3-point stance: Pump the brakes on USC

March, 13, 2014
Mar 13
5:30
AM PT
1. Let me stipulate that Steve Sarkisian is a talented coach who didn’t get sufficient credit for the resurrection of Washington football. But the expectations that Sark will pick up USC and deposit it into the top 10 are shortsighted. The coach might be new, but the Trojans are still operating under NCAA scholarship reductions. USC still has fewer players than the other contenders, and more of the Trojans are young and inexperienced. A team with one quarterback who has taken a college snap (sophomore Cody Kessler) is headed for the playoffs? USC’s margin of error remains too thin.

2. Hard as it is to believe with a school that has sent Johnny Unitas, Brian Brohm, Stefan LeFors, Dave Ragone, Browning Nagle and Chris Redman to the NFL, but Teddy Bridgewater will likely be the first Louisville quarterback to be drafted in the first round. Blake Bortles of UCF can’t claim that -- Daunte Culpepper went in the first round in 1999. Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M almost could, but Ryan Tannehill became the first Aggie to go in the first round two years ago. Of course the Aggies were a team that ran first and threw later forever.

3. If you love college football, I shouldn’t have to tell you to read Dan Jenkins’ autobiography, “His Ownself,” published last week. Dan’s 80-year love affair with the game shines throughout. My favorite nugget: Dan recounting how 1938 Heisman winner Davey O’Brien once explained to him that two rules adopted in 1934 made way for the passing game we love today. One reduced the circumference of the ball one inch, making it easier to grasp. The other rescinded the five-yard penalty for throwing more than one incompletion in a series of downs.

Ivan Maisel | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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