Six names to watch from outside the state, with an eye toward the coaching carousel:
Mississippi’s Lane Kiffin: He and Oregon’s Mario Cristobal would be the two most appealing targets if a major job opens in the state this year. Kiffin’s No. 10 Rebels should light up Vanderbilt this weekend.
Baylor’s Dave Aranda: The former LSU defensive coordinator has SEC ties and is a California native, which makes him a fit for any number of high-profile openings. He’d look even more impressive if his No. 11 Bears pass a tricky test at Kansas State.
Louisiana Lafayette’s Billy Napier: The second-most intriguing Group of Five coach is 37-12 and has already clinched a spot in the Sun Belt title game. Napier has a tough non-conference matchup this week at Liberty and another coach we’re keeping an eye on this cycle: Hugh Freeze.
Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien: The former Penn State coach and Houston Texans coach/general manager is Saban’s latest reclamation project and a potential head coaching candidate this cycle. Arkansas will be a formidable challenge for his No. 3 scoring offense.
Clemson coordinators Tony Elliott and Brent Venables: Would a lackluster candidate pool make Elliott and Venables more attractive for the types of big jobs that would pull them off Dabo Swinney’s staff? The Tigers have struggled, but a game against No. 13 Wake Forest is a big opportunity.
Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis returns to the site of his first breakout performance when the Seminoles travel to Boston College. His 66-yard touchdown run two years ago was the longest rush ever by an FSU quarterback. He’s coming off a career day (336 yards of total offense) against Miami and will try to keep FSU’s bowl hopes alive.
Eye on the NFL draft
Boston College quarterback Phil Jurkovec entered the season as an intriguing prospect — maybe even a first-round pick — before missing six games with a wrist/hand injury. In his second game back, he threw for 310 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Georgia Tech. His NFL potential is another reason to keep an eye on FSU-Boston College.
Shot of the week
In UCF’s game notes to the media, the Knights note that UConn beat them in 2014-15 “while inventing the Civil Conflict rivalry series out of thin air.” It’s a great dig because it’s true, it’s petty and it doesn’t even acknowledge the fact that it was Civil ConFLiCT, with weird capitalization to acknowledge the state abbreviations. UConn’s only chance at victory is if the Knights are looking ahead to USF next week for their real rivalry game.
USF record watch
Running back Jaren Mangham’s 15 rushing touchdowns are tied for sixth nationally, and he needs only three more to tie Quinton Flowers for the Bulls’ single-season record. It’s not crazy to think he can accomplish that this weekend. Tulane has allowed 22 rushing touchdowns (tied for No. 107 nationally) already. A big day from Mangham could make USF history — and result in a Bulls win.
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