3-point stance: Kiel a good sign for Kelly

1. It’s impossible to know whether Gunner Kiel will turn into the Next Great Notre Dame Quarterback or just another guy. But the last-minute decision by Kiel, from Columbus, Ind., to spurn LSU and drive to the South Bend campus only three hours from home is a warming balm for Irish fans frustrated with the pace of head coach Brian Kelly’s progress. A pair of 8-5s is noticeably lacking in face cards. Notre Dame endorsed Kelly a few days ago by adding two years to his contract. Kiel endorsed him by showing up.

2. USF announced the other day that it has scheduled a home-and-home with Nevada, beginning with a trip to Reno on Sept. 8. The Wolf Pack will play in Tampa in 2015. That’s a nice get by the Bulls, but they buried the lead. More important is that in 2012, as it did three years ago, USF will play Florida State and Miami. They also played Florida and Miami in 2010. As the Big East and ACC struggle to create schedules in the wake of their realignment, here’s hoping USF continues to play the state’s bigger names.

3. Speaking of which: here are the five most interesting intersectional games for next season, excluding the traditional non-conference rivalries: Boise State at Michigan State on Fri., Aug. 31; Alabama vs. Michigan in Cowboys Stadium on Sept. 1; West Virginia at Florida State on Sept. 8; Virginia Tech vs. Cincinnati at FedEx Field on Sept. 29; Notre Dame at Oklahoma on Oct. 27.