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College Football Playoff projection: Alabama, Ohio State and some goodbyes to others

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(PhatzRadio Sports / USA TODAY SPORTS)    —    Ah, Week 3. Contenders are emerging (Is that you, LSU?), pretenders are falling away (what happened, Badgers?) and some positions are crystalizing (‘Bama. ‘Nuff said.). At least, for the moment.

As always, remember we pick the Football Four Playoff bracket as if the season was over.* It could all change next week. Or not.

The Four

1. Alabama – Remember all that talk about how Ole Miss might score actual points on Alabama? It happened. On the very first play. Uh oh! … Alabama won 62-7.

2. Ohio State – The Buckeyes got pushed by TCU, but turned it on late to pull away. Dwayne Haskins has transformed the Ohio State offense. The head coach returns to the sideline this week.

3. Oklahoma – Warning sign: For the first time this season the pass defense was, uh, leaky. But Kyler Murray was superb passing and running and the Sooners managed the road win at Iowa State.

4. Georgia – We’re not completely sure about Georgia, because the schedule looks pillowy soft other than LSU and Auburn. Middle Tennessee didn’t show us much. But the ol’ eyeballs say Georgia is really good.

Four More: **

5. Clemson – The Tigers rolled right over Georgia Southern, as expected. Next up, Georgia Tech. Keep watch on Kelly Bryant, who didn’t play in the second half because of a chest bruise.

6. LSU – Coach O and the Tigers nipped Auburn to move to 3-0; their second win against an opponent ranked in the Top 10. LSU has a good defense and a functional quarterback and just maybe, this thing is going to work.

7. Penn State – It was Kent State, so let’s not get too excited. But Penn State is getting untracked. In two weeks, the Nittany Lions host Ohio State.

8. Mississippi State – A fast, physical bunch of Bulldogs blew out Louisiana. Could they make waves in the SEC West?

A Few More After That: ***

Oklahoma State – Walloping Boise State is a huge statement for Mike Gundy’s bunch – especially defensively.

TCU – Mistakes finally felled the Frogs in a loss to Ohio State, but TCU showed off the speed and grit of a Big 12 contender.

Stanford – Without Bryce Love, it was a struggle against UC Davis.

Auburn – The Tigers’ defense is good. Its offense is surprisingly iffy. No margin for error after the loss to LSU which means they have to beat both Georgia and Alabama away from home.

Washington – In a very physical road game, the Huskies were better than Utah.

Nowhere Close: ****

UCLA – It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Rutgers – When Kansas roughs you up, you’ve also had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Southern California – Minus-5 yards rushing. Five fewer than zero.

Florida State – Starting Gofundme accounts to buy out Willie Taggart after his third game? Uh oh.

Nebraska – Tough start for Scott Frost’s Huskers.

Arkansas – Fake fair catch, but no faking the rest of a beatdown by North Texas.

* The season is not over.

** Don’t be worried that your team sits just outside the cut. This is a weekly snapshot. And what do we know, anyway?

*** See the previous note, but it’s OK to be slightly concerned or very angry. But what do we know, anyway?

**** No note necessary

___

LSU surged to No. 6 in The Associated Press college football poll after its second victory of September against a highly ranked team, and Wisconsin tumbled to No. 18 after becoming the first top-10 team to be upset by an unranked team.

Top-ranked Alabama strengthened its hold on No. 1 on Sunday , receiving a season-high 58 first-place votes from the media panel. Clemson slipped out of the No. 2 spot for the first time this season. Georgia moved up a spot to second behind the Crimson Tide, giving the Southeastern Conference the top two teams in the ranking. Clemson is third with three first-place votes, followed by No. 4 Ohio State and No. 5 Oklahoma.

LSU has now gone from No. 25 to start the season to No. 6 in three weeks.

The Tigers beat Miami, the preseason No. 8, in Week 1 in Arlington, Texas, and then knocked off Auburn on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Auburn slipped from No. 7 to No. 9.

Wisconsin’s loss to BYU was Saturday’s most surprising result. The Badgers were three-touchdown favorites but missed a last-second field goal to tie and lost 24-21 in Madison. The Big Ten had five teams in the top 14 to begin the seasons and three (Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin) have already lost.

BYU’s reward was being ranked No. 25.

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PAC-12 SLOP

The Big Ten drew a lot of attention for having a rough Saturday, with half the league losing nonconference games. The Pac-12, more specifically the Pac-12 South, also had a rough one — though much of the damage was done after a lot of East of the Mississippi bedtimes.

Southern California fell out of the ranking after its second straight loss, a thumping at Texas. The Trojans have now been outscored 54-17 the last two weeks. Arizona State also fell from the ranking when it could not back up its nice home win against Michigan State, losing at San Diego State.

Within the conference, Utah was beaten at home by Pac-12 North power No. 10 Washington, thwarting the Utes’ chances of being ranked. UCLA dropped to 0-3 under Chip Kelly and Arizona finally managed to get coach Kevin Sumlin a victory — by beating Southern Utah of the FCS.

Colorado is the lone unbeaten Pac-12 South team. Looks bleak, but just two seasons ago the landscape was similar for the division. After opening-week losses by USC and UCLA to start 2016, the Pac-12 South had no ranked teams. Ultimately, Colorado, the eventual Pac-12 South champ, and Utah moved into the ranking and finished in the Top 25. USC made a late-season surge behind Sam Darnold, too.

UP

The other big mover in the right direction this week was Oklahoma State. The Cowboys jumped nine spots to No. 15 after an impressive 44-21 victory against Boise State, which tumbled out of the rankings after being No. 17.

Oklahoma State began the season unranked after being ranked at the end of the last three seasons.

IN

Three teams moved into the ranking for the first time this season, with Boston College making its return to the Top 25 for the first time since 2008.

The Eagles beat Wake Forest on Thursday night to improve to 3-0 behind a dynamic offense led by running back A.J. Dillon and blossoming quarterback Anthony Brown. BC has not won more than seven games since 2009. The 2008 team won nine and the ACC Atlantic Division but was last ranked on Nov. 30 of that year.

— No. 22 Texas A&M is ranked for the first time since November 2016.

— No. 25 BYU is ranked for the first time since September 2015.

CONFERENCE CALL

The SEC has the top two teams in the AP poll for the 23rd time since 2006. Alabama was either No. 1 or 2 in all of those. The conference with the next most 1-2 appearances in the poll since 2006 is the Big Ten with eight.

SEC — 6.

Big Ten — 5.

Big 12 — 4.

ACC — 4.

Pac-12 — 3.

Independent — 2.

American — 1.

RANKED vs. RANKED

No. 22 Texas A&M at No. 1 Alabama. First ranked opponent for the Crimson Tide.

No. 7 Stanford at No. 20 Oregon. First Power Five opponent for the Ducks.

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(###) Number of first place votes
 
1
Alabama (58)
Record: 3-0
PV Rank

1

Points

1,521

2
Record: 3-0
3
1,416
3
Record: 3-0
2
1,405
4
Record: 3-0
4
1,357
5
Record: 3-0
5
1,283
6
Record: 3-0
12
1,241
7
Record: 3-0
9
1,055
8
8
1,034
9
Record: 2-1
7
958
10
Record: 2-1
10
947
10
Record: 3-0
11
947
12
Record: 2-0
14
841
13
Record: 2-0
13
816
14
Record: 3-0
16
790
15
Record: 3-0
24
587
16
Record: 2-0
18
556
17
Record: 2-1
15
502
18
Record: 2-1
6
486
19
Record: 2-1
19
448
20
Record: 3-0
20
399
21
Record: 2-1
21
362
22
Record: 2-1
193
23
Record: 3-0
130
24
Record: 1-1
25
86
25
75

College Football Playoff games of impact for Week 3 of the season

(PhatzRadio Sports / USA TODAY SPORTS)   —   The Week 3 slate in college football has been truncated somewhat as Hurricane Florence threatens to wash over much of the southeast. There will still be a number of meaningful games, though some of them might be played in soggy conditions.

Here are the five most impactful contests this weekend in the race for the College Football Playoff.

No. 13 LSU at No. 7 Auburn

Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS

The battle for supremacy in the hyper-competitive SEC West begins with this all-Tiger affair. A loss isn’t a playoff killer, but clearly the winner will be in a much better position to challenge odds-on favorite Alabama down the road.

Like some past meetings in this series, this year’s version has the makings of a classic defensive struggle that could turn on a single big play. After a low-scoring escape against Washington, Auburn was able to work out some offensive kinks against Alabama State last week. Even so, QB Jarrett Stidham isn’t likely to get much ground support against LB Devin White and the stout LSU front.

The Bayou Bengals haven’t needed to use much of their offensive playbook thus far, but QB Joe Burrow will have to take more chances this week. Protecting him has been an issue, even against FCS member Southeastern Louisiana, and Auburn DT Dontavius Russell is more than capable of collapsing the pocket.

No. 4 Ohio State vs. No. 14 TCU 

Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, ABC

As far as the playoff picture is concerned, the Big 12 right now looks like a one-Sooner pony. That perception will change in a heartbeat if the Horned Frogs can pull off a stunner in their own backyard. The Buckeyes, however, remember how last season’s bid was in part derailed by a loss to a Big 12 opponent. They’ll be determined not to let that bit of history repeat itself.

This de facto road game in Arlington, Texas, loomed as the most significant of the three contests for which Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer would be suspended. But other than a few late points surrendered to Oregon State with the outcome long since determined, it’s hard to see how Ohio State’s first two outings without him on the sideline could have gone much better. The Horned Frogs haven’t looked quite as polished in their warmup games, and they’ll have to be nearly flawless here. Similar to Alabama, the added dimension of a deep passing game brought by QB Dwayne Haskins has made an already strong Ohio State squad even more dangerous. TCU will have to hope its swarming defense, featuring senior LBs Arico Evans and Alec Dunham, can limit big plays. Horned Frogs QB Shawn Robinson will need all his mobility to stay clear of Buckeyes DE Nick Bosa. Senior WR KaVontae Turpin is TCU’s most dangerous breakaway threat who can also do damage in the return game, but the Buckeyes haven’t punted often.

No. 12 Washington at Utah

Saturday, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN

The Huskies must hope their Week 1 setback against Auburn was indeed not an insurmountable obstacle to their playoff pursuit. With the margin for error gone, they now begin their quest for the Pac-12 crown with what figures to be a challenging cross-divisional tilt. The Utes for their part hope to be in the mix in the South.

Utah hasn’t been flashy during its 2-0 start, but the defense has allowed a total of 16 points. LB Chase Hansen and Co. probably won’t quite maintain that level of stinginess against Washington’s veteran backfield duo of QB Jake Browning and RB Myles Gaskin, so the Utes are going to need QB Tyler Huntley to provide some fireworks in the downfield game. Huskies DT Shane Bowman will lead the effort to prevent him from doing so.

Vanderbilt at No. 8 Notre Dame

Saturday, 2:30 p.m. ET, NBC

Following their triumph over Michigan in Week 1, this would appear to be the type of game the Fighting Irish should handle with relative ease if they are in fact a top 10 team. But is it? The Commodores aren’t expected to contend for the SEC title, but they handled a pair of overmatched opponents with little drama to build some momentum.

Though Notre Dame struggled to put away Ball State last week, its defense, paced by LB Te’von Coney and S Alohi Gilman, will still pose the biggest test Vandy senior QB Kyle Shurmur has faced this season. TE Jared Pinkney could figure prominently in the Commodores ball-control plan. The Vandy defense, anchored by LB Josh Smith, has been stout as well, and Notre Dame QB Brandon Wimbush has a troubling ratio of one TD pass to four picks through two games. He’s going to need some long gainers from RB Jafar Armstrong.

No. 17 Boise State at No. 19 Oklahoma State

Saturday 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Round’em up for an entertaining rodeo as the Cowboys and Broncos try to lasso a quality victory. On the surface, this is the first true measuring-stick game for a pair of top 20 teams. But there’s a bit more to it. Oklahoma State will have more opportunities for meaningful wins on its Big 12 schedule, but this contest will show the young Cowboys if they’re ready for those future tests. For the Broncos, the Mountain West favorites who are competing with every other Group of Five league contender for a spot in the big-money bowl rotation, this is their one and only shot at a power-five opponent.

Thus far against overmatched opposition, both offensive units have done as they’ve pleased. The only cause for concern for Cowboys QB Taylor Cornelius might be his three interceptions. Broncos DE Durrant Miles will lead the effort to bother him, but RB Justice Hill will be there to help. Veteran Boise State signal caller Brett Rypien has been pick-free in his two outings this season, and he’ll need all his game experience in the hostile environs in Stillwater. His main targets are WRs Sean Modster and John Hightower, but he’ll have to avoid Cowboys DE Jordan Brailford.

AP Top 25 Heat Check: Up with UGA; Down on Notre Dame

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(PhatzRadio Sports / AP)   —   Fooled you.

There is a lot of that at the beginning of the college football season as teams shuffle in and out of the AP Top 25 . Good win? Bad loss? Hard to tell.

South Carolina and Florida popped up in the poll last week and, poof, now they are gone. Maybe they’ll be back. Of course, Heat Check can’t call out the voters without acknowledging its own mistakes. Last week’s endorsement of Northwestern and BYU look a little silly now that both have lost and the teams they beat in Week 1 are a combined 0-4.

This is all trial and error.

Week 2 of the regular season was mostly status quo in the Top 25, with top teams romping. Two teams jumped on board for the first time this season at the bottom. Let’s see if they can hang around longer than the Gamecocks and Gators.

No. 1 Alabama (2-0)

Next: at Mississippi.

A developing Crimson Tide defense should be tested by Ole Miss, but the Rebels gave up 629 yards and 41 points to FCS Southern Illinois last week. It’s a 6 p.m. local kickoff so Grove-gaters in Oxford might want to pace themselves for a long night.

Heat check: Just right

No. 2 Clemson (2-0)

Next: vs. Georgia Southern

The Tigers are 9-2 in their last 11 against the Southeastern Conference, including victories against Georgia, Alabama and Auburn (twice).

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 3 Georgia (2-0)

Next: vs. Middle Tennessee

The Bulldogs looked terrifying in toying with South Carolina.

Heat check: Little too cold. Just like last season, Alabama and Georgia look like the best two teams in the country.

No. 4 Ohio State (2-0)

Next: vs. No. 15 TCU at Arlington, Texas

It seems weird to say the Buckeyes have upgraded at quarterback after J.T. Barrett left with just about every school record, but they probably have with Dwayne Haskins.

Heat check: A tad too hot, but that could change this weekend.

No. 5 Oklahoma (2-0)

Next: at Iowa State

The Sooners had six sacks and 12 tackles for loss against UCLA. Listen, OU is not going to play defense like the other top teams, but if it can do that type of work against Big 12 competition, the offense makes the Sooners a legit national title threat.

Heat check: Touch too hot.

No. 6 Wisconsin (2-0)

Next: vs. BYU.

The fumbling thing with Jonathan Taylor is becoming worrisome. But he is so good.

Heat check: Also, a touch too hot.

No. 7 Auburn (2-0)

Next: vs. No. 12 LSU

There is this thing that happens a lot in college football where we have very short memories and, oh yeah, Auburn beat Washington in Week 1. Voters are still selling that short.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 8 Notre Dame (2-0)

Next: vs. Vanderbilt

QB Brandon Wimbush went from game ball against Michigan to three picks against Ball State and frankly Heat Check is a concerned. The Irish can’t mash opponents with the running game like they did last year.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 9 Stanford (2-0)

Next: vs. UC Davis.

That supposedly suspect Cardinal defense has allowed 13 points in two games against legitimate opponents. Promising.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 10 Washington (1-1)

Next: at Utah.

The Pac-12 North powers need to dominate the suspect South for the good of the conference.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 11 Penn State (2-0)

Next: vs. Kent State.

Penn State is approaching the point in its development as a program where it can occasionally hide some issues behind freak athletes making game-changing plays. This is what elite programs do.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 12 LSU (2-0)

Next: at No. 7 Auburn.

LSU won’t be able to hide an iffy offense on the Plains.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 13 Virginia Tech (2-0)

Next: vs. East Carolina.

Beating Florida State in Tallahassee isn’t worth what it used to be — a week ago.

Heat check: Just right.

No. 14 West Virginia (2-0)

Next: at NC State.

A second Power Five nonconference opponent — and a better one than the first — could give the Mountaineers a nice bump.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 15 TCU (2-0)

Next: vs. No. 4 Ohio State in Arlington, Texas.

Led by Kavontae Turpin, the Horned Frogs have some serious speed at receiver.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 16 Mississippi State (2-0)

Next: vs. Louisiana-Lafayette.

That victory at Kansas State was impressively easy, but if the Bulldogs are going to be more than a fringe threat in the SEC West QB Nick Fitzgerald has to develop into a consistently accurate passer.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 17 Boise State (2-0)

Next: at No. 24 Oklahoma State.

After gaining 816 yards against UConn, the Broncos get their chance for a victory that could make them relevant in the playoff conversation all season.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 18 UCF (2-0)

Next: at North Carolina

The Knights are getting no help from their Power Five nonconference opponents, North Carolina and Pitt.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 19 Michigan (1-1)

Next: vs. SMU

Avoid overreacting to the Western Michigan rout, while still acknowledging QB Shea Patterson could make this a team capable of winning some big games.

Heat check: Just right

No. 20 Oregon (2-0)

Next: vs. San Jose State.

Ducks fans will remind you as you’re looking at Oregon’s hideous nonconference schedule that Texas A&M backed out of a series this year (and next) to add Clemson.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 21 Miami (1-1)

Next: at Toledo

The Rockets have legitimate NFL talent at receiver and are well coached. Decent test for the Hurricanes.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 22 Southern California (1-1)

Next: at Texas.

New quarterback aside, when USC manages only three points in a game — fewest in 21 years — it is cause for concern.

Heat check Too hot.

No. 23 Arizona State (2-0)

Next: at San Diego State

The Sun Devils took a ton of grief for hiring coach Herm Edwards so allow them a moment to gloat after a nice start.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 24 Oklahoma State (2-0)

Next: vs. No. 18 Boise State.

Few coaches are better at plugging in a new quarterback than Mike Gundy. Senior QB Taylor Cornelius, averaging 364 yards in the first two games, gets his first big test.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 25 Michigan State (1-1)

Next: at Indiana, Sept. 22.

One game with no defense but good offense. Another with no offense but solid defense. The Spartans have a week off to get things lined up.

Heat check: Just right.

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Should be out: Miami, USC. Should be in: Texas A&M, Utah.

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Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at https://www.podcastone.com/AP-Top-25-College-Football-Podcast

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More AP college football: https://apnews.com/tag/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

College Football Playoff projection: Alabama in front, with Ohio State, Georgia and Oklahoma

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(PhatzRadio Sports / USA TODAY SPORTS)    —   While there weren’t any huge upsets to roil the Football Four Playoff projection in Week 2, there were some thrilling — and maybe telling — developments. There were also plenty of mismatches, to which we applied the ol’ eye test (meaning: hey, this team looks really good).

The result, a slight reshuffling from the initial Football Four. As always, remember we pick the playoff bracket as if the season was over.* It could all change next week. (Well, except for Alabama. Possible, but seems unlikely.)

The Four

1. Alabama – The more things change, the more …  but Bama’s doing it differently: The first six offensive touchdowns in a rout of Arkansas State came through the air. And it wasn’t just Tua Tagovailoa; Jalen Hurts had a couple of touchdown passes.

2. Ohio State – Game 2 for the Buckeyes during Urban Meyer’s suspension went a lot like the first one: an easy blowout. Dwayne Haskins threw four more TD passes. It could get more difficult this week, with TCU in Arlington, Texas.

3. Georgia – The talk about South Carolina pulling an upset was manufactured and then greatly overcooked last week – the Gamecocks, quite simply, aren’t ready to challenge the SEC’s upper-tier teams  – but Georgia was very, very impressive in a road victory.

4. Oklahoma – Kyler Murray continued to show the Sooners might not skip a beat on offense, but as important a revelation in the first two games is an apparently improved defense. Rodney Anderson’s knee injury could be a big blow, but there’s depth at the position.

Four More: **

5. Clemson – Nothing came easy, but the Tigers escaped a revved-up bunch of Aggies in the super-heated cauldron of Kyle Field. The veteran Kelly Bryant got the bulk of the work down the stretch, but Clemson wasn’t able to put together a clinching drive. The QB competition will continue.

6. Auburn – After notching the most impressive win of Week 1, the Tigers easily dispatched FCS Alabama State. Up this week, an SEC West showdown when LSU visits town.

7. Wisconsin – No issues with New Mexico. Give the ball to Jonathan Taylor – 33 times, for 253 yards and three touchdowns – and let him do the rest.

8. Penn State – After the scare vs. Appalachian State, the Nittany Lions took care of business at Pittsburgh. An improved defensive showing was encouraging.

A Few More After That: ***

Stanford – The Cardinal were clearly superior to Southern California. Not sure what that means, but they were.

Mississippi State – The Bulldogs can get lost in the crowd in the SEC West, but they dominated Kansas State in Manhattan. That defensive front is stout.

LSU –The offense continues to sputter. But after whipping FCS-level Southeastern Louisiana, Ed Orgeron’s Tigers are 2-0 heading into Auburn.

Washington – Huskies bounced back from the loss to Auburn with an easy win over FCS opponent North Dakota.

West Virginia – Another FCS opponent, another lopsided win.

Nowhere Close: ****

Florida – 31 years later, another loss to Kentucky.

USC – Three points?

Arkansas – At altitude, a 18-point lead evaporates.

Arizona – Could be worse, but it’s hard to see how.

Purdue — Just … sigh.

Florida State – Yeah, we know, the Seminoles beat Samford – somehow.

Special Recognition

Kansas — And on the 47th try, a road win!

* The season is not over.

** Don’t be worried that your team sits just outside the cut. This is a weekly snapshot. And what do we know, anyway?

*** See the previous note, but it’s OK to be slightly concerned or very angry. But what do we know, anyway?

**** No note necessary

___

Maybe Larry Fedora was onto something earlier this summer when he said football was under attack. At the very least, the ineptitude of his North Carolina team sure makes it look that way in Chapel Hill.

Prior to Saturday, the worst loss any FBS team had suffered early in this college football season was East Carolina opening up with a putrid 28-23 loss to North Carolina A&T. So what, then, does that make North Carolina’s subsequent face plant against that same ECU team, losing 41-19? 

Here’s what that makes it: The moment Fedora probably can’t come back from.

His tenure already teetering after going 3-9 last year, Fedora has compounded his verbal missteps in 2018 with results that will probably lead to his exit sooner rather than later.

Remarkably, it could get worse before it gets better. At 0-2 already, the Tar Heels next face UCF, Pittsburgh, Miami and Virginia Tech in succession, which means 0-6 isn’t just on the table but is the most likely outcome of the next month.

And even though North Carolina fans may not care about football as much as basketball, that doesn’t mean they will accept it — particularly when Fedora’s undeserved arrogance too often leads him to stick his foot in his mouth.

Just this week, for instance, Fedora drew unnecessary attention to his troubles when he said he didn’t remember anything about the 70-41 loss he suffered to ECU back in 2014. It started Wednesday on the Raleigh-based David Glenn Show when he said “I don’t remember a thing about it,” which he repeated when pressed by Glenn and then again by UNC beat reporters after practice.

First off, Fedora’s stubborn insistence that he didn’t remember is patently ridiculous because it’s certainly false. Second, it’s just not very savvy to create a storyline when it would be much easier to say something like, “Man, we got it handed to us that day and weren’t real good but fortunately we battled back that year to get to a bowl game and learned a lot about adversity, which paid off the next year when we won the division.”

Instead, Fedora has another ECU loss to forget, which pushes North Carolina to the top of the Misery Index, a weekly measurement of knee-jerk reactions based on what each fan base just watched.

FOUR MORE IN MISERY

Arizona: If you watched quarterback Khalil Tate last year, it didn’t seem anyone could stop him. Who’d have thought Noel Mazzone would be the one who could finally slow him down? Kevin Sumlin brought Mazzone with him from Texas A&M, but it’s clear his offense just doesn’t utilize Tate’s strengths whatsoever. The Wildcats are 0-2 after an embarrassing 45-18 loss at Houston, and while many of the problems may fall on how poorly Rich Rodriguez recruited the last couple years, there’s no excuse for trying to turn Tate into a guy who hands off and throws a bunch of screen passes. Though he finished with 341 yards, a quarterback who had 1,411 rushing yards last season shouldn’t ever be throwing 45 times while clocking just seven rushing attempts.

Georgia Tech: Paul Johnson has had a very good tenure at Georgia Tech. It’s not an easy place to win; yet, the highs have been incredibly high including four ACC title game appearances. But the lows are getting low lately. A losing season in 2015, a losing season in 2017 and a penchant for coming up short in close games. Saturday’s 49-38 loss to South Florida continues a recent trend in which the Yellow Jackets could have landed a knockout punch but instead let self-inflicted wounds lead to defeat. Just like the season opener against Tennessee in 2017, Georgia Tech was on the doorstep Saturday of a fourth quarter touchdown to effectively put the game out of reach. Instead, Qua Searcy fumbled at the 12-yard line with 7:47 to go, dooming a game in which Georgia Tech had 602 yards of offense. Johnson is 2-6 in his last eight against FBS opponents.

Kansas State: For a team that was hyped in the preseason as a potential Big 12 darkhorse, the Wildcats have instead looked like a team that really misses longtime offensive coordinator Dana Dimel, who became the head coach at UTEP last winter. A 31-10 loss at home to Mississippi State was the opposite kind of performance from what Bill Snyder’s teams have become known for over the years. Instead of finding a way to ugly up the game and give themselves a chance, the Wildcats got flat-out dominated, getting out-gained 538-213 and completing just nine passes. The mystique around K-State is now gone, and with Snyder turning 79 next month, you wonder if it’s coming back.

