Each week during the season, visit “The Huddle” for the latest in college football news, notes, conversation and opinion.
This is notable
USC will play in the first Pac-12 Conference game of the season for the sixth consecutive year when it faces No. 7 Stanford in Palo Alto on Saturday. The Trojans are 2-3 in their last five conference openers, including a win and two losses against the Cardinal.
Kalen Ballage of Arizona State tied a Football Bowl Subdivision record with eight touchdowns in the Sun Devils’ 68-55 win over Texas Tech. He rushed for 137 yards and seven touchdowns in 13 carries and caught two passes for 48 yards and a touchdown. Ballage and the Sun Devils play USC and UCLA on consecutive Saturdays, Oct. 1 and 8.
That was tweet
“Some bout that last name Jackson !! @Lj_era8 you been killing fam! Keep it up man, I’m watching”
— Adoree’ Jackson (@AdoreeKnows)
They share the same last name, but there’s no known relation between the USC cornerback and Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson. Adoree’ Jackson is among many people who have taken notice of Lamar Jackson’s performance through the first two games of the season: He has passed for 697 yards and seven touchdowns and rushed for 318 yards and six touchdowns.
Somebody hire this young fan.
Perfectly positioned for the ESPN College GameDay cameras last Saturday before Tennessee defeated Virginia Tech at Bristol Motor Speedway, Sam Crowder raised a sign that read “Hi Mom! Send beer money, V: SamC2270.”
That’s Crowder’s Venmo — a money sharing app popular among millennials — screen name that was broadcast to millions of college football fans.
Before he knew it, money started pouring in as donors wrote on Crowder’s Venmo wall.
So, cheers, Crowder, but don’t drink it all at once.
Hot off the presser
“There’s no arguments. Those are called ass]-chewings.”
— Nick Saban
The Alabama coach made it clear after the Crimson Tide defeated Western Kentucky, 38-10, that an emotional exchange on the sideline between himself and offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin was really a one-way conversation. It can’t be a coincidence that Saban went all in on Kiffin a day after it was announced that Alabama’s second-year coordinator received a raise and a week after Kiffin stirred the Internet with a trolling tweet directed at USC.
“The only thing I’m going to discipline my player for is things within this team and the team rules, holding everybody accountable to the standard. … Guys want to be part of things, I just think they should do it on their own time, and outside of the team framework. That’s just my opinion.”
— Dabo Swinney
Most coaches refuse to answer hypothetical questions, but Clemson’s Swinney didn’t shy away when the the Post and Courier of Charleston asked whether he would punish players for demonstrations during the national anthem. It’s a moot point in the college landscape; players are not on the field during the anthem.
“We have the atmosphere of a JC softball game. I mean that’s what we are, a JC softball team. As long as … it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s the team that wins is the one who has the most fun, crap like that. You know all the stuff that’s contaminated America where they give every kid a trophy and they don’t keep score in Little League anymore. I think that entire thing is retarding the competitive spirit of America and I think we need to keep that in mind. And as coaches, you know, we need to aggressively reinforce our points.”
— Mike Leach
The Washington State coach sounded salty with his team off to an 0-2 start after losses to Eastern Washington and Boise State. Idaho is up next for the Cougars. Imagine what Leach might say if WSU loses to the lowly Vandals.
Fresh out the Pac
Troll on, Colorado.
The Buffaloes released a fake depth chart ahead of their game against fourth-ranked Michigan in Ann Arbor on Saturday. (Michigan Coach Jim Harbaugh does not release a depth chart.)
Elmer Fudd was starting at quarterback, James Bond at defensive tackle, Happy Gilmore at punter and, a personal favorite, Clark W. Griswold was at tight end.
It’s all fun for the Buffs right now, but the No. 4 Wolverines likely will get the last laugh Saturday. Colorado is off to a 2-0 start, but the Buffaloes have lost 22 consecutive games to ranked opponents.
Clay Helton was hired to provide stability in a USC program that has dealt with more than its share of turmoil, much of it self-inflicted, over the last several seasons.
So, how’s that going?
In a season-opening loss to Alabama, linebacker Jabari Ruffin was ejected during the first half after he stomped on the crotch of an opposing player. Helton suspended Ruffin for the first half of the next game against Utah State and made him write an apology letter — something most of us haven’t been asked to do since elementary school.
Against Utah State, left tackle Chuma Edoga swung at an opposing player as he broke the pile in the first half. Once to his feet, Edoga appeared to make his way toward the player before a referee intercepted him. Edoga continued swinging and was ejected from the game.
Helton said he would demote Edoga from his starting position. Interesting punishment, given Edoga had been filling in for Chad Wheeler, who has been slowed because of a foot injury.
This week, two other Trojans, Osa Masina and Don Hill, were suspended from the program because of an ongoing sexual assault investigation.
At USC, the coaches change but other things remain the same.