1. Penn State senior guard John Urschel, a grad student in mathematics, is teaching a trigonometry class this semester. “I get these printouts of kids that have to leave practice early because they have exams,” head coach Bill O’Brien said. “They color-code it. A freshman, it’s yellow. A sophomore, he’s red. If a kid’s a junior, it’s blue. Whatever. So Urschel is purple. ‘What is this color?’ I asked. He said, ‘He’s leaving practice because he’s giving the exam. He’s the professor!’” O’Brien laughed. “I’ve seen it all now.”
2. With the decision of former Notre Dame quarterback Gunner Kiel to transfer to Cincinnati, the head coach formerly known as the Riverboat Gambler is on a hot streak. Kiel is everything Bearcats coach Tommy Tuberville could want. Big body (6-foot-4, 210), big arm, relatively local, and itching to prove himself. Plus, Tuberville has two seniors who can play while Kiel sits out this season. Credit UC quarterback coach Darin Hinshaw with making the sale. Credit Tuberville with making an early splash.
3. My colleague Ted Miller posted an interesting analysis of the Pac-12’s turnover margin over the past three seasons. USC is a cumulative plus-1 under head coach Lane Kiffin, who had a veteran quarterback (Matt Barkley) all three seasons. In Pete Carroll’s glory days, the Trojans dominated that statistic. They went plus-21 in 2005, the last Trojans team to reach the BCS championship game (has it been that long?). The three Rose Bowl teams that followed went a combined plus-13. USC doesn’t protect the ball like that anymore.