Ryan Knuppel  |  Wed 7th Nov   | NCAAF

There’s a new team cracking the top four in the latest College Football Playoff rankings. Elsewhere, Florida State is turning over play-calling duties to a coordinator, and Wisconsin is prepping their backup quarterback for this Saturday’s game. Here are the latest news and notes in college football.

Michigan in top four

Michigan has snuck into the top four in the College Football Playoff rankings. It is the first time the Wolverines have been in playoff position since Week 13 in 2016. Michigan’s convincing 42-7 victory over Penn State was enough to jump the maize and blue into the playoff picture.

The other three teams – No.1 Alabama, No.2 Clemson, and No. 3 Notre Dame – all remain in the top four after the first playoff rankings were released last week. Notre Dame moved up one spot while Alabama and Clemson stayed in the top two.

No. 7 LSU fell four spots and tumbled out of the playoffs following a shutout loss at home to Alabama. No. 5 Georgia moved up from No. 6 after defeating No. 11 Kentucky. The new No. 6 is Oklahoma, while No. 8 Washington State, No. 9 West Virginia, and No. 10 Ohio State round out the top 10.

Taggart gives OC play-calling duties

In an effort to shake some things up, Florida State head coach Willie Taggart has turned over play calling duties to his offensive coordinator Walt Bell.

During last week’s 47-28 loss at NC State, Taggart let Bell call plays during the game. Despite the loss, Bell will once again call plays this weekend against undefeated Notre Dame.

“I thought Walt did a good job of calling plays,  Obviously, we didn’t get the win, but I thought him doing that was good, and allowing me to see and be a part of other things within our program. I thought I was able to interact with our players a lot better, a lot more on the sidelines when I needed to.”

Taggart was the play-caller in 2015 and 2016 at South Florida as well as 2017 at Oregon. Bell also has a history of calling plays, running a fast-paced, spread offense at Arkansas State in 2014-2015 and at Maryland in 2016-2017.

The Seminoles will also have to decide who will quarterback Bell’s offense. James Blackman made his first start of the season last week while filling in for injured starter Deondre Francois. Taggart has yet to decide which of the two will start against Notre Dame.

Wisconsin preps Coan at QB

Wisconsin is preparing backup quarterback Jack Coan for the game this weekend at No. 21 Penn State. Starter Alex Hornibrook has another head injury and is questionable to play.

Last week, Hornibrook’s head hit the turf after being sacked on the last play of the first half. He was placed in concussion protocol for the second time in three weeks in the 31-17 win over Rutgers.

Coan has started for Wisconsin once already this season. The sophomore was 20-31 for 158 yards and a touchdown in his first career start two weeks ago, a 31-17 loss to Northwestern. After Hornibrook’s departure against Rutgers, Coan was 5-7 with 64 yards and a touchdown.

This Saturday, there are several big matchups as the regular season comes closer to the end. No. 10 Ohio State is at No. 18 Michigan State, No. 1 Alabama hosts No. 16 Mississippi State, Oklahoma State travels across the state to take on No. 6 Oklahoma, and No. 24 Auburn is at No. 5 Georgia.

 

Ryan Knuppel