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Max Tuerk Injury: Updates on USC Center's Knee and Recovery

The unfortunate news keeps rolling in for the USC Trojans football program. According to Bryan Fischer of Bleacher Report, USC announced center Max Tuerk is out for the season with the knee injury he suffered during the loss to Washington...

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Daelin Hayes Decommits from USC: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

The first major shoe to drop for the USC Trojans on the recruiting trail in the Steve Sarkisian fallout came Sunday night after 4-star linebacker Daelin Hayes decommitted from the school.

"At this time my family and I feel that it is in my best interest to decommit from the University of Southern California and open up my recruitment process," Hayes wrote in a statement posted to his Twitter account. "I'd like to thank the USC coaching staff for the opportunities that they have placed before me."

This comes after USC athletic director Pat Haden instructed Sarkisian to take a leave of absence, per Lindsey Thiry of the Los Angeles Times. Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News provided updates on the situation on his Twitter account, outlining a number of instances during which players or coaches believed Sarkisian to be inebriated.

According to Fox Sports' Bruce Feldman, offensive coordinator Clay Helton will assume head-coaching duties on an interim basis, but that will do little to ease the doubt of recruits like Hayes. As ESPN.com's Arash Markazi tweeted, opposing coaches will do everything they can to capitalize on the cloud hanging over USC:

Should the Trojans lose Hayes, it would be a massive blow to their 2016 recruiting class. Hayes is the No. 9 outside linebacker and No. 105 player overall in 247Sports' composite rankings.

Wolf noted USC had big plans for Hayes, as it wanted to give him the No. 55 jersey, which was worn by Junior Seau and Willie McGinest in the past.

ESPN.com's Tom VanHaaren also highlighted a potential ramification for the Trojans if Hayes signs with another school:

Of course, Hayes could decide to stick with USC even after he opens up his recruiting again. But Notre Dame and Michigan finished first and second in 247Sports' Crystal Ball predictions for the talented linebacker.

Rivals.com's Josh Helmholdt reported the Fighting Irish might now be in pole position to get Hayes' commitment, while you can be sure Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh will do everything in his power to secure one of the best players in the state of Michigan.


Note: Player star ratings are courtesy of 247Sports.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Daelin Hayes Decommits from USC: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

The first major shoe to drop for the USC Trojans on the recruiting trail in the Steve Sarkisian fallout came Sunday night after 4-star linebacker Daelin Hayes decommitted from the school...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

College Football Week 7 Opening Odds: Michigan, Alabama, Notre Dame Favorites

The Michigan Wolverines are five spots back of the Michigan State Spartans in the latest AP Top 25 poll, but the Wolverines are listed as touchdown betting favorites at home at sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark on the opening college football odds for Week 7.

No. 12 Michigan is 5-1 straight up and 4-2 against the spread on the season after blasting Northwestern 38-0 over the weekend and easily covering the 10.5-point spread at the sportsbooks. The Wolverines' lone blemish came way back in Week 1, when they fell 24-17 on the road at Utah as a five-point underdog. Utah is up to No. 4 in the rankings.

No. 7 Michigan State, meanwhile, is 6-0 SU but 0-6 ATS on the season after it beat Rutgers 31-24 over the weekend but failed to cover the 12.5-point spread on the road. The Spartans, though, are 7-0 ATS in their last seven games against the Wolverines dating back to 2008, losing just once SU in that span (in 2012). When the two schools met last season Michigan State rolled to an easy 35-11 home victory and covered the big 16.5-point spread.

The Michigan State at Michigan betting matchup is just one of the marquee contests on a Week 7 slate that also offers up No. 18 UCLA at No. 15 Stanford, No. 17 Iowa at No. 20 Northwestern, No. 8 Florida at No. 6 LSU and No. 10 Alabama at No. 9 Texas A&M.

The oddsmakers opened the Aggies as three-point home underdogs against the Crimson Tide for Week 7, with Alabama demolishing Texas A&M by a score of 59-0 at home last season as an 11.5-point favorite. The Crimson Tide are 9-1 SU in their last 10 conference games according to the OddsShark College Football Database, while the Aggies are a money-losing 5-12 ATS in their last 17 conference matchups.

Stanford opened as a five-point home favorite against UCLA, Iowa opened as a 2.5-point road favorite against Northwestern and LSU opened as a 6.5-point home favorite against Florida.

Elsewhere, No. 14 Notre Dame opened as a three-point home favorite against USC for Week 7, with Trojans head coach Steve Sarkisian having taken a leave of absence from the team for personal reasons. The Trojans topped the Fighting Irish 49-14 last season and easily covered the 5.5-point spread at home.

No. 3 TCU opened as an 18-point road favorite against Iowa State, and No. 2 Baylor opened as an 18-point home favorite against West Virginia. The Bears, coming off a 66-7 rout of Kansas, lost 41-27 on the road against the Mountaineers last season as an eight-point favorite, but beat them 73-42 as a 30-point home favorite when they met in 2013.

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Steve Sarkisian Takes Leave of Absence: Latest Details, Comments

The USC Trojans football program will be without head coach Steve Sarkisian, at least temporarily, after he was reportedly asked to take a leave of absence by athletic director Pat Haden.

