1. I've adopted the College Football Playoff Selection Committee's philosophy of just-in-time ranking: how good are you right now? So that's why I put Temple, which beat Penn State at not really a neutral site, No. 13. That's why I put unranked Texas A&M at No. 4. And that's why I heavily discount games against FCS opponents. I'm looking at you Oregon, Clemson, Ole Miss, Georgia Tech and LSU (even though LSU didn't play). That said, I ended up with a pretty conventional top three.
2. Penn State is in the same boat as USC. Unlike the Trojans, who trounced Arkansas State, 55-6, the Nittany Lions played a team (Temple) who could take advantage of their youth. The problems became acute when starting middle linebacker Nyeem Wartman-White suffered a season-ending knee injury. Linebackers Jake Cooper and Manny Bowen, who played on the scout team in practice last week, ended up playing in the game, with predictable communication problems. “We still don't have tremendous game depth,” head coach James Franklin said.
3. USC's lack of “game depth” could be seen when compared to the rest of the Pac-12. The Trojans played 13 of the 71 true freshmen who saw action in their first collegiate game. The other five teams in the South Division played a total of 21. Two true freshman quarterbacks started. Washington's Jake Browning played on a short leash, completing 20 of 35 passes for 150 yards with one pick. All of which should illustrate the amazing performance of UCLA's Josh Rosen (28-35-0, 351 yards, three touchdowns), the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week.