Georgia, Alabama, Michigan State, Oregon top CFP rankings

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Georgia, Alabama, Michigan State and Oregon were the top four teams Tuesday night in the first College Football Playoff rankings of the season with Ohio State and Cincinnati up next.

At sixth, the unbeaten Bearcats have the best ranking ever in the selection committee’s Top 25 for a team from outside the Power Five conferences, but still sit behind three teams (Alabama, Oregon and Ohio State) that have already been beaten.

Michigan, Oklahoma, Wake Forest and Notre Dame rounded out the top 10.

Only once in the seven-year history of the CFP have the four teams in the committee’s initial ranking made the final four. That was last season.

This season, Georgia was an obvious No. 1 and committee chairman Gary Barta, who is also Iowa’s athletic director, told ESPN that Alabama was a comfortable No. 2 for the 13-member panel.

He said Nos. 3-9 were hard to discern.

Oregon got the nod over Ohio State in four spot by virtue of beating the Buckeyes on the road in the second week of the season.

Cincinnati set the previous high ranking from a team from the so-called Group of Five conferences last season at No. 7, but the Bearcats never moved up. In fact, they were passed while completing an unbeaten regular season and were eighth in the final rankings that set the playoff field.

Barta said the committee was impressed with Cincinnati’s victory at Notre Dame (7-1), but not so much by the rest of their schedule and closer-than-expected wins against Navy and Tulane recently.

“When you look at their schedule after that, who else did they beat? That was the question,” Barta told ESPN.

The final rankings of this season will come Dec. 5, the day after conference championships are played.

The first four in that Top 25 will meet in the CFP national semifinals, scheduled for Dec 31 at the Orange Bowl in South Florida and Cotton Bowl in North Texas.

The College Football Playoff national championship game will be held Jan. 10 in Indianapolis.

Clemson gives raises, contract extensions to staff

Ken Ruinard/USA TODAY NETWORK
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CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson’s board of trustees approved raises for special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach Mike Reed and defensive tackles coach Nick Eason.

Reed and Eason also received one-year extensions keeping them tied to the Tigers through Jan. 31, 2026.

Reed, who’s been with the Tigers since 2013, had his yearly salary increased $50,000 to $800,000. Eason, the former Clemson standout defensive lineman, joined the staff this past season. He also had his compensation upped by $50,000 to $800,000.

Seven other assistants were given one-year extensions by the trustees’ compensation committee, but without a raise in salary.

Co-defensive coordinators Wes Goodwin and Mickey Conn had their contracts extended through Jan. 31, 2026.

Defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall, tight ends coach Kyle Richardson, offensive line coach Thomas Austin, running backs coach C.J. Spiller and wide receivers coach Tyler Grisham all got one-year extensions through Jan. 31, 2025.

New offensive coordinator Garrett Riley last month received a three-year contract at $1.75 million per season.

Clemson will pay its 10 on-field assistants $7.475 million this season, an increase of $925,000 from the total for 2022.

The Tigers went 11-3 last season, winning the Atlantic Coast Conference title for the seventh time in the past eight seasons.

South Carolina’s Beamer suspends three freshmen from program

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Corey Perrine/USA TODAY NETWORK
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COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina coach Shane Beamer said freshmen Monteque Rhames II, Anthony Rose and Cameron Upshaw were suspended from the football program.

There was no reason given for the suspensions in the school’s statement Friday. Online records showed Rhames, 18, was booked last night and was being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on charges of carrying weapons on school property and obstructing justice.

“Our student-athletes know what is expected of them,” Beamer said. “They know that both the university and the football program will hold them accountable for their actions and decisions.”

None of the three have played for the Gamecocks.

Rose is a 6-foot-1, 190-pound defensive back from Miami who enrolled in January 2022 and redshirted this season. Rhames and Upshaw were part of South Carolina’s latest recruiting class and enrolled last month.

Rhames is a 6-5, 235-pound defensive lineman from Sumter and Upshaw is a 6-2, 193-pound safety from Perry, Florida.