According to Lindsey Thiry of the Los Angeles Times, Haden met with players and asked the coach to go on leave Sunday. Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Clay Helton will fill the position in the interim.

This news follows a report from Bryan Fischer of Bleacher Report that stated Haden sent Sarkisian home earlier Sunday.

While USC lost to Washington on Thursday night, 17-12, this leave of absence appears to be about much more than any on-field struggles. Ryan Abraham of USCFootball.com shared some details:

Brett McMurphy of ESPN provided more context to the situation:

Joe Schad of ESPN added the coach "seemed 'emotional' and 'unusual' at USC" on Sunday and passed along his "best thoughts for a return to health" for Sarkisian.

Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News noted Sarkisian is "expected to seek treatment" and that players noticed the coach was "not sober" at a special teams meeting Sunday morning. Wolf also reported "a USC source called me during practice to say Steve Sarkisian was not in 'good shape' this morning."

Wolf reported "some USC assistant coaches believed Sarkisian was drunk during the Arizona State game on Sept. 26," which the Trojans won. Assistants needed to pull Sarkisian out of a player huddle on the sideline that night because they "believed he was not sober," per Wolf. "His eyes didn't look right, he was too animated," said a USC coach, according to Wolf.

Arash Markazi of ESPN added that a USC source said "Sarkisian likely won't return this season." The source didn't know the future beyond that, although "it's clear to all" Sarkisian "needs to get help."

The head coach issued an apology after the annual "Salute to Troy" banquet that was held before the season started when he was less than professional when given the chance to speak.

Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times said Sarkisian was "apparently intoxicated, slurring his words, uttering an expletive and acting so unsteady that he left the stage before his remarks were complete" during that banquet.

In addition to the apology, Sarkisian was scolded by Haden in the aftermath of the incident.

Plaschke added "this is not the first time Haden has been faced with something like this. Four years ago, then-USC basketball coach Kevin O'Neill was involved in an alcohol-related confrontation with an Arizona booster at the Pac-12 Conference tournament."

Haden suspended O'Neill for that tournament, which lasted one additional game for the Trojans.

While there is reason to be concerned with and for Sarkisian, USC still has more than half its season ahead of it on the football field. The Trojans were a popular playoff and Pac-12 champion pick before the campaign started, but the high-powered offense was lost against Washington on Thursday in a defeat.

USC also fell to Stanford in a shootout this year, 41-31.

The silver lining for the Trojans is the fact Helton has experience being an interim coach with the program. He served in that position in 2013 and led USC to a 45-20 victory over Fresno State in the Las Vegas Bowl in the final game of the season where Lane Kiffin and Ed Orgeron combined to finish 9-4 at the helm.

The Trojans are a disappointing 3-2 overall and 1-2 in conference play thus far, but Helton is familiar with the personnel and has prior experience that will prevent him from being overwhelmed by the moment.

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Steve Sarkisian Takes Leave of Absence: Latest Details, Comments

The USC Trojans football program will be without head coach Steve Sarkisian , at least temporarily, after he was reportedly asked to take a leave of absence by athletic director Pat Haden...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

College Football's All-Week 6 First Team: Top Performers at Every Position

In case some fans were unsure if college football was experiencing a running back renaissance this season, Week 6 should have sealed the deal.

Five different running backs broke the 200-yard mark this weekend, including a trio of offensive stars for undefeated programs. The game's best back—and possibly overall player—so far in 2015 didn't even lead his team in rushing Saturday, but he was part of a record-breaking day behind a dominant run-blocking offensive line.

Dual-threat quarterbacks also had their day to shine, including a do-it-all leader for an SEC program that desperately needed a win at home.

That's not to say the running game completely took over Week 6, as several big-name receivers and defensive stars turned in absurd stat lines all across the country.

With that in mind, here are the Week 6 position-by-position selections for the best performances of the week. A reminder—we selected these players for their overall statistics compared to the rest of the country, with bonus bumps given to players who played in higher-profile games against better competition.

As always, there's plenty of room for debate on who deserves to be a weekly All-American. Tell us your picks in the comments below.

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Notre Dame Football: How Irish's Top Commits Performed This Weekend

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish football program is well on its way toward another successful national signing day, securing 15 commitments in a 2016 recruiting class that slots in 18th overall in 247Sports' composite rankings.

The Fighting Irish annually attract elite athletes from across the United States (and beyond borders when you factor in Canadian wide receiver Chase Claypool, a 2016 commit). This cycle has been no different, as head coach Brian Kelly claims verbal pledges from eight different states. 

Multiple members of the group gave their high school teams a boost during the weekend, delivering premier performances.

Quarterbacks are often the keys to quality recruiting classes, and Notre Dame seems to be in solid shape at the position based on how Ian Book has played. The 6'1", 200-pound passer from Oak Ridge High School in El Dorado Hills, California, continued a strong senior campaign Friday night.

He completed 21 of 29 pass attempts for 206 yards and three scores in a 36-28 win over Granite Bay High School, per MaxPreps. Book added 96 rushing yards and another score on the ground.

