• Northern Illinois went 11-3 in 2010 before Jerry Kill and his staff left for the Gophers. Dave Doeren went 23-4 with the Huskies and led them to the Orange Bowl before leaving for North Carolina State. Rod Carey went 23-5 his first two years but slipped to 8-6 last year, and now Northern Illinois is 1-6. The heat is turning up on Carey, who is 0-4 in bowl games and 1-2 in Mid-American Conference title games.

• The new MAC power is 7-0 Western Michigan, which is remarkable considering the Broncos went 1-11 three years ago in P.J. Fleck's first season. The Broncos have committed one turnover all season. Fleck worked as wide receivers coach under Kill at Northern Illinois before taking that job at Rutgers in 2010. He's still only 35 and a name to watch on the coaching carousel.

• Fleck's name surfaced immediately after Purdue fired Darrell Hazell. Fans want a creative hire, like when Joe Tiller brought "basketball on grass" from Wyoming. But Indiana already plays basketball on grass under Kevin Wilson. Purdue should go with a defensive stalwart, such as current Wyoming coach Craig Bohl or — dare we say it — Youngstown State's Bo Pelini.