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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.

Begin Slideshow

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.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

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.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

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.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

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

The slate of college football games in Week 9 wasn't as strong as in previous weeks, but that didn't prevent the sport from providing enough drama and plot twists to fill a novel. And, of course, there was a wild, game-winning play as time expired to leave jaws on the floor, too. 

So let's take a look back at the action that was as we review this week's updated Amway coaches poll and the Bleacher Report edition. Much changed in Week 9. Much, much more will change in Week 10. 

 

Analysis

It wouldn't be a Saturday in the fall without a crazy finish. 

This week, it was the Miami Hurricanes who provided the drama in a wild weekend in the ACC. Trailing 27-24 with just six seconds left, the Hurricanes fielded Duke's squib kick, lateraled the ball eight times and eventually scored, impossibly, as Corn Elder raced into the end zone. 

"It was kind of like, just keep playing. Just keep playing," Miami's interim head coach, Larry Scott, said after the game, per ESPN. "We used a joke earlier in the week about it being like a playground, about it being kind of like recess. And you know what? How about that? That's what it kind of turned into—a kids' game."

Referees would review the play to determine whether Mark Walton was guilty of a block in the back during the crazy return and if Walton's knee hit the ground before he got rid of his lateral during the play. But the officials waved off the flag and upheld the touchdown. 

The loss was potentially devastating for Duke, as North Carolina's win over Pittsburgh left it solely in first place in the ACC Coastal division. The Blue Devils will have the opportunity to separate themselves from both North Carolina and Pittsburgh, however, as they face those schools in the next two weeks. 

Meanwhile, Notre Dame kept its playoff hopes alive with a 24-20 win over a scrappy, tough Temple team Saturday night. DeShone Kizer (299 passing yards, one passing touchdown, 143 rushing yards, two rushing scores) single-handedly willed the team to victory, leading Notre Dame on a late touchdown drive to escape Philadelphia with a win. 

For a Temple program that has been notoriously weak throughout its history and was underestimated heading into this game, the showing was a good one, as John Keim of ESPN tweeted:

Still, a loss is a loss, and while the Owls are comfortably in first place in the American Athletic East division, a tough matchup against undefeated Memphis looms. If nothing else, however, the Owls proved they were a dangerous team Saturday night.

Minnesota nearly did the same. The Golden Gophers had the Michigan Wolverines on the ropes Saturday night, trailing 29-26 with the ball on the 1-yard line and just two seconds left. Minnesota decided to go for the win rather than the tie, but the Wolverines came up with a crucial stop, stuffing Mitch Leidner's quarterback-sneak attempt as time expired to seal the win.

The Wolverines have already been the victims of a crazy finish to lose a game this year. This time around, they managed to hold on and, in the process, hold onto their slim chances of reaching the Big Ten title game. 

Much will be decided in college football next week, meanwhile. The ACC has two huge matchups, as Duke faces North Carolina and Clemson takes on Florida State. The undefeated Tigers would surely be in the driver's seat for a playoff berth if they can get past the Seminoles. 

Notre Dame will face another test against a solid Pittsburgh team, while undefeated schools TCU and Oklahoma State will face off in a game that will have huge implications for the Big 12. And, as if all of that wasn't enough, Alabama and LSU will go head-to-head in a game that will decide quite a bit both in the SEC and in the College Football Playoff picture. 

Week 9 turned into a very entertaining one for college football fans. Week 10 should be downright epic.

 

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College Football Playoff 2015: Latest Championship Predictions After Week 9

Call it the calm before the storm.

For the second straight week, the college football slate featured just one matchup between Associated Press Top 25 teams, and only three of the 18 ranked teams playing suffered defeat.

With half of the Top 10 on a bye, we head to November featuring games to remember—and at a fitting time with the first rankings from the College Football Playoff committee set to release Tuesday.

Eight of the Top 10 teams are pitted to play against fellow foes within those ranks, meaning the playoff picture will come in clearer shape over the coming weeks. Lost Letterman captured the excitement following a less-than-emphatic Week 9:

As we head into the final full month of the season, here is a look at the projected playoff scenario, accounting for those matchups:

Alabama is the highest ranked one-loss team, but its defeat to No. 19 Ole Miss seems like ages ago. The Crimson Tide are exhibiting championship-caliber football at the most pivotal point of the season. 

Up next: No. 4 LSU. Outside the playoff, it’s arguably been the biggest game in college football in the current era. ESPN College GameDay announced it will set up on site for the annual tilt for the fourth time in five years:

The Crimson Tide escaped Death Valley last year in overtime and essentially eliminated LSU from SEC contention in the process. The Tigers have the chance to exact revenge but will have to do so in Tuscaloosa with an undefeated season and seven-game win streak on the line. 

