October 12, 2011
Making the morning rounds.
• Where the term "embarrassment of riches" cuts both ways. As if it didn't have enough blue-chip skill guys on offense, USC plans to lift the redshirt of hyped freshman George Farmer in search of a big-play spark for its lackluster running game, beginning Thursday night at Cal. Farmer, a local rated as Rivals' No. 1 incoming receiver and No. 3 overall player in the 2011 recruiting class, initially suffered through nagging injuries and found himself buried amid a deep bunch of young wideouts, but subsequently caught the coaches' eye as a scout team tailback and expects to play against the Golden Bears — thereby adding to the Trojans' wealth of five-star options at quarterback (Matt Barkley), tailback (Marc Tyler), receiver (Robert Woods and Marqise Lee) and tight end (Xavier Grimble).
"I'm happy that we're going to be able to utilize him and his speed," Barkley said. "He's probably the fastest guy on our team. It's going to be fun to watch him with the ball in his hands." If that all sounds a little familiar, well, Dillon Baxter would like to remind you that he's still waiting patiently over here. [Orange County Register, ESPN Los Angeles]
• Just waiting on you, guys. "Everything is in place" for the Big East to extend an invitation to Central Florida, according to coach George O'Leary, who told reporters one day after the Big East announced a plan to add up to six football schools that UCF's addition is only "a matter of putting the gavel down and making a decision." Other sources confirmed to the Orlando Sentinel that talks are underway to begin the latest raid on Conference USA, but an invitation may not come until next week.
"I would think that just looking from a numbers count, we'd be on the lips of a lot of people obviously," O'Leary said. "I would hope that they strongly consider us. I would think it would help them as much as it's gonna help us. …Just the people I've spoken with, not UCF but the people from the outside—everything's in place." [Associated Press, Orlando Sentinel]
• Adding injury to insult. And injury. Ohio State defensive end Nathan Williams, already sidelined since the first game of the season, has now been ruled out for the rest of the year as he prepares for a second arthroscopic knee surgery. Last year, Williams led the team with 4.5 sacks as a junior, and was set to emerge this year as one of only two senior starters for a unit that's managed just three sacks in the last four games in his absence. [Columbus Dispatch]
In other injury news… Texas Tech running back Eric Stephens is out for the season with a dislocated knee he suffered against Texas A&M. [Dallas Morning News] … Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd expects to play at Maryland Saturday after being carted off with a hip injury. [Post and Courier] … And if injured Arizona linebacker Jake Fischer wasn't heading for a redshirt before coach Mike Stoops was fired earlier this week, he certainly is now. [Tucson Citizen]
• If I was Commander in Chief, this would never happen. Army has decided to ditch plans to play Air Force in Yankee Stadium next year, moving the game to West Point to avoid a "strong possibility of a conflict" if the New York Yankees make the playoffs. (Not getting a little ahead of ourselves, are we?) The Black Knights still plan to host Rutgers in the Bronx next month. [GoArmySports.com]
Quickly… Auburn insists it doesn't have a quarterback controversy. … Jeff Driskel was back at practice Monday for Florida. … Local media outlets file a lawsuit in pursuit of Butch Davis' phone records at North Carolina. … Clemson's campus a cappella group uses Clemson football as an excuse to make a cappella look even whiter. … And Boise State could still wear all blue for its first Mountain West game, just not on the blue turf.