Conference Call: Dialing in on college football

Big 12

RISING: Last season, Iowa State won its first two and lost its next 10, so a 3-1 start to this season feels good. Running back Alexander Robinson has surpassed 100 yards in three straight games, and the Cyclones head to Kansas City for "Farmaggedon" against Kansas State.

FALLING: Kick the field goal, Mike Leach. Instead, quarterback Taylor Potts got stuffed on fourth and goal at the 1 with 11 minutes remaining and Texas Tech clinging to a five-point lead at Houston. The Cougars won 29-28.

Big Ten

RISING: Iowa owns Penn State. Seven of the past eight in the series have gone to the Hawkeyes, who now must be considered among the class of the Big Ten.

FALLING: Finding five more victories for bowl eligibility for Michigan State, losers of three straight, won't be easy. The defense is struggling, and four turnovers against Wisconsin didn't help.


RISING: It's a scoring frenzy at Auburn under new coordinator Gus Malzahn. The 54 points on Ball State pushed the season total to 181, the most ever for the Tigers in their first four games.

FALLING: Ole Miss quarterback Jevan Snead entered the season with Heisman hopes, but he's struggling, completing fewer than 50 percent and not playing with the same confidence as last season.

Atlantic Coast

RISING: What Georgia Tech liked most in its 24-7 thumping of North Carolina was holding the Heels to a mere 154 total yards, including 17 on the ground. This was a dominant triumph.

FALLING: Somebody explain Florida State. Hat's off to South Florida playing with a new quarterback, but where was the Seminoles' drive and focus that led to last week's blasting of Brigham Young? And on a day when the school honored the 1999 national championship team, no less.


RISING: See, Southern California? That's what you're supposed to do to Washington. Stanford kept Huskies quarterback Jake Locker in check, and running back Toby Gerhart went for a cool 200 in the 20-point victory.

FALLING: Well done, California. National championship and Heisman Trophy hopes dashed in one afternoon. The 42-3 flameout at Oregon doesn't end the Rose Bowl chase for Cal, and Jahvid Best can make a late charge, but in a style-point sport, the Bears just got the lowest marks.

Big East

RISING: A shout out to the entire conference. The Big East was ridiculed in the preseason and didn't have a team in the top 25, but Cincinnati is an outside national title contender, and South Florida picked up a statement victory at Florida State.

FALLING: Pittsburgh could have made it a near-perfect day in the conference but couldn't hold on at North Carolina State.


RISING: Texas Christian went to 2-0 against the ACC with a victory at Clemson. A wet track played into the Horned Frogs' hands, slowing the Tigers' speedy backs.

FALLING: A year after a 10-3 season, Rice is an ugly 0-4 with Saturday's 36-17 loss to Vanderbilt.