Who's Hot & Not ... Week
Who's Hot ... Pre-Bowls
10. The SMU offense
June Jones’ run-and-shoot has regressed unexpectedly this season, managing a season-low seven points in Saturday’s Conference USA championship game. The attack and QB Kyle Padron have lacked consistency all year, ranking 66th nationally in scoring, a far cry from expectations for this kind of a system.
So no one was expecting Mountain West contention in Bobby Hauck’s debut, but how about some progress as the season unfolded? The Rebels were dreadful right up until Saturday night’s 59-21 loss at Hawaii, finishing 110th nationally in scoring offense and 116th in scoring defense. Outside Las Vegas, the program never came closer than 23 points from winning a game on the road.
The Bearcats put a miserable bow on an unexpectedly miserable season, falling meekly at home to Pittsburgh, 28-10. Losers in back-to-back weekends and in five of the last six games, 4-8 Cincinnati becomes just the second program to go from a BCS bowl game one year to no bowl game in the next season.
7. Quarterbacks at Raymond James Stadium
While the Connecticut-South Florida game was exciting right down to the end, the opposing quarterbacks had little to do with it. Husky Zach Frazer and Bull Bobby Eveld were ineffective, to put it mildly, combining to go 35-of-70 for just 307 yards, one touchdown, and four interceptions.
An otherwise decent season appears as if it’s going to end with sour results. Once 5-3, the Illini has lost three of its final four games, really struggling on the defensive side of the ball. On Friday night, it was unable to slow down or sack Fresno State QB Ryan Colburn, who finished 18-of-26 for 304 yards, three touchdowns and no picks.
At 3-2, the Bruins were a fringe Top 25 program, riding high after stunning Texas and beating Washington State. At 4-8, the program slumps into the offseason with a three-game losing streak, raising serious questions about Rick Neuheisel’s ability to get his alma mater over the hump and into Pac-10 contention.
Didn’t you guys used to be a factor in the Pac-10 race? The Wildcats are backing into the postseason with a four-game losing streak, falling at home to rival Arizona State on Thursday night. Arizona had the go-ahead extra point blocked with 27 seconds left in regulation, and then lost in double- overtime, 30-29, when another Alex Zendejas extra point was batted away.
3. Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez
Where was the dynamic athlete who looked like a Heisman contender early on, burning Kansas State for 241 rushing yards and Oklahoma State for five touchdown passes? He hasn’t been the same since injuring ankle in October, accounting for just a single touchdown over the last six games.
2. The Florida State Ground Game
The staple of the Seminole offense in the first half of the season, the running game has sputtered since blowing up Miami on Oct. 9. Three weeks ago, it managed only 97 yards on 30 carries. Last week, Florida held the ‘Noles to less than three yards a carry. And on Saturday night, Florida State was only able to rush for 53 yards on 28 carries in the loss to Virginia Tech in the ACC title game.
The mass of fans hoping for anarchy in the BCS rankings had to be talked off the ledge. With comfortable wins from Auburn and Oregon, there’s absolutely no debate which two programs belong in Glendale on Jan. 10 for the National Championship game. The system was neat and tidy, and worked well, which is driving millions of detractors across the country nuts.
Who's Hot ... Pre-Bowls