ACC strong again
It appears as if the Atlantic Coast Conference isn't just a basketball league any more. The league's four ranked football teams - Clemson (No. 3), Florida State (8), Miami (14), and Maryland (25) - are 4-0 for the first time in its 60-year history. In addition, three one-loss teams, including Pittsburgh, have lost only to a Top 10 team.
Maryland has rebounded from a 4-8 mark last year to be the league's surprise team. It's too bad the Terrapins will have to leave the party when they enter the Big Ten next year, but the league won't miss a beat because No. 7 Louisville will be stepping in.
Brown going down?
This week's announced retirement of Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds isn't good news for embattled Longhorns coach Mack Brown, whose team barely escaped Thursday night at Iowa State, thanks to a controversial call late in the game. Even though Dodds isn't leaving his post until August, he said any significant move "needs to have the hand of the new person" because he or she will be responsible for it.
Brown, 62, has been under fire for lackluster recruiting and poor on-field strategy, and former Longhorns great Earl Campbell has criticized him. A new AD is expected to be in place within two months.
More fun, maybe
Lane Kiffin put on a fantastic sales job to convince Silas Redd to transfer from Penn State to Southern California after the NCAA sanctions were imposed on the Nittany Lions last year.
Now Kiffin is gone and Redd, a senior tailback who has yet to play in 2013 because of a knee injury, described his feelings to the Associated Press as those of "shock and awe." But Redd is encouraged by interim head coach Ed Orgeron, who has vowed to bring fun back to the Trojans, including the return of desserts to the training table.
This is go time for Northwestern, the doormat of the Big Ten until Pat Fitzgerald returned to his alma mater to restore pride to the program.
The 16th-ranked Wildcats take on No. 4 Ohio State at home under the lights in what is being called the most important regular-season game in the school's history. Northwestern hasn't defeated a Top Five opponent since 1959 (36 games) and has lost 28 of its last 29 to the Buckeyes. But the team is averaging 41 points behind a pair of effective quarterbacks, Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian.
Academies and football
The decision by the Department of Defense to allow Navy and Air Force to play in the wake of the government shutdown "is a huge relief" to Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk, and it's easy to see why.
The academy plans to honor the Midshipmen's 1963 Cotton Bowl team, led by Roger Staubach, on its 50th anniversary. In addition, the winner of the last 13 Navy-Air Force games has gone on to win the Commander-In-Chief's Trophy given to the academy with the best record in games involving Army, Navy and Air Force. Gladchuk said the game will bring in roughly $4 million for Navy, where football revenue funds its 32 other athletic teams.
Baylor has averaged 69.7 points in its first three games. In 26 offensive possessions, the Bears have scored 22 times (21 touchdowns, one field goal). Their defense has scored more TDs (four) than it has allowed (three).
But fun time is over. Their Big 12 opener against West Virginia is looming and Baylor is coming off its second bye in the last three weeks. "The good thing is that our guys are fresh, energized and anxious," Baylor coach Art Briles said.
Making desert history
How's this for a stat? With a win over Notre Dame Saturday night in Cowboys Stadium, Arizona State could be the first team to defeat Southern California and the Fighting Irish in consecutive weeks.
According to the Associated Press, 13 teams have played the Trojans and the Irish in back-to-back weeks but only two - Michigan State in 1987 and South Carolina in 1983 - have gotten by the first game. Both defeated USC the first week, but were routed by Notre Dame the second. The Sun Devils ran up 62 points on the Trojans last week, costing Kiffin his job.
Expat of the Week
Two locally produced redshirt freshmen are moving up the depth chart for No. 25 Maryland. Malcolm Culmer of Willingboro is the starter at one wide receiver position and has caught three passes for 47 yards. P.J. Gallo of Council Rock South is now the No. 2 tight end.
Games of the Week
Ohio State at Northwestern, 8 p.m., 6ABC
The Wildcats feel they are ready to claim just the second win in their last 30 games against the No. 4 Buckeyes, holder of the nation's longest win streak (17).
Maryland at Florida State, noon, ESPN
The Terrapins already have matched their win total (four) from last season, their best start since 2001, but the No. 8 Seminoles should send them crashing back to earth.
Clemson at Syracuse, 3:30 p.m., 6ABC
The Orange make their debut in ACC league play hoping that the Carrier Dome will make the third-ranked Tigers feel claustrophobic.
Georgia at Tennessee, 3:30 p.m., CBS3
The Volunteers are counting on finding a fatigued team of Bulldogs who finished September 3-1, including two wins over top 10 teams.
Arizona State vs. Notre Dame, 7:30 p.m., NBC10
Chances of a repeat BCS bowl bid are dwindling for the Fighting Irish, and the high-powered Sun Devils won't help their cause.
West Virginia at Baylor, 8 p.m., FS1
The Bears lost by 70-63 last year at Morgantown and are averaging 69.7 points this season. Can the Mountaineers keep pace?
Washington at Stanford, 10:30 p.m., ESPN
This matchup of two of the nation's best quarterbacks - the Cardinal's Kevin Hogan and the Huskies' Keith Price - could be decided by UW running back Bishop Sankey.
- Joe Juliano