Here is the latest ACC sports news from The Associated Press | National Sports

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — The top teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference have something in common this season: They are having more success on third downs. No. 5 Clemson converted fewer than 38% of its third down chances a year ago. This year, the Tigers lead the league at nearly 55%. No. 10 North Carolina State, No. 23 Florida State and Syracuse have all taken positive steps on third down. It’s hard for players and coaches to point to a reason. Clemson pass game coordinator Kyle Richardson says it takes focus, talent and understanding the situation.

ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) — The administrators who’ve been given the task of expanding the College Football Playoff from four to 12 teams left their latest in-person meetings outside Chicago with the biggest question unanswered: How soon? The CFP management committee is scheduled to convene again Oct. 20 in Dallas. The members expect to get some work done before then by video conference. But whether the logistical hurdles can be cleared to implement a new format as soon as 2024 is unclear. The playoff will definitely expand by 2026, but the management committee has been tasked with trying to flip the format for the 2024 and ’25 seasons.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Syracuse place-kicker Andre Szmyt was ready to move on last December and announced he wasn’t returning for his final year of eligibility. The decision came after a frustrating year. He quickly changed his mind when Syracuse hired Bob Ligashesky to coach special teams. The unit was coached by committee last season and Szmyt wasn’t the kicker he was in 2018 when he captured the Lou Groza Award, hitting 30 of 34 field goals. He made just nine of 14 attempts in 2021. So far this season, he’s converted nine of 10 field goals for the 4-0 Orange.

UNDATED (AP) — For a few ranked teams, the first month of the season was all about home sweet home. No. 4 Michigan, No. 9 Oklahoma State and No. 15 Washington will play their first road games of the season this weekend. The Cowboys have a big one against Big 12 rival and No. 16 Baylor. The Wolverines and Huskies face unranked but potentially formidable conference foes in the year’s first road trips. Michigan goes to Iowa and Washington faces UCLA on a short week. Their first road tests are among this week’s five most intriguing games.

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia Tech is starting over with its football program and its athletic department overall. The school fired coach Geoff Collins after fewer than four seasons and a 10-28 record. It also got rid of athletic director Todd Stansbury. Georgia Tech plans to hire a new AD first, then let that person oversee the hiring of a new football coach.

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Clemson’s defense spent the offseason saying there’d be little drop=off after longtime leader Brent Venables left to take Oklahoma’s head coaching job. The fifth-ranked Tigers’ defensive front even had a hokey movie moniker in “The Avengers” to keep focused and on pace for another big season. These Avengers have yet to assemble this season. The Tigers are 48th in the country after finishing the past 10 years ranked among the nation’s top 25 in total defense. Clemson and first-year coordinator Wes Goodwin need to get right in a hurry with No. 10 North Carolina State next.

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