Florida State: The only way you could have a worse high-profile coaching debut than Willie Taggart would be if the Seminoles had actually lost to Samford. Instead, they had to pull a 36-26 victory out of their rear ends, only taking the lead with 4:04 remaining. Indeed, after getting embarrassed at home by Virginia Tech in the opener, Florida State was very much in danger of losing this game. Even at the end, they had to stop yet another Samford drive with a fourth interception of Devlin Hodges, who had torched them for 475 passing yards. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the Seminoles couldn’t even celebrate those interceptions properly because they unveiled their turnover gimmick and it, uh, wasn’t impressive. Whereas Miami has a diamond-crusted turnover chain, Florida State has… a red backpack. No, Willie. Just no. Not since last season when Tennessee held up a trash can on the sideline has a team been made fun of this relentlessly. Get rid of it. Now.

TRENDING TOWARD MISERY 

Florida: The Gators’ fan base is arguably the most effete in college football. There’s just no passion for anything other than greatness, and hiring Dan Mullen didn’t exactly set them on fire. Mullen may be great in the long run, but the full extent of the damage sustained from the Jim McElwain era was realized Saturday night when the Gators’ 31-game winning streak against Kentucky came to an end in Gainesville. It will be hard for Florida fans to overcome the apathy of knowing in early September that the Gators are going to be bland and below-average yet again.

USC: Athletics director Lynn Swann didn’t hire Clay Helton. He would not have hired Clay Helton. But he kept Helton after last season’s Pac 12 championship because, well, what else was he going to do? Still, that tension is always going to be there. And after a 17-3 loss at Stanford in which the Trojans were minus-3 on turnovers, you have to wonder how patient the notoriously demanding USC fans will be. You’re either elite or you’re not at USC, and nothing says “not elite” like scoring three points (even with a freshman quarterback in J.T. Daniels) in a conference game.

Temple: This has been nothing short of a disastrous start with losses to Villanova and Buffalo. And this is a particularly tenuous time for such a slide. Temple is trying to build momentum behind an on-campus stadium project that has been beset by local opposition. Second-year coach Geoff Collins does all the right things in terms of marketing the program and generating social media excitement, but that’s hard to sustain if you’re losing to FCS and traditionally average Mid-American Conference teams.

Purdue: The Jeff Brohm bandwagon has emptied out a bit lately. He’s still got media darling status for now, but losing 20-19 to Eastern Michigan to start the year 0-2 (both at home) definitely dampens the enthusiasm after a feel-good 7-6 debut. Perhaps it’s not breaking news that despite his coaching talent, it’s hard to win at Purdue.

South Carolina: The Gamecocks spent a good portion of this offseason talking themselves into the idea that they were closing the gap with SEC East rival Georgia and that getting a somewhat new-look Bulldogs team at home in Week 2 would be Will Muschamp’s big breakthrough opportunity. That fantasy was dispelled quickly as Georgia went up 14-0 early and rolled to a 41-17 win that made the talent differential between the two very clear.

TOTALLY REAL AND IRRATIONAL MESSAGE BOARD THREADS 

“Mack Brown as Interim Coach” – InsideCarolina.com

“This is the worst FSU team I’ve ever seen” – warchant.com (Florida State)

“Who are we hiring for HC next year?” – stingtalk.com (Georgia Tech)

“I am not a fire coach guy. But smiling at the presser???” – wearesc.com (USC)

“Too late to call Lane Kiffin?” – hogville.net (Arkansas)

CFB Roundup: No. 2 Clemson escapes with 28-26 win at Texas A&M

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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — Kelly Bryant threw for 205 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score to help No. 2 Clemson escape with a 28-26 victory over Kellen Mond and Texas A&M on Saturday night.

Mond was spectacular in the second half, throwing for three touchdowns, with a 14-yard pass to Kendrick Rogers cutting the lead to 28-26 with 46 seconds left. But his big performance came up just short when the 2-point conversion attempt was intercepted in the end zone.

Mond finished with a career-high 430 yards passing, and Rogers had 120 yards receiving and two TDs to help Clemson (2-0) edge the Aggies (1-1).

Freshman Trevor Lawrence started the second half, but failed to move the ball effectively and Bryant took over and led the Tigers on two touchdown drives in the last five minutes of the third quarter to extend the lead to 15 points.

Mond cut it to 28-20 when he threw a 14-yard pass to Quartney Davis with about 14 minutes left.

NO. 1 ALABAMA 57, ARKANSAS STATE 7

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Tua Tagovailoa passed for three first-quarter touchdowns and Jalen Hurts added two more before halftime for Alabama.

The Crimson Tide (2-0) racked up big plays on the way to a 40-0 halftime lead while rotating the quarterbacks who battled for the job throughout the offseason. Coach Nick Saban officially announced Tagovailoa would remain the starter Monday, but both were big parts of the plan again.

Tagovailoa finished 13 of 19 for 228 yards and four TDs. He led seven drives and tossed in runs of 15 and 12 yards in the second half. Tagovailoa had TD passes of 58 yards to Jerry Jeudy, 31 to Henry Ruggs III and 41 to DeVonta Smith — all in the first quarter — and tacked on a 14-yarder to Derek Kief.

Hurts was 7 of 9 for 93 yards but did fumble at the goal line after taking a hit while airborne. Najee Harris ran for a career-high 135 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.

Arkansas State is 1-1.

NO. 3 GEORGIA 41, NO. 24 SOUTH CAROLINA 17

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Jake Fromm threw for 194 yards and a touchdown, all three of Georgia’s latest running combo scored touchdowns and the expected Southeastern Conference showdown turned into a blowout.

The Gamecocks (1-1, 0-1) came in ranked for the first time in four years, and some thought they had a chance of upsetting the defending SEC champions early in the season. Instead, the Bulldogs (2-0, 1-0) used dominating offense and suffocating defense to win their fourth straight over South Carolina.

Fromm was 15-of-18 passing, including a 34-yard TD pass to Mecole Hardman. D’Andre Swift, Elijah Holyfield and Brian Herrien looked every bit as effective as NFL runners Nick Chubb and Sony Michel did a year ago in leading Georgia to the College Football Playoff.

NO. 4 OHIO STATE 52, RUTGERS 3

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Dwayne Haskins Jr. threw four touchdown passes and Ohio State rolled to the 900th victory in program history.

Johnnie Dixon grabbed two of Haskins’ scoring strikes, and backup quarterback Tate Martell added another touchdown pass and a 47-yard scoring run on a gray, misty afternoon. The Buckeyes, playing in their second game without suspended coach Urban Meyer, piled up 579 offensive yards.

Meyer was back conducting practices this week but will miss one more game — next week’s prime-time clash with No. 16 TCU — to finish out his three-game suspension for mismanaging fired assistant coach Zach Smith, who was accused to domestic abuse and other misbehavior. Co-offensive coordinator Ryan Day ran the show again and had few reasons to fret, save for the 11 penalties that cost Ohio State 131 yards.

Rutgers is 1-1.

NO. 5 WISCONSIN 45, NEW MEXICO 14

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Jonathan Taylor ran for a career-high 253 yards and three touchdowns, and Wisconsin asserted its dominance after allowing a score on the game-opening drive.

A.J. Taylor had 134 yards receiving and a score to help the Badgers (2-0) win their 41st straight home nonconference game. That’s the longest active streak in the FBS.

With the Lobos (1-1) down to third-string quarterback Sheriron Jones because of injuries, the Badgers converted two turnovers into touchdowns in a 5-minute span in the third quarter.

NO. 6 OKLAHOMA 49, UCLA 21

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Kyler Murray threw three touchdown passes and ran for two more scores, and Oklahoma lost star running back Rodney Anderson to a leg injury.

Anderson ran for 10 yards on the final play of the first quarter, and then got up slowly. He limped off on his own, and trainers tended to the preseason All-Big 12 pick before he headed to the locker room. He was back on the bench later, out of uniform.

Murray passed for 306 yards and ran for 69 yards for the Sooners (2-0). Thompson-Robinson completed 16 of 26 passes for 254 yards for UCLA, 0-2 under first-year coach Chip Kelly.

NO. 7 AUBURN 63, ALABAMA STATE 9

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — JaTarvious Whitlow ran for 122 yards and receiver Anthony Schwartz accounted for 117 total yards and two touchdowns to help Auburn rout Alabama State.

Starting quarterback Jarrett Stidham played only into the second quarter, with the Tigers (2-0) leading 42-0. The redshirt junior finished 6 of 11 for 113 yards with a passing and rushing score.

Stidham’s backup, sophomore Malik Willis, gifted the Hornets (1-1) their first points of the night when he was sacked in the end zone on his first snap for a 4-yard safety in the second quarter. Willis directed the offense until 23-year-old freshman left-hander Cord Sandberg took the on the last play of the third quarter. Sandberg, a former minor league baseball player for the Philadelphia Phillies, completed one pass for 22 yards and ran for 35 yards on three carries.

NO. 8 NOTRE DAME 24, BALL STATE 16

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Jalen Elliott had two interceptions that Notre Dame turned into touchdowns and the Fighting Irish held off stubborn Ball State.

The Irish, coming off an emotional 24-17 season-opening victory over Michigan, looked lackluster against the Mid-American Conference foe. The Cardinals (1-1) also played nothing like the 34½-point underdogs they were labeled in the schools’ first meeting in football.

After going the entire 2017 season and last week without an interception by a safety, Elliott picked off a pair of Riley Neal’s passes that the offense converted into rushing touchdowns of 31 and 1 yards by junior Tony Jones Jr. for a 21-6 lead in the third quarter.

NO. 9 WASHINGTON 45, NORTH DAKOTA 3

SEATTLE (AP) — Jake Browning threw for 313 yards and two touchdowns, Ty Jones had two touchdown receptions, and Washington pulled away in the second half.

The Huskies home opener was a chance to regroup after the letdown of last week’s season opener loss to No. 7 Auburn. Browning was 23 of 37 passing with short TD passes to Jones and Cade Otton. Backup QB Jake Haener added a 12-yard TD pass to Jones in the fourth quarter.

John Santiago had 18 carries for 139 yards for North Dakota (1-1).

NO. 10 STANFORD 17, NO. 17 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA 3

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — Bryce Love ran for 136 yards and a touchdown and Stanford made talented Southern California quarterback JT Daniels look like a freshman.

The Cardinal (2-0, 1-0 Pac-12) got an early touchdown run by Love and then tormented Daniels much of the night, holding USC to its fewest points in this series since a shutout in 1941. Stanford took control of the game late in the second quarter with a strip sack on fourth down against Daniels that set up K.J. Costello’s 9-yard touchdown pass to Colby Parkinson that gave Stanford a 14-0 lead.

Daniels made an impressive debut last week for the Trojans (1-1, 0-1) when he threw for 282 yards and a touchdown against UNLV. But duplicating that against Stanford proved far more difficult with the Cardinal using blitzes to pressure and confuse Daniels at times.

Daniels went 16 for 34 for 215 yards with interceptions on his final two passes of the night. He was forced to leave the game for one possession in the first half after a hard hit by Joey Alfieri.

NO. 11 LSU 31, SE LOUISIANA 0

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Joe Burrow passed for two touchdowns and ran for a short score, and LSU rode an opportunistic defensive performance.

Running back Nick Brossette was LSU’s most productive player on offense, rushing for a career-high 137 yards on 19 carries, including a 42-yard scamper.

While the result was never in doubt, LSU’s offense lacked consistency and often struggled to sustain drives. The Tigers managed only one first down during their first three possessions of the second half. That could bode ill as LSU (2-0) heads into Southeastern Conference play against Auburn next week.

Southeastern (0-2), which plays in the second-tier Football Championship Subdivision, had most of the possession of the second half, but turned the ball over twice deep in LSU territory.

NO. 12 VIRGINIA TECH 62, WILLIAM & MARY 17

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Steven Peoples had two first-half touchdown runs, and Josh Jackson threw for a touchdown and ran for another for Virginia Tech.

Jackson went to the bench before halftime with the Hokies (2-0) up 31-7, and backup Ryan Willis led a touchdown drive on his first college series.

The FCS-level Tribe (1-1) were outgained 401-100 in the opening 30 minutes, and 71 of their yards came on a pass from Shon Mitchell to Nick Muse, setting up their lone points in the half.

NO. 13 PENN STATE 51, PITTSBURGH 6

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Trace McSorley threw for two touchdowns and ran for another and Penn State pulled away against sloppy Pittsburgh.

KJ Hamler ran 32 yards for a score and hauled in a 14-yard touchdown pass from McSorley to help Nittany Lions (2-0) bounced back from an opening-week scare against Appalachian State to beat the Panthers (1-1). McSorley finished 14 of 30 for 145 yards in the rain at soggy Heinz Field.

Penn State running back Miles Sanders ran for 118 yards, and DeAndre Thompson returned a punt 39 yards for a touchdown.

NO. 14 WEST VIRGINIA 52, YOUNGSTOWN STATE 17

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Will Grier threw three of his four touchdown passes to Gary Jennings to lead West Virginia.

The Mountaineers (2-0) piled up 625 total yards in winning their 15th straight home opener.

Jennings had a 33-yard TD catch in the third quarter after scores of 11 and 24 yards in the second. Grier also had a 40-yard scoring toss to Dominique Maiden in the fourth quarter. Grier completed 21 of 26 passes for 332 yards.

FCS Youngstown State (0-2) was limited to 293 total yards.

ARIZONA STATE 16, NO. 15 MICHIGAN STATE 13

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Brandon Ruiz hit a 28-yard field goal as time expired, Manny Wilkins threw for 380 yards and a touchdown, and Arizona State rallied to beat No. 15 Michigan State.

Arizona State (2-0) got the Herm Edwards era off to a rousing start with a 49-7 rout of UTSA in its opener. The Sun Devils scored 13 points in the fourth quarter to knock off the Spartans (1-1).

Wilkins hit N’Keal Harry on a tying 27-yard pass early in the fourth quarter and then orchestrated the last drive to set up Ruiz’s winning kick.

Brian Lewerke, who played at nearby Pinnacle High School, threw for 314 yards and a touchdown for the Spartans, who are 1-13 in regular-season games out West.

The Sun Devils are 10-0 against Big Ten teams in Tempe.

NO. 18 MISSISSIPPI STATE 31, KANSAS STATE 10

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Nick Fitzgerald returned from a suspension to throw two touchdown passes, Kylin Hill ran for 211 yards and accounted for three scores for Mississippi State.

It was the first road win over a Power Five opponent for the Bulldogs (2-0) since 1995 against Baylor.

Fitzgerald missed the Bulldogs’ bowl game last year with an injury, and then was suspended for last week’s blowout of Stephen F. Austin. But after getting off to a rusty start Saturday, the dual-threat QB threw for 154 yards and ran for 159 yards rushing as the Bulldogs piled up 372 on the ground.

Kansas State dropped to 1-1.

NO. 19 UCF 38, SOUTH CAROLINA STATE 0

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Adrian Killins Jr. ran for 89 yards and two touchdowns to help UCF rout South Carolina State for its 15th straight victory.

Killins Jr. scored on runs of 3 and 24 yards in the first quarter. Greg McCrae rushed for 62 yards and a touchdown, and Otis Anderson added 42 yards and a touchdowns as UCF (2-0) racked up 315 rushing yards.

McKenzie Milton struggled and threw three interceptions in the first half. He was 21 of 39 for 243 yards with a touchdown pass to Gabriel Davis in the third quarter.

UCF held South Carolina State (0-2) to 80 yards passing and 257 total yards.

No. 20 BOISE STATE 62, UCONN 7

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Brett Rypien threw for 362 yards and three touchdowns in little more than a half and Boise State set a school record for offensive yards.

The Broncos (2-0) gained 818 yards, including 514 in the first half. The previous record was 742 yards on Oct. 15, 2011 against Colorado State in Boise State’s first Mountain West game.

Rypien had his 16th career 300-yard passing game, tying Kellen Moore for most with the program.

UConn (0-2) struggled to move the ball against Boise State’s first-team defense, mustering just 78 yards and four first downs in the first half. The Huskies finished with 193 yards of offense.

NO. 21 MICHIGAN 49, WESTERN MICHIGAN 3

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Shea Patterson threw three touchdown passes, one in each of the first three quarters, to help Michigan beat Western Michigan.

Patterson, the heralded transfer from Mississippi, was 12 of 17 for 125 yards. He connected for two scores to wide receivers after the position group accounted for a total of just three touchdowns last season for the Wolverines (1-1). Karan Higdon ran 140 of his 156 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter against the overmatched Broncos (0-2).

NO. 22 MIAMI 77, SAVANNAH STATE 0

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Malik Rosier threw for two scores and rushed for another, N’Kosi Perry came off the bench to throw the first three touchdown passes of his collegiate career, and Miami set a school record for margin of victory/

Brevin Jordan had two touchdown catches and Lorenzo Lingard ran for two scores for Miami (1-1), which set a school record by winning its 12th consecutive home opener. The previous record for victory margin was 70 — set against Savannah State in 2013. The 77 points scored also tied a school record.

It was Miami’s first shutout since blanking Bethune-Cookman in 2015 and the first shutout for defensive coordinator Manny Diaz in exactly six years. Diaz was at Texas when the Longhorns blanked New Mexico on Sept. 8, 2012. Savannah State (0-2) has played Miami twice, losing those matchups by a combined 154-7 score. The Tigers are dropping from the FCS level to Division II next season.

NO. 23 OREGON 62, PORTLAND STATE 14

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Justin Herbert threw for 250 yards and four touchdowns for Oregon before heading to the bench in the third quarter.

Herbert was 20 of 26 passes, and had 10 total touchdowns — nine passing and one on the ground — in the Ducks’ two opening victories. The have won 22nd straight nonconference games.

Portland State (0-2) has lost 15 in a row dating to 2016.

KENTUCKY 27, NO. 25 FLORIDA 16

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Kentucky ended one of college football’s longest losing streaks by upsetting Florida.

Terry Wilson accounted for three touchdowns, Benny Snell ran for 175 yards and the Wildcats (2-0) beat the Gators for the first time since 1986. Kentucky hadn’t won in Gainesville since 1979.

The 31-game streak was the fourth-longest in NCAA history in an uninterrupted series, behind Notre Dame over Navy (43 games, 1964-2006), Nebraska over Kansas (36, 1969-2004) and Oklahoma over Kansas State (32, 1937-68).

For Florida and first-year coach Dan Mullen, it was a reality check after roughing up Charleston Southern 53-6 in the opener.

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More AP college football: https://apnews.com/tag/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

College Football Playoff games of impact for Week 2 of the season

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(PhatzRadio Sports / USA TODAY SPORTS)    —   At this early stage of the college football season, many of the top contenders are still in non-conference tune-up mode. There are a few teams, however, who are stepping up a notch in competition level after an easier opener. Then in some cases, there are already meaningful league games on the slate.

Without further ado then, here are the Week 2 match-ups that will have the biggest impact on the playoff hunt.

No. 12 Southern California at No. 9 Stanford

Saturday, 8:30 p.m. ET, Fox

This is quite the start to the Pac-12 campaign, a rematch of last year’s conference championship game and a possible preview of this year’s version. The Cardinal, of course, must still contend with Washington and a revitalized Oregon in the North Division, and the young Trojans might get some unexpected challenges in the South. But regardless of how this one turns out, it could be these two squaring off again in December.

When is having your Heisman Trophy contender bottled up a good thing? Cardinal RB Bryce Love was kept under wraps by a determined San Diego State defense, but QB K.J. Costello and WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside connected on three TD passes. LB Cam Smith and the USC defensive front must nevertheless make containing the Cardinal ground game their top priority. The Trojans had a hard time putting away UNLV in their debut, but freshman QB J.T. Daniels had a pick-free outing and showed enough arm strength to stretch the field. He’ll have to, as not much will get by Stanford’s veteran LB unit featuring seniors Joey Alfieri and Bobby Okereke.

No. 3 Georgia at No. 24 South Carolina

Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS

The Bulldogs face their first hurdle as they look to defend their SEC crown. How high will this hurdle be? If the Gamecocks are within shouting distance in the fourth quarter, anything can happen.

Georgia did get the easy workout it wanted against Austin Peay, with incumbent QB Jake Fromm taking charge so star recruit Justin Fields could also get his feet wet. South Carolina was equally impressive against FCS competition as QB Jake Bentley did solid work against Coastal Carolina. The defenses, of course, will be much more formidable this time as league play gets underway. The Gamecocks are built around LB T.J. Brunson, who will lead the effort to contain the Bulldogs’ dazzling array of tailbacks. The Georgia defense has some new faces, but LB Monte Rice seems ready to nail down the inside.

No. 2 Clemson at Texas A&M

Saturday, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN

One of the favorites to reach the playoff challenges itself on the road as Clemson heads west into, uh, SEC country? Yeah, just go with it. The Aggies are in the SEC to stay. Their opening act under Jimbo Fisher was impressive enough, but they’re about to get a taste of what life will be like in the extremely loaded division of their own conference.

The Tigers did pretty much everything they wanted to against Furman, as QB Kelly Bryant took charge and touted freshman Trevor Lawrence got in some good minutes as well. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney again plans to use both in the game, but they’ll have to be sharper with their decisions against a much more athletic A&M defense. The Aggies are young in places but have veterans like LB Tyrel Dodson and DE Landis Durham to show the way. A&M got excellent results from QB Kellen Mond and RB Trayveon Williams against Northwestern State, but the Tigers’ defensive front won’t be nearly as permeable. DT Keeping Tigers DT Christian Wilkins out of the backfield is a must if Mond wants to utilize the Aggies’ revamped passing game.

No. 13 Michigan State at Arizona State

Saturday, 10:45 p.m. ET, ESPN

The Spartans weren’t the only Big Ten East contender to survive a major scare on opening day. This lengthy trip to the southwest now appears even trickier. The Sun Devils got the Herm Edwards era off to a good start by rolling past UT-San Antonio, but this one figures to say a lot more about how close ASU is to contending in the Pac-12 South.

In addition to being on the road, the biggest concern for the Spartans is the way their secondary was exploited by Utah State. The worry grows when examining the performance turned in by Sun Devils’ QB Manny Wilkins and primary WR N’Keal Harry. The good news for MSU is QB Brian Lewerke and RB L.J. Scott are still around to steady the ship. In short, we could have our first true #Pac12AfterDark special of the year.

No. 18 Mississippi State at Kansas State

Saturday, noon ET, ESPN

With the SEC West looking stronger from top to bottom, the Bulldogs must keep their non-league slate clean. Though the Wildcats nearly stumbled out of the gate, they still figure to be a tough out at home.

Despite starting QB Nick Fitzgerald serving a one-game suspension, the Joe Moorhead era in Starkville began just fine as the Bulldogs rolled past FCS member Stephen F. Austin. Things weren’t nearly as smooth in Manhattan, where K-State needed a late rally to avoid being an FCS upset victim against South Dakota. WR/PR Isaiah Zuber saved the day for the Wildcats, and he’s certain to receive plenty of attention this time around from CB Jamal Peters and the Miss State secondary. Meantime, K-State will have to settle on either QB Skylar Thompson or Alex Delton to run the show. The Bulldogs will regain the services of Fitzgerald, but he probably could have used the tune-up game since he’ll be taking the field for the first time since his nasty ankle injury sustained in last year’s regular-season finale against Ole Miss. It will help having explosive weapons like WR Osirus Mitchell in his huddle.

CFB – AP Top 25: No. 11 LSU, No. 12 Virginia Tech make big jumps in AP Top 25

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(PhatzRadio Sports / AP)   —   No. 11 LSU and No. 12 Virginia Tech made the biggest jumps in the first Associated Press college football poll of the regular season while No. 4 Ohio State leapfrogged No. 5 Wisconsin after a week in which most off the top teams were unchallenged.

Alabama remained No. 1 with a blowout of Louisville, and No. 2 Clemson and No. 3 Georgia held their spots in the poll released Tuesday. The Crimson Tide received 48 first-place votes, Clemson had 12 and Wisconsin had one. The Buckeyes are just four points ahead of the Badgers and only nine points ahead of No. 6 Oklahoma.

LSU, which was ranked No. 25 in the preseason, moved up 14 spots after beating Miami 33-17 in one of four games that matched ranked teams. The Hurricanes dropped from No. 8 to No. 22. Virginia Tech won 24-3 at Florida State and moved up eight spots.

The Seminoles fell out of the rankings after being 19th. Texas, which was No. 23 in the preseason poll, didn’t receive any votes in the latest poll.

No. 4 Ohio State moved up a spot after scoring 77 points against Oregon State. Auburn jumped two spots to No. 7 after beating Washington.

The ninth-ranked Huskies dropped three places. No. 8 Notre Dame moved up four spots after beating Michigan, which fell from 14 to No. 21.

POLL POINTS

Alabama tied Ohio State for most appearances at No. 1 in the history of the AP college football poll, which started in 1936. Barring an historic upset, Alabama should break the record Sunday after playing Arkansas State on Saturday in Tuscaloosa.

Alabama — 105 weeks at No. 1

Ohio State — 105

Oklahoma — 101

Notre Dame — 98

Southern California — 91

Florida State — 72

Nebraska — 70

CONFERENCE CALL

Week one was good for the Southeastern Conference, which went 13-1 including two victories against ACC opponents, one versus the Pac-12 and one against the Big 12. The SEC has seven teams ranked this week, the most for the conference since Oct. 16, 2016, when eight were ranked.

No. 24 South Carolina and No. 25 Florida entered the rankings this week.

SEC — 7

Big Ten — 5

Pac-12 — 4

ACC — 3

Big 12 — 3

American — 1

Mountain West — 1

Independent — 1

RANKED VS. RANKED

No. 3 Georgia at No. 24 South Carolina this week. Big opportunity for the Gamecocks, who are ranked for the first time since Sept. 21, 2014.

No. 17 Southern California at No. 10 Stanford. The Cardinal have been in control of this rivalry for most of the past decade, but the Trojans swept Stanford last season — including a victory in the Pac-12 championship game.

