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Insider

Thoughts from around college football

12/4/2013

They’re only college football opinions, but at least they’re all mine:

• My impression after attending the Steve Sarkisian-USC press conference is that Pat Haden would have made this move even if Ed Orgeron had beaten UCLA. And can you imagine the fallout if that had happened?

• Sarkisian’s press conference was much like the announcement he’d been hired: It lacked any real carbonation. There was no buzz in the room at all.

• I know it’s unfair to compare anyone to Pete Carroll, but all I remember about his introductory press conference at USC is that he had everyone in the room mesmerized.

• Assistant Athletic Director J.K. McKay on the Sarkisian hiring: “I got six e-mails from NFL execs around the country today saying ‘You got the right guy.’”

• Haden described this as “the smoothest, fastest, cleanest transition.” OK, but is that really the goal here? Personally, I could endure a bumpy transition if it meant a brighter future.

• I’d love to know how the Haden-Chris Petersen interview went. With a record as good as his, there must be some reason the Boise State coach didn’t get an official offer. Or maybe he did and decided it wasn’t for him. I’d sure like to hear the real story.

• The timing of the announcement that Jim Mora is staying at UCLA was a bit curious. Right in the middle of the Sarkisian press conference? Really? The Bruins deserve credit for a lot of things, but subtlety isn’t one of them.

• I’m not surprised Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron was more gracious in defeat than his coach Nick Saban was after that Auburn miracle finish.

• McCarron probably lost more than anyone. I thought his earlier 99-yard TD pass had won him the Heisman Trophy. And a victory by Bama would have made him the winningest quarterback in NCAA history.

• Auburn can pitch it any way it wants, but if Ohio State beats Michigan State in the Big Ten title game, it’s difficult to imagine the Buckeyes not capturing a BCS title bid.

• If the Pac-12 Conference is really as strong as some claim, how do you explain Arizona State losing to 8-4 Notre Dame and Stanford barely hanging on in the fourth quarter to scrape by the mediocre Fighting Irish?

• So Marcus Mariota is coming back to play another year at Oregon, huh? Bet all the Pac-12 defensive coordinators are just thrilled.

• Does Mora’s return at UCLA guarantee Brett Hundley will be back? I don’t think so. A lot of greedy people will be whispering in the quarterback’s ear in the next few months.

• I like Stanford and the points against Arizona State in the Pac-12 championship game in Tempe, Ariz., on Saturday.

• How funny would it be if Duke upset Florida State in the ACC title game? About as funny as FSU playing in the BCS title game without Heisman frontrunner Jameis Winston, whose status for a bowl game is still up in the air.

• I watched the Fresno State-San Jose State game and couldn’t believe the 42-41 halftime score and the fact 12 touchdown passes already had been thrown. Apparently, defense is not a priority at either school.

• I will say this: Fresno’s Derek Carr and San Jose’s David Fales are big-time quarterback prospects. Look for both to be playing on Sundays in the future.

• Sarkisian and Washington struggled mightily against weak Washington State at home on Saturday. Mmmmmmm. Sort of reminds you of another recent USC coach in this year’s home opener, doesn’t it?