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Be in the know about the coming college football season

Here are 10 things about the new season that might come as a surprise or simply a reminder.

August 01, 2011|Chris Dufresne
  • Tulsa linebacker Tanner Antle celebrates in the end zone after an interception return for a touchdown against Hawaii. Small celebrations in the end zone are legal in college football, but any celebrating or taunting before reaching the end zone is heavily penalized.
Tulsa linebacker Tanner Antle celebrates in the end zone after an interception… (Marco Garcia / Associated…)

Ten things you may, or may not, know in advance of the 2011 season:

1. A "Whoa Nellie" rule change takes effect this year that could take away a game-winning touchdown by your favorite player. Excessive celebrations by players before they reach the end zone will be ruled "unsportsmanlike conduct" and marked from the spot of infraction, negating the points.

"Well," Arizona State Coach Dennis Erickson said, "If they want to stop the excessive celebration, this is the rule that will do it. I guarantee you that."

2. Boise State can no longer wear all-blue uniforms for conference home games. It's the initiation fee Boise State paid for leaving the Western Athletic Conference for the Mountain West Conference. Coaches complained the blue uniforms on Boise State's blue field made it difficult to watch film. Last year, to prove it was the football more than the uniforms, Boise State donned an orange combination for Fresno State and won, 51-0.

3. Arkansas last year became the first Southeastern Conference team to lose to Ohio State in a bowl game. Because of self-imposed sanctions, the Buckeyes later vacated their Sugar Bowl victory over the Razorbacks. Arkansas Coach Bobby Petrino, however, believes you can't erase history. "We had every chance to win that game," he said of the 31-26 loss. "We got beat on the field."

4. Colorado has lost 18 consecutive games outside the state. The Buffaloes' last border-cross victory was a 31-26 win over Texas Tech on Oct. 27, 2007. Colorado will be favored to lose its 19th consecutive in the season opener at Hawaii.

5. Don't bother gathering around your mobile device to watch college ball Jan.1 because there are no games. The bowls have moved off their traditional hub date because the NFL has a full slate of Sunday games. The Rose Bowl, historically, has always played Jan. 2 when Jan. 1 falls on a Sunday.

6. Arizona State's projected starting linebacker unit — Vontaze Burfict, Brandon Magee and Shelly Lyons — all attended Southern California's Corona Centennial High.

7. Take that, Texas Christian. The Horned Frogs were supposed to play host to Mountain West newcomer Boise State on Nov. 12, but the game was switched to Boise after Texas Christian announced it was leaving next year for the Big East Conference. Why do the Texas Christian turncoats any favors?

8. What's the problem? Utah, which joins the Pacific 12 Conference this year, owns a 7-3 record against the Pac-10 since 2003. Those games, though, were spread out over years. Let's see how the Utes handle the week-to-week grind of playing in a major Bowl Championship Series conference.

9. Buy better binoculars. The view from "Tightwad Hill" in Berkeley will be worse than ever for California fans this season because the Golden Bears have moved home games to San Francisco's AT&T Park while Memorial Stadium undergoes major renovations.

10. Penn State Coach Joe Paterno, who turns 85 in December, recently said he'd like to coach another four years. What's the rush? On Sept. 16, 1960, Amos Alonzo Stagg announced he was retiring as coach at Stockton Junior College. Stagg was 98.

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