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College football notebook

LSU claws way to second spot

Rees to start at QB for the Irish

Tommy Rees’s relief work Saturday earned him a start for Notre Dame vs. Michigan. Tommy Rees’s relief work Saturday earned him a start for Notre Dame vs. Michigan. (Michael Conroy/Associated Press)
Associated Press / September 7, 2011

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Winning the biggest game of college football’s opening weekend boosted Louisiana State to No. 2 in the Associated Press Top 25.

No. 1 Oklahoma held on to the top spot in the first regular-season rankings, while the Tigers used their 40-27 victory against Oregon to jump rival Alabama, which slipped to No. 3.

“It’s way too early to feel like we have accomplished anything,’’ LSU coach Les Miles said. “Our guys understand the need to improve each game.’’

The Sooners received 32 of 60 first-place votes and 1,448 points. LSU received 17 first-place votes and 1,415 points.

Alabama had nine first-place votes, and two voters had No. 4 Boise State top-ranked after the Broncos’ impressive 35-21 win against Georgia. Florida State moved up to No. 5.

Oregon dropped nine spots to No. 13 and defending national champion Auburn, which started the season at No. 23, fell out of the Top 25 after needing a late rally to beat Utah State, 42-38, at home.

Moving into this week’s rankings were No. 20 Baylor, which beat TCU, 50-48, and No. 22 South Florida, 23-20 winners at Notre Dame.

Also ranked for the first time this season were No. 23 Penn State and No. 24 Texas. The Longhorns started the season unranked for the first time since 1998.

Irish change QBs Tommy Rees is in and Dayne Crist - benched after halftime of Notre Dame’s loss to South Florida - is out. Coach Brian Kelly announced the quarterback switch yesterday with the Irish coming off a dreadful showing in their opener and facing a Saturday night game against Michigan in the Big House. Crist’s uneven performance Saturday and Rees’s strong relief job in the second half prompted the change. “A very difficult situation that I felt needed to be addressed,’’ Kelly said. “I want to win right now. I believe Tommy gives us the best chance to win against Michigan. There are so many things you do within your program that you build for the future. But your roster has to be evaluated about how to win right now. Especially at Notre Dame.’’ A frustrated Kelly, who gave Crist an earful on the sideline as the Irish fell behind, 16-0, at the half, erupted in the second half after a Rees pass hit receiver TJ Jones and was intercepted as the Irish were in position to score. Notre Dame ended up with five turnovers in the game, three INTs. “What I have to recognize is that I’m on TV all the time,’’ Kelly said. “Do a better job of understanding when that camera is on me. So I’ll have to do a better job of controlling my emotions.’’ . . . Wake Forest quarterback Tanner Price says he expects to start on Saturday against North Carolina State in the teams’ Atlantic Coast Conference opener. Price sprained his left knee with 11 minutes left last week against Syracuse, with Wake Forest holding a 15-point lead. With him out of the game, the Orange rallied to beat the Demon Deacons, 36-29, in overtime.

4 Buckeyes back Four suspended players have been reinstated at Ohio State for the 15th-ranked Buckeyes’ game on Saturday against Toledo. Coach Luke Fickell confirmed that linebacker Jordan Whiting, who had been suspended last December for last week’s opener for accepting cash and discounted tattoos from a local tattoo-parlor owner, will be available to play this weekend at Ohio Stadium. Fickell also said that tailback Jordan Hall and cornerbacks Travis Howard and Corey Brown also have been reinstated after being held out of last week’s game for taking less than $300 in gifts from a charity. Fickell said he was uncertain of those three players’ status in the future . . . The University of Southern California reinstated tailback Marc Tyler from suspension, clearing last season’s leading rusher to play Saturday against Utah . . . Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said he has suspended starting cornerback Greg Reid and reserve linebacker Telvin Smith for Saturday’s game between the No. 5 Seminoles and Charleston Southern because of undisclosed violations of team rules . . . Missouri tailback Kendial Lawrence has a broken leg and is likely to be out a month . . . QB Connor Wood enrolled at the University of Colorado after transferring from Texas . . . Reserve running back Jonathan Miller plans to leave Oklahoma and transfer to get more playing time elsewhere.

Beaming about it Frank Beamer’s new contract extension has a clause that will keep him working at Virginia Tech long after he gives up coaching, and terms that will keep the end from being awkward. Athletic director Jim Weaver says the extension, announced Saturday, begins Jan. 1, 2013 and lasts through Dec. 31, 2016, but that he hopes Beamer will coach beyond that date. “We know when we have a good thing going on and we’re not about to do anything to dismantle it,’’ Weaver said. By the end of the deal, Beamer will be making about $2.65 million annually. Beamer, 64, will remain involved at his alma mater after his coaching career ends as a special assistant to the athletic director. His responsibilities primarily would include fundraising and appearances, not only for the Hokies athletic programs, but for other university programs as well.