in leading Freedom (North Carolina) High School to a 52-14 win over St. Stephens, according to Paul Schenkel of the Morganton News Herald.

It was a display that showed why the 5’10”, 232-pound Emmons is built similar to the Tide’s recent stable of bruising backs such as current star Derrick Henry.

Two players slated to catch passes over the next few years in Tuscaloosa also enjoyed strong performances. 

According to Erik Harris of the Trussville Tribune, 3-star receiver T.J. Simmons hauled in six receptions for 130 yards and four touchdowns in helping Clay-Chalkville (Alabama) High School to a 53-35 win over Hewitt-Trussville.

Simmons has been a sure-handed target who has helped the Cougars finish the regular season with an unbeaten record.

3-star tight end pledge Miller Forristall showcased why he could become a mismatch problem at the next level. The 6’5”, 220-pounder caught three passes for 104 yards, including a 56-yard touchdown, according to Sampson Jenkins of the Cartersville Daily Tribune.

While the 2016 class is clearly loaded with explosive talents, 2017 5-star running back Najee Harris has consistently displayed why he's considered to be the nation’s top rusher in the junior class.

According to Shotgun Spratling of Scout, Harris had more than 100 yards rushing and three touchdowns in limited action as Antioch (California) High School cruised to a 62-9 win over Deer Valley. 

Performances like these are a sampling of why Tide fans have reason to expect their offense to be an explosive unit for many years to come.

 

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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ACC Suspends Referees, Replay Officials After Miami vs. Duke

The ACC announced it has suspended the referees and replay officials involved in Miami's 30-27 win over Duke Saturday. In the press release, the conference cited a "series of errors during the final play of the game" for the decision.

The Hurricanes won after a kickoff return touchdown that channeled "The Play" in Stanford and Cal's 1982 clash:

As dramatic as the TD was, Miami committed multiple infractions on the play, none of which were ultimately penalized. The missed flags included a block in the back at the Hurricanes' 16-yard line and a dead-ball penalty for a player leaving the sideline before the play was over, which wouldn't have canceled out the touchdown anyway.

Miami running back Mark Walton also looked to be down before he lateraled the ball to his teammate, which Joe Giglio of the News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina, highlighted:

Dan Wolken of USA Today believes the ACC should take extreme measures to rectify the officiating mistakes:

The Hurricanes, meanwhile, don't care how they got the win:

The result could have a major impact for the Blue Devils down the line. They fell to 3-1 in the conference, which puts them behind North Carolina and Pittsburgh in the ACC Coastal.

Even if Duke wins out, it might not get a spot in the ACC championship because of the finish to Saturday's game.

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Ohio State Football: How Buckeyes' Top Commits Performed This Weekend

Ohio State remains unbeaten two months into its quest for a national championship repeat, and head coach Urban Meyer is constantly putting in work for future Buckeyes campaigns.

The program has put together an impressive stockpile of prospects through recent recruiting efforts, currently claiming top-rated classes in 2016 and 2017 composite rankings. These star-studded groups provide plenty of promise for sustained success at Ohio State in the coming years. 

Buckeyes commits across the country stepped up in support of their high school squads this weekend. These standout performances featured a pair of elite athletes expected to eventually make a major impact on the Ohio State passing attack.

Indiana wide receiver Austin Mack and Cincinnati tight end Jake Hausmann both delivered dominant efforts.

Mack, a 6'2", 205-pound prospect, has been a dynamic force as a rusher and receiver throughout his career at Bishop Luers High School, which moved closer to a state title with a 40-7 victory over Yorktown High School. 

His versatility shined against Yorktown, as Mack collected 226 total offensive yards, per MaxPreps. The 4-star recruit, rated 12th nationally among wide receivers in composite rankings, racked up 161 rushing yards on just nine carries and added 65 yards through the air on two catches. 

Mack accounted for three touchdowns and also impressed on defense. He finished with a pair of interceptions, giving him four picks this fall.

His senior season has been explosive throughout. Mack now has 765 receiving yards, 690 rushing yards and 24 total touchdowns. 

"I'm an all-around wide receiver who commits to the little things," he told Bleacher Report in May. "I'm smart enough to memorize playbooks quickly and execute my assignments, whether I'm blocking downfield or running crisp routes. For a high school player, I'm polished."

Hausmann, who attends Archbishop Moeller High School, also enjoyed an outstanding game this weekend. He hauled in three touchdown passes during a 50-10 win over Canada Prep, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

The 6'5", 235-pound playmaker caught scoring strikes from 12, 16 and 34 yards out. Hausmann tallied 163 receiving yards, further validating his status as the nation's No. 3 tight end prospect in composite rankings.

North Carolina running back Antonio Williams, who flipped his commitment from Wisconsin in October, played a pivotal role in North Stanly High School's 33-8 victory over Albemarle High School.

He plowed through opponents en route to 111 rushing yards and two touchdowns, according to Charles Curico of the Stanly News and Press. The 5'11", 210-pound senior continues to match expectations created by his rating as seventh-best running back in 2016 composite rankings.

Fellow Buckeyes commit Todd Sibley is Ohio State's primary rusher in the 2017 recruiting cycle. He also excelled this weekend, accumulating 158 rushing yards and two scores for Archbishop Hoban High School of Akron, Ohio.

Sibley and Williams could quickly become key components of the Buckeyes backfield when they arrive in Columbus. Both are well over 1,000 rushing yards this season, offering increased potential for a positional group slated to add fellow 4-stars Demario McCall and Kareem Walker next national signing day.

Though he'll play quarterback at Ohio State, Texas standout Tristen Wallace was on the attack as a runner this weekend. The Desoto High School star gained 193 yards and two touchdowns on just 17 carries in a 38-22 win over Midlothian High School, according to Brian Perroni of 247Sports.

 

Tyler Donohue is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite rankings. Follow Tyler via Twitter: @TDsTake.

 

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Miami Hurricanes Respond to Suspension of Refs with Fantastic Tweet

Whether it was the correct ruling or not, the Miami Hurricanes beat the Duke Blue Devils on a wild, lateral-filled kickoff return for a touchdown on the final play of the game on Saturday night.

All Miami cares about is that it was given credit for the 30-27 victory—even if some people don't think that the final play should have counted.

On Sunday afternoon, the ACC announced that the game's on-field officiating crew, the replay official and communicator were suspended for making multiple errors during the final play. That news had the Hurricanes like:

[Miami Hurricanes]

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Clemson QB Deshaun Watson Shoved by NC State Coach Des Kitchings on Video

North Carolina State running backs coach Des Kitchings may soon be in hot water after ESPN cameras caught him shoving Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson on Saturday.

The moment came in the third quarter of the Tigers' 56-41 win over the Wolfpack. As Watson was returning to the field of play after running out of bounds, Kitchings quickly pushed him in the shoulder.

According to Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren, Kitchings apologized to both Watson and the Tigers coaching staff after the game, per ESPN.com's Andrea Adelson.

"As far as I know, everything has been settled," Doeren said. "It was a heat-of-the-battle moment and unfortunate. I think he handled it the right way."

ESPN's Anthony Becht, however, doesn't think Doeren's explanation absolves Kitchings of any wrongdoing:

While Kitchings' shove wasn't as heinous as Woody Hayes' punch to Charlie Bauman in 1978—which incidentally involved Clemson as well—aggressive physical contact with an opposing player is always a no-no.

The ACC could easily reprimand Kitchings in the coming days, whether with a fine or suspension from the sidelines.

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