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Northwestern vs. Penn State: Live Score and Highlights

Northwestern 14, Penn State 0—Early 2nd Quarter

If you're looking for two programs that appear to be polar opposites of one another, look no further than Penn State and Northwestern.  Penn State seems to be very much on the upswing, while Northwestern can't seem to get anything to go right after last season's disappointment.

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South Florida vs. Wisconsin: Live Score and Highlights

South Florida 3, Wisconsin 3, Mid-2nd Quarter

The Wisconsin Badgers and South Florida Bulls have began play and the game is airing on ESPNU.

Last week, Wisconsin (2-1) ran away with the victory over Bowling Green, literally. The Badgers set a Big Ten record with 644 rushing yards in that game, and they will look to keep things going when they take on South Florida (2-2) at noon ET on ESPNU.

The Bulls are coming off a 17-14 victory over Connecticut, but Saturday will be the first road game of the season for them.

Stay with us for live updates and analysis throughout the game.

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College Football: Top 5 Games to Watch in Week 5

Week 5 of the college football season will feature three intriguing matchups out of the SEC, which could have conference and national title implications.

Tennessee will face Georgia in the first of three highly anticipated SEC games on Saturday. That game will be followed by rivals Arkansas and Texas A&M battling it out in Arlington and Missouri looking to upset South Carolina on the road in prime time. 

Top-ranked Florida State will travel to Raleigh to face an NC State team that has struggled on the road as of late. Cincinnati will also look to give Ohio State trouble and earn its first win in Columbus in school history. 

With much anticipation for the start of SEC play and important nonconference matchups, here are the top five games to watch on Saturday.   

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Tennessee vs. Georgia: Live Score and Highlights

The Georgia Bulldogs and the Tennessee Volunteers are getting ready to do battle between the hedges. The game will kick off at noon EDT and will air on ESPN.

The Bulldogs are coming off a dominating performance against Troy last week. Sony Michel racked up 155 rushing yards on 10 carries. Also, Isaiah McKenzie returned a punt for a touchdown, and he’s the first Bulldog to do that since Brandon Boykin against New Mexico State in 2012.

The Bulldogs are facing a Tennessee team that was off last week but looking to bounce back after a tough loss to Oklahoma the week before.

This will be the first SEC game for the Vols, and the key matchup will be the young offensive line for Tennessee facing an experienced Bulldogs defensive front seven led by Leonard Floyd and Ramik Wilson.

Be sure to come back to this live blog when the game starts for the latest, scoring updates and highlights.


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College Football Playoff 2014: Final NCAA Outlook Before Saturday's Week 5 Games

College football fans waiting for the first true week of great matchups will have to wait a little while longer. Week 5 provides some punch with a few intriguing games, but there are no ranked teams playing one another on Saturday.

Upsets in Carter-Finley or Razorback Stadium may be on the horizon, but most teams still have cupcakes coming up. On paper, this week looks drab, but fireworks are sure to take place no matter how weak the schedule looks.

Conference play is slowly beginning to build up steam, but the top teams are setting themselves apart. The likes of Florida State and Alabama are still in the top three in both polls, with the Seminoles facing a test this weekend.

Before the Saturday slate gets underway, here's a look at the current College Football Playoff outlook and a breakdown of the top games.


Breakdown of Week 5 Schedule

Will there be another shocker in Raleigh? In the last six games that Florida State has played on the road against N.C. State, the Wolfpack is a surprising 4-2. Sure, that dates back to 2002, but the Seminoles have gone 0-2 at Carter-Finley Stadium in their last two trips.

The Pack has a quarterback in Jacoby Brissett who has looked phenomenal, throwing for 1,005 yards, 10 touchdowns and just one interception thus far. Then again, the team hasn't been tested and stands at 4-0 after close wins over Georgia Southern and Old Dominion.

Florida can speak to the difficulty of playing Georgia Southern.

One of the biggest keys for N.C. State will be winning the turnover battle, something that seems possible with Brissett throwing just one interception. Joe Giglio of The News & Observer pointed that fact out when looking at Florida State's recent record:

Jameis Winston will be back on the field for the Seminoles, meaning the offense will be at full strength again. N.C. State's defense surrendered a combined 57 points against Georgia Southern and Old Dominion. The Wolfpack stands a chance but will need to play the game of its life on defense.

Meanwhile, down in Fayetteville, Arkansas will look to make a statement against undefeated Texas A&M. The Razorbacks lost their home opener against Auburn but have sense routed Texas Tech and Northern Illinois by an average of 29.5 points.

The Aggies head into Arkansas with hopes of making the College Football Playoff but haven't had a difficult matchup since smashing South Carolina. Coach Kevin Sumlin spoke about where the team stands heading into Arkansas, per Brent Zwerneman of the Houston Chronicle:

One thing we do know about Texas A&M is its offense is one of the best in the nation. Sumlin's team is currently fourth in the nation in passing yards (405 per game) and second in points scored (55.3).

That potent offense is led by Kenny Hill, who has emerged as a Heisman candidate through the first four games. ESPN College Football takes a look at the sophomore's current stats and pace of play:

If Texas A&M can get its offense rolling in Fayetteville, it might be a long day for the Hogs. But with a rushing duo of Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams that has combined for 881 yards and 12 touchdowns, the Aggies' defense will be tested as well.

Texas A&M and Florida State have a chance to improve their chances at the playoff or come away with their first loss of the season. A lot is on the line on Saturday, with the intrigue boiling over for both programs on the road.


Follow @RCorySmith on Twitter.

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College Football Rankings 2014: Final NCAA Overview of Week 5 Standings

Week 5 of the 2014 college football season is upon us, but fans of the sport want to get a final look at the NCAA rankings before Saturday’s intense slate of games kicks off.

With vaunted teams like Florida State, Auburn, Texas A&M, Baylor and more all playing on Saturday, there will be more than enough action to keep even the most jaded college football fans satisfied.

Here are the Week 5 college football rankings and a focus on Saturday’s most underrated matchup.


*Full links for Amway Coaches, Associated Press and Bleacher Report Top 25 polls.


Matchup of the Day: USC vs. Oregon State

One of the most underrated games on Saturday’s schedule is the Pac-12 battle between the ranked USC Trojans and the Oregon State Beavers.

USC is ranked No. 18 overall in the Associated Press and Bleacher Report Top 25 polls, but ranked No. 22 overall in the Amway Coaches Poll. The Trojans were considered an early-season favorite to contend for a spot in the playoffs, but a loss to Boston College two weeks ago has thrown a wrench in the works.

