Don't let the brackets fool you. College football is in full swing, too.
The latest AP Top 25 College Football Podcast digs into some spring football story lines and takes an early look on...
Former Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook says he is transferring to Florida State.
Hornibrook posted a photo of himself with Seminoles coach Willie Taggart on his Instagram account...
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — James Blackman insists nothing has changed. But nearly everything around him at Florida State is different this spring.
Oregon parts ways with defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Oregon and defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt have mutually parted ways.
The two sides reached a financial settlement that will pay Leavitt $2.5 million, funded by private sources over multiple years, Oregon announced Thursday. The settlement would be less if he gets a new job.
Leavitt was under contract until 2021. He spent two seasons in Eugene after he was hired by former Ducks coach Willie Taggart
Florida State, Miami try to flip narrative on signing day
Florida State and Miami were hoping signing day could help put to the negativity of 2018 to rest and provide a push toward better times.
Coming off a 5-7 record in their first season under coach Willie Taggart, the Seminoles landed a top 20 class but struck out on a much-needed quarterback Wednesday
Francois’ uncle says QB has entered name in transfer portal
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Deondre Francois' uncle said the former Florida State starting quarterback has entered his name in the NCAA transfer database and hopes to play again after "a couple of bad decisions."
Putting his name on the list allows other schools to contact Francois, who was dismissed by the Seminoles on Sunday by coach Willie Taggart after a social media post included audio of an alleged argument between the quarterback and his girlfriend.
FSU drops Francois after abuse allegations surface
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida State's head football coach announced Sunday that quarterback Deondre Francois had been dismissed from the team after allegations of domestic abuse surfaced.
FSU head coach Willie Taggart said in a statement Sunday that he had notified Francois of his decision the night before. Taggart's decision to drop Francois came the same day the quarterback's girlfriend posted a video to Instagram alleging abuse by Francois.
Former Oregon player sues school, former coaches for illness
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Former Oregon football player Doug Brenner has filed a lawsuit against the university, the NCAA, former coach Willie Taggart and a former strength coach for negligence over a strenuous workout that sent him and two other players to the hospital.
Brenner is seeking $11.5 million in damages from the January 2017 workout that caused rhabdomyolysis and other injuries, the lawsuit said.
UMass hires Florida St. offensive coordinator Bell as coach
AMHERST, Mass. (AP) — Massachusetts hired Florida State offensive coordinator Walt Bell on Monday as its new head coach.
The 34-year-old Bell has been a fast riser in college coaching, going from a graduate assistant at Southern Mississippi to offensive coordinator at two Power Five schools before the age of 35.
Fan post suggesting FSU coach lynching prompts investigation
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida State University President John Thrasher is calling a fan's social media post depicting football coach Willie Taggart getting lynched "ignorant and despicable."
FSU ended a disappointing first season under Taggart with a loss Saturday to in-state rival the University of Florida. Many fans took to social media, expressing their disappointment.
With Florida in town, it’s ‘do or die’ for FSU’s bowl streak
Willie Taggart's first season at Florida State has been mostly a mess.
Offensive dysfunction. Defensive lapses. Poor special teams. Third-down woes. Countless penalties. Slow starts. Too many turnovers. Not enough takeaways. Inability to run the ball or protect the quarterback.
All those flaws have led to a 5-6 record that would be worse if not for late-game fortunes against Samford, Louisville and Boston College.
Florida State’s bowl streak in jeopardy _ BC, Florida next
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida State is battling recent history as it looks to extend one of its most cherished streaks.
The Seminoles (4-6, 2-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) must knock off No. 22 Boston College (7-3, 4-2) on Saturday and then No. 15 Florida (7-3) to extend their bowl streak, which dates to 1982. While Florida State has dug quite the hole for itself, the roadblocks ahead are daunting — the Seminoles are 0-7 against ranked teams since the start of the 2017 season.