If they lose, their hopes at the SEC championship will likely be squandered, as Alabama will be firmly in the driver’s seat to win the SEC West. Given the crowded room of current unbeatens, LSU’s chance of reaching the playoff as a one-loss team that didn’t play for their conference title seems unlikely.

Alabama may have stumbled, coming off a narrow win over 4-4 Tennessee after already losing to an Ole Miss team that has hit a decline. But this is the time of year Nick Saban has his troops playing their best football. It will assuredly be close, but Alabama will hold off LSU Heisman Trophy favorite Leonard Fournette and win in a squeaker on Saturday, positioning itself for a playoff berth by running the table.

Clemson is arguably the most complete team in college football and has its final road bump ahead this weekend against No. 17 Florida State. 

Quarterback Deshaun Watson continues to chase Fournette in the Heisman race after scoring six touchdowns in the Tigers’ 56-41 win over N.C. State on Saturday. Watson anchored an offense that accounted for 623 yards—56 more than in its 58-0 drumming of Miami a week prior. 

But Clemson’s identity is actually rooted in its defense, which ranks third overall (251 yards per game). 

Despite the continuity, head coach Dabo Swinney is keeping his team in perspective, per Aaron Beard of the Associated Press, ahead of Saturday’s game against Florida State, the three-time defending ACC champs: "We're 8-0. That's really all that matters for us, that we've got a chance to clinch our division with a win over the team that's been the best team in this conference the last few years."

The Tigers haven't lost a game to an unranked team in their last 36 tries, meaning they have a great likelihood to reach the playoff should they conquer FSU. As Ira Schoffel of Warchant.com indicated, that’s no picnic:

Stanford survived a scare on a would-be game-winning field goal by Washington State, but that should serve as a wake-up call more than anything. The Cardinal still have the talent to rue the rest of the Pac-12 and a season finale against No. 9 Notre Dame to redeem themselves. 

Ohio State, meanwhile, continues to chug along—doing so without  J.T. Barrett in Saturday’s 49-7 win over Rutgers after the starting quarterback was suspended one game while operating a vehicle under the influence, according to the Associated Press.

But the Buckeyes still have to play No. 6 Michigan State and No. 15 Michigan in consecutive weeks to close the season, then the Big Ten Championship Game, likely against No. 10 Iowa. That’s a daunting slate, even for a defending national champion. The Buckeyes will split between their division rivals then rebound in the conference title game to narrowly secure their second straight playoff berth.

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ESPN College GameDay Headed to Massive LSU-Alabama Matchup for Week 10

After a couple of lean weeks for big games, ESPN's College GameDay is headed to one of the meatiest matchups of the entire 2015 season for Week 10—the SEC West slugfest between LSU and Alabama.

GameDay announced the not-so-surprising decision that it was headed back to Tuscaloosa on Saturday night.

Next Saturday will mark the second time this season the popular pregame show has been in Tuscaloosa and the third time it has featured a Crimson Tide game. The show was at Alabama's Week 3 home matchup with Ole Miss and its neutral-site opener against Wisconsin in Texas.

GameDay's decision to head to Tuscaloosa for the massive game between Alabama and LSU has been a common one for the show in the last few years.

As Adam Rittenberg of ESPN.com noted, the show has been on-site for this matchup three out of the last four times it has been at Alabama (2005, 2007, 2011 and 2013). 

While GameDay will be on ESPN from 9 a.m. to noon ET, the spotlight game will be televised at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

LSU is the SEC's lone undefeated team as the calendar flips to November. The Tigers, who are led by Heisman front-runner Leonard Fournette at running back, are 7-0 this season with a 4-0 record in SEC play.

Les Miles' team has only played two true road games so far this season—trips to Mississippi State and Syracuse—as its Week 6 game against South Carolina had to be moved to Tiger Stadium due to heavy flooding in the Gamecocks' home state.

Now Fournette and his offensive line will have to face one of the nation's best defensive fronts on the road after playing four straight games at home. 

"Matchup-wise, when you talk about physical ability, big on big, good on good, LSU’s offensive line is probably best suited to try and block Alabama’s defensive line," SEC Network analyst Marcus Spears told Bleacher Report's Christopher Walsh.

