This week is what we’ve been waiting for all college football season. On Tuesday night, the College Football Playoff committee reveals its first batch of rankings. While we wait, let’s catch up on everything that has happened since the end of the action on Saturday.
Willie, We Hardly Knew You
One day after losing to rival Miami, Florida State fired head coach Willie Taggart. His tenure in Tallahassee lasted just 21 games, with the Seminoles finishing 5-7 last season and going 4-5 through nine games this season.
“In the interest of the university, we had no choice but to make a change,” said FSU president John Thrasher. Assistant Odell Haggins will be the interim coach for the rest of the season. Haggins was also the interim coach after Jimbo Fisher parted ways with Florida State late in the 2017 season.
One report indicated that Florida State received roughly $20 million in donations to help buy out Taggart’s six-year, $30 million contract. However, the school has denied those reports.
In any event, firing Taggart less than two years into a six-year contract will cost FSU a pretty penny. On the field, the Seminoles will play Boston College, Alcorn State, and Florida to finish their season, needing two wins to qualify for a bowl game.
Elsewhere in the ACC, Syracuse fired defensive coordinator Brian Ward on Sunday, one day after the Orange gave up 58 points in a home loss to Boston College. Syracuse gave up close to 700 total yards against the Eagles, nearly 500 of which came on the ground.
Despite a few strong defensive performances this season, the Orange also conceded 62 points earlier this year against Maryland. Defensive ends coach Steve Stanard will take over as defensive coordinator for the rest of the season. Stanard has previous experience as a defensive coordinator at New Mexico State, Colorado State, Tulane, and Wyoming.
A Little Movement
There wasn’t much movement at the top of the polls this week, but there was some action near the bottom, with Navy entering the Top 25. The Midshipmen give the American Athletic Conference four teams in the Top 25, which doubles the ACC, which only has Clemson and Wake Forest.
Elsewhere, Florida retained a spot in the top 10 despite losing to Georgia over the weekend. The Gators, who have two losses, are still ahead of both Baylor and Minnesota, who remain undefeated.
When LSU faces Alabama this week, it won’t have the services of linebacker Michael Divinity, the team’s leader in sacks. Divinity has left the team for personal reasons, although coach Ed Orgeron said the door is open if he wants to return to the team later this season.
Obviously, the timing is bad from a football perspective. However, in an Instagram post, Divinity calls this “an incredibly difficult time for me” and says his goal is to return in time to graduate in December and rejoin the team.
Purdue kept its bowl hopes alive with a win over Nebraska on Saturday, but the Boilermakers also lost quarterback Jack Plummer to a broken ankle that will keep him out the rest of the season. Plummer only took the job after Elijah Sindelar broke his collarbone in late September.
Aidan O’Connell will start this week against Northwestern after leading the Boilermakers on a game-winning touchdown drive against Nebraska, connecting on all six of his passes.