Saturday, December 16, 2017

First BCS standings: Alabama No. 1, FSU No. 2

Alabama and Florida State hold the top two spots in the first BCS standings, released Sunday night. Oregon was a close third.

The Seminoles (.9348 BCS average) are coming off a 51-14 victory at previously unbeaten Clemson.

The Ducks (.9320) have played only one team that was ranked at the time but could get a boost in the next two weeks with games against UCLA and Stanford.

Ohio State is a distant fourth.

The Associated Press media poll and the USA Today coaches poll count for two-thirds of a BCS grade. FSU is No. 1 in the computer ratings and third in each poll. The top two teams in the standings at the regular season's end play in the Rose Bowl for the national title.

"I didn't know if we'd get quite to second, but I thought we'd be around third,'' Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher said. "I'm very happy where we are at."

The Seminoles still must play unbeaten Miami, rival Florida and potentially in the ACC Championship Game, which could be a rematch with Miami or maybe against Virginia Tech (6-1).

In addition to Oregon's next two tough games, the Ducks play Oregon State and potentially the Pac-12 title game against perhaps UCLA or Arizona State.

Ohio State likely needs help to move up. The Big Ten is not affording it many opportunities for resume-boosting victories.

A weekend of upsets produced much movement in the Associated Press poll. Florida and Georgia were notable dropouts. UCF entered at No. 21. No. 3 FSU got two first-place votes. Its last first-place votes were Sept. 2, 2002. Alabama is No. 1 for the 66th time, two shy of matching Miami for sixth-most ever.

Florida has a bye week, then faces Georgia. Coach Will Muschamp said Sunday the offensive line is the biggest problem and changes will be considered.

Don James dies at 80

SEATTLE—- Don James, one of the most beloved figures in the history of University of Washington football, a record-setting Miami quarterback and a former FSU assistant, died Sunday of pancreatic cancer. The College Football Hall of Famer was 80.

"The Dawgfather" is the Huskies' winningest coach (153-57-2 from 1975-92, sharing the 1991 national title with Miami). Before that he coached Jack Lambert, Nick Saban and Gary Pinkel at Kent State.

Overall he was 178-76-3.

"He was a special man and meant the world to me," Saban said. "Coach James was my mentor and probably did more than anybody to influence me in this profession."

Mr. James set five Hurricanes passing records and was named the team's top scholar-athlete, graduating in 1954. He was an FSU assistant from 1959-65.

He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Carol; their three children, and 10 grandchildren.

He once said that the only time Carol let him buy Playboy was for the annual college football issue, "but she reminds me that Playboy is a lot like National Geographic. Both have pictures of places I'm never going to visit."

He went against the grain in 1977 by sticking with black quarterback Warren Moon in an era when black QBs were routinely moved to receiver or defensive back. "Don put himself on the line for me," Moon said years later.

Mr. James' organizational skills were legendary. He told a reporter who interrupted him during dinner that he would call back in seven minutes, which he did precisely as promised. He was an imposing disciplinarian, watching practices from atop a purple tower. "It's like God looking over your shoulder," wide receiver Mark Pattison once said.

But Mr. James also had a way with a quip, famously saying before the 1983 Apple Cup, "I've always felt that being a Cougar prepares you well for life. You learn not to expect too much."

alabama: Strong safety Vinnie Sunseri has a left knee injury that is considered serious.

Auburn: Safety Josh Holsey is out for the season with a knee injury.

grambling state: The Southwestern Athletic Conference said it is working with Grambling officials to "ensure that the appropriate actions are made" to resolve a standoff between players and the administration. A practice was scheduled today, but it was unclear if players would show up.

Notre Dame: QB Tommy Rees is day to day with a neck injury.

South Carolina: Quarterback Connor Shaw won't need surgery for his sprained left knee but is likely out Saturday at Missouri.

Late Saturday

Oregon 62, Wash. St. 38: Ducks defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti said it was "low class'' for the visiting Cougars to leave in their starters and throw for two late touchdowns, then later apologized, saying he was embarrassed by his reaction. Oregon pulled its starters in the fourth quarter. Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday completed 58-of-89 for a school-record 557 yards and four touchdowns. His attempts broke the Division I-A record of 83 set by Drew Brees for Purdue on Oct. 10, 1998.


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