According to Josh Webb of USCFootball.com, how the Trojans perform on Saturday will be one of the determining factors in how the team finishes the 2014 season:

Led by junior quarterback Cody Kessler, the offense has averaged 292 yards per game through the air. Add in the 151 yards per game on the ground for USC, and the offensive unit is more balanced than many anticipated.

After dominating Fresno State in the season opener and beating the vaunted Stanford Cardinal, USC suffered a hangover and lost the following game at BC. With a bye in Week 4, the Trojans have been stewing on the 37-31 loss and will look to bounce back against a conference foe.

The task won’t be easy against the Beavers, though, as USC head coach Steve Sarkisian spoke glowingly about Oregon State, via ESPN.com:

Sean Mannion I think is a great player and he has been doing it for quite a while and he's in a really good scheme. Coach (Mike) Riley does a great job with the play-action pass game. They do a really nice job with their stack and bunch assignments, running two-man routes and really forcing your secondary to communicate on the fly.

As good as Sarkisian thinks Oregon State is this year, the Beavers haven’t won at the L.A. Coliseum since 1960. If there was ever a time to buck the trend, it would be with the talented squad head coach Mike Riley put together.

Led by Mannion and the 903 yards and four touchdowns he threw over the first three games, the Beavers offer an offensive unit just as balanced as USC’s. With an average of 301 yards passing and 145.7 yards rushing per game, Oregon State will torch a Trojans defense that allowed 37 points and 506 total yards to Boston College.

While Oregon State has not won at the Coliseum in a long time, the two teams have split the last six meetings. If the Beavers find a rhythm early and USC isn’t fully mentally recovered from the loss to BC, this could be one of the biggest upsets in Week 5.

A win for Oregon State would put them at 4-0 this season and would make the program a top candidate to crack the Top 25 in the Week 6 rankings. For USC, another loss would likely push them out of the rankings.

Predicted Final Score: Oregon State 30, USC 27


*Stats via ESPN.com.

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College Football Week 5: Live Scores, Highlights and Reaction

Week 5 may not have the highly ranked matchups, but it still packs a punch. After all, as the first four weeks of the 2014 season have shown, anything can happen on any given Saturday in college football. 

Tennessee is out for revenge against Georgia at noon ET on ESPN after last year’s overtime thriller. Stopping Todd Gurley and company won’t be an easy task, though.

Arkansas and Texas A&M square off in a SEC West battle at 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS. Can Bret Bielema and his potent ground game hang with Kenny Hill and the high-flying Aggies offense? 

Missouri travels to South Carolina (7 p.m. ET on ESPN), hoping to show the college football world its loss to Indiana last week was nothing but a fluke. 

Jameis Winston makes his return for Florida State against North Carolina State at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC. The last time the ‘Noles played in Raleigh, though, they lost a heartbreaker.

What will happen this time around?


Keep it locked right here at Bleacher Report for live scores, highlights and much more! 

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Todd Gurley Must Take Georgia to SEC Title Game to Remain Heisman Frontrunner

Todd Gurley embarked on his 2014 season aiming to fight recent history and threaten to become the first non-quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy since Mark Ingram in 2009. As long as he keeps winning and gets No. 12 Georgia into the SEC championship, he has much more than a fighting chance.

The hype has closely followed the star junior rusher around Athens, Georgia, but injuries have always tempered said hype. Those who hadn't hopped on the Gurley-wagon by the opening weekend, however, likely did so after watching him on Week 1 against Clemson.

Gurley had exactly the debut he needed to claim frontrunner status in the Heisman race. He took his first 15 carries for 198 yards and three touchdowns in a 42-21 win, and returned a 100-yard second-quarter kickoff for a touchdown to tie the game just for good measure.

Most importantly, he passed the eye test. Larger than life and running angry, Gurley looked like the finished product for whom so many Bulldogs fans had their fingers crossed all summer long.

When the last Heisman winner from your school is Herschel Walker, you better pass the eye test.

Even when his team came out flat after its bye and fell to South Carolina, making things interesting again atop the SEC East, Gurley still looked monstrous with 131 yards on 20 carries and a touchdown. In fact, the biggest critique of Mark Richt amid the loss was not giving his stud back the ball on the 1-yard line late in the fourth quarter.

His stats tapered off somewhat in limited duty against Troy last weekend, but he did take his six carries for 73 yards—including a 48-yarder. Heading into that game, Tom Hart of the SEC Network noted Gurley's dominance after contact:

Failing to post a dominant stat line didn't do anything to hurt his Heisman chances, either, as Seth Emerson of The Telegraph (Macon) explained:

Heading into the SEC gauntlet, Gurley won't have many second halves off and will need to make the most of it. But most importantly, he just has to keep the Bulldogs in the win column.

Georgia welcomes Tennessee to Samford Stadium on Saturday, then hosts Vanderbilt before traveling to Missouri and Arkansas. After that, the Bulldogs have a bye before facing Florida and visiting Kentucky. 

It will be much, much easier said than done for Georgia to make it through that six-game stretch unbeaten. But Gurley and the Bulldogs will likely need to, as they face No. 5 Auburn on Nov. 15. 

Recent history is somewhat on their side. The last time they fell to South Carolina was 2012, and they rallied to make it to Atlanta before falling to Alabama yards shy of a national title appearance.

Marcus Mariota might not be able to be caught should Oregon win out, but the Ducks face a gauntlet themselves. Texas A&M has freshman sensation Kenny Hill, who has hardly begun his trek through the SEC West.

As for Gurley and Georgia, the red carpet is rolled out for them to make it to Atlanta—as long as South Carolina loses another game. And if they don't, it's hard to see the star rusher making a serious case to win the Heisman outright.

Gurley can take a few losses and still win it, but not if Georgia ends the season on a sour note. Quarterbacks like Johnny Manziel and Robert Griffin III have overcome early-season slip-ups to win the award, but both peaked as the voting ramped up and posted big-time late-season wins.

Even if Mariota or some of the other contenders slip up and have a bad game, they won't fade into the background. And with the ridiculous numbers Melvin Gordon is putting up in Wisconsin's backfield, he's set to have some company at his own position.

But if Gurley leads Georgia to Atlanta and keeps them largely unscathed in the process, his hype will only continue to grow, so long as he keeps running like a man possessed.

