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College football AP Top 25 Poll: LSU soars, Virginia Tech stays put

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USA TODAY Sports

College football AP Top 25 Poll: LSU soars, Virginia Tech stays put

LSU surged to No. 6 in The Associated Press college football poll after its second victory of September against a highly ranked team, and Wisconsin tumbled to No. 18 after becoming the first top-10 team to be upset by an unranked team.

Top-ranked Alabama strengthened its hold on No. 1 on Sunday , receiving a season-high 58 first-place votes from the media panel. Clemson slipped out of the No. 2 spot for the first time this season. Georgia moved up a spot to second behind the Crimson Tide, giving the Southeastern Conference the top two teams in the ranking. Clemson is third with three first-place votes, followed by No. 4 Ohio State and No. 5 Oklahoma.

LSU has now gone from No. 25 to start the season to No. 6 in three weeks.

The Tigers beat Miami, the preseason No. 8, in Week 1 in Arlington, Texas, and then knocked off Auburn on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Auburn slipped from No. 7 to No. 9.

Wisconsin's loss to BYU was Saturday's most surprising result. The Badgers were three-touchdown favorites but missed a last-second field goal to tie and lost 24-21 in Madison. The Big Ten had five teams in the top 14 to begin the seasons and three (Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin) have already lost.

BYU's reward was being ranked No. 25.

PAC-12 SLOP

The Big Ten drew a lot of attention for having a rough Saturday, with half the league losing nonconference games. The Pac-12, more specifically the Pac-12 South, also had a rough one -- though much of the damage was done after a lot of East of the Mississippi bedtimes.

Southern California fell out of the ranking after its second straight loss, a thumping at Texas. The Trojans have now been outscored 54-17 the last two weeks. Arizona State also fell from the ranking when it could not back up its nice home win against Michigan State, losing at San Diego State.

Within the conference, Utah was beaten at home by Pac-12 North power No. 10 Washington, thwarting the Utes' chances of being ranked. UCLA dropped to 0-3 under Chip Kelly and Arizona finally managed to get coach Kevin Sumlin a victory -- by beating Southern Utah of the FCS.

Colorado is the lone unbeaten Pac-12 South team. Looks bleak, but just two seasons ago the landscape was similar for the division. After opening-week losses by USC and UCLA to start 2016, the Pac-12 South had no ranked teams. Ultimately, Colorado, the eventual Pac-12 South champ, and Utah moved into the ranking and finished in the Top 25. USC made a late-season surge behind Sam Darnold, too.

UP

The other big mover in the right direction this week was Oklahoma State. The Cowboys jumped nine spots to No. 15 after an impressive 44-21 victory against Boise State, which tumbled out of the rankings after being No. 17.

Oklahoma State began the season unranked after being ranked at the end of the last three seasons.

IN

Three teams moved into the ranking for the first time this season, with Boston College making its return to the Top 25 for the first time since 2008.

The Eagles beat Wake Forest on Thursday night to improve to 3-0 behind a dynamic offense led by running back A.J. Dillon and blossoming quarterback Anthony Brown. BC has not won more than seven games since 2009. The 2008 team won nine and the ACC Atlantic Division but was last ranked on Nov. 30 of that year.

-- No. 22 Texas A&M is ranked for the first time since November 2016.

-- No. 25 BYU is ranked for the first time since September 2015.

CONFERENCE CALL

The SEC has the top two teams in the AP poll for the 23rd time since 2006. Alabama was either No. 1 or 2 in all of those. The conference with the next most 1-2 appearances in the poll since 2006 is the Big Ten with eight.

SEC -- 6.

Big Ten -- 5.

Big 12 -- 4.

ACC -- 4.

Pac-12 -- 3.

Independent -- 2.

American -- 1.

Week 4 College Football AP Top 25

1. Alabama 3-0 (58 votes, no change from last week)

2. Georgia 3-0 (No. 3 last week)

3. Clemson 3-0 (3 votes, No. 2 last week)

4. Ohio State 3-0 (No change from last week)

5. Oklahoma 3-0 (No change from last week)

6. LSU 3-0 (No. 12 last week)

7. Stanford 3-0 (No. 9 last week)

8. Notre Dame 3-0 (No change from last week)

9. Auburn 2-1 (No. 7 last week)

T-10. Penn State 3-0 (No. 11 last week)

T-10. Washington 2-1 (No change from last week)

12. West Virginia 2-0 (No. 14 last week)

13. Virginia Tech 2-0 (No change from last week)

14. Mississippi State 3-0 (No. 16 last week)

15. Oklahoma State 3-0 (No. 24 last week)

16. UCF 2-0 (No. 18 last week)

17. TCU 2-1 (No. 15 last week)

18. Wisconsin 2-1 (No. 6 last week)

19. Michigan 2-1 (No change from last week)

20. Oregon 3-0 (No change from last week)

21. Miami 2-1 (No change from last week)

22. Texas A&M 2-1 (Not ranked last week)

23. Boston College 3-0 (Not ranked last week)

24. Michigan State 1-1 (No. 25 last week)

25. BYU 2-1 (Not ranked last week)

Dropped from the rankings: Boise State, USC, Arizona State

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No. 12 seed Liberty shocks Mississippi State to earn first-ever NCAA Tournament win

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No. 12 seed Liberty shocks Mississippi State to earn first-ever NCAA Tournament win

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Caleb Homesley scored 22 of his 30 points in the second half and Lovell Cabbil hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:16 to play to send 12th-seeded Liberty to its first NCAA Tournament win in school history, 80-76 over fifth-seeded Mississippi State on Friday night.

