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Midseason Thoughts: Phil Harrison

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 9, 2012


Tuesday Question: Midseason Picks, Thoughts and Calls

Tuesday Question: Midseason Thoughts
Richard Cirminiello | Matt Zemek | Phil Harrison
Terry Johnson | Bart Doan

By Phil Harrison
Follow me @PhilHarrisonCFN

Player of the Year - Geno Smith, West Virginia
Is there anyone else that even belongs in the conversation right now? Smith is putting up yards and leading his West Virginia team to points at a four-alarm fire rate. It’s him and everyone else right now.

Player of the Year Other Than Geno Smith - Braxton Miller, Ohio State
Included in the best of the rest has to be Ohio State’s electric QB. The stats aren’t as eye popping as some other players, but it’s not like the numbers stink. Miller has excelled in the Urban Meyer spread and is entertaining theater to watch.

Surprise Team So Far - Notre Dame
You keep waiting for the worm to turn, but it hasn’t yet. Notre Dame may have gotten its reputation this year by beating up on a hapless Big Ten and a party-minded Miami team, but the schedule isn’t much different than others in recent memory the Irish fumbled through. The defense has been lights out and will need to continue to be against stiffer competition in the second-half of the season.

Disappointing Team So Far - Arkansas
Michigan is a close second, but the Hogs have been a nuclear meltdown. It all started with the bizarre Petrino bike-rally incident, and despite enough talent to play with about anyone this year, the Razorbacks have played uninspired and disingenuous in all but one game. At least the coaching interviews have been entertaining.

Coach of the Year - Nick Saban, Alabama
Yeah, yeah pick the low-hanging fruit. The reality is that the Tide lost a lot of key players off of a national title team and haven’t missed a beat. Saban is the number one reason why.

I Was Dead Wrong About…. Michigan having a puncher’s chance against Alabama
Michigan seemed to be a team on the upswing (and may still be), and the thought was that ultra-electric quarterback Denard Robinson would give the Tide defense pause for concern. Upon reflection, not so much.

I Was Right On About... Michigan State skipping a beat
Sparty returned only four starters on offense, yet everyone and their crazy relatives believed that things would just skip along in East Lansing. Wrong. The offense has struggled replacing key skill guys in the passing game and offensive line.

Favorite Moment - ULM upsetting Arkansas
It’s fun rooting for the little guy, and so it was on September 8 when David grabbed his slingshot and sleighed the giant SEC beast in overtime. There was almost a repeat the next week against Auburn, but who needs a sequel to this box-office hit?

My Three Big Calls for the Second Half of the Season
1-Notre Dame will still falter- the schedule is tougher from here on out, and the wins are looking less and less impressive.
2- The Big Ten will bounce back in bowl games- Things are bleak right now for the Big Ten because of a horrendous non-conference showing, but the outlook will improve when the much-maligned league surprises everyone during the bowls.
3- The SEC will NOT win a seventh straight national title- A team will rise-up and finally take down the gorilla in the room. That team—will be the Oregon Ducks who have a defense to go along with the point-a-minute offense this year.

Overall Grade for the First Half - B-plus
As usual, there have been some surprising and entertaining upsets, crazy scores, and shocking moments so far in 2012. It would be an A if not for the lack of defense being played around the country so far this year.