Gurley has his work cut out for him just staying healthy through a brutal slate of hard-hitting SEC defenses, and he'll have to walk that tight-rope knowing that his best will be needed to negate the Bulldogs' struggling secondary. Quarterback Hutson Mason has shown signs of being a strong game-manager, but this offense showed in Columbia, South Carolina that it will only go as far as Gurley takes it.

And where he takes this Bulldogs squad will have a vast impact on whether his name is called in New York City come mid-December.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

10 Biggest Questions Facing Top 25 Teams Heading into Week 5

Just like that, the final weekend of college football in September is upon us. 

Hopefully it passes quickly, because this week's slate looks unappetizing.

There's an argument to be made that the week's most compelling game, at least on paper, happened Thursday night between Arizona State and UCLA—and the Bruins won 62-27. 

Then again, it's the games you least expect that sometimes turn out to be the best.

In any case, here's a list of the 10 biggest storylines heading into Saturday, which features zero matchups between top-25 teams. 

Begin Slideshow

Shy Tuttle to Tennessee: Volunteers Land 4-Star DT Prospect

When it came to recruiting defensive tackle Shy Tuttle, well, programs around the country weren't terribly shy. With plenty of options to choose from, however, Tuttle eventually settled on Tennessee.

Ryan Bartrow of 247 Sports reported the news of Tuttle's highly anticipated decision Friday:

Defensive tackle Shy Tuttle (Lexington, N.C./North Davidson) verbally committed to Tennessee at a press conference at his high school.

Tuttle said he chose the Volunteers over North Carolina and North Carolina State because he felt comfortable there.

“I like the atmosphere,” Tuttle said of Tennessee. “I have a good relationship with the coaches.”

It was a group effort for the Volunteers to land one of the nation’s elite recruits. Tennessee defensive line coach Steve Stripling led the way with assists from area recruiter Mark Elder and ace recruiter Tommy Thigpen.

“Coach Stripling talked to me every day,” Tuttle said. “He’s pretty cool as a person.”

Tuttle likes Tennessee's future. The Volunteers signed a Top 10 class in 2014 and are placed inside the nation’s Top 10 this cycle.

“They are doing a pretty good job of rebuilding,” Tuttle said of Tennessee. “I like the way they treated me with respect and it feels like home there.”

His commitment is a huge boost to Butch Jones's class.

The 6'3", 315-pound Tuttle is one of the top defensive linemen in the country. He is considered a 4-star defensive tackle by 247Sports' composite system, which ranks him as the 42nd-best prospect overall, the sixth-best defensive tackle in the country and the top player from the state of North Carolina in the class of 2015. 

The North Davidson star has dominated over the past three years, racking up 244 tackles, 44 tackles for loss, 27 sacks, 10 pass breakups, nine forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries, per 247Sports. Not surprisingly, he's been both an All-State and All-American selection already in his career.

ESPN Insider (subscription required) offered the following scouting report on the player:

Strength to anchor and quickness to disrupt. Demonstrates good short-area burst and down the line speed for an interior defender. A wide-bodied frame that plays with good upper and lower body strength to anchor the run. Displays high level awareness and recognition skills. Redirects well in tight areas. A nasty wrap up tackler. Very effective versus the run.

Needs to continue to improve his technique as a pass rusher and become more dominant in this facet.

Tuttle is an extremely physical and athletic player for his size. Two-gap strength with shade quickness to disrupt. A top-level prospect that will benefit from further polish to his technique and speed development.

It shouldn't come as a huge surprise that Tuttle has developed into a fearsome player. After all, his uncle Perry Tuttle played for the 1981 Clemson national championship team and eventually was a first-round pick in the NFL as a wide receiver.

His nephew is obviously more of a bruiser. Check him out in action for yourself:

Without question, Tuttle pops on the tape. Along the way, he's impressed just about everyone who has seen him play.

"I've been doing this for 21 years, and potential-wise, he's the best player I've coached," North Davidson head coach Mark Holcomb told WXII12's Kenny Beck.

"He's an outstanding young man, an outstanding student athlete, a great worker," he added. "He's got a great work ethic and the other kids just follow him. That's what we want."

Tuttle has everything coaches would want from a top defensive tackle recruit. He's scheme versatile, strong, a hard worker and has plenty of room to continue to grow as a player. Physically he's already a beast, and with a few tweaks in his game he should be a major presence at the college level.

Tennessee has potentially gotten itself a game-changer. Tuttle is many things out on the field, but bashful isn't one of them. 


Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Shy Tuttle Commits to Tennessee: What 4-Star DT Brings to Vols

When Lexington, North Carolina, star defensive tackle Shy Tuttle verbally committed to Tennessee on Friday, per 247Sports, it gave the Volunteers their second major national recruiting victory for a top-tier tackle during this recruiting cycle.

So much for a program that has struggled to lure elite interior linemen in recent classes.

Now, if his commitment holds, the Vols will be able to pair Tuttle with 5-star Kahlil McKenzie in the middle of their defensive line for the foreseeable future.

Tuttle solidifies what will become the nation's top interior defensive line class.

"It's been a long, long time since Tennessee landed two defensive tackles in the same class who are as talented as Tuttle and Kahlil McKenzie, who are ranked by 247Sports as two of the nation's top four defensive tackles," GoVols247's Ryan Callahan told Bleacher Report.

"When you throw in Quay Picou, a 4-star prospect, I can't imagine that any other team will end up with a group of defensive tackles in the 2015 class that's more impressive than Tennessee's," Callahan said.

"King Tut" is the kind of jumbo athlete that is difficult to find to anchor an interior, and once he gets in a collegiate training and nutrition system, he's going to be a force. Though his strength is against the run, Tuttle's film displays that he has the lateral quickness to be a complete tackle.

There's a reason why he's one of the top high school players at his position in the country.


Franchise Duo

Though Tennessee loaded up on talented defensive linemen in the 2014 recruiting class, a group of big men highlighted by Derek Barnett and Dewayne Hendrix lacked beef. 

The Vols currently have just two defensive linemen listed on their official roster who weigh more than 300 pounds (freshmen Michael Sawyers and Charles Mosley)

Tuttle and McKenzie give the Vols nearly 635 pounds of bulk and athleticism to clog the middle of the line. In the trench warfare of the SEC against running teams like Alabama and Georgia, guys like that are essential.

The 6'3", 315-pound defensive tackle helps fill a role that currently doesn't exist on the Vols roster, and he could find himself with immediate reps because of it.

