*** No. 11 – Some progress here for USC in ESPN’s third “Way Too Early Top 25” rankings of 2016 this week. Trojans were No. 16 in January, No. 12 in April and now No. 11 despite the only two footnotes for the rankings are how Max Browne couldn’t win the starter’s spot and Kenny Bigelow was gone from an already thin D-line. Of concern might be that USC is the only ranked team to face three ESPN top-eight teams – No. 1 Alabama, No. 7 Stanford and No. 8 Notre Dame.
*** 12.5 to 9 – The USC-Alabama game opened with the Tide a 12.5-point favorite in Vegas. That’s down to nine this week.
*** 1-5 -- USC’s record against ranked opponents in 2015. Obviously against the nation’s toughest schedule, that has to change.
*** 295-174 – Courtesy of the College Spun folks, these are the very impressive scoring numbers for the Trojans last season over their opponents in the second and third quarters of games.
*** 180-186 – Now for the not so impressive. USC was inexplicably outscored by six points in quarters one and four in 2015. Obviously the Trojans will have to start faster and finish stronger this fall. And come to think of it, when you open against Bama and finish up against Notre Dame, what choice do you have?
*** 15/38 – At the age of 38, USC offensive coordinator and master recruiter Tee Martin, is listed among Athlon’s top 15 college football coaches under 40 and one of the six non-head coaches on the list. Here’s what they say about Tee: “The quarterback of 1998 national champion Tennessee has been moving up the coaching ranks from high schools to Kentucky to the offensive coordinator post. He’s been in demand as a recruiter, but this will be his first season as a playcaller.”
*** 92-38 – Here’s a surprising stat. USC had a 54-point advantage in points off turnovers despite playing it safe so much of the season in 2015. Thanks Cameron Smith and Rasheem Green for starters.
*** 38-38 – No surprise here. Sack stats for USC and opponents were the same. Although the surprise might be that USC had that many.
*** $858,878,573 – Those are the gross salary numbers for USC’s 72 NFL players according to NFL College Tracker which places the Trojans at No. 1 in the total NFL salary game ahead No. 2 Miami (Fla.)'s $771,702,020. Tennessee, Georgia, Michigan, LSU, Texas, Alabama, Florida State and Oklahoma round out the Top 10. Cal at No. 12 is the next Pac-12 team right ahead of, in a surprise, Ohio State. Utah, Oregon and Oregon State, Nos. 21, 22 and 33, are all ahead of Notre Dame, which in a shock is way down at No. 36 with $218,628,523.
*** $30,400,000 – That’s the surprising per-school revenue distribution this past year for the “poor” Big 12, a 10-team conference with no championship game and no league TV network located in metropolises like Manhattan and Lawrence, Kansas; Waco and Lubbock, Tex.; Ames, Iowa; Stillwater, Okla. and Morgantown, W. Va. That 30 percent revenue increase rockets the Big 12 past the $25 million each Pac-12 school receives. So whatever talk there is here of picking off a couple of those teams for the Pac-12, maybe we’d better forget it. They couldn’t afford the pay cut. No wonder the Big 12 slowed down the most recent expansion talks focused on bringing big new metropolitan areas like Houston and Orlando into the fold or starting a league network. Might not be all that imperative any more.
*** $140,000 – That’s the price tag for the BMW i8 sports car that Auburn coach Gus Malzahn drives recruits around in to take their eyes off the fact that they’re in Auburn, Ala. Pretty pricey neighborhood, the SEC.
*** $221, 580 – But not nearly as pricey as Knoxville where the News Sentinel reports that Butch Jones drives recruits around town in a Mercedes-Benz SLS with a sticker price of $221,580. Bet that’s a better car than any of UT’s Nobel Prize-winning professors drive. Oh wait . . . Never mind.
*** 3,450 – Miles traveled by Jim Harbaugh in 24 hours of back and forth clinic commuting from Wednesday to Thursday going from Mobile, Alabama, to Paramus, N.J., to Pearl, Miss., and back to the NYC area. On a day when Paramus Catholic High, where Harbaugh got the nation’s No. 1 player – and his coach, was vandalized by hometown Rutgers fans and then on to Mississippi, where co-host Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen trolled Harbaugh on twitter with Michigan’s 12 coaches in attendance outdoing the eight of homestate MSU, Just another day at the office for Jimbo.
*** 2,583 – The number of campers Clemson will welcome to its first three summer football camps. It pays to make it to the CFB championship game.
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