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(###) Number of first place votes
 
1
Alabama (48)
Record: 1-0
PV Rank

1

Points

1,511

2
Clemson (12)
Record: 1-0
2
1,467
3
Record: 1-0
3
1,350
4
Record: 1-0
5
1,262
5
Record: 1-0
4
1,258
6
Record: 1-0
7
1,251
7
Record: 1-0
9
1,236
8
12
1,080
9
Record: 0-1
6
870
10
Record: 1-0
13
865
11
Record: 1-0
25
801
12
Record: 1-0
20
777
13
Record: 1-0
10
768
14
Record: 1-0
17
762
15
Record: 1-0
11
684
16
Record: 1-0
16
632
17
Record: 1-0
15
628
18
Record: 1-0
18
538
19
Record: 1-0
21
407
20
Record: 1-0
22
391
21
Record: 0-1
14
318
22
Record: 0-1
8
241
23
Record: 1-0
24
217
24
Record: 1-0
125
25
Record: 1-0
89

College Football Playoff projection: Alabama leads way with Auburn, Ohio State and Oklahoma

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(PhatzRadio Sports / USA TODAY SPORTS)   —   Welcome to the first Football Four Projection of 2018. Each week we’ll pick the Playoff bracket as if the season was over.* There’s not much body of work yet – only one data point per team – but some statements were made in Week 1. And there’s always the eye test, which mainly means we think this team is really, really good and so we’re putting them here.

The Four

1. Alabama – In a terrifying development for the rest of college football, the Tide was terrific with Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback, though let’s be honest. Louisville was not going to present much of a challenge. Still, we saw more than enough to know Alabama has a potential difference-maker at quarterback. Nick Saban can tiptoe around the truth and get peeved at the questions all he wants, but we already saw the answer.

2. Auburn – There’s work to do, especially on offense. But Auburn’s win against a very good Washington team was the biggest statement of opening weekend, because the only unit that had more trouble getting from the red zone into the end zone than Auburn? Washington, which got close but kept coming up empty. Auburn’s defense has a chance to be dominant. The schedule is rugged, but Week 1 goes to the Tigers.

3. Ohio State – No Urban Meyer, no issues in the opener against Oregon State. But the bigger revelation was third-year sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who threw for 313 yards and unveiled the return of the deep passing game that, for all J.T. Barrett’s attributes, was absent during his tenure. Yeah, it was Oregon State. And the Buckeyes gave up some points. But after everything these last few weeks, a 77-31 victory resounds: Is it possible Ohio State can weather all the turmoil and be as good as we’d suspected they could be, anyway?

4. Oklahoma – The questions about how good the Sooners might be after Baker Mayfield’s departure were not answered in a 63-14 rout of Florida Atlantic – it was hard to tell whether OU was terrific or FAU was terrible – but Kyler Murray was very good in his debut, showing off those multi-dimensional tools. The Sooners’ defense seemed improved, too. Next up, UCLA.

Four more:**

5. Clemson – It’s possible the Tigers have two superb quarterbacks in Kelly Bryant and freshman Trevor Lawrence, but sure looks like Lawrence is the future – which might be very soon, though perhaps not this week, given an interesting test: a road game in College Station, where Texas A&M’s Fightin’ Aggies are fired up about Jimbo Fisher’s arrival.

6. Georgia – Another possible two-QB scenario? Probably not; Jake Fromm is the guy. But freshman Justin Fields showed why everyone has been very excited about his promise as the Bulldogs cruised past Austin Peay like they’re supposed to treat an FCS opponent.

7. Notre Dame – Yes, we know. The Fighting Irish must be overrated because Notre Dame. Or because never mind a new quarterback, Michigan seemed like the same, old offensively challenged bunch. Both of those things may be true. But we’ve got one week to go on, and that was a very impressive performance.

8. Wisconsin – In a 34-3 victory over Western Kentucky, the Badgers did what Badgers do: Bash their way to victory. The revamped defense was very good, but tougher tests await.

A Few More After That: ***

Washington – At 0-1, the Huskies’ margin for error may be gone, and the idea they’ll roll unbeaten through a nine-game Pac-12 schedule and then a conference title game? Yeah, it’s difficult. But even in a loss, Washington why it might be good enough to get there.

LSU – Yes, the domination of Miami (Fla.) counted as a Top 10 win … if we’re now suggesting preseason polls are super meaningful. Joe Burrow’s debut was unspectacular but promising, but offensive questions remain. Win at Auburn in two weeks and we’ll believe.

Penn State – Whew. That was close. Penn State teetered oh, so near the edge of an upset by Appalachian State, and then escaped in overtime. That defense that replaced eight starters gave up a ton of yards and points, but Trace McSorley made plays in very critical moments. There’s stuff to clean up, but the win is the thing. And did we say whew?

West Virginia – Quarterback Will Grier was as good as expected, and he’s got an array of playmakers to choose from. The Mountaineers were clearly superior to Tennessee, which was making its first outing under Jeremy Pruitt.

Virginia Tech – Well, that was impressive. A young bunch of Hokies traveled to Tallahassee and spoiled the debut of Willie Taggart at Florida State. Look down the schedule and at least for now circle Notre Dame in Blacksburg on Oct. 6. Could be sorta big.

Nowhere Close: ****

UCLA – Oh my.
Arizona – That was.
Michigan – Not good.
Texas – At all.

* The season is not over. It has only just begun.

** Don’t be worried that your team sits just outside the cut. This is a weekly snapshot. And what do we know, anyway?

*** See the previous note, but it’s OK to be slightly concerned or very angry. But what do we know, anyway?

**** No note necessary

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While the top two of Clemson and Alabama remains unchanged, big moves from Auburn, Notre Dame and LSU are the story in this week’s USA TODAY Sports college football re-rank.

Auburn leaps four spots to No. 3 after its solid win against Washington, which slips four spots to No. 8. Notre Dame moves up nine spots, the second-biggest leap of any team in the top 25, after Saturday’s win against Michigan.

And LSU takes a huge leap, up 25 spots to No. 13, after handling Miami (Fla.) on a neutral site. It might have been a mistake to not have the Tigers ranked higher entering the regular season.

New to the Top 25:  No. 13 LSU, No. 22 Florida State/Virginia Tech.

Out of the Top 25: No. 32 San Diego State, No. 42 Florida Atlantic

Winners and losers of college football’s Week 1 headlined by Maryland

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(PhatzRadio Sports / USA TODAY SPORTS)    —    It’s not just that Saturday’s win came against Texas. For a Maryland team reeling from a dreadful offseason, any win in the season opener is cause for celebration.

It had been one body shot after another for the Terrapins, starting with the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair this spring during a workout conducted by the Terrapins’ strength and conditioning staff.

In one of the great moments from this Saturday’s action, Maryland honored McNair by lining up with 10 players on the first play of its opening possession. The Terrapins waited for a delay of game to be called before bringing on an 11th offensive player. Credit Tom Herman and Texas for declining the ensuing penalty.

Last month, media reports described a culture of intimidation within Maryland’s football program. Combined with the controversy surrounding McNair’s death, the university decided to place head coach DJ Durkin on leave. Durkin’s future with the program remains in doubt.

His replacement on an interim basis, former LSU assistant Matt Canada, proved himself up to the challenge of weathering the storm and getting the Terrapins ready for a neutral-site rematch against the Longhorns.

This one was closer than last year’s win, which came on the Longhorns’ home field, and demanded a late interception of Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger to seal the win. But the 34-29 victory showed Maryland’s fortitude in the face of a challenge unequaled in the Football Bowl Subdivision – the death of a teammate followed by a shakeup of the coaching staff.

Here are the rest of the winners and losers from the first full Saturday of the college football season:

Winners

Notre Dame

Saturday night’s win against Michigan may end up being one of those games we overvalue in September that’s eventually revealed as meaningless. For all we know, Michigan is terrible. It was still a major moment for Notre Dame, which needed a high-profile win. It’s also the first passed test for a team that shouldn’t face more than four or five ranked teams during the regular season.

Auburn

Any list of the best teams in the Southeastern Conference begins with Alabama and Georgia. In comparison, Auburn spent the offseason largely overlooked. But a hard-fought 21-16 win against Washington paints the Tigers as a very real contender for the national championship. It’s the sort of win that looks outstanding today but will look even stronger come early December, after the Huskies win the Pac-12 title.

Kirk Ferentz

The longtime Iowa coach won his school-record 144th game in the Hawkeyes’ impressive 33-7 victory against Northern Illinois. He passed Hayden Fry, who was his boss when Ferentz was an assistant in Iowa City during the 80s.

Kyler Murray

Oklahoma’s new starting quarterback looked the part in an easy win against Florida Atlantic, with more than 200 passing yards and two touchdowns in less than a half of play. Murray will find himself on most Heisman Trophy lists heading out of the weekend.

Illinois 

It’s hard to call Illinois a winner after needing every ounce of energy to outlast Kent State, one of the weakest teams on the Group of Five level. But such is the state of affairs for Lovie Smith and the Illini that any win, however ugly, is cause for celebration. So congratulations, Illinois, and enjoy the feeling of ending your 10-game losing streak. Wins may be few and far between in 2018.

Ryan Day

Ohio State’s interim replacement for a suspended Urban Meyer had the Buckeyes ready to go against Oregon State, especially on offense. While Oregon State is awful, check out the offensive totals: Ohio State scored 77 points, gained 721 yards and averaged 7.1 yards per rush. Sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins looked the part in his first career start.

West Virginia

If you believe in West Virginia as a title contender – and many do – you had to expect the Mountaineers to roll past Tennessee. Maybe the 40-14 win wasn’t as impressive as it seems, considering how the Volunteers hung around in their first game under Jeremy Pruitt. The win was still a good sign for WVU. Those with faith in Dana Holgorsen and the Mountaineers were rewarded.

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Losers

Michigan

This isn’t great. It’s just one game, but looking listless and unprepared on the season’s first game is worrisome, to say the least. Then again, maybe Notre Dame is an amazing team destined for the national championship. Who knows? But if Notre Dame is only average, the Wolverines have a lot of work to do before meeting several of the best teams in the Big Ten.

Texas

Don’t look so surprised. What about the Longhorns’ recent past made you think this year would be any different? Maybe the Longhorns turn it around and become a factor in the Big 12 race. Maybe not. But the idea that Texas warranted a spot in the preseason Amway Coaches Poll was always ridiculous.

Texas Tech

Ole Miss is going to score in bunches on more opponents that not in 2018, so Texas Tech giving up 47 points in another bad loss wasn’t too unexpected. That doesn’t mean this sort of loss won’t raise the temperature under Kliff Kingsbury, who badly needs to indicate some progress to increase his somewhat tenuous job security.

Troy

The Trojans are a program on the rise under coach Neal Brown, who is destined to one day take the controls of a program on the Power Five level. But the Trojans aren’t quite up to the challenge of taking on the best the Group of Five has to offer. A loss at home to Boise State shows how the Broncos are built to reach a New Year’s Six bowl.

Penn State

A win is a win, even against a team from the Sun Belt Conference, and Penn State will happily take Saturday’s overtime win against Appalachian State and move its focus to next week’s matchup with rival Pittsburgh. But that the win demanded every ounce of the Nittany Lions’ strength will undoubtedly raise questions about the team’s ability to win the Big Ten.

UCLA

No one expected anything big from Chip Kelly’s first year with the Bruins. But a loss to Cincinnati? At home? That’s not exactly how UCLA drew it up. On a positive note, Kelly’s first game at Oregon ended with a loss to Boise State and Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount punching a Boise State defender after the final whistle. Things got better from there. Maybe history will repeat itself at UCLA.

The Pac-12

Washington’s far from done in the playoff chase. The Huskies are clearly talented enough and have the leadership necessary to run the table from here and be a factor come December. The loss to Auburn still does a number to the national reputation of the Pac-12, which suffered from last year’s disaster of a showing in bowl play and really needed a win from UW to regain some respect from the other Power Five leagues. And, most of all, from the playoff selection committee.

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For most of the great coaching tenures, Year 2 is when the magic happens.

Nick Saban jumped from eight wins to 10 at LSU in his second year, then from six to 12 at Alabama. Urban Meyer’s Year 2 records were 9-3 (Bowling Green), 12-0 (Utah) and 13-1 (Florida). Bob Stoops won the national title in his second season at Oklahoma, Steve Spurrier went 10-2 at Florida and Pete Carroll went 11-2 at Southern California.

No matter what the roster looked like when those coaches arrived, Year 2 was when the culture took hold, the misfits were weeded out and the ultimate destination came into focus. It’s happened over and over again for a reason: For all the talk about patience, the great coaches typically only need two years to start showing greatness.

That’s a big reason why Tom Herman is going to be under the microscope in a big way at Texas this season, and why the fans’ reaction to a season-opening 34-29 flop at Maryland was so intense.

It may not be time to panic quite yet, but that moment isn’t too far over the horizon.

When he was hired after the 2016 season, Herman was the hottest coaching prospect in America, having knocked off six ranked teams in two seasons at Houston, including Florida State and Oklahoma. After firing Charlie Strong just three years into his tenure, Texas dramatically pulled Herman away from LSU at the last minute, a move that united a dream candidate with his dream job.

But it’s unclear whether Texas is in a better place right now than it was five years ago when Mack Brown was on his final march toward the television booth. Brown, after all, won eight, nine and eight games during his final three turbulent years and actually had a chance to win the Big 12 going into the regular season finale in 2013. Since then, Texas’ win totals are six, five, five and seven, and the pressure to return the Longhorns to something resembling national relevance is growing more desperate with each passing year.

Not only is Herman losing to Maryland for the second year in a row a horrible look and something that should never happen, but it really does call into question whether progress is being made or if Texas is stuck in the land of the mediocre for another season and missing out on the historically significant Year 2 bump.

For that reason, Texas leads the first Misery Index of 2018, a weekly measurement of knee-jerk reactions based on what each fan base just watched.

FIVE MOST MISERABLE

Texas: Maybe we’ve had it wrong the whole time. For all of its supposed advantages and program wealth, perhaps Texas is harder to pull out of mediocrity than anyone realized. The last time the Longhorns were really good, this year’s crop of high school seniors were in third grade. Since then, they’ve only finished a season ranked in the top 25 one time. It takes an incredible coach, a force of nature, to overcome the cumulative effect of that much dysfunction. That’s what Texas thought it was getting in Herman. But now, it’s fair to wonder if his reputation was elevated by a stacked, ready-to-win roster in his two-year stint at Houston and not the other way around.

Michigan: There are going to be a lot of bad Jim Harbaugh takes over the next week following a 24-17 loss at Notre Dame, including from inside the Michigan fan base, that focus on his personality, his recruiting gimmicks and his spring break trips to Paris and Rome. Those things, however, have nothing to do with where the Wolverines are now. What does matter, however, are Harbaugh’s puzzling staff choices on the offensive side of the ball. Michigan’s offense looked outdated, slow and lacked any obvious philosophy or purpose last season. But rather than getting rid of Pep Hamilton, Harbaugh added more cooks to the kitchen in Jim McElwain and Ed Warinner, neither of whom were exactly lighting it up at their last destinations. If you want to blast Harbaugh, that’s totally fair game.

Texas Tech: It only took two plays against Ole Miss to see the Red Raiders’ defense in a familiar position — disorganized, breaking down in the secondary, allowing D.K. Metcalf to catch an easy 58-yard touchdown. Sure, Texas Tech caught a tough draw in the opener against a dangerous Ole Miss offense, but allowing 546 yards in a 47-27 loss isn’t a great way to start for Kliff Kingsbury when he had 10 starters back on defense this year. Two of them were ejected for targeting, by the way, indicating a total breakdown of discipline. Based on the thousands upon thousands of empty seats in Houston for this one, Texas Tech fans may be losing patience with Kingsbury as he starts his sixth season. With Houston, Oklahoma State, West Virginia and TCU coming up in the Red Raiders’ next five games, things could get tense very quickly.

Colorado State: The Rams have already played two games, and they’ve both been lousy. In losses to Hawaii and Colorado, the Rams gave up an average of 44 points, 228.5 rushing yards and 8.8 yards per play. That is a recipe for a very long season and perhaps some trouble for Mike Bobo, who is expected to be better than 21-20 at this point given the level of funding the program has received and a new stadium that opened last year.

North Carolina: The season got off on the wrong foot for Larry Fedora when a handful of players were suspended for selling shoes in violation of NCAA rules and he made his infamous comments at ACC Media Days about football being “under attack.” But that was a tempest in a teapot compared to the real reason he is probably not long for the North Carolina job. Coming off a disastrous 3-9 season, the last thing Tar Heels fans wanted to see was a season-opening loss at California. But that’s exactly what happened as North Carolina fell behind by three touchdowns before ultimately losing 24-17. The entirety of Fedora’s success early in Chapel Hill was based on a dynamic offense and developing quarterbacks, but 137 passing yards with four interceptions against Cal is damning, as is the failure to win when the Tar Heels’ defense gave up just 279 total yards. It could get even worse for Fedora in two weeks when he has to face Central Florida.

TRENDING TOWARDS MISERY

Temple: Some cross-town rivalry losses are worse than others. It’s bad enough for Temple’s collective ego that Villanova has left the Owls in the dust in basketball, winning two of the last three national titles. But losing 19-17 to FCS member Villanova in football is cruel and unusual punishment.

Louisville: Granted, it was Alabama, but a Bobby Petrino offense managing just 268 total yards (only 16 of which came via the run) is not a great start to the post-Lamar Jackson era. Louisville will really need to find a way to run the ball to take the pressure off starting quarterback Jawon Pass.

Penn State: With 1:47 remaining, you could already hear the takes forming. Was it all Saquon Barkley? Are the Nittany Lions doomed now that Joe Moorhead has moved on to Mississippi State? As it turned out, the panic was unnecessary. Penn State came back late to tie Appalachian State with a quick touchdown, then won in overtime, saving James Franklin from a torrent of unnecessary hysteria that was rather common in 2015 before he got the program back on track.

Kansas State: Bill Snyder’s 27th season began with a 27-24 win that was way too close for comfort over South Dakota. While Kansas State fans have seen openers like this before, there’s always a concern in the back of their minds the 78-year old Snyder could hang on too long and oversee a downward spiral at the end of his career.

Arizona: What, exactly, were the Wildcats doing in Kevin Sumlin’s debut? Quarterback Khalil Tate’s Heisman candidacy took a huge hit with a 28-23 loss to BYU in which he passed for 197 yards and ran for just 14 on eight attempts. A player who made his name last season running the speed option seemed intent on being a pass-first quarterback, chucking it up 34 times. That’s not going to be a recipe for success.

TOTALLY REAL AND IRRATIONAL MESSAGE BOARD THREADS

“Apathy has fully set in” — Orangebloods.com (Texas)

“What is wrong with this entire program?” — Mgoblog.com (Michigan)

“Hope we’re better than Kentucky Christian” — RedRaiderSports.com (Texas Tech)

“We have a bunch of homesick boys from the south that want their mama” — RamNation.com (Colorado State)

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Follow Dan Wolken on Twitter @DanWolken.

Top 25 college football: No. 12 Notre Dame beats No. 14 Michigan 24-17

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(PhatzRadio Sports / AP)   —   Brandon Wimbush connected on a long touchdown pass to help No. 12 Notre Dame jump out to a big first-half lead, Te’von Coney and the defense made it stand with a late takeaway, and the Fighting Irish beat No. 14 Michigan 24-17 on Saturday night in South Bend, Indiana, as the rivalry returned after a three-year hiatus.

A Green-out crowd welcomed the Wolverines back to Notre Dame Stadium and the Fighting Irish scored fast on their first two drives against a defense loaded with future NFL draft picks.

(1) Alabama 51, Louisville 14: College Football Playoff hero Tua Tagovailoa threw for two touchdowns and ran for a third in his first college start, helping top-ranked and defending national champion Crimson Tide open its season with a rout of the Cardinals.

Essentially ending the debate – at least for now – about whether he or Jalen Hurts should be the Crimson Tide’s No. 1 quarterback, Tagovailoa scored on a 9-yard run while also completing 12 of 16 passes for 227 yards without an interception.

(2) Clemson 48, Furman 7: Freshman Trevor Lawrence threw three touchdown passes and the Tigers scored on all five of his drives in the season-opening rout of the Paladins in Clemson, South Carolina.

Lawrence was going 9 for 15 for 137 yards and no interceptions, and senior starter Kelly Bryant was 10 for 16 for 127 yards and a touchdown.

(3) Georgia 45, Austin Peay 0: Jake Fromm threw two scoring passes while sharing time with freshman Justin Fields and the Bulldogs showed off some new firepower against the Governors in Athens, Georgia.

Georgia flashed big-play potential, including a 59-yard touchdown pass from Fromm to Mecole Hardman and a 72-yard scoring run by Demetris Robertson, who was making his debut.

(7) Oklahoma 63, Florida Atlantic 14: Kyler Murray, taking over for Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield, passed for 209 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Sooners over the Owls in Norman, Oklahoma.

Murray connected on 9 of 11 passes in just less than one half. It was Murray’s second college start since transferring from Texas A&M after the 2015 season.

(10) Penn State, 45, Appalachian State 38: Amani Oruwariye intercepted Zac Thomas’ pass in the end zone and the Nittany Lions held on in State College, Pennsylvania, exactly 11 years after the Mountaineers stunned Michigan in one of the biggest upsets in college football history.

Miles Sanders ran for 91 yards and two touchdowns, including the go-ahead score in overtime for the Penn State.

(16) TCU 55, Southern 7: Shawn Robinson threw three touchdown passes and ran for two more scores while playing only the first half in the Horned Frogs’ opening blowout of the Jaguars in Fort Worth, Texas.

The Horned Frogs scored on their first six drives to take a 38-7 lead before fellow sophomore Michael Collins, a former transfer from Penn, took over after halftime.

(17) West Virginia 40, Tennessee 14: Will Grier got his Heisman Trophy campaign off to an impressive start, throwing for 429 yards and five touchdowns to help the Mountaineers rout the Volunteers in a game delayed for more than an hour at halftime because of lightning in Charlotte, North Carolina.

(18) Mississippi State 63, Stephen F. Austin 6: Keytaon Thompson threw for 364 yards and five touchdowns, Mississippi State had 17 tackles for a loss and the Bulldogs cruised past the Lumberjacks in Starkville, Mississippi.

Joe Moorhead won his first game as Mississippi State’s head coach, and the playbook showed some of the downfield passing prowess he’s promised over the past months.

(22) Boise State 56, Troy 20: Brett Rypien passed for 305 yards and four touchdowns, and Sean Modster had 167 yards receiving, to lead the Broncos past the Trojans in the opening victory in Troy, Alabama.

The Broncos raced to a 35-7 halftime lead over a Trojans team coming off an 11-win season, largely with the Rypien-to-Modster connection. Tyler Horton and Boise State’s defense mostly took over the scoring for the second half against Troy.

Maryland 34, (23) Texas 29: Maryland emerged from a trying offseason with an emotionally charged upset of the Longhorns in Landover, Maryland, shaking off a lengthy weather delay to provide Matt Canada a satisfying victory in his debut at the Terrapins’ interim coach.

AP Top 25 Takeaways: Pac-12 down not out after UW loss

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STARS

—Shawn Robinson, TCU, accounted for five TDs in one half as the No. 16 Horned Frogs opened the season with a 55-7 over Southern University.

—Justin Herbert, Oregon, accounted for 322 yards and six TDs to lead the No. 24 Ducks to a 58-24 victory over Bowling Green.

—Feleipe Franks, Florida, threw five TD passes in the first half and the Gators got the Dan Mullen era off to rousing start with a 53-6 victory against overmatched Charleston Southern.

—Dwayne Haskins Jr., Ohio State, threw for 313 yards and five TDs and the No. 5 Buckeyes routed Oregon State 77-31.

—Will Grier, West Virginia, threw for 429 yards and five TDs as the No. 17 Mountaineers defeated Tennessee 40-14.

—Tyler Horton, Boise State, tied the FBS record by returning two fumbles for TDs in the No. 22 Broncos’ 56-20 rout of Troy.

—Mason Fine, North Texas, threw for 444 yards and three TDs in a 46-23 win over SMU.

—Michael Warren II, Cincinnati, rushed for 141 yards and three TDs, and the Bearcats spoiled Chip Kelly’s coaching debut at UCLA by throttling the Bruins’ offense in a 26-17 victory.

—Keytaon Thompson, Mississippi, threw for 364 yards and five TDs as the 18th-ranked Bulldogs cruised to a 63-6 victory over Stephen F. Austin.

—Jakobi Meyers, North Carolina State, had 14 catches for 161 yards to help the Wolfpack beat James Madison 24-13.

—Anthony Brown, Boston College, threw for 279 yards and four TDs in one half of a 55-21 victory over in-state rival Massachusetts.

—Scottie Phillips, Ole Miss, ran for a career-high 204 yards and two scores in a 47-27 win over Texas Tech.

—Tyree Jackson, Buffalo, threw for six TDs as the Bulls beat Delaware State 48-10.

—Gage Gubrud, Eastern Washington, threw for 337 yards and five TDs in a 58-13 win over Central Washington.

—Calvin Turner Jr., Jacksonville, rushed for 202 yards and three TDs in a 63-14 victory over Division II St. Augustine’s.

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TIGERS TOPPLE HUSKIES

The Auburn Tigers had some bad memories from their last two trips to Atlanta.

They headed home from this one feeling a whole lot better.

With a performance that didn’t earn a bunch of style points but will look awfully good on the resume, No. 9 Auburn rallied for a 21-16 victory over No. 6 Washington when Jatarvious Whitlow ran 10 yards for a touchdown with 6:15 remaining.

The Auburn defense came through at the end, preserving the win with a fierce pass rush against Jake Browning.

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TERPS HONOR MCNAIR

Maryland emerged from a trying offseason with an emotionally charged 34-29 upset of No. 23 Texas, shaking off a lengthy weather delay to provide Matt Canada a satisfying victory in his debut at the Terrapins’ interim coach.

After blowing a 24-7 lead, Maryland forced three turnovers in the final 6:09 and scored the game’s final 10 points to stun the Longhorns in the opener for the second year in a row.