His coach at North Davidson High School, Mark Holcolm, recently told Scout.com's Chad Simmons where he believes his star projects on the next level:

He's gonna be a shade nose or a 3-technique at the next level. He's a run-stopper, but he can run down a line and make plays. That's one of the things people noticed about him early is his ability—he tackled a couple of jet sweeps early from a 3-technique and a 5-technique. I think that's what people see: a man that big who moves that well. ...

He can be as good as he wants to be in terms of getting with a nutrition regimen. ...

He's going to blossom into probably a 330-pound animal. That's what he's going to be down the road.

Tennessee identified Tuttle as a top target early and really began to emerge as a strong candidate to land his commitment toward the end of the summer.

Tuttle didn't have the same family ties to the program as McKenzie, whose father and uncle starred for UT in the 1980s, so the Vols used some out-of-the-box recruiting tactics to help lure him.

Whereas McKenzie's bucket hat campaign drew some considerable buzz over Twitter, the real unorthodox measures were taken with Tuttle when UT superimposed his image over Jay-Z's alongside Beyonce. The tactic drew headlines.

Whether UT's methods to lure Tuttle were lauded or loathed varies, but the Vols undoubtedly could not care less.

In the end, they got their man, and he will team with McKenzie to give Butch Jones and defensive line coach Steve Stripling a formidable force on the defensive front for the next three or four years.


Re-Opening North Carolina

During the salad days of the 1990s, the Vols thrived recruiting the fertile grounds of North Carolina. After a half-decade lull, Tuttle's pledge continues a recruiting revival in that state for Jones in his short time at UT.

Under Johnny Majors and Phillip Fulmer, elite prospects such as Carl Pickens, Leonard Little, Heath Shuler, Montario Hardesty, Jonathan Crompton and O.J. Owens matriculated west. Even though the players didn't always pan out, UT got its share of the most coveted kids who came out of that state.

It's back to the future the past few years.

The renewed success began with star sophomore wide receiver Marquez North, who stuck with UT after it fired Derek Dooley. It hasn't stopped, either, as UT has raided its neighbor for a total of 10 players from North Carolina who have either signed or committed for future classes.

One of the many reasons Tennessee has stayed in a down cycle for so long is its struggles in recruiting the Carolinas and Virginia, but those days are over.

With a couple of its ace recruiters—Tommy Thigpen and Mark Elder—spearheading the efforts, the Vols are a force again over there, winning battles recently reserved for teams such as Clemson, Florida, Florida State and Alabama.

Tuttle may be the biggest victory yet. While he could have gone to the home state Tar Heels or Wolfpack as well as Clemson, Alabama or others, he elected to play for the Vols.

Getting a player with his size, athleticism and upside is a major win on the recruiting trail.

The Vols desperately need to add at least one more offensive lineman, a linebacker and a couple of cornerbacks in this year's class. But Tuttle is another player who is a cornerstone, an elite lineman who is essential to have when it comes to building programs that can win important conference games.

He's the prototype SEC defensive lineman and appears primed to have a big career in Knoxville.

"Tennessee might have had more pressing needs than another defensive tackle, but it's hard to imagine the addition of Shy Tuttle not making a major impact on the Vols' defensive line," Callahan said.

"He's a powerful defensive tackle with good size, and those are hard to come by. And he's planning to be an early enrollee, which should give him a good chance of contributing right away."

There are plenty of hills to climb on Rocky Top, but with players like Tuttle, better days are on the way.


Unless otherwise noted all statistics gathered from cfbstats.com. All recruiting information from 247Sports.

Brad Shepard covers SEC football and is the Tennessee Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. Follow Brad on Twitter @Brad_Shepard.

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Notre Dame Football: Lou Holtz Weighs in on Playoffs, Investigation

Stop me if you've heard this one: Lou Holtz likes Notre Dame.

But after years of serving as a punching bag on ESPN for his pro-Irish delusions, the former Notre Dame coach and current TV pseudo-psychologist, Dr. Lou has every reason to be bullish about the Irish after watching them play the first three games of the season. 

"After the first week, I had them as one of my top six teams for the playoff," Holtz told me this week. "I now have them as one of my top four."

Holtz made that proclamation after seeing the Irish up close and watching some of Notre Dame's future opponents begin to wilt. Yet it's more than just the early-season struggles of teams like Florida State, USC and Stanford, Holtz formed his opinion after getting a rare in-season look behind the scenes in South Bend when he visited with Brian Kelly and the team, taking in Friday's practice before the Michigan game. 

"This football team, there’s something special about it," Holtz told me. "Watching them practice, watching them play, it’s a special team. I don’t look at the stars, I look at the third-teamers at practice. Everybody’s focused on what they’re doing. There’s no individual there, there’s no selfishness there, and there’s great talent."

That last part is particularly important, according to Notre Dame's second-most winningest coach. It's also a big reason why Holtz could rattle off the Irish's upcoming schedule from the top of his 77-year-old head. 

"I think that they will beat Florida State in Tallahassee. I think they’ll get by Stanford at home," Holtz said, walking me through the potential pitfalls. "The only other game, with [Taylor] Kelly being injured, the quarterback at Arizona State, does volumes for us. And I just don’t think that Southern Cal is as talented as some thought after the Stanford game."

While Holtz's optimism does feel like vintage Holtz, he made it clear that the biggest reason he felt that way was the blossoming relationship between Brian Kelly and quarterback Everett Golson. 

"I love Everett Golson. He is just a winner," Holtz said. "He’s got great peripheral vision, and he made a couple of throws against Michigan that I want to tell you, you don’t see except on Sunday. And not every game on Sunday. He’s got a rifle of an arm, he’s got a quick decision, excellent vision. There’s just something about him."

Of course, with Notre Dame still shy three key starters and five total players as their academic investigation drags on, we still don't know how good this team can be until the dust settles. But after talking to a coach who spent a decade dealing with the university's administration, I took the opportunity to ask him about his experiences dealing with off-field issues.

"When I went there, they said you’ll have nothing to do with the academics, and you’ll have nothing to do with the discipline of an individual on campus," Holtz said.

Then he walked through his experience in 1989, reminding me that things aren't all that different today under the Golden Dome than in Holtz's era. 

"1989. We’re defending national champs," Holtz recalled. "I found out the morning our team reported, right before the team picture, that Tony Brooks, our leading ground-gainer from the previous year, had driven his car onto campus the day before in order to empty his clothes.

"He was suspended for the season. He wasn’t allowed to drive his car on campus because he had too many parking tickets, and, consequently, Tony wouldn’t be able to play that entire year.

