- Ivan Maisel, ESPN Senior Writer
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1. It took Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart more than 700 words to get to the point of his “Open Letter to the Big Blue Nation” Sunday. He was firing head coach Joker Phillips, effective at the end of the season. That puts the Wildcats first in the Bobby Petrino sweepstakes. Petrino has served his one season of penance for his scandal at Arkansas. As a former coach at Louisville, he knows the area. And as Rick Pitino has proven over the past decade, it is possible for a former coach at one school to thrive at the other.
2. Normally, I wouldn’t repeat a note from the day before. But when I pointed out the historically bad performance by the USC defense Saturday against Oregon, I hadn’t seen this analysis from ESPN Stats & Information: Oregon tailback Kenjon Barner rushed for more yards (273) before getting hit against USC than he had in the previous eight games combined (261). No offense to the Ducks' offensive line, but that can’t be all due to its play.
3. Ohio State may be the first team to hit 10-0, but don’t let that tell you that the Buckeyes are an NCAA penalty away from playing for the crystal football. Not yet, anyway, if the polls and computers that include Ohio State are any judge. Jeff Sagarin, one of the six computer ratings used by the BCS, has the Buckeyes 10th in his BCS ratings and 20th in his non-BCS (includes margin of victory) ratings. The Associated Press voters rank Ohio State No. 5, behind Alabama, Oregon Kansas State and Notre Dame.