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Clemson 1st time atop AP preseason poll

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

Cross off another milestone for Clemson, college football's newest superpower.

For the first time, the defending national champion Tigers are No. 1 in The Associated Press preseason Top 25 presented by Regions Bank. The Tigers won the program's second national title in three seasons behind freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence in January. Clemson now can claim equal standing with Alabama at the top of the sport.

The Crimson Tide, coming off a 44-16 loss to Clemson in the College Football Playoff championship, is No. 2. Clemson received 52 first-place votes and Alabama received the other 10 from the media. Clemson snaps a record-tying string of three straight years in which Alabama was preseason No. 1.


Ex-Tide QB Hurts named Oklahoma starter

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) No. 4 Oklahoma has named Jalen Hurts its starting quarterback for the Sept. 1 season opener against Houston.

Hurts played in three national championship games for Alabama and helped the Crimson Tide win the 2017 national title. He transferred to Oklahoma in January and has won the job over redshirt freshman Tanner Mordecai and true freshman Spencer Rattler.


No. 5 Ohio St. names Fields starting QB

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Ohio State coach Ryan Day on Monday made official what most people figured was a foregone conclusion: Georgia transfer Justin Fields will be the starting quarterback when the No. 5 Buckeyes open the season Aug. 31 against Florida Atlantic.

Day had lured the talented sophomore in January to succeed Dwayne Haskins Jr., and Fields practiced with the starters from the moment he arrived. His main competition this preseason was Gunnar Hoak, a graduate transfer from Kentucky who got to campus this summer and is still memorizing the playbook.


Benson was driving at high rate of speed

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Police said Monday they are still investigating the weekend motorcycle crash that killed former Texas Longhorns running back and NFL player Cedric Benson and a woman passenger.

According to police, witnesses said Benson was driving his BMW motorcycle at a high rate of speed through a curving, hilly section of the city Saturday night when he collided with a van that was attempting a left turn.


Illinois' top recruit out for season

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) Illinois freshman defensive back Marquez Beason is out for the season with a knee injury.

Coach Lovie Smith announced Monday that Beason would have surgery after getting hurt in practice last week. Beason was a consensus four-star recruit from Duncanville, Texas, and the Illini's top-rated high school recruit in 10 years.


Ex-Wisconsin WR Cephus cleared to return

MADISON, Wis. (AP) Former Wisconsin receiver Quintez Cephus was cleared Monday to return to school after a jury acquitted him of sexual assault charges, though it was unclear when he will be eligible to play in a game.

The school announced Chancellor Rebecca Blank's decision in a statement that said the university had obtained information that wasn't provided during a student conduct review. The statement said sanctions against Cephus have been "reduced" and his expulsion had been lifted, though some conduct violations were upheld.


Arkansas St. coach on leave as wife ill

JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson is taking a leave of absence while his wife fights cancer.

Athletic director Terry Mohajir said Monday in a statement that Anderson was taking the leave indefinitely to be with his family. Mohajir added: "We will continue to pray for peace for his family and provide assistance any way we can."


Miami QB Williams preps to face Florida

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) Miami quarterback Jarren Williams got the word that he was going to be the starting quarterback for the Hurricanes, and his first thought wasn't about celebrating.

Instead, he suddenly realized how big a job he's just inherited.


USC great Jim Hardy dies at 96

LOS ANGELES (AP) Jim Hardy, the oldest living University of Southern California and Los Angeles Rams football player who was the MVP of the 1945 Rose Bowl, has died. He was 96.

The university said Monday he died Aug. 16 of natural causes at his home in the desert city of La Quinta, 130 miles east of Los Angeles.


Track key to Badgers' Taylor's success

MADISON, Wis. (AP) Jonathan Taylor is one of the best running backs in college football.

He would be the first to say his success isn't due to just one person.

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