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Michigan has added to its case to be No. 1 but finds itself embroiled in another off-field scandal. Today, I’m joined by Wolverines writer Austin Meek to reveal the true state of Jim Harbaugh’s program.
Here’s what’s happening in college football as of Saturday…
The reconnaissance leaders are alive
Do the folders belong?
Despite some shaky performances, the top six teams in the AP poll remained intact on Sunday. Here are those top six (with their first-place votes in parentheses):
1. Georgia (28)
2. Michigan (19)
3. Ohio State (3)
4. Florida State (3)
USC fell six places to 24th – His lowest rating since leaving the poll in 2021. Pennsylvania fell to tenth place. And North Carolina suffered the largest decline Moving up seven spots to 17th place after losing to Virginia 1-5 previously. Undefeated James Madison jumped up to No. 25 to join No. 19 Air Force and No. 22 Tulane as a 5-seed group.
Until Saturday’s analysis:
- Overrated: No. 21 Tennessee. Our pollster Matt Brown made the case in his weekly Behind the Poll analysis. The Vols were down by four points, but Matt kicked them off the ballot entirely after their loss to Alabama. The 5-2 Vols don’t have much reason to be higher than unranked Florida, which is also 5-2 and beat Tennessee in Week 3.
- Underrated: No. 20 Duke. The Blue Devils’ 38-20 loss to Florida State came on the road against a potential College Football Playoff team. Riley Leonard’s return from injury hasn’t been flawless, and he’s been injured again, but this is one of the truly tested teams in the country. (James Madison, who is 7-0, might be worth moving up a few spots, too).
What’s next for Wolverine? Harbo?
Michigan beat Michigan State 49-0 on Saturday despite the off-field drama piling up for the Wolverines. (Last week, an NCAA investigation into the program over allegations of sign-stealing was revealed.) Here’s a Q&A with “athlete”Michigan writer, Austin Meek.
What has been the response to the sign-stealing controversy from players and coaches within the program?
Players and coaches didn’t have much to say about that after Saturday’s win over Michigan State. Jim Harbaugh alluded to “attempts to shrink the team” and pointed to the statement he issued Thursday denying any knowledge of unauthorized off-campus scouting.
The players said the usual things about blocking out distractions and maintaining focus on the next opponent. All of these questions were asked when Harbaugh was facing a three-game suspension due to separate allegations from the NCAA, and the answers are well-rehearsed now. Deep down, I imagine the players and coaches are not happy about another off-field controversy.
How, if at all, could another investigation impact Harbaugh’s future with the Wolverines?
Before news of this investigation broke, Michigan was working on a contract for Harbaugh that could make him the highest-paid coach in the Big Ten. I wouldn’t be surprised if it eventually happens, but that affects the timing.
The bigger question is How the investigation could play a role in Harbaugh’s NFL prospects. He has explored the NFL the past few seasons, and his ongoing battles with the NCAA will give him incentive to do so again. If teams had reservations about signing him before, the recent allegations probably don’t help.
Six people on The athleteAn eight-person committee selected Michigan as this year’s national champion. do you agree?
I don’t think there’s a team playing better than Michigan right now. Beating teams in the Big Ten has never been a problem for Michigan: It’s the teams in the College Football Playoff that have given the Wolverines a problem.
I’d still like to see Michigan line up against a top-10 caliber opponent before declaring the Wolverines the team to beat. If I had to say right now, Michigan looks like the most complete team in a field that is still wide open.
It will be interesting to see if the Wolverines can continue to respond in their next game: Nov. 4 vs. Purdue
Pat McAfee’s future?
No “GameDay” contract was signed.
Media personality Pat McAfee Shared on X (Twitter) On Sunday he did not re-sign a contract to appear on ESPN’s “College GameDay.” “I’m not a good fit for some audiences, and ‘top’ college football players are certainly one of those,” McAfee wrote.
McAfee noted in his post: The athleteCollege football viewership poll from last week. The survey collected 3,100 responses from readers and covered topics ranging from channel preferences to streaming preferences. A question about McAfee collected the following responses:
How do you feel about Pat McAfee on “College Gameday”?
admire: 30.1 percent
I do not like it: 48.9 percent
No opinion: 21 percent
While McAfee presented the popular College Kickers segment, he also courted controversy on his signature college football pregame show. A mini-feud with the Washington State program and fans a few weeks ago rubbed some the wrong way.
“Pat has been a great addition to the ‘College GameDay’ family, and our viewership gains over the past year and a half are proof of that fact,” an ESPN spokesperson said Sunday. “He’s got a home on the show for as long as he wants.”
College football secrets
Wally Potts-Bear Bryant scandal
The athleteThe latest series chronicling college football’s greatest mysteries debuts today. First, Seth Emerson takes a look at the cheating accusations that rocked college football 60 years ago: What did Wally Potts of Georgia say to Bear Bryant of Alabama?
the date: Potts, Georgia’s national championship-winning coach and then athletic director, was accused of conspiring with Bryant to fix Alabama’s 35-0 win over Georgia in 1962. Potts sued The Saturday Evening Post, a prestigious magazine at the time, for libel After her story was published and won, the case reached the US Supreme Court.
But after reviewing court transcripts, depositions and letters in the UGA archives and meeting with Potts’ descendants, Seth looked into what happened and what the ramifications were.
I wonder what college football controversies of the 2020s we’ll still be talking about in 2080.
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