TOUGH TIMES AT USC
Steve Sarkisian is out as head coach at the University of Southern California, fired on Monday after reportedly showing up intoxicated to a team meeting Sunday morning. As a result, the former UW coach has reportedly checked into a rehab facility. Meanwhile, USC has to move on in a hurry as offensive coordinator Clay Helton takes over as interim coach: the Trojans visit 14th-ranked Notre Dame on Saturday.
Sure, Steve Spurrier’s departure from South Carolina has been officially termed a resignation, but it’s probably more accurate to say the Head Ball Coach simply quit on the Gamecocks amid another disappointing season. Spurrier said he might coach again someday, somewhere, in some capacity, but he believes South Carolina will benefit from a coaching change. And maybe he’s right. But how hard would it have been to just ride out the rest of the season?
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IS THIS UW’S YEAR?
Not only does Washington have a better record than Oregon heading into Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. game at Husky Stadium, but UW is actually favored by about 1.5 or 2 points in most Las Vegas casinos. That’s not something a rational person could have believed before this season started. UW has lost 11 consecutive games to the Ducks, most of them blowouts. As gratifying as last week’s win over USC was for Huskies fans, a victory over Oregon would prompt an even greater feeling of catharsis.
FUN TIMES AT PORTLAND STATE
When this season began, Bruce Barnum was in the undesirable position of being a one-year, interim head coach at Portland State, with no guarantee of a contract beyond 2015. But after the Vikings pulled off a shocking upset at Washington State on the way to a 4-1 start, PSU announced Wednesday that Barnum had signed a 5-year contract. So get used to “Barney Ball” in Portland.
THIS WEEK’S TOP GAMES
Five games between Top 25 teams this week — one in the Pac-12, and two each in the Big Ten and SEC: No. 18 UCLA at No. 15 Stanford (7:30 p.m. Thursday); No. 17 Iowa at No. 20 Northwestern (9 a.m. Saturday); No. 10 Alabama at No. 9 Texas A&M (12:30 p.m. Saturday); No. 7 Michigan State at No. 12 Michigan (12:30 p.m. Saturday); and No. 8 Florida at No. 6 LSU (4 p.m. Saturday). That USC-Notre Dame game should be interesting, too.