Like LSU, 7-1 Alabama, whose only loss came in a high-scoring thriller against Ole Miss, can boast a star running back in Derrick Henry to go along with its elite defense. Both teams are also coming off a bye week.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban will look for his fifth straight win against his former team, but building that streak hasn't been easy. LSU took Alabama to overtime last season and lost by just four points in the 2012 matchup.

The Crimson Tide haven't lost to LSU since 2011's game in Tuscaloosa, a 9-6 defensive war that entered with the pregame billing of "The Game of the Century." 

Saturday's game won't have quite the same amount of buzz as the No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown in 2011, but it will still play a huge role in determining who stays alive in the race for a College Football Playoff spot. 

"It’s huge. It’s always a fun game. It’s been for the West pretty much for the past few years," former Alabama offensive lineman Barrett Jones told Walsh. "It’s always the game you’re the most sore after."

 

Justin Ferguson is a college football writer at Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @JFergusonBR.

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Why Georgia Shouldn't Fire Mark Richt

The sound you heard as the clock struck zero inside EverBank Field on Saturday afternoon wasn't sea gulls along the coast of Jacksonville, it was the sound of Georgia Bulldogs fans calling for the head of head coach Mark Richt.

The Bulldogs got blown out 27-3 in the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party on Saturday afternoon by rival Florida in a game that seemed out of reach from the moment the team clad in red and black took the field.

After all, Richt made the panic move of all panic moves when he trotted out third-string quarterback Faton Bauta for his first career start in a huge conference game. As was the case when Auburn started Sean White vs. Mississippi State earlier this year and LSU gave Brandon Harris a start at Auburn last year, it ended badly.

Bauta threw four picks, looked lost from the moment he took the field and never got a chance to show off his ability on the ground, which was one aspect of his game that was supposed to be featured.

Now, Richt has become the Internet's punching bag.

Look, I get it.

You're frustrated. 

Richt managed to create a quarterback controversy and a punter controversy during the bye week by starting Bauta and moving Brice Ramsey—a former 4-star prospect who spent the majority of the season as the No. 2 quarterback—to starting punter.

It takes a lot of work to mismanage a roster that badly.

You're also frustrated with the offense in general.

Even before running back Nick Chubb's season came to an end after the first play from scrimmage vs. Tennessee, the offense was a disaster. The Bulldogs haven't scored a touchdown in eight quarters, have the second-worst third-down offense in the conference (converting only 31.18 percent) and the third-worst red zone scoring percentage (78.57 percent).

You're also frustrated with the lack of big wins, as ESPN's Twitter account noted shortly after the Florida game.

This isn't the year to let Richt go. Although if things don't improve, 2016 should be.

Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, however, shouldn't have even been allowed to board the bus outside EverBank Field Saturday night.

I questioned his hire when it was made last offseason, and Saturday's Cocktail Party was a perfect example of why Schottenheimer never made sense. His offense routinely struggles in those key spots in the red zone and on third downs, and Schottenheimer calls plays to make himself look good rather than help the team out. How else can you explain how Bauta—a dual-threat quarterback—only had three carries and wasn't a part of the offense on the ground?

"You can’t come off a game like that and not have calls you’re going to second-guess," Schottenheiemer said after the game according to DawgNation.com. "There certainly is going to be some I look at tomorrow and say, ‘hey, those weren’t very good.’"

As my colleague Justin Ferguson noted Saturday night, it's time for Georgia to admit Schottenheiemer was a bad hire.

They were downright awful, and Job No. 1 in order for Richt to keep some heat off of himself is to let Schottenheimer go or, at the very least, take over play-calling down the stretch in order to minimize the damage.

Richt has to stay, though, because Georgia already has one of the top recruiting classes in the country committed in the class of 2016. Included in that class is 5-star pro-style quarterback Jacob Eason, who clearly will come in with the pressure of being the savior after already signing a financial aid agreement and announcing, according to DawgNation.com, he plans to enroll early.

As Bleacher Report national recruiting analyst Sanjay Kirpalani noted in September, it's a remarkably deep year for talented players in the state of Georgia, which is already one of the most fertile recruiting states in the country.

I understand Georgia has recruited well for years, and a program can't be held captive by recruiting rankings, but a full-scale coaching change right now would likely allow a chance to clean up in-state go by the wayside.

That can't happen and should be what gives Richt one more chance to turn things around.

Richt clearly misses former coordinator Mike Bobo, and instead of adjusting to the new world of college football, which demands a more flexible offensive style—one of Bobo's specialties—he tried to go "Back to the Future" with an NFL also-ran who hasn't been successful at any stop. 

That's not going to fly. But if he fixes the glitch and minimizes the damage Schottenheiemer can do down the stretch, he can preserve the recruiting class and should be given one more opportunity to turn things around.

