Mariota Leads The Nation’s QBs

Last week USA Today came out with its college midseason ratings, and it lists Oregon and former Saint Louis quarterback Marcus Mariota as the current favorite in the Heisman trophy race. He also is the choice as the first team All-American quarterback, no small feat in a group that includes Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater and Braxton Miller.

I was interested in what University of Washington coach Steve Sarkisan said after the Huskies lost to the Ducks. “I don’t know if Mariota is coming out, but if he does he’s a top five pick in the NFL draft,” said Sarkisian. No small praise from a former BYU signal caller who has worked with quarterbacks his entire coaching career.

* It seems entirely possible that we could see a national championship game without an SEC team, which is remarkable since that conference has produced the last seven champions. It would require an Alabama loss either to LSU in Tuscaloosa Nov. 9 or in the SEC title game.

While this may not be likely, certainly there are a number of teams with a chance. Not much doubt that an undefeated Oregon team gets in, and the winner of last Saturday’s Clemson-Florida State team has a shot if it runs the table. Ohio State might need a little help from one of the teams above them losing an unexpected game, but the Buckeyes have a real chance to run the table. You can be a one-loss team if you’re in the SEC, but it will be tough for somebody from another conference to get in with a defeat.

While some complain about that, the SEC track record does have some resonance.

* Despite the last-second loss at UNLV, the Rainbow Warriors have made strides in their ability to compete. Sounds strange to say about an 0-6 team, but they’re close to turning the corner. Colorado State represents an excellent opportunity for a first victory Saturday