2011 Who's Hot & Not
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Who's Hot ... Week 12
Who’s Not ...
Piling on? Not really. The Jayhawks have been awful all season, but how about some sustained progress by November? A week after showing a pulse against Baylor, Kansas reverted back to its earlier form, bowing to Texas A&M, 61-7. The demolition marked the fourth time that the nation’s worst defense yielded at least 59 points in a game, a level of futility that could require more than just one offseason for Turner Gill and his assistants to apply a fix.
9. Ron Zook’s Future in Champaign
During the week, Zook stormed out of a press conference when his job security at Illinois became a topic of conversation. It makes you wonder what the scene will be like this week, after his Illini blew a lead against Wisconsin to fall for the fifth consecutive time. Has it really been seven years since the coach took this job? It doesn’t feel that long. Then again, those closest to the program, who’ve endured a career mark well below .500, might beg to differ.
8. Cincinnati (since QB Zach Collaros went down)
When Collaros broke his ankle a week ago, the Bearcats’ hopes for a Big East title apparently went on the shelf along with him. Since that point, the one-time frontrunners have fallen to West Virginia and Rutgers to sink back to the conference pack. In fact, five teams now have two conference losses, with two weekends left in the season. Collaros’ caddy, Munchie Legaux, was not ready to be promoted, going 22-of-52 for 302 yards, no touchdowns and two picks since being pressed into action.
7. Everett Withers’ Future in Chapel Hill
Under admittedly difficult circumstances, Withers hasn’t tanked as the interim coach at North Carolina. However, being just okay isn’t what the administration, particularly new AD Bubba Cunningham, was looking for in a replacement for Butch Davis. Since opening a few eyes with a 5-1 start, the Tar Heels have dropped four of five games, and have stumbled offensively in back-to-back losses to NC State and Virginia Tech.
For the first time since 2002, the Midshipmen will not be bowling. And it’s not as if, say, Notre Dame or Air Force jettisoned them out of contention. No, Navy fell to San Jose State, 27-24, a familiar theme this year for an Academy that just was never quite right. Even after defeating Troy and SMU in consecutive weeks, the Mids reverted back to old habits, failing to make enough timely stops, or finish drives with six. Army has its best chance in a long time of finally ending its decade-long losing streak to its main rival.
5. Dennis Erickson and his Sun Devils
This was going to be the year that Arizona State finally broke through under Erickson. Heck, his Sun Devils basically ran unopposed in the Pac-12’s South Division. Yet, they’ve somehow found a way to squander that gift in a year that the premier program—USC—is not eligible. Since peaking at 6-2, the wheels have come off on ASU, which has lost three straight to UCLA, Washington State and Arizona. The home loss to the Wildcats over the weekend for the Territorial Cup was likely the final straw for the coach, who’ll have a hard time surviving much longer in Tempe.
4. The Texas Offense
Enough already with the excuses in Austin. A lot of offenses across the country lack experience, yet still live to tell about it. And it’s not as if rookie quarterbacks David Ash and Case McCoy haven’t received plenty of reps so far this fall. The ‘Horns, however, have been operating lately as if they’re playing a spring scrimmage … during a downpour. Texas has produced just 18 points and one touchdown over the last two games, losses to Missouri and Kansas State. Oh, and about that Wildcats defense that UT could only generate 13 points against. Yeah, it had yielded 160 points in the previous three weeks.
3. Texas Tech
Remember when the Red Raiders were 5-2, fresh off a shocking upset of Oklahoma that ended the Sooners’ 39-game winning streak at home. In Lubbock, that snapshot in time feels a heckuva lot longer than just one month ago. Since then, Texas Tech has been in an unabated free-fall that’s going to leave it completely out of the bowl picture. It hasn’t won a game since Norman, getting trounced by Iowa State, Texas and Oklahoma State. Oh, and just when Tommy Tuberville’s team looked as if it might stop the bleeding Saturday, it hemorrhaged in the fourth quarter of a loss to Mizzou.
2. Previously Clutch Kickers
It’s been a pretty bad year for kickers, a trend that continued in Week 12. Quinn Sharp missed a 37-yarder that might have avoided overtime for Oklahoma State in Ames Friday night. Florida State’s Dustin Hopkins hooked his potential game-winner versus Virginia from 42 yards out with three seconds left on the clock. And Alejandro Maldonado went wide left on his 37-yarder that would have sent his Oregon Ducks into an extra session with USC. Three misfires that have helped reshape the National Championship (and ACC Coastal) race.
1. Teams from Oklahoma (not named Tulsa)
First the Cowboys lose to Iowa State on Friday night, and then the Sooners get clawed for the first time ever by Baylor 24 hours later. So much for Bedlam deciding one of the participants in the BCS National Championship Game. In a blink of an eye, a ton went up in smoke for Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, including the once-burgeoning Heisman hopes of Pokes QB Brandon Weeden. Hey, at least the Big 12 title will remain within state borders, pending the outcome of the game in Stillwater two weeks from now.
Who's Hot ... Week 12