Richt was squarely on the hot seat entering the 2011 season after stagnant seasons in 2009 and 2010, and that became scorching in 2011 when he lost two straight to open the season. He then ripped off 10 straight wins, played in two straight SEC Championship games and nearly earned a berth in the 2013 BCS National Championship Game following the 2012 season.

He can take a similar path during this downturn, but he has to take the road less traveled right now and recognize that the heat is on.

 

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

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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NCAA Football Rankings 2015: Week 10 Predictions Based on Latest Results

Week 9 provided plenty of drama in college football, but ultimately we were left without any significant shake-up in the rankings. 

A number of teams suffered Halloween scares—most notably Stanford and Notre Dame—but everyone in the Top 20 of the AP poll eventually pulled out victories. 

As a result, there's likely to be little movement in the rankings, but the projected Week 10 AP poll is listed below, with a breakdown of how a few notable teams fared and what the voters may be thinking about their placement this week.

Notable Teams

Clemson

A week before its showdown with Florida State, it's no surprise that Clemson almost got caught looking ahead and ended up in a tight battle with North Carolina State. 

While the defense was a disappointment at times, quarterback Deshaun Watson was on top of his game and continues to build a Heisman campaign, as Bleacher Report's Greg Wallace discussed

Deshaun Watson had 6 total TDs today for undefeated Clemson. He’s on a roll lately. Will be in Heisman contention if he beats FSU next week.

— Matt Fortuna (@Matt_Fortuna) November 1, 2015

Even if some voters are inclined to hold this closer-than-expected 56-41 outcome against Clemson, the Tigers will likely maintain their hold on the No. 3 spot in the AP poll. Clemson entered the weekend with a 38-point lead over No. 4 LSU, which was idle. 

Clemson hosts Florida State in Week 10, and the Tigers have controlled the rivalry as of late. Clemson has won five of its last six home games against the Seminoles. 

 

Florida

With a 27-3 win over Georgia, Florida has all but wrapped up the SEC East. 

Technically, Florida still needs one more win to officially clinch, but it would take losses against Vanderbilt and South Carolina for the Gators to relinquish their stranglehold on the division. 

With just one loss and a likely battle with either LSU or Alabama in the SEC Championship Game awaiting, Florida remains a viable contender to reach the College Football Playoff—a remarkable statement given where this team was a year ago under Will Muschamp

Regardless of where the Gators end up in the bowl picture, Jim McElwain should be a strong candidate for the various coach of the year awards this offseason. 

 

Temple

What will the voters do with one-loss Temple?

Typically, a loss would knock the No. 21 team out of the rankings, but Temple likely won over a lot of non-believers with its 24-20 performance against Notre Dame. 

Big respect tonight for @temple_fb. They should not drop in the rankings after that performance.

— Desmond Howard (@DesmondHoward) November 1, 2015

The Owls defense slowed the Notre Dame as much as any team did this season, holding C.J. Prosise to a season-low 25 yards on 14 carries. 

While voting trends likely dictate that Temple falls a few spots, it's tough to make an argument that this performance wasn't worthy of one of the 25 best teams in the nation. 

Fortunately, Temple will have another opportunity to win over the voters against Memphis on November 21. With a win over the Tigers, the Owls could potentially re-enter the picture as a candidate to represent the Group of Five schools in one of the New Year's Six bowls. 

 

Duke

Like Temple, Duke is another losing team that voters will need to make a tough call on this week. 

The Blue Devils lost 30-27 on a controversial last-second kick return, which replays show should have been ruled dead long before the eventual game-winning score. 

Oh my https://t.co/sKlelDsi5W

— Mark Schlabach (@Mark_Schlabach) November 1, 2015

Had the officials noticed the Miami player's knee down, Duke would clearly remain in the Top 25. But because they missed the call, the Blue Devils will likely drop out of the rankings. 

Duke fans have a legitimate gripe with the outcome and their likely fall from the Top 25, but voters will also be forced to consider that the Blue Devils let the game reach that point. 

One week after Clemson dismantled the Hurricanes, the Blue Devils allowed Miami to hang around long enough to fall victim to a wild last-second play—not exactly the performance of a strong Top 25 candidate. 

Fortunately for Duke, it still controls its own destiny in the ACC. 

The Blue Devils are tied with Pittsburgh behind North Carolina in the ACC Coastal but will play both teams in the final three weeks of the regular season.

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SEC Football: Best Performances from Week 9

Week 9 is in the books, and there were several huge performances from SEC stars both new and old on Halloween weekend.

