College fooball: Alabama, Oregon, Notre Dame better watch out

Alabama and Oregon need to worry about the disease that plagues most young players after an emotional win — complacency. You could almost predict — and we did — Notre Dame's letdown against Pittsburgh a week after a big win at Oklahoma.

Alabama, after its eke-out at LSU, had better not sleep on Texas A&M on Saturday in Tuscaloosa. Nick Saban is America's best college coach because he knows how to navigate his team through these roller-coaster rides.

"When you don't do the right things, when you don't pay attention to detail, there are going to be consequences for it," Saban reiterated this week.

Why should Coach Chip Kelly worry about Oregon at crummy Cal a week after his Ducks scored 62 points at USC? Cal may even be playing without starting quarterback Zach Maynard, who injured his knee last Saturday in a loss to Washington. Cal's backup is junior Allan Bridgford, who has thrown only 48 passes in his career.

Here's why: For some inexplicable reason, Cal gives Oregon trouble.

Two years ago on its way to the BCS title game, Oregon barely escaped Berkeley with a 15-13 victory. Oregon scored more points against national champion Auburn that year (19) than it did against Cal.

You would hope last week's home scare against Pittsburgh would get Notre Dame's attention at struggling Boston College on Saturday. What you can't explain is Boston College's uncanny ability to raise its level of play against the Irish.

"Our players understand that if they don't play their best, they can be beat," Kelly said in his opening statement Tuesday at his weekly news conference. There were then more than 40 questions asked of Kelly — not one directly related to this week's opponent.

You'd think BC would be of more concern given that the Eagles won six straight against Notre Dame from 2001 through 2008 and lost the last two games by a total of five points.

Kelly has to worry about media and fans jumping three weeks ahead — and about keeping duplicate uniform numbers off the field.

"I would like the NCAA to come in and say only one guy can have this number," Kelly said. "That would make my life a whole lot easier."

These are not issues that keep Bill Belichick up at night.

chris.dufresne@latimes.com

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