Thoughts from around college football

They’re only college football opinions, but at least they’re all mine:

  • USC quarterback Cody Kessler has been steadily improving during his redshirt sophomore season, but has he improved enough to beat the best defense he’ll see all year? That’s what we’ll find out against Stanford on Saturday.

  • The Cardinal figure to slow down the Trojans’ running game, so Kessler and his ability to get rid of the ball quickly could become the key to USC chances and, maybe, to Ed Orgeron’s coaching future.

  • If I’m Orgeron, I go all in on trying to stop Tyler Gaffney and the Stanford running game and dare quarterback Kevin Hogan to beat me.

  • I haven’t seen a college linebacker have a better game this season than the one Stanford’s Shayne Skov played against Oregon. The guy was simply everywhere on defense.

  • Maybe it’s just me, but I think the thing that separates Javorius "Buck" Allen from all the other USC tailbacks is that he runs as if he fully expects to score on every play. It is a trait you don’t see very often in running backs. Maybe that’s why the Trojans’ most famous Allen, first name Marcus, picked “Buck” out of a rapt practice week audience several weeks ago and told him he “loved” the way he runs.

  • If Washington’s Steve Sarkisian hopes to inject himself into the thick of the USC coaching derby, a convincing victory over UCLA on Friday night would be a great start.

  • The Bruins’ Myles Jack-of-all-trades could have something to say about that, of course. Jack is one impressive young athlete.

  • So what exactly is it with Oregon and tough, power-running opponents with physical defenses? All the plush facilities haven’t helped them figure out how to beat the Stanfords and Auburns of the world.

  • I don’t quite understand how everyone is saying Florida State’s Jameis Winston is the runaway leader for the Heisman Trophy. To me, Heisman incumbent Johnny Manziel is right there with him, if not slightly ahead.

  • And oh yeah, let’s not forget AJ McCarron. All the Alabama quarterback does is keep making big plays and winning. If they vote on stats, he can’t win the Heisman. But if they consider clutch play and leadership, he has to be in the top three.

  • By the way, I don’t see anyone beating Bama again this season. The way Nick Saban’s guys toyed with a good LSU team was scary.

  • You can’t blame Ohio State’s players for being frustrated. They’re about to go unbeaten in two straight seasons without making it to the BCS title game.

  • Marcus Mariota’s ineffective play against Stanford has opened up the race for Pac-12 Player of the Year. Right now, tailbacks Ka’Deem Carey of Arizona and Bishop Sankey of Washington rank right up there.

  • When you see Notre Dame just lost to a mediocre Pittsburgh team, you realize USC blew a big chance to beat the overrated Irish a few weeks ago.

  • Baylor proved a big point against Oklahoma, but with road games against Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and TCU still ahead and a Dec. 7 finale vs. Texas, the Bears are certainly no cinch to run the table.

  • I know it’s more than two weeks away, but isn’t it fun to speculate what the oddsmakers’ line on the USC-UCLA game would be if it was played this week. Considering it’s at the Coliseum, I’d say it would be pick-em at the moment.

  • Cal (0-7 in the Pac-12) at Colorado (0-6 in the conference) this week, huh? Bet that one will light up the old TV ratings chart.