1. When you add up the offseason wins and losses in the SEC, the decision by Mississippi State recruiting coordinator and running backs coach Tony Hughes to become head coach at Jackson State is a big loss for the Bulldogs and head coach Dan Mullen. There is no coach more plugged into Mississippi's high school coaching network. Hughes has coached at the high school and juco level in the state, as well as at all three FBS schools. His hiring is a reward for a career well-spent, and it may be Jackson State’s ticket to return to success. The Tigers have had consecutive losing seasons for the first time in a decade.
2. Colorado State quietly takes a four-game winning streak into the Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl. Imagine how Colorado State might have done without being minus-11 in turnover margin. Head coach Mike Bobo knows the vertical passing game, but quarterback Nick Stevens had to learn on the job. That’s why wide receiver Rashard Higgins, an All-American last year, had his output diminish from 96 receptions for 1,750 yards to 66 and 933, respectively. Bowl games are always catapults into the next season, but especially so for Colorado State.
3. Experience is the best teacher. Two years ago, Stanford opened its Rose Bowl ticket window to all comers, and Michigan State fans bought a good chunk of the Cardinal’s allotment. Lesson learned -- this go-round, Stanford had its fans enter a ticket lottery. As my colleague David Lombardi reported, the school got commitments for all 28,000 of its ticket allotment and 1,800 more seats the Rose Bowl provided. It goes without saying that Iowa, making its first trip to Pasadena in 25 years, could fill every seat. The Rose Bowl is a hot ticket -- again -- and the Granddaddy of Them All will be rocking on Jan. 1.