His ability to make plays beyond the pocket has been apparent throughout the season, as Book gained at least 50 rushing yards in four of Oak Ridge's first seven games. He's averaging 6.6 yards per carry en route to 408 yards and eight scores on the ground this fall.

Book, rated 19th overall among pro-style quarterbacks, is completing 74 percent of his pass attempts, resulting in 1,812 yards and 20 touchdowns. He chose Notre Dame in August after initially committing to Washington State.

Book could someday join forces with Florida wide receiver Kevin Stepherson as key components of the Irish offensive attack. The 6'0", 180-pound First Coast High School playmaker proved his value Friday night in a game against Raines High School.

Stepherson reeled in a 56-yard touchdown reception and returned a kickoff 74 yards for another score, though his efforts occurred in a 26-15 loss.

He is working to build on a junior campaign that included 33 catches for 756 yards and 11 touchdowns. Stepherson selected Notre Dame from a list of scholarship offers that featured Florida, LSU, Michigan and Miami.

Irish fans should also be enthused by the latest effort from linebacker commit Jamir Jones. The New York product picked apart opponents Friday night throughout a victory for Aquinas Institute.

Jamir, the younger brother of Notre Dame defensive lineman Jarron Jones, did significant damage on both sides of the ball.

He caught four passes from Penn State quarterback commit Jake Zembiec, resulting in 130 yards and two touchdowns, according to the Democrat and Chronicle. Jones also starred on defense in the 48-7 victory over McQuaid Jesuit High School, securing five tackles and two sacks.

Through eight games as a senior, Jones has recorded six receiving scores, 38 tackles—12 for loss—and 4.5 sacks, per MaxPreps. He projects to play outside linebacker in college.


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

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Maryland's Next Hire Will Determine Fate as Big Ten Contender or Pushover

For all of the uncomfortableness and uncertainty that has surrounded Maryland for the better part of the past week, the Terrapins found an unexpected source of optimism on Sunday afternoon.

It had nothing to do with the wording of the official announcement that the program would be firing head coach Randy Edsall or the uncomfortable press conference that took place moments after Maryland's 49-28 defeat to Ohio State on Saturday, but rather a tweet from a high school prospect who still hasn't finished his senior season.

Dwayne Haskins is a 4-star quarterback, ranked by 247Sports as the nation's sixth overall pro-style passer and No. 64 overall prospect in the 2016 class. A native of Potomac, Maryland, Haskins has been committed to the Terrapins since May, choosing Maryland over the likes of Ohio State, Florida and Penn State.

With a coaching change taking place mid-season, one would think that Haskins reconsidering his options at this point would be possible, if not inevitable. But his tweet on Sunday afternoon seemed to indicate otherwise, sending a message that the Terrapins faithful had been hoping to hear.

Haskins is committed to the program, not its now former head coach. And that's a mindset that could bode well for Maryland in its quest to find its next head coach.

While the first half of the 2015 season has been nothing short of disappointing for a 2-4 Terrapins team hoping to build on a 7-6 debut campaign in the Big Ten a year ago, there's still a lot to like about this Maryland program. Most notably, there's no shortage of sources of income to be found in College Park, where the Terrapins signed a 10-year, $33 million deal with Under Armour a year ago and are in the process of constructing a $155 million athletic facility.

And given the timing of Edsall's firing—after an expected loss to the nation's No. 1 team and defending national champion—Maryland doesn't seem to be willing to settle for a second-rate football program.

That could very well show in the Terrapins now ongoing coaching search, which could see the program target a number of high-profile candidates. With so much of the football season left—both in college and the NFL—it may be too early to speculate which names might eventually come up in the conversation, but Maryland will undoubtedly look to make a splash with its next head coaching hire.

After all, that's what the Terrapins tried to do in 2011 when they hired Edsall, who was viewed as one of the rising coaches in the college football ranks after leading Connecticut to the Fiesta Bowl in 2010.

"This was a good football team, and I believe it can be great," Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson said before hiring Edsall, per the Washington Post. "So we're going to bring the best person in here to get to that greatness and to sustain it."

That person didn't turn out to be Edsall, who accumulated a 22-33 record in his four-plus seasons in College Park. But even with a move from the ACC to the more competitive Big Ten having taken place, that doesn't mean that Anderson's vision will have changed, as evidenced by Edsall's in-season firing.

With the Big Ten East possessing Urban Meyer, Jim Harbaugh, Mark Dantonio and James Franklin, it seems clear that Maryland didn't see Edsall as a coach capable of keeping up with the Big Ten's best. Perhaps more importantly, Anderson saw what was becoming of his program, which could very well be headed for a last-place finish in its suddenly loaded division.

That's something that clearly didn't sit well within the Maryland administration nor should it given the fertile recruiting ground in its region. But despite being home to some of the nation's top prospects, the Terrapins never had a recruiting class that ranked higher than 38th nationally under Edsall, with their 2015 class ranking 48th.

As it currently stands, Maryland's 2016 class ranks 40th with its biggest piece—Haskins—still seemingly on board. The Terrapins will hope for a boost from their new head coach as well as an increased ability in the development of their homegrown talents.