The Flames (29-6) were making their fourth tournament trip in school history, but lost twice as a No. 16 seed and once in the play-in game. This year's team had more respect, a higher seeding and capitalized on the opportunity.

Homesley helped rally Liberty from a 10-point deficit in the second half by scoring 14 points in a span of less than five minutes. Cabbil then hit from long range to make it 72-70 and celebrated with an enthusiastic fan section that made the cross-country trip from Virginia for the game.

Liberty did the rest at the foul line to spoil the first tournament trip for Mississippi State (23-11) in a decade.

The Flames advanced to the second round of the East Region to play the winner of the game between Saint Louis and Virginia Tech.

Quinndary Weatherspoon scored 27 points to lead the Bulldogs and Reggie Perry added 21.

Cabbil finished with 18 points and Myo Baxter-Bell added 13.

Mississippi State appeared poised to take control when Peters started a 10-0 run with a 3-pointer and ended it with a layup that made it 63-53 midway through the second half.

The Bulldogs had used their superior size to control the paint on both ends and had broken open a tight game before the Flames responded. Homesley was fouled on a 3-pointer and made all three foul shots. He then hit two from long range to cut it to 67-64.

Homesley also hit a backdoor dunk on a feed from Cabbil to make it a one-point game before hitting a long 3-pointer late in the shoot clock to put Liberty back on top 69-67 with 2:34 to play.

After three free throws from the Bulldogs, Cabbil's 3 provided the final lead change of the night.

BIG PICTURE

Liberty: The Flames showed early that they were poised to match up with a Power 5 team. They made seven 3-pointers in the first half and led by four points before Mississippi State scored the final six to lead 37-35 at the break.

Mississippi State: Coach Ben Howland's first recruiting class for the Bulldogs finished on a down note but had an impressive run building the program. Mississippi State went to the semifinals of the NIT last year and made the tournament for the first time since 2009 this year.

UP NEXT

Liberty advances to play the winner of the game between Virginia Tech and Saint Louis.

Click here to join NBC Sports Washington’s NCAA Tournament Bracket Challenge and compete against Wizards analysts Drew Gooden and Jimmy Patsos for a chance at great prizes.

Grand Prize: if you have the highest-scoring bracket in the NBC Sports Washington Bracket Challenge, you will win a 3-night trip for four people to Universal Resort, including round trip airfare, lodging, admission to Universal Studios and tickets to Blue Man Group.

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Advice for Gardner-Webb fans from the man behind the UMBC Twitter account

Advice for Gardner-Webb fans from the man behind the UMBC Twitter account

This morning's Fresh Take comes from UMBC social media guru Zach Seidel, who captured the internet's hearts when the Retrievers upset Virginia last year.

One of the best things about social media is that it allows fans to interact with their favorite teams and players.

At first, teams used the medium as another way to send out press releases and statements, but over the past few years, many teams/programs have realized the value of using the interactive space as way to show personality and their inner fan. The LA Kings really started the trend during their first Stanley Cup run in 2012, the Colorado Rockies and Vegas Golden Knights have taken it to a whole other level, while the entire NBA is so ingrained in Twitter that #NBATwitter is its own sub-culture of social media. 

During UMBC’s NCAA Tournament run last year, the Twitter account went from 5,400 followers at tip-off of the first game on Friday night, to 111,000 followers by Monday morning. So, if you happen to be running a social media account when your team pulls an upset (though will anyone ever really be better than that one?), here are my tips:

1. Have Fun With It: People love it when famous people are “just like them”, same goes for athletes and teams. Just show some emotion in your tweets, acknowledge the pressure of the moment, make some jokes and answer some questions people ask.

2. Know Your Institution: The game is essentially an infomercial for your school, people are going to want to learn all about the place, so make sure you know important facts about the school to put out there. A key players major, maybe how great of a program that is at your school. Maybe a player is from out-of-state, mention out of state enrollment numbers, etc...It’s your moment to weave information and the game to best promote.

3. Celebrate, But Don’t Hate: People like underdogs, but don’t like arrogant winners. Make sure to celebrate your victory, but never put down the opponent. You can mention the win, but don’t say the other team lost, played poorly, or a certain player was bad. Keep all the focus on your program. Be gracious in victory and don’t “troll” opposing fan base/team/players, that will just turn people off from your school. 

In case you're too excited to listen to my very simple rules, here's a few that will always work:

1. Brb getting fitted for our glass slipper
2. Another 1 bites the dust

Virginia, in case you were wondering, tips off at 3:10 PM ET against 16-seed Gardner Webb. While we didn't make it back to the big dance, we will  always have a few shining moments to look back at on Twitter (and, you know, in NCAA tournament history).

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