No. 3 Notre Dame renews rivalry with Florida State
Florida State (4-5) at No. 3 Notre Dame (9-0, No. 3 CFP), 7:30 p.m. EST (NBC).
Taggart hands Florida State play-calling duties to assistant
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida State needed to shake things up so Willie Taggart has turned over the play-calling duties to his offensive coordinator.
Mistakes, punches, quitting: A difficult year for Seminoles
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida State has suffered many self-inflicted wounds during Willie Taggart's first year coaching the Seminoles, including pre-snap penalties, missed assignments and turnovers.
Then there were the punches, a different kind of black eye in what has been a frustrating season for the Seminoles.
Florida State suspends 2 players for first half vs NC State
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida State will be without leading receiver Nyqwan Murray and reserve linebacker Zaquandre White for the first half of Saturday's game at North Carolina State.
Coach Willie Taggart announced the suspensions on Monday. Murray and White both threw punches at Clemson players in separate second-half incidents Saturday's 59-10 loss to the Tigers.
Florida State looks for breakthrough win vs No. 2 Clemson
Florida State tailback Cam Akers thinks the Seminoles might finally have found their footing this season. They'll surely need it with No. 2 Clemson in Tallahassee.
Florida State (4-3, 2-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) has won three of its past four games after a dreadful start under first-year coach Willie Taggart that had some fans wondering if another dark, freefall was ahead for the former powerhouse program.
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No. 2 Clemson goes for 4th straight win vs Florida State
No. 2 Clemson (7-0, 4-0 ACC) at Florida State (4-3, 1-2), noon ET (ABC)
Line: Clemson by 16½.
Series record: Florida State leads 20-11.
WHAT'S AT STAKE?
Clemson is looking for its third 8-0 start in the past four years and to keep on track for a fourth consecutive trip to the Atlantic Coast Conference title game. Florida State would like a signature victory in coach Willie Taggart's first season and beating the second-ranked Tigers would do it.
Florida State, Wake look to get second half started right
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida State and Wake Forest are desperate for a win with both coming off bye weeks and begin the second half of the season.
The Seminoles and Demon Deacons face off on Saturday in an ACC Atlantic Division matchup of programs that are looking to get back on track after shaky starts.
Florida State returns post-storm, bye week after rocky start
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida State has returned to practice field following a bye week and in the wake of Hurricane Michael after a rocky start under first-year football coach Willie Taggart.
Taggart familiar with Florida State-Miami series, rivalry
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Willie Taggart is no stranger to Miami-Florida State week. The lifelong Seminoles fan grew up loving the rivalry.
Francois, Murray rally Seminoles past Louisville, 28-24
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Florida State coach Willie Taggart wasn't expecting Louisville to throw the ball late. Neither was Seminoles defensive back A.J. Westbrook.
Run defense 1 of few bright spots for Florida State
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida State has stumbled out the gate this season and the Seminoles have not looked very impressive.
Though there is one bright spot they can point to: their ability to defend the run.
The Seminoles are 11th in the FBS in rush defense, allowing just 97.5 yards per game. Florida State held Northern Illinois to six rushing yards on 20 carries in a 37-19 win on Saturday, the lowest total allowed by the Seminoles since they held Colorado to -27 yards in Sept. 2007.
Taggart stays the course, looks for offensive improvement
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida State coach Willie Taggart remains optimistic despite the rough start in his first season with the Seminoles.
Taggart has just one win in his first three games in Tallahassee. But that's not new for him. Taggart went 2-10 in his first seasons at Western Kentucky (2010) and South Florida (2013). And while he started last year 4-1 in his only season at Oregon, the Ducks finished the regular season 7-5.
Florida State’s offense stagnant behind struggling line
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida State has tried three starting lineups on the offensive line in three games. The Seminoles will use a fourth on Saturday.
Column: FSU in big trouble just 3 games into Taggart era
Willie Taggart walked into the room, took a nervous swig of water and did his best to get his flailing program back on track.
The words had clearly been swirling around in his head for the past 48 hours, since another dismal performance by the Florida State Seminoles.
