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AP Top 25 College Football Podcast
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AP Top 25 College Football Podcast

Author: The AP/ Westwood One Podcast Network

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With the help of players, coaches, TV analysts, school administrators and NCAA officials, AP College Football Writer Ralph Russo tackles on-and off-field issues affecting the sport throughout the year. The show gives everyone from the casual fan to the obsessed alum, an insider look into the AP Poll and all that is trending on campuses around the country. Be ready for the big game, signing day or spring practice with this weekly chat about college football.

136 Episodes
Coaching Carousel Cranks Up

Coaching Carousel Cranks Up


There has been a Power Five coach fired each of the last two weeks. To get you ready for college football’s silly season, Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports and The Athletic joins AP’s Ralph Russo to discuss the open jobs, the jobs that might come open and the coaches who could be on the move from South Carolina to Southern California.
There is a lot going on in college football. Willie Taggart is out at Florida State and it seems like a forgone conclusion that Clay Helton will be out at USC soon. Which is a better job and who might fill them? Paul Myerberg of USA Today joins AP’s Ralph Russo to discuss the start of the coaching carousel.Plus, It is a huge weekend of games with No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama playing. We’ll preview that and Penn State at Minnesota, another battle of unbeatens.Also, the first College Football Playoff rankings are out. What should you be looking for in in the selection committee’s top 25?
A week before the first College Football Playoff rankings come out, there is a new No. 1 in the AP poll and one of the closest votes ever. Brett McMurphy of Stadium, and an AP poll voter, joins Ralph Russo to talk about how he selects No. 1 and what the playoff selection committee might do next week. Most of the top teams are off this weekend, so the resumes are pretty much locked in between now and then. McMurphy and Russo discuss the Group of Five race for a New Year’s Six bid and why they would rather not see one conference send two teams to the playoff. Plus, can Ohio State defensive end Chase Young win the Heisman? And should schools fire a coach after only two seasons?
Alabama star Tua Tagovailoa is recovering from an ankle injury. Will he be healthy in time for the Crimson Tide’s showdown with No. 2 LSU on November 9? USA Today national college football writer George Schroeder joins AP’s Ralph Russo to talk about the potential impact Tua’s injury could have on the College Football Playoff selection process and the Heisman Trophy race.Also, USA Today’s excellent coaches’ salary database is out. George and Ralph discuss a market that no long seems to be acting rationally.Plus, what does it mean for a team to struggle?
Clemson is down to No. 3 in the latest AP College football poll after starting the season No. 1. The Tigers have been passed by both Alabama and LSU since they had a close call against North Carolina. David Hale of ESPN thinks Clemson has earned the benefit of the doubt similar to what Alabama gets from pollsters. Hale argues the underlying numbers show Clemson’s performance really hasn’t dropped off much at all this year. Plus, trying to make sense of the Atlantic Coast Conference beyond Clemson and why strength of schedule is often poorly used when judging teams. Also, why we should stop judging coaching hires when they are made.
No. 7 Florida at No. 5 LSU. No. 6 Oklahoma against No. 11 Texas. No. 10 Penn State at No. 17 Iowa. USC at Notre Dame. Alabama at Texas A&M. Florida State goes to Clemson.There have been few surprises so far this season and the same six teams have totally dominated the top of the rankings. Maybe that changes this week? Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated joins AP’s Ralph Russo to break down a big weekend in college football.Ross covers college football nationally but he was a beat writer covering LSU for five years previously. He explains why LSU is finally embracing modern offense under Ed Orgeron and the interesting road Joe Burrow took to Baton Rouge. Can Florida be the first team to slow down the flying Tigers?Plus, can Texas's defensive coordinator come up with a plan to slow down Jalen Hurts? Just how good is Penn State? Were the expectations out of whack for Jimbo Fisher’s second season at A&M? Can Clay Helton still save his job at USC? Is Clemson ready to break out?
A new California law is pushing the NCAA toward allowing college athletes to make money off their names, images and likenesses. It is being built up as tipping point for college athletics, a change in the landscape that could finally bring the NCAA down. But in reality, it is just forcing the NCAA to do something it probably should have done a long time ago. Andy Staples from The Athletic joins AP’s Ralph Russo to talk about the consequences, intended and unintended, from Fair Pay to Play and why fans shouldn’t fear this being what ruins college sports. Also, during the first month of the season the gap between Clemson and Alabama and the field seems to have closed. And Andy talked to Gus Malzahn about why the Auburn coach went back to calling plays. The Tigers face Florida in the game of the week in college football.
There is so much more than a Clay Helton hot-watch going on at the University of Southern California these days. ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg joins AP’s Ralph Russo to discuss the Trojans. Both were in LA for last week’s game against Utah, which had plenty of side stories with Reggie Bush and Urban Meyer in the Coliseum. Rittenberg and Russo look back at Michigan’s mess, discuss the odd news out of Houston regarding star quarterback D’Eriq King deciding to sit out the rest of this season, and they search for second-tier playoff contenders. Plus, what will it take for Jonathan Taylor to run past a slew of talented quarterbacks and win the Heisman?
Figuring out what to make of early season college football results can be hard. Bill Connolly of ESPN joins AP’s Ralph Russo to sort through the noise using Bill’s SP+ rankings. The advance metric system looks beyond wins and losses to judge the performance of each team. College football followers are often too quick to dismiss results of any game that doesn’t qualify as a big game. Every team is terrible. Every schedule is soft. Connolly’s system helps quantify the value of each team and game. It allows us to see why it’s significant that Georgia beat Arkansas State 55-0 and why being the 17th ranked team in the country is not so different from being the 37th ranked team in the country. Plus, why Russo might be ready to jump on the UCF bandwagon.
Fox Gets in the (Pre)Game

Fox Gets in the (Pre)Game


Fox has decided to take on ESPN’s iconic pregame game show “College GameDay” with an hour show leading into its Big Noon game of the week. John Walters, who writes the Bubble Screen column for the Athletic, joins AP’s Ralph Russo to discuss how Fox’s new crew is doing. Former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer shows signs of being great on television, but you can tell he’s still trying to get comfortable leaving coach-speak behind. Plus, John talks about some of his favorite analysts, what he’d like to see GameDay do more often and who would be an interesting addition to the crew if and when Lee Corso ever steps away from the set?
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