2011 Who's Hot & Not
2010 Hot & Nots
Who's Hot & Not Week 1
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Who's Not ... Week 10
Who’s Hot ...
10. Northern Illinois
With a rousing, 63-60 upset of Toledo at the Glass Bowl last Tuesday night, the Huskies became bowl-eligible with a fourth win in-a-row. Of greater significance, the program seized control of the West Division of the Mid-American Conference behind six Chandler Harnish touchdown passes, with the game-winner to WR Ashford Perez coming with only 19 ticks remaining on the clock.
9. Tulsa (in league play)
After defeating UCF in Orlando on Thursday night, the Golden Hurricane has now won five consecutive games in 2011, and 10 straight Conference USA matchups dating back to last October. Although Tulsa isn’t getting nearly as much recognition as Houston or even Southern Miss among league members, it is going stride-for-stride with the Cougars in the West Division, and has only lost to nationally-ranked Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Boise State.
Cardinals head coach Charlie Strong is like the two-star recruit who’s now making NFL scouts drool—he’s been so good, it makes you wonder how so many programs could have passed on him. Don’t look now, but Louisville, winners of three straight games, has seized control of second place in the Big East. The program delivered a stunner in Morgantown on Saturday, beating ranked West Virginia, 38-35, at Mountaineer Field for the first time since 1990. Even better, true freshman QB Teddy Bridgewater is getting more and more comfortable with each passing week.
7. Texas RB Joe Bergeron
The “other” true freshman back in Austin has started to become more than just a complement to blue-chipper Malcolm Brown. For the second time in the last two games, the fullback-sized Bergeron burrowed his way for more than 100 yards on the ground in a Longhorns victory. The 6-1, 230-pounder fueled the charge with 191 yards and three scores on 29 carries. It was a key part of a 595-yard outburst in an impressive 52-20 demolition of Texas Tech.
6. USC QB Matt Barkley
Toward the end of Friday night’s rout of Colorado, fans were chanting for the star quarterback to stick around for one more year. Have they seen him play this year? Barkley looks as if he’s on the fast track to being the second passer taken after Andrew Luck … provided both Pac-12 stars make themselves available for April’s NFL Draft. No. 7 fired a school-best six scoring passes at Folsom Field, giving him 18 touchdown passes and only three interceptions since his poor effort in Tempe way back on Sept. 24.
5. UCLA (at the Rose Bowl)
With their third straight victory in Pasadena, the Bruins now control their own destiny in the Pac-12 South. No, the latter was not a typo. UCLA, with the deck stacked against it, has found a way to unexpectedly nudged above the .500 mark with three regular season games remaining. They’ve gotten a big lift from the running game, including nimble QB Kevin Prince, using 220 yards on the ground and a missed Alex Garoutte field goal at the end of regulation to escape divisional-leading Arizona State Saturday evening.
4. The Ohio State Ground Game
With true freshman QB Braxton Miller adapting gradually as a passer, the rest of the Buckeyes have stepped up their game on the ground. Ohio State has rushed for no less than 211 yards in any of the last four games, winning three straight to climb back into the Leaders Division picture. In Saturday’s escape of Indiana, Miller, Dan Herron and Carlos Hyde all rushed for more than 100 yards, the first time that’s happened in Columbus in 22 years.
With so much attention being given to LSU and Alabama, it’s gone unnoticed to some that the Razorbacks have not lost a game since its Sept. 24 trip to Tuscaloosa. Now 8-1, with home games against Tennessee and Mississippi State before heading to Baton Rouge, Arkansas remains a rse contender for a BCS bowl game. After a couple of uninspired efforts versus Ole Miss and Vandy on the road, the Hogs used the passing of Tyler Wilson, and the Jake Bequette-led defense to handle South Carolina, 44-28.
2. Brandon Weeden-to-Justin Blackmon
Is it possible that not enough love is given to this pitch-and-catch combo because we’ve become so accustomed to its exploits? Could be. Blackmon is a man among boys in the Big 12, and knows all of his nuances and tendencies. For the past two seasons, the pair has combined to form one of the nation’s deadliest tandems, improving their chemistry over time. In their best back-to-back games as a duet, Weeden and Blackmon combined for 26 catches for 377 yards and four scores in wins over Baylor and Kansas State.
1. LSU Head Coach Les Miles
Miles takes a backseat to no one … even Nick Saban. Miles has now beaten Saban in back-to-back years, a rare feat among coaching accomplishments. The Tigers coach made the right calls, including inserting Jordan Jefferson into the huddle on a night that Jarrett Lee didn’t appear to have it. And now he’s just five wins away from another National Championship in Baton Rouge. You can call him by any nickname you’d like, but just be sure to label him among the four or five best head men in America.
Who's Not ... Week 10