"In that same conversation, they informed me that Michael Stonebreaker was involved in a car accident in the offseason. He had alcohol on his breath, but was not arrested for drunken driving, and he was not given a citation. But because of that, our All-American linebacker, Michael Stonebreaker, would not be able to play the entire year. I found that out the morning we reported in 1989."

But just as some have wondered why Kelly hasn't complained more about the separation between the football program and the handling of his players, Holtz said it comes with the territory. 

"You know what you do? That’s Notre Dame. They make the decision. You close ranks, you pick up the rifle and you march on."

On a day where Holtz spent his morning promoting the AFCA Allstate Good Works Team, a passion of his that he hopes will remind football fans of the good things happening right now, Holtz's love for the game was more than apparent. 

So was his love for Notre Dame, a feeling Holtz will take to his grave (literally, he's got two plots in the campus cemetery for himself and his wife). That's why you could hardly blame the former coach for finding the teaching moment—and recruiting pitch—that he believes makes Notre Dame different than just about every other college football program in America. 

"Discipline isn't what you do to somebody, it's what you do for somebody," Holtz said. "What Notre Dame does, they're not looking at this week or next week, they're looking at 40 years down the road. It's not a four-year decision, it's a 40-year decision."  

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Miami Football: Surprises, Disappointments so Far for 2014 Hurricanes

Through the opening third of the 2014 regular season, the Miami Hurricanes have a few surprises and disappointments on both sides of the football.

The 'Canes are returning to conference action this weekend, and any underperforming players must start to contribute regularly while the unexpected bright spots cannot stop producing. 

Miami is still seeking its first ACC Championship Game berth, and that goal would take a serious hit with a loss to Duke on Saturday.

If that were to happen, it will be another frustrating year in Coral Gables, and it will partly be a result of the early-season shortcomings. But if the 'Canes eventually earn the division crown, they'll point directly to an encouraging signs that emerged in September.



The True Freshmen Trio

Simply watching quarterback Brad Kaaya's high school tape, it was apparent he was immensely talented and had potential. But developing on a weekly basis like he has as a true freshman?


Having had to endure the Kyle Wright, Kirby Freeman, Jacory Harris and Stephen Morris eras, Miami and its fans haven't seen this kind of decision-making under center seen since the days of Ken Dorsey and Brock Berlin.

The gunslinger Kaaya set a freshman record with 342 passing yards against Arkansas State and proceeded to rack up 359 the following weekend at Nebraska. He'll likely raise that mark by the end of the season, but that's not even his most noteworthy feat.

Kaaya is on pace to top the program's 26-year-old single-season record of 29 passing touchdowns.

Two of his current 10 scores have gone to Braxton Berrios, another member of the 2014 class, who leads all wide receivers with 14 catches. The shifty slot receiver has tallied 149 yards, and he's already become a fixture in the 'Canes offense.

Many hoped Chad Thomas would immediately take over on the defensive line, but Courtel Jenkins has provided the biggest impact by a freshman in the trenches, tallying 10 stops to date. The tackle has established himself in the rotation behind senior Olsen Pierre and junior Calvin Heurtelou.


Thurston Armbrister's Emergence

He was once a barely recruited, zero-star safety out of Hollywood Hills, Florida, but Thurston Armbrister has become the best outside linebacker for the Hurricanes.

The senior has registered 24 tackles, including four sacks. Additionally, he has forced two fumbles, recovered another and broke up a pass.

According to Christy Cabrera Chirinos of the Sun Sentinel, Armbrister has made an impression as a leader, too. He's also been a mentor to younger teammates like freshman outside linebacker Darrion Owens, who should take Armbrister's role next year.

"He's really made me catch on really fast my first game…everything he knows, I know," Owens said. "If I mess up, he'll be right on me...He's helped me a lot."

Ultimately, there's no question Armbrister has proven to be the team's breakout star in 2014.


Pat O'Donnell's Replacement

"You can forget about trying to replace Pat," head coach Al Golden told InsideTheU (subscription required) in May, and there was absolutely zero reason to disagree. The now-Chicago Bears punter shattered school records, leaving a massive void to be filled.

"He was obviously a great punter," new Miami punter Justin Vogel said in mid-August, per Susan Miller Degnan of The Miami Herald. "I'm just going to do whatever I can do, and we'll see what happens. I'm not going to try and worry about beating him. I'm just going to worry about being the best I can for this team."

However, the Florida transfer is providing most of what the Cincinnati transfer brought to the Hurricanes and is indeed replacing him quite admirably. Vogel has averaged 44.8 yards per kick over 13 punts, which currently ranks second in program history.

While Miami certainly wishes it didn't need to use Vogel much, not being able to flip field position could prove detrimental during ACC play. Nevertheless, when the offense stumbles, it's reassuring to know the punter hasn't caused more problems.



Stacy Coley's Slow Start

Stacy Coley finished 2013 with six touchdowns in his final five games, scoring in three different ways—rushing, receiving and a punt return. He accomplished all this in Phillip Dorsett's absence, so pairing them up was an exciting thought.

However, after catching only three screen passes at Louisville, Coley left the Florida A&M game early and then missed the matchup against Arkansas State. But a shoulder injury is not what makes the talented sophomore a disappointment through four games.

Considering he has just six receptions for just 31 yards and his longest kick return is 29 yards, Coley is still looking for his first explosive play.

He's too talented for the cold streak to continue for an entire season, but the speedster has been underwhelming so far.


Tackling Relapse

"Defensive deficiencies resurface in Hurricanes' loss to Nebraska," Fox Sports Florida's Christina De Nicola wrote.

The Cornhuskers rushing attack simply overpowered Miami, totaling 343 yards on 6.4 per attempt. Ameer Abdullah was hardly challenged, picking up an extra yard or two on practically every carry and shaking off tacklers like Taylor Swift does haters.

Gap control was barely a thought, and the Nebraska duo of Abdullah and Tommy Armstrong Jr. absolutely punished the 'Canes.

After Miami players and coaches spent the spring and summer sessions preaching how the defense's tackling has improved, one poor showing returned a truthful voice to the critics.


Struggles at Cornerback

Originally thought to be the defense's strongest unit, the secondary has ceded a 62.7 completion percentage to opposing Football Bowl Subdivision passers, which ranks 91st in the nation.

Though Tracy Howard has the team's lone interception of a quarterback, the junior has not been the dynamic shutdown corner he was expected to be.

What's more, Howard's unwillingness to take on Abdullah on a tackle attempt near the end of the first quarter of the Nebraska game was so blatantly obvious that it's no wonder Ladarius Gunter and Artie Burns have been starting ahead of him.

