For Illini, Buffs, Terps, 2-0 reason to be excited

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FAR FROM OVER: The start of the season doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the quarterback competitions. Here are a few still raging:

USC. Coach Lane Kiffin decided to change it up and announce his starter this week instead of revealing it at game time. Cody Kessler is going to get another start Saturday when the Trojans face Boston College. He and Max Wittek have played in each game, neither effectively. Kiffin has tried to ease them in with conservative play-calling. It might be time to open it up and see what happens.

Michigan State. The Spartans’ offense has been outscored by defensive end Shilique Calhoun, who has three touchdowns. Coach Mark Dantonio used two quarterbacks (Andrew Maxwell and Connor Cook) in Game 1, three in Game 2 (Cook, Maxwell and Tyler O’Connor). And don’t be surprised if a fourth (Damion Terry) gets some time Saturday against Youngstown State. The Spartans play at Notre Dame on Sept. 21.

Oklahoma. Trevor Knight, who beat out Blake Bell in the preseason, will miss the Tulsa game Saturday with a bruised knee. That means Bell, aka the Belldozer, starts. He relieved Knight last week against West Virginia but mostly just ran out the clock. Knight completed 43.8 percent of his passes, so there’s an opening for Bell to seize this job.

South Florida. First-year coach Willie Taggart is sticking with Bobby Eveld as the starter. He split time with Matt Floyd during an ugly opening loss to McNeese State, and then played almost the whole game in a loss to Michigan State. The Bulls get Florida Atlantic next. If Eveld can’t get it done against the Owls, expect Floyd or Penn State transfer Steven Bench to get another shot.

Syracuse. Much was expected of Oklahoma transfer Drew Allen, but he’s thrown six interceptions in two games and the Orange have lost both. Back-up Terrell Hunt led a scoring drive late against Northwestern on Saturday. With FCS Wagner on tap Saturday, first-year coach Scott Shafer has the opportunity to give both another look.

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QUICK HITS

_Impressive start way off the radar: Bowling Green dominated Conference USA favorite Tulsa in its opener, 33-7, and then pounded Kent State, considered a fellow Mid-American Conference contender, 41-22.

_Three weeks into the season, we’ll finally get to see how good No. 20 Wisconsin is under new coach Gary Andersen. The Badgers play at Arizona State after opening with shutouts of Massachusetts and Tennessee Tech. Arizona State also opened easy, beating Sacramento State.

_Another example that recruiting is far from an exact science. Rutgers running back Paul James is averaging 150 yards after two games and has emerged as the team’s go-to back. He’s a walk-on. The player he beat out, Savon Huggins, was rated a four-star recruit.

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LAST WORD

“They had really bad players.” _ Texas coach Mack Brown on why he wasn’t concerned that new defensive coordinator Greg Robinson oversaw two poor defenses during his time at Michigan.

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