As remarkable as last season’s 51-41 win at Texas was, this victory was far more notable because of what they endured this summer.

Maryland has dedicated its season to offensive lineman Jordan McNair, who collapsed on the practice field on May 29 and died two weeks later of heatstroke.

The Terrapins paid tribute to McNair by lining up with 10 players on their first offensive play. Maryland waited for a delay of game to be called, and Texas declined the penalty in a show of sportsmanship.

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IRISH KNOCK OFF WOLVERINES

The Michigan-Notre Dame series returned after a three-year hiatus and the 12th-ranked Fighting Irish became the latest rival to get the best of Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines.

Brandon Wimbush connected on a long touchdown pass to help Notre Dame jump out to a big first-half lead, Te’von Coney and the defense made it stand with a late takeaway, and the Fighting Irish beat No. 14 Michigan 24-17.

A green-out crowd welcomed the Wolverines back to Notre Dame Stadium and the Fighting Irish scored on their first two drives against a defense loaded with future NFL draft picks. Chris Finke hauled in a deep throw from Wimbush that went through a defender’s hands in traffic for a 43-yard score to put Notre Dame up 14-0 midway through the first half.

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NUMBERS

5_Field goals by USC’s Chase McGrath, tying the school record.

17_Tackles for loss by Mississippi in its 63-6 victory over Stephen F. Austin.

144_Career victories for Kirk Ferentz at Iowa, breaking mentor Hayden Fry’s school record.

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DANIELS’ DEBUT

Southern California head coach Clay Helton walked up to quarterback JT Daniels, looking into his eyes for confirmation the second freshman to start a season opener in the program’s storied history was not overwhelmed by the moment.

Daniels was ready, throwing for 282 yards with a 43-yard touchdown pass to Amon-Ra St. Brown to help the No. 15 Trojans overcome a sluggish performance and defeat UNLV 43-21.

Outside of an early gaffe where Daniels turned the wrong way trying to hand the ball off to running back Stephen Carr, forcing the 2017 Gatorade national player of the year to scramble for a 5-yard gain, there were no apparent nerves from the 18-year-old.

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Washington lost the game the Pac-12 needed to win. At least that’s how the showdown with No. 9 Auburn was billed all offseason.

As a neutral site that was anything but, the sixth-ranked Huskies lost a sloppy rock fight of a football game in Atlanta on Saturday , the only top-10 matchup of the first full weekend of the season. Coming off a 1-8 bowl season and the second playoff shutout in four years, the Pac-12 needed an early boost to repair some of its tattered reputation.

The Huskies came up short in a flurry of red-zone failures, but writing off the entire conference is probably premature — especially Washington.

We should learn from history. In the first season of the playoff, the Big Ten was left for dead two weeks into the season when Virginia Tech beat Ohio State at home and Oregon beat Michigan State.

The Buckeyes didn’t lose again and won the national title.

It is hard to see the Huskies going on that type of run. For all of Jake Browning’s accuracy and toughness, the senior quarterback’s physical limitations do seem to get exposed against top-flight competition.

But to dismiss the idea that Washington could run the Pac-12 table seems silly. And to think that another Pac-12 team could sweep through to a conference championship at 12-1 and that a close loss by Washington on the other side of the county without its star left tackle (Trey Adams was out with a back injury) would tip the scales against the whole league does not add up. Especially if Auburn contends in the Southeastern Conference.

There is a lot of football to be played. Patience, please. Though if you’re a Michigan fan, it is understandable that your patience is running low.

The first full weekend of the regular season provided a few thrills and surprises. Here are the takeaways.

ANOTHER BIG GAME FLOP

Another prominent offseason story line was quarterback Shea Patterson’s arrival at Michigan, and how the former five-star recruit could transform the Wolverines’ offense. There were a few flashes of Patterson’s athleticism and arm talent against Notre Dame , but mostly Michigan’s offense looked much as it did last year. The Wolverines scored one offensive touchdown.

Michigan is now 9-9 in its last 18 games under coach Jim Harbaugh and 1-6 against the teams it most wants to beat, Ohio State, Michigan State and Notre Dame. The slam-dunk hire, the beloved coached who returned to save his alma mater, is currently stuck in neutral.

Michigan has a chance to get pointed in the right direction and rip off five straight victories, though that trip to Northwestern on Sept. 29 is no gimme. The Wolverines could be 5-1 and ranked when Wisconsin comes to town on Oct. 13. The next week they go to Michigan State. Win those and Saturday night’s loss at Notre Dame will look like nothing more than a case of growing pains for the new quarterback.

But for the next six weeks there is nothing Michigan can do to make their fans feel better about the state of the program, its ability to reach an elite level again and the coach they thought would fix everything.

DISTRACTION OR MOTIVATION?

Trying to quantify how the turmoil at Ohio State could affect the Buckeyes on the field will be virtually impossible.

Most likely, the narrative will be retrofitted to the results. If Ohio State loses a few games, especially that big one against No. 16 TCU in a couple weeks, and comes up short of a Big Ten championship game appearance, the suspension Of coach Urban Meyer could be the distraction that took the Buckeyes off their game.

If Ohio State continues to hum along the way it did against Oregon State, the Meyer mess could be looked at as a galvanizing force that sharpened the team’s focus.

“We’re playing for coach and we’re playing for each other and we took it out on the field today,” said Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who passed for 313 yards and five touchdowns in the 77-31 victory.

The bottom line is the Buckeyes have one of the most talented rosters in the country. Expect more of the same next week when Rutgers visits the Horseshoe.

Meyer returns to practice this week, but will not be on the sideline for game day until Sept. 22 against Tulane. The week after that the Buckeyes go to No. 10 Penn State.

TERRAPINS ON A MISSION

If any team seemed primed to suffer on the field from preseason turmoil off it, it was Maryland. The Terrapins were also playing without their coach, DJ Durkin, after the death of teammate Jordan McNair during summer workouts led to reports players being mistreated and toxic culture in the program.

The Terps looked like a team out to prove a point, beating Texas for the second straight season. After the 34-29 upset — if you want to call it that — the Terrapins celebrated by waving a flag with the number 79 on it, the number worn by McNair.

Unlike the Meyer situation at Ohio State, Durkin’s status is still up in the air with no end in sight. What could become interesting is whether offensive coordinator Matt Canada can position himself as serious contender to replace Durkin if Maryland does clean house. The longtime OC is in his first season on staff so he won’t necessarily be tarnished by being associated with the old staff.

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AROUND THE TURF: Texas, still not back … Alabama has won national titles with Greg McElroy and AJ McCarron at quarterback. Now, in Tua Tagovailoa, the top-ranked Crimson Tide might have the best quarterback in college football. Not fair. … Eleven years to the day Appalachian State, still an FCS team at the time, beat No. 5 Michigan in the Big House, the Mountaineers pushed Penn State into overtime. The Nittany Lions hung on, but if there is a lingering concern for Penn State it is the rebuilt defense that allowed 6 yards per play … Kyler Murray and Oklahoma will certainly face tougher opponents than Florida Atlantic, but the Sooners’ new starting quarterback gave glimpse of why points should still be plentiful for Lincoln Riley’s offense … Chip Kelly lost his debut to UCLA to Cincinnati and takes his Bruins to Norman, Oklahoma, next week. Just getting to a bowl would be a win for Kelly this season.

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NCAA 1-130 Re-Rank: Clemson is No. 1 ahead of Alabama entering season

(PhatzRadio Sports / USA TODAY SPORTS)     —    National powers Clemson and Alabama lead the way in the USA TODAY Sports preseason rankings for the Football Bowl Subdivision.

No. 1 Clemson and the No. 2 Crimson Tide are followed by No. 3 Wisconsin, No. 4 Washington and No. 5 Ohio State.

The Big Ten Conference is the strongest in the FBS, according to the preseason rankings. No. 8 Penn State, No. 10 Michigan, No. 17 Michigan State and No. 24 Northwestern join the Badgers and Buckeyes in giving the conference six teams in the preseason Top 25.

HOT SEATS: Ranking job security in each college football conference

10 BEST:  QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs |  OL | DL | LBs | DBs

There are familiar names at the top of 130-team rankings and a familiar name at the bottom: Texas-El Paso, the lone winless team in the FBS last season, begins the 2018 season as team No. 130

While the standings include the handful of games already played, the rankings do not reflect the results from this past weekend. The next update will occur after the conclusion of this week’s full slate of games.

Rank   School      
1         Clemson
2         Alabama
3         Wisconsin
4         Washington
5         Ohio State
6         Georgia
7         Auburn
8         Michigan
9         Oklahoma
10         Penn State
11         Miami (Fla.)
12         Stanford
13         West Virginia
14         Boise State
15         TCU
16         Notre Dame
17         Michigan State
18         Mississippi State
19         Central Florida
20         San Diego State
21         South Carolina
22         Utah
23         Florida Atlantic
24         Northwestern
25         Southern California
26         Florida State
27         Oregon
28         Iowa State
29         Oklahoma State
30         Virginia Tech
31         Texas A&M
32         Kansas State
33         Texas
34         Arizona
35         Toledo
36         Northern Illinois
37         Memphis
38         LSU
39         Boston College
40         Nebraska
41         Iowa
42         Marshall
43         Louisville
44         South Florida
45         UCLA
46         Arkansas State
47         Houston
48         Washington State
49         Pittsburgh
50         Texas Tech
51         North Carolina State
52         Florida
53         Troy
54         Army
55         Navy
56         Duke
57         Missouri
58         Kentucky
59         Fresno State
60         Ohio
61         Temple
62         North Texas
63         Wake Forest
64         Appalachian State
65         Louisiana Tech
66         Middle Tennessee
67         Wyoming
68         Ole Miss
69         Tennessee
70         Indiana
71         Southern Mississippi
72         Arkansas
73         California
74         Utah State
75         Georgia Tech
76         Purdue
77         Massachusetts
78         Baylor
79         Syracuse
80         Vanderbilt
81         Arizona State
82         Brigham Young
83         North Carolina
84         Florida International
85         Buffalo
86         Virginia
87         Minnesota
88         SMU
89         Air Force
90         Western Kentucky
91         Tulane
92         Colorado State
93         Old Dominion
94         Rutgers
95         Alabama-Birmingham
96         Tulsa
97         Akron
98         Maryland
99         Colorado
100       Western Michigan
101       Miami (Ohio)
102       Hawaii
103       Texas San-Antonio
104       Coastal Carolina
105       New Mexico State
106       Georgia State
107       UNLV
108       Central Michigan
109       Cincinnati
110        Illinois
111        Eastern Michigan
112        Georgia Southern
113        Nevada
114        South Alabama
115        Louisiana-Monroe
116        Louisiana-Lafayette
117        East Carolina
118        Liberty
119        New Mexico
120        Connecticut
121        Kansas
122        Ball State
123        Charlotte
124        Rice
125        Oregon State
126        Bowling Green
127        Kent State
128        San Jose State
129        Texas State
130        Texas-El Paso

CFB: College football kicks off this weekend with four games to watch

(PhatzRadio Sports / USA TODAY SPORTS)   —  Sports are supposed to provide an escape from the everyday grind. Unfortunately, the real world has been all too prevalent in the issues that have dominated the news cycle in college football of late.

It should come as some relief, then, that there are actual games to watch this weekend. There aren’t any marquee contests on the week 0 slate, but hopefully a couple of the televised offerings can remind us why this game is fun.

Hawaii at Colorado State, 7:30 p.m. ET, CBSSN

The season’s first clash of FBS opponents has the added value of being a conference game. Neither team is expected to claim the Mountain West title, but an opening win could prove extremely important to both teams’ bowl aspirations.

Each programs have dealt with non-football related distractions in the days leading up to kickoff. The visiting Warriors arrived on the mainland with Hurricane Lane bearing down on the islands. The Rams’ concerns were for coach Mike Bobo, who was able to rejoin the team after a hospital stay as he was treated for peripheral neuropathy.

On the field, both squads will be installing a lot of new pieces. Warriors coach Nick Rolovich would like to restore the high-flying attack that gave Hawaii its identity, but he’ll be asking a first-time starter at QB to run it. The choice will most likely be sophomore Cole McDonald, but freshman Chevan Cordeiro could also see the field. The Rams boasted the league’s most productive offense in 2017, but most of its top producers are gone. Washington transfer K.J. Carta-Samuels will take over at QB. He might not be as prolific through the air as predecessor Nick Stevens, but his footwork will make him hard to contain.

Wyoming at New Mexico State, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN2

The Aggies begin life as a football independent upon separation from the geographically inconvenience Sun Belt. On the plus side, NMSU is coming off a bowl appearance, the program’s first since 1960, and hopes to maintain some of that momentum. Now the bad news — the offense that was the key to the team’s success last year must be almost completely rebuilt. The job will be particularly difficult for new starting QB Matt Romero as he faces a Cowboys’ defense that returns eight starters, including potential all-America safety Andrew Wingard. The Wyoming offense in 2017 was something of a puzzle, struggling through the air despite the presence of highly drafted QB Josh Allen. Redshirt freshman Tyler Vander Waal was named the new starter by coach Craig Bohl, and he’ll be backed up by fifth-year senior Nick Smith.

The Week 0 schedule also includes a couple of FBS post-season long shots seeking strong starts against FCS competition.

Rice, with new coach Mike Bloomgren, plays host to Prairie View A&M. The Owls are looking to change the program’s fortunes after just nine wins in three seasons that were preceded by three consecutive bowl berths under David Bailiff. Rice won a 65-44 shootout two years ago in the only prior meeting between these teams, so there’s definitely some fun potential.

Massachusetts hosts Duquesne in what would be a conference clash if indoors and on hardwood. The two Atlantic-10 basketball members will meet on the gridiron for the first time. The Minutemen have steadily improvement since joining the Bowl Subdivision in 2012. Last year, they posted a program-best four wins since the move. All  of them came in the last half of the season, including defeats of Appalachian State and Brigham Young. There were also close losses at Tennessee and Mississippi State that demonstrated their competitiveness. QB Andrew Ford is poised for a big year and has the potential to be drafted by the NFL.

Amway Coaches Poll: Alabama in familiar spot at No. 1 in the preseason poll

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(PhatzRadio Sports / USA TODAY SPORTS)    —   Alabama, the premier program in college football over the past decade, will begin the 2018 campaign in a familiar position at the top of the Amway Coaches Poll.

The Crimson Tide, fresh off their fifth national championship of coach Nick Saban’s tenure in Tuscaloosa, were voted No. 1 by 61 of the 65 Football Bowl Subdivision coaches on this season’s panel. Though Alabama didn’t quite go wire-to-wire at No. 1 a year ago, the Tide started at the top and got back to the top spot when it mattered.

This is third consecutive season Alabama has started at No. 1 and fifth time since 2010.

They’ve played in the College Football Playoff final in each of the last three years and are strong candidates to make it four in a row.

Other familiar names are expected to be Crimson Tide’s main challengers this fall. Clemson, the 2016 champion and a participant in the last three playoffs, will open at No. 2 in the poll. The Tigers received three first-place votes.

The final No. 1 nod went to Ohio State, which will open the season in the No. 3 spot. The status of coach Urban Meyer is uncertain as the school placed him on administrative leave while it is investigating his possible knowledge of alleged abuse by a former assistant.

The Buckeyes head a crowded field of Big Ten contenders, as the league placed five teams in the top 14 of the preseason rankings.

The remaining two playoff participants from last year round out the preseason top five. Georgia, which fell to the Tide in the overtime thriller of a title game, opens at No. 4. The Tide and Bulldogs head a group of five SEC squads in the Top 25. The Big 12 also has five ranked members headed by No. 5 Oklahoma, though the next highest one is TCU at No. 16.

The other power conferences are well-represented in the poll as well. The ACC will begin with four members ranked headed by Clemson and No. 8 Miami (Fla.), and the Pac-12 features three top-25 schools led by No. 6 Washington.

That leaves just three spots for independents and Group of Five league members. No. 11 Notre Dame holds one of those positions. Mountain West favorite Boise State checks in at No. 22. No. 23 Central Florida, coming off an undefeated campaign with an American Athletic Conference title and a major bowl win, will have its first preseason ranking in the program’s short history.

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The preseason Amway Coaches Poll, with outlooks for the top 25:

1. Alabama (13-1)

Points: 1,621 (61 first-place votes). Previous ranking: 1. Opens: Sept. 1 vs. Louisville in Orlando (ABC, 8)

Outlook: Coming off their fifth title in nine seasons, the Crimson Tide have more questions than usual with an unsettled quarterback situation, major losses on defense and changes at both coordinator positions. Still, this is a team full of talent, and Nick Saban knows how to navigate this type of challenge.

2. Clemson (12-2)

Points: 1,547 (3). Previous ranking: 4. Opens:  Sept. 1 vs. Furman

Outlook: If defense wins championships, then the Tigers are well-positioned to make their fourth consecutive playoff appearance. Christian Wilkins heads a dominant defensive line. QB Kelly Bryant led Clemson to 12 wins in his first year as a starter, but his job status is tenuous with incoming freshman Trevor Lawrence in the mix.

3. Ohio State (12-2)

Points: 1,458 (1). Previous ranking: 5. This week: Sept. 1 vs. Oregon State (ABC, noon)

Outlook: On the field, the Buckeyes have enough talent to repeat as Big Ten champions with RB J.K. Dobbins and DL Nick Bosa among their standouts. The chief concern is off the field. Head coach Urban Meyer is on leave as the school investigates his possible knowledge of alleged abuse by a former assistant.

4. Georgia (13-2)

Points: 1,452. Previous ranking: 2. Opens: Sept. 1 vs. Austin Peay (ESPN, 3:30)

Outlook: The sting of losing to Alabama in overtime in the championship game will provide motivation. QB Jake Fromm looks to avoid a sophomore slump. The defense should again be one of the top units in the country. Deandre Baker and J.R. Reed lead the secondary.

5. Oklahoma (12-2)

Points: 1,288. Previous ranking: 3. Opens: Sept. 1 vs. Florida Atlantic (Fox, noon)

Outlook: Replacing Heisman winner Baker Mayfield isn’t the team’s biggest concern. Kyler Murray should be fine at QB with RB Rodney Anderson and a talented group of wide receivers as support. The defense, last seen being torched by Georgia in the Rose Bowl, has to improve.

6. Washington (10-3)

Points: 1,245. Previous ranking: 15. Opens: Sept 1 vs. No. 10 Auburn in Atlanta (ABC, 3:30)

Outlook: The Huskies have QB Jake Browning and RB Myles Gaskin returning to its offense as they bid to reach the playoff for the second time in three seasons. The season opener against Auburn should tell a lot about whether they’re a contender or just the best team in the Pac-12.

7. Wisconsin (13-1)

Points: 1,243. Previous ranking: 6. Opens: Aug. 31 vs. Western Kentucky (ESPN, 9)

Outlook: Known more for being vanilla on offense and stingy on defense, the Badgers may flip the script this season. Backed by one of the nation’s top offensive lines and RB Jonathan Taylor, they should be explosive. Another unbeaten regular season is possible if the defense can overcome some key losses.

8. Miami (Fla.) (10-3)

Points: 1,091. Previous ranking: 13. Opens: Sept. 2 vs. No. 24 LSU in Arlington, Texas (ABC, 7:30)

Outlook: The Hurricanes had a dream start last season with 10 consecutive wins before ending with a thud. LB Shaq Quarterman is part of an athletic defense that should be improved. The question is if the offense can do its part.  Better play from QB Malik Rosier is pivotal.

9. Penn State (11-2)

Points: 1,050. Previous ranking: 8. Opens: Sept. 1 vs. Appalachian State (BTN, 3:30)

Outlook: Gone are RB Saquon Barkley and three of the top four receivers. That’s the bad news. QB Trace McSorley and a veteran offensive line provide optimism that the Nittany Lions still will be good enough to make a run at the Big Ten title and possibly a College Football Playoff berth.

10. Auburn (10-4)

Points: 1,004. Previous ranking: 12. Opens: Sept. 1 vs. No. 6 Washington in Atlanta (ABC, 3:30)

Outlook: The only team to beat Alabama last year, the Tigers start this season focused on repeating as SEC West champs. QB Jarrett Stidham looks to be more comfortable in his second season as the starter.  The success of the season likely comes down to November trips to Georgia and Alabama.

11. Notre Dame (10-3)

Points: 892. Previous ranking: 11. Opens: Sept. 1 vs. No. 14 Michigan (NBC, 7:30).

Outlook: With some key losses on the offensive line, the success of the Irish likely will fall to whether QB Brandon Wimbush can be more consistent throwing the ball. The defense will be better, but a tough schedule, starting with Michigan, will be difficult to manage without support from the offense.

12. Michigan State (10-3)

Points: 870. Previous ranking: 16. Opens: Aug. 31 vs. Utah State (BTN, 7)

Outlook: After missing a bowl game in 2016, the Spartans have 19 starters back from last year’s team that won 10 games. QB Brian Lewerke provides a running and passing threat. The defense, led by DL Kenny Willekes, is good enough to have them contend in the Big Ten.

13. Stanford (9-5)

Points: 768. Previous ranking: 19. Opens: Aug. 31 vs. San Diego State (FS1, 9)

Outlook: RB Bryce Love decided to skip the NFL draft, giving the Cardinal one of the top weapons in college football. QB K.J. Costello, who welcomes back his top four receivers, has to do his part to take some pressure off Love. The defense was down a notch last year and is expected to be better.

14. Michigan (8-5)

Points: 752. Previous ranking: not ranked. Opens: Sept. 1 at No. 11 Notre Dame (NBC, 7:30)

Outlook: The pressure is officially on Jim Harbaugh, who is 1-5 against rivals Ohio State and Michigan State in his three seasons. Shea Patterson, a transfer from Mississippi, is expected solve the team’s problems at quarterback. The defense was inexperienced last year and still ranked second in the Big Ten. That’s a good sign for this season.

15. Southern California (11-3)

Points: 691. Previous ranking: 10. Opens: Sept. 1 vs. UNLV (Pac-12, 4)

Outlook: It likely will be the defense, led by DL Christian Rector and LB Cameron Smith, that becomes the strength of the Trojans after the departure of QB Sam Darnold. With no significant experience at the position, true freshman J.T. Daniels could win the starting job which could mean some early growing pains.

16. TCU (11-3)

Points: 530. Previous ranking: 9. Opens: Sept. 1 vs. Southern

Outlook: This should be another overachieving season for the Horned Frogs. Again, defense will be the team’s backbone. DL Ben Banogu is a dominant pass rusher, and LB Ty Summers patrols the middle. QB Shawn Robinson is young, but he will have two outstanding receivers in KaVontae Turpin and Jalen Reagor.

17. Virginia Tech (9-4)

Points: 524. Previous ranking: 25. This week: Sept. 3 at No. 19 Florida State (ESPN, 8)

Outlook: QB Josh Jackson looks to blossom in his second season as the starter, especially if a No. 1 option steps up at wide receiver. The defense, always good under coordinator Bud Foster, will have DL Ricky Walker up front. There are major holes to fill in the secondary with several significant departures.

18. Mississippi State (9-4)

Points: 407. Previous ranking: 20. Opens: Sept. 1 vs. Stephen F. Austin (ESPNU, 7:30)

Outlook: New coach Joe Moorhead is blessed with one of the most-talented rosters in the SEC. QB Nick Fitzgerald appears to be a perfect fit in former Penn State coordinator’s offense. DL Jeffrey Simmons is one of the conference’s top defenders.

19. Florida State (7-6)

Points: 328. Previous ranking: not ranked. Opens: Sept. 3 vs. No. 17 Virginia Tech (ESPN, 8)

Outlook: Willie Taggart’s first big decision as Seminoles coach will picking between Deondre Francois and James Blackman at quarterback. RB Cam Akers is set for a breakout season as a sophomore. The defense is young and talented. It will need to grow up fast.

20. West Virginia (7-6)

Points: 310. Previous ranking: not ranked. Opens: Sept. 1 vs. Tennessee in Charlotte (CBS, 3:30)

Outlook: The Mountaineers should be one of the more entertaining teams in the country with QB Will Grier throwing and wideouts David Sills V and Gary Jennings catching. LB David Long and DB Dravon Askew-Henry provide two leaders in the back seven of the defense.

21. Texas (7-6)

Points: 265. Previous ranking: not ranked. Opens: Sept. 1 at Maryland (FS1, noon)

Outlook: After leading the program to its first winning season since 2013, Tom Herman is looking to make the next step toward having the Longhorns back among the elite. Sam Ehlinger and Shane Buechele likely will share time at quarterback. Improved play at running back and the offensive line is essential.

22. Boise State (11-3)

Points: 261. Previous ranking: 22. Opens: Sept. 1 at Troy (ESPNews, 6)

Outlook: The Broncos are blessed with senior QB Brett Rypien, a deep backfield, options at wide receiver and depth on both lines. They’ll make another run at the Group of Five berth in one of the major bowls.

23. Central Florida (13-0)

Points: 259. Previous ranking: 7. Opens:  Aug. 30 at Connecticut (ESPNU, 7)

Outlook: Under new head coach Josh Heupel, the Knights are primed for another successful season after being the lone unbeaten in FBS in 2017. QB McKenzie Milton will head a prolific offense. How quickly the defense develops will determine if UCF can avoid a loss.

24. LSU (9-4)

Points: 254. Previous ranking: 18. Opens: Sept. 2 vs. No. 8 Miami (Fla.) in Arlington, Texas (ABC, 7:30)

Outlook: Ed Orgeron changed offensive coordinators and brought in Ohio State QB transfer Joe Burrow to help remedy the program’s difficulty throwing the ball. Those changes must to be successful as expectations for the Tigers are to contend in the SEC West, which it has not won since 2011.

25. Oklahoma State (10-3)

Points: 168. Previous ranking: 14. Opens: Aug. 30 vs. Missouri State (FS1, 8)

Outlook: The Cowboys mostly lived on the arm of QB Mason Rudolph last year, but with his departure RB Justice Hill should carry the load of the offense. Most of the key contributors return on defense. DL Jordan Brailford has the potential to break out after six sacks last year.

