The Big 12 was turned upside down by West Virginia and Kansas State, and both are being led by former juco recruits. Plus, it was no surprise that many of the nation's best recruits walked away impressed with Florida State following Saturday's victory over Notre Dame.

ACC bowl projections: Week 8

October, 19, 2014
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The win over Notre Dame certainly wasn’t the final piece to Florida State’s playoff puzzle, but it was clearly the biggest hurdle the Seminoles had remaining on the schedule. That has secured FSU’s spot in our postseason projections, but for now, we’re still predicting the Irish will get a bowl game shot at another ACC power.

College Football Playoff: Florida State
Capital One Orange Bowl: Clemson versus Notre Dame*
Russell Athletic Bowl: Duke
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Louisville
Belk Bowl: Virginia
Hyundai Sun Bowl: Miami
New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Boston College
Military Bowl presented By Northrop Grumman: Georgia Tech
Duck Commander Independence Bowl: Virginia Tech
Quick Lane Bowl: Pittsburgh
BITCOIN St. Petersburg Bowl: NC State

* Note: If Notre Dame is not invited to the College Football Playoff or a New Year’s Six bowl game, it will assume one of the ACC’s bowl spots.

Florida State offensive line coach Rick Trickett was released from the hospital Sunday after a weekend stay for a health issue that caused him to miss the No. 2 Seminoles' win Saturday.

Florida State spokesman Kerwin Lonzo said Trickett would return to the team Tuesday or Wednesday.

Hours before Saturday's game against then-No. 5 Notre Dame, the athletic department announced Trickett would not coach in the game because of a personal health issue. Trickett, in his eighth season as the Seminoles' offensive line coach, was replaced by graduate assistant David Spurlock, who played under Trickett at Florida State.

Trickett's son Chance, who works in the recruiting department at Florida State, told ESPN.com in a message on Sunday that his father is in "high spirits" and was able to watch Saturday's win. The Seminoles gave Chance the game ball from the 31-27 win so he could deliver it to Trickett.

Earlier Saturday, Trickett's son Clint threw three touchdown passes to lead unranked West Virginia to a 41-27 upset of No. 4 Baylor. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Clint was not told about his father's condition until after the game.

Trickett's son Travis is an assistant coach at Samford.


(Read full post)


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Three top-15 programs climb four positions in the ESPN College Football Power Rankings, and Florida State flips places with Ole Miss. College football reporter Adam Rittenberg joins Cary Chow to break down notable movers.

Brian Kelly disputes late penalty

October, 19, 2014
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Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly adamantly disagreed with an offensive pass interference penalty that wiped away a go-ahead touchdown against Florida State, saying he had even less clarity Sunday than he did in the minutes after the 31-27 loss.

"Actually I have less clarity," Kelly said during his Sunday teleconference. "I guess it was actually called on Will Fuller, not C.J. (Prosise). So [it] just adds more uncertainty as to the final play.

"But again, the play itself, in terms of what we ask our kids to do, it was pretty clear what happened on the play: Florida State blew the coverage and they got rewarded for it. It's unfortunate."

The official play-by-play of the game states that Prosise was called for an offensive pass interference penalty on a 2-yard touchdown pass from Everett Golson to Corey Robinson on fourth-and-goal with 13 seconds left, which would have put the Irish ahead 33-31, with an extra point pending.

The infraction, however, moved Notre Dame back to the 18-yard line, and Golson was picked off by FSU's Jacob Pugh in the end zone on the Irish's final offensive play.


(Read full post)


Best of the visits: ACC

October, 19, 2014
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Saturday's Notre Dame-Florida State game was the prime-time attraction in college football this weekend, and plenty of recruits were on hand to see the Seminoles hold on for victory. Here's a look at some of the best social media posts from ACC recruiting this weekend.

Notre Dame at Florida State

The Seminoles played host to the best visitor list in college football over the weekend, and quite possibly the best of the season to date. Among the truly elite group of visitors were top cornerback prospects Kendall Sheffield and Tarvarus McFadden.

ESPN 300 No. 44 McFadden is set to announce between Florida State and Georgia on Oct. 31, and he tweeted that the Seminoles were showing the love Saturday.


