On Campus: Conti set to make history as Big 12’s first female official

On Saturday, Catherine Conti will become the first female to officiate a Big 12 game. (AP Photo/NFL, Bob Leverone)

Bob Leverone/AP

Editor’s note: "On Campus" is a new daily file that is designed to take you around the country with our regional sites, providing current news, practice notes, features and more. It will be updated multiple times each day with new stories.

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI

Big 12 another stepping stone for female ref

In 2000, Catherine Conti worked as an unpaid line judge at prep and youth games. She taught English and drama at a local high school to pay the bills, but her heart — her passion — was in the football rulebook. She got the bug.

She studied. She networked. She honed her craft. When her principal told her one day that she was going to have to make a choice between football or instructing, Conti bagged the teaching gig and took a job as a personal trainer.

When Cat got the bug, she got it bad.

(Here’s the story of how Conti went from waiter to collegiate ref)

TOP 25 HEISMAN CANDIDATES

EAST LANSING, MICHIGAN

MSU knows tough SOS could pay off big

Like Tom Izzo, like Mark Dantonio.

Since Izzo was named head coach of the Michigan State basketball team in 1995, he’s consistently pushed for his teams to play the most difficult non-conference schedules possible.

Now, the football team is following suit.

The Spartans, who leap-frogged Ohio State and UCLA to No. 7 in the latest AP Top 25 Poll, will travel to Eugene to face No. 3 Oregon Saturday.

While most of the weekend’s spotlight will likely be focused on the top-10 matchup, especially with ESPN’s College GameDay in town, it’s nothing the defending Rose Bowl Champions aren’t used to.

The Top 10 underrated QBs for 2014

(Why trip to Eugene can’t come soon enough for Dantonio)

COLUMBIA, MISSOURI

Future sleepwalking could mean nightmares for Tigers

Excluding a 75-yard touchdown run off a bad snap on the defense’s first play, it seemed like Missouri’s D might be ahead of schedule when senior safety Duro Singleton’s first career interception highlighted an impressive beginning to Saturday’s season opener. Then South Dakota State’s backup quarterback caught fire and ended up with 239 second-half yards, leaving the Tigers searching for explanations.

"First half, they kind of put me to sleep," cornerback Aarion Penton said after the game. "First quarter, just the run game, they were pounding and pounding it. I didn’t really feel like they were going to put it in the air at all, but then they started. They came out second half and I guess they knew we were asleep."

(Click here to read more about Mizzou’s uncertain pass D)

WEEK 3 WINNERS & LOSERS

ACC POWER RANKINGS

‘Noles still No. 1, but not invincible

Well, Florida State was bound to prove its own mortality at some point this season, and why not start in Week 1? The Seminoles got out to a 17-0 start and everything seemed fine, but Oklahoma State closed it to within a touchdown by halftime and cut it to a field goal twice in the second half, getting it down to the final six-point margin with 1:55 to go.

Oklahoma State is well-coached and a perennially very good program, but the Cowboys are extremely young. Is this a reflection of Oklahoma State being better than expected, or Florida State not being as good as we all thought? Or could the Seminoles just have lost focus? All that remains to be seen.

(Find out how the rest of the league shakes out here)