AROUND THE NATION
SARK NO SHARK: Going beyond his apparent drinking problem, Steve Sarkisian so far is shaping up to be a “whiff” as the head coach at Southern Cal. The hire two years ago always seemed a bit odd anyway, considering Sark just went 34-29 in five years at Washington. But, now, following Thursday’s lifeless 17-12 loss at home to his former team, he stands at 3-2 this season (12-6 overall) with a squad widely recognized as having top-5 talent. That, ahem, effort was enough to put USC as the current leader in the clubhouse of the “Where will Chip Kelly wind up” tournament.
TURTLE TALK: Not to be outdone, Maryland already has put Randy Edsall’s exit in motion, leaving only the final details on how things are to go down to be worked out as the Terps get set to take on No. 1 Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio. Yeah, nice timing by the administration. Then again, everyone has to get their sales pitches together for Kelly before he gets bounced from the NFL. Why, again, is he such a hot commodity?
MONEY MATTERS: UCLA’s Myles Jack withdrew from school due so he could concentrate on prepping for the NFL Draft and playing for pay as he rehabs from tearing the meniscus in a knee that derailed his junior season. Got no problem with that, and am not really buying that Bruins coach Jim Mora is truly concerned with the youngster’s decision as though it could hurt his professional chances. Really, coach? Nice touch in referencing your NFL background, too.
POWER CONFERENCE: As of games played entering Friday, three conference could boast four unbeaten teams – the Big 12, the Big Ten and the American Athletic. Obviously, we’re all aware of the history and prestige (earned or not) of the first two, but the AAC? Frankly, it’s been an amazing salvage job by forces linked to the former Big East to keep things going and produce a pretty damn good grid league. The AAC’s Fab 4 for 2015 – Memphis, Temple, Navy and Houston – are all potential top-25 teams this season.
UPSET WATCH: A week after upsetting then-No. 6 Notre Dame despite leaking oil worse than a drip tray at a greasy spoon down the stretch, now-No. 6 Clemson hosts Georgia Tech. Yeah, yeah, the same Tech that got tripped up at the same ND earlier this season. That being said, the same Tech still runs the triple-option attack that trounced the Tigers by 22 points last season.
Temple’s What 2 Watch vs. Tulane