Updated: October 29, 2014, 11:06 PM ET

USC's close calls, West Virginia's pass rusher and Gurley's suspension

By Ivan Maisel | ESPN.com

> 1. USC is two plays, the Hail Mary by Arizona State, and any one of several plays against Utah, from 7-1. And the Trojans are also two plays from being 3-5; victories over Stanford and Arizona depended on opponents missing field goals and other assorted miscues. One thing is certain: the NCAA-mandated scholarship reductions are the penalties that keep on penalizing. USC took 48 scholarship players to Utah last week. With so few players playing so many plays -- defensive lineman Leonard Williams played 94 snaps vs. Arizona -- injuries are going to keep occurring.

2. A lot of players in search of playing time transfer from FBS to FCS; few go in the opposite direction. West Virginia senior defensive end Shaq Riddick made FCS All-American last season at Gardner-Webb, where he had 8.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss. Riddick swam upstream to test his game in the FBS. As the Mountaineers have dived into playing their pass-happy Big 12 brethren, the 6-6, 242-pound Riddick has responded with five sacks in the last three games. He is the disruptive pass rusher that West Virginia has lacked since Bruce Irvin left three years ago.

3. Until the NCAA membership passes legislation regarding profiting from one's own likeness, I am fine with Georgia tailback Todd Gurley being punished. It may be an archaic rule, but Gurley knew the rule and he broke it. My problem is the formulaic four-game suspension is too long. If we learned nothing else from the way the NCAA botched the Penn State case, it's that the NCAA can waive its protocol whenever it suits the suits in Indianapolis. Gurley cooperated. The NCAA shouldn't have punished him by the book.

Gurley case: need for reform

By Chris Low | ESPN.com

e cruel twist in this whole Todd Gurley mess is that the NCAA's archaic rules may end up being the only thing with any prayer of stopping the Bulldogs' splendid junior running back.

And that's a shame, because those rules are outdated.

The NCAA announced Wednesday that Gurley must sit for a total of four games, meaning he will be eligible to return Nov. 15 against Auburn, after acknowledging that he received money for autographs.

At the crux of this debate is whether a college athlete should be able to profit from his own name and likeness.

Earlier this week, NCAA president Mark Emmert told USA Today Sports that schools should revisit the rules regarding autographs and decide if they're still proper.

My immediate reaction: It's about time.

This is a battle the NCAA is going to lose. The August ruling in the Ed O'Bannon federal court case was just the start. If this were a football game, there would be about a minute to play and the NCAA's opponent would be lining up in the victory formation.

In general, the college football public is tired of seeing a kid like Gurley, who grew up in a trailer park and is helping generate millions of dollars for his university, prevented from profiting from his own likeness.

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The case for No. 5

Rising star


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