CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- This weekend is an incredible weekend of college football. In the SEC, No. 1 Alabama plays at No. 5 LSU. In the Pac-12, unbeaten and second-ranked Oregon travels to No. 18 USC.
As the national title race starts to unfold in early November, here are some of the faces in college football that are starting to stick out in my mind this season.
Everett Golson - The wide-eyed, fresh-faced young quarterback at Notre Dame has been a breath of fresh air in South Bend. The Myrtle Beach, S.C., native won two state titles in high school and initially committed to North Carolina. An accomplished musician on drums and keyboards, he is reminding Irish fans of another South Carolina native, Tony Rice, who won a national title at Notre Dame in 1988.
Brian Kelly - OK, I am buying this Notre Dame football team and the job being done by Coach Brian Kelly. The Irish have the defensive swagger and the look of a national title team. Their sideline reminds me of the 1986 Penn State national championship team. Kelly has won everywhere he has been. He won at Division II Grand Valley State, at the mid-major level at Central Michigan, at the BCS level at Cincinnati and now in the glare and the spotlight of Notre Dame.
Collin Klein - The Kansas State star is the frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy and reminds many of former Florida star Tim Tebow. He runs like a fullback and throws when he needs to. His throwing motion is not conventional but as West Virginia Coach Dana Holgorsen said of Klein, "the ball always seems to go where he wants it to go." Like Tebow, Klein is also strong in his Christian faith and has incredible leadership skills.
A.J. McCarron - I wrote at the start of the season that if Alabama stays undefeated, then McCarron must be having a good enough season to warrant Heisman consideration. Don't look now, but guess who is sneaking up the board on the Heisman watch list? Slow and steady wins the race. He has no hype and no fluff, but he also has no mistakes and interceptions. He just keeps getting better every week and his team is winning. If that continues, the Crimson Tide quarterback could get an invite to New York.
Braxton Miller - The Ohio State quarterback is only a sophomore, but he really may be the best football player in the country. He is an incredible dual threat quarterback. He has been sensational. In case you haven't noticed this Buckeyes team is really not that good, not by Ohio State standards anyway. No one player is impacting their team more than Miller this season.
Rich Rodriguez - The former WVU and Michigan head coach is in his first year at Arizona. In Ann Arbor, he had trouble beating the marquee teams in the Big Ten. It did not take him long to do so at Arizona. Last weekend in Tucson, his Wildcats knocked off traditional Pac-12 power USC. Don't think Rodriguez and his staff won't get positive mileage out of that on the recruiting trail.