Texas A&M quarterback Kyler Murray got his first start and shined in front of the home crowd in College Station, Ole Miss wide receiver Laquon Treadwell went "full Megaquon," and Florida embarrassed Georgia in the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. 

Who had the best performances of Week 9?

Our picks based on statistical output and importance to their teams are in this slideshow.

Begin Slideshow

College Football Playoff Rankings: Biggest Takeaways from Week 9

Week 9 looked boring on paper and started as dull as it looked.

But then came the early-night games.

And suddenly, we had ourselves a week.

The ending of Duke-Miami will be replayed for decades, and close games in Notre Dame-Temple and Michigan-Minnesota concluded around the same time.

None of those great finishes rocked the shape of the College Football Playoff race, but enough happened in Week 9 to leave a lasting impact. It wasn't the best week on the schedule, but it served its role as an appetizer before a great Week 10 slate.

Let's take a look at what we learned.

 

Meet North Carolina: Your Official ACC Playoff Sleeper

UNC beat Pittsburgh 26-19 on Thursday, winning the battle of quiet one-loss ACC teams and doing it on the road.

Quarterback Marquise Williams made the most of his 14 completions, throwing for 270 yards and two touchdowns. Explosive wide receiver Ryan Switzer accounted for 126 of those yards and both scores.

But the real key to UNC's season has been the defense. Under first-year defensive coordinator Gene Chizik, the embattled former Auburn head coach who won the national title five years ago, the Tar Heels have corrected their always-weaker unit, which raises their ceiling considerably. 

Yahoo's Pat Forde summed it up well:

If not for a fluky Week 1 loss to South Carolina—a game they would have won if not for two end-zone turnovers—the Tar Heels would be 8-0 and earning even more praise than Iowa. Instead, they are 7-1 and still trying to crack the Associated Press rankings.

But don't bury Larry Fedora's team just yet. Ohio State proved last season that an early-season loss is forgivable. If the Tar Heels beat Duke, Miami, Virginia Tech and North Carolina State—four solid teams but far from a murderers' row—they will enter the ACC Championship Game with one loss and a chance to score a signature win over Clemson or Florida State.

Would a 12-1 ACC champion make the playoff? Even with a loss to South Carolina? It depends on what happens elsewhere, but there's definitely a case to be made.

With Chizik running the defense and Fedora and Seth Littrell running the offense, this UNC team has a chance to be special.

Why did it take us all so long to notice?

 

Notre Dame Is Special

Notre Dame rarely makes it pretty, but the Irish find ways to win. They beat the Owls 24-20 on Saturday.

Quarterback DeShone Kizer found receiver Will Fuller—who else?—for the game-winning score with 2:09 to play at Temple, leading them to 7-1 and setting the table for a playoff run. 

UNC exposed Pittsburgh on Thursday, so next week's trip to Heinz Field looks slightly easier. It's still not a cakewalk, but Notre Dame should win. The next two games are in South Bend against Boston College and Wake Forest: ACC teams with a combined conference record of 1-10. As long as they beat Pitt next weekend, the Irish will be 10-1.

From there, a win at Stanford would propel Notre Dame to the playoff—no ifs, ands or buts. Forget the conspirative "of course they'd pick Notre Dame to boost ratings" argument; the Irish would be 11-1 with their only loss coming by two points in a hurricane at Clemson.

Any way you swing it, that's a playoff resume.

And before you think of trolling: No, this was not a "bad win." Temple is a solid team. That defense is out of control, and the Owls played this game like the Super Bowl. Even so, Notre Dame would have won by double digits if not for red-zone turnovers.

The Irish are having a truly special season.

 

The Pac-12 Stays Alive...for Now

The Pac-12 survived Stanford's trip to Washington State, where the Cardinal won 30-28 on a missed 43-yard field goal at the gun.

With just two one-loss teams (Stanford and Utah) remaining, the conference needed that result in a big way.

"We didn't play perfectly," Cardinal head coach David Shaw admitted on the ESPN broadcast. "But that's the sign of a good team: [When] you don't play your best, you can still pull out a win, in the rain, on the road."

Surely that's the sign of a good team, but the Pac-12 needs Stanford to be a great one. And right now, that's just not what it is.

An anemic pass rush leaves it vulnerable against Oregon (which is slowly improving) and Cal (which has Jared Goff) before hosting Notre Dame (see above) in the season finale. All three of those games are in Palo Alto, California, but still: The Cardinal need to win all three.