ESPN 300 No. 158 Neville Gallimore tweeted shortly after landing in Tallahassee Saturday.


Gallimore made an official visit to Oklahoma Sept. 12 prior to this weekend at Florida State. Ohio State is also in line for an official visit Nov. 28, as is Florida and possibly Oregon.

Florida State four-star commitment Calvin Brewton was on his official visit this weekend and commented on the morning after the Seminoles' thrilling win. Brewton made an official visit to Notre Dame Oct. 4.


Another 2015 defensive back on an official visit to Florida State was versatile Davante Davis. The safety/nickelback summed up Tallahassee after the game. Along with the Seminoles, Alabama, Florida, Miami (Fla.) and possibly Auburn are seriously under consideration.


ESPN Junior 300 No. 13 Trayvon Mullen was in attendance Saturday with a pair of teammates, No. 297 Malek Young and wide receiver Binjimen Victor.


Victor tweeted about the atmosphere at Florida State and in Doak Campbell Stadium.


Mullen and Binjimen are also high on Ohio State and Alabama, among others, with there being a strong connection to Alabama on the Coconut Creek High coaching staff. Young was a heavy lean to Florida State during the spring and summer, but the Seminoles weren’t ready to accept a verbal commitment.

Even the class of 2018 was represented Saturday by First Coast budding star corner Tyreke Johnson, the younger brother of 2015 ESPN 300 quarterback and Seminoles commit De'Andre Johnson. Tyreke posted a twitter picture with 2016 fast-rising defensive back Saivion Smith and ESPN Junior 300 No. 28 and Alabama commit Demetris Robertson.

Syracuse at Wake Forest

Wake Forest hosted a number of highly ranked running backs and skill players Saturday. While the Demon Deacons lost convincingly to Syracuse, it was a showcase for the ability to come in and play right away for Wake Forest.

ESPN Junior 300 No. 117 and running back Robert Washington took to Twitter and posted a picture with ESPN Junior 300 No. 92 Moe Neal (left) and friends at the game Saturday.


Both Washington and Neal are top targets of the Demon Deacons in 2016. Washington has more than 15 offers and lists Ohio State as one of his early favorites. Neal has been to games at Duke, Georgia Tech and Wake Forest this season.

The most important prospect in attendance didn’t tweet Saturday: ESPN 300 No. 149 Nyheim Hines. He made the short trip west to Winston-Salem with his family, including twin sister Nyah, who has a track offer from NC State. The Wolfpack are considered the favorites for the talented duo.
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Joe Schad, Brad Edwards and Heather Dinich debate which four teams deserve to be in the College Football Playoff and which teams are on the outside looking in.

SEC reaches poll milestone

October, 19, 2014
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The Southeastern Conference has reached a new milestone in The Associated Press college football poll, becoming the first league to place four teams in the top five -- all from the western division.

Mississippi State stayed No. 1 after a weekend off. The Atlantic Coast Conference's Florida State held its ground at No. 2 after beating then-No. 5 Notre Dame 31-27.

Ole Miss remains No. 3. Alabama jumped three spots to No. 4 after a 59-0 victory against Texas A&M. Auburn moved up a spot to No. 5 during a bye week, taking advantage of losses by previously unbeaten Notre Dame and Baylor.

The Irish dropped two spots to seventh. Baylor fell to No. 12 after losing 41-27 at West Virginia.

Thirty times since 2001 a conference has placed three teams in the top five of the AP Top 25. The SEC had done it 16 times since 2009.

The Seminoles (7-0, 4-0 ACC) control their own destiny, however, as no currently ranked teams remain on the schedule.

They are one of only three top-five teams that are still undefeated, and both No. 1 Mississippi State and No. 3 Ole Miss have at least two more games against ranked teams.


(Read full post)


ACC Power Rankings: Week 8

October, 19, 2014
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Drawing conclusions from Week 8

October, 19, 2014
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Notre Dame vs. Florida State Chris Morris for ESPN

Each Sunday during the season, ESPN.com will highlight four storylines that had an impact on the College Football Playoff race.

