Playoff selection will be interesting to watch
You now know the identity of the 13 people who make up the inaugural College Football Playoff selection committee, charged with the task of selecting the top four teams for the FBS playoffs starting in 2014. Maybe it's a positive step toward the implementation of a more inclusive playoff, and it's better than the current Bowl Championship Series system. But the new process still will have its bugs and its critics, having to winnow 10 to 15 contenders down to four while coming under scrutiny for having members with possible personal biases. It should be a fascinating and controversial first season for the new system next year.
It's the quarterbacks, stupid
The folks at Bovada, the online sports betting service, confirmed what we've known all along - quarterbacks are the runaway choice to win the Heisman Trophy. The top eight names on its Heisman odds standings this week are QBs, led by Oregon's Marcus Mariota (7-5), Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel (5-1), Florida State's Jameis Winston (11-2) and Clemson's Tajh Boyd (7-1).
Could Winston or Boyd make a jump over the top two depending on how their teams play in Saturday night's featured game of the week between the No. 3 Tigers and the No. 5 Seminoles?
Mariota, who was a redshirt freshman last year when he won the starting job in the opinion of then-coach Chip Kelly, will take a streak of 233 pass attempts without an interception into Oregon's game against Washington State.
He passed for 366 yards and three touchdowns, and rushed for 88 yards and a TD, in the Ducks' win last week over Washington, further burnishing his Heisman credentials. But the 6-foot-4 Honolulu native tries to sidestep all the praise coming his way.
"I wouldn't say I'm unaware," he told the Associated Press, "but I do my best not to pay attention.
Cam's a fan
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn coached Cam Newton when he was the Tigers' offensive coordinator and he thinks Manziel is "in the same element" as Newton, "some of the best to ever play."
And what does Newton, now the quarterback of the Carolina Panthers, think?
"Johnny is a great football player and he's playing at a level that people don't even really see, as well as Clemson's Tajh Boyd," he said in an Associated Press interview.
Bruins on the move
UCLA plays its home games at the Rose Bowl but it's interesting to note that the Bruins have played in only one Rose Bowl (1998) over the last 20 seasons.
That could change.
The ninth-ranked Bruins, in the top 10 for the first time since 2005, can take a big step to BCS contention if they win at No. 13 Stanford. It's a tough road for UCLA the next two weeks against the physical Cardinal and speedy Oregon but the Bruins are up for it.
"Every game is big but these games mean a lot as far as this team and as far as legacies go," quarterback Brett Hundley told the Orange County Register.
A capable sub
Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk had to come off the bench in the fourth quarter in a hostile environment at Georgia, and all he did was lead two touchdown drives that gave the Tigers the upset victory.
Now Mauk, who broke a number of national prep passing records at Kenton (Ohio) High School, leads No. 14 Mizzou against 22d-ranked Florida in place of usual starter James Franklin. Franklin sprained his right shoulder against Georgia and is out for three to five weeks.
At the other end
Southern Mississippi won a Conference USA championship as recently as 2011 when it finished 12-2 and 20th in the national rankings. But these are low times now for the Golden Eagles, who enter Saturday's game at East Carolina seeking to snap a 17-game losing streak.
The team is getting killed by turnovers - 19 in five games - and its defense is allowing an average of 37.2 points.
"We obviously don't have the market cornered on doing things well right now," said Todd Monken, the first-year coach and former offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State, in an AP story.
Expat of the week
Defensive tackle Josh Watson, a redshirt junior from Wilmington, has started two of Clemson's six games this season and has provided consistency on the defensive line. While the 6-foot-4, 290-pound graduate of John Dickinson High School hasn't had a sack yet this season, he has made 20 tackles.
The Tigers will surely be rotating defensive linemen to deal with Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston in Saturday night's ACC showdown.
Games to Watch
Florida State at Clemson, 8 p.m., 6ABC
The game of the year (the decade?) in the ACC pits two leading Heisman Trophy contenders in quarterbacks Jameis Winston of the fifth-ranked Seminoles and Tajh Boyd of the No. 3 Tigers.
South Carolina at Tennessee, noon, ESPN
The Volunteers have lost 19 consecutive games against Top 25 foes but would love to break the streak against any team coached by nemesis Steve Spurrier.
Florida at Missouri, 12:20 p.m., no local TV:
Looking to build on last week's win at Georgia, the Tigers will have to go at it with backup quarterback Maty Mauk against the stout Gators defense.
Auburn at Texas A&M, 3:30 p.m., CBS3
The seventh-ranked Aggies have scored 40 or more points in nine straight games. But the Tigers' best-in-the-SEC rushing attack will keep the ball away from Johnny Manziel.
UCLA at Stanford, 3:30 p.m., ESPN2
The ninth-ranked Bruins can take a big step to BCS title contention while the Cardinal seek to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time since October 2009.
Arkansas at Alabama, 7 p.m., ESPN
The Crimson Tide have won their last three games by an average of 33 points, while trying not to look ahead to their game against LSU in three weeks.
Southern California at Notre Dame, 7:30 p.m., NBC10
This is the third time in the last four seasons that both teams are unranked entering this game; look for Penn State transfer Silas Redd to see action for the Trojans.
- Joe Juliano