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Big Ten wants I-AA games to fade

Appalachian State receiver Dexter Jackson, right, who later played for the Bucs, celebrates his TD during the I-AA team’s shocker over Michigan.

Associated Press (2007)

Appalachian State receiver Dexter Jackson, right, who later played for the Bucs, celebrates his TD during the I-AA team’s shocker over Michigan.

If all goes according to plan, the possibility of an attention-grabbing win by Division I-AA teams won't exist much longer in the Big Ten.

College football will have a I-A playoff next season, and strength of schedule is part of the criteria the selection committee will use to determine the four teams. Playing I-AA opponents wouldn't help the cause.

That's only part of the reason commissioner Jim Delany is encouraging Big Ten schools to keep I-AA schools off nonconference schedules.

And though most such matchups are lopsided, the chance for upsets offers some intrigue — probably most famously in 2007 when Appalachian State won at then-No. 5 Michigan.

The possibility of a I-AA team beating a I-A — and getting paid handsomely to boot — is a hot topic after eight such upsets happened last week, including USF's loss to McNeese State.

Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen said Tuesday that it's "an opportunity of a lifetime" for I-AA players. He speaks from experience. When he coached Southern Utah in 2003, his team went to Nevada and lost just 24-23 — "Those kids still talk about that," he said.

Delany recently said league members have a goal to keep I-AA foes off of schedules but added, "We don't have any penalties for those that don't."

Top 25: Clemson surged to its highest ranking in the Associated Press poll in 25 years after the Tigers beat No. 5 Georgia on Saturday. Clemson was No. 4 in the first regular season Top 25 and got one-first place vote, its highest spot since it was No. 3 on Sept. 12, 1988. Alabama remained No. 1 and got 58 of 60 first-place votes; Oregon passed Ohio State for No. 2. Florida State rose one spot to No. 10; Florida fell two places to No. 12. Washington (20th) and Baylor (23rd) entered the poll.

Alabama's Bell staying: Alabama receiver Kenny Bell, whose tweet early Tuesday indicated that he was leaving the program, got a "personal day" from coach Nick Saban and is expected back today. "Sometimes we have personal things that we need to get ironed out," Saban said. "He had a day today to do that." Bell also tweeted Tuesday night that he'd return.

California: Safety Avery Sebastian is out for the season with a torn Achilles, suffered in Saturday's game against Northwestern.

Illinois: Coach Tim Beckman says sophomore running back Dami Ayoola has been kicked off the team for an unspecified violation of team rules.

Louisville: Coach Charlie Strong said redshirt sophomore running back Corvin Lamb will have season-ending surgery to repair a torn left ACL.

Michigan State: Coach Mark Dantonio wouldn't identify a starting quarterback for Saturday's game against USF, but the same two names were listed atop the depth chart: senior starter Andrew Maxwell and sophomore Connor Cook. The two were a combined 17-for-37 for 116 yards in Friday's 26-13 win over Western Michigan.

Big Ten wants I-AA games to fade 09/04/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 12:00am]

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