Utah, meanwhile, can never feel safe about winning as long as Good Travis Wilson and Bad Travis Wilson both exist. The up-and-down senior quarterback has played at times like an All-American, but he's always capable of throwing multiple picks, as he did in last week's loss at USC.

The Pac-12 needs one or (ideally) both of these teams to win out. Unless they both improve, that's unlikely.

Week 9 drove that point home.

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Stanford Survives vs. WSU, but Pac-12 Playoff Hopes Looking More Unlikely

Stanford's 30-28 win at Washington State kept a bad day for the Pac-12 from becoming catastrophic.

But based on how Stanford looked, it was still a pretty bad day.

The Cardinal survived but barely, needing a late touchdown and a missed 43-yard field goal to slip by the Cougars in Pullman. They were outgained by 130 yards and trailed for most of the game. If not for their red-zone defense, which in a funny twist forced five Cougars field goals before allowing its first touchdown, there's no way it wins this game.

"We didn't play perfectly," head coach David Shaw admitted on the ESPN broadcast. "But that's the sign of a good team: [When] you don't play your best, you can still pull out a win, in the rain, on the road."

But the Pac-12 doesn't need Stanford to be a good team. It needs it to be a great team. The Cardinal along with Utah are the only one-loss teams left in the league.

Assuming no two-loss teams make the College Football Playoff, that means either Stanford or Utah needs to win out. Otherwise, the Pac-12 will draw the short straw and send its champion to a non-semifinal.

Here are the Cardinal and Utes' remaining schedules, along with their pre-Week 9 win probabilities, per Football Study Hall:

Based on those numbers, the Utes and Cardinal each have a roughly one-in-four chance of winning out.

But those numbers don't reflect what happened in Week 9: namely Stanford's struggles. They will affect its win probabilities, as will Washington's 49-3 rout of Arizona, which makes next week's road trip even more dangerous for Utah.

They also undersell the inherent and insidious weaknesses of both teams: namely Stanford's pass rush, which entered the week ranked No. 127 in Football Study Hall's adjusted sack rate, and Utah's quarterback, Travis Wilson, who loves throwing interceptions.

These are two flawed football teams, and they've proved it the last two weekends. But they're all the Pac-12 has to rely on.

Every other power conference has at least one undefeated team, and the Big 12 (two) and Big Ten (three) have multiple. They have stronger playoff candidates with larger margins for error. The Pac-12 dodged a bullet in Pullman, but it's still in harm's way.

That's why Stanford's performance was so disappointing. The Cardinal had trended up since losing at Northwestern in Week 1. They appeared like (and still might be) the class of the conference.

And then they barely won on national television.

But that's just how the Pac-12 has been this season. One week's results almost never correspond with the next.

USC crushes Arizona State in Tempe then loses to Washington at home; Arizona State gets crushed by USC then crushes UCLA in Los Angeles; UCLA gets crushed by ASU and Stanford then crushes Cal; et cetera.

That all these teams look equal, or at least relatively equal, is good for the league in the short term. If any team can win any game, there's more reason for both sides to watch. Close games mean intrigue and intrigue means ratings and ratings mean dollar signs.

But you know what else means dollar signs? Getting a team in the playoff. Winning on the big stage enhances a league's national profile, driving that aforementioned intrigue on a wider scale. The SEC has built a modern recruiting dynasty off the hype of winning seven straight BCS National Championships. That's what having dominant programs does.

The P in Pac-12 stands for "parity."

Because of that, it might not stand for "playoff."

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NCAA Football Rankings 2015: Predicting the Top 25 After Week 9

At first glance, the Associated Press Top 25 action looked as boring as ever in Week 9.

Five of the nation's top seven teams were on bye weeks. The two Top Five teams in action lit up the scoreboard in conference wins. The middle of the poll was jam-packed with comfortable wins.

But—come on—this is college football on Halloween. Things were bound to get weird, and they definitely did Saturday night. A pair of Top 10 teams needed fourth-quarter scores and some late-game breaks to avoid big-time upsets on the road.

And then there was an unbelievable and potentially legendary special teams touchdown for the third straight week, even though this one appeared to break several rules.

With the last AP poll before the College Football Playoff committee releases its almighty rankings Sunday afternoon, here are this week's predicted Top 25 and some highlighted risers and fallers.

Moving up

Iowa

Sure, Iowa's home win over Maryland on Saturday wasn't gorgeous. But on a day when fellow Top 10 teams Stanford and Notre Dame both had to pull out narrow results away from home, a 16-point victory for the Hawkeyes doesn't look bad at all.

