- Ivan Maisel, ESPN Senior Writer
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1. What do Lane Kiffin of USC, Chip Kelly of Oregon and James Franklin of Vanderbilt have in common? All three are aggressive grab-it-all coaches and that sensibility is expressed in their reluctance to punt. The Trojans have tried to convert 16 fourth downs, more than anyone in the FBS. The Commodores (12) lead the SEC, and the Ducks (8-of-11, .727) lead the Pac-12 in conversion percentage. Don’t forget, No. 2 Oregon hasn’t had to go for it on fourth down to come from behind. Kelly just likes going for it.
2. Notre Dame is 4-0 and back in the top 10, and if you had to pick one reason why, it would be that the Irish are taking care of the ball and taking it away from the other guys. The Fighting Irish finished last season minus-15 and somehow went 8-5. They are already plus-9 this season, not to mention 4-0. When you force six turnovers against Michigan, you can have young quarterback Everett Golson throw two picks and still win.
3. My questions about the ACC: Has EJ Manuel broken through to fulfill the potential he brought to Florida State all those years ago? For that matter, have the Seminoles? Which Miami do you trust? The one that came against Georgia Tech? Or the one that gave up 36 straight points? Are the Yellow Jackets out of the Coastal race with two losses? Did Maryland prove against West Virginia that head coach Randy Edsall has them on the road back to respectability?