With the resources in place, there's no reason Maryland shouldn't be able to make a strong hire. Reaching their ceiling as a Big Ten contender and avoiding their floor as a perennial conference walkover will depend on the Terrapins doing just that.


Ben Axelrod is Bleacher Report's Big Ten lead writer. You can follow him on Twitter @BenAxelrod. Unless noted otherwise, all quotes were obtained firsthand. All statistics courtesy of cfbstats.com. Recruiting rankings courtesy of 247Sports.

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College Football Rankings 2015: Hits and Misses from the Week 7 Polls

Same question, different week: Now what do we do?

Some separation is beginning to occur this college football season, but it's involving some unlikely teams. Take a short poll of who's playing the best football right now, and your answers will probably include some combination of Utah, Michigan, Florida and Clemson. But are any of those teams in the top four? 

It's time to find out and peruse all of the latest trends by evaluating the recent USA Today coaches poll and the Associated Press Top 25

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 Saturday's action but also what has transpired so far this season.

Begin Slideshow

Michigan Football: How Wolverines' Top Commits Performed This Weekend

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh is riding high six games into his first season at his alma mater.

The Wolverines—rolling over opponents in historic fashion with three straight shutout victories—are also in excellent position to make personnel improvements as the Harbaugh era evolves. Michigan currently carries the country's ninth-rated 2016 recruiting class in composite rankings.

Several of those standout prospects played pivotal roles for their respective high school squads this weekend, providing the latest glimpse of potential that should excite fans in Ann Arbor. As usual, it was 4-star quarterback commit Brandon Peters leading the way.

The 6'5", 205-pound Indiana passer completed 16-of-25 attempts for 266 yards and four touchdowns, according to the Indianapolis StarHe led Avon High School to a 49-21 victory over Zionsville, providing his team with a three-score halftime lead by delivering a late second-quarter touchdown drive.

“It was nice to see a little intensity in his eyes,” Avon coach Mark Bless told Travis Miller of the Lebanon Reporter. “Right there before the half in that two-minute drill, we executed the best we have done all year in that situation."

It's been a senior campaign filled with consistent execution for Peters, considered the No. 7 pro-style quarterback in composite rankings. 

He's thrown for nearly 1,989 yards through eight games, per MaxPreps. The Elite 11 finalist now has 29 total touchdowns and just two interceptions this season.

A pair of Peters' future offensive weapons also enjoyed strong efforts in their most recent games. New Jersey wide receiver Brad Hawkins and Indiana running back Kiante Enis continued to shine.

Hawkins, who plays alongside fellow Wolverines pledge Ron Johnson at Camden High School, rushed for a score and added a touchdown reception Friday night, per Kevin Minnick of the Courier-Post. His performance came in a losing effort against crosstown rival Camden Catholic.

Hawkins now has six offensive touchdowns in five contests, per MaxPreps. He recorded 25 touchdown receptions during the past two seasons. 

"He can make a big play no matter what the situation is," Johnson told Bleacher Report last fall. "I've seen him turn bad plays into touchdowns. That's what he does. He's dangerous and can score from anywhere on the field every time he touches the ball."

Enis, a powerful 6'1", 200-pound rusher from Winchester Community School in Indiana, spearheaded a dominant team effort against Tri High School. He gained 215 yards on 23 carries in a 56-8 win, per MaxPreps.

That's right on par with how Enis' season has developed to this point. He's carried the ball at least 20 times in all eight games, starting with a 341-yard, four-score performance in the season opener. 

Enis averages 8.1 yards per rushing attempt, tallying 1,466 yards and 17 touchdowns. He's added 200 yards and two scores through the air while also contributing mightily on defense with five interceptions.


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

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College Football Rankings 2015: AP, Amway Standings Revealed for Week 7 Polls

As the college football season nears its halfway point, one thing has become abundantly clear: the College Football Playoff committee again looks set to create a few angry mobs out of some elite teams' fan bases this year.

Ten of the top 11 teams in the both the new Amway Coaches and Associated Press polls sport undefeated records. However, tough conference matchups loom.

A bunch of those teams are going to pick up a loss at some point. Ohio State ends the year with a double-dose of trouble in Michigan State and Michigan, while Baylor and TCU also face off toward the end of the year. On Oct. 31, Clemson has to take on Florida. Unless four elite teams make it through the season unscathed, there is going to be another big debate about which squads have had "better losses" this season.

Week 6 saw five Associated Press top-25 teams come away with losses, so there was bound to be a few shakeups heading into Week 7. The biggest upset was perhaps lowly Texas' 24-17 win over then-No. 10 Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry game.

Here are the latest Associated Press and Amway standings, as well as Bleacher Report's own take on the college football landscape.

When it seems like all the attention is on quarterbacks, spread offenses and eye-popping point totals—looking at you, Baylor, this year's kings of the ludicrously lopsided blowout win—it's nice to see two teams rocketing up the standings thanks to heroic running back play and smash-mouth, clobbering defense.

