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Miami dismisses leading receiver Thomas

(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) Leading receiver Jeff Thomas was dismissed from Miami's football team Wednesday, the latest blow in a turbulent season for the Hurricanes.

Thomas led Miami with 35 catches and 563 receiving yards this season. He was also a standout kickoff and punt returner for the Hurricanes, and became the first Miami player in more than two years to run back a punt for a touchdown when he took one in from 51 yards during last week's win at Virginia Tech.

A few days removed from that, he was gone. Thomas was not happy about not starting the Virginia Tech game at receiver, missed some practice time this week and coach Mark Richt ultimately made the call to end his tenure at Miami.

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UMass, Whipple part ways after 5 years

AMHERST, Mass. (AP) Massachusetts coach Mark Whipple is stepping down after his second stint leading the Minutemen produced just 16 victories in five seasons.

UMass athletic director Ryan Bamford announced in a news release Wednesday that the school and the 61-year-old Whipple had worked out a mutually agreed upon separation.

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Hogs ban 2 for spirit squad socializing

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) Arkansas defensive backs Ryan Pulley and Kamren Curl have been suspended for the season finale against Missouri for socializing with members of Mississippi State's spirit squad.

Arkansas coach Chad Morris announced the decision earlier this week. Pulley and Curl were seen with the Mississippi State students before last Saturday's 52-6 loss in Starkville. Morris called the actions "unacceptable" during his postgame remarks.

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UCF up to 9th in CFP, top 4 unchanged

Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Michigan were at the top of the College Football Playoff rankings Tuesday night, marking the first time in the five-year history of the postseason system that the same teams held the first four spots for three straight weeks.

Unlike last week, there was a little movement in the top 10. Unbeaten Central Florida moved up two spots to No. 9. The Knights became the first team from outside the Power Five conference to be ranked in the selection committee's top 10.

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Patterson giving Michigan new dimension

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) Shea Patterson's parents took him out for a sushi dinner and to see the movie "Overlord," hoping to get Michigan's quarterback away from his relentless preparation for the biggest game of his life.

"We didn't talk about football," Sean Patterson said in a telephone interview Wednesday. "It was just nice to see him sitting with his mom and eating popcorn. We wanted to give him a break from studying film."

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Grier, West Virginia ready for Oklahoma

West Virginia quarterback Will Grier finally is getting his shot at playing Oklahoma.

Grier missed last year's meeting with a broken finger and the Mountaineers were blown out in Norman, Oklahoma. The senior will play his final home game Friday and can send No. 12 West Virginia (8-2, 6-2 Big 12) into the Dec. 1 league championship game with a win over the sixth-ranked Sooners (10-1, 7-1).

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Washington State eyes Pac-12 North title

PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) A year that began in tragedy for Washington State is wrapping up with the Cougars on the brink of unparalleled success.

Players began spring workouts with heavy hearts after the January suicide of quarterback Tyler Hilinski. The offseason departure of six assistant coaches and head coach Mike Leach's flirtation with the Tennessee job then contributed to the outside perception that little should be expected of the Cougars this year. They were picked to finish fifth in the Pac-12 North.

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Miles' hire creates awkward week at KU

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) Les Miles understood the inherent awkwardness of the situation the moment he accepted the job at Kansas, and he made every effort to keep from compounding it during his first week on campus.

Yet he also wanted to meet the young men who might soon form the foundation of his turnaround.

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No. 13 Florida hopes to end skid vs. FSU

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) C'yontai Lewis' losing streak to Florida State feels even longer than it actually is.

Not only has the Florida tight end lost all four games to the Seminoles during his college career, but the fifth-year senior was part of another setback in 2013. Lewis was on his official visit to Florida that year and witnessed the program's worst defeat (37-7) to rival FSU since 1988.

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Civil War mainly for pride this year

Unlike past years, not a whole lot is on the line for this Friday's Civil War game between Oregon and Oregon State.

No Pac-12 championships, no Rose Bowls. The Ducks look to perhaps improve their bowl prospects. The Beavers' season ends regardless of the outcome.

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