- Ivan Maisel, ESPN Senior Writer
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1. When Notre Dame made that great run to the BCS Championship Game last season, 13 players started all 13 games. That means the strength and conditioning coaches did their job, yes, but it also means fortune smiled upon Notre Dame. With his retirement announcement this weekend, outside linebacker Danny Spond (medical condition) joined quarterback Everett Golson (grades), becoming the second starter who didn’t even make it to the opener. It’s better to be lucky and good.
2. Alabama missed being a unanimous No. 1 in the initial AP poll by two votes. While I’m sure Crimson Tide fans are proud -- and probably arrogant -- it pays to beware group think (see USC, circa 2012). The biggest issue Alabama has is the loss of leadership on the offensive line. Barrett Jones, D.J. Fluker and Chance Warmack had experience in big games, and had played enough ball to make adjustments on the fly. Given the slim margin of the Tide’s victories over LSU and Georgia, that asset will be missed.
3. We’ve got two nice redemption stories at Purdue and Auburn. Quarterback Rob Henry lost his chance at the Boilermakers’ starting job in 2011 by tearing an ACL. Nick Marshall signed with Georgia and got moved to cornerback and was eventually booted off the team for undisclosed violations. Marshall went to Garden City (Kan.) CC, returned to quarterback, and will start for Auburn next week against Washington State.
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