College football: Coastal Carolina breaks into AP top 10
Published 3:45 am Monday, December 14, 2020
Coastal Carolina QB Grayson McCall
By RALPH D. RUSSO AP College Football Writer
The first top-10 shakeup in more than a month pushed Coastal Carolina to No. 9 in The Associated Press college football poll Sunday.
Alabama was a unanimous No. 1, followed by Notre Dame, Ohio State, Clemson and Texas A&M as those teams held their spots for a sixth straight week.
Surprising losses by Florida and Miami shuffled the rest of the top 10. No. 6 Cincinnati and No. 7 Indiana each moved up one spot and No. 8 Iowa State jumped two.
Then come the unbeaten Chanticleers (11-0), the first Sun Belt Conference team to crack the AP’s top 10.
Georgia landed at No. 10 ahead of Florida at 11. The Gators dropped five spots after losing in bizarre and dramatic fashion to LSU in the fog Saturday night.
Miami plummeted 10 spots to No. 19 after getting blown out by North Carolina. The Tar Heels moved up four spots to No. 16.
Alabama has been ranked in 211 consecutive polls, matching Florida State (1989-2001) for the second-longest streak in poll history.
The Crimson Tide will likely move into second all by themselves after the Southeastern Conference championship game next week. To pass Nebraska’s record of 348 consecutive poll appearances from 1981-2002, Alabama will need about eight more seasons in the Top 25.
This pandemic-altered season has helped create some opportunities for teams that have not been ranked in a while — or ever before, like Coastal Carolina — to get into the Top 25.
No. 25 San Jose State is this week’s upstart. The Spartans improved to 6-0 and earned a spot in the Mountain West title game for the first time with a second-half rally against Nevada on Friday night.
The last time San Jose State was ranked was 2012, when the Spartans moved into the rankings after the regular season was complete and finished No. 21 in the final poll.
“Love it. Love it, man. It’s awesome,” fourth-year coach Brent Brennan to AP Sunday in a phone interview. “I think it’s awesome for these players. I think it’s awesome for these player that can look at how hard they worked. How they persevered through all kinds of challenges.”
This San Jose State team showed progress last year, going 5-7 after winning three games total in Brennan’s first two seasons.
The pandemic shutdown scattered his team in the spring and local COVID-19 restrictions have made the season a challenge at every turn. San Jose State had to relocate to practice at first and then to play.
The team and staff is currently staying at a hotel in Las Vegas after playing Nevada at Boyd Stadium on Friday. The Spartans will “host” the Mountain West championship game against Boise State at Boyd Stadium on Saturday.
“This is really a neat thing for our players to feel that sense of pride and that sense of excitement, of like, we’ve worked really hard for this and we’ve overcome so much and we’re getting recognition on a national level,” Brennan said of the ranking.
Also moving back into the rankings was No. 24 North Carolina State (8-3). The Wolfpack completed their season last week.
Falling out were Colorado, which lost for the first time this season, and Wisconsin, which lost for the third time and finally got the boot.
ACC — 5 (Nos. 2, 4, 16, 19, 24)
SEC — 4 (Nos. 1, 5, 10, 11).
Big Ten — 4 (Nos. 3, 7, 15, 18).
Big 12 — 3 (Nos. 8, 12, 21).
American — 2 (Nos. 6, 20).
Sun Belt — 2 (Nos. 9, 17).
Pac-12 — 1 (No. 13).
MAC — 1 (No. 23).
Mountain West — 1 (No. 25).
Independent — 2 (Nos. 14, 22).
Nine of the 10 FBS conference championship games will feature at least one ranked team and six will match Top-25 teams. Conference USA is the only one with no ranked teams.
No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 11 Florida, SEC championship.
No. 2 Notre Dame vs. No. 4 Clemson, ACC championship.
No. 3 Ohio State vs. No. 15 Northwestern, Big Ten championship.
No. 20 Tulsa at No. 6 Cincinnati, American championship.
No. 8 Iowa State vs. No. 12 Oklahoma, Big 12 championship.
No. 17 Louisiana-Lafayette at No. 9 Coastal Carolina, Sun Belt championship.
Washington at No. 13 Southern California, Pac-12 championship.
No. 23 Buffalo vs. Ball State, MAC championship.
Boise State vs. No. 25 San Jose State, Mountain West championship.