He even jotted them down on paper, to make sure he didn't forget anything.
Anxiety rises at high-pedigree programs with new coaches
Misery loves company, and there's plenty to go around for first-year coaches at some of the high-pedigree programs in college football.
Chip Kelly is 0-3 at UCLA, Scott Frost is 0-2 at Nebraska, Willie Taggart hasn't beaten a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent at Florida State and neither has Kevin Sumlin at Arizona.
Florida State reeling after 23-point loss at Syracuse
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — A preseason ranking, a healthy quarterback, and a solid core put Florida State in a good frame of mind as Willie Taggart prepared for his first season as head coach.
Then they started playing the games and the Seminoles have struggled.
Syracuse hosts Florida State looking to get to 3-0
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Florida State coach Willie Taggart knows what his Seminoles are up against with Eric Dungey. He's seen Syracuse's senior quarterback up close before.
"He's a hell of a competitor. Kid loves to compete," said Taggart, who faced Dungey while he was head coach at South Florida. "He can cause you a lot of problems. Our guys are going to have our hands full going against him and, hopefully, it's just one of those bad days for him that day."
Terry emerging into receiving threat Florida State needs
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida State coaches have been closely watching to see which young receiver would emerge in preseason camp or early during the season.
Tamorrion Terry has stepped forward, giving the Seminoles exactly what they needed. The redshirt freshman has four catches for 82 yards, including a pair of touchdowns in a 36-26 win over Samford last Saturday.
Struggling Seminoles see plenty of areas for improvement
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Willie Taggart's dream was to be the coach at Florida State. His first games have been a nightmare.
Taggart's mistake-prone Seminoles (1-1, 0-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) look to clean up nearly every area after they were overwhelmed in the opener by Virginia Tech and then needed a rally in the fourth quarter to take the lead and hold off Samford.
Next up is a road game at Syracuse (2-0) on Saturday.
Francois helps Florida State escape with win over Samford
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida State paid Samford $500,000 looking for a guaranteed win. The Seminoles got a victory — but quite the run for their money.
Deondre Francois threw for 320 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winning score to Tre' McKitty with 4:03 to go, as Florida State held off Samford 36-26 on Saturday.
Francois helps Florida State escape with win over Samford
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Deondre Francois threw for 320 yards and three touchdowns, including the go-ahead score to Tre' McKitty with 4:03 to go, as Florida State held off Samford 36-26 on Saturday.
Trailing 26-21, Francois led the Seminoles (1-1) on an 11-play, 82-yard drive that put them ahead for the first time this season. Francois connected with McKitty for the 5-yard touchdown, and he then found Nyqwan Murray for the 2-point conversion as Florida State took a 29-26 lead.
Florida State looks for better showing from offensive line
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida State looks to build confidence in its struggling offensive line when the Seminoles take on Samford this weekend.
In their season-opening loss to Virginia Tech, the Seminoles allowed five sacks and were not able to establish a running game — then fell out of the Top 25.
It was not the kind of start first-year coach Willie Taggart had hoped for.
FSU’s Francois returns to field, struggles behind shaky line
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Deondre Francois had ice bags strapped to both knees and another one wrapped around his right shoulder.
He was sore, sullen and stunned.
One year after injuring his left knee, Francois was back on the field for Florida State on Monday night. His return was as dismal as coach Willie Taggart's debut with the Seminoles.
Jackson’s 2 TD passes help Virginia Tech handle FSU 24-3
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Virginia Tech and coach Justin Fuente notched another season-opening victory against a ranked team.
Florida State and Willie Taggart delivered the program's most inept offensive performance at home in a decade, hardly the start Taggart had hoped for with the Seminoles.
Needless to say, it was easy to tell which Atlantic Coast Conference heavyweight looked like a title contender Monday night.
Past and present: Bowden takes in Taggart’s FSU debut
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden has an open invitation from new coach Willie Taggart to attend practices and games.