LSU is rising in the polls thanks to the talents of one Leonard Fournette, who racked up 158 rushing yards in a 45-24 win over South Carolina. He crossed the 1,000-yard threshold on an 87-yard scoring run, making him the fastest LSU back to reach the mark and knotting him up with nine other players for quickest to the total, per CBS Sports' Robby Kalland.

Bleacher Report has video of his big run: 

How awesome is Fournette? He's getting the all-powerful NCAA to bend its rules, via the Advocate's Ross Dellenger: 

The fact that this has for the most part been accomplished without the Bayou Bengals putting together anything remotely resembling a competent passing game makes it even more astonishing. LSU quarterback Brandon Harris has just 610 passing yards and four touchdowns this year.

This unbalanced offense might be a problem for LSU at some point. Then again, it might not matter if Fournette keeps running like he's Bo Jackson in yellow and purple.

As for the squad doing the rankings climb on the back of an astounding defense, look no further than Cal. Just kidding, it's totally Michigan, which notched its third consecutive shutout in a 38-0 win over previously undefeated Northwestern on Saturday.

Jim Harbaugh has quickly worked wonders in his first year with the Wolverines. So far this year, his team has allowed a measly 31 points through six games. En route to a dismal 5-7 record in 2014, Michigan gave up 35 points in just the first six quarters of the year.

Writer John U. Bacon was impressed with the pass rush against Northwestern: 

USA Today's Nicole Auerbach passed along a couple of insights on what makes this elite defense tick: 

Coordinator D.J. Durkin's defense is the focal point; a healthy Jabrill Peppers is its crown jewel, tormenting any team that dares to run the option or any sort of pitch-and-catch plays, like Northwestern tried (and failed at) on Saturday. This defense focuses on doing all the little things right to execute its game plan 'as perfect as possible,' as Peppers put it.

That's crisp tackling. That's getting into backfield every single snap to pressure passers and rushers. That's getting hands on the ball to break up passes and provide solid coverage in the secondary. That's an aggressive, effective pass rush. Harbaugh lauded his team in all those areas after Saturday's win, saying Durkin called a 'near flawless game.'

From the University of San Diego to Stanford to the NFL's San Francisco 49ers and now Michigan, Harbaugh has always found a way to craft an elite defense.

It should be noted that 17 of the 31 points Michigan has allowed this year came in Week 1 against Utah, who appear to be the class of the Pac-12 and are a possible College Football Playoff team. They've been dominant on both sides of the ball and scored a huge 30-24 win over Cal on Saturday, forcing future first-round NFL pick Jared Goff to throw five interceptions and fumble once. It was a fantastic follow-up to a 62-20 victory over then-No. 13 Oregon.

The Pac-12 is a minefield of a conference, but at this point, the Utes only face two more ranked teams this year: USC and UCLA. With the way Utah bullied Goff, one has to worry for Bruins true freshman Josh Rosen. USC is always a tough out at home, but the Trojans have lost twice already this year, including a disappointing 17-12 defeat to Washington on Friday.

A Pac-12 championship and an undefeated season should be more than enough to put Utah in the playoffs. The picture would be much murkier if they do take a loss; much will depend on who emerges from the Big-12 (Baylor just can't stop blowing out teams, but a date with TCU looms) and whether or not Clemson can maintain a good enough record to make a run out of the ACC.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

AP College Football Poll 2015: Complete Week 7 Rankings Revealed

Week 7 of the college football season was filled with plenty of close calls for some of the top teams in the nation, and while many of them were able to escape unscathed, others weren't so lucky.  

Ohio State, TCU, Michigan State and Utah all had some scary moments before ultimately coming out on top. The same can't be said for the likes of Oklahoma and Northwestern, however.

With another entertaining week of college football behind us, here is a look at the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll:

In addition to that, the following is Bleacher Report's take on the current Top 25 landscape in college football:

The Buckeyes maintained their top spot in the AP poll after what turned out to be a 49-28 blowout of Maryland, but it wasn't an easy win by any means, as the game was tied at 21 in the third quarter.

ESPN's Brett McMurphy pointed out that the Buckeyes have had no shortage of struggles this season despite their undefeated record and status as the reigning national champions:

Head coach Urban Meyer may have figured something out Saturday, though, as quarterback Cardale Jones had a strong day with 291 yards passing and two touchdowns, while J.T. Barrett stepped in during red-zone situations and scored three rushing touchdowns.

Add in running back Ezekiel Elliott and his 106 yards and two scores, and it is clear OSU has the talent to beat anyone in the nation.

Even so, Clay Travis of Fox Sports 1 remained unimpressed with how the team has accrued its 6-0 record:

Ohio State may be No. 1 for now, but Baylor continues to nip at its heels after destroying Kansas by a score of 66-7 behind 246 yards and three touchdowns from quarterback and dark-horse Heisman Trophy candidate Seth Russell.

It can be argued that the Bears' level of competition wasn't particularly good, as the Jayhawks are 0-5, but they have made a habit of lighting up the scoreboard regardless of the opponent, per ESPN Stats & Info:

While Baylor was impressive, TCU, Michigan State and Utah won their games by just one score each.

