<
>

It is too early is the season for so much change

play
Did LSU fire Les Miles before Alabama game on purpose? (1:44)

Booger McFarland thinks LSU fired Les Miles before he had a chance to redeem himself in the Alabama game in order to move on and not reconsider his tenure. (1:44)

Sept. 26 is too early to say that the wins gutted out by Tennessee, Duke, Colorado, Auburn, Stanford and Washington will be the pivots upon which their seasons turn. But it's sure easy to imagine that.

Sept. 26 is way too early to fire a defensive coordinator. It's not as if we didn't know that Notre Dame would struggle, what with four returning starters on that side of the ball. But Brian VanGorder, who has bounced from colleges to the NFL and back, hasn't coached a shutdown defense since he was at Georgia in the early 2000s.

And Sept. 26 is way, way too early to fire two head coaches. In the case of Les Miles, whom LSU fired with a record of 114-34 (.770) and one national championship because he didn't perform well enough to suit the suits, it defies belief.

1. I suppose this awards the title of America's Interim Coach to Ed Orgeron, who won the hearts of the USC locker room in leading the Trojans to a 6-1 record in 2013. He just didn't win the full-time job. Orgeron flamed out as head coach at Ole Miss for three tumultuous seasons a decade ago; barring a complete turnaround by the Tiger offense, Orgeron, a Louisiana native, will be a long-shot candidate to replace Miles. Let the Tom Herman sweepstakes begin. Even if Houston is asked to join the Big 12, Herman -- and all but a handful of head coaches -- would have to take a long look at LSU, with its unlimited resources and as the only Power 5 Conference member in a talent-rich state.

2. The firing of Ron Turner by FIU four games -- four losses -- into the season shines a light on one impressive aspect of Turner's career. Not that, with a career record of 52-91, he has a Sugar Bowl season in there (Turner's Illinois team went to New Orleans in 2002). But that he managed to have a career record below .500 and had coached more than 10 seasons. In fact, that list was trimmed from five to three this weekend. Now that Baylor is 5-0, Jim Grobe's career record has risen to 115-115-1. That leaves only David Bailiff of Rice, Bob Davie of New Mexico and Doug Martin of New Mexico State.

3. UCLA held No. 7 Stanford to 280 yards and three field goals until the Cardinal took possession at their 30 with 2:05 to play. "We were determined to take away the run as we best we could," Bruins defensive coordinator Tom Bradley said Sunday. "See if [quarterback Ryan Burns] could make throws. Watching the [video], man, there were just some great throws and catches at the end. They were balls that were just hard to defend." Burns, in his first road start, went 8-for-17 for 71 yards with a pick until the last drive, when he went 5-for-8 for 66 yards and the game-winning score, a perfectly thrown fade to 6-3 redshirt freshman wideout JJ Arcega-Whiteside. The All-State basketball player in South Carolina leapt easily over 6-foot-0 corner Nate Meadors to make the catch.

4. Deshaun Watson threw for 304 yards Thursday night as No. 5 Clemson steamrolled Georgia Tech, 26-7, but let's hold off on declaring that Watson has shaken his early-season funk. Check out his QBR. He clocked a 60.4 against the Yellow Jackets. All three games against FBS opponents this season have graded below 70. In his previous two seasons, he had only four starts graded lower than an 80. Time is running short for Watson to find his game. No. 3 Louisville is coming to Death Valley on Saturday night.

5. Monday marks exactly one year since San Diego State last lost a game. The Aztecs and star running back Donnel Pumphrey take their 13-game winning streak to South Alabama on Saturday. You hear coaches preach all the time to focus on what you can control and don't worry about the rest. That rings especially true for head coach Rocky Long, who is winning more than anyone has won with the Aztecs in 40 years yet finds his program at the mercy of the electorate, which must decide whether to fund the Chargers' new stadium. If the NFL leaves, there's no guarantee that outdated Qualcomm Stadium will be kept just for San Diego State. And then what?

6. Anyone have October starting with Wake Forest and Maryland undefeated, Colorado leading the Pac-12 South, and Oklahoma and Notre Dame with losing records? I didn't think so. At least the Sooners have lost to two top-five teams. At Wake, head coach Dave Clawson is doing what he has done at his previous three stops, building a winner. The Demon Deacons, 4-0, have surpassed their win totals of Clawson's first two seasons because they're not beating themselves. Wake is second in the ACC in fewest penalties per game (5.0) and turnover margin (1.25).