BY KEVIN CONNELL
Blowout victories helped Navy and Virginia Tech find their way into the second-to-last College Football Playoff rankings of the season released Tuesday.
Navy (9-2) was ranked No. 19 after beating SMU 75-31 Saturday, while Virginia Tech (9-3) sat at No. 23 following a 52-10 win against Virginia.
For the Hokies, it’s the third time in five weeks they have placed in the College Football Playoff rankings. Two weeks ago, they dropped out after ranking as high as No. 14 after the first two weeks of the rankings.
The Midshipmen, then at No. 25, were ranked for the first time last week.
Both Navy and Virginia Tech will play in their conference championship games this week. The Midshipmen host the AAC Championship Game against Temple in Annapolis and the Hokies play No. 3 Clemson in the ACC Championship Game in Orlando.
Additionally, the Midshipmen and Hokies will play in bowl games, which will be announced no later than this Sunday when the final College Football Playoff rankings are released. The top four after the final week of rankings will play in a four-team playoff to determine the national champion.
Along with Clemson, Alabama at No. 1, Ohio State at No. 2 and Washington at No. 4 make up the current top four. The Crimson Tide is the defending national champions and the Buckeyes won the inaugural College Football Playoff in 2014.
In the most recent AP and coaches polls released Sunday, Virginia Tech was No. 19 (AP) and No. 18 (coaches), while Navy was No. 20 in both.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF RANKINGS
2. Ohio State
7. Penn State
10. Oklahoma State
12. Florida State
16. West Virginia
17. Western Michigan
23. Virginia Tech
MORE NCAA: COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF PROJECTION (UPDATED 11/28/2016)
Coming out of the NFL combine, former Maryland safety Darnell Savage Jr. was projected to be a second-round pick in the NFL Draft. But could he end up sliding into the first round on Thursday?
It seems like a possibility now, based on some of the teams he's met with, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Monday. And NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah has previously said Savage could rise to the first round too.
NBC Sports Washington's latest NFL Mock Draft has Savage going to the Green Bay Packers as the 44th overall pick.
According to Rapoport, Savage met with 11 teams, including the Carolina Panthers (No. 16 overall pick), Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 20 overall pick), Seattle Seahawks (No. 21 overall pick), Philadelphia Eagles (No. 25 overall pick) and Los Angeles Rams (No. 31 overall pick).
The three-year starter out of College Park was named Second Team All-Big Ten this season after recording 52 tackles (38 solo, 14 assist) for the Terps, along with four interceptions, including one pick six. He's versatile, strong and fast, and even if he gets passed by in the first round of the NFL Draft, it seems unlikely that he'll still be available by the end of the second.
At 5-foot-11 and 198 pounds, Savage ran a 4.36-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine in February -- a time that was second-fastest among all safeties -- and posted a 39.5-inch vertical, third among safeties, and a 126-inch broad jump. He also had 11 bench-press reps.
Pro Football Focus has Savage listed as the second-best safety in this year's draft class behind Delaware's Nasir Adderley because he's "a missile around the line of scrimmage".
MORE NFL DRAFT NEWS
The George Washington University men's basketball team landed the son of longtime NBA point guard Jameer Nelson Tuesday.
Jameer Nelson Jr., a 2019 guard out of Pennsylvania's Haverford School, decommitted from his father's alma mater (Saint Joseph's) following the news that Phil Martelli would not return for the 2019-20 season.
This marks first-year head coach Jamion Christian's second commitment since being named head coach of the Colonials after one year at Siena College.
Nelson Sr. played in the Association from 2004 to 2018, including 10 seasons in Orlando. The point guard averaged a career-best 16.7 points per game during the 2008-09 campaign.