Who's Hot & Not ... Week 8
Who's Hot ... Week Eight
Kudos to Western Kentucky for snapping its 26-game losing streak, but what does that say about the Ragin' Cajuns, which were roughed up, 54-21, at home. That's three straight losses for Louisiana, but none more embarrassing than this one to the lowly Hilltoppers.
Geez, talk about a squandered opportunity. Weren't the Mustangs going to take control of Conference USA's West Division after Houston lost Case Keenum to a season-ending injury? Uh-uh. At home and anticipating a changing-of-the-guard, SMU flopped to the Cougars, 45-20, for its second straight loss. June Jones' run-and-shoot has now gone three straight games without producing more than 21 points.
8. Northwestern Down the Stretch
The Wildcats are 5-2, but are painfully close to being unbeaten through seven games. In consecutive weeks, Northwestern has blown fourth quarter leads in Evanston, falling to Purdue a week ago and Michigan State on Saturday. The loss to the Spartans was especially excruciating, allowing three late touchdowns after taking a 10-point lead into the final frame.
A few days after suspending starting QB Cody Endres, the Huskies showed how much they missed him, getting shut out by Louisville, 26-0. Losers of two straight, Connecticut had just nine first downs and three turnovers, bad news for a program that's going to struggle in November to become bowl eligible.
6. Colorado Head Coach Dan Hawkins
It's getting harder and harder to imagine Hawkins returning to Boulder for the 2011 season. His Buffaloes have fallen below .500 with a third loss in-a-row, failing to protect a 10-point fourth quarter lead in a 27-24 loss to Texas Tech. The Hawk is going to have success again, but it's unlikely it'll happen in Colorado.
5. Tennessee's Halftime "Adjustments"
Few staffs have been out coached more routinely than the Volunteers in 2010. Tennessee has now been outscored after halftime in each of the last six games by an average of 22-6. Saturday was just another example of the futility of Derek Dooley & Co. After playing Alabama tough in the early going, the Vols laid down in the final 30 minutes, giving up four unanswered touchdowns and failing to score a point.
4. The Oklahoma State Pass Defense
No matter how potent RB Kendall Hunter and the rest of the offense is this year, it'll have a hard time overcoming that leaky Cowboy secondary. Oklahoma State has now yielded 18 touchdowns through the air after run-first Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez burned them five times. That's the same Martinez who'd thrown just three scoring strikes all year.
How in the heck did this team beat Texas ... in Austin no less? Doing its best Washington State impression, the Bruins have now lost to Cal and Oregon in consecutive weeks by a combined score of 95-20. Okay, so absolutely no one expected them to win in Eugene on a Thursday night, but 60-13 is a clear indication that the program is once again driving in reverse under Rick Neuheisel.
2. The No. 1 Team
Apparently, one really is the loneliest number. The nation's top-ranked team has lost in each of the last three weekends, setting the stage for a frenetic finish to a season that's already been flush with twists and turns. Alabama, Ohio State, and Oklahoma have each been humbled, putting Oregon and Auburn on the block in Week 9 and beyond. The biggest beneficiaries continue to be Boise State and TCU, which figuratively high-five each time a top team tumbles.
1. Texas at Home
Has John Mackovic replaced Mack Brown at Texas? The Longhorns have lost consecutive home games for the first time since 1997, getting embarrassed by Iowa State, 28-21, in a game that wasn't even as close at the score indicated. Yup, that's the same 3-4 Cyclone team that had given up 158 points in its prior three games and had never won in Austin. It's hard to imagine that just one week ago, Texas went into Lincoln and shocked unbeaten Nebraska, 20-13.
Who's Hot ... Week Eight