The Horned Frogs were in the most danger against Kansas State, but quarterback Trevone Boykin came alive in the second half and orchestrated a comeback that led to a 52-45 win.

According to ESPN, TCU was able to pull something off that no other FBS team in the nation had previously done in 2015:

Utah came away with a 30-24 win over California, but the Utes' close game was more impressive than the others in the Top 10 since they picked off quarterback Jared Goff five times and beat a team that was ranked No. 23.

The Spartans held on for a 31-24 win over a Rutgers team that appeared to be dead in the water, but there won't be much time to celebrate, as they will have to take on one of the Top 25 poll's biggest risers and their greatest rival in the form of Michigan next week.

Michigan hammered a Northwestern team that was previously ranked No. 13 and undefeated by a 38-0 score. Former Wolverines star wide receiver Braylon Edwards believes the writing is on the wall with Michigan and MSU heading in different directions:

Ryan Field of Fox Sports 1 isn't convinced, though, since the Spartans have proved themselves to be a battle-hardened team:

According to Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press, Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio is fully aware of the challenge ahead:

The Spartans are counting their lucky stars as they remain undefeated, while Oklahoma suffered an embarrassing defeat to what previously looked like a listless Texas team in the Red River Rivalry.

The Sooners were a big favorite as the No. 10 team in the country, but they fell to Texas 24-17, which undoubtedly cooled Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong's hot seat a bit.

With Oklahoma taking a tumble, teams like Florida, Florida State, Ole Miss and Notre Dame improved their outlooks as programs on the fringes of the Top 10.

There is still a lot of time remaining in the 2015 season, but there are more questions than answers at this point, as no one team has announced itself as the unquestioned top dog.

That makes this season as wild and unpredictable as any in recent memory, which can only be viewed as a positive for fans of the sport.


Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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Randy Edsall Fired by Maryland: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

After more than four inconsistent seasons, Randy Edsall's tenure as head football coach at the University of Maryland has come to an end. ESPN 980 provided Maryland's official statement: 

Edsall's firing is not a surprise, even as it happened in the middle of the Terrapins' season. Jeff Ermann of 247Sports reported on Oct. 8 that the 57-year-old was "unlikely to survive" past Saturday's game against Ohio State, which Maryland lost, 49-28:

With the team off to a miserable start, fans revolting and boosters withholding donations, Maryland athletics officials are expected to move forward with their plan to fire Edsall, 57, in the fifth year of his original six-year, $10 million contract, and name interim head coach -- perhaps offensive coordinator Mike Locksley -- before eventually hiring a replacement to revive the struggling program.

Maryland has been going through a series of peaks and valleys throughout Edsall's tenure. He won a total of six games in his first two seasons and followed that with back-to-back seven-win campaigns last season, but Chris Vannini of CoachingSearch.com noted what the program did before he arrived:

Ralph Friedgen raised expectations at Maryland, for better or worse. He led the program to seven bowl games, including an Orange Bowl appearance in 2001, and three consecutive 10-win seasons during his 10-year stint as head coach. 

Edsall was never able to duplicate the culture established by Friedgen, with John Feinstein of the Washington Post writing in 2011 after Edsall's first season that he should have been fired. 

"He didn’t get it a year ago, Feinstein wrote at the time, "when he didn’t have the class to tell his Connecticut players in person that he was leaving. He didn’t get it when he started spouting off about rules as if he had invented the idea of discipline."

Four years later, Edsall has lost his job. He's been a controversial figure dating back to his time at Connecticut, but he also has eight winning seasons since 2003 with the Huskies and Terps. Those aren't traditional football superpowers, so he will likely receive another opportunity with a Power Five school. 

Maryland gets a clean break from Edsall with an opportunity to salvage something from this season and get a head start on exploring all of its coaching options for the future. The program has had enough recent success that it should be an attractive job to a rising coaching candidate looking for that chance to break through. 

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Without Nick Chubb, It's Up to QB Greyson Lambert to Keep Georgia's Season Alive

What seemed like an inevitability on Saturday afternoon after Georgia's star running back Nick Chubb went to the locker room on the cart with his knee iced became a reality on Sunday.

Georgia's star is gone for the season.

The 5'10", 220-pound sophomore tore his posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) and two other ligaments in his left knee on the first play from scrimmage in Georgia's 38-31 loss to Tennessee. The injury will likely cost him the rest of the season, according to Logan Booker of Cox Media Group.

Georgia confirmed that Chubb didn't injure his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), but will undergo surgery in the coming weeks.

It's a terrible loss for Georgia because without Chubb, the entire identity of the offense takes a backseat and shifts more toward quarterback Greyson Lambert.

Sure, Sony Michel is a talented running back and played well with 22 rushes and 145 yards in relief of Chubb on Rocky Top. But he's an entirely different kind of back.

Chubb is a bruiser, a work horse. He's a guy who head coach Mark Richt could trust to give the ball 30 times per game and set the tone.

Michel—a 5'11", 212-pound sophomore from Plantation, Florida—is more of the home-run hitter who makes plays outside rather than between the tackles, an area where Chubb typically does his best work.

