2011 Who's Hot & Not
Who's Hot ... Week 10
Who’s Not ...
10. Washington State
There was a time in September when the Cougars looked as if they were finally turning the corner for embattled fourth-year head coach Paul Wulff. In the Palouse, September feels like it was a lot longer than just two months ago. Since moving to 3-1 with a road win over Colorado on Oct. 1, Wazzu has not won a game, dropping five straight Pac-12 battles. The bottom fell out in San Francisco on Saturday evening with an uninspired 30-7 loss to Cal that produced a season low for points and total yards.
9. Vanderbilt (in close games)
If the Commodores were going to defeat the Gators for the first time in over two decades, Saturday seemed like an ideal time to deliver the upset. Not only has Vanderbilt already proven it can hang with ranked conference opponents, but Florida began the day on a four-game losing skid. Alas, haunting trends are often very difficult to extinguish. Not only did the ‘Dores fall to the Gators for the 21st straight time, but they also dropped a third straight SEC heartbreaker by no more than five points.
8. The South Carolina Offense
Yeah, the unit has taken a couple of tough hits from lost personnel, namely the season-ending injury to star RB Marcus Lattimore, but it sure has been slow to recover from the obstacles. Since taking advantage of a bad Kentucky team, Connor Shaw has proven to be a weak facsimile of deposed former starter Stephen Garcia, and the attack as a whole has sputtered in the red zone. The Gamecocks are now 98th nationally through the air, unable to maximize the skills of mega-talent WR Alshon Jeffery.
7. North Carolina (versus rival NC State)
The Tar Heels’ futility against the Wolfpack reached a new level in Week 10. It mattered little that Carolina had just played one of its best games of the year a week earlier, hammering Wake Forest, 49-24. Nope. It still lost for the fifth consecutive time to NC State, managing just 165 total yards and three on the ground. The Heels threw three picks, allowed four sacks and generally performed as if this was a spring game in inclement weather.
6. Kansas State (versus QBs from Oklahoma)
If the Wildcats defensive backfield never faces another hurler from the state of Oklahoma, it won’t be soon enough. In Kansas State’s only two losses of 2011, both in the last two weekends, the pass defense allowed 505 yards and five touchdowns to OU’s Landry Jones, and 502 yards and four scores to OSU’s Brandon Weeden. Once Weeden got rolling in Stillwater this past Saturday, KSU was helpless matched up with receivers Justin Blackmon and Tracy Moore.
5. Michigan (outside Ann Arbor)
The Wolverines have played just three road games all season, but the last two could define their potential in 2011. Three weeks ago, they were bullied in East Lansing by rival Michigan State. And this past Saturday in Iowa City, the Hawkeyes got them, 24-16. While the D has been just fine throughout the better part of the year, the offense has been woefully inconsistent outside the Big House, hampering Michigan’s chances of winning the Legends Division.
4. The Big Ten
It was a rough weekend for the Big Ten, which is either very deep or very light on a true figurehead program. At least on this past Saturday, it seemed as if the latter was more accurate. Not only does the conference no longer have a top 10 member after Nebraska gagged at home to Northwestern and Michigan fell to Iowa, but Ohio State struggled to shake Indiana, and Michigan State had all kinds of problems with Minnesota. Among BCS conferences, only the Big East is further away from having a team in the National Championship hunt.
3. Texas A&M (after halftime)
Yeah, this topic has been beaten to death over the past couple of months, but for good reason. The Aggies have been sinfully bad after the break, showing an inability to make the necessary in-game adjustments against quality opponents. The numbers are telling in Texas A&M’s four losses; it has won the first 30 minutes of those games by an aggregate score of 93-50, but has lost after the break, 101-30. Those kinds of numbers are an indictment of the players, but also the coaching staff for not having the kids ready.
2. ‘Bama’s Placekicker-by-Committee
When playing in an epic defensive struggle with LSU, it’s incumbent upon the special teamers, such as the kickers, to deliver points at the end of drives. The Tigers’ did, but the Tide’s didn’t in Saturday night’s battle of the three-pointers. Alabama connected on just 2-of-6 field goal tries, as Jeremy Shelley had a 49-yarder blocked in the second quarter, and Cade Foster was off target three times. It was fitting that the game ended on the legs of the kickers, Foster falling short on a 52-yarder in OT, moments before LSU’s Drew Alleman pushed through the game-winner.
1. Texas Tech
Okay, so few expected the Red Raiders to duplicate their Oct. 22 form, in which they ended Oklahoma’s 39-game home winning streak, but these last two efforts versus Iowa State and Texas have been downright noxious. How do you beat the powerhouse Sooners in Norman on one Saturday, and then get trucked at home by the Cyclones? Now in serious danger of not even becoming bowl-eligible, Texas Tech has been trounced by a combined score of 93-27 over the last two weeks, while yielding more than 800 yards on the ground.
Who's Hot ... Week 10