DL Jordan Brailford has the potential to break out after six sacks last year.

Dropped out: No. 17 Northwestern (10-3), No. 21 South Florida (10-2), No. 23 North Carolina State (9-4), No. 24 Memphis (10-3).

Other receiving votes: South Carolina (9-4) 138; Florida (4-7) 135; Oregon (7-6) 105; Utah (7-6) 81; Northwestern (10-3) 67; Texas A&M (7-6) 67; Kansas State (8-5) 35; Florida Atlantic (11-3) 27; Boston College (7-6) 23; Memphis (10-3) 23; North Carolina State (9-4) 22; Arkansas State (7-5) 19; Troy (11-2) 19; Appalachian State (9-4) 16; San Diego State (10-3) 15; Iowa (8-5) 8; Iowa State (8-5) 8; Kentucky (7-6) 8; Washington State (9-4) 7; South Florida (10-2) 6; Duke (7-6) 5; Fresno State (10-4) 4; Louisville (8-5) 3; Arizona (7-6) 2; Houston (7-5) 2; Army (10-3) 1; Northern Illinois (8-5) 1.

The Amway Board of Coaches is made up of 65 head coaches at Bowl Subdivision schools. All are members of the American Football Coaches Association.

The Amway Board of Coaches is made up of 65 head coaches at Bowl Subdivision schools. All are members of the American Football Coaches Association. The board for the 2018 season: Blake Anderson, Arkansas State; Major Applewhite, Houston; Dino Babers, Syracuse; Mike Bloomgren, Rice; John Bonamego, Central Michigan; Terry Bowden, Akron; Jeff Brohm, Purdue; Neal Brown, Troy; Troy Calhoun, Air Force; Rod Carey, Northern Illinois; Bill Clark, Alabama-Birmingham; Dave Clawson, Wake Forest; Geoff Collins, Temple; David Cutcliffe, Duke; Mark Dantonio, Michigan State; Bob Davie, New Mexico; Butch Davis, Florida International; Dana Dimel, Texas-El Paso; DJ Durkin, Maryland; Herm Edwards, Arizona State; Luke Fickell, Cincinnati; Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M; P.J. Fleck, Minnesota; James Franklin, Penn State; Willie Fritz, Tulane; Scott Frost, Nebraska; Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech; Turner Gill, Liberty; Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State; Bryan Harsin, Boise State; Clay Helton, Southern California; Tom Herman, Texas; Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia; Mike Jinks, Bowling Green; Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech; Brad Lambert, Charlotte; Mike Leach, Washington State; Lance Leipold, Buffalo; Tim Lester, Western Michigan; Seth Littrell, North Texas; Rocky Long, San Diego State; Chad Lunsford, Georgia Southern; Mike MacIntyre, Colorado; Gus Malzahn, Auburn; Doug Martin, New Mexico State; Urban Meyer, Ohio State; Jeff Monken, Army; Dan Mullen, Florida; Pat Narduzzi, Pittsburgh; Ken Niumatalolo, Navy; Jay Norvell, Nevada; Barry Odom, Missouri; Ed Orgeron, LSU; Gary Patterson, TCU; Chris Petersen, Washington; Bobby Petrino, Louisville; Nick Saban, Alabama; Scott Satterfield, Appalachian State; Kirby Smart, Georgia; Rick Stockstill, Middle Tennessee; Charlie Strong, South Florida; Dabo Swinney, Clemson; Jeff Tedford, Fresno State; Kyle Whittingham, Utah; Everett Withers, Texas State.

NBA Trades and Free Agency: Thunder agree to trade Carmelo Anthony, protected first-round pick to Hawks

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(PhatzRadio Sports / USA TODAY SPORTS)    —-    As part of a three-team deal, the Oklahoma City Thunder have reached an agreement to trade forward Carmelo Anthony and a top-14 protected 2022 first-round draft pick to the Atlanta Hawks for guard Dennis Schroder, two people with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports. If the pick doesn’t convey, it will become two second-round picks.

The people requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly until the deal is official.

The Hawks will send forward Mike Muscala to the Philadelphia 76ers, and the 76ers will trade Justin Anderson to the Hawks and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot to the Thunder.

The Hawks plan to waive Anthony, who will then become a free agent after he clears waivers. Atlanta has the ability to absorb Anthony’s contract, but the price for taking him off Oklahoma City’s roster was a first-round draft pick – a good move for Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk who is rebuilding the roster.

By shedding Anthony’s salary in the trade, the Thunder will save nearly $73 million in payroll and luxury taxes, according to ESPN front-office insider and former Brooklyn Nets assistant general manager Bobby Marks.

The Thunder had been exploring options for Anthony, including waiving him and stretching the $27.9 million left on the final year of contract over multiple seasons. However, that still would’ve resulted in money counting against Oklahoma City’s salary cap.

This deal gets the Thunder out of the contract, reducing their total team salary and luxury tax bill.

Houston has been considered the strong favorite to land Anthony once he’s waived.

The Hawks recently acquired Jeremy Lin and drafted Trae Young, both moves which likely expedited Schroder’s exit in Atlanta.

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*1. LeBron James – Agreed to four-year, $154 million deal with Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers have missed the playoffs the previous five seasons, the longest such streak in franchise history. James, no doubt, will help shift the balance of power back to one of the league’s most illustrious franchises.

*2. Kevin Durant – Agreed to two-year, $61.5 million deal to stay with Golden State. Durant had said many times that he planned to re-sign with the defending champs, and that’s exactly what he did. And so the dynasty continues …

*3. Paul George – Agreed to four-year, $137 million deal to stay with Oklahoma City. George, who was widely believed to be destined for Laker Land, is sticking it out with Russell Westbrook and the Thunder after his first season with the franchise ended in the first round of the playoffs. Kudos to Thunder general manager Sam Presti for this one.

*4. Chris Paul – Agreed to four-year, $160 million deal to stay with Houston. Paul, who forced his way out of Los Angeles last summer after six seasons with the Clippers, is coming off a disappointing finish to a phenomenal season. As elite as Paul is, will the Rockets regret giving the 33-year-old a long-term deal?

*5. DeMarcus Cousins – Agreed to one-year, $5.3 million deal with Golden State. In the biggest stunner of the summer, Cousins will become the fifth All-Star on the Warriors. He suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in January, but, contingent on his health, he offers a dominant, low-post presence that the Warriors haven’t had – though have rarely needed.

*6. Nikola Jokic – Reportedly agreed to five-year, $146.5 million deal to stay with Denver. This was a done deal before free agency began. Jokic is one of the most talented young big men in the league and the Nuggets’ franchise centerpiece. He wasn’t going anywhere.

7. Clint Capela, Houston (Restricted)

*8. DeAndre Jordan – Reportedly agreed to one-year, approximately $24 million deal with Dallas. Jordan is headed to Dallas — again. We have a feeling this will be different than the summer of 2015, when Jordan changed his mind after agreeing to a deal with the Mavericks and returned to L.A.

*9. Julius Randle – Agreed to two-year, $18 million deal with New Orleans. The fourth-year big man is coming off a career year (16.1 points, eight rebounds per game) and will be a welcome addition in New Orleans alongside Anthony Davis.

*10. Aaron Gordon – Agreed to four-year, $82 million deal to stay with Orlando. Injuries limited Gordon to 58 games last season, but the 22-year-old still took a significant step forward in his development. He’s one of the most promising young power forwards in the league.

*11. Zach LaVine – Agreed to four-year, $80 million deal to stay with Chicago. The former lottery pick is just 23, and, when healthy, is one of the league’s most explosive guards.

*12. Tyreke Evans – Agreed to one-year, $12 million deal with Indiana. Evans had his best all-around season in 2017-18, averaging 19.4 points and shooting a career-best 39.9 percent on 3-pointers. He also averaged 5.2 assists and 5.1 rebounds. He’s a nice addition to a Pacers backcourt with Most Improved Player Victor Oladipo.

*13. Marcus Smart – Agreed to a four-year, $52 million deal with Boston. The Celtics are bringing back their gritty, two-way guard who Boston fans have come to love. He infuses their defense with energy and typically puts clamps on opponents’ best backcourt playmaker.

*14. JJ Redick – Agreed to one-year deal to stay with Philadelphia. Keeping Redick is big for the Sixers, who again expect to be one of the top teams in the East. The 34-year-old sharpshooter averaged a career-high 17.1 points per game last season, his first in Philadelphia.

*15. Jusuf Nurkic – Reportedly agreed to four-year, $48 million deal to stay with Portland. He’s solid on both ends of the floor and is only 23 years old, but as a 7-footer who doesn’t stretch the floor, what’s Nurkic’s ceiling?

*16. Derrick Favors – Agreed to two-year, $36 million deal to stay with Utah. Favors fits at power forward in a big lineup and center in a small lineup and, though he’s more of a traditional big man, he began to extend his range a bit last season, hitting 14 3-pointers.

*17. Trevor Ariza – Agreed to one-year, $15 million deal with Phoenix. This is an interesting move for Ariza, who will go from key cog on a 65-win Houston team to a veteran presence on a rebuilding Suns squad.

18. Jabari Parker – Agreed to a two-year, $40 million deal with Chicago. The Bucks rescinded Parker’s qualifying offer, allowing him to negotiate as an unrestricted free agent.

*19. Avery Bradley – Reportedly agreed to two-year, $25 million deal to stay with Los Angeles Clippers. Bradley, who’s coming off season-ending abdominal surgery, struggled to find the right role after being traded from Boston, but he provides value as a defender and improved scorer.

*20. Isaiah Thomas – Agreed to one-year minimum deal with Denver. The Nuggets were already an explosive offensive team, but adding Thomas — assuming he can stay healthy — on such a small deal is a win for Denver.

*21. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – Agreed to one-year, $12 million deal to stay with Los Angeles Lakers. Caldwell-Pope, who averaged 13.4 points per game last season and shot a career-high 38.3 percent on 3-pointers, will be a nice fit alongside James.

*22. Will Barton – Reportedly agreed to four-year, $54 million deal to stay with Denver. Barton has developed into one of the top sixth men in the league, and the Nuggets weren’t ready to let him walk. Of players who came off the bench in more than 40 games last season, Barton was tied for third with 13.7 points per game.

*23. Fred VanVleet – Agreed to two-year, $18 million deal to stay with Toronto. The Sixth Man of the Year finalist shot 41.4 percent from 3-point last year, his second NBA season.

*24. Luc Mbah a Moute – Reportedly agreed to one-year, $4.3 million deal with Los Angeles Clippers. Many of his contributions don’t show up in the box score, but make no mistake: Mbah a Moute was a big part of what made Houston so dangerous last season. The Rockets’ defensive rating was 101.2 with him on the court, 105.4 with him off.

*25. Rajon Rondo – Agreed to one-year, $9 million deal with Los Angeles Lakers. Another interesting addition for the Lakers, Rondo, 32, reinvigorated his career during his lone season in New Orleans. An interesting move for the Lakers and a big loss for the Pelicans.

*26. Rudy Gay – Reportedly agreed to one-year, $10 million deal to stay with San Antonio. Gay, who signed with the Spurs last summer after suffering a ruptured Achilles in January 2017, opted out of the final year of his contract last week, turning down $8.8 million. He’s not the 20 point per game scorer he once was, but he can still contribute.

*27. Kyle Anderson – Agreed to four-year, $37.2 million deal with Memphis. Anderson took a significant step forward in his fourth NBA season, taking advantage of additional minutes due to Kawhi Leonard’s absence.

*28. Lance Stephenson – Agreed to one-year, $4.5 million deal with Los Angeles Lakers. Lance and LeBron in L.A.? This is just too good.

29. Brook Lopez – Agreed to one-year, $3.3 million deal with Milwaukee. Lopez is headed to Milwaukee on the Bucks’ bi-annual exception. He should solidify the frontcourt and help stretch the floor for new coach Mike Budenholzer.

30. Wayne Ellington – Reportedly agreed to one-year, $6.3 million deal to stay with Miami. Ellington, who finished last season ranked sixth in the NBA with 227 3-pointers made, is the type of veteran floor spacer any team can benefit from having.

31. Rodney Hood, Cleveland (Restricted) 

*32. Nerlens Noel – Agreed to two-year deal with Oklahoma City. Noel, the No. 6 overall pick in 2013, is coming off the worst season of his career, but this is a great opportunity for him to get back on track.

*33. Seth Curry – Reportedly agreed to two-year deal with Portland. Curry didn’t play last season as a result of a stress fracture in his leg, but Steph’s younger brother had a stellar 2016-17 campaign with Dallas, especially after the All-Star break (averaged 16.2 points and made 45.3 percent of his 3-pointers).

34. Joe Harris – Agreed to two-year, $16 million deal to stay with Brooklyn. The Nets clearly saw the value in the 26-year-old forward, who shot a career-high 49.1 percent from the field and 41.9 percent from beyond the arc last season.

35. Greg Monroe, Boston (Unrestricted)

36. Dwyane Wade, Miami (Unrestricted)

*37. Dante Exum – Agreed to three-year, $33 million deal to stay with Utah. Injuries robbed Exum of much of his first four seasons, but he did have a promising end to his 2017-18 campaign. Exum was drafted fifth overall in 2014, and the Jazz still clearly have faith in his talent.

38. Michael Beasley, New York (Unrestricted)

39. Montrezl Harrell, Los Angeles Clippers (Restricted)

*40. Elfrid Payton – Reportedly agreed to one-year deal with New Orleans. Payton, the No. 10 overall pick in 2014, averaged 12.7 points, 6.2 assists and 4.3 rebounds with Orlando and Phoenix last season.

Other notable free agent deals

*Dwight Howard –Expected to join Washington on two-year, $11 million deal after clearing waivers. This will be Howard’s fifth team since being traded by Orlando in 2012. The eight-time All-Star averaged 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds last season in Charlotte.

*JaVale McGee – Agreed to one-year, $2.4 million deal with Los Angeles Lakers. A surprising addition to the LeBron-led Lakers, McGee is coming off two solid years with Golden State, where he provided the Warriors with some much-needed rim protection.

*Jonas Jerebko – Plans to sign with Golden State. The stretch-4 shot 41 percent from 3-point range with Utah last season.

*Doug McDermott – Agreed to three-year, $22 million deal with Indiana. The Pacers were one of the NBA’s biggest surprises last season, and adding McDermott will only make them better. He’s a career 40.3 percent shooter from beyond the arc.

Ersan Ilyasova – Agreed to three-year, $21 million deal with Milwaukee. The 31-year-old journeyman will be a solid addition to Milwaukee, where he spent the first seven seasons of his career. He averaged 10.8 points and 6.7 rebounds after signing with Philadelphia in February.

Ed Davis – Reportedly agreed to one-year, $4.4 million deal with Brooklyn. Damian Lillard wasn’t a fan of this, and we don’t blame him. At this price, this is a steal for the Nets.

*Aron Baynes – Agreed to two-year, $10.6 million deal to stay with Boston. Baynes may not be as high profile as the Celtics’ stars or the members of their young core, but he still provides the team with some valuable energy and physicality.

*Jerami Grant – Agreed to three-year, $27 million deal to stay with Oklahoma City. Athletic and young, Grant is coming off a solid season with the Thunder, who clearly view him as a part of their future.

Marco Belinelli – Agreed to two-year, $12 million deal with San Antonio. Belinelli, who won a championship with the Spurs in 2014, shot 37.7 percent from 3-point territory last season with Atlanta and Philadelphia.

*Raul Neto – Agreed to two-year, $4.4 million deal to stay with Utah. The 26-year-old floor general only played 12.1 minutes per game last season, but he made 40.4 percent of his 3-pointers.

Derrick Rose – Agreed to one-year, $2.4 million deal to stay with Minnesota. He’s not the player he once was, but Rose showed some promise with the T-Wolves in their first-round playoff loss to Houston, averaging 14.2 points in five games.

*Jeff Green – Reportedly agreed to one-year minimum deal with Washington. Green had his moments for Cleveland in the playoffs (19 points and eight rebounds in Game 7 vs. Boston on the road), and he should be a nice complementary piece for a Wizards team in need of some frontcourt help.

*Michael Carter-Williams – Reportedly agreed to one-year minimum deal with Houston. The 2014 Rookie of the Year will join his fifth NBA team. He spent last season in Charlotte, where he averaged a career-low 4.6 points per game.

*Raymond Felton – Reportedly agreed to one-year, $2.4 million deal to stay with Oklahoma City. Felton’s return pushes the Thunder into uncharted territory: They are currently projected to pay $150 million in luxury tax, according to ESPN, pushing total team spending to $300 million.

MLB Roundup: Noah Syndergaard wins for Mets in return from disabled list

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(PhatzRadio Sports / AP)   —   NEW YORK – Noah Syndergaard pitched out of trouble in a rusty return from the disabled list and helped himself with an RBI single as the New York Mets beat the Washington Nationals 4-2 on Friday night.

Amed Rosario tripled and doubled, both times over Bryce Harper’s head in center field, and the Mets won for only the sixth time in their last 26 home games. Brandon Nimmo had three hits for New York, which built a three-run cushion in the first inning against struggling starter Tanner Roark.

Roark (3-12) became the first 12-game loser in the majors this season. He allowed four runs and eight hits in five innings.

Matt Adams homered for the inconsistent Nationals, who fell back to .500 at 47-47. They have lost just three of 13 games at Citi Field since the start of last season.

After missing seven weeks with a strained ligament in his right index finger, Syndergaard (5-1) came out firing 99 mph fastballs.

Gsellman gave up Adams’ upper-deck shot in the eighth but got six outs for his fourth save.

Rockies 10, Mariners 7: Trevor Story homered and drove in four runs, Charlie Blackmon also connected and Colorado defeated Seattle in Denver.

Tony Wolters had three RBIs for Colorado, which won its third straight.

Both teams used emergency starters but neither made it through five innings. Seattle’s Christian Bergman (0-1), a former Rockies pitcher, gave up five runs in 4 1/3 innings and left during Colorado’s four-run fifth inning.

Colorado righty Jeff Hoffman was called up to start for Antonio Senzatela, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a blister on the middle finger of his right hand. He allowed three runs on eight hits in 3 1/3 innings.

Dodgers 3, Angels 2: Max Muncy homered and drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning, helping the Dodgers rally past the Angels in Los Angeles.

Muncy, who will participate in next week’s Home Run Derby, singled to deep right-center off Cam Bedrosian, scoring pinch-hitter Logan Forsythe and Joc Pederson to put the Dodgers ahead 3-2.

Muncy took second on right fielder Kole Calhoun’s throw that sailed over the head of catcher Jose Briceno. Bedrosian scrambled to the backstop, but he bobbled the ball and had no throw to the plate as Pederson scored.

Caleb Ferguson got the win with two perfect innings of relief. Scott Alexander induced a double play to end the ninth for his first save.

Cubs 5, Padres 4 (10): Anthony Rizzo hit a tying double with two outs in the ninth inning and Javier Baez scored the go-ahead run on consecutive errors with one out in the 10th, lifting visiting Chicago over San Diego.

Giants 7, Athletics 1: Buster Posey singled in the go-ahead run in the sixth inning and San Francisco slowed down visiting Oakland.

Madison Bumgarner pitched three-hit ball over six innings to win consecutive starts for the first time this season. Alen Hanson added two hits and Steven Duggar had two RBIs and scored twice.

The A’s had won 19 of 24 and took three of four from A.L. West-leading Houston before falling to their rivals from across the San Francisco Bay.

Blue Jays 13, Red Sox 7: Kevin Pillar had four hits and Justin Smoak had three, including a pair of homers, and they drove in four runs apiece to help visiting Toronto snap Boston’s 10-game winning streak.

Dwight Smith Jr. also homered for Toronto, which won for the second time in six games. Jake Petricka pitched two innings of shutout ball in relief of Ryan Borucki, who lasted just three-plus innings but left with an 8-6 lead.

Mookie Betts had three hits, including two triples, to raise his major league-leading batting average to .357. J.D. Martinez had two hits for the Red Sox, who won 15 of their previous 17 games and will head into the All-Star break with the best record in baseball and the A.L. East lead.

Rick Porcello allowed seven hits and eight runs in two innings to take the loss.

Phillies 2, Marlins 0: Aaron Altherr drove in his first run of July and later started a sensational relay to protect the lead, helping Jake Arrieta and visiting Philadelphia topped Miami.

Arrieta pitched seven innings of three-hit ball. Victor Arano got three outs and Pat Neshek finished the three-hitter for his first save.

Maikel Franco hit his 13th homer of the season in the ninth for the Phillies, who have won 10 of their last 13.

For Marlins starter Wei-Yin Chen, it was another brilliant home showing. He allowed one run and five hits in six innings, striking out eight – his most since May 2016 – and walking one. At home this season, his ERA is now 1.83. On the road, it’s 10.47.

Indians 6, Yankees 5: Rookie right-hander Shane Bieber pitched into the eighth inning and Cleveland’s shaky bullpen narrowly closed things out in a win over visiting New York.

Bieber was removed after Tyler Wade’s leadoff double in the eighth and Cleveland leading 6-3.

Pirates 7, Brewers 3: Josh Bell tied a career high with four hits, Gregory Polanco homered and both drove in two runs to lead Pittsburgh over visiting Milwaukee.

The fourth-place Pirates have won five of their last six. First-place Milwaukee has lost four of five and its lead has been cut to a half-game over the Chicago Cubs.

Rangers 5, Orioles 4: Ryan Rua had a tiebreaking, pinch-hit three-run homer in the seventh inning and visiting Texas held on against Baltimore to snap a three-game losing streak.

Cole Hamels won for the first time in almost a month, allowing four runs and five hits with three strikeouts and one walk over 6 1/3 innings in a matchup of last-place teams.

Keone Kela got the last three outs for his 23rd save.

The Orioles have lost 17 of 20 and fell to 14-33 at Camden Yards, the second-worst home mark in the majors behind Kansas City.

Joey Gallo gave the Rangers the lead when he led off the fifth with a home run off Alex Cobb.

Diamondbacks 2, Braves 1: Nick Ahmed hit a tiebreaking single in the seventh after Zack Godley allowed a run over six innings and visiting Arizona beat Atlanta.

Both teams began the week in first place but have since fallen out. The Diamondbacks began the night a half game behind the Dodgers in the N.L. West. The Braves fell 1 1/2 games behind N.L. East-leading Philadelphia.

Godley gave up three hits in the first, including Kurt Suzuki’s run-scoring single. He allowed only two hits over the next five innings and struck out seven overall.

Brad Boxberger struck out the side in the ninth for his 23rd save.

Sam Freeman took the loss in relief of Atlanta starter Anibal Sanchez.

Astros 3, Tigers 0: Dallas Keuchel pitched six strong innings, three relievers completed the seven-hitter and Alex Bregman provided the offense by setting a career high with his 20th homer to give Houston a win over visiting Detroit.

Keuchel allowed six hits and struck out four to win his fourth straight decision after dropping the previous three. Tony Sipp and Brad Peacock pitched the seventh and eighth innings before Hector Rondon walked one in the ninth for his eighth save.

The Astros got to former teammate Mike Fiers early. George Springer hit a leadoff single before the two-run shot by Bregman, which bounced off the wall above the Crawford Boxes in left field, made it 2-0.

Ronny Rodriguez had two hits for the Tigers, who went 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position to lose their fifth straight game.

Reds 9, Cardinals 1: Scooter Gennett and Dilson Herrera homered, Matt Harvey tossed five solid innings and Cincinnati beat the Cardinals in St. Louis.

Jesse Winker reached base four times and drove in three runs for the Reds, who won their second in a row against St. Louis after breaking a 13-game losing streak to the Cardinals on June 10.

St. Louis had won 17 of the previous 20 games between the teams.

Twins 11, Rays 8: Joe Mauer homered and drove in four runs, and Minnesota held on to defeat Tampa Bay in Minneapolis.

Jake Cave had three hits and a pair of RBIs, and Robbie Grossman added three hits for Minnesota, which has won eight of nine games on its homestand.

Trevor Hildenberger struck out the side in the seventh to pick up the win in relief of starter Jake Odorizzi.

White Sox 9, Royals 6: Leury Garcia had three hits and three RBIs, All-Star Jose Abreu homered for the first time in July, and the White Sox beat Kansas City in Chicago.

Garcia doubled in two runs in the first, singled in the third and connected for a solo drive in the sixth. Omar Narvaez added a two-run homer in the eighth off Kevin McCarthy and Joakim Soria pitched the ninth for his 14th save in 17 chances.

MLB Roundup: Celveland Indians allow 7 in 9th, lose to Cincinnati Reds 7-4 after Bauer’s gem

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(PhatzRadio Sports / AP)   —   CLEVELAND – Joey Votto hit a go-ahead three-run double during a seven-run ninth inning and the Cleveland Indians bullpen wasted a gem from Trevor Bauer in a 7-4 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night.

Indians closer Cody Allen (2-4) allowed six runs after getting two outs in the ninth, the last three charged on Votto’s sharp hit to right off Dan Otero. Adam Duvall also doubled in two in the ninth, while Jose Peraza and Eugenio Suarez each hit an RBI single. Cincinnati had seven straight batters reach with two outs, and the inning didn’t end until Scooter Gennett ran into the third out at third base on Suarez’s single.

Cleveland’s bullpen entered Tuesday with a 5.13 ERA, better only than the Rockies (5.28) and Royals (5.35).

Bauer was brilliant, striking out 12 over eight scoreless innings in his first appearance since being named to the All-Star team for the first time. The right-hander allowed three singles, walked one and didn’t allow a hit until Jesse Winker hit a one-out single in the fifth.

Former Cleveland reliever Kyle Crockett (1-0) recorded the final two outs in the eighth, and Raisel Iglesias worked the ninth for his second save in two nights and his 19th of the season.