Iowa defeated Maryland with crushing defense, forcing four turnovers and holding the Terps to just 74 yards through the air. Cornerback Desmond King recorded his seventh interception in eight games and returned it for an 88-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

"One of the best defenses in the country, one of the best defenses in the league," King said, per Chad Leistikow of HawkCentral.com. "It just gives us an advantage, knowing we can make anything happen for our team and get the ball back for us."

Iowa is undefeated and gaining national respect week after week. With an undefeated record, the Hawkeyes will leapfrog the one-loss Cardinal and the one-loss Fighting Irish to take the No. 8 spot in the AP poll, right behind an Alabama team with tremendous hype right before its showdown with LSU.

 

North Carolina

Welcome to the Top 25, North Carolina. Since falling to what has turned out to be a bad South Carolina team on the first Thursday night of the season—thanks in large part to several red-zone turnovers—the Tar Heels have done nothing but win games.

On Thursday night, UNC took control of the ACC's Coastal Division with a 26-19 road victory at a ranked Pittsburgh team, which had only lost to undefeated Iowa in 2015. The Tar Heels are finally looking like a complete and close-knit squad, with quarterback Marquise Williams leading the offense and first-year coordinator Gene Chizik sparking a defensive resurrection in Chapel Hill.

"You don't see bad or negative body language, negative talk around our sideline," Williams said, per ESPN.com. "We're a family. We love each other. You got my back. I got your back. That goes a long way."

With the trio of No. 21, No. 22 and No. 23 losing in Week 9, North Carolina looks like a perfect fit at No. 21, right behind undefeated and idle Toledo. The one-loss Tar Heels could climb even higher in the next few weeks, as they have a ton of momentum and a favorable schedule down the stretch.

 

Wisconsin

As the AP poll looks set to welcome North Carolina into the Top 25, it could—and should—bring Wisconsin back in as the calendar flips to November.

Unranked Wisconsin's two losses this season were both against Top 10 teams in Alabama and Iowa, with the latter only coming by four points. Since then, the Badgers have put together four straight Big Ten wins, including Saturday's 48-10 blasting of Rutgers.

The return from injury for running back Corey Clement, who hadn't played since the season opener against Alabama, kicked the Wisconsin offense into high gear Saturday. He ran for 115 yards and three touchdowns in his comeback game on just 11 attempts.

With Clement now back in action, Wisconsin has a huge spark on offense to go along with one of the nation's most dominant defenses in both scoring and yardage. The Badgers' resume is more impressive than that of Texas A&M and USC, which received more votes than Wisconsin last week but pulled off tight wins Saturday. I'm picking the pollsters to give Wisconsin a much-deserved leap.

 

Moving down

Temple

Anyone who picked Notre Dame to smack previously undefeated Temple on Saturday night was seriously disappointed, as the Owls went down to the wire against the Irish in the biggest game in school history.

The Owls forced two red-zone interceptions against Notre Dame and managed to keep things close despite a 467-265 disadvantage in yardage. Temple took a three-point lead with 4:45 remaining, but a dime from DeShone Kizer and a ridiculous diving interception by KeiVarae Russell in the final minutes gave the Irish the win.

"A lot of things happened to us tonight, but we just kept battling and battling," Temple head coach Matt Rhule said, per Aaron Kasinitz of PennLive.com. "And I thought we had a chance even until the last play."

Temple covered the spread and had a chance to knock off a Top 10 team on Saturday night. The Owls showed they're high-quality, and there's no reason why they should fall completely out of the Top 25 from No. 21. Expect Tyler Matakevich and the Owls to hang in the rankings this week.

 

Duke

Oh, Duke. The referees just blew it Saturday night.

The Hurricanes were able to pull off an unthinkable eight-lateral, game-winning kick return with what appeared to be a variety of missed penalties and an absolutely ridiculous review process. There's little reason to believe the touchdown should've stood, unless you believe in what Robby Kalland of CBS Sports described as "fun > rules." 

But the Blue Devils still had to come from behind to take a late lead—at home—on a Miami team that nearly broke an FBS record for penalties and was playing in its first game under an interim head coach after the firing of Al Golden. This is also the same Miami team that lost 58-0 to Clemson last weekend.

Now with two home losses on the season to teams that aren't in the Top 25 range at this point, Duke just doesn't have enough to keep a spot in the AP poll this weekend.

 

Michigan

Normally, there's enough action in the Top 25 that the Moving Down sections of these weekly predictions mostly stick to teams that lost their games.

But Michigan is an interesting case in a week in which the only ranked teams to lose were near the bottom of the Top 25. The two-loss Wolverines came inches away from dropping their third game of the season Saturday night in a 29-26 road win over previously three-loss Minnesota.

