His name is right there among the nation's highly rated quarterbacks, above bigger names such as Michigan's Elvis Grbac, UCLA's Tommy Maddox and Pittsburgh's Alex Van Pelt, and not far below Florida's Shane Matthews or Miami's Craig Erickson.

No, not even Marvin Graves, the former Carroll quarterback now starting at Syracuse, can believe it. "I never thought it would be like this," Graves said.

But it is. As a redshirt freshman, Graves has handled the starting role masterfully, completing 72 of 126 passes for 1,035 yards and six touchdowns. His 134.3 efficiency rating -- which places him 20th in the nation -- is more impressive when it is noted that the Orangemen have played Southern California, Michigan State and Penn State.

Although there was immense pressure becoming the starter right away, Graves did not mind. "I'm glad I got thrown right into it, because I used to watch all these guys on TV," he said.

Graves -- who selected Syracuse over Boston College, Villanova, Rutgers and West Virginia -- said playing has helped him improve much faster than watching from the sidelines could have.

In last week's loss to Penn State, Graves said the Nittany Lions "were messing with me {with different defensive formations}. I've got to come up to the line and recognize what they're doing to me much faster."No Funds for Payback?

Southern Methodist will host Houston this week in a game that has elicited strong emotions from some Mustangs, who haven't forgotten last season's humiliating 95-21 loss to the Cougars. In that game, Houston piled up 1,021 yards total offense en route to tying or setting 18 Southwest Conference and NCAA records.

"No, I didn't like it," SMU Coach Forrest Gregg said. "No, I'll never forget it. Everybody talks about payback time. It's great to say it if you have some people. We're still young and inexperienced and we don't have much depth."

Said SMU's Cary Brabham: "They beat up on us pretty bad. We're still angry about it. We heard a lot about it home at Christmas, in the spring, over the summer. There's no way we could go through that again. If you can't get up for this game, you can't get up to play." . . .

Two weeks after Colorado's fifth-down victory over Missouri, Buffaloes Coach Bill McCartney is still feeling the heat for refusing to award the game to the Tigers.

"I have stacks of letters I haven't gotten to yet," he said. "They're from college professors, presidents of companies and sweet old moms. They say, in the name of sports and everything that is right, we should give back the win. I read about five at a time and go take a shower and rest for a while. Some go right into the trash, but some are palatable because they don't have as many profanities."

The Buffaloes, despite winning their fourth straight game Saturday, dropped from 11th to 14th in the UPI poll. "It's the aftermath of the Missouri game," McCartney said. "We're definitely being punished for our role in that game."

All Wins; No Wins

There are 14 unbeaten teams in Division I, with seven still looking for that elusive first win. Eight of the nine unbeaten teams in Division I-A -- Virginia, Georgia Tech, Nebraska, Indiana, Auburn, Tennessee, Houston and Wyoming -- are ranked. The other is Toledo (6-0), whose wins have come over Miami (Ohio), Northern Illinois, Ball State, Ohio University, Eastern Michigan and Bowling Green. The Division I-AA unbeatens: Nevada-Reno, Eastern Kentucky, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Youngstown State.

On the other end of the spectrum, Oregon State's victory over Arizona last week left Kent State as the only winless team in Division I-A. In Division I-AA, two Baltimore schools -- Morgan State and Towson State -- are among the six fruitless teams. The others are New Mexico State, Columbia, Brown and Austin Peay. . . .

Two schools with direct pipelines to Washington area high schools -- Frostburg State and Ferrum -- are ranked first and third, respectively, in Division III's Southern Region.