RED SOX 8, RANGERS 4: At Boston, Andrew Benintendi bolstered his All-Star credentials with a pair of doubles and two RBIs in his final game before fan votes are tallied, and Boston extended its winning streak to eight games.

Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a pair of RBI doubles and Xander Bogaerts hit a two-run triple as Boston scored five runs in the third and won for the 15th time in 18 games.

Matt Barnes (3-2) got the win with one inning of relief. He was the fourth of five relievers the Red Sox rode to another victory and improve on the best record in the majors.

Rougned Odor homered and Joey Gallo hit a two-run double for the Rangers, who have lost four of five.

Yovani Gallardo (3-1) made it through the first two innings without allowing a baserunner, but ran into trouble in the third.

RAYS 5, TIGERS 2: At St. Petersburg, Florida, Wilson Ramos hit a three-run homer, five Tampa Bay pitchers combined on a five-hitter and the Rays beat Detroit.

The Rays moved three games above .500 for the first time since Aug. 6 last year after posting their 13th win in the last 14 home games.

Ramos, elected to start at catcher for the AL in next week’s All-Star Game, keyed a five-run third inning when he connected off Matthew Boyd (4-8) for his 14th homer. That tied John Flaherty (1999) for the most in a season by a Tampa Bay catcher.

Ryne Stanek pitched two innings as the opener for the Rays on their latest bullpen day. He allowed a first-inning single to Niko Goodrum. Jose Alvarado (1-3) and Jaime Schultz followed Stanek, and both went two hitless innings.

BREWERS 8, MARLINS 4: At Miami, Christian Yelich had three hits and four RBIs, Travis Shaw homered and Milwaukee beat Miami.

Shaw and Tyler Saladino had two RBIs each, and Milwaukee won for the seventh time in nine games. Jhoulys Chacin (8-3) allowed four runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out three and walked three.

Corbin Burnes pitched two perfect innings in his major league debut for the save.

Miami’s Pablo Lopez (1-1) pitched six innings and allowed five runs.

PHILLIES 7, METS 3: At New York, Enyel De Los Santos won his major league debut and Philadelphia got home runs from Maikel Franco and Odubel Herrera in a victory over New York.

Franco drove in four runs as the Phillies, who began the day tied with Atlanta atop the NL East, won for the 10th time in 13 games. Nick Williams had three hits and two RBIs, and Rhys Hoskins also got three hits.

De Los Santos (1-0) allowed three runs and five hits over 6 1/3 effective innings. The 22-year-old right-hander was called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where he was 9-3 with a 1.89 ERA in 16 starts, and matched against another starter making his big league debut in Drew Gagnon (0-1) of the Mets.

It was the first time a Phillies starter made his debut against another starter in his first outing since Sept. 25, 1944, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

ORIOLES 6, YANKEES 5: At Baltimore, Manny Machado hit two home runs, Jonathan Schoop singled in the winning run with two outs in the ninth inning, and Baltimore rallied past New York.

Greg Bird homered and drove in four runs for the Yankees, who own an inexplicable 4-5 record against the last-place Orioles.

Machado brought the Orioles back from deficits of 3-2 and 5-3 before Schoop won it in the ninth against Dellin Betances (1-3).

Zach Britton (1-0) worked the ninth for Baltimore.

BLUE JAYS 6, BRAVES 2: At Atlanta, Russell Martin’s sharp single in Toronto’s five-run eighth drove in the go-ahead run, Marcus Stroman allowed pitched seven strong innings, and Toronto beat Atlanta to knock the Braves out of first place.

The Braves, who have lost six of their last seven, fell to second in the NL East after beginning the day tied with Philadelphia for the lead. Atlanta had held at least a share of first since May 30.

Toronto was limited to three hits through seven innings by Julio Teheran and Jesse Biddle, and the game was tied 1-1. The Blue Jays broke out with five hits off A.J. Minter (3-2) and Shane Carle in the eighth.

Stroman (2-6) gave up one run and six hits with two walks in seven innings for his second win in Atlanta in two seasons.

NATIONALS 5, PIRATES 1: At Pittsburgh, Anthony Rendon hit a two-run homer, Daniel Murphy doubled twice and had four hits, and Washington beat Pittsburgh.

Rendon hit his 13th homer off starter Joe Musgrove (3-4) in the fifth inning, and Washington added three more runs in the sixth against the bullpen.

Jeremy Hellickson pitched five strong innings, and the bullpen closed it out from there. Hellickson (3-1) allowed two hits and struck out three, leaving after 67 pitches.

Bryce Harper went 0 for 5 with four strikeouts for Washington. His batting average fell to .215.

ASTROS 6, ATHLETICS 5, 11 INNINGS: At Houston, Alex Bregman homered twice and his tapper just in front of the plate in the 11th inning led to a bizarre play that ended the game, as catcher Jonathan Lucroy’s throwing error handed Houston a wild victory over Oakland.

Justin Verlander pitched six sharp innings and the Astros took a 4-0 lead into the ninth before Oakland tied it.

Stephen Piscotty hit a solo homer in the top of the 11th off Collin McHugh (5-0) to put the A’s ahead, but the Astros staged their own rally.

All-Star closer Blake Treinen (5-2) took the loss. He had converted 20 straight save chances since April 18.

CARDINALS 14, WHITE SOX 2: At Chicago, Dexter Fowler broke out of a slump with his fourth career grand slam, Miles Mikolas tossed six innings of three-hit ball and St. Louis routed Chicago.

Kolten Wong had four hits, including a two-run homer and a double, as every Cardinals starter except All-Star catcher Yadier Molina got at least one hit. Jose Martinez had three hits and two RBIs.

Fowler’s first homer since May 6 capped a seven-run sixth. Mikolas (10-3), selected to his first All-Star team Sunday, allowed two runs and struck out six.

White Sox starter Dylan Covey (3-5) lasted five innings, allowing five runs (four earned) and nine hits. The right-hander lost his fourth straight decision and has an 11.70 ERA in his last five starts.

ROYALS 9, TWINS 4: At Minneapolis, Adalberto Mondesi had a three-run homer and a career-high four RBIs to help Kansas City snap a 10-game skid.

The Royals scored more than five runs for the first time since June 4 and improved to 26-65 overall, percentage points ahead of Baltimore to avoid owning baseball’s worst record.

Mondesi went deep in the second inning and added an RBI single in the sixth. The middle infielder entered with just six RBIs in 17 games this year.

Royals right-hander Ian Kennedy made his first start since landing on the disabled list with a strained left oblique. He pitched just three innings after experiencing a recurrence of left side tightness.

Brian Flynn (1-1) allowed one hit in four innings of relief to pick up the win.

Twins starter Aaron Slegers (1-1) allowed five runs and got just four outs in his second start of the year.

PADRES 4, DODGERS 1: At San Diego, Rookie left-hander Eric Lauer came within one out of his first career complete game before allowing Max Muncy’s home run, and Wil Myers homered for the sixth time in four games to lead San Diego.

Austin Hedges had a three-run shot for the Padres.

Lauer (5-5) took a three-hit shutout into the ninth inning, facing the heart of the Dodgers’ order after having thrown 101 pitches. He got Enrique Hernandez to fly out to center and Justin Turner to fly out to deep left before Muncy drove a 1-1 pitch into the seats in left, his 21st.

After throwing 115 pitches, Lauer made way for Kirby Yates, who struck out All-Star Matt Kemp to end it. Myers’ homer to left-center on a 2-1 pitch off Rich Hill (2-4), was his eighth overall.

DIAMONDBACKS 5, ROCKIES 3: At Denver, David Peralta and A.J. Pollock homered in Arizona’s four-run seventh inning, and the Diamondbacks won for the fourth straight time at Coors Field.

Nick Ahmed also went deep for Arizona.

The Diamondbacks were held in check by Colorado starter Tyler Anderson but a high pitch count ended his night after six innings. They pounced on the Rockies’ bullpen in the seventh.

Jake McGee (1-3) walked Jeff Mathis, allowed a double to pinch-hitter Chris Owings before Peralta hit the first pitch he saw into the seats in right to give the Diamondbacks a 4-2 lead. Pollock hit a solo homer later in the inning off Scott Oberg.

Nolan Arenado hit his 23rd homer off Archie Bradley in the bottom of the seventh, tying him for the NL lead in that category.

Randall Delgado (2-0) tossed 1 2/3 innings in relief and Brad Boxberger pitched the ninth for his 22nd save.

CUBS 2, GIANTS 0: At San Francisco, Victor Caratini hit an RBI double during a decisive seventh inning, helping Chicago back Jose Quintana in a close game.

A night after losing 2-1 in 11 innings despite a strong start from Kyle Hendricks, the Cubs had enough offense for Quintana (8-6). The left-hander allowed three hits in six scoreless innings to beat the Giants for the first time in his career after going 0-3 with a 5.82 ERA over his first three starts.

Addison Russell’s one-out double in the seventh chased Giants starter Derek Holland (5-8). Russell advanced on Sam Dyson’s wild pitch and scored on a bad throw by catcher Nick Hundley trying to get Russell at third. Caratini later doubled.

Carl Edwards Jr. struck out the side in order in the seventh, Justin Wilson followed with a perfect eighth and Steve Cishek closed it out for his third save after taking the loss Monday.

ANGELS 9, MARINERS 3: At Anaheim, California, Kole Calhoun and Andrelton Simmons each had three hits and two RBIs to lead Los Angeles over Seattle.

The Angels got 15 hits and overcame an injury to starting pitcher Garrett Richards, who left early with right forearm irritation. He is scheduled to have an MRI on Wednesday.

Simmons hit a go-ahead double in a four-run fourth. Calhoun and Albert Pujols both homered for Los Angeles.

Seattle All-Star Mitch Haniger hit a three-run homer in the first against Richards, who exited in the third while pitching to Nelson Cruz.

Noe Ramirez (4-3), Cam Bedrosian, Jose Alvarez, Hansel Robles and Taylor Cole combined to pitch 6 1/3 shutout innings in relief.

Mariners starter Mike Leake (8-6) allowed seven runs – five earned – and 11 hits in four innings.

MLB Roundup: Mark Reynolds drives in 10 runs as Nationals drub Marlins

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(PhatzRadio Sports / AP)   —   Mark Reynolds homered twice and drove in a career-high 10 runs, Max Scherzer won for the first time since June 5, and the Washington Nationals beat the Miami Marlins 18-4 on Saturday night in Washington.

Washington has won three straight and scored a combined 35 runs since calling a players-only meeting on Wednesday after falling under .500 for the first time since May 2.

Reynolds (5 for 5) tied his career high for hits and equaled the Nationals’ RBI record. He is the 15th player to drive in 10 or more runs in a game. The record of 12 is shared by Jim Bottomley (1924) and Mark Whiten (1993).

Diamondbacks 20, Padres 5: David Peralta drove in three runs and matched his career best with five hits, five Arizona players homered and the Diamondbacks set a single-game franchise scoring record with a rout of San Diego in Phoenix.

Wil Myers became the third Padres player to homer three times in a game, but San Diego was blown out in its 16th loss in 21 games.

Paul Goldschmidt, Steven Souza Jr., Alex Avila, Nick Ahmed and Ketel Marte homered for the Diamondbacks in breaking the team scoring record set in an 18-7 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 17, 2014.

Red Sox 15, Royals 4: Andrew Benintendi homered, doubled, walked a career-high four times and scored four runs, and Boston routed the Royals in Kansas City, Missouri.

Mookie Betts had four hits, raising his American League-leading average to .343. Ten Red Sox players had RBIs as they scored a season high in runs. They scored 11 runs after the sixth inning.

Xander Bogaerts had three RBIs for the Red Sox, who have won five straight and 12 of their past 15.

Dodgers 3, Angels 1: Ross Stripling pitched another gem and Justin Turner drove in two runs to lead theDodgers to a win over the Angels in Anaheim, California.

Stripling (7-2) is making a strong case to make the N.L. All-Star team. He allowed just one run and three hits – all by Mike Trout – in six innings. The right-hander struck out seven and walked none, and lowered his ERA to 2.14.

After blowing a save opportunity on Friday night, Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth to earn his 24th save.

The 28-year-old Stripling retired nine of the last 10 batters he faced for the Dodgers, who have won five of their last six games.

Trout went 3 for 3 against Stripling, including a solo home run to left-center field in the sixth inning for his 25th of the season and 50th RBI. Trout, who finished 3 for 4 overall in his 11th three-hit game of the season, is now 5 for 5 with two home runs in his career against Stripling.

Rockies 5, Mariners 1: Noel Cuevas hit a three-run homer in the seventh inning among his three hits to lead visiting Colorado to a win against Seattle.

Carlos Gonzalez added a double and a run-scoring single for the Rockies, who have won five in a row.

Jean Segura homered for the Mariners, who came into the series having won nine of their last 10, but have now lost two in a row.

Seattle starter James Paxton (8-3) lost for the second time in three starts, allowing four runs and seven hits in seven innings. It was the third time in four starts Paxton allowed at least that many runs and hits.

Reliever Scott Oberg (2-0) earned the win by throwing a perfect sixth inning, striking out two.

Twins 5, Orioles 4: Kyle Gibson recovered from a rough start to throw seven innings, and Max Kepler homered in his second straight game to lead Minnesota past Baltimore in Minneapolis.

Bobby Wilson went 2-for-3 with three RBIs for the Twins, who won their third in a row.

Gibson (3-6) allowed three runs in the first inning – including a two-run homer by Chris Davis – but only gave up two hits after that while striking out nine. It was Gibson’s highest strikeout total since fanning 10 batters on April 26 against the New York Yankees.

Cubs 8, Reds 7: Javier Baez homered and had four hits – including a game-tying infield single in the eighth – and the Cubs rallied from a five-run deficit to defeat Cincinnati in Chicago.

Anthony Rizzo’s RBI groundout capped a four-run eighth inning for Chicago, which has come from behind in each of its last eight wins.

Eugenio Suarez homered and Billy Hamilton added three hits and three stolen bases for Cincinnati, which had its five-game winning streak against the Cubs snapped.

Randy Rosario (4-0) allowed two hits in 2 1/3 innings to get the win. Brandon Marrow worked the ninth for his 20th save.

Jared Hughes (2-3) took the loss, part of three Reds relievers who allowed five runs in 2 1/3 innings.

Phillies 3, Pirates 2: Nick Williams, Scott Kingery and Jorge Alfaro drove in runs on consecutive at-bats in the seventh inning to help visiting Philadelphia beat Pittsburgh and extend the first-place Phillies’ winning streak to six games.

Jake Arrieta (6-6) worked around six hits with the help of eight strikeouts to hold the Pirates to two runs over seven innings.

Pirates starter Jameson Taillon (5-7) was charged with all three runs. He had allowed just two singles coming into the seventh. He struck out eight and walked none.

Starling Marte singled and scored in the first and homered in the second as part of a three-hit afternoon to stake the Pirates to an early lead.

Victor Arano worked around a leadoff double in the ninth for his second save.

Cardinals 3, Giants 2: Carlos Martinez pitched seven effective innings for his third consecutive win and St. Louis beat the Giants in San Francisco.

Martinez (6-4) allowed one run on six hits with three strikeouts and did not walk a batter for the third time this season. The right-hander also drove in the Cardinals’ first run with an RBI double in the third.

Jordan Hicks allowed a run in the eighth and Bud Norris retired three batters for his 17th save.

Brandon Belt had three hits and drove in both runs for the Giants. San Francisco has been held to two runs or fewer in five of its last six games.

Jeff Samardzija had an uneven outing in his first start since May 29. Activated off the disabled list before the game, Samardzija (1-5) gave up three runs in five innings and repeatedly pitched with runners on base.

Braves 5, Brewers 1: Anibal Sanchez pitched effectively into the seventh and Freddie Freeman added three hits, lifting slumping Atlanta over the Brewers in Milwaukee.

Sanchez (4-2) retired 19 in a row at one point to help snap Atlanta’s season high four-game skid. He exited with two outs in the seventh after being hit by a liner on his right hip.

Atlanta got to Brewers spot starter Aaron Wilkerson (0-1) early to end Milwaukee’s five-game winning streak. Wilkerson had taken the rotation turn of Brent Suter, who went on the 10-day disabled list with left forearm tightness on Friday.

Tigers 7, Rangers 2: Nicholas Castellanos homered as part of a seven-run first inning for Detroit, and the Tigers cruised past visiting Texas.

Cole Hamels (4-8) retired only two batters for the Rangers in his shortest start since 2010, and Adrian Beltre had a home run taken away when Detroit’s JaCoby Jones made a spectacular catch in left-center field.

Mike Fiers (6-5) allowed a run and five hits in six innings. He struck out six with one walk.

Rougned Odor hit a solo homer for Texas immediately after Beltre was robbed by Jones. Shin-Soo Choo doubled twice for the Rangers to extend his on-base streak to 46 games, tying Julio Franco’s club record set in 1993.

Niko Goodrum had four hits for the Tigers.

Yankees 8, Blue Jays 5: Luis Severino pitched five innings to earn his major league-leading 14th win, Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge each hit solo home runs, and visiting New York beat Toronto.

Severino (14-2) won his fifth straight start, allowing three runs and five hits. Two of the hits were home runs, marking the first time this season that Severino has allowed more than one homer in a game. He has allowed three earned runs or less in 16 consecutive starts.

Jonathan Holder, David Robertson, Dellin Betances each worked one inning and Aroldis Chapman got the first out of the ninth before leaving with an apparent injury. Chasen Shreve finished for New York, giving up a solo homer to Aledmys Diaz.

Rays 3, Mets 0: Blake Snell blanked the Mets over a career-high-tying 7 1/3 innings, Wilson Ramos drove in a pair of runs and visiting Tampa Bay downed New York.

Snell (12-4) struck out nine, scattering six hits and three walks while lowering his ERA to 2.09. The lanky lefty has yielded two runs or fewer in nine of his last 10 starts and is 4-0 with an 0.63 ERA over his last four outings, two against the Astros.

Steven Matz (4-6) continued his recent surge, charged with one run on five hits and three walks in 6 1/3 innings – striking out five. The Long Island native has allowed four earned runs across his last his three starts, a span of 18 2/3 innings.

Sergio Romo pitched a scoreless ninth for his ninth save in 13 chances.

Astros 12, White Sox 6: Yuli Gurriel and Alex Bregman each homered and Charlie Morton won his 11th as Houston beat visiting Chicago for its fifth straight win.

Morton (11-2) allowed five runs and five hits with eight strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. The right-hander has won four of his last five starts.

James Shields (3-10) allowed a season high-tying eight runs on a season-high 10 hits with nine strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings for the White Sox, who have lost four straight. Shields had allowed one run over his prior two starts.

Gurriel, who also had an RBI single in the eighth, hit a three-run homer to left field to increase Houston’s lead to 4-0 in the third inning.

Atletics 6, Indians 3 (11): Stephen Piscotty hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the 11th inning and visiting Oakland held on to defeat Cleveland.

Matt Chapman, who had a career-high four hits, scored later in the frame on Jonathan Lucroy’s grounder to complete the A’s comeback victory and make a winner out of closer Blake Treinen (5-1).

Oakland won for the ninth time in 11 games since June 25 and snapped the Indians’ home winning streak at eight. Josh Tomlin (0-5), who was Cleveland’s sixth pitcher, allowed all three runs in the 11th.

Corey Kluber tossed seven shutout innings, but was denied in his bid to become the first Indians pitcher with 13 wins before the All-Star break since Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry had 15 in 1974.

MLB Roundup: Rick Porcello gets job done on mound, at plate in Red Sox victory

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(PhatzRadio Sports / AP)   —   Rick Porcello hit a three-run double off former teammate Max Scherzer and pitched six effective innings, leading the Boston Red Sox to a 4-3 victory over the Washington Nationals on Monday night in Washington.

Porcello got his first career extra-base hit came in the second inning on a 0-2 pitch after the Nationals intentionally walked Jackie Bradley Jr. Porcello drove Scherzer’s 96-mph fastball over the head of Juan Soto in left center for his first RBIs since 2009.

Scherzer and Porcello were teammates for five seasons with the Detroit Tigers.

Porcello (10-3) allowed two runs and seven hits. Craig Kimbrel got four outs for his 25th save.

Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon and Daniel Murphy homered for the Nationals. Scherzer (10-5) struck out nine in six innings.

Braves 5, Yankees 3 (11): In New York, Ronald Acuna Jr. hit a two-run homer in the 11th inning that nicked the glove of a leaping Aaron Judge in right field, and the Braves beat the Yankees in a matchup between the top teams in each league.

Johan Camargo homered early and Jesse Biddle (2-0) pitched out of a late jam for the N.L. East leaders, who earned their fourth consecutive victory. A.J. Minter got three outs for his fourth save.

The 20-year-old Acuna also doubled and drove in three runs, four years to the day after the touted rookie signed with the Braves.

Judge hit his 23rd homer for the Yankees and second in two nights. David Robertson (5-3) got the loss.

Marlins 3, Rays 2 (10): In Miami, Yadiel Rivera’s infield hit in the 10th inning scored Brian Anderson, lifting Miami to the victory.

Anderson walked against Ryne Stanek (1-2) and took third on a single by J.T. Realmuto. Rivera, who entered as a defensive replacement in the ninth, then pulled a one-hopper up the line.

Third baseman Matt Duffy backhanded the ball and double-clutched in foul territory before making a wild throw home, but the play was ruled a hit.

Tampa Bay has lost 21 one-run games, most in the majors.

Drew Rucinski (3-1) pitched a perfect 10th for the win.

Reds 5, White Sox 3: In Cincinnati, Alex Blandino’s double in the eighth inning completed Cincinnati’s four-run rally in a win over Chicago.

The Reds loaded the bases with one out against Chris Volstad (1-5). Adam Duvall grounded to first baseman Matt Davidson, who was indecisive. He took several steps toward first before throwing home too late to get Scooter Gennett scoring from third base.

Billy Hamilton followed with a sacrifice fly that tied it at 3, and Blandino’s pinch-hit double put the Reds in position for another comeback win. They’ve trailed in seven of their last 10 victories.

Dylan Floro (3-2) retired two in the eighth. Raisel Iglesias pitched the ninth for his 16th save in 18 chances.

Tigers 3, Blue Jays 2: In Toronto, Jose Iglesias hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the 10th inning, and the Tigers earned their second straight victory following a season-long 11-game losing streak, beating Toronto.

Niko Goodrum tripled off Seunghwan Oh (4-3) with one out and scored the winning run when Iglesias followed with a fly ball to right.

Jeimer Candelario had three hits for the Tigers, who won the season series against the Blue Jays for the first time since 2013. Joe Jimenez (4-1) got the win despite giving up the tying run in the ninth.

After Buck Farmer gave up a leadoff single in the 10th, Blaine Hardy finished for his first career save.

Teoscar Hernandez had two hits for Toronto and drove in a run. Ryan Borucki allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings.

Indians 9, Royals 3: In Kansas City, Missouri, Francisco Lindor homered twice and drove in a career-high seven runs, powering Cleveland to the win over Kansas City.

Indians ace Corey Kluber (12-4), who failed to make it out of the second inning in his previous start at St. Louis, allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings.

Lindor belted a grand slam in the fourth and a three-run shot in the sixth.

Whit Merrifield homered on Kluber’s third pitch for his fourth career leadoff home run. Kansas City has lost 23 of their last 28 games.

Royals right-hander Jakob Junis (5-10) was tagged for nine runs, eight earned, and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings.

Rockies 5, Giants 2: In Denver, Kyle Freeland turned in another sizzling start at Coors Field and Colorado scored the go-ahead run in the seventh on a throwing error by shortstop Brandon Crawford.

Freeland (8-6) settled in to go seven strong innings after surrendering a homer to Gorkys Hernandez on the first pitch of the game. It was Freeland’s 12th quality start of the season.

Wade Davis worked his way around a one-out double by Buster Posey in the ninth for his 24th save. He struck out Crawford to end the game.

San Francisco ace Madison Bumgarner (1-3) was charged with three runs, two earned, and seven hits in six-plus innings.

Brewers 6, Twins 5 (10): In Milwaukee, Brad Miller drew a bases-loaded walk with one out in the 10th inning and Milwaukee rallied past Minnesota.

Nate Orf, playing in his first major league game, was hit by a pitch from Zack Littell (0-2) leading off the 10th. Manny Pina followed with a single and Keon Broxton walked.

Pinch-hitter Hernan Perez, hitting against five infielders, hit a grounder to the left side that shortstop Jorge Polanco fielded and fired to the plate to force Orf before Miller got his chance.

Corey Knebel (2-0) pitched a scoreless 10th for the Brewers, who trailed 5-1 after Robbie Grossman blasted his first career grand slam with two outs in the fifth off Milwaukee starter Brent Suter.

The Brewers rallied against Twins closer Fernando Rodney in the ninth to tie it.

Cardinals 6, Diamondbacks 3: In Phoenix, Yadier Molina homered, Carlos Martinez pitched six effective innings and the Cardinals ended a four-game losing streak by beating Arizona.

Molina hit a two-run single in the Cardinals’ four-run first inning against Robbie Ray (3-1) and hit his 12th homer off the left-hander in the sixth.

Jedd Gyorko also homered and had two RBIs to end Ray’s nine-game winning streak, dating to last season.

Martinez (5-4) allowed two runs and six hits. Bud Norris worked a perfect ninth for his 16th save.

Paul Goldschmidt had four hits and an RBI for the Diamondbacks, who have lost four straight.

Dodgers 17, Pirates 1: In Los Angeles, Matt Kemp tied a career high with five hits, Joc Pederson and Max Muncy hit back-to-back homers to highlight a six-run fourth inning, and Los Angeles routed Pittsburgh.

Kemp hit a three-run homer in the sixth and drove in four runs for the second straight game. He came up a triple shy of hitting for the cycle.

Fans chanted “MVP! MVP!” as Kemp crossed the plate after his 15th homer of the season. The veteran slugger is the second-leading vote getter among National League outfielders for the All-Star Game. Kemp also scored four runs.

