Who's Hot & Not ... Week 8
Who's Hot? ...
Who's Hot ... From the Bowl Season
Who's Hot ... The Preseason
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Not ... Week Eight
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Winners of four straight, the Bobcats have fully recovered from a three-game losing streak earlier in September. The offense has been the unexpected catalyst for Frank Solich, making the most of the turnovers provided by the D and averaging 38 points during the winning streak.
The Midshipmen may not win the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy for the first time in almost a decade, but that hasn’t stunted their enthusiasm. Since losing a heartbreaker to Air Force at the beginning of the month, Navy has won three straight, capped by Saturday’s most lopsided win over Notre Dame since 1963.
8. The Syracuse D
The Orange already has more wins than in any of the last five seasons, and is off to its best start since 2001. The defense has led the way, keeping West Virginia off the scoreboard over the last three quarters. In recent wins over South Florida and the Mountaineers, Syracuse has picked off B.J. Daniels and Geno Smith five times, while giving up just one touchdown pass.
7. Pitt QB Tino Sunseri
It took almost half a season, but Sunseri might be worth the wait. The biggest missing piece in the Panthers’ quest for a Big East title, he’s regrouped to go 38-of-51 for 588 yards, seven touchdowns and one interception in wins over Syracuse and Rutgers. After West Virginia’s loss to the Orange on Saturday, Pitt is the last unbeaten team in conference play.
The Bears are bowl eligible for the first time since 1994, courtesy of back-to-back wins over Colorado and Kansas State. A healthy Robert Griffin has been the undisputed difference-maker in Waco, accounting for 24 touchdowns and absolutely shredding Kansas State in Saturday’s pivotal 47-42 victory to put the program over the top.
5. Auburn DT Nick Fairley
Overshadowed by teammates in his debut out of junior college , he’s been over-the-top good this season. To the defense what Cam Newton has meant to the offense, he abused the LSU front for six tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks. He leads the SEC in stops behind the line, an unlikely occurrence for an interior lineman.
Call it the A.J. Green factor. Since the star receiver came off suspension, the Bulldogs have been a different team, winning the last three games by scoring at least 41 points in each one. Even when Green isn’t catching passes, he draws so much attention that it opens things up for the backs, like Washaun Ealey, who ran for more than 150 yards and five scores in Saturday’s 44-31 win over Kentucky.
The Wildcats have made a nice recovery form their lone loss by beating up on the Pac-10’s two Washington schools. They were particularly impressive late Saturday night, blasting the Huskies, 44-14, without starting QB Nick Foles. There’s not going to be any controversy when Foles’ knee heals, but Matt Scott was fantastic, leading an attack that had 233 yards on the ground and 234 through the air.
The Badgers sort of went off the radar after losing at Michigan State three weeks ago. Well, they’re back in a big way after upsetting top-ranked Ohio State and Iowa at Kinnick Stadium in consecutive weeks. Wisconsin could be favored in each of the final four games, which could result in no worse than an at-large BCS bowl invitation if it survives each of the landmines.
Show Me, indeed. With a skeptical nation watching, Mizzou silenced plenty of critics with its 36-27 win over top-ranked Oklahoma. It was a total team effort that produced three huge turnovers and results from the offense, defense, and special teams. With another big effort this week at Nebraska, the Tigers can basically put a blockade around the Big 12 North and remain in the hunt for an improbable national championship run.
Not ... Week Eight