LSU, USC move up behind UGA, Ohio State, Michigan, TCU in CFP

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LSU moved up to fifth and Southern California was sixth Tuesday night in the College Football Playoff rankings behind Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan and TCU.

The top four remained the same for the third straight week, but the chasing teams changed order after Tennessee lost to South Carolina last Saturday night.

Selection committee chairman Boo Corrigan, who is also the athletic director at North Carolina State, said there was a lot of discussion about LSU (9-2) and USC (10-1) this week.

“The committee at the end of the day, saw the wins over Alabama, Mississippi (for LSU) as stronger than the wins over UCLA and Oregon State (for USC),” Corrigan said. “The one area we still have questions on is the strength of the defense of USC and looking at it in its entirety, we believe that LSU deserves to be ranked five and SC six.”

Two games this weekend could create more clarity.

Michigan (11-0) is at Ohio State (11-0) on Saturday and USC hosts Notre Dame (8-3), which checked in at 15th in the selection committee’s rankings.

There are two more rankings left. The final ones on Dec. 4 set the field for the College Football Playoff. The semifinals will be played Dec. 31 in the Peach and Fiesta bowls. The national championship game will be played at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.

Alabama was seventh, though the Crimson Tide don’t seem to have a realistic route to make the College Football Playoff for the eight time in nine years. LSU and Georgia are already locked into the Southeastern Conference title game.

Clemson came in eighth, Oregon was ninth and Tennessee fell to 10th.

ANALYSIS

Georgia (11-0), the winner of the Ohio State-Michigan game, TCU (11-0) and LSU will head into the final two weeks of the race in the best shape to earn a spot in the final four.

That’s probably overstating LSU’s position because the Tigers would have to beat the defending national champion Bulldogs to become the first team to make the CFP with two losses.

But they have a shot and that’s all you can ask for at this point in the season.

USC fans might not like seeing the Trojans behind an SEC team with two losses, but they shouldn’t fret too much.

If Georgia takes care of business against LSU, that opens up a spot for USC – if the Trojans can win out. That will be difficult against Notre Dame and either Oregon, Utah or Washington in the Pac-12 title game.

As for the Ohio State-Michigan loser, how the game plays out will go a long way toward determining if that team can take a back door into the final four. It’s also going to need some losses sprinkled around among TCU, USC and LSU.

The Buckeyes are probably better positioned to get in with a loss in the rivalry game because that opening-night win against Notre Dame is looking pretty good these days and would only go up in value of the Irish beat USC.

Michigan’s terrible nonconference schedule (Colorado State, Hawaii and UConn) is continually cited as a mark against the Wolverines.

Then there is Clemson (10-1).

Even if the Tigers finish as 12-1 Atlantic Coast Conference champions, they’re going to need some help in the form of losses by at least two of USC, LSU and TCU.

Getting drilled by Notre Dame could be tough to overcome for Clemson if both Ohio State and USC have wins against the Irish on their resumes.

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.”