- Ivan Maisel, ESPN Senior Writer
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1. Turnaround I: A year ago this week, Baylor had a 4-5 record and stood last -- last! -- in FBS total defense. That Saturday, the Bears stunned No. 1 Kansas State, 52-24, and they haven’t lost since. The 12-game winning streak is a school record. And Baylor is ninth – ninth! – in total defense, allowing only 306.1 yards per game. No. 7 Auburn is getting credit for what has been a remarkable turnaround. But the 5th-ranked Bears have done a pretty nice 180 themselves.
2. Turnaround II: After a 6-1 start last season, USC finished 1-5, then started this season 3-2. Goodbye, Lane Kiffin. Hello, interim head coach Ed Orgeron. The Trojans have gone 4-1 under Orgeron. They have played better defense. The offense put up 62 points against Cal last Saturday, two more than USC scored in its previous three games combined. The Trojans host No. 4 Stanford Saturday night. The Cardinal defense will serve as a benchmark for the level of the Trojans offense. The game also might serve as Turnaround III: the last USC head coach to beat Stanford was Pete Carroll (2008).
3. In the meantime, Turnaround III: Duke is 7-2 and looking to win eight games for the first time since 1994, when the Blue Devils began the season 7-0. That team finished the season 8-4, thanks to a pair of one-point losses to neighbors North Carolina State and North Carolina. This Duke team seems different. These Blue Devils are 3-0 on the road, and they have won five straight for the first time since, yep, ’94. The last Duke team to win nine? 1941, which ended with the Blue Devils playing in the Rose Bowl on the Duke campus.