5-at-10: College rankings reaction, NFL trade deadline, Coach Cal’s big winter

James Madison defensive lineman Jalen Green (10) celebrates after the team's NCAA college football game against Old Dominion on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023, in Harrisonburg, Va. (AP Photo/Mike Caudill)
James Madison defensive lineman Jalen Green (10) celebrates after the team's NCAA college football game against Old Dominion on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023, in Harrisonburg, Va. (AP Photo/Mike Caudill)

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CFP rankings

We got three of the four from last night's initial ranking by the college football playoff committee.

I think FSU should be ahead of Michigan, but the right four are positioned in the top four spots in my view.

Of course the craziness of the next month will be dizzying, but some of the interesting items of note:

Washington, like the top four of THE Ohio State, Georgia, Michigan and FSU, is 8-0. The Huskies are No. 5 in the CFP poll, but if Washington runs the table, you have to think a bid would be coming since Michigan or THE Buckeyes will have at least one loss.

Those five firmly control their own fates, as does Alabama in my mind. Alabama is at 8, a spot behind the Texas crew that downed the Tide in September, and if Bama wins out, there simply ain't no way a one-loss SEC champion coached by Lord Saban is not getting a ticket to dance.

Bo Nix and Oregon are the committee's top-ranked one-loss team coming in at No. 6.

And the team with the biggest beef?

James Madison, which is 8-0 but was deemed ineligible by the committee as the Dukes are still in the transitory window of moving from FCS to FBS.

That puts No. 24 Tulane in line for a Big Six bowl invite as the highest-ranked non-Power Five member. Tulane is one spot ahead of Air Force.

NFL moves

Man, visor tip to the teams pushing their chips to the middle to maximize their Super Bowl chances and contending windows.

Philly and San Francisco — two of the clear favorites, even with San Fran's struggles in its current three-game losing skid — added defensive difference-makers before Tuesday's NFL trade deadline.

Philly got safety Kevin Byard — a two-time All-Pro with the Titans — and the 49ers added former defensive rookie of the year Chase Young to an already formidable pass rush.

It also makes sense for Washington, which sent both starting defensive ends packing before having to make big second-contract decisions and commitments on Young and Martez Sweat.

The NFL more than any sports is a get-busy-winning or get-busy-rebuilding league.

And the worst thing that can happen is for a team clearly in rebuild mode — like the Raiders, who fired coach Josh McDaniels and their GM in early morning hours Wednesday — hang on to needless and prime assets like Davante Adams on their way to a 6-11 finish.

Also of note, Josh Dobbs going to Minnesota, which lost Kirk Cousins with an Achilles injury, is good things happening to good folks. Dobbs has always been a class act.

Leonard Williams getting out of the postseason desert that is the New York Giants and going to Seattle is another win-win for player and team.

Big story for Big Blue

Is there a more intriguing college basketball story line this year than the hot seat under John Calipari's fanny?

It may be the best regular-season college basketball story since Cal's Cats tried to go unbeaten roughly a decade ago.

Cal is a Hall of Famer, no doubt. Cal has a natty, and if he ever parted ways with Kentucky, he would have a plethora of TV and coaching offers before he could even pack his desk.

But something is broken in Lexington, UK has not been to the Final Four since that unbeaten dream was derailed by Wisconsin in 2014.

For Auburn, that's fine. Get to the tournament, dance a little, find the second weekend every other or every third year, get ready for spring football.

It's like that at a lot of places.

Not in Lexington, though.

So this year is critical for Cal and the Cats.

And their fans. Should be a fun ride.

This and that

— Regular-season NBA games are not going to occupy a lot of space here, especially on Halloween, but the strangeness of the Spurs' 115-114 win over the Suns last night caught my eye. The Suns led for 47:58.8 of the game's 48 minutes, but a Spurs steal and bucket with 1.2 on the clock proved the final margin.

— You know the rules. Here's Paschall on the UT defense that helped the Vols over Kentucky on Saturday.

— The Rangers are good and are now one win from their first World Series title. Good for them.

Today's questions

Which way Wednesday starts this way:

Which NFL trade was the best?

Which college football team has the biggest gripe after the first CFP poll?

Which way will it play out for Cal in Lexington?

As for today, Nov. 1, let's review.

In 1950 Bob Cousy made his NBA debut on this day in a game that also featured Boston teammate Chuck Cooper, the first Black man to play in the NBA.

"Titanic" was released on this day in 1997.

Rushmore of movie boats. Go.

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