However, both players haven't been much better. Nebraska receiver Kenny Bell picked on the cornerbacks, reeling in a 40-yard touchdown as Gunter chased him down and picking up 17 yards on 3rd-and-11 against Burns.

The Hurricanes have yet to face the ACC's best wideouts—namely Duke's Jamison Crowder, Florida State's Rashad Greene and Pittsburgh's Tyler Boyd—so the defensive backfield needs to start locking down receivers, or else those three receivers are poised to have career days.


Note: National rankings from CFB stats, and individual numbers from hurricanesports.com.

Follow Bleacher Report college football writer David Kenyon on Twitter: @Kenyon19_BR.

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10 College Football Teams That Can't Afford for Starting QB to Get Injured

There is arguably not a more important position in college football than quarterback.

The entire offense runs through the quarterback; the poise, confidence and talent from whoever is taking snaps under center can easily be transferred to the rest of the team. In many cases, the team wins and loses by its quarterback play.

But what happens if the quarterback falls victim to injury?

Ohio State found that out the hard way, as quarterback Braxton Miller was announced out for the entire season prior to Week 1. After beginning the season as national title contenders, the Buckeyes seem to be struggling to even win its division.

Here are 10 teams that could face similar plights if their starting quarterback were to be injured.

Begin Slideshow

Ranked Teams Most in Need of a Stud Quarterback Recruit

Similar to how NFL coaches, personnel and organizations are married to their starting quarterbacks, college coaches hit the recruiting trail in search of quarterbacks who can change the culture of a program. 

Kevin Sumlin helped resurrect the Texas A&M program thanks to the talents of Johnny Manziel, while Jimbo Fisher elevated Florida State’s program back into a powerhouse after landing Jameis Winston in a heated recruiting battle. 

A handful of ranked teams will have to replace starters next season, while others are battling a lack of depth or are without a clear-cut option who represents the future of their respective programs.

Which ranked teams are most in need of a superstar quarterback recruit?

*Teams listed in alphabetical order.

Begin Slideshow

When Fully Healthy, Alabama's Defense Can Finally Show What It's Made of

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama’s defense hasn’t been terrible by any means. Statistically, it sits at No. 5 in the country in yards per game.

But it hasn’t exactly faced a murderers' row of offenses, and has given up more big plays than it would like.

Part of this could be drawn up to injuries. The Crimson Tide have been without several key contributors at some point or another throughout fall camp and into the season.

But coming out of a bye week and ready to sink its teeth into the meat of its SEC schedule, Alabama looks to be pretty much healthy on that side of the ball.

After scrutiny over its performance so far this season, the Alabama defense can finally show the country what its made of, and we’ll see whether this is a unit that can complement its championship-caliber offense.

While Alabama is giving up just 250.3 yards per game, that number is inflated because of the strength of teams the Crimson Tide have played so far, especially as it pertains to the run game.

Alabama has been most susceptible through the air, where it sits at No. 28 nationally. Most of those yards came against West Virginia, which put up 365 yards. Southern Miss even managed to hit pass plays of 24, 36, 27 and 25 yards.

Florida threw for just 93 yards, but Jeff Driskel is one of the worst quarterbacks in the SEC.

Part of that can be chalked up to injuries and inconsistencies in personnel. Alabama has been without several key starters for some stretch of time, but now it looks like the Crimson Tide will have their full cast at their disposal coming up.

Cornerback Eddie Jackson and safety Jarrick Williams have been two critical losses in the secondary. Jackson is one of Alabama’s most physical cornerbacks and has matched up with top receivers in the conference. Williams plays in nickel and dime and plays well against the run.

Alabama coach Nick Saban said on Tuesday that both of them should be good to go.

The Crimson Tide also missed Trey DePriest, the team’s most experienced inside linebacker, for the season opener from an NCAA infraction and for most of fall camp with a knee injury. His return as the signal-caller has improved the team’s communication.

“Since we got Trey back, he's been leading everybody on the defense,” junior linebacker Reggie Ragland said. “Everybody has responded real great. Coach Saban called us out and we definitely had to respond to that. Everybody has come out, known their assignments and played real tough football.”

Indeed, Saban called Alabama’s defense “soft” at halftime of the West Virginia game. The Mountaineers moved the ball fairly consistently during the game, especially through the air, and hung around longer than most fans, coaches and players would have liked.

Getting DePriest back helped curb some of that.

“When you're a football player, you're known to be tough, smashmouth, especially coming here,” Ragland said. “When your coach calls you out, you definitely have to respond to it.”

By all accounts, Alabama is getting its defenders back at just the right time.

The Crimson Tide will face Ole Miss and Texas A&M, the league’s two best passing teams, in the next three games.

Whether or not Alabama is up to the challenge, we’ll find out soon.


Marc Torrence is the Alabama lead writer for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

Follow on Twitter @marctorrence.

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4-Star DE Michael Barnett Flips Commitment from Florida State to Georgia

Michael Barnett provided a plot twist in his recruitment process Friday morning, impacting a pair of top-10 2015 classes. The South Carolina defensive end was expected to sign an early enrollment agreement with Florida State, but changed course and switched his allegiance to Georgia:

The 4-star Woodland High School prospect altered his collegiate plans to the surprise of those who attended a ceremony anticipated to end with him solidifying a commitment to Florida State. Instead, Barnett backed out of a three-month verbal pact with the Seminoles. 

He identified personal relationships as a main motivation. 

“My godmother is a Georgia fan,” Barnett told Ryan Bartow of 247Sports. “I have family in Georgia. I could’ve played anywhere and been successful. The SEC played a part. Georgia plays in a powerhouse conference.”

He is the second standout defensive lineman to flip to Georgia in a six-week span. Former Alabama commit Jonathan Ledbetter joined the Bulldogs class in mid-August.

Their decisions were preceded by perhaps the most important pledge of this recruiting cycle. Trent Thompson, a 5-star defensive tackle rated third overall in 247Sports' composite rankings, announced his commitment to Georgia four days before Ledbetter jumped on the bandwagon.

Coach Mark Richt's latest haul also includes 4-star pass-rushers Chauncey Rivers and Natrez Patrick, creating a stockpile of talent along the defensive front for Georgia. It's quickly become an area of strength for the Bulldogs in a class that currently rates second nationally in 247Sports' composite rankings.