Bowden was at Monday night's game as the 19th-ranked Seminoles opened the Taggart Era against No. 20 Virginia Tech. Just don't expect him to make frequent trips to campus.
Florida State’s run game a concern for inexperienced Hokies
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — When Florida State coach Willie Taggart makes his debut on Monday, most eyes will be fixated on Deondre Francois and how he leads an up-tempo spread offense.
Correction: Pick Six-Back From Injury story
In a story Aug. 9 about college football players coming back from injury, The Associated Press misspelled the first name of Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois.
A corrected version of the story is below:
FSU QB Francois heads list of players returning from injury
FSU QB Francois, South Carolina WR Samuel among players returning from season-ending injuries
Florida State backup quarterback Hockman transfers
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida State backup quarterback Bailey Hockman has decided to transfer, leaving the No. 19 Seminoles without much depth at the position.
Hockman was at Thursday's practice but was absent on Friday. A school spokesperson confirmed Hockman's intention to transfer. He hasn't decided what school to attend.
No. 24 Oregon opens first season under coach Mario Cristobal
Bowling Green (2-10 last season) at No. 24 Oregon (7-6), 8 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
Taggart’s debut: No. 19 Florida State hosts No. 20 Va. Tech
No. 20 Virginia Tech (9-4 last season) at No. 19 Florida State (7-6), Monday, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Taggart’s Time: Florida State coach tackles dream job
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — When he was coach at South Florida in 2015, Willie Taggart looked across the field to the Florida State sideline at Doak Campbell Stadium and wondered what it would be like to be the Seminoles' coach.
Taggart will find out Monday night when he makes his Florida State debut, leading the 19th-ranked Seminoles against No. 20 Virginia Tech.
Virginia Tech-FSU matchup highlights ACC’s opening weekend
Things to watch in the Atlantic Coast Conference in Week 1:
Francois named No. 19 Florida State’s starting QB
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Deondre Francois is back in the driver's seat.
The junior quarterback beat out James Blackman and Bailey Hockman for the opportunity to start for No. 19 Florida State in the season opener against No. 20 Virginia Tech on Sept. 3. Coach Willie Taggart made the announcement on Monday prior to practice.
"In every scrimmage we've had, he's been really impressive," Taggart said. "And the same thing in practice. And they all have. It's been a good competition.
Florida State CB Taylor feels ‘underrated,’ yet delivers
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida State cornerback Levonta Taylor doesn't look the part. The junior is generously listed at 5-foot-10 and 181 pounds.
Not that those numbers interest him. The stats he focuses are 0 and 1 — as in no touchdowns he allowed in 2017 and his jersey number.
Taylor temporarily lost his valuable No. 1 when coach Willie Taggart took away all of the single-digit numbers for Florida State players in the spring, summer and start of preseason camp.
Florida State wraps up practice at IMG; QB job still open
BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — Florida State wrapped up four days of training camp at IMG Academy with coach Willie Taggart saying the Seminoles accomplished several things as they prepare for their season opener against Virginia Tech.
"I thought we got a lot done," Taggart said Thursday. "I'm really impressed with the way the guys competed in practice. Plays that they're not familiar with, we got better. It was just as if we were practicing at Florida State."
Ducks clearly need to keep Justin Herbert healthy in 2018
Just 12 months ago it was the start of the "Willie Taggart Era" in Eugene. Now it's Mario Cristobal's turn.
The team's former co-offensive coordinator is embarking on his first season at the helm of the Ducks. Taggart, meanwhile, is doing the same at Florida State after a one-year tenure at Oregon.
New coach Taggart confident Florida State can bounce back
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Willie Taggart's first eight months as Florida State's coach could not have gone much better. He has reinvigorated a team and fan base that has found itself out of contention for a College Football Playoff spot by early October the past two seasons and saw Jimbo Fisher leave for Texas A&M last December.
As Florida State prepares for Taggart's first season the biggest question is how long will Taggart's honeymoon last.