Georgia No. 1 in AP poll for second time, with Alabama No. 2

enna Watson/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK
0 Comments

INDIANAPOLIS- Georgia is No. 1 in The Associated Press college football poll, earning their second national title by beating Alabama on Monday night.

The Bulldogs received all 61 first-place votes to be a unanimous No. 1 for the ninth time this season. Georgia’s only other time finishing No. 1 was 1980.

The Tide finished No. 2, giving the Southeastern Conference the top two teams in the final rankings for the third time since 2011.

Michigan was No. 3, the Wolverines best final ranking since winning the national championship in 1997 and their first top-10 finish since 2006.

No. 4 Cincinnati, which became the first team from outside the Power Five conferences to reach the playoff, finished with its best final ranking.

As did No. 5 Baylor. The Bears previous best finish in the AP poll was No. 7 in 2014.

Ohio State was No. 6 and Oklahoma State finished seventh. The Cowboys had their best finish in the poll since they were third in 2011.

Notre Dame was eighth, Michigan State was ninth and Oklahoma was 10th, giving the Big 12 three top 10 teams.

For Michigan State, its the Spartans first top-10 finish since a string of three straight from 2013-15. The two Big Ten schools from the state of Michigan last both finished the season ranked in the top 10 in 1999.

Utah was No. 12, BYU was 19th and Utah State was No. 24, marking the first time the Beehive State has had all three of its major college football teams finish the season ranked.

Clemson finished 14th, snapping a string of six straight seasons in which the Tigers were no worse than fourth in the final Top 25.

Florida hires La-Lafayette coach Napier to replace Mullen

COTT CLAUSE/USA TODAY Network via Imagn Content Services, LLC
1 Comment

Florida hired Louisiana-Lafayette’s Billy Napier on Sunday to be the Gators next football coach.

The move ends a quick process that landed Florida its top target one week after it fired Dan Mullen.

The 42-year-old Napier will remain with the Ragin Cajuns (11-1) this week as they prepare to host Appalachian State (10-2) in the Sun Belt Conference championship game Saturday. He is 39-12 in four seasons in Lafayette, including 32-5 the past three years.

Florida scheduled an introductory news conference with Napier for Dec. 5.

Mullen was fired last Sunday after the Florida’s fourth loss in five games. He was let go less than a year after leading the Gators to a third consecutive New Year’s Six bowl.

Mullen’s stunningly swift downfall ended a tumultuous two seasons that included mounting losses, numerous public relation missteps and NCAA sanctions.

Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin moved quickly to land Napier, a former receivers coach at Alabama under Nick Saban and a former offensive coordinator at Clemson and Arizona State.

Napier has been one of college football’s rising stars and hottest names in recent years. He was in the mix for current openings at Virginia Tech and TCU.

He also turned down Mississippi State after the 2019 season and backed away from South Carolina and Auburn following the 2020 season. His name has been connected to other Southeastern Conference openings, too, including Mississippi and Missouri.

He takes over a Florida program that’s been in disarray for more than a year but is close to opening an $85 million football facility that could help the team catch up in recruiting. And that could help the Gators close the gap on the superpower such as Georgia and Alabama.

Florida had lost nine of their last 11 games against teams from the Football Bowl Subdivision before beating rival Florida State on Saturday. The 24-21 victory in the Swamp made Florida (6-6) bowl eligible.

Stricklin surely hopes Napier will help Florida continue the offensive success it enjoyed in much of Mullen’s four seasons while also providing a better culture and more accountability on and off the field.

Napier is known for having detailed organization skills that he adopted during his time with Saban. Napier’s approach has carried the Ragin’ Cajuns to unprecedented success.

Louisiana had not been ranked since 1943 until Napier arrived. The team had never won 10 games until Napier arrived , and now he’s done it in three straight seasons. He beat Iowa State in the 2020 season opener.

Napier, a native of Cookeville, Tennessee, was a former quarterback at Furman in South Carolina. His coaching career took a a big step forward while coaching receivers at Alabama (2013-16), where he worked with stars Amari Cooper and Calvin Ridley.

He parlayed that into a job as Arizona State’s offensive coordinator in 2017 under Todd Graham, whose Sun Devils averaged 31.8 points before ULL hired away Napier.

Napier’s contract calls for a $3 million buyout to be paid to Louisiana-Lafayette.

AP Top 25: Ohio State jumps to No. 2 past ‘Bama, Cincinnati

Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK
1 Comment

Ohio State is No. 2 in The Associated Press college football poll, surging three spots Sunday past No. 3 Alabama and No. 4 Cincinnati in a close vote.

Georgia is a unanimous No. 1 in the AP Top 25 presented by Regions Bank for the seventh consecutive week, but for the second week in a row, No. 2 has changed.

Alabama slipped past Cincinnati last week and then Ohio State leapfrogged them both after routing Michigan State 56-7 on Saturday. The Buckeyes received 1,434 points from the media panel. The Crimson Tide had 1,423 and the Bearcats got 1,416.

Notre Dame is up to a season-high No. 5 and Michigan will go into its game against Ohio State next Saturday ranked No. 6. The winner of Buckeyes-Wolverines will play in the Big Ten championship game.

Oklahoma State moved to a season-high No. 7 and is one of three teams from the Big 12 residing in the back half of the top 10, along with No. 9 Baylor and No. 10 Oklahoma.

The Cowboys host the Sooners next Saturday in a Bedlam game that will help decide the Big 12 championship participants. Oklahoma State has clinched a spot, and Baylor and Oklahoma are still alive.

Mississippi rounds out the top 10 at No. 8.

POLL POINTS

Michigan State was one of two teams ranked in the top 10 last week to get blown out Saturday.

The Spartans dropped five spots to 12th after losing to Ohio State and Oregon fell from fourth to 11th after getting pounded 38-7 by Utah. The Utes moved up eight spots to No. 16.

The last time two top-10 teams lost by 30 or more points on the same day was Sept. 22, 1984, when No. 15 Florida State beat No. 4 Miami 38-3 and No. 1 Nebraska beat No. 8 UCLA 42-3.

– For the first time this season no teams fell out of the rankings.

Four ranked teams lost in total, with Wake Forest and Arkansas joining Oregon and Michigan State. The Demon Deacons were the only ranked team to lose to an unranked team. Wake’s lopsided loss at Clemson dropped the Deacs eight spots to No. 21.

No. 25 Arkansas fell four spots after losing at Alabama by a touchdown, narrowly keeping Clemson from returning to the Top 25 for the first time since the last weekend of September. The Razorbacks received 105 points to Clemson’s 101.

CONFERENCE CALL

SEC – 5 (Nos. 1, 3, 8, 14, 25).

Big Ten – 5 (Nos. 2, 6, 12, 17, 18).

ACC – 3 (Nos. 20, 21, 24).

Big 12 – 3 (Nos. 7, 9, 10).

Pac-12 – 2 (Nos. 11, 16).

American – 2 (Nos. 4, 19).

Conference USA – 1 (No. 15).

Mountain West – 1 (No. 22).

Sun Belt – 1 (No. 23).

Independent – 2 (Nos. 5, 13).

RANKED vs. RANKED

– No. 2 Ohio State at No. 6 Michigan. For the 24th time, The Game will be a top-10 matchup.

– No. 10 Oklahoma at No. 7 Oklahoma State. Bedlam will be a top-10 matchup for the third time. The last time was 2015 and the Sooners won by 35.