1. Oregon’s defensive woes are real, and during the week of the championship game last January, Ducks secondary coach John Neal saw them coming. “Next year,” Neal said, “you’ll be writing a story about my guys and it won’t be good. I’m really worried.” The Ducks gave up 530 yards, almost equally distributed between run and pass, to Utah in that stunning 62-20 home loss Saturday night. Oregon ranks last in the Pac-12 in passing efficiency defense and is tied with Texas State for most touchdown passes allowed (15).
2. Of the teams that jumped leagues in the last round of realignment, No. 4 TCU, Missouri, No. 14 Texas A&M and Nebraska stand out for their ability to immediately compete for a championship in their new leagues. No. 10 Utah is the next team, and though it took the Utes four seasons to finish with a winning Pac-12 record, their rout of Oregon confirms their entry into the league’s elite. The other league jumpers? Colorado, Maryland, Pitt, Rutgers, Syracuse and West Virginia have one winning conference record among them (WVU, 2014).
3. Auburn (2-2) lost its fifth consecutive SEC game. There are eerie parallels between this Tigers slide and the one that cost head coach Gene Chizik his job three years ago. In 2011, the year after Auburn won the BCS title, the Tigers slumped late, and kept sliding in 2012. In 2014, the year after Auburn played for the BCS title, the Tigers slumped late and have kept sliding this year. That’s where the parallels stop. Head coach Gus Malzahn’s job is not remotely in danger. Auburn has San Jose State this week, followed by a week off. The timing for both couldn’t be better.