Quarterback Caleb Williams and Southern California moved up two spots in the College Football Playoff rankings on Tuesday. Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Ohio State was No. 5 Tuesday night in the second-to-last College Football Playoff rankings, positioned to possibly take advantage if one of the top four slips up on championship weekend.

Georgia (12-0) was No. 1 again. No. 2 Michigan (12-0) and No. 3 TCU (12-0) both moved up a spot and Southern California (11-1) climbed two spots into the fourth slot.

The Buckeyes (11-1) dropped three spots after losing 45-23 to the rival Wolverines on Saturday at home.

Alabama (10-2) moved up a spot to No. 6 and was followed by Southeastern Conference rival Tennessee, which beat the Crimson Tide in October.

All play in their conference championships game this weekend. The undefeated teams might not need to win this weekend to lock up a spot.

Georgia plays LSU (9-3) in the SEC title game. Michigan plays Purdue (8-4) for the Big Ten championship. TCU faces Kansas State, which is 10th in the latest rankings and has already lost to the surprising Horned Frogs.


USC and Heisman Trophy frontrunner Caleb Williams face Utah, No. 11 in the rankings, on Friday night in Las Vegas for the Pac-12 championship.

If the Trojans slip up, that could give Ohio State a second chance.

GEORGIA TECH: The school is finalizing a deal to promote Brent Key to head coach after he led the Yellow Jackets to a 4-4 record after Geoff Collins was fired in September, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.

Key, 44, is a former Georgia Tech player. He had been assistant head coach, run game coordinator and offensive line coach before Collins was fired on Sept. 26, two days after the Yellow Jackets’ 27-10 loss to Central Florida dropped them to 1-3.

MISSISSIPPI: Lane Kiffin has signed a new contract to remain at Mississippi, the school announced.

Details of the deal were not released. The 47-year-old Kiffin has gone 23-12 in three seasons with the Rebels, who lost four of their last five games to finish the regular season at 8-4.


AUBURN: Hugh Freeze’s checkered past in the Southeastern Conference means he’ll have to win more than just games. He’ll also have to win over Auburn fans.

Freeze’s return to the league more than five years after his scandal-plagued exit was greeted by considerable backlash on social media from wary fans. The former Mississippi and Liberty coach had to talk about his past during Tuesday’s introductory news conference as much as his belief that Auburn can make a quick turnaround, urging fans to “please give me a chance to earn your trust.”

Auburn gave Freeze a six-year contract worth at least $6.5 million annually, making him the eighth-highest paid coach in the SEC. The buyout, if Freeze is fired without cause, would be 75% of his remaining contract.

Freeze resigned from Ole Miss in the summer of 2017 after school officials uncovered a “pattern of personal misconduct” starting with a call to a number used by an escort service from a university-issued cellphone. The program ultimately landed on NCAA probation for 21 violations of academic, booster and recruiting misconduct mostly under Freeze’s watch.

AWARDS: Quarterbacks Caleb Williams of Southern California, C.J. Stroud of Ohio State and Hendon Hooker of Tennessee have been named finalists for the Maxwell Award as the player of the year in college football.

The Maxwell finalists were announced along with finalists for most of the other awards that will be presented Dec. 8 on ESPN.


Williams is throwing for more than 300 yards per game and has 34 TD passes against just three interceptions. Stroud has thrown for a nation-leading 37 touchdowns and has the highest passer rating. Hooker was leader of the nation’s No. 1 offense before an anterior cruciate ligament tear in his left knee ended his season Nov. 19.


BATES 64, HUSSON 61: Morgan Kennedy had 23 points and three rebounds as the Bobcats (2-2) overcame a double-digit deficit in the second half to defeat the Eagles (3-2) in Lewiston.

Kennedy shot 5 for 12 from beyond the 3-point line. Meghan Graff added 19 points, four rebounds and four assists for Bates. Davina Kabantu had 13 points and five rebounds.

Bailey Donovan led Husson with 24 points, nine rebounds and six blocks. Vanessa Duarte tallied 12 points, three rebounds and seven assists.

MAINE MARITIME 67, COLBY 62: Erianna Moore had 25 points to lead the Mariners (3-2) past the Mules (3-2) in Waterville.


Lauren Plissey added17 points, while. Maria Barela had 12 points, eight rebounds, three steals and two blocks for MMA.

