3-point stance: South Carolina's defense looks much-improved

1. On the first Thursday night of the season a year ago, I sat in a bar in Dallas and watched South Carolina allow Texas A&M to score on five of its first six possessions. The Aggies rolled up 680 yards and 52 points. On the first Thursday night of this season, I sat in a bar in Dallas and watched South Carolina give up 440 yards, but, thanks to three turnovers, only 13 points. We spent all year saying the defensive coordinator who would make the biggest difference in the SEC is Will Muschamp at Auburn. Based on the Gamecocks’ 17-13 victory Thursday night, maybe it’s South Carolina's new co-defensive coordinator, Jon Hoke.

2. TCU looked like the No. 2 team in the nation for 55 minutes in its 23-17 victory at Minnesota. The last three possessions of the game, the Horned Frogs looked like anything but. With a 23-10 lead, TCU could have made a couple of first downs and put the game away. Instead, they went three-and-out, allowed the Gophers to drive 91 yards for a touchdown in 90 seconds, and then went three-and-out again. The lack of killer instinct, maybe the result of a hot, sticky night, will give TCU head coach Gary Patterson fuel to chew on his players for a few weeks.

3. Randy York of Huskers.com asked me and several other college football writers about the historical significance of Mike Riley’s first game as Nebraska head coach. The more I thought I about it, the more I realized that, as personality goes, it is a good match. Riley is known as brilliant offensive coach and a nice guy. Nebraska is known as the sold-out stadium where opposing teams get a standing ovation as they leave the field. Is Riley going to win? He won at Oregon State, and he has a lot more to work with in Lincoln.