No. 2 Florida State 31, No. 5 Notre Dame 27

The Seminoles strong-armed the Fighting Irish, wrestling back from a 17-10 halftime deficit to win their 23rd consecutive game and overcome perhaps their toughest remaining test. FSU has five unranked opponents left, beginning with a road trip to Louisville on Oct. 30, followed by Virginia.


Big 12 balance of power shifting

No. 4 Baylor's playoff hopes took a massive hit in a 41-27 loss to unranked West Virginia. No. 14 Kansas State is rising by virtue of a 31-30 win over No. 11 Oklahoma, which suffered its second loss. Meanwhile, No. 12 TCU rebounded strongly after a wrenching loss to Baylor by pummelling No. 15 Oklahoma State 42-9.


No. 7 Alabama 59, No. 21 Texas A&M 0

The Crimson Tide stomped the Aggies, notching their most lopsided SEC victory since beating Vanderbilt 66-3 in 1979 and blanking Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin for the first time in his 86 games as a head coach.


(Read full post)


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FSU coach Jimbo Fisher, FSU WR Rashad Greene, Notre Dame QB Everett Golson and Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly discuss the Seminoles' win over the Irish.

ACC helmet stickers: Week 8

October, 19, 2014
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How about a few helmet stickers for a job well done:

Louisville RB Michael Dyer. For the first time all season, Dyer was completely healthy -- and he showed what he is capable of in a 30-18 win over NC State. Dyer had 173 yards and a touchdown -- his 46-yard score late in the fourth quarter sealed the win. It was Dyer's first 100-yard rushing game since Nov. 19, 2011, when he had 157 yards against Samford while still playing for Auburn.

Syracuse defensive front. You cannot give Robert Welsh a helmet sticker without giving Micah Robinson a helmet sticker, as both scored touchdowns for Syracuse in a 30-7 win over Wake Forest. So they both get one, along with their defensive teammates in an impressive performance. Welsh returned an interception 42 yards for one touchdown while Robinson returned a fumble 51 yards for another. Welsh also had two tackles for a loss and a pass breakup. In all, Syracuse had 10 tackles for loss, three sacks and held Wake Forest to 170 yards.

Pitt QB Chad Voytik. Voytik took plenty of criticism during the Panthers' recent three-game losing streak. But in a 21-16 win over Virginia Tech on Thursday night, Voytik was the biggest difference in the game -- running for 118 yards on 19 carries while going 10-of-17 for 92 yards with one touchdown and an interception. His 49-yard run set up the game-clinching touchdown. In fact, the designed runs kept the Virginia Tech defense off balance all night and should be something the Panthers do more as the season goes on.

North Carolina QB Marquise Williams. For the second straight week, Williams was phenomenal -- but this time, the Tar Heels picked up a 48-43 come-from-behind win over Georgia Tech. Williams threw for 390 yards, ran for 73 more, completed a school-record 38 passes and had five total touchdowns. On the game-winning drive, Williams completed six passes -- the biggest reason why the Tar Heels ended a four-game losing streak. In the past two games, Williams has 696 yards passing, 205 yards rushing and nine touchdowns. He played every snap in both games, too.

Florida State QB Jameis Winston. There is no doubt Winston is the biggest reason the Seminoles came from behind to beat No. 5 Notre Dame 31-27 to keep their College Football Playoff chances alive. After a subpar first half, in which he went 8-of-15 for 92 yards with a score and interception, Winston was nearly flawless. In the second half, Winston went 15-of-16 for 181 yards and a touchdown, flashing the form that allowed him to win the Heisman Trophy a year ago. Perhaps most impressive, he was so effective despite facing heavy blitzes from Notre Dame on virtually every play. Winston calmly delivered in the face of pressure.
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Jameis Winston was talking about the pressure from Notre Dame's incessant blitzes, which kept him under duress for the better part of four hours Saturday night. He was hurried and hit, and No. 5 Notre Dame rarely afforded Winston an opportunity to set his feet.

"I get hit a lot of times, but you know what I do: I get back up," Winston said. "I keep playing football, and we keep winning."

