1. Penn State made a good choice in Patriots assistant Bill O’Brien, a smart, young, personable coach who has been trained by the best. In hiring O’Brien, Penn State also shone a spotlight on Central Florida head coach George O’Leary, who quietly has joined Hayden Fry, Nick Saban and Bill Snyder as a developer of head coaches. O’Brien joins Ralph Friedgen, Ted Roof, Randy Edsall and Doug Marrone as assistants who worked on O’Leary’s staff at Georgia Tech and became FBS head coaches.
2. LSU is 3-2 against Alabama under Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban. Two games went to overtime, all had single-digit margins, and Alabama leads in total points, 112-110. “Whether we won, they won,” Saban said, “it doesn’t make any difference, there’s one common theme -- all the games come right down to the wire. So you have to be prepared to sustain your performance for 60 minutes in the game, and I don’t think that’s all going to be just about emotion. A lot of that is about competitive character.”
3. Referee Scott Novak, who lead the Big 12 Conference crew that will work the BCS Championship, is embarking on a year of seeing college football from another vantage point. Novak’s son Ryan is a 6-6, 225-pound quarterback who just finished his junior season at Littleton (Colo.) Heritage High. ESPNHS ranked Ryan as the No. 2 prospect in the state in the Class of 2013. He’s being recruited by schools in at least three AQ conferences, including the Big 12. That could affect his dad’s work schedule.