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If it's November, it's time for every Tom, Dick and Barack to weigh in on the BCS. President-elect Barack Obama declared his support for an eight-team playoff in an interview during "Monday Night Football."Not that I-Formation would suggest Obama would play politics with an issue of such vital national importance, but it didn't hurt that Obama's view would meet approval in the key state of Pennsylvania, where Penn State coach Joe Paterno has been tub-thumping for a playoff for decades (if it was a political decision, good playcall -- Obama carried the Nittany State with 55 percent of the vote). Obama's belief in a playoff isn't from experience. His alma maters, Columbia and Harvard, would rather start giving out scholarships than vote for the Ivy League to participate in the Football Championship Subdivision playoff.
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Urban Meyer's Gators are playing well, but there's a reason No. 5 Florida isn't at the top of the BCS standings.
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Randy Shannon's patience is paying off for the Hurricanes.
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Freshman QB Jacory Harris sparked the Canes past Virginia.
Ivan Maisel is a senior writer for ESPN.com. Send your questions and comments to Ivan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. The Pac-10's troubles have cast doubts on USC (7-1) as a contender for the national championship. But keep in mind that USC has allowed only seven touchdowns, four of them to Oregon State. Two of the touchdowns came on drives of 2 and 15 yards. The Trojans have given up 57 points, 27 of them to the Beavers, and shut out three of their past four opponents. Only one other team, BYU, has shut out even two Football Bowl Subdivision opponents. Here's my analysis: Wow.
2. When the Rose Bowl reached down to No. 15 to select Big Ten runner-up Illinois to play No. 8 USC last season, only two members of the selection committee voted against the Illini. The Trojans won 49-17, and that lesson isn't lost. If Penn State plays in the BCS National Championship Game, the Rose Bowl is wary of Ohio State, even though the Buckeyes haven't played there in 11 years. USC's 35-3 victory over Ohio State in September would provide the cover not to take the Buckeyes.
3. It's been four days. I've moved past my gut reaction. I have enough distance to make a calm judgment. And I still think Florida coach Urban Meyer strayed way off base by calling those two timeouts in the final minute of the 49-10 rout of Georgia. The Gators said all they needed to say on the scoreboard. Meyer's choice revealed more about him than it did anyone else, none of it good.
Before the season, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops described the steps defenses would have to take to slow down the spread offense that has spread the width of the nation. Stoops described defenses that would sacrifice size for speed in order to be able to make tackles all over the field.Take a look at the NCAA sack leaders. TCU junior defensive end Jerry Hughes, who is 6-2, 248, leads the nation with 14 sacks. Hughes came to Fort Worth after an all-district career at Austin High School in Sugar Land, Texas, -- as a running back. In second place, with 11 sacks, is Penn State sophomore Aaron Maybin. At 6-4, 236 pounds, Maybin barely would qualify as a linebacker at some schools. For the record, no one is lining up and running down either defense's throat. The Horned Frogs lead the nation in rushing defense, allowing 38.9 yards per game. The Nittany Lions are first in the Big Ten and 11th overall, giving up 99.1 yards per game.
Boy, Northwestern has really suffered from the loss of senior tailback Tyrell Sutton (776 yards) for the season with a wrist injury. Backup quarterback Mike Kafka came in and set a school record for rushing by a quarterback with 217 yards in the Wildcats' 24-17 victory at Minnesota this past Saturday.Kafka, a redshirt junior, played because starter C.J. Bacher was out with a hamstring injury. Kafka is more of a runner than Bacher, and Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said Sunday night that the game plan included Kafka as a runner. Kafka is a big (6-3, 220) man with good feet. As a senior at St. Rita High in Chicago in 2004, he threw for 1,004 yards and rushed for 806. The Northwestern coaches knew Kafka could run. They had seen it in practice for three seasons. But you don't script the impromptu. "When Mike made big plays is when the play would break down and he would try to keep the play alive," Fitzgerald said Sunday night from his office. It felt like every time Minnesota failed to contain the gaps at the line of scrimmage, Kafka made the Golden Gophers pay. There is poetic justice in Kafka's big game. Two years ago, Kafka started the first four games of the season, suffered a hamstring injury and got Wally Pipped by Bacher. Since returning to health late in the 2006 season, Kafka had thrown nine passes before his star turned at Minnesota. "Mike has been very patient, very, very supportive of the program and of C.J.," Fitzgerald said. "He has prepared every week to be the starter. He's really mature. That's what I'm most proud of. As a football player, you don't want to learn patience. You want to play. He came to me earlier this season and said, 'Coach, I'll go cover kicks.' I said, 'Mike, you're one play away.'" Fitzgerald said Sunday night, and again Monday, that Bacher will start Saturday at Ohio State if he is healthy. He loves the idea that defenses now must be aware of the Wildcats' two quarterbacks. "The program needed Mike to play his best, and he did," Fitzgerald said.