Cody Bellinger homered in the third, leaving the Dodgers with 116 homers this season after they slugged a major league-leading and franchise record 55 in June. They already have five long balls two days into July.

MLB Roundup: Houston Astros edge Tampa Bay Rays 1-0 for 11th straight road victory

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(PhatzRadio Sports / AP)   —   ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Lance McCullers pitched seven strong innings, Jake Marisnick homered and the Houston Astros beat the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0 on Thursday night to tie a franchise record with their 11th straight road win.

McCullers (9-3) gave up three hits while striking out seven. The Astros have won his last six starts and have won 18 of 21 overall. Their 11th straight road win matched the club record set last May 14-June 5 on the way to winning the franchise’s first World Series title.

The Rays, who had won five straight overall and eight straight at home, had runners on first and third with none out in the eighth against reliever Chris Devenski, but Matt Duffy lined into a double play and Jake Bauers grounded out.

Hector Rondon pitched the ninth for his fifth save in seven opportunities.

Marisnick’s homer in the fifth came off Ryan Yarbrough (7-4) and was his seventh of the season. It ended the Rays’ streak of 26 scoreless innings, the second-longest in franchise history.

Red Sox 4, Angels 2: At Boston, Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a two-run homer and Rafael Devers had a solo shot to help Boston beat Los Angeles.

Boston completed a season sweep of the Angels for the first time since they joined the American League as an expansion club in 1961.

The Red Sox have won four straight and six of seven as they head to New York to open three-game series between the rivals on Friday night with first place in the AL East on the line.

Hector Velazquez (6-0) pitched two scoreless innings of relief. Craig Kimbrel earned his 24th save with a scoreless ninth inning.

Andrelton Simmons hit a solo homer and Albert Pujols had an RBI single for the Angels, who have lost six straight. Los Angeles was up 1-0 until Devers led off the fifth with his 13th homer, to center off of Jamie Barria (5-4).

Dodgers 11, Cubs 5: At Los Angeles, Anthony Rizzo’s three-run double and Addison Russell’s two-run homer highlighted a seven-run seventh inning as Chicago broke loose after Los Angeles starter Clayton Kershaw exited.

The Cubs pounded out 15 hits, including four by Rizzo. Russell drove in four runs in the final regular-season meeting between the teams that played each other in the NL Championship Series the last two years.

They met seven times in 10 days, with the Cubs winning four games over the two series.

The Dodgers staked Kershaw to a 3-1 lead before he departed after five innings because of a pitch limit.

The Cubs jumped on reliever Walker Buehler (4-2), who arrived earlier in the morning from Triple-A Oklahoma City, where he had been set for a rehab assignment. Albert Almora Jr. homered on Buehler’s second pitch and Russell’s sacrifice fly tied it at 3 in the sixth.

Steve Cishek (2-0) got the win with 1 2/3 innings of relief.

Rockies 9, Giants 8: At San Francisco, DJ LeMahieu hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning and set a career best with five RBIs, rallying Colorado past San Francisco.

Nolan Arenado hit his 19th home run, tying him for the NL lead with Washington’s Bryce Harper. Trevor Story added three hits for Colorado, which had lost four straight at San Francisco.

The Rockies blew leads of 5-2 and 7-5 and were down 8-7 before scoring twice off closer Sam Dyson (2-2) to avoid a series sweep.

Adam Ottavino (4-1) gave up two runs but retired three batters to win. Wade Davis pitched the ninth for his 22nd save.

Diamondbacks 4, Marlins 0: At Miami, Zack Greinke pitched seven innings and was an offensive dynamo, too, helping Arizona beat Miami.

Greinke singled twice, drove in a run, stole a base and scored. He leads Arizona pitchers this year with four RBIs and four runs, raised his season average to .300, and is now 7 for 7 lifetime in steal attempts.

As for pitching, Greinke (8-5) won for the fifth time in his past six starts.

Paul Goldschmidt continued his recent tear with three hits, and Nick Ahmed added two hits. Each scored and drove in a run.

Trevor Richards (2-5) allowed three runs in four innings. Miami rookie Brian Anderson went 0 for 4 to end his 24-game on-base streak, which had been the longest active string in the National League.

Phillies 4, Nationals 3: At Philadelphia, Aaron Nola pitched into the eighth inning to win his 10th game of the season, Rhys Hoskins homered again and Philadelphia started a pivotal division series by beating Washington.

Hoskins hit a two-run shot in the seventh inning for his 13th home run of the year and a 4-1 lead that propelled the Phillies within two games of idle Atlanta for first place the NL East. Both the Phillies and Nationals entered this four-game set within striking distance of the Braves.

Nola (10-2) struck out eight and walked only two over 114 pitches and 7 2/3 innings. He has won seven straight decisions at home dating to last season.

Tommy Hunter allowed two runs in the ninth before Seranthony Dominguez got the final two outs for his sixth save.

Tanner Roark (3-9) struck out five over seven innings for the Nationals, who fell to 4-12 since June 9.

Brewers 6, Reds 4: At Cincinnati, Eric Thames hit a three-run homer in the seventh inning and Milwaukee slowed Cincinnati’s best surge of the season.

The game included a benches-clearing incident in the third inning as Cincinnati’s Joey Votto exchanged words with Brewers catcher Erik Kratz.

Thames gave the Brewers a 5-4 lead when he homered in the seventh inning off reliever Amir Garrett (0-1).

Eric Sogard added a sacrifice fly in the ninth.

Junior Guerra (4-5) gave up Jose Peraza’s second career leadoff homer and Jesse Winker’s two-run shot while getting his first victory since May 14. Corey Knebel pitched the ninth for his eighth save.

The last-place Reds were the hottest team in the NL Central heading into the game, winning nine of their last 10 games.

Mariners 4, Orioles 2: At Baltimore, Nelson Cruz homered and drove in three runs, and Seattle utilized two errors in the 10th inning to complete their first four-game sweep at Baltimore in franchise history.

The Mariners improved to 8-0 in extra innings this season. They prevailed in 11 innings on Wednesday, and won the four games at Camden Yards by a total of six runs.

Manny Machado and Chris Davis hit solo homers for Baltimore.

Dee Gordon beat out an infield hit off Miguel Castro (2-4) in the 10th and scored when center fielder Colby Rasmus bobbled Jean Segura’s single. A throwing error by third baseman Steve Wilkerson and an RBI single by Cruz followed.

Juan Nicasio got three straight outs in the 10th for his first save.

James Pazos (2-1) worked the ninth for Seattle.

Athletics 4, Tigers 2: At Detroit, Jed Lowrie had two more hits, Sean Manaea pitched six strong innings and Oakland beat Detroit to sweep the four-game series.

Lowrie went 9 for 17 (.529) with two homers and three doubles in the set, driving in at least one run in all four games.

The A’s went 8-2 on their three-city road trip and have won 10 of 12 overall.

Detroit lost its ninth straight. The Tigers haven’t lost 10 in a row since their 119-loss season in 2003.

Manaea (8-6) won his third straight start, allowing two runs on five hits and a walk.

Michael Fulmer (3-7) gave four runs and nine hits. He is 1-3 in his past six starts.

Twins 2, White Sox 1 (13): At Chicago, Max Kepler drew a two-out walk with the bases loaded in the 13th inning to push Minnesota past Chicago.

The Twins pushed across the go-ahead run after Logan Morrison doubled off left fielder Charlie Tilson’s glove with two outs. Hector Santiago (2-3), the sixth White Sox reliever, intentionally walked Ehire Adrianza before walking Jake Cave and Kepler.

Alan Busenitz (2-0), the Twins’ sixth reliever, pitched 1 2/3 innings for the win.

Minnesota bounced back after the White Sox tied it with two outs in the bottom of the ninth when closer Fernando Rodney walked pinch-hitter Daniel Palka on four pitches to force in a run.

CFB: The 10 best quarterbacks in college football

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(PhatzRadio Sports / USA TODAY SPORTS)   —   College football is almost here. USA TODAY Sports is getting you ready for the 2018 season by breaking down the best players at each position in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

First up: the quarterbacks. There’s a power vacuum atop the list after five of college football’s biggest stars went in the first round of the recent NFL draft. But there’s talent waiting in the wings, including several starters who will enter this season at or near the top of most Heisman Trophy lists.

From the Atlantic Coast Conference to the Pac-12 Conference and all points in between, here are the best quarterbacks in college football for 2018.

1. Trace McSorley, Penn State

McSorley will get his chance to shine as a solo artist without Saquon Barkley owning the spotlight in Penn State’s quarterback-friendly scheme. He’ll respond well to the challenge. Much like Baker Mayfield, McSorley combines top-level awareness, underrated athleticism and an impeccable grasp of his team’s offense in an undersized package. But also like Mayfield, he possesses a drive you can’t measure in yards, touchdowns or inches.

2. McKenzie Milton, Central Florida

How UCF fares as a team in the transition from Scott Frost to Josh Heupel is one of college football’s most intriguing story lines heading into September. One thing is sure, however: Milton’s going to put up numbers. The best quarterback on the Group of Five level and an outstanding fit for the Knights’ system — which will look slightly different under Heupel — Milton is a true Heisman contender coming out of the American Athletic Conference.

3. Ryan Finley, North Carolina State

Finley has what the NFL is looking for: intelligence, experience, a strong arm and familiarity with a pro-tempo system. That he protects the football as well as any quarterback in the country is a plus. He could stand to add some weight, but Finley has the ability and the accompanying skill talent to play his way into an All-America selection.

4. Will Grier, West Virginia

What’s most intriguing about Grier is his clear room for improvement. Not that he’s not already among the elite at his position: Grier threw for 3,490 yards and 34 scores in 2017, his first as the Mountaineers’ starter. It’s more about the idea that he’s only now scratching the surface of his potential. Remember that he played in just six games at Florida before stepping into Dana Holgorsen’s offense a year ago. He could explode as a senior.

5. Jarrett Stidham, Auburn

It’s no coincidence that Auburn is nearly unbeatable when Stidham has room to operate. As he goes, so go the Tigers. Like Grier, there’s enormous reason for optimism: Stidham got his feet wet as a freshman at Baylor in 2015 and had his down moments for Auburn in 2017, with the byproduct of this experience almost inevitably a push for all-conference and national recognition.

6. Justin Herbert, Oregon

It would be great to see Herbert for one full and healthy season before he shuttles off to the NFL. What we’ve seen so far are spurts of genius mitigated by the not-unexpected brushes with inefficiency and ineffectiveness. But this is also true: Oregon is garbage without Herbert and a potential top-25 team with the junior in the lineup. If healthy, Herbert will prove in 2018 why NFL scouts are already enamored with the local product’s arm, touch and smarts.

7. Drew Lock, Missouri

On one hand, Lock led the nation with 44 touchdowns a year ago. On the other, 18 of those scores came in games against the powerhouse defenses at Southwest Missouri State, Idaho and Connecticut. He completed 52 percent of his attempts with 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions against winning FBS competition. He hit on 63 percent of his throws on 10.7 yards per attempt with 26 scores against losing teams. So what’s the story? That Lock can pitch it as well as anyone but must also show up and perform at a higher level against the elite opponents on the Tigers’ schedule. The same can be said of Missouri as a whole, obviously.

8. Khalil Tate, Arizona

Tate took college football by storm after moving into the starting lineup one month into last season. His October — a stretch that began with an all-timer performance against Colorado — cemented his place in the Heisman conversation, and also overshadowed a significant decline in production during Arizona’s 1-4 close to the Rich Rodriguez era. The Wildcats’ new coach, Kevin Sumlin, brings along an offense suited to Tate’s skill set; Sumlin’s scheme will play to his dual-threat gifts, a thought that should wobble the knees of opposing Pac-12 defensive coordinators. The strides Tate has made as a passer this offseason will determine whether or not he factors into the end-of-year award mix.

9. Jake Fromm, Georgia

The best is still to come for Fromm, though it’s hard to overestimate the importance of his spending an entire offseason as the Bulldogs’ unquestioned starter. He’ll be better in 2018: more confident, more under control, savvier in the face of SEC defenses. Then again, he’ll have more on his plate as Georgia breaks in a new backfield and a new starter at left tackle. Fromm seems up to the challenge of becoming the face of the Bulldogs’ offense.

10. Jake Browning, Washington

It was just two seasons ago that Browning tossed 43 touchdowns and finished sixth in the Heisman voting. In comparison, that made his 2017 season a disappointment — even as Browning significantly increased his completion percentage and maintained a healthy per-attempt average. He could use some help from a receivers corps that must develop at least one additional deep threat. But the advantage of spending the past three seasons as Chris Petersen’s starter can’t be overlooked.

FIVE JUST OFF THE LIST

Jake Bentley, South Carolina

Alex Hornibrook, Wisconsin

Kyler Murray, Oklahoma

Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama

Clayton Thorson, Northwestern

MLB Roundup: Blake Snell flirts with no-hitter, pitches Rays past Nationals

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(PhatzRadio Sports / AP)   —   Blake Snell took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, Kevin Kiermaier hit a grand slam and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Washington Nationals 11-0 on Monday night in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Wilson Ramos homered twice and rookie Jake Bauers had four hits in the Rays’ fourth straight win.

Snell (10-4) walked Trea Turner and Bryce Harper to open the game before retiring 18 straight, striking out five straight at one point. Anthony Rendon doubled leading off the seventh for the first of Washington’s two hits.

Kiermaier’s first home run of the season came during a six-run second inning against Gio Gonzalez (6-5).

It was the eighth loss in 11 games for the Nationals.

Yankees 4, Phillies 2: In Philadelphia, Jonathan Loaisiga took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, Aaron Judge ripped his 20th homer and the Yankees snapped a three-game losing streak.

Loaisiga (2-0) didn’t allow a hit until Jorge Alfaro lined a single to right leading off the sixth. He struck out eight in 5 1/3 innings in his third start after jumping from Double-A to the majors.

Philadelphia’s Vince Velasquez (5-8) allowed two runs and three hits in six innings.

Aroldis Chapman got four outs for his 23rd save in 24 tries.

Athletics 5, Tigers 4: In Detroit, Jed Lowrie hit a tiebreaking solo homer in the top of the ninth inning to lift Oakland over Detroit on a historic day for Edwin Jackson.

Jackson allowed a run and six hits in six innings in his first appearance for the A’s, tying a record by playing for his 13th major league team. Called up from Triple-A, the 34-year-old righty matched the mark for most clubs set by former reliever Octavio Dotel.

The A’s trailed 4-1 after Nicholas Castellanos hit a three-run homer in the seventh, but Oakland scored three in the eighth off Joe Jimenez. Then Lowrie connected for his 12th homer, barely fair down the line in right field off Shane Greene (2-4).

Lou Trivino (6-1) got the win in relief, and Blake Treinen pitched the ninth for his 18th save in 20 chances. The A’s have won seven of nine.

Mariners 5, Orioles 3: In Baltimore, Dee Gordon’s slick seventh-inning bunt was the lone hit in a two-run uprising that put Seattle ahead for good, and the Mariners beat the Orioles for just their second win in eight games.

Denard Span homered for the Mariners, who benefited from 10 walks and a pivotal wild pitch to get back on track.

Felix Hernandez (7-6) allowed three runs on four hits over six innings, and Edwin Diaz worked the ninth for his major league-leading 28th save.

Jonathan Schoop homered and had two RBIs for the Orioles. Miguel Castro (2-3) got the loss.

Marlins 9, Diamondbacks 5: In Miami, Brian Anderson and Cameron Maybin each drove in two runs, helping Miami spoil Shelby Miller’s return to the mound after missing over a year for Tommy John surgery.

Dan Straily (3-3) allowed three runs in 6 1/3 innings for the Marlins, who have won three in a row. Justin Bour hit his 13th homer.

Miller (0-1) made his first start since April 23, 2017. He gave up six hits and five runs in 3 2/3 innings.

Pirates 6, Mets 4: In New York, Josh Bell hit a two-run homer, Gregory Polanco also went deep and the Pirates took advantage of some dreadful defense by the Mets to snap a five-game losing streak.

In a series opener between tumbling teams, Pittsburgh built a five-run lead and held on to hand the Mets their seventh straight defeat before a mostly quiet crowd of 22,135. New York is 6-24 in its last 30 games.

Pittsburgh’s Jameson Taillon (5-6) allowed two runs in six-plus innings. Felipe Vazquez struck out the side for his 15th save.

Two errors in the first three innings by rookie third baseman Luis Guillorme – touted as a slick fielder – led directly to a pair of unearned runs against Mets starter Seth Lugo (2-3).

Royals 2, Angels 0: In Kansas City, Missouri, Brad Keller pitched seven innings of two-hit ball, helping the Royals beat the Angels in the makeup of a game that was frozen out in April.

Kevin McCarthy struck out Chris Young and retired Ian Kinsler to strand a runner on third base in the eighth, and Wily Peralta ended the three-hitter by working around Albert Pujols’ single in the ninth. It was the first save for the longtime starter in 136 career big league games.

Keller (2-2) struck out six and walked two in his fifth career big league start. Lucas Duda and Rosell Herrera each drove in a run for Kansas City.

Angels left-hander Tyler Skaggs (6-5), who was scratched from his start last week with right hamstring tightness, allowed one run in seven innings.

Blue Jays 6, Astros 3: In Houston, Toronto’s Curtis Granderson homered in consecutive at-bats against Justin Verlander, and Randal Grichuk added a two-run shot and a huge defensive play.

Granderson’s leadoff shot in the fifth tied it at 3. He connected again with two out in the seventh, belting an opposite-field drive off Verlander (9-3).

Grichuk’s soaring home run came against Will Harris and made it 6-3 with two out in the eighth.

Grichuk then reached over the short wall in right field to rob George Springer of a homer with two on and no outs in the ninth.

Toronto’s J.A. Happ (10-3) got his sixth straight win. Seung-hwan Oh worked the ninth for his second save.

Rangers 7, Padres 4: In Arlington, Texas, Shin-Soo Choo extended his career-best on-base streak to 38 games with three hits, including the tiebreaking RBI single in Texas’ strange five-run outburst.

Robinson Chirinos had two hits and two RBIs for Texas, which has won eight of its last nine games. Tony Barnette (2-0) got the win, and Keone Kela worked the ninth for his 19th save in 19 chances.

All five Rangers runs in the decisive sixth inning came after it appeared that Chirinos had struck out for the second out with two runners on base. It looked as if Austin Hedges had the ball secured in his mitt that kicked up the dirt when he reached down.

Umpire Tony Randazzo initially indicated Chirinos was out. But that was changed to a foul ball after a discussion among all four umpires, and Chirinos lined an RBI single on the next pitch by Craig Stammen (4-1).

Cardinals 4, Indians 0: In St. Louis, spot starter John Gant pitched one-hit ball over a career-high seven innings, Marcell Ozuna hit a two-run double and St. Louis beat Cleveland.

It was the third consecutive win for the Cardinals and the 10,000th regular season victory for the franchise. St. Louis joined the Braves, Cubs, Giants, Pirates and Dodgers among N.L. teams to reach the milestone.

Cleveland had won seven straight. Mike Clevinger (6-3) allowed two runs over five innings, and the Indians had just four hits.

Gant (2-2) started in place of Michael Wacha, who went on the disabled list last week with an oblique strain. He allowed only an infield single to Yan Gomes that hit third base in the third inning. He walked five and struck out four. It was his first win in three starts this season.

Dodgers 2, Cubs 1: In Los Angeles, Kenta Maeda pitched seven scoreless innings, Enrique Hernandez homered again and Los Angeles beat Chicago.

Maeda (5-4) struck out nine and allowed three singles, helping the Dodgers improved to 16-5 in June.

Kenley Jansen gave up deep a sacrifice fly to Javier Baez in the ninth inning before closing out the Cubs for his 20th save.

Chicago lost its fifth straight after getting swept over four games at Cincinnati. The Cubs have scored a combined 13 runs over their past five games.

Hernandez also went deep twice Sunday. He has a career-high 13 home runs, surpassing his 12 from 2017.

Braves 5, Reds 4 (11): In Atlanta, Ozzie Albies hit a tiebreaking homer in the 11th inning off Dylan Floro and Atlanta snapped Cincinnati’s seven-game winning streak.

Albies knocked Floro’s first pitch, a changeup, into the right-field seats. Albies doubled twice and scored two runs before hitting Atlanta’s fifth game-ending homer this season.

Rain delayed the start of the game by 1 hour, 20 minutes.

The N.L. East-leading Braves have won eight of 12. They improved to 2-8 in extra innings.

MLB Roundup: Cody Bellinger’s grand slam lifts Dodgers over Mets for 5-2 win

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(PhatzRadio Sports / AP)   —   NEW YORK – Cody Bellinger hit a grand slam to break a scoreless tie in the sixth inning and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the sinking New York Mets 5-2 on Friday night behind Alex Wood’s effective pitching.

Yasiel Puig added a solo home run in the ninth, and the defending NL champions won their 10th straight against the Mets dating to May 2016. Los Angeles has outscored New York 75-20 in those games, winning each of the past eight by at least three runs – a first in Dodgers history against any opponent, according to STATS.

Wood (3-5) outdueled Zack Wheeler (2-6), allowing two runs and six hits in six innings to win his second consecutive start. The left-hander with the funky delivery struck out seven and walked one.

Kenley Jansen fanned two in a perfect ninth for his 19th save.

New York wasted a dazzling catch by center fielder Michael Conforto that saved a run in the third. After starting the season 11-1, the Mets lost for the 21st time in 27 games to fall a season-worst 11 games under .500.

Red Sox 14, Mariners 10: At Boston, J.D. Martinez homered and drove in five, and Boston rallied from a five-run deficit to beat Seattle despite a monster game from Nelson Cruz.

Cruz had a pair of three-run homers and drove in seven, but the Mariners still lost their season-worst fifth straight game, including three earlier this week at Yankee Stadium. Seattle led 4-0 and 10-5 before a wild Red Sox rally fueled by RBIs from eight different players.

Martinez went 4 for 5, including a two-run homer in the sixth and two doubles.

Reliever Matt Barnes (1-2) got the win with one scoreless inning. Juan Nicasio (1-4) took the loss, allowing five runs on four hits in one-third of a lousy seventh inning.

The only flaw to the second half of the game for Boston: shortstop Xander Bogaerts left in the seventh with a sprained index finger on his left hand.

Orioles 10, Braves 7 (15): At Atlanta, Manny Machado hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the 15th inning after each team staged dramatic ninth-inning rallies.

The Braves surrendered six runs in the ninth, and then scored four times in the bottom of the inning.

Peter Moylan, Atlanta’s eighth pitcher, hit Craig Gentry to open the 15th. Gentry moved to second on Austin Wynns’ sacrifice.

With first base open, the Braves pitched to Machado and the slugger lined his 19th homer into the Orioles’ bullpen. Moylan (0-1) gave up another run on singles by Colby Rasmus and Jonathan Schoop.

Mike Wright Jr. (1-0), Baltimore’s seventh pitcher, threw two scoreless innings.

Reds 6, Cubs 3: At Cincinnati, Eugenio Suarez hit a go-ahead homer off Jose Quintana in the fifth inning, and Cincinnati held on for its fifth straight victory.

The Reds have won the first two games in the series, a recent rarity in the rivalry. It’s only the second time in the last two years that they’ve won back-to-back games in a series against the Cubs. Chicago is 43-21 against Cincinnati over the last four seasons.

Suarez’s two-run shot in the fifth inning off Quintana (6-6) gave him a team-high 16 homers and put the Reds ahead 4-3.

Javier Baez drove in a run with a bunt single off Luis Castillo (5-8), and Kyle Schwarber followed with a two-run homer, his third in four games. Castillo went 5 2/3 innings for his first victory since May 24, ending a streak of four straight losses.

Raisel Iglesias retired the side in the ninth for his 12th save in 14 chances.

Brewers 2, Cardinals 1: At Milwaukee, Jesus Aguilar homered to break up rookie Jack Flaherty’s no-hit bid in the seventh inning, then homered again in the ninth to lift Milwaukee over St. Louis.

Both teams got just three hits. The benches and bullpens briefly cleared in the eighth after Eric Sogard slid into St. Louis shortstop Yairo Munoz, who caught a wide throw on a bunt play in the eighth.

Cardinals reliever Bud Norris (3-2) started the ninth by striking out Travis Shaw. Aguilar followed with a drive an opposite-field drive to right for his 16th home run.

Corey Knebel (1-0) pitched the ninth for the NL Central leaders.

Phillies 12, Nationals 2: At Washington, Odubel Herrera homered for the fifth straight game and finished with four hits, helping Philadelphia rout Washington.

Herrera hit a tiebreaking two-run shot in the third for his 13th homer, matching the club record for consecutive games with a long ball. He has connected in six of his last seven overall.

Herrera is hitting .472 (17 for 36) with six homers, 11 runs and 10 RBIs in his last eight games.

Carlos Santana homered and drove in four runs for Philadelphia, which has won five of six. Santana delivered a two-run single in the first, a two-run homer in the sixth and walked twice.

Zach Eflin (5-2) allowed baserunners in every inning except the first, but limited the damage to two runs over five innings to win his fourth straight start.

Washington’s Tanner Roark (3-8) gave up six runs in 4 1/3 innings.

Rays 2, Yankees 1: St. Petersburg, Florida, Six Tampa Bay pitchers combined on a five-hitter, and Tampa Bay beat New York.

Utilizing a bullpen day, the Rays improved to 14-31 against teams with a .500 or better record with the victory over the team with the majors’ best record.

Winner Ryan Yarbrough (6-3) entered in the second and allowed one hit in 3 1/3 scoreless innings. Sergio Romo worked the ninth for his fifth save in nine chances.

Willy Adames put the Rays ahead 1-0 with a run-scoring single off CC Sabathia (4-3) in the fourth. Sabathia allowed two runs and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings.

Angels 2, Blue Jays 1: At Anaheim, Andrew Heaney (4-5) pitched seven solid innings in another quality start, allowing just one run and nine hits. The left-hander has gone at least seven innings in three of his last four starts.

