- Ivan Maisel, ESPN Senior Writer
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1. No knock on Duke or Miami or Virginia Tech or Georgia Tech, all of whom could still win the ACC Coastal. But it’s worth noting that Clemson, which is far and away better than any of them, will not be playing in the ACC Championship Game because the Tigers have the misfortune of playing in the ACC Atlantic with Florida State. Don’t California elections put the top two vote-getters in a runoff regardless of party? Hey ACC, it’s something to think about.
2. USC, 4-1 under interim head coach Ed Orgeron, is primed to beat a Stanford team that has won four straight in a rivalry that’s usually one-sided in the other direction. But as the geeks at ESPN Stats & Info point out, USC has played 10 games this season without playing a ranked team. The Trojans, with about 50 scholarship players, will take on the most physical team they play this year. If USC pulls off the upset, it should make athletic director Pat Haden seriously consider removing “interim” from Orgeron’s title. It may be tough to lure a top coach when USC won’t have 85 scholarship players until 2017.
3. No. 7 Auburn (9-1, 5-1) has been the surprise of the 2013 season, rebounding from a 3-9 disaster to challenge No. 1 Alabama in the SEC West. The Tigers have only two games left, against their biggest rivals, No. 25 Georgia and the Crimson Tide. The Tigers are confident, and no matter what coaches say about focusing on the task before them, you have to believe they remember the last two years. Auburn lost the last two to Georgia by a combined 83-7, and to Alabama by a combined 91-14.