Thursday, October 24, 2013
Adding a name to USC coaching derby
By Steve Bisheff
They’re only college football opinions, but at least they’re all mine:
-- What this week’s Miami ruling proved is that the only organization in America more dysfunctional than Congress is the NCAA.
-- Losing nine scholarships compared to USC’s 30? Really? What would the penalty have been if the Hurricanes’ entire squad had admitted to accepting illegal benefits? Ten scholarships?
Should Steve Mariucci's name be in the mix at USC?
-- Here’s a name no one has mentioned in the USC coaching derby: Steve Mariucci. Once one of the hot, young coaches in America, he was Brett Favre’s quarterback coach with the Packers, the head coach one year at Cal, then moved on to the NFL and had some good years in San Francisco, where he beat out Pete Carroll, among others, for the head job. Currently a broadcaster for the NFL Network, he has the style and the look and was strongly considered for the Trojans’ position before Mike Garrett opted for Lane Kiffin.
-- One of the main reasons USC’s secondary is struggling is because of the early departure of Nickell Robey, the terrific cornerback whom you might have seen returning an interception for a touchdown for the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
-- Maybe it’s just a freshman thing now. Certainly, Florida State’s “Famous Jameis” Winston has vaulted right up near the top of the Heisman Trophy rankings with that spectacular performance against Clemson. First Johnny Manziel and now Winston? It’s possible, although Oregon’s Marcus Mariota is still No. 1 on most lists.
-- How tough is the transition from college football to the NFL? Just ask Matt Barkley. I’m sure that ugly, three interception afternoon on Sunday wasn’t the way the former USC star dreamed his debut would go.
-- For all his unquestioned athletic ability, I thought UCLA’s Brett Hundley showed for the first time against Stanford that he’d probably be wise to stick around another year before becoming a first-round draft pick. Mechanically, there are still some things he needs to refine.
-- By the way, that jaw-dropping, one-handed catch by Stanford’s Kodi Whitfield against the Bruins wasn’t just the play of the week. It was the college football play of the year.
-- OK, I agree. It is time to start taking Baylor seriously. You keep dropping 70 points on other people and you have to be pretty good.
-- For all those who admire the late Hall of Fame coach Eddie Robinson, it’s difficult to believe what has happened to the program at Grambling State.
-- I’m still trying to digest the fact that Washington State’s Connor Halliday put the ball in the air 89 times against Oregon. I remember when some quarterbacks barely threw the ball 89 times in a season.
-- How quickly things change in the Pac-12. A week ago, UCLA was being mentioned as a top five BCS bowl candidate and a possible national title contender. This week, the Bruins are 22-point underdogs at Oregon.
-- Talk about contrast in styles. This week’s Stanford at Oregon State matchup is a duel between the Cardinal’s old-fashioned power game and the Beavers’ Sean Mannion, throw –it-all-over-the-yard philosophy. The surprise is that Mike Riley’s pass-crazy team is the one with the undefeated conference record.
-- Wonder what the late Bo Schembechler would have thought of Michigan’s 63-47 victory over Indiana? The two teams combined for 63 first downs and 1,323 yards of offense. Come to think of it, I know what Bo would have thought and you couldn’t repeat it on a family website.
-- Back when running backs were still considered serious Heisman candidates, Wisconsin’s young bull of a tailback, Melvin Gordon, would have been right up there in the polls.
-- It is a little early to start talking Coach of the Year, but whenever the conversation begins, Auburn’s Gus Malzahn should be included.
-- Jack Nicklaus’s grandson, Nick O’Leary, is one powerful, impressive-looking tight end for Florida State. Wonder what the kid can do with a driver in his hands?