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Patterns have Notre Dame, USC attention

Fighting Irish face familiar heartbreaker in Boston College, and Trojans face unfamiliar situation Saturday — just one loss from their first three-game losing streak since 2001.

November 09, 2012|Chris Dufresne
  • Notre Dame escaped last week's showdown with Pittsburgh with a perfect record.
Notre Dame escaped last week's showdown with Pittsburgh with a perfect… (Jonathan Daniel / Getty…)

We combed the hills and scoured the wires for this batch of weekend tidbits:

• Boston College has knocked undefeated Notre Dame out of the national title race in each of the last two decades: 1993 and 2002. Notre Dame (9-0) plays at Boston College on Saturday night.

• USC, which hosts Arizona State at the Coliseum, has not lost three straight games since Pete Carroll's first season in 2001. The Sun Devils have lost their last three games.

• Minnesota, playing at Illinois, has allowed 13 points in each of its four Big Ten defeats. That sounds like bad luck.

• Georgia Coach Mark Richt has kept secret until now a sore hip that will require surgery after the season. Richt traces the injury to falling off a swing set at a family picnic when he was in his mid-20s.

"That was typical of him," Richt's wife Katharyn told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. "Mark always has to win at something. Even swinging became a championship pursuit."

This season's Southeastern Conference title game will be set if Alabama beats Texas A&M and Georgia wins at hapless Auburn.

• Who says they don't play defense out west? The Oregon State at Stanford game boasts two of the nation's top five defenses against the run. Stanford is No. 1 and Oregon State is No. 5. The only SEC team in the top five is No. 2 Alabama.

Oregon State at Stanford also features teams that remain in the Bowl Championship Series top 15 despite changing quarterbacks: Cody Vaz has replaced Sean Mannion for Oregon State; Kevin Hogan has taken over at Stanford for Josh Nunes.

• Oregon starts redshirt freshman Marcus Mariota at quarterback and Notre Dame starts freshman Everett Golson. No redshirt freshman quarterback has led his team to an undefeated season and national title. Miami won the title in 1983 with Bernie Kosar but he lost the opener against Florida.

And, since the NCAA reinstated freshman eligibility in 1972, the only first-year freshman to lead his team to the title was Oklahoma's Jamelle Holieway in 1985. Holieway became the starter after Troy Aikman suffered a broken leg.

• We think Florida's No. 114 pass offense has found the perfect match this weekend. The Gators host Louisiana Lafayette, which ranks No. 119 — next to last — in pass defense.

• Twenty-four players from Bear Bryant's old Texas A&M teams will be honored Saturday when the school makes its first trip to Tuscaloosa. Bryant coached Texas A&M four seasons before returning to his alma mater, Alabama, in 1958. "Momma called," Bryant said at the time.

• Thought you knew everything about Air Force's visit to San Diego State? Air Force is the only Football Bowl Subdivision team that has not allowed a sack. San Diego State's win over Boise State last week was the school's first road victory against a team ranked in the Associated Press top 25.

• First-year Kansas Coach Charlie Weis takes his Jayhawks (1-8) to Texas Tech, seeking his first win against an FBS opponent. Kansas' only victory was against 1-AA South Dakota State.

• Maryland freshman linebacker Shawn Petty makes his second start at quarterback after being forced into the lineup after Maryland's four scholarship quarterbacks were injured. "It's a tragedy how I came to be in this spot," Petty told "But I have to take it as a positive and do the best I can."

• Oklahoma is looking for payback when it hosts Baylor in Norman. Baylor was 0-20 in the series when the Bears shocked Oklahoma last year, 45-38, in Waco. Robert Griffin III, now with the Washington Redskins, passed for 479 yards and four touchdowns. Oklahoma's secondary has allowed only three touchdown passes this season. Baylor is 0-26 in road games against ranked Big 12 schools.

• Texas players will honor Darrell Royal with "DKR" helmet decals for Saturday's game against Iowa State. Royal, who led Texas to three national titles, died this week at age 88. Texas plans to run its first play in the "wishbone" offense formation Royal first made famous in 1968.

• Has it really been that long? Nebraska play host to Penn State in Lincoln a year after the Jerry Sandusky scandal broke. Legendary coach Joe Paterno was fired two days before Penn State was set to host Nebraska. The game was played under a cloud of despair and protest, with Nebraska pulling out a 17-14 win.

• Louisville plays at Syracuse looking for its first 10-0 start in school history. The Cardinals lag behind four undefeated schools and rank only No. 9 in this week's BCS standings. However, the school has made a publicity push to promote quarterback Teddy Bridgewater for the Heisman by mailing out postcards that include a piece of Bazooka bubble gum. Bridgewater reportedly puts four pieces of gum in his socks and chews them during games to relax.

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