College Sports

5 things to watch

1 Big week in SEC

Mississippi State’s reward for blasting Texas A&M: another tough home game, this one against No. 2 Auburn. And Mississippi, fresh off an upset of No. 3 Alabama, gets to visit Texas A&M this week. Another battle of ranked teams pits Georgia against Missouri. It’s that time of year again in the SEC, when a bunch of ranked teams beat up on each other and the depth of the conference is heralded on each of ESPN’s 34 subsidiaries.

2 Pac-12 outside looking in?

Oregon, UCLA and Arizona State all have a loss. Stanford and USC have two losses. The only unbeaten team left is Arizona, which doesn’t seem likely to remain that way for long. And Cal leads the Pac-12 North after finishing 1-11 in 2013. It’s been a crazy year, but is that a good thing? All the early upsets might cost the conference a spot in the first College Football Playoff. If you’re a fan of the Pac-12, root for one of the aforementioned teams to run the table (though even that might not be enough depending who it is). Because if none do, the conference is likely going to be left out in the cold come selection time.

3 Halliday on record pace

The NCAA single-season passing record was set in 2003 by B.J. Symons, who threw for 5,883 yards in 13 games under coach Mike Leach at Texas Tech. Leach has another QB on pace for similar (or better) numbers. Connor Halliday has thrown for 3,052 yards through WSU’s first six games (four of them losses, of course), which puts him on pace for 6,104. He’ll see better defenses in the second half of the season than he did in the first, though. That starts with Stanford this week. If Halliday throws for 400-plus yards on the Cardinal, we’ll know WSU’s offense is the Real Deal Holyfield.

4 MacIntyre punished

You knew as soon as you saw Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre chasing after the officials following his team’s loss to Oregon State that the Pac-12 was going to slap him with a fine. Sure enough, the conference announced Tuesday morning that MacIntyre had been reprimanded and fined $10,000. But come on — who hasn’t wanted to chase after and scream at a Pac-12 officiating crew? Given how awful those guys have been for the better part of the past decade, each coach should get a couple get-out-of-jail-free cards.

5 Clap on, buzz off

After scoring 19 points in the fourth quarter but falling short in a 27-22 loss to Michigan State on Saturday, Nebraska coach Bo Pelini expressed frustration that Michigan State’s defensive players seemed to be throwing off the quarterback-center cadence with a series of claps prior to the snap. MSU coach Mike Dantonio says the Spartans should be able to use whatever signals they want. Pelini apparently disagrees, which is understandable — clapping is typically festive, and Pelini is typically not.