College Football: The National Notebook

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 19, 2008

Associated Press
The national college football notebook …
The first BCS standings came out Sunday and here’s the most important thing you need to know. If Texas and Alabama win out, it’ll be Longhorns vs. Crimson Tide in the BCS national championship game on Jan. 8 in Miami.
Texas is first in the standings and Alabama is second, and third-place Penn State is too far behind to catch either if all three keep winning. Texas’ schedule is the toughest of the three. After crushing Missouri 56-31 to take a huge lead in the polls, there’s no way the Longhorns will slip significantly in the rankings while winning.
Alabama’s schedule is next best. Even ugly wins ó such as the 24-20 hold-on-for-dear-life effort against Mississippi ó should keep the Tide rolling.
Penn State’s best chance for a big BCS bump comes this week when it plays at Ohio State, but the Nittany Lions’ other remaining opponents are all unranked.
Four times in his career, Paterno has coached a team to an unbeaten season and not won a national title, the last in 1994. He’s set up to make it five.
HEISMAN-WORTHY
Just like Texas in the BCS, Colt McCoy has a comfortable lead in the Heisman Trophy race. The Longhorns’ quarterback completed a ridiculous 29 of 32 passes for 337 yards, and accounted for four touchdowns against Mizzou. The race is far from over, but everybody is chasing McCoy at this point.
THE BIG STORY
Maybe Joe Paterno should just stay in the press box. Seriously.
That’s not meant as a knock on major college football’s winningest coach. It’s a plan that could allow the 81-year-old Hall of Famer to remain Penn State’s patriarch and head football coach for a few more years, even if his body isn’t quite up to the task.
Penn State has played its last three games with Paterno working from the press box and his assistants, led by defensive coordinator Tom Bradley, handling the sideline.
Continuity is key to making this work.
Bradley has been on staff for 30 years. For offensive line coach Dick Anderson, it’s 31. Defensive line coach Larry Johnson is in year No. 13 at Penn State. Jay Paterno, Joe’s son, has been working for his dad for 14 seasons.
QUICK HITS
– Few outside of Arkansas are rooting for this, but don’t be surprised if Bobby Petrino gets his Razorbacks (3-4) to .500 at the finish and into a minor bowl.
– Here’s how to get noticed: No. 22 Tulsa (7-0) moved into the rankings for the first time since 1991 by beating UTEP 77-35 and rolling up 791 yards. The game was tied at 28 after the first quarter.
– Chuck Long may have committed career suicide by taking the San Diego State job. The Aztecs fell to 1-6 with a 70-7 loss at New Mexico. Long was a hot commodity when he was offensive coordinator at Oklahoma, but since taking over the Aztecs he is 8-23.
LOOKAHEADNo. 3 Penn State plays at No. 10 Ohio State in a game that will likely decide the Big Ten title. The Nittany Lions haven’t beaten the Buckeyes in Columbus since 1978, going 0-7 since.
No. 1 Texas faces another big test at home, this time No. 7 Oklahoma State.
No. 9 Georgia goes to No. 11 LSU. Both have one loss and can’t afford another.

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