Barnett, a 6'5", 258-pound playmaker, has made an impact throughout his high school career. He emerged as a top-tier collegiate prospect in 2012, earning All-State honors as a sophomore.

His junior season was even more impressive. Barnett registered career-highs across the board with 89 tackles, including 31 for loss, and seven sacks.

He is rated 11th nationally among strong-side defensive ends in 247Sports' composite rankings.

Barnett initially committed to Virginia Tech, but reopened his recruitment in February. He holds a list of scholarship offers that also includes Clemson, Alabama, LSU and Notre Dame.

Florida State falls to sixth in class rankings with the departure of Barnett. Jimbo Fisher's team has lost a pivotal piece of its class, and is now left looking for help at defensive end. 

The Seminoles and Bulldogs are battling for the top prospect at the position in Josh Sweat, a 5-star Virginia product sidelined with a dislocated patella. He is expected to spend official visits at both campuses before making a decision.


Recruit ratings and offer information courtesy of 247Sports.

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Trovon Reed Has Finally Found His Home in Auburn's Improving Secondary

AUBURN, Ala. — In three full seasons as a wide receiver, former 5-star recruit Trovon Reed only recorded one career touchdown reception.

In three full games as a brand-new cornerback, Reed has recorded two interceptions.

"I can’t even express how I feel right now," Reed said after his first pick, a leaping grab that took away a potential fourth-quarter touchdown away from San Jose State. "I don't know what to say...I haven’t been this happy in a long time."

Reed's road from highly rated high school athlete to fifth-year college senior has been a long and bumpy one.

When Reed was a junior in high school, his mother Roszaina died of stomach cancer. Eight months later, on Roszaina's birthday, he committed to Auburn over home-state school LSU as Louisiana's top recruit—an ultra-athletic quarterback who was viewed as a future star wideout in then-offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn's hurry-up, no-huddle offense.

"I coached at LSU for three years," Dennis Lorio, Reed's high school coach, told Auburn Undercover's Philip Marshall in 2009. "Eddie Kennison was there. They have the same burst, the same vision, the same sideways movement. Trovon's hands are probably a little better than Eddie's, and Eddie played in the NFL for about 12 years."

After taking a redshirt in Auburn's 2010 National Championship season, Reed hit the field in 2011 as a major part of the Tigers' receiving rotation. But, even with two starts and 10 games of action, he finished with 164 yards and zero touchdowns.

In 2012, Reed scored his first collegiate points with a 40-yard touchdown grab against lowly New Mexico State, one of the only offensive highlights in Auburn's dreadful 3-9 season.

Even as an experienced junior in 2013 with experience in new head coach Malzahn's system, Reed's receiving yards fell for a third straight season. He had not recorded more than two matches in a single game since 2011.

Reed didn't come close to living up to the hype he received in high school, but he was determined not to fade away as an underutilized senior in Auburn's senior.

Instead of focusing on making catches, Reed turned his attention to stopping them by voluntarily moving to Auburn's secondary as a cornerback, a position he played in high school All-American games.

"I played in the offense, now I had to make a decision for myself and what's best for the team also," Reed said in April. "I wanted to go out and help those guys in the cornerback room."

The Auburn coaching staff announced the surprise change at the beginning of spring practices, and the Louisiana native immediately went to work at breaking into the Tigers' two-deep depth chart. By the end of fall camp, he had locked down the second-string field cornerback spot behind Josh Holsey.

Three games later, Reed has a pair of interceptions, several pass breakups and a new wealth of playing time he did not see as a veteran wide receiver.

"He's made steady progress, and I think now it's to the point we can play him as much as those starters, and that's important," defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson said. "It's good to have depth there now...I think [cornerbacks coach Melvin Smith] has been pleased overall with his progress, and I think a pattern of big plays is going to help his confidence."

Reed was thrown into the fire against Kansas State by having to cover highly touted receiver Tyler Lockett several times throughout last Thursday night's matchup.

"When I first got over [to the secondary], it was like, 'I can't get beat. I can't get beat,'" Reed told the team's official website after the Tigers' 20-14 victory. "They sat me down and said, 'Sometimes you're going to get beat. You've just got to go to the next play.' They just kept my head right. I always tell him, 'If you've got that much confidence in me, then I can't let you down.'"

Reed didn't let Auburn down—he played a big part in holding Lockett to only 45 receiving yards.

Head coach Gus Malzahn singled him out for praise in his postgame press conference in Manhattan, saying he was pleased with how Reed had transitioned his talents as a wide receiver, especially his speed and ball skills, into his play as a SEC-level cornerback.

"I am very proud of Trovon," Malzahn said. "You are talking about a guy that has not been playing defense since the spring. To go out there and play one of the better receivers in college, he played it pretty well. I was definitely impressed with him. He had the big interception in the fourth quarter that was huge for us."

Not only has Reed improved his production by making the switch to cornerback, he has also improved the play of the Auburn secondary—the entire unit and individual players.

According to Holsey, Reed brings the mindset of an offensive player to the defensive back meeting room, which helps everyone's awareness and ability to diagnose plays even before the ball is snapped.

"We'll ask him for split rules," Holsey told the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer's Ryan Black. "He'll tell you if a receiver is this far, he's running this. If he's this far in, he's running that. That helps us a lot as a defense by asking him, because he knows sometimes just based off of splits what the wide receiver is going to run."

With all the additional snaps he is getting in a new position, Reed has left the dark days of his first few college seasons behind. He said he is "having fun again" playing football and finally feels comfortable with his role on the team.

Reed knows he doesn't have many more games left on the Plains, but he is focused on finishing his Auburn career on a high note.

"There's an ending to every story," Reed said. "And I'm trying to make this one a dream."


All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All recruiting rankings and information courtesy of 247Sports. All stats courtesy of CFBStats.com.

Justin Ferguson is Bleacher Report's lead Auburn writer. Follow him on Twitter @JFergusonAU.

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Notre Dame Football: How Offensive Line Shakeup Impacts Irish

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Despite all the good that has come out of Notre Dame football’s 3-0 start and ascension to No. 8 in the national polls, the Irish have not been able to find the right answer on the offensive line.

In three games, Notre Dame's opponents have tallied six sacks—just two fewer than the Irish surrendered all of last season. The rushing attack has looked slow and plodding at times, slowly churning its engine around the line of scrimmage. Notre Dame rushed for 54 yards on 31 carries against Michigan (1.7 yards per attempt) and 139 yards on 38 rushes against Purdue (3.7).

