Non-BCS lunchtime links: Tragedy gives players newfound appreciation

Posted by ESPN.com's Graham Watson
A few lunchtime links to whet your appetite for college football ...

• Central Florida defensive back Johnell Neal was hit by four stray bullets in May that were meant for someone else. He suffered a collapsed lung, but recovered and is becoming a major contributor for the Knights both on and off the field. I'd read this story in another paper before, but I don't think you can read enough when a player recovers from something as tragic as this.

•In keeping with the inspirational theme, Utah defensive lineman Greg Newman gained a new prespective after being stabbed in his side twice with a screwdriver back in January after he, teammate Paul Kruger and Kruger's brother were jumped outside a party.

• OK, happier stuff: Memphis true freshmen kicker Vinny Zaccario and running back Brandon Ross didn't think they'd see much playing time this year, but circumstances have changed and both have become integral parts of the Memphis program.

•After Bowling Green's 24-21 loss to Eastern Michigan, the Falcons aren't pushing the panic button just yet. Even though the Falcons, who started the season with a thrilling win over Pitt, are 2-3, there are still seven games remaining in the season and the MAC East title is not out of reach.

• San Diego State backup quarterback Drew Westling didn't have his best performance against TCU after coming in for an injured Ryan Lindley, but he's not making excuses. He's just preparing for his first start this weekend.