See ya, Mom
Think Smith isn't serious about his craft? His mother came to visit with him last week after she sat in the stands and watched his epic passing show.
Courtesy of the AP, we'll let quarterbacks coach Jake Spavital finish the story: "It was the most bizarre thing. When his mom walked in, he handed her a box of pizza and he went into the film room with me. I was like, 'You want to hang out with your mom?' He's like, 'I'll have plenty of time to hang out with her after the season.' "
A case of the rushes
We told you last week about "Gurshall," No. 5 Georgia's 1-2 freshman tailback combination of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, the key to the Bulldogs' dominant rushing game. But sixth-ranked South Carolina plans to answer Saturday with junior Marcus Lattimore, who has played well since coming back from a torn knee ligament that sidelined him for the second half of the 2011 season.
Currently ranked third in the Southeastern Conference in rushing, Lattimore has averaged 179 yards the last two years against Georgia, both Gamecock wins. "My body feels great right now," Lattimore told reporters. "I've just got to stay patient."
Look who's ranked
That would be the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers, who come in at No. 22 on the AP list and take on Connecticut before a "blackout" in Piscataway, N.J.
The Knights (4-0), who last won as a ranked team in 2007, hope to continue the momentum from their most recent game two weeks ago, a 35-26 upset at Arkansas. Their players don't seem to be too impressed by their new standing and are focused instead on making up for last year's disappointing loss at UConn that denied them a share of the Big East title.
"They took something from us," cornerback Marcus Cooper told the Newark Star-Ledger. "You can't forget that feeling."
Aloha to Mr. Heisman
It has been a difficult time for Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, who lost his grandmother and his girlfriend within several hours on Sept. 11. But Te'o has played through his grief and elevated himself into the Heisman Trophy conversation.
Going into Saturday night's game against Miami at Soldier Field in Chicago, Te'o has been involved in seven of Notre Dame's 13 takeaways - three interceptions, two recovered fumbles, and two hits on opposing quarterbacks that resulted in picks.
It's clear football has helped soothe his heartache in a way. Te'o called the sport "a great escape."
If there is any such thing as an embarrassing win, it happened for Louisiana State last week when it had to work harder than expected to defeat Towson, an FCS team and Colonial Athletic Association member.
Now LSU, which dropped to fourth in the AP poll, has a number of players hobbled or out for its key SEC game at No. 10 Florida. Top running back Alfred Blue won't play due to a knee injury, and star offensive tackle Chris Faulk (knee) is out for the season.
The Gators had last weekend off and get some players back, including linebacker Jelani Jenkins (broken thumb).
Kansas State wants to do a better job of eliminating penalties. But when you consider that the No. 7 Wildcats lead the nation in fewest penalties (eight in four games) and yards penalized (66), it makes you wonder how extreme a perfectionist is coach Bill Snyder.
"It goes back to that old thing about not beating yourself," Snyder told the Wichita Eagle. "All those things become significant in the long run in terms of how successful you can be."
To put these puny penalty numbers in perspective, undefeated Rutgers averages 10.25 penalties and 78.25 yards, exceeding the Wildcats' totals.
Expat of the Week
They call him "Philly" in Columbus to distinguish him from a teammate with the same name. But junior wide receiver Corey Brown, a former star at Cardinal O'Hara High School, is putting up some impressive numbers for Ohio State.
Brown has caught 32 passes in five games, with a high of 12 against Michigan State, and ranks second in the Big Ten in receiving. Still, first-year coach Urban Meyer wants Brown, who averages 9.9 yards per reception, go for more yards after the catch.
"He's allowed to make a guy miss once in a while and get more than 8 yards," Meyer said, semi-jokingly.
The Real Top 10
1. Alabama 5-0
2. Oregon 5-0
3. Florida State 5-0
4. Georgia 5-0
5. Louisiana State 5-0
6. South Carolina 5-0
7. West Virginia 4-0
8. Kansas State 4-0
9. Notre Dame 4-0
10. Texas 4-0
- Joe Juliano
Games of the Week
Georgia at South Carolina, 7 p.m., ESPN: This contest may answer the question of whether a tough defense can stop an explosive offense. The Bulldogs, led by freshman backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, are 11th in the nation in rushing and eighth in scoring at 48.2 points per game. The Gamecocks are ranked in the top 10 defensively in rushing yards allowed (77.6, seventh) and points yielded (11.2, sixth).
Connecticut at Rutgers, noon, ESPNU, WIP-AM (610): The 22d-ranked Scarlet Knights, who will wear all-black uniforms, have a stingy defense that allows just 12.8 points per game and a capable quarterback in Gary Nova.
Louisiana State at Florida, 3:30 p.m., CBS3: The Tigers must find a way to get their sputtering offense untracked; at least they have the defense to make life miserable for Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel and company.
West Virginia at Texas, 7 p.m., Fox29: Geno Smith and the Mountaineers' high-powered offense need to keep their cool in Austin, where 100,000 fans will be showing them the "Hook 'em Horns" sign.
Miami vs. Notre Dame at Chicago, 7:30 p.m., NBC10: The Fighting Irish seek to stifle Hurricanes quarterback Stephen Morris, who threw for an ACC-record 566 yards last week.
Nebraska at Ohio State, 8 p.m., 6ABC: The Buckeyes are looking for payback after blowing a 27-6 lead to the Cornhuskers last season as Braxton Miller hooks up with Nebraska's Taylor Martinez in a quarterback duel.
Washington at Oregon, 10:30 p.m., ESPN: The Huskies upset Stanford in their last outing, but their defense gets the ultimate test against a Quack Attack that averages 52 points and 550 total yards. - Joe Juliano
Contact Joe Juliano at 215-854-4494 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow on Twitter @joejulesinq.