Six shopping days left until Ohio State-USC. A quick breakdown ...
USC offense: Mark Sanchez looks comfortable and with that rocket arm should have a big day in the Coliseum. The
Trojans receivers won't have it as easy as they did against Virginia. The multi-headed running back combo might be
the toughest group Ohio State will see all season.
USC defense: This might be the unit that wins it for USC. This game is what Pete Carroll has been scheming for all offseason. Ohio State must win the line of scrimmage. It won't.
Ohio State defense: It played when it had to against Ohio. Disinterested most of the game, this group will be at its peak against USC. It must get a rush on Sanchez going against a still-suspect USC line. The veteran defensive
backfield must create cover sacks.
Ohio State offense: I'm convinced Jim Tressel used about three plays against Ohio, trying to save everything for the Trojans. It's clear that Terrelle Pryor is going to have to have an impact. Todd Boeckman is a sitting duck for
USC's ferocious front seven. Pryor is the X factor who creates space especially if Wells isn't 100 percent.
Call it 20-17 USC but that is subject to change.
• Two people have stopped West Virginia's Patrick White lately -- Pittsburgh's Dave Wannstedt and Mountaineers' coach Bill Stewart. Wannstedt did it last December by stacking the box and daring White to throw. Stewart did it
Saturday against East Carolina by continuing to try to make White a pocket passer. That played into the Pirates'
hands. Instead of stacking the box, they were dropped seven and eight players into coverage.
• There is no such official designation but we'll do it here. East Carolina's Skip Holtz is officially the hottest coach in the country after his team's 24-3 victory. No team has accomplished more than the Pirates who have beaten
two ranked BCS conference opponents.
Holtz doesn't have an agent but he might have to hire one. Based on his 2-0 start, he will be able to have his pick
of any open job in the country after this season. The early line: Washington is too far West. Holtz would like to
stay in the South or the East Coach. The Syracuse opening would get him into a BCS conference but does he really
want to go to Syracuse? The job is a coach killer.
• Syracuse opening? Come on, get real. Greg Robinson is now 7-30 at the Cuse after losing to Akron.
• Paul Johnson might have found a quarterback and the ACC might have found a favorite. Georgia Tech's 19-16 victory at Boston College was one of the more impressive of the day. Yellow Jackets Josh Nesbitt, while not the perfect
option quarterback (123 yards total offense), looks like he is going to be at least serviceable. Nesbitt was clutch
in the fourth quarter rallying Tech from a 16-10 deficit.
• Feel good for Vanderbilt's Bobby Johnson. The Commodores are 2-0 after beating South Carolina on Thursday night.
More importantly, Vandy won its SEC opener and looks like it, maybe -- maybe -- has turned the corner.
Johnson has had bigger victories -- beating then-No. 6 South Carolina last season comes to mind -- but this was
supposed to be a rebuilding year. Then again every year at Vanderbilt is a rebuilding year. Johnson lost
All-American receiver Earl Bennett. His quarterback, Chris Nixson, is not Jay Cutler.
• Junior college transfer Chris Todd might have won the quarterback job at Auburn. Todd threw for 248 yards (21 of 31) against Southern Miss in his first start.
• The schedule lines up nicely for LSU now that Gustav has intervened.
Playing Troy on Nov. 15 instead of on Saturday now means that LSU plays five home games in five weeks from Oct. 25
through Nov. 22. The most significant thing for the Tigers is the loss of a bye week between Alabama on Nov. 8 and
Ole Miss on Nov. 22. LSU still has eight home games this season, only three of them before Oct. 25.
• Some talking head suggested Saturday that the recent problems at Penn State (2-0 after beating beating Oregon State 45-14) should be blamed on the players. Huh? Dude, this is why these coaches are paid millions of dollars, to make sure the players don't rob banks or blow hippie lettuce. It's ultimately up to the coach to recruit kids of
Boys will be boys, sure, but what's happening at Penn State would be a national scandal if it was anyone else but
Joe Paterno as coach. It's funny that other programs have leadership from its veteran players. Paterno had to
suspend three of his senior guys last week a couple of weeks after ESPN portrayed the dearth of the off-field
problems. Is it possible that in his zeal to win, JoePa took some chances on kids of questionable character?
• One reason why the ACC is struggling. Prior to Florida State opening the season Saturday against Western Carolina, the 11 other ACC teams had averaged 14.6 players seeing action in their first college game. Thirteen FSU players were expected to make their first career start against the Catamounts. Twenty-eight freshman played mostly because
more than a dozen Seminoles were sitting out due to academic or disciplinary reasons.
• Southeast Missouri State coach Tony Samuel on playing body bag games (The school got $250,000 to play at Missouri): "Anytime you put 85 scholarships against 63, or the No. 6 team in the nation against us, it's a tough
call. But it is what it is, and for us if this was the NFL this would be a preseason game."
• Georgia coach Mark Richt on deciding to redshirt his stud running back Knowshon Moreno in 2006: "That wasn't real smart on my part. I knew he was good, but I didn't know he was that good."
• Ohio State receiver Brain Hartline on the effort against Ohio: "That was pathetic. It was a pathetic performance.
OU should've won the game. I don't know how we came out with it."
• Heisman Watch: 1, Sam Bradford, Oklahoma (five touchdowns and a career-best 395 yards vs. Cincinnati); 2, Knowshon Moreno, Georgia (168 yards and career-best tying three touchdowns vs. Central Michigan); 3. Juice Williams, Illinois (quarterback school-record 174 rushing yards vs. Eastern Illinois).
• Top five non-BCS schools: 1, East Carolina; 2, BYU; 3, Utah; 4, Fresno State; 5, Tulsa.
• Think it isn't a rivalry now? After having 62 hung on it by South Florida last season, Central Florida lost to the Bulls 31-24 in overtime. The game marked the end of the current series for the schools approximately 100 miles apart. There are those already clamoring for a new series.
• A former high-ranking White House official in the Florida press box on Saturday had this advice for the Democratic party: Ignore Sarah Palin's rising superstar status with the Republicans and concentrate on your own superstar, Obama.
• Radio recommendation: Indie 103.1 this weekend in L.A. if you're going to the Ohio State game ... Restaurant recommendation: Ballyhoo Grill in Gainesville. Try the grouper fish tacos.