Carter McGloon led Colby with 25 points and six rebounds. Caroline Smith added 14 points and seven assists.

(1) SOUTH CAROLINA 73, (15) UCLA 64: Aliyah Boston, looking healthy as ever, had 18 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks as the Gamecocks (7-0) rallied from 10-points down to beat the Bruins (7-1) in Columbia, South Carolina.

Boston had missed the second half in a win over Hampton on Sunday after a hard fall. She returned to the bench in that game with a walking boot on her right foot.

But Boston started and played 35 minutes against the Bruins to help the Gamecocks overcome a 31-21 deficit right before halftime to win their 17th straight over a ranked opponent.

It was Boston’s 65th career double-double and 32nd against a ranked opponent over four seasons.


(8) IOWA STATE 93, SIU-EDWARDSVILLE 43: Lexi Donarski scored 22 points as the Cyclones (6-1) routed the Cougars (0-6) in Ames, Iowa.

The Cyclones were playing just 48 hours after suffering their first loss – to North Carolina in Portland, Ore. on Sunday – and returning home around 5:45 a.m. Monday.

Emily Ryan contributed 13 points for Iowa State. Ashley Joens and Stephanie Soares each scored 11. Soares also grabbed 10 rebounds.

(11) LSU 63, SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA 55: Angel Reese scored 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as the Tigers (8-0) held off the Lady Lions (4-3) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to remain unbeaten.

The Tigers looked to have the game in hand after an 11-0 run gave them a 21-point lead early in the third quarter. But the Lady Lions rallied behind a career-high 28 points from Alexius Horne to get within four, 56-52, with 5:21 remaining.

Reese then converted her second three-point play of the quarter and Kateri Poole and Jasmine Carson added buckets to extend the lead back to 11 with 2 1/2 minutes left. The Tigers turned the over four times after that, but the Lady Lions went just 1 of 8.



BATES 82, HUSSON 73: Steph Baxter had 28 points, six rebounds and six assists to lift the Bobcats (3-2) over the Eagles (1-4) in Lewiston.

Jahmir Primer added 15 points for Bates. Stephen Ward recorded 11 points and eight rebounds.

Justice Kendall had 18 points for Husson. Scott Lewis had 12 points.

(1) HOUSTON 100, NORFOLK STATE 52: Marcus Sasser scored 25 points, Tramon Mark added 16 points and host Houston (7-0) routed the Spartans (5-3) in the Cougars’ first game as the top-ranked team in nearly 40 years.

Houston, which was playing as the No. 1 team for the first time since March 14, 1983, donned their 1980s throwback uniforms.


Sasser finished 7-of-12 on 3-pointers, rebounding nicely after making only one of 10 from behind the arc in Houston’s win over Kent State on Saturday.

Houston was 17 of 33 on 3-pointers, including going 10 of 18 in the first half against Norfolk State.

(16) ILLINOIS 73, SYRACUSE 44: Coleman Hawkins had 15 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, and the Illni (6-1) thumped the Orange (3-4) in Champaign, Illinois, in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Tuesday night.

Neither team shot well, but Illinois hit 6 of its 15 3-point attempts in the second half to send the Orange home with their third straight loss.

Terrence Shannon Jr. had 17 points on 5-of-17 shooting for the Illini. All of his makes were 3s. RJ Melendez scored 15 points.

(19) KENTUCKY 60, BELLAMIRE 41: Antonio Reeves scored 18 points to lead the Wildcats (5-2) to a win over the Knights (2-6) in Lexington, Kentucky.


Jacob Toppin had 12 points and CJ Fredrick finished with 11 as the Wildcats (5-2) overcame a slow start.

Bellarmine, which defeated Louisville 67-66 it its season opener on Nov. 9, wasn’t intimidated in its first meeting with the Wildcats and controlled the tempo until Kentucky wore down the Knights in the final 14 minutes.

(22) MARYLAND 79, LOUISVILLE 54: Donta Scott scored 18 points and the Terrapins (7-0) made five consecutive 3-pointers to open the second half in a runaway victory over the winless Cardinals in Louisville, Kentucky in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

The Terrapins (7-0) led throughout, including 37-26 at halftime, before Don Carey sank the first of two from long range during the 15-6 surge that featured two 3s from Scott and one from Hakim Hart. They went ahead 60-37 with 11:32 remaining and led by as many as 33 in their first true road game of the season.

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