Sunday, December 17, 2017
Sports

Notre Dame jumps into top four of College Football Playoff rankings

Notre Dame moved into the top four in the second College Football Playoff selection committee rankings of the season Tuesday night.

Clemson remained No. 1, with Alabama moving up two spots to No. 2, Ohio State staying at No. 3 and the Fighting Irish up a spot to No. 4. Notre Dame and Alabama each has one loss. Unbeaten Iowa rose four spots to No. 5. Baylor is the highest-ranked Big 12 team at No. 6.

Iowa's rise was notable. Committee chairman Jeff Long pointed out the Hawkeyes have beaten two top 25 teams on the road (Wisconsin and Northwestern), and Iowa's strength of schedule is No. 2 behind Clemson among the six remaining unbeaten teams.

Two previously unbeaten teams tumbled. LSU, No. 2 last week, dropped to No. 9 after losing at Alabama, and Michigan State, which was No. 7, dropped to No. 13 after losing to Nebraska.

Mizzou stand impresses USF

TAMPA — Even as they focus on 21st-ranked Temple, USF's players and coaches have cast a periodic gaze to a program a time zone away.

Like the rest of the nation, the Bulls followed the stand of solidarity against campus racism taken by Missouri's football team, which boycotted team activities until university president Timothy Wolfe's resignation. On Tuesday, two veteran USF players, wide receiver Rodney Adams and linebacker Auggie Sanchez, applauded the Tigers' acts.

"I think it's awesome," Sanchez said.

"I read that and that's a pretty huge step, for a football team to just say we're not gonna play until (Wolfe steps down)," Adams said. "It takes some pretty big … guts to do something like that."

Coach Willie Taggart, meantime, praised Tigers coach Gary Pinkel for standing behind his team, suggesting he'd act similarly if a protest was done "for the right reasons."

"It showed those guys that (Pinkel) cares about 'em and he's for 'em," Taggart said. "He has their back. I think we all, as coaches, that's what we tell our guys all the time: We've got their back and we're with 'em do or die, and that's how it should be."

Barrett plea: Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett pleaded guilty to a count of driving while impaired and was sentenced to a three-day driver-intervention program and fined $400. His license was also suspended for six months. Barrett, 20, apologized to his family, Ohio State and fans in a brief statement.

Flood fundraising auction: A package of items that included the signed jersey of LSU running back Leonard Fournette raised more than $100,000 for flood victims in South Carolina. The LSU athletic department said Monday the winning bid was $101,000. Along with the jersey Fournette wore in the Oct. 10 victory over South Carolina, the package included signed helmets by both coaches in the game, South Carolina's Steve Spurrier — who resigned two days later — and LSU's Les Miles.

Minnesota: Cornerback Jalen Myrick was released from a Columbus, Ohio, hospital and is likely out for the season after being hospitalized with a rib injury sustained during Saturday's loss at Ohio State. The junior leads the Gophers with three interceptions this season.

Northwestern: The NCAA granted a sixth year of eligibility to two offensive linemen with the No. 24 Wildcats, seniors Shane Mertz and C.J. Robbins. Both will be eligible to play during the 2016-2017 academic year.

Times staff writer Joey Knight contributed to this report, which used information from Times wires.

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