Who's Hot & Not ... Week
Who's Hot? ...
Who's Hot ... From the Bowl Season
Who's Hot ... The Preseason
- Who's Hot ... Week One
| Week Two
| Week Three
| Week Five
| Week Six
Not ... Pre-Bowls
Follow me on Twitter @RichCirminiello
10. Miami University
A year after going 1-11 in his debut, head coach Mike Haywood has done a remarkable job with the RedHawks, guiding the program to nine wins and an unlikely MAC championship. The team has won five straight games, spearheaded by LB Jerrell Wedge and the D, which kept Northern Illinois well below its season average on Friday night. The Huskies were held to 21 points after scoring 195 in the previous three weeks.
9. Arizona State QB Brock Osweiler
The sophomore has had a nice two-game audition since starter Steven Threet went down to injury. Despite being under constant pressure, he threw five touchdown passes without a pick over that time, leading the Sun Devils back to the .500 mark with wins over UCLA and rival Arizona.
8. Connecticut PK Dave Teggart
An instant cult-hero in Storrs, Teggart connected on all four of his field goal attempts at South Florida, including a 50-yarder and 52-yarder in the final quarter. The one from 52 yards out with 17 seconds left gave the Huskies a Big East championship and the spot in a BCS bowl game that comes with it.
7. West Virginia QB Geno Smith
Smith ended the regular season the way he started it, looking like the Mountaineers’ best pure pocket passer since Marc Bulger was in Morgantown. He threw for a career-best 352 yards in an easy win over Rutgers, capping a crisp five-game stretch that saw him throw eight touchdown passes and just a single interception. In his first season as a starter, he’ll enter the postseason as the Big East’s top-rated passer.
It wasn’t always pretty for the Huskies, but winning the final three games ensures a bowl berth for the first time in almost a decade, a huge accomplishment for Steve Sarkisian. At 3-6, the Huskies were headed to becoming one of the nation’s biggest disappointments, but successive victories over UCLA, Cal, and Washington State in the Apple Cup casts 2010 in a whole different light for the program, the holdovers, and the second-year coaching staff.
5. Pitt RB Dion Lewis
In homage to his rookie season in Western Pennsylvania, Lewis rushed for a career-high 261 yards and four touchdowns on 42 carries in the rout of Cincinnati. It was his second 100-yard game in the last three weeks, lending hope that his early season struggles can be completely eradicated in time for the start of the 2011 season.
Since losing on Nov. 6 to Texas A&M, the Sooners have rallied to four straight wins, capped by Saturday night’s Big 12 Championship victory over Nebraska. On an evening when the offense was unusually ineffective, LB Travis Lewis and the defense stepped up with seven sacks and 14 tackles behind the line.
3. The Oregon D
One of the most underrated and overlooked units in America, the Ducks kept the heat on Oregon State QB Ryan Katz all afternoon, batted away at least 10 of his passes, and picked off four overall. Oregon now ranks among the nation’s leaders in pass efficiency defense, tackles for loss, scoring D, providing ample support throughout the year to that potent Duck offense.
2. Virginia Tech
As bad as the Week 2 loss to James Madison was, it’s now barely visible in the rear view mirror. The Hokies have authored one of the great in-season turnarounds in recent history, winning 11 straight and the ACC crown since starting 0-2. The offense put a whipping on Florida State in Charlotte, getting three touchdown passes and a touchdown run from QB Tyrod Taylor.
1. Auburn QB Cam Newton
It would be impossible for Newton to be any hotter than he is right now. A few days after being declared eligible by the NCAA, he goes out and accounts for six touchdowns in a near performance in the SEC Championship game. Whatever doubters remain will have little impact on the Heisman voting, which, like Saturday’s game in Atlanta, is destined to become a blowout.
Not ... Pre-Bowls