www.baltimoresun.com/sports/college/football/sc-spt-0912-cfb10things-20110911,0,7715835.story

baltimoresun.com

They're more than OK

Cowboys could join Sooners as national title contenders

11:42 PM EDT, September 11, 2011

Advertisement

Oklahoma State is the real deal. The Cowboys dismantled Arizona 37-14 on Thursday night, and with an offense that can score through the air and on the ground, they could be a national title contender.

Georgia has the talent to be successful. Despite being 0-2, the Bulldogs have the players to get back in the mix in the SEC. Sophomore Aaron Murray is one of the best quarterbacks in the country, and running back Isaiah Crowell could be freshman of the year. It's too bad Mark Richt might not be around to enjoy them after this season.

Las Vegas can't be happy with the Pac-12. Over the summer, the NCAA enacted a new taunting rule that negates a touchdown if a team commits an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty while scoring. We got our first view of the rule Saturday when USC blocked a potential tying field goal by Utah in the final seconds and returned it for a touchdown. Officials waved off the score, citing the new rule, after USC players left the bench to celebrate on the field during the play. The final score was 17-14. Two hours later, however, Pac-12 officials reversed the call and reinstated the score to 23-14, causing more confusion — especially in Las Vegas, where the reversal meant USC covered the 81/2-point spread.

The Big 12 should go after BYU to replace Texas A&M. The Cougars used an impressive outing at Texas as an audition for the conference if it sticks together and needs someone to fill in for the Aggies.

East Carolina is a first-half team. The Pirates jumped ahead against No. 12 South Carolina and No. 11 Virginia Tech in the first two weeks, only to watch both upset bids go up in smoke in the second half.

Gene Chizik must have a lucky rabbit's foot. How else can you explain the Auburn coach watching his team survive against Utah State and Mississippi State in back-to-back weeks?

Chris Relf probably wishes he were 3 inches taller. If so, Mississippi State ties the game against Auburn. Instead, he was stopped at the goal line, allowing the Tigers to survive another wild weekend.

The Big Ten has three Heisman-caliber quarterbacks. In Nebraska's Taylor Martinez, Wisconsin's Russell Wilson and Michigan's Denard Robinson, the Big Ten might have the most QB talent of any conference.

Denard Robinson owns Notre Dame. For the second straight season, Robinson led Michigan to a last-minute victory over the Irish. He accounted for a combined 948 total yards and eight touchdowns in the two wins.

No one has fallen farther than Notre Dame. The Irish were a preseason Top 25 team, but nine turnovers and a porous defense have put Notre Dame in an 0-2 hole for the first time since 2007.

mmurschel@tribune.com