Richt commented on the backfield situation after the Tennessee game, per Georgia's official website:

It changes to a certain degree, but Sony ran it in there between the tackles. We called the same plays that we would have called for the most part. Maybe we might have had it with a little more frequency if Nick was there. Nick probably would have handled more of the inside runs if he was there, but you do have to give credit to Sony, and the line blocked well.

Michel can certainly be a solid running back for the Bulldogs, but Georgia's offense will have to shift a bit with more pressure falling on the shoulders of Lambert than initially anticipated. 

Lambert has completed 62.1 percent of his passes (77-for-124) for 1,098 yards, nine touchdowns and one pick on the season but is 10th in the SEC in yards per game (183) and attempts per game (20.7). Not bad, but it's certainly not the kind of stat line that suggests that Lambert can successfully bring home a win if opposing teams focus on the run. 

If Georgia is going to get back in the mix for the SEC East and contend with front-runner Florida and the rest of the pack, Lambert is going to have to be more of a difference-maker than a game manager.

That means Lambert is going to have to stretch the field more. He showed that at times against Tennessee, throwing a beautiful 28-yard touchdown pass to Malcolm Mitchell in the second quarter and in the fourth quarter on a perfect would-be touchdown pass that was dropped by Reggie Davis.

Lambert has that type of ability in him, but he hasn't displayed it consistently this year.

That has to change because Missouri and Florida—Georgia's next two opponents—are stout up front and can certainly slow down the running game no matter who's toting the rock.

Nothing against Michel. He's a talented back who will certainly have a big role moving forward as both the feature back and as a receiver out of the backfield.

Plan A for Georgia was to be a run-first team. Now it's on to Plan B, which means a much heavier dose of Lambert than anybody expected.


Quotes were obtained first-hand unless otherwise noted. Recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports. 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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Cold Hard Fact for Sunday, October 11, 2015

Fact: LSU RB Leonard Fournette reaches 1,000 rush yards in his fifth game; is the 10th player in FBS history to rush for 1,000 yards in season’s first five games.

Bleacher Report will be bringing sports fans the most interesting and engaging Cold Hard Fact of the day, presented by Coors Light.

Source: ESPN Stats & Info

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Amway College Football Poll 2015: Complete Week 7 Rankings Revealed

Well, Week 6 didn't disappoint.

There were bizarre finishes and epic comebacks. Dominant defenses and Red River upsets. Superstars thriving and new heroes emerging. All in all, it was college football at its best. 

And, once again, the rankings were impacted in big, meaningful ways. Below, we'll take a look at the Week 7 coaches poll and Bleacher Report poll, along with a look back at the week that was. 






The playoff hopes of more than a few teams were likely dashed Sunday. Georgia's second loss of the season, this time to Tennessee, almost assuredly will take it out of the playoff discussion. Ditto for USC, which fell to Washington, and Northwestern, which got smashed by Michigan. Despite having just one loss, it will likely need some help just to get into the Big Ten Championship Game.

Oklahoma's playoff hopes also took a giant hit Saturday—especially in a conference that has Top Five teams in Baylor and TCU—after a 24-17 loss against a Texas team that had really struggled coming into Saturday. That was business as usual for Oklahoma, however, as Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports noted:

Other teams made statements Saturday—Michigan, for one, as the team's dominant defense posted its third straight shutout, the first time it's pulled off such a feat since 1980.

“We expect to dominate our opponents,” senior defensive lineman Willie Henry told Dan Murphy of ESPN. “We don’t want teams to score.”

Next week will be another test for the Wolverines, however, as they'll face Michigan State in a contest that will have huge playoff implications. 

Utah, meanwhile, continued to establish itself as a national title contender, knocking off California. Wins over Michigan, Oregon and Cal give the Utes one of the more impressive resumes in college football to this point, and they'll likely be favored in every contest down the stretch, even with matchups against USC, Arizona and UCLA to come.

It wasn't easy for many of the top contenders Saturday. Michigan State got by Rutgers after an ill-fated spike of the ball on fourth down by the Scarlet Knights. TCU needed to mount a furious comeback against Kansas State. Miami tested Florida State before the Seminoles prevailed. Oklahoma State needed overtime to get past West Virginia. 

Very little came easy Saturday.

And very little will come easy next week. Michigan State vs. Michigan will be the highlight matchup, but UCLA will face Stanford, Iowa will take on Northwestern, Alabama will clash against Texas A&M, Florida will face LSU and Notre Dame will take on USC in an amazing slate of games. 

Expect another major fluctuation atop the rankings next week. 


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USC Commits Velus Jones, Mique Juarez Dominate Opponents, Score 11 Total TDs

While things may not be going as planned for USC on the field, the Trojans and head coach Steve Sarkisian have put together one of the nation’s top recruiting classes for the 2016 cycle. 

Last weekend, two of the stars of the Trojans' 2016 class—5-star linebacker Mique Jaurez and 3-star receiver Velus Jones Jr.—put on a show in combining to score 11 touchdowns.

Juarez, who is rated as the nation’s No. 2 outside linebacker and the No. 17 player overall in 2016, per 247Sports.com, showcased his versatility in leading North (California) High school to a 49-0 win over Centennial. 

