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Thursday, October 31, 2013
QB controversy coming in 2014?

By Steve Bisheff

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

• The head coach is obviously the biggest issue for USC in 2014, but what about the quarterback? Has Cody Kessler played well enough to secure the job, or will talented redshirt-freshman-to-be Max Browne get first shot? It will certainly be an interesting decision.

Cody Kessler
Has Cody Kessler done enough this season to make him the starter in 2014, or will Max Browne have a chance to unseat him?
• Kessler will have the experience edge, but Browne seems to have a higher ceiling. There’s nothing like a little potential quarterback controversy to welcome the new coach.

• Even when the Morgan Breslin gets back in the lineup, Ed Orgeron has to find a way to keep J.R. Tavai on the field. The kid has been USC’s most active defensive player in two of the past three games.

• UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley is still a spectacular athlete, but he is not an NFL-caliber passer at this point. He is not even close. Despite all the projections that he could be a first-round pick, his advisers would be wise to tell him to stay in school another year.

• Freshmen Su'a Cravens, a USC safety, and Myles Jack, a UCLA linebacker, are two players you’ll be reading a lot about in the next couple of years.

• It was impossible not to be impressed with the way Jim Mora’s Bruins played that first half in Eugene. Mora doesn’t want to hear it, but that was as pretty good indication of some great things to come in Westwood.

• Nick Saban is admonishing Alabama fans for leaving early? Really? Come on, Nick. Bama still would be winning these games if the stands were empty.

• The injury loss of Ben Gardner, one of Stanford’s top defensive players, could be the difference when the Cardinal host Oregon in the Pac-12’s mega showdown on Nov. 7.

• I don’t want to say Stanford’s offense is boring or anything, but you do tend to nod off watching it. Cardinal coach David Shaw should do something about his passing game. It has become almost nonexistent.

• Oregon’s Marcus Mariota looked good against UCLA, but he did not look like the best college player in the country. He might need a dominant game against Stanford to hold off Jameis Winston and Johnny Manziel for the Heisman.

• As a Heisman voter, I keep getting this feeling that we’re overlooking AJ McCarron. All the Alabama quarterback does is win and play his best in the biggest games. Isn’t that the definition of a Heisman winner?

• Miami vs. Florida State used to be a classic matchup. Now it just looks like another “Famous Jameis” rout.

• Little known fact: Two of the only three non-USC Pac-12 players to win the Heisman were coached by the same man -- Tommy Prothro, who had Terry Baker at Oregon and Gary Beban at UCLA. The third was Jim Plunkett at Stanford.

• How is it that every new running back Oregon runs out on the field looks better than the last one?

• Just how good is this Jordan Lynch of Northern Illinois, anyway? When you run for 3,000 yards and pass for 4,000 in your career that pretty much speaks for itself, regardless of the competition.

• Not a bad Thursday night doubleheader coming on Nov. 7: Baylor vs. Oklahoma and Stanford vs. Oregon. Only problem is a time overlap. Bryce Petty vs. the Sooners starts only 90 minutes before the Pac-12 Game of the Year.

• He’s not likely to be invited to New York for the trophy ceremony, but Arizona’s Ka'Deem Carey, the nation’s leading rusher, should at least be included in the Heisman conversation now.

• Previously unbeaten Missouri would like to think it shouldn’t have blown a 17-point lead, but when you allow fourth-quarter scoring drives of 65, 69 and 63 yards the way the Tigers did against South Carolina, you don’t deserve to win.

• The coaching Comeback of the Year award goes to Texas’s Mack Brown, a guy most of us thought might be out of work by now. Anyone who ever has dealt with Brown is happy for him. He is a class act.