Then Winston flashed a smile. He knew his answer could be extended far beyond the Fighting Irish's exotic blitzes to the numerous off-the-field headlines that have threatened to force him from the field.

Saturday, the second-ranked Seminoles were celebrating a 31-27 victory not just over Notre Dame, but, at least in their eyes, against an allied front of college football fans who'd like to see the sport's longest active winning streak end.

[+] EnlargeJimbo Fisher
Streeter Lecka/Getty ImagesJimbo Fisher embraced quarterback Jameis Winston following their win over No. 5 Notre Dame.
"It was kind of like us against the world," defensive tackle Derrick Mitchell Jr. said.

With Winston, the Seminoles always have a puncher's chance, and the entire playoff-seeking country is lamenting Sunday morning that the three-knockdown rule in boxing doesn't apply to college football. For a third time this season, Florida State was staggered and bloodied, lying on the mat and struggling to find its center. College football looked to, of all schools, Notre Dame to play the unfamiliar role of David. The Irish were maybe the last chance to eliminate the reigning champions from the inaugural College Football Playoff after Oklahoma State and Clemson both had the Seminoles reeling before fourth-quarter blunders.

The Irish came close to victory, winning nearly every statistical category. And Everett Golson was knocking on the door in the final seconds, even throwing a touchdown with 13 seconds left before it was stricken from the scoreboard for offensive pass interference.

Winston was at his best, though, delivering multiple Heisman moments even if the prospects of a second bronze statue have diminished greatly since the season began. They could possibly be described as nonexistent after the continued Title IX inquiry and an internal compliance investigation into whether he accepted money for autographs.

In the second half, Winston completed 15 of 16 passes. Nearly all of them came with an Irish lineman or linebacker barreling toward him at full speed. On the touchdown drive that gave Florida State its first lead and proved to be the deciding score, Winston completed three straight passes under pressure.

On the drive's final play, Karlos Williams scored, and Winston did a pirouette and pumped his fist. He silenced his critics, at least for a week, maybe less.

In the aftermath that ensued once Winston took a knee, the team rushed toward him. Linebacker Terrance Smith said it wasn't planned or even on purpose that they surrounded Winston, but it fit the script.

Then, as Tom Rinaldi was set to interview Jimbo Fisher, who emotionally defended Winston earlier in the week, Winston ran over and hugged his coach. Fisher yelled in his ear -- the metal bleachers were still reverberating from a raucous 82,431 Seminoles fans -- about the love he has for Winston.

"It's my job to help mentor and help him. And he's a fun guy to coach and be around," Fisher said. "I've always cared for him, like I care for all my players. That's my job."

Winston's teammates said there wasn't much talk in the locker room this week about the looming school conduct code hearing or the authenticator that has labeled more than 2,000 Winston signatures as credible. They understand he has flaws, but each player went to bat for their quarterback when asked about their feelings on Winston.

"Jameis is not a dumb kid, he just makes poor decisions at times just like everybody his age does," said Mario Edwards Jr., who was part of the same recruiting class as Winston. "Things get blown up a lot bigger because he's Jameis Winston and he won the Heisman, and it's not fair to him and it's not fair to us. But that's Jameis. Jameis is a goofy kid and he loves to have fun and he's going to play good football."

As a team, Florida State will continue to play meaningful football. A loss to Notre Dame could have knocked the reigning champions out of the four-team playoff.

Though his team has looked nothing like the 2013 Seminoles -- it has trailed in fourth quarters twice -- it has still found a way to win.

"That's extremely satisfying. It's what you play for. That's what you strive to get your program to all the time, to be able to persevere and play in games like this and win those games," Fisher said. "That's what I love about our team. They have a lot of pride and know how to win."

'College Football Minute'

October, 19, 2014
Oct 19
2:49
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Florida State survives again, the Big 12 is shaken up one more time and the Heisman race remains wide open. It's all ahead on the "College Football Minute."

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FSU Reclaims No. 2 In Power Rankings
Three top-15 programs climb four positions in the ESPN College Football Power Rankings, and Florida State flips places with Ole Miss. College football reporter Adam Rittenberg joins Cary Chow to break down notable movers.
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