The day after the Purdue game, Irish head coach Brian Kelly said the coaching staff would evaluate the offensive line and consider shifting personnel. Nine days later—following the bye week—Kelly offered a new projected starting line but was not ready to set it in stone. On Thursday evening, Kelly confirmed the line will feature left tackle Ronnie Stanley, left guard Nick Martin (from center), center Matt Hegarty (from guard), right guard Steve Elmer (from right tackle) and right tackle Christian Lombard (from right tackle).

It’s not too difficult to see why Notre Dame felt changes were necessary. But how will the moves play out?

“Physicality at the guard position, more than anything else, is what we were looking for at that position,” Kelly said Tuesday.

Kelly praised Martin’s physicality, and Elmer is listed at 315 pounds. That should, in theory, lead to better pushes along the interior.

But shifting four players around on the offensive line—leaving just Stanley as the lone starter remaining in his same position—is a bold move. Offensive linemen seem to always preach the importance of chemistry and comfort with their line mates.

Now, it helps that the personnel doesn’t change much—with the exception of Hegarty starting and senior guard Conor Hanratty heading to the sideline. But Martin is playing a completely new position. Lombard is playing right tackle for the first time since the 2012-13 season. When asked about the chemistry, Kelly was quick to note Hegarty, Elmer and Lombard all have past experience at their new spots and there’s “a real comfort level for those three guys at that position.”

“I think it's really about when they're at that position, it's their comfort level lining up at right guard, right tackle and center,” Kelly said. “That choreography comes in time. That will take time, that choreography, if you will.”

It very well could take time for the unit to sync up. While that may be slightly more acceptable against Syracuse this weekend, Notre Dame will have a smaller and smaller margin for error with communication and protections when it faces Stanford, Florida State, Arizona State and USC.

As far as communication goes, Kelly said Thursday that Martin will help Hegarty with some of the snap calls.

“It will allow [Hegarty] to keep his eye on snapping and execution,” Kelly said. “… Matt’s got his hands full with taking care of his own position as well.”

Kelly didn’t seem too concerned with the communication along the line, saying the Irish worked hard at it all week and adding Stanley helps with calls from the outside in.

All things considered, we’ll have to wait and see how this line performs Saturday and in the coming weeks. But something needed to be done. On paper, increasing the interior physicality should help—as long as it doesn’t come at the expense of communication lapses.

An improved line would help keep Everett Golson upright and healthy and, potentially, jump start the running game. If Notre Dame’s three-headed backfield can run successfully behind an experienced offensive line, this already impressive Irish offense could take another step forward.

All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

Mike Monaco is a lead Notre Dame writer for Bleacher Report. Follow @MikeMonaco_ on Twitter.

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It May Get Worse Before It Gets Better for Kliff Kingsbury and Texas Tech

Sometimes, a game cannot merely be summed up by its box score, or even with words. That's the case for Texas Tech's 45-35 loss to Oklahoma State Thursday night, which can be more appropriately summed up in a simple GIF of collective facepalms. 

Yeah, it was pretty bad. And that's not including the injury to starting quarterback Davis Webb, who reportedly sustained a dislocated non-throwing shoulder, per Red Raider Sports' Aaron Dickens. 

Tech continues to struggle in three primary areas: penalties, turnover margin and defense. Against the Pokes, the Red Raiders had a jaw-dropping 16 penalties for 158 yards—a game high for a Kliff Kingsbury-coached team—plus three turnovers.

Texas Tech did much better in that department in a Week 3 loss to Arkansas (five penalties for 60 yards) but obviously regressed Thursday night. As Jake Trotter of ESPN.com tweets, Texas Tech now leads the nation in most penalty yards per game. 

Kingsbury told Chris Level of Red Raider Sports after the game that the problem is undeniably and solely on his shoulders. 

As Dickens' tweet shows, penalties have been a problem for years in Lubbock. After 17 games with Kingsbury, though, Tech, in theory, should be playing smarter. 

The same logic applies with the turnover problems, which, as Zach Barnett of Footballscoop.com adds, extends all the way into last season. 

The streak speaks for itself, and Kingsbury will be the first to say that it's not acceptable. 

The last component, defense, actually deserves some leniency. Texas Tech has been thin on that side of the ball, and coaching turnover hasn't helped. Last week, defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt resigned for what was officially cited as "personal reasons," according to a Texas Tech email release. His replacement, co-defensive coordinator Mike Smith, became the sixth different DC for the Red Raiders in six seasons. 

It's tough to expect any kind of consistency or improvement with that level of turnover. 

In short, Texas Tech is a frustrating, if not borderline infuriating, team to watch. One can only imagine how Kingsbury feels. Playing smarter football has been a point of emphasis from him, and things aren't working out in that department. 

The doom and gloom theory for Tech isn't unfounded or hyperbolic. It's tough to win games when a team is constantly losing the turnover battle and/or shooting itself in the foot with penalties. Not surprisingly, Texas Tech is 3-7 in its last 10 games. 

Things may get worse before they get better, too. Big 12 play is underway, and the remaining schedule does this team few favors, as David Ubben of Fox Sports Southwest notes: 

A look down the schedule reveals just how difficult reaching the postseason will be for the Red Raiders. They'll have to win four of eight remaining games in Big 12 play and even Kansas may not be a sure thing, considering its running game may be a difficult matchup for Tech's front seven. Tech faces Iowa State in Ames and every single game on Texas Tech's slate the rest of the way is one it could lose. Without vast improvement, Tech may fall as far as 4-8. 

To be clear, Kingsbury is a bright coach who knows his stuff. His team has bounced back before. After a five-game losing streak to end the 2013 season, the Red Raiders had one of the best bowl wins of the post season in a 37-23 upset over Arizona State in the Holiday Bowl. 

The 2015 recruiting class is highlighted by 5-star quarterback Jarrett Stidham. If there's one thing Kingsbury does well, it's recruit quarterbacks. 

That's not going to solve all of Tech's problems by itself, but it adds to the theory that Kingsbury can turn things around. The obvious question is when it'll happen.

Kingsbury agreed to a contract extension in August, after just one year on the job, that would take him through 2020. His new salary starts at $3.1 million and increases by $200,000 annually. Obviously, Tech is paying Kingsbury on what it believes he can do, not necessarily on what he has done. 

And what Kingsbury hasn't done is fix his team's sloppy play. That's rarely something that can be fixed overnight, too.

It may eventually get better. Every team operates under the belief that it can. There just hasn't been anything thus far to indicate it will anytime soon.


Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football. All recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.com. 

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