AP Top 25: Tennessee, Ohio State tied at 2, Georgia next for Vols

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Tennessee moved into a tie with Ohio State for No. 2 in The Associated Press college football poll to set up a 1 vs. 2 matchup next week with top-ranked Georgia.

Georgia-Tennessee will be the 25th regular-season game matching the top two teams in the AP poll, and the third straight involving Southeastern Conference teams. Neither the Bulldogs nor the Volunteers have ever played in a 1-2 game in the regular season.

Georgia remained No. 1 for the fourth straight week, receiving 30 first-place votes and 1,528 points in the AP Top 25 presented by Regions Bank.

The Volunteers moved up a spot, receiving 18 first-place votes and 1,500 points to match Ohio State. The Buckeyes received 15 first-place votes. The last time there was a tie at No. 2 in the AP poll was Nov. 14, 2004, between Auburn and Oklahoma behind No. 1 Southern California.

On Saturday, Tennessee routed Kentucky 44-6 and Ohio State won 44-31 at Penn State.

Tennessee has not been ranked this high since it was No. 2 in 2001, a season the Vols finished fourth.

No. 4 Michigan, No. 5 Clemson, No. 6 Alabama, No. 7 TCU and No. 8 Oregon held their spots in the rankings. USC moved up a spot to ninth and No. 10 UCLA gave the Pac-12 three teams in the top-10 for the first time since November 2016.

The last time both Los Angeles schools were in the top 10 was September 2015.

The first College Football Playoff rankings of the season will be released Tuesday night.

POLL POINTS

The last two 1-2 regular-season games both involved Alabama and LSU.

The Tigers were No. 1 in 2019 when they beat the second-ranked Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on the way to an SEC and national championship.

In 2011, the top-ranked Tigers won at No. 2 Alabama in overtime and the two SEC West rivals played again in the BCS national championship game. The Tide won the rematch and finished No. 1.

Including postseason games, this will be the 53rd game matching AP’s No. 1 and No. 2 since the poll began in 1936.

IN

Three teams are making there season debuts on the Top 25 this week.

– No. 23 Liberty is ranked for the first time since 2020, when the Flames were ranked for eight weeks and peaked at No. 17 in the final poll of the season.

– No. 24 Oregon State becomes the latest Power Five school to snap a long absence from the rankings. The Beavers had not been ranked since they were No. 25 in the 2013 preseason poll. They had not been ranked in the regular season since 2012 when they finished 20th.

Earlier this year Kansas broke a 13-year rankings drought, which had been the longest in Power Five. Then Illinois broke the next longest dry spell, moving into the rankings for the first time since 2011.

Rutgers currently holds the longest AP Top 25 drought among Power Five teams, dating back to 2012. Vanderbilt is next. The Commodores have not been ranked since the 2013 season.

– No. 25 UCF is ranked for the first time since Sept. 27, 2020.

OUT

SEC East rivals Kentucky and South Carolina both dropped out of the poll after absorbing their third losses of the season. The Gamecocks are out after just one week ranked. The Wildcats are unranked for the first time this season.

Cincinnati also dropped out of the rankings after losing to UCF.

CONFERENCE CALL

SEC – 5 (Nos. 1, 2, 6, 11, 15).

ACC – 5 (Nos. 5, 17, 20, 21, 22).

Pac-12 – 5 (Nos. 8, 9, 10, 12, 24).

Big Ten – 4 (Nos. 2, 4, 14, 16).

Big 12 – 3 (Nos. 7, 13, 18).

American – 2 (Nos. 19, 25).

Independent – 1 (No. 23).

RANKED vs. RANKED

Big weekend in the SEC as both division leads will be up for grabs.

No. 6 Alabama at No. 15 LSU. First ranked matchup for the Crimson Tide and Tigers since that 2019 1 vs. 2 game.

No. 20 Wake Forest at No. 21 North Carolina State. For the second straight year, the Demon Deacons and Wolfpack will meet as ranked opponents.

Texas State hires Incarnate Word coach Kinne to lead Bobcats

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Texas State hired Incarnate Word coach G.J. Kinne on Friday to lead a Sun Belt program that has had only one winning season since moving up to the Bowl Subdivision in 2012.

The 34-year-old former Tulsa quarterback has made a fast rise in coaching since ending his professional career in 2017.

After three years as an offensive analyst at SMU, Arkansas and the Philadelphia Eagles, Kinne became offensive coordinator at Hawaii in 2020. He held the same role for UCF in 2021 before landing the head coaching job at FCS Incarnate Word this season.

Incarnate Word is 10-1 and averaging 53 points and 8.3 yards per play, both FCS highs, heading into its playoff game Saturday against Furman. Kinne will remain with Incarnate Word through their playoff run.

“It’s with great honor that I’m accepting the call to be next head football coach of the Texas State Bobcats,” Kinne said. “We are going to play fast, have relentless energy, and when the going gets tough, have the mental confidence to win tight games in the second half and represent the state of Texas. Eat ‘Em Up!”

Texas State fired Jake Spavital last week after the Bobcats won just 13 games in his four seasons.

Kinne signed a five-year contract, the school said. Terms were not immediately released.

“My goal was to hire someone with demonstrated leadership experience, success as a head coach, established relationships with Texas football coaches, and success with recruiting and developing players,” said Texas State President Kelly Damphousse. “I sought a leader with a plan to capitalize on our location in the heart of the best high school football in the country.”

Florida Atlantic hires Tom Herman as football coach

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BOCA RATON, Fla. – Former Texas and Houston head coach Tom Herman will take over at Florida Atlantic as it heads into its first season in the American Athletic Conference.

The hire comes just days after FAU fired Willie Taggart, who went 15-18 in his three seasons with the Owls. Details of the contract with Herman were not immediately available.

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Tom Herman to Paradise,” FAU Director of Athletics Brian White said Thursday. “Throughout the process and the more we talked with Coach Herman, the more it became apparent to me that he was the right person to lead our football program. Beyond his knowledge of the game, which is obvious by his success over the years, he also truly cares about the young people in his program.”

FAU’s final season in Conference USA ended with a 5-7 record and an overtime loss to Western Kentucky. The Owls will be in the American next season.

Herman returns to college football after spending the 2021 season with the Chicago Bears as an offensive analyst.

Herman was 22-4 at Houston, a mark that helped him land the head coaching job at Texas where he went 32-18 with four straight bowl trips in 2017-2020. He also was an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Ohio State during the Buckeyes’ 2014 national championship season, as well as stops at Iowa State, Rice and Texas State.

“All the pieces are in place at FAU for us to be successful,” Herman said. “There are already great young men on this team, great facilities, a great location, a great recruiting base and great leadership, all of which are important to building a successful program.”