According to Wayne Neal of the Torrance Daily Breeze, the 6’2”, 222-pounder accounted for all seven of his team’s touchdowns. Additionally, he lit up the scoreboard in three different ways.

Juarez ran the opening kickoff back 90 yards for a score and then threw four touchdown passes while also accounting for another pair of scores on the ground.

Even though his future at the next level is on defense, the versatility Juarez displayed is indicative of the type of athleticism he brings to the table on the next level.

As noted by Ryan Bartow of 247Sports, the Trojans will have their work cut out for them to keep Juarez’s commitment. Assuming he sticks with his original pledge, he could provide a potential replacement for current star linebacker Su’a Cravens if he decides to enter next year's NFL draft.

Meanwhile, Jones showed why Sarkisian and his staff decided to recruit him all the way across the country in Alabama.

According to Jimmy Wigfield of AL.com, Jones accounted for 233 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns in the first half of Saraland (Alabama) High School’s 56-35 win over Baldwin County. 

Like Juarez, Jones found the end zone in a trio of ways. He scored on long runs of 56 and 22 yards, caught a 68-yard scoring strike and ran a kickoff back 77 yards for a touchdown.

Wigfield notes that the 5’11”, 180-pound Jones has regularly faced double- or triple-coverage, which led to a slow start this season. However, he’s accounted for five touchdown catches in the last two weeks.

Jones is one of five wideouts currently committed to the Trojans. While his rating may not be as lofty as his future teammates, his performance is a reminder of his ability to create big plays when the ball is in his hands. 

The performances of Juarez and Jones are part of the reason why Trojans fans have plenty to be excited about with the future of the program.


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


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USC Commits Velus Jones, Mique Juarez Dominate Opponents, Score 11 Total TDs

While things may not be going as planned for USC on the field, the Trojans and head coach Steve Sarkisian have put together one of the nation’s top recruiting classes for the 2016 cycle...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

Will the 2015 College Football Playoff Include a 2-Loss Team?

Through six weeks of the 2015 college football season, here's what we know: About nothing.

This time two months ago, Ohio State was a team without a blemish. One month ago, Michigan State was the real deal. Three weeks ago, Ole Miss was the best team in the SEC. Last week, Oklahoma was no longer a Big 12 sleeper, but a legitimate contender. 

What statements will we make today that will be disproved later?

A sport based entirely on the results of 18-to-22-year-olds is bound to be eventful. College football, by its nature, is almost not even worth predicting; doing so is for entertainment purposes only. 

But this season has taken that unpredictability to a new level. Each week has been so drastically different from the last that it's hard to wrap your head around exactly what happened, when it happened: 

Ironically, and as if you needed any more reason to think up is down, the team that's perhaps been the most consistent has been Clemson, a program known for metaphorically fumbling things away under former coach Tommy Bowden. Instead, Dabo Swinney's team, as it has for some time, has taken care of business like few others. 

"This football team right here has earned the respect," Swinney said after beating Georgia Tech 43-24. "Ain't nobody giving us anything. Not one ounce of anything. They've earned everything they got."

2015: The year "Clemsoning" was officially put to rest—which was long overdue—while the rest of college football burned in mighty flames. 

With such rampant volatility, it feels like it's only a matter of time before real chaos takes over and the losses start piling up around the landscape. And so we ask: What are the odds the playoff features at least one two-loss team? They seem ever in their favor, that's for sure. 

The last time a two-loss team from the regular season played for, let alone won, a national championship was 2007 (LSU). Not coincidentally, the '15 season is being compared to its '07 counterpart: 

Let it be known that, barring a far more dramatic turn for the silly, 2015 isn't quite to '07's level of insanity. There was a time that year when the BCS Top 25 featured such powerhouses as South Florida, Boston College, Kentucky, Kansas, Hawaii and Virginia. 

We may not see another season like that for a long time. 

But even then, a sense of normalcy prevailed. Two blue-blood programs, LSU and Ohio State, played for a national championship. For this year to rival college football's craziest season in recent memory, a multi-loss and/or non-traditional team would have to win it all. 

The good news for college football anarchists, though, is that's entirely possible. Look at the landscape just before the midpoint in the season. Of the 13 undefeated teams remaining in the coaches' poll Top 25, almost all still have to play at least one other currently undefeated team in the regular season. Math alone dictates the number of undefeated teams will shrink. 

That's not even including key games between undefeated teams and one- or two-loss teams. 

Add in that almost no one has played consistently good football from week to week, and the top of the polls could very well have two-loss teams in late November. 

What would happen then? The strength-of-schedule argument proved to not be nearly as important in Year 1 of the playoff as previously thought. Would a two-loss team get in over a one-loss (or undefeated?) team based the slate of games played? Or would there be so many multi-loss teams that six, seven or eight teams could all state a legitimate case for playoff inclusion?

In a season where few things are a given, one thing feels true: We're heading down that road, and no one's quite sure what's going to happen upon arrival. 

With that, we say "Dear College Football Playoff selection committee: Good luck making sense of it all, because sometimes, there's no sense to be had."


Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football. All quotes obtained firsthand unless noted. 

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