3-point stance: Gary Pinkel's support is key in Missouri protest

1. The protest staged by a group of black football players at Missouri brought to mind the protests of trailblazing minority players in the 1960s and 1970s. Back then, black players at Wyoming, Washington, and Syracuse, among others, had issues with coaches’ policies or aimed their disgruntlement with other conditions at coaches. This occurred at a time when students challenged authority at campuses across the nation. Though my colleague Brett McMurphy is reporting that opinions about the protest within the program are split, the players don't view head coach Gary Pinkel as a representative of the university's ills. That's a big difference.

2. In an otherwise humdrum 42-10 victory at Colorado, Stanford coach David Shaw lined up his offense in a heavy set -- no one wide -- and didn’t run the ball. Quarterback Kevin Hogan utilized a play-action fake and flipped a 6-yard touchdown to tight end Dalton Schultz. If it seemed as if no Colorado player got within 50 yards of Schultz, why would they suspect a pass? Shaw is famously stubborn for lining up in an obvious run formation to run the ball. The last pass out of that formation came against Washington in 2012. Maybe Shaw wanted to give Oregon, Cal and Notre Dame something to think about.

3. Maybe football is cyclical after all. Northwestern has won two consecutive games by two points. That may not sound like much. After all, in his first seven seasons as head coach (2006-2012), Pat Fitzgerald had a better record in games decided by three points or fewer (11-7, .611) than he did in the others (39-32, .549). Still, after the 2013 season, when the Wildcats had five late-game losses in six games, it feels like Northwestern is making withdrawals from a bank in which it made big deposits.