College football topics
We can officially say Florida State redshirt freshman Jameis Winston is the real deal after his 22-of-34, 444-yard performance in last week's 51-14 road annihilation of Clemson. The Las Vegas oddsmakers think so and have jumped him to second among Heisman Trophy favorites trailing only Oregon's Marcus Mariota.
Winston is second in the nation in passing efficiency and 12th in total offense (337.0 yards per game), and with a 71.3 percent completion rate, he is on pace to break Charlie Ward's school record. Winston feels he will improve with time and with "coach [Jimbo] Fisher yelling at me some more," according to the Associated Press.
Mariota, who is fifth in FBS total offense with an average of more than 363 yards, has thrown 19 touchdown passes against zero interceptions. He has gone 265 straight pass attempts without a pick although he lost the ball twice on fumbles against Washington, his first turnovers this season.
Hundley, who is 16th in total offense (324.7 yards per game), wants to bounce back from last week when he threw two interceptions in his team's 24-10 loss at Stanford.
His seat has cooled
It didn't look good last year for Missouri coach Gary Pinkel when the Tigers struggled to a 5-7 record in their first season as a member of the SEC, and the thought was that the team would have to show marked improvement for him to stick around.
Well, Mizzou is 7-0 and No. 5 in both the AP poll and the BCS rankings, and Pinkel has gone from potential unemployment to national coach-of-the-year candidate. The Tigers are playing their third straight ranked team this week, hosting No. 20 South Carolina, and a victory will give them a commanding advantage in the SEC East.
Some respect for Tech?
It's a matter of respect for Texas Tech, which has built a 7-0 record against six teams with losing records and relative FBS newcomer Texas State.
Now the Red Raiders can work on gaining respect on their own with a schedule that includes Saturday's game against No. 15 Oklahoma and contests next month against ranked teams Oklahoma State and Baylor, as well as Texas on the road.
Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury can feel the bandwagon filling up but doesn't pay it any mind. "When you can continue to prove people wrong, it's great for a team's psyche. That's been big for us," he told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Trying to forget
Earlier this season, Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd was at or near the top of some Heisman Trophy lists. However, after passing for only 156 yards in last week's embarrassing loss to Florida State, Boyd finds himself off the board on the weekly odds list issued by Bovada, an online gambling site.
Still, it's the only defeat for the Tigers this season, and they hope to rebound at Maryland.
"You've got to be accountable for your actions out there," Boyd told the AP. "Whether it's studying more or just performing better, you've got to make sure you get it done."
Won't get fooled again?
Stanford was rolling toward a battle of unbeatens against Oregon when it got smacked two weeks ago on the road by unranked Utah between games against Top 25 teams.
Now the Cardinal, who knocked off UCLA last week, have to deal with 25th-ranked Oregon State before they can worry about the Oregon showdown on Nov. 7.
In a conference with terrific quarterbacks, the Beavers can offer their own in junior Sean Mannion, who leads the nation with 427 passing yards per game. "Oregon State has our full attention," assured Stanford defensive end Ben Gardner.
Lots of freshmen
The fact that quarterbacks Christian Hackenberg of Penn State and P.J. Walker of Temple are starting as true freshmen is part of a growing trend in college football.
The AP checked out 72 teams in automatic-qualifying BCS conferences along with Notre Dame, and found 359 freshmen (true and redshirt) listed as first- or second-stringers on this week's depth charts, not including special teams.
The AP said 72 of the freshmen were starting. The reasons for this emergence include strength and conditioning training, more football-specific camp participation, and video study, according to the AP.
Expatriate of the Week
Justin Renfrow, who played his high school ball at Penn Charter, transferred to Miami (Fla.) for his final year of eligibility after graduating from Virginia and currently sees playing time at defensive tackle. The 6-foot-6, 320-pounder from Morrisville, Bucks County, has played in all six games with the Hurricanes (one start) and has produced 17 tackles and one forced fumble. Renfrow played defensive end and tight end at Penn Charter and was ranked 20th in the state by Rivals.com.
Games of the Week
UCLA at Oregon, 7 p.m., ESPN
With a legitimate shot at the national championship within reach, the Ducks embark on their most difficult two-game stretch, starting with the 12th-ranked Bruins followed by a Nov. 6 contest at No. 9 Stanford.
Wake Forest at Miami, noon, ESPNU
The unbeaten Hurricanes play their first game under Al Golden without the looming cloud of an NCAA investigation but must guard against looking ahead to Florida State.
Texas Tech at Oklahoma, 3:30 p.m., Fox29
This will be the toughest test of the season for the upstart Red Raiders, whose two freshmen quarterbacks will face a stern test from the Sooners' secondary.
Tennessee at Alabama, 3:30 p.m., CBS3
Since their wild 49-42 win over Texas A&M, the top-ranked Crimson Tide have outscored five opponents by 201-16 and should roll again.
North Carolina St. at Florida State, 3:30 p.m., ESPN2
The Seminoles need to keep a foot on the gas after last week's shockingly easy win over Clemson vaulted them into BCS title contention.
South Carolina at Missouri, 7 p.m., ESPN2
A third straight win over a Top 25 team will put the Tigers in command of the SEC East race, but the Gamecocks are desperate to stay in the hunt for the division.
Stanford at Oregon State, 10:30 p.m., ESPN
This is a dangerous road test for the Cardinal, who must deal with quarterback Sean Mannion and the Beavers' passing attack that ranks first in FBS.
- Joe Juliano