The Angels got on the scoreboard with a two-run first inning, giving Heaney all the support he would need. Justin Upton drew a two-out walk and Albert Pujols doubled him in. Luis Valbuena singled in Pujols from second to give the Angels a 2-0 lead.

Cam Bedrosian threw a perfect eighth in relief, and Blake Parker pitched a perfect ninth to earn his ninth save.

Marco Estrada (4-7) had a fine start, too. He allowed just two earned runs and three hits in seven innings and struck out seven.

Rangers 8, Twins 1: At Minneapolis, Mike Minor threw six solid innings, Shin-Soo Choo homered and Texas beat Minnesota for its sixth consecutive victory.

Bouncing back from a rough May, Minor (5-4) has thrown three straight quality starts for the first time since throwing six straight in 2014 for Atlanta. He allowed one run and three hits, lowering his ERA for June to 2.84.

Choo’s two-run shot off Fernando Romero (3-3) made it 4-0 in the fifth. It was his second homer on Texas’ six-game road trip.

Minor faced the minimum number of batters through five innings despite a first-inning single by Brian Dozier to deep left. Dozier tried to stretch for second, but Joey Gallo had a good jump and easily threw him out to end the inning.

Diamondbacks 2, Pirates 1 (13): At Pittsburgh, Ketel Marte’s two-out single in the 13th inning led Arizona to a victory over Pittsburgh.

Marte’s liner into center field off Tyler Glasnow (1-2) scored Jon Jay from second base as the NL West-leading Diamondbacks won for the fourth time in five games. Jay walked to start the rally, then advanced to second on a two-out wild pitch before Marte followed an intentional walk to David Peralta with his winning hit.

Andrew Chafin (1-0) pitched one scoreless inning for the win, and T.J. McFarland notched the first save of his six-year career with a perfect 13th.

The game was scoreless until both teams scored an unearned run in the 11th following a pitcher’s duel between Arizona’s Patrick Corbin and Pittsburgh’s Ivan Nova.

Royals 1, Astros 0: At Houston, Rookie Rosell Herrera kept the game scoreless with a home-run robbery in the eighth inning and hit an RBI triple in the ninth, and struggling Kansas City beat Houston.

Herrera helped the Royals end a nine-game skid by bringing back Alex Bregman’s would-be homer. The right fielder reached over the short outfield wall to snag the first out in the eighth.

Adalberto Mondesi then singled off Ken Giles (0-2) to start the ninth, stole second and took third on a flyout by Whit Merrifield. Herrera then sent a ball to center field to score Mondesi and make it 1-0.

Danny Duffy pitched six innings of two-hit ball for the Royals, and the bullpen didn’t allow another knock. Justin Grimm (1-2) pitched a scoreless eighth and Tim Hill threw a perfect ninth for his first save.

Rockies 11, Marlins 3: At Denver, Jon Gray struck out 12 in seven dominant innings, Nolan Arenado homered in a six-run fourth, and Colorado won its fourth in a row by beating Miami.

It was Gray’s 12th career 10-plus strikeout game and the fourth this season. He had at least two strikeouts in five of his innings, including striking out the side in the sixth. Gray (7-7) walked none and withstood a solo homer in the third by Derek Dietrich, who drove a 2-0 pitch the opposite way into the left-field bleachers.

Arenado had three hits, including his team-leading 17th homer, a two-run drive. Tom Murphy had two doubles among his three hits and two RBIs.

Wei-Yin Chen (2-4) matched Gray through three innings, but then ran into trouble in the fourth – some of it not of his own doing. Second baseman Starlin Castro bobbled the ball after getting a relay throw, allowing Ian Desmond to score from third with the first of the Rockies’ six runs in the inning.

Indians 10, Tigers 0: At Cleveland, Rookie Shane Bieber struck out nine in a career-high seven innings, Yonder Alonso hit a grand slam and Cleveland beat Detroit for its fifth straight victory.

Edwin Encarnacion also connected for Cleveland, which leads second-place Detroit by six games in the AL Central. Encarnacion finished with three RBIs, and Francisco Lindor added a solo shot.

The 23-year-old Bieber (2-0) allowed four hits and walked one in his third major league start. The Tigers only pushed two runners past first base in his 97-pitch gem, stranding them both at third.

Bieber became the third Indians pitcher with six or more strikeouts in his first three big league appearances, joining Herb Score (eight in 1955) and Luis Tiant (three in 1964).

Tigers right-hander Mike Fiers (5-4) surrendered four runs in five innings. He has one win in his last seven starts.

Padres 6, Giants 2: At San Francisco, Clayton Richard (7-6) pitched three-hit ball over six innings for his fourth consecutive win. He retired 17 straight during one stretch, allowed only two runners past second base and struck out four.

Eric Hosmer and Manuel Margot each had two hits and two RBIs as the Padres snapped a five-game skid. Travis Jankowski and Cory Spangenberg added two hits apiece.

Padres manager Andy Green used three relievers to get out of the seventh. Kirby Yates allowed a leadoff single in the eighth before setting down the next three. Brad Hand retired all three batters he faced in the ninth.

Chris Stratton (8-5) allowed three runs and nine hits in six innings.

Athletics 11-4, White Sox 2-6: At Chicago, Lucas Giolito (5-7) pitched into the eighth inning before Xavier Cedeno worked out of a jam, and Chicago snapped an eight-game losing streak by beating Oakland to salvage a doubleheader split.

The White Sox bounced back after getting pounded behind a pair of three-run homers by Franklin Barreto in the first game. They stopped their worst skid since a nine-game rut last July and ended Oakland’s season-high win streak at five.

Joakim Soria retired all three batters in the ninth for his 11th save in 13 opportunities. Chris Bassitt (0-3) got tagged for five runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings in the late game.

Barreto connected against James Shields (2-9) to cap a four-run second inning and off Luis Avilan in the eighth. Oakland’s Sean Manaea (7-6) went seven innings, allowing one run and five hits.

MLB Roundup: Astros win 11th straight, beating Royals to finish trip 10-0

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(PhatzRadio Sports / AP)   —   KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Carlos Correa and the Houston Astros won their 11th straight game, finishing off a 10-0 trip by rallying past the Kansas City Royals 7-4 on Sunday.

The World Series champion Astros swept their swing through Texas, Oakland and Kansas City, outscoring opponents 74-35. Last season, Houston had an 11-game winning streak end in Kansas City. This time, the Astros trailed 4-3 in the eighth inning before Correa led off with a tying homer. Evan Gattis, who had three hits, then put them ahead during a three-run burst.

Correa has three home runs and eight RBIs in six games after missing four games with discomfort in his right side. He had a first-inning single and added a sacrifice fly in the ninth.

Gattis hit .366 with five home runs and 19 RBIs on the Astros’ trip. He singled home Yuli Gurriel in the eighth, and Marvin Gonzalez added an RBI single in the inning.

The Royals have lost six straight and 12 of 13. They have dropped 26 of 36 home games.

Brandon Maurer (0-3) took the loss, facing two batters and having both score. Tony Sipp (2-0) picked up the victory. Hector Rondon closed for his fourh save.

Rays 3, Yankees 1

NEW YORK – Wilmer Font held the high-scoring Yankees in check in the latest Tampa Bay game “started” by a reliever, and the Rays held off New York to avoid a sweep.

Matt Duffy drove in two runs with a second-inning single for his first multi-RBI game in over a month. Carlos Gomez had an RBI double as Tampa Bay scored all three runs in the second against CC Sabathia (4-2).

Tampa Bay beat New York for the first time this season. The Yankees opened the season with five straight wins, outscoring the Rays 31-10 over the games, and was trying for a four-game sweep.

Font turned in his best performance of the year in any role, allowing just one run in 4 2-3 innings with five strikeouts. Tampa Bay used a reliever to open for the 15th time in 29 games. Entering the day, relievers working as starters had allowed 13 earned runs in 18 innings.

Chaz Roe (1-1) pitched two scoreless innings for the victory. Sergio Romo, who has also drawn five starts this season, closed for his third save.

Aaron Hicks homered off Font in the fifth – it was actually the second homer of the day. Hours earlier, the Yankees held the 72nd Old-Timers’ Day and Nick Swisher hit a long drive to right field. Hall of Famers Whitey Ford and Reggie Jackson were joined by the likes of Don Larsen, Willie Randolph, Andy Pettitte and Jason Giambi. Current New York manager Aaron Boone took part for the first time.

Mets 5, Diamondbacks 3

PHOENIX – Brandon Nimmo and Asdrubal Cabrera homered off Brad Boxberger in a four-run ninth inning and New York rallied to beat Arizona.

The Diamondbacks led 3-1 entering the ninth and Boxberger (1-3), with his third blown save in 20 tries, struck out the first two batters.

Jose Reyes reached on a bunt single and scored on Jose Bautista’s pinch-hit double to cut the lead to 3-1. Nimmo, who doubled and scored in the first inning, followed with a two-run shot to right field to put New York ahead 4-3 and Cabrera’s solo shot made it 5-3.

The Mets split the four-game series in Arizona and won consecutive games for the first time since May 20-21. The Diamondbacks were 4-3 on the homestand.

Jeurys Familia (3-3), just off the disabled list, allowed a run in an inning of relief to get the victory. Robert Gsellman pitched the ninth for his third save in seven tries.

Rangers 13, Rockies 12

ARLINGTON, Texas – Jose Trevino blooped a two-run single, capping a four-run rally in the ninth inning that sent Texas past Colorado.

Rockies closer Wade Davis (0-2) retired only one batter while walking four and allowing singles to Rougned Odor and Trevino. A rookie catcher, Trevino entered his third major league game in the top of the ninth. He is 2 for 8 for Texas, including a tying single in Saturday’s 5-2 victory.

Colorado took a 5-1 lead in the seesaw game. The Rangers scored five runs to take a 6-5 lead in the sixth, including Jurickson Profar’s three-run homer off starter Jon Gray.

The Rockies responded with a five-run seventh to go ahead 10-6. Colorado’s Gerardo Parra drove in four runs, three on a bases-clearing double in the seventh.

Texas pulled to 10-9 with three runs in the seventh. Trevor Story hit a two-run homer in the Colorado ninth against Jesse Chavez (3-1).

Red Sox 9, Mariners 3

SEATTLE – Rafael Devers, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Xander Bogaerts homered to help Boston rout Seattle.

Devers’ 11th homer of the season capped a five-run, two-out rally in the third against Seattle starter Mike Leake (7-4).

The Red Sox pulled away in the seventh against right-handed reliever Chasen Bradford, who gave up three runs and two homers while getting two outs. Bradley Jr. sent Bradford’s first pitch over the centerfield wall for his fourth home run this season. Benintendi hit his third single of the game with one out before Bogaerts put Boston ahead 8-2 with a shot into the bullpen for his 12th of the season.

Boston starter Eduardo Rodriguez (9-1) picked up his sixth straight win, allowing two runs on six hits while striking out nine.

Phillies 10, Brewers 9

MILWAUKEE – Maikel Franco homered and drove in four runs and Philadelphia held off Milwaukee’s ninth-inning rally.

Rhys Hoskins and Odubel Herrera also homered to help the Phillies took two of three from Milwaukee. The Brewers are tied with Atlanta for the best record in the NL.

Milwaukee trailed 10-5 going into the ninth. Jesus Aguilar led off with a home run and Eric Thames hit his second homer of the game, a three-run shot with two outs off Hector Neris. Christian Yelich followed with a drive to center and Herrera made a leaping catch for the final out, giving Jake Thompson the save.

Tommy Hunter (2-0) was the winner in relief. Hoskins hit a two-run homer in the first off starter Chase Anderson (5-6). Hoskins connected for the second straight day and his 10th of the season.

Blue Jays 8, Nationals 6

TORONTO – Teoscar Hernandez and Yangervis Solarte hit consecutive homers in the eighth inning, and Toronto beat Washington to complete a three-game sweep.

The game was tied at 6 before Hernandez and Solarte connected against Ryan Madson (1-3). Hernandez hit his 12th homer and Solarte belted his team-leading 15th.

Randal Grichuk added a pair of solo homers for the Blue Jays, who have won seven straight home games. Ryan Tepera (4-2) pitched the final 1 1/3 innings for the win.

Washington has lost five of six. Slumping Nationals slugger Bryce Harper went 0 for 5 with two strikeouts, dropping his average to .218.

Giants 4, Dodgers 1

LOS ANGELES – Nick Hundley and Brandon Belt hit two-run home runs and Chris Stratton pitched six solid innings to help San Francisco Giants avoid a three-game sweep at Los Angeles.

Hundley got the Giants going with a homer in the first inning, halfway up the pavilion seats in left field for his eighth of the season. Belt followed two innings later with his 12th home run and first since returning from an appendectomy on June 1.

The Dodgers saw their modest five-game win streak come to an end, but they are still 11-3 in June. They went 7-2 on their just-completed homestand and now head to Chicago for a National League Championship Series rematch with the Cubs.

Stratton (8-4) gave up a first-inning run when Hundley tried to cut down Justin Turner at second base and threw the ball into center field. Hunter Strickland finished for his 14th save. Dodgers rookie Caleb Ferguson (0-1) took the loss.

Angels 6, Athletics 5 (11)

OAKLAND, Calif. – Jonathan Lucroy hit an RBI single off the center-field wall in the 11th inning in Oakland’s comeback victory over Los Angeles.

The A’s rallied for two runs in the ninth to tie it at 5, then took advantage of control problems by a pair of Angels relievers to win.

Jed Lowrie led off the 11th with a single and Jake Jewell (0-1) hit Khris Davis with a pitch. After Matt Olson flied, Eduardo Paredes replaced Jewell and walked Mark Canha to load the bases.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia brought left fielder Justin Upton in for a five-man infield but it didn’t matter. Lucroy hit a deep drive to win it.

Canha hit an early two-run homer, and added a tying single with two outs in the ninth. Marcus Semien homered to begin the Oakland ninth.

Blake Treinen (4-1) pitched the final two innings for the victory.

Albert Pujols hit his 625th career home run, Chris Young also went deep and Mike Trout reached base five times for the Angels.

Tigers 3, White Sox 1

CHICAGO – Nicholas Castellanos homered and Blaine Hardy pitched one-run ball into the sixth, leading Detroit past Chicago for its fifth straight win.

Jose Iglesias added an RBI single to help Detroit improve to 8-1 against the White Sox this season, including 6-0 at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Castellanos homered twice Saturday and connected again in his first at-bat Sunday. Before Saturday, he was mired in a 1-for-21 slump over the previous five games.

Hardy (3-1) allowed one run on six hits in 5 1/3 innings.

James Shields (2-8) was the loser. Matt Davidson hit his 12th homer and Kevan Smith had two hits for Chicago, which has dropped four straight.

Braves 4, Padres 1

ATLANTA – Julio Teheran pitched six no-hit innings before being pulled from his first start since coming off the disabled list, and Atlanta relievers gave up six hits in the win over San Diego.

The Braves’ bid for a combined no-hitter ended with one out in the seventh when Shane Carle allowed a single to Cory Spangenberg. Freddy Galvis added another single before Carle pitched out of the jam.

Teheran (5-4) struck out a season-high 11. Jose Vizcaino got three outs for his 15th save.

Johan Camargo’s two-run double in the fourth off Jose Castillo (1-1) gave Atlanta a 2-0 lead. Tyler Flowers hit a two-run homer off Brad Hand in the eighth.

Indians 4, Twins 1

CLEVELAND – Shane Bieber pitched one-run ball into the sixth inning in his first major league win, helping Cleveland beat Minnesota.

Bieber (1-0) scattered 10 hits and struck out seven in 5 2/3 innings in his second career start. The rookie right-hander was recalled from Triple-A Columbus earlier in the day when Carlos Carrasco went on the 10-day disabled list with a bruised right elbow.

Yan Gomes’ three-run double in the third snapped a 1-all tie. Cody Allen, the Indians’ third reliever, pitched the ninth for his 14th save.

Cleveland salvaged the finale of the three-game series and broke a five-game losing streak against Minnesota.

Twins right-hander Jake Odorizzi (3-4) allowed four runs in five innings.

Orioles 10, Marlins 4

BALTIMORE – Jace Peterson and Mark Trumbo homered, and Baltimore beat Miami to snap a nine-game losing streak.

Baltimore also ended a string of 11 straight losses at home, which tied a club record. The Orioles’ last win at Camden Yards was May 13 against Tampa Bay.

Dylan Bundy (5-7) pitched six innings of four-run ball for last-place Baltimore. He has accounted for one-quarter of his team’s victories this season.

Justin Bour homered twice for the Marlins, who went 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position. Trevor Richards (1-4) was tagged for six runs and nine hits in 3 1/3 innings.

Reds 8, Pirates 6

PITTSBURGH – Eugenio Suarez homered in the second straight game and Joey Votto celebrated his 1,500th major league contest by going 2 for 4 with two RBIs in Cincinnati’s victory over Pittsburgh.

Suarez hit a two-run shot off Joe Musgrove (2-2) in the fourth. Votto hit a drive to deep right-center the fifth to chase Musgrove and give the Reds the cushion they would need to beat the Pirates for just the second time in seven tries at PNC Park this season.

Scott Schebler added three RBIs for Cincinnati, including a two-run home run in the ninth.

Anthony DeSclafani (2-1) surrendered solo home runs to Colin Moran and Gregory Polanco but otherwise kept the Pirates in check. Raisel Iglesias got four outs for his 10th save.

Cardinals 5, Cubs 0

ST. LOUIS – Jack Flaherty and four relievers combined on a four-hitter, Matt Carpenter homered and St. Louis beat Chicago on Sunday night.

Flaherty allowed just two hits while striking out seven in five innings, but he walked three and hit two batters and was pulled after throwing 97 pitches. He escaped a jam in the third inning when he struck out Kris Bryant with the bases loaded to keep the game scoreless.

John Brebbia (1-1) worked around two hits in a scoreless sixth inning to earn his first major league win. Austin Gomber, Jordan Hicks and Bud Norris each pitched a hitless inning to finish the shutout. It ended the Cardinals’ season-high four-game losing streak and prevented the Cubs from getting their first series sweep in St. Louis since Sept. 13-15, 2010.

Soccer Roundup – 2018 World Cup: Sweden’s height advantage gets to South Korea in World Cup

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NIZHNY NOVGOROD, Russia (AP) — Sweden’s height advantage got to South Korea.

In an effort to compensate for the disparity, South Korea coach Shin Tae-yong decided to use a backup player in goal because he is the tallest of the team’s three keepers.

The gamble worked, but a penalty still gave the Swedes a 1-0 victory on Monday at the World Cup.

“We evaluated all of our goalkeepers and we felt like with the very tall Swedish players, we thought Jo Hyeon-woo would be the best and we thought he’d be a little bit quicker,” Shin said. “So we chose him.”

At 1.89 meters (6-foot-3), Jo is tallest of the South Korean goalkeepers. But he is normally No. 3 on the list when it comes to playing time.

Shin is well-known for pulling surprises.

In World Cup warm-up matches, he switched the numbers of his players around, arguing Swedish scouts would be confused because he says “it’s very difficult for westerners to distinguish between Asians.”

Shin mentioned Sweden’s height advantage about a dozen times after the match. He even acknowledged his players “were a little bit psychologically concerned about the height of the Swedish players.”

Sweden’s starting players averaged about 1.90 meters (6-3), while South Korea’s starters averaged about 1.83 meters (6 feet).

Shin also started with Kim Shin-wook as his primary striker. He is the tallest player on South Korea’s team at 1.97 meters (6-5 1/2).

Jo did his job in goal, making a half-dozen sprawling saves until he was beaten on a second-half penalty by Sweden captain Andreas Granqvist.

Asked to name South Korea’s most important player, Sweden coach Janne Andersson didn’t hesitate.

“I think definitely,” Andersson said, “the goalie was their best.”

___

The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia is upon us, so it’s time to start thinking about the future before the end of the group stage on June 28. Who has the easiest path to the knockout stage? Is it Lionel Messi and Argentina, with Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria in their group? What about Neymar and Brazil, paired with Serbia, Poland and Costa Rica? Nobody knows for sure, but that’s why it is always fun to guess.

So who makes a deep run at the 2018 World Cup? And which nation lifts the trophy? Visit SportsLine now to get the complete optimal bracket for the World Cup, and see which favorites fail to advance past the quarterfinals, all from the model that’s returned an 1800 percent profit on bookmakers’ closing odds.

Below you’ll find the standings and schedule broken down by each group:

Group A

Thursday, June 14: Russia 5, Saudi Arabia 0
Friday, June 15: Uruguay 1, Egypt 0


Tuesday, June 19: Russia vs. Egypt, 2 p.m. ET, Fox
Wednesday, June 20: Uruguay vs. Saudi Arabia, 11 a.m. ET, Fox


Monday, June 25: Saudi Arabia vs. Egypt, 10 a.m. ET, FS1
Monday, June 25: Uruguay vs. Russia, 10 a.m. ET, Fox


Group B

Friday, June 15: Iran 1, Morocco 0
Friday, June 15: Portugal 3, Spain 3


Wednesday, June 20: Portugal vs. Morocco, 8 a.m. ET, FS1
Wednesday, June 20: Iran vs. Spain, 2 p.m. ET, Fox


Monday, June 25: Iran vs. Portugal, 2 p.m. ET, Fox
Monday, June 25: Spain vs. Morocco, 2 p.m. ET, FS1


Group C

Saturday, June 16: France 2, Australia 1
Saturday, June 16: Denmark 1, Peru 0


Thursday, June 21: Denmark vs. Australia, 8 a.m. ET, FS1
Thursday, June 21: France vs. Peru, 11 a.m. ET, Fox


Tuesday, June 26: Australia vs. Peru, 10 a.m. ET, FS1
Tuesday, June 26: Denmark vs. France, 10 a.m. ET, Fox

Group D

Saturday, June 16: Argentina 1, Iceland 1
Saturday, June 16: Croatia 2, Nigeria 0


Thursday, June 21: Argentina vs. Croatia, 2 p.m. ET, Fox
Friday, June 22: Nigeria vs. Iceland, 11 a.m. ET, Fox


Tuesday, June 26: Iceland vs. Croatia, 2 p.m. ET, FS1
Tuesday, June 26: Nigeria vs. Argentina, 2 p.m. ET, Fox

Group E

Sunday, June 17: Serbia 1, Costa Rica 0
Sunday, June 17: Brazil 1, Switzerland 1


Friday, June 22: Brazil vs. Costa Rica, 8 a.m. ET, FS1
Friday, June 22: Serbia vs. Switzerland, 2 p.m. ET, Fox


Wednesday, June 27: Serbia vs. Brazil, 2 p.m. ET, Fox
Wednesday, June 27: Switzerland vs. Costa Rica, 2 p.m. ET, FS1

Group F

Sunday, June 17: Mexico 1, Germany 0
Monday, June 18: Sweden 1, South Korea 0


Saturday, June 23: Germany vs. Sweden, 11 a.m. ET, Fox
Saturday, June 23: South Korea vs. Mexico, 2 p.m. ET, Fox


Wednesday, June 27: South Korea vs. Germany, 10 a.m. ET, FS1
Wednesday, June 27: Mexico vs. Sweden, 10 a.m. ET, Fox

Group G

Monday, June 18: Belgium vs. Panama, 11 a.m. ET, FS1
Monday, June 18: Tunisia vs. England, 2 p.m. ET, FS1


Saturday, June 23: Belgium vs. Tunisia, 8 a.m. ET, Fox
Sunday, June 24: England vs. Panama, 8 a.m. ET, FS1


Thursday, June 28: England vs. Belgium, 2 p.m. ET, Fox
Thursday, June 28: Panama vs. Tunisia, 2 p.m. ET, FS1

Group H

Tuesday, June 19: Colombia vs. Japan, 8 a.m. ET, FS1
Tuesday, June 19: Poland vs. Senegal, 11 a.m. ET, Fox


Sunday, June 24: Japan vs. Senegal, 11 a.m. ET, Fox
Sunday, June 24: Poland vs. Colombia, 2 p.m. ET, Fox


Thursday, June 28: Japan vs. Poland, 10 a.m. ET, FS1
Thursday, June 28: Senegal vs. Colombia, 10 a.m. ET, Fox


Round of 16

Saturday, June 30
Match 50: Group C winner vs. Group D runner-up 10 a.m. ET Kazan Fox
Match 49: Group A winner vs. Group B runner-up 2 p.m. ET Sochi Fox
Sunday, July 1
Match 51: Group B winner vs. Group A runner-up 10 a.m. ET Moscow Fox
Match 52: Group D winner vs. Group C runner-up 2 p.m. ET Nizhny Novgorod Fox
Monday, July 2
Match 53: Group E winner vs. Group F runner-up 10 a.m. ET Samara FS1
Match 54: Group G winner vs. Group H runner-up 2 p.m. ET Rostov Fox
Tuesday, July 3
Match 55: Group F winner vs. Group E runner-up 10 a.m. ET Saint Petersburg FS1
Match 56: Group H winner vs. Group G runner-up 2 p.m. ET Rostov Fox

Quarterfinals

Friday, July 6
Match 57: Match 49 winner vs. Match 50 winner 9 a.m. ET Nizhny Novgorod FS1
Match 58: Match 53 winner vs. Match 54 winner 1 p.m. ET Kazan FS1
Saturday, July 7
Match 60: Match 55 winner vs. Match 66 winner 9 a.m. ET Samara Fox
Match 59: Match 51 winner vs. Match 52 winner 1 p.m. ET Sochi Fox

Semifinals

Tuesday, July 10
Match 61: Match 57 winner vs. Match 58 winner 1 p.m. ET Saint Petersburg Fox
Wednesday, July 11
Match 62: Match 59 winner vs. Match 60 winner 1 p.m. ET Moscow Fox

Third-place match

Saturday, July 14
Match 63: Match 61 loser vs. Match 62 loser 9 a.m. ET Saint Petersburg Fox

World Cup final

Sunday, July 15
Match 64: Match 61 winner vs. Match 62 winner 10 a.m. ET Moscow Fox
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