2012 Who's Hot & Not
Who's Hot ... Week 3
Who's Not ...
10. The SMU Passing Game
Has June Jones suddenly changed his offensive philosophy without warning anyone? This was supposed to be the year that the Mustangs really cranked up the run-and-shoot now that Texas transfer Garrett Gilbert was available to the program behind center. Instead, SMU ranks 113th in the country in passing efficiency. Gilbert is having trouble getting the ball downfield, especially in Saturday's 48-3 loss to Texas A&M, and is getting precious little help from his wide receivers or his offensive linemen.
9. Houston QB David Piland
It turns out that plugging a new quarterback into the Cougars pass-happy offensive system is a lot trickier than many assumed. Piland, the successor to record-breaker Case Keenum, was horrifying in two games for 0-3 Houston, which is off to one of the most disappointing starts in the country. In the opener, he was outclassed by Texas State, completing just 17-of-44 passes. And over the weekend, the sophomore was picked off five times in a lopsided loss to UCLA. Backup Crawford Jones might want to keep his arm loose, because new head coach Tony Levine won't accept such poor play for much longer.
8. Kentucky head coach Joker Phillips
Whatever is hotter than the hot seat, Phillips currently resides on it. Despite being in just his third year in Lexington, this was going to be a pivotal season in the coach's career. The Wildcats have already lost to two in-state opponents in the first three weeks. Okay, so Louisville was favored in the opener, but Kentucky wasn't even competitive. And then on Saturday, the ‘Cats did the unacceptable by losing at home to lowly Western Kentucky. Phillips' kids trailed throughout, eventually falling on a two-point conversion in overtime.
7. The Virginia Tech Offense
The hope around Blacksburg was that junior QB Logan Thomas would be able to compensate for an offense that had to replace RB David Wilson and a few of his best linemen. So far, it's not happening. In two games with FBS opponents, the Hokies have been brutal offensively, rushing for 155 combined yards against Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh. The offensive line is not getting the job done, a feature back has yet to emerge and Thomas has been a big disappointment in his expanded role. The quarterback has run for only one score, and seems to have regressed as a hurler.
6. USC (versus Stanford)
You can't blame Andrew Luck on this one. The Trojans have now lost four straight to the Cardinal, and five of the last six, but this one probably stings the most. Ranked No. 2 in the land, USC was supposed to be the better team, and certainly had the better player under center, Matt Barkley. However, it simply got roughed up in the northern part of the state, unable to slow down hard-charging RB n Taylor, and incapable of keeping No. 7 off his back. The Trojans are still the Pac-12 South favorite, and can still wind up in the Rose Bowl, but by getting exposed, they may have played their way out of the National Championship race.
5. Tennessee (versus Florida)
When will the misery end for Vols fans and players? Tennessee has now lost eight straight games to rival Florida, including Saturday evening's collapse in front of a deflated Neyland Stadium crowd. The Volunteers had a second-half lead, and were generally playing well, but allowed the final 24 points during a frustrating implosion. The Gators are the better team, but they're also in the heads of Tennessee, a program that must be wondering if it'll ever break through and win again in this series.
4. South Florida on Thursday Nights
Yeah, it's cool to get a primetime showcase game in front of a captive national audience, but not so much when you consistently melt down when faced with the opportunity. Unable to build on the momentum seized in a rousing win over Nevada a week earlier, South Florida flopped in Tampa versus Rutgers to fall to 0-9 all-time on Thursday nights. Ultra-erratic Bulls QB B.J. Daniels was—as usual—a part of the problem, throwing three picks, and completing less than half of his passes.
3. The Wisconsin Offense
The situation in Madison is bad, and it doesn't appear to be getting any better. Okay, so the Badgers weren't going to sufficiently replace Russell Wilson with Danny O'Brien, but isn't this the same program that perennially cranks out elite blockers, who pave the way for a relentless running game? Through three games, against Northern Iowa, Oregon State and Utah State, Wisconsin is a hard-to-fathom 94th nationally on the ground, and has averaged just 16 points a game. The team normed 3.6 yards a play over the last two games, barely escaping the Aggies on Saturday.
2. Preseason Heisman Favorites
The hunt for the hardware is wide-open as the season enters the first quarter turn of 2012. Just prior to the start of the season, Matt Barkley was the heavy frontrunner, with Montee Ball, Denard Robinson and Tyler Wilson not too far behind. Three weeks in, all four will have to overcome substantial hurdles. Barkley may have played his way out of contention with Saturday night's effort at Stanford. Ball has been pedestrian, the product of poor support. Robinson was a non-factor in the opening day loss to ‘Bama. And Wilson missed Week 3 with a concussion, a good thing since his Razorbacks were annihilated at home. A new leader? Way too early to tell, but the path to New York City is no longer steeped in rush hour traffic.
This season, which was once filled with so much hope, has slowly begun to circle the drain for the Razorbacks. It's hard to determine what was worse, losing to Louisiana-Monroe in Week 2 or getting utterly garroted by Alabama in front of the home crowd this past weekend. The defense has no pulse, the staff doesn't appear to have a clue and those dreams of an SEC title are fading as fast as John L. Smith's future as the Arkansas head coach. QB Tyler Wilson will return and RB Knile Davis will locate his groove, but the Hogs are beginning to realize that this year is not going to end the way they had hoped.
Who's Hot ... Week 3