2011 Who's Hot & Not
Who's Hot ... Week 6
Who’s Not ...
10. Middle Tennessee
The Blue Raiders’ rough start was the result of a thorny non-conference schedule, right? Uh-uh. Middle Tennessee sunk a little further into Sun Belt irrelevancy with Thursday night’s home loss to previously-winless Western Kentucky in double-overtime, 36-33. It continues to put up points behind the passing of Logan Kilgore, but poor play from the defense and special teams has the program quickly running aground with a 1-4 mark.
9. Fresno State (versus Boise State)
The gap between these former WAC rivals has never been wider, as Friday night’s 57-7 demolition in the Valley indicated. The Broncos have won six straight in this series, scoring at least 51 points in the last four games. Last week, the Bulldogs were held to just nine first downs, never competing beyond the first few minutes. Considering who’s guarding the gates to a league title, Fresno State might want to rethink joining Boise State in the Mountain West next season.
Could the situation get any worse at Minnesota these days? Now 1-5, with losses to New Mexico State and North Dakota State, the Golden Gophers have been utterly swamped in consecutive weeks by Michigan and Purdue. Sure, little was expected from Minny in head coach Jerry Kill’s first year, but by losing to a dreadful Boilermakers squad by four touchdowns, it might only be spared the Big Ten basement by equally inept Indiana.
7. Connecticut Head Coach Paul Pasqualoni
The beginning of Pasqualoni’s tenure in Storrs is starting to look an awful lot like the end of his stay at Syracuse. The coach, who inherited the Big East champions from Randy Edsall, is now 1-4 against FBS teams in 2011, with the long win coming over Buffalo. A week after getting embarrassed by Western Michigan at home, the 2-4 Huskies ran out of steam in Morgantown in a 43-16 loss to West Virginia.
After close calls against South Carolina and Air Force, the Midshipmen suffered a total collapse versus Southern Miss, 63-25, for their third consecutive loss. Navy was battered for 584 yards and eight offensive touchdowns by a Golden Eagles offense that was without two of its best rushers. Testament to just how bad the Mids’ defense has regressed, USM RB Jeremy Hester ran for 118 yards and a score on 19 carries in the first significant action of his college career.
5. East Carolina QB Dominique Davis
This decline was hard to see coming, especially after Davis threw for 37 touchdown passes and almost 4,000 yards in his Pirates debut in 2010. He’s done an about-face this fall, throwing more interceptions than touchdown passes. In Saturday’s 56-3 loss to Houston, the all-star got benched midway through the rout after throwing three interceptions, and helping fuel the rout.
Has Mike Sherman suddenly left College Station for Evanston? The Wildcats have displayed an obvious lack of a killer instinct during their three-game losing streak, blowing leads in each of the last two weekends. Two weeks ago, Northwestern failed to hold on to a 28-10 lead against rival Illinois. And this past Saturday night, Michigan battled back from a 24-14 halftime hole to score the final four touchdowns of the game.
3. Florida’s Run Defense
Sure, the Gators were hamstrung the last two weekends, but QB John Brantley’s injury should have no bearing on the defense’s ability to stop the run. In back-to-back blowout losses to Alabama and LSU, Florida looked like a shell of the team that was beginning to raise expectations in September. In the two games combined, it allowed 464 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground, providing a blueprint for success for its second-half opponents.
2. Florida State
Go ahead and feel free to label the Seminoles as the country’s biggest disappointment of the first half of 2011. Okay, so there was no shame in falling to Oklahoma and Clemson in consecutive games, but Saturday’s loss at Wake Forest has all but eliminated Florida State from contention in the Atlantic Division of the ACC … on Oct. 8. That’s quite a turn-of-events for a program that was considered a heavy favorite to win the conference, and a fringe contender to play for a spot in the BCS National Championship Game.
1. Ohio State
Yeah, Nebraska deserves plenty of credit for rallying in the second half for its biggest comeback in school history, but Saturday’s game in Lincoln was as much about the Buckeyes’ choke as anything else. Ohio State had no business blowing a 27-6 lead in a game it was winning handily in the third quarter. The shipwrecked program has now dropped three of its last four games, counting only Akron, Toledo and Colorado as its 2011 victims.
Who's Hot ... Week 6