1. Did any league have a better year than the American? Houston finished No. 8 and head coach Tom Herman stuck around; Navy, behind quarterback Keenan Reynolds, won a school-record 11 games; and Temple linebacker Tyler Matakevich won the Bednarik and the Nagurski, both given to the best defensive player in the nation. How does the conference capitalize? Home attendance rose 9.1 percent in the league over 2014. Let’s see if schools can parlay this success into season-ticket sales. They need support that isn’t tied to results and the opponents on the field.
2. Now that 27 FBS schools have made coaching changes, there has been a net gain of two African-American head coaches: Syracuse, UTSA and Texas State each added one; East Carolina and Bowling Green hired black replacements for their black head coaches; and Virginia lost one. That makes for a total of 15, two fewer than five years ago. It is encouraging to see that Frank Wilson made the leap from LSU recruiting coordinator to UTSA head coach, and that four of the 10 FBS schools in Texas have black head coaches, and that USC promoted Tee Martin to offensive coordinator. Encouragement, however, isn’t the same as progress.
3. Antwaan Randle El was Vernon Adams before Vernon Adams -- a small quarterback who could make plays and make the defense look bad at the same time. Before 2000, Randle El’s junior year at Indiana, then-Hoosier coach Cam Cameron told me (at Sports Illustrated): “Antwaan is extremely tough, one characteristic that separates the really good quarterback from the good ones. Nobody wants an athletic quarterback who's soft. The team sees him react when he gets hit." All of which makes so heartbreaking the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story in which Randle El, 36 and suffering from cognitive issues, said he wished he had never played football.