Michigan came from behind on offense with its second-string quarterback in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, but its defense was somewhat fortunate to make a goal-line stand after a questionable, time-melting decision by the Minnesota offense.

With one-loss Florida State bouncing back for a four-touchdown win over Syracuse without its two star offensive players and undefeated Memphis hammering Tulane after a slow start, don't be surprised if Michigan takes a hit in the polls after the close win.

 

Justin Ferguson is a college football writer at Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @JFergusonBR.

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Everything You Need to Know About College Football Week 9 in 60 Seconds

Wild finishes, celebration dances and all the must-see moments—we've got the best of Week 9 of the college football season covered in 60 seconds.

Which players stood out? Which teams came up big?

Find out in the video above as Bleacher Report college football analyst Michael Felder runs through some key storylines.

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Ed Feng's Week 10 College Football Playoff Standings Predictions

How will the College Football Playoff committee rank teams this Tuesday at 7 p.m. Eastern? 

We use analytics to make an educated guess on the committee rankings. Based on the AP poll, my algorithm adjusts teams based on the most recent opponent and margin of victory.

Teams that win keep their place unless they need overtime to beat Jacksonville State. Teams that lose drop, but not as much if they lose to a Top 10 team. You get the idea.

Sometimes, I make subjective adjustments to the rankings. For example, Michigan made the Top 25 after a huge win over BYU after Week 4 even though the algorithm didn't put the Wolverines there.

This week, I made some more subjective adjustments based on the committee's first rankings from last season. Let me explain.

What to make of Iowa, Oklahoma State in Top Eight

Both Oklahoma State and Iowa won to remain undefeated in Week 9. Since neither of these teams made the AP preseason poll, they will be behind some one-loss teams when the latest AP poll comes out.

However, the committee doesn't care about preseason polls, and its first ranking from last season sorted teams by losses. This suggests it will rank these two Power Five programs above all one-loss teams. I bumped Iowa and Oklahoma State over one-loss Alabama, Stanford, Florida and Notre Dame.

Iowa ends up seventh in the committee rankings and will most likely stay in the Top 10 a few more weeks. The Hawkeyes travel to Indiana and then have home games against Minnesota and Purdue. My numbers give them better than a 70 percent chance to win each of those games.

Oklahoma State is eighth but will most likely have a short stay in the Top 10. It faces a strong TCU team next week in a schedule that gets difficult toward the end of the season.

 

Florida destroys rival Georgia, continues to climb

Florida put a beating on rival Georgia in their annual game in Jacksonville. The Gators picked off the Bulldogs four times and recorded almost twice the yardage (413-233) in a convincing 27-3 win.

Coming into the game, it looked like Florida would have trouble running the ball. The Gators had gained 4.0 yards per carry, 91st in the nation, so far this season, while Georgia's defense had given up only 3.8 yards per carry, good for 13th-best. (These are my calculations that do not count sacks as rushes like usual college football numbers.)

However, Florida ran for 261 yards on 5.6 yards per carry on Saturday. Kelvin Taylor had 121 of those yards and two touchdowns.

Florida moves up to 10th in the committee rankings and takes its place behind Notre Dame in the hierarchy of one-loss teams. The Gators will most likely lock up the SEC East with a home win against Vanderbilt next week, which would give them a berth in the conference championship game.

If it wins the SEC with one loss, Florida almost certainly makes the playoff. If it falls short in the championship game, it would need a lot of help, as the Gators are looking up at eight undefeated teams.

 

Memphis, Houston stand out among undefeated Group of Five

Memphis and Houston both won this week to give the American Athletic Conference two undefeated teams. How will the committee treat these teams from the Group of Five?

We can't tell much from last season. An undefeated Marshall finally made the committee rankings in Week 14 last year. However, that team from Conference USA had a weak schedule with three MAC teams and one FCS team.

In contrast, Memphis has a signature win over Ole Miss. This makes the Tigers the top Group of Five team in the committee rankings at 16th, right behind the one-loss teams from the Power Five.

Houston doesn't have as strong a signature win as Memphis does. However, the Cougars have beaten Louisville and Vanderbilt. Moreover, they have the second-highest margin of victory in the nation, which puts them 17th in the committee rankings behind Memphis.  

Houston hosts Memphis in two weeks in what should be a terrific AAC matchup, and the winner will still have a slim chance to make the playoff.

 

Ed Feng has a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Stanford and runs the sports analytics site The Power Rank. You can find him on Twitter @thepowerrank.

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