1. Baylor head coach Art Briles hashtags his program a “YB” -- young brand -- to tell everyone the Bears are no longer on the outside looking in. That includes Briles himself when he recruits. “Our philosophy has changed. It’s changed in the last six months,” Briles said. “... We’ve got to be careful because the old traditionalists, me being one, see ourselves still as a little guy trying to move up to sit with his big brothers. We may already have a seat at the table and don’t realize it.” I think Briles realizes it -- the Bears have five commitments in the 2017 ESPN Junior 300. Only Ohio State has more.
2. Wisconsin is not just Tailback U. because of yards -- it’s that the tailback is the focus of the offense. Montee Ball, playing for Bret Bielema, had 307 carries in 2011 and 356 in 2012. Melvin Gordon, playing for Gary Andersen, carried the ball 343 times last season. Now the coach is Paul Chryst and the back is junior Corey Clement, who has seven 100-yard rushing games as a backup but never more than 17 carries in a game. He had best be ready. On Chryst’s Pitt team last season, James Conner had 298 carries in 13 games.
3. Better lucky than good: Frank Gifford, who died last week at age 84, is recalled as a great All-American back at USC. But Gifford played offense only as a senior, in 1951. For two subpar seasons under coach Jeff Cravath, he played safety. Jess Hill replaced Cravath, installed a hybrid single-wing/wing-T offense, and put Gifford in charge. Gifford ran for 841 yards and seven touchdowns and threw for 303 yards. That catapulted Gifford into being the New York Giants' first-round pick. He became a Pro Football Hall of Famer and a distinguished broadcaster. Does any of that happen if Hill doesn’t arrive and give Gifford the ball?