- Ivan Maisel, ESPN Senior Writer
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1. The American Athletic Conference has taken a lot of heat since its inception. The league is losing its automatic-qualifier status after this season. But the one thing the American has is good, veteran coaches. Four of the league's coaches -- June Jones of SMU, George O’Leary of UCF, Paul Pasqualoni of Connecticut and Tommy Tuberville of Cincinnati – have won at least 100 games. Only the SEC has more with five, and that’s actually a lower percentage (5-of-14, 35.7 percent) than the American (4-of-10, 40 percent).
2. The rise of freshman walk-on quarterback Baker Mayfield at Texas Tech brings to mind two points. One, Mayfield played high school football at Austin's Lake Travis High, as sophisticated a prep program as there is anywhere. That explains his maturity. Two, when a new coach comes in with new systems, the depth chart becomes wide open. Mayfield has gotten a closer look because sophomore Michael Brewer is day-to-day with a back injury.
3. At first glance, the announcements in the last few days that bowl games are starting next season in the Bahamas, Boca Raton, Fla., and Montgomery, Ala., make no sense. There are 35 bowls this season, and 6-6 teams are needed to fill them. However, in the next couple of years, Appalachian State, Georgia Southern, Old Dominion, and Charlotte are moving up to FBS, increasing the membership to 129. More teams? More bowls.