2012 Who's Hot & Not
Who's Hot ... Week 9
Who's Not ...
10. Pass Rushes in Michigan
There's too much defensive talent in Ann Arbor and East Lansing for the Wolverines and the Spartans to have combined for just 21 sacks through 17 combined games. Remarkably, the defenses have held up well against the run and in the back seven, despite getting little support up front. Michigan ranks 104th nationally, getting a sack from Craig Roh in Saturday night's loss to Nebraska. Michigan State finally broke through with its first multi-sack game of 2012, and not coincidentally snapped Wisconsin's 21-game winning streak in Madison.
9. Cincinnati QB Munchie Legaux
Legaux has been the face of the Bearcats' recent slide, a two-game losing streak that has them out of the Top 25 and on the periphery of Big East contention. The junior can be plenty exciting, and has shown a knack for rallying his team, but he's also erratic and inaccurate as a passer. He's only completing slightly more than 50% of his passes on the year, and threw five interceptions in the two losses. Legaux's last of three picks on Friday night occurred in overtime, preceding a game-winning 30-yard field goal from Louisville's John Wallace.
8. Danny Hope's Future at Purdue
Hope began Week 9 on the coaching hot seat. After getting thoroughly thrashed by a sliding Minnesota team, 44-28, Purdue moved a giant step closer to replacing its head coach at the end of the regular season. Under Hope's watch, the Boilermakers are 19-26, and have dropped four games in a row. This was supposed to be a breakout year, a chance to make a run at the Leaders Division in the Big Ten. Instead, Purdue is two games below .500, and struggling mightily to make stops on defense. Hope is quickly fading in West Lafayette.
7. Iowa's Kirk Ferentz
The bloom is coming off the rose of Ferentz, whose Hawkeyes are slogging through another difficult fall. The coach is just 12-13 over his last 25 games in Iowa City, resulting in some unkind whispers about his future after 14 seasons with the program. Iowa lost a second straight game on Saturday, falling to Northwestern—and back to .500—following another poor performance from the offense. Iowa also suffered a pair of black eyes in September, dropping games to Central Michigan and arch-rival Iowa State.
6. The Arizona State D (without Will Sutton)
Apparently, the Sun Devils don't adhere to the ‘next man in philosophy'. Sure, Sutton was one of the best defensive players in the country in the first half, but Arizona State has frozen up since its star defensive tackle suffered a bone bruise in his knee a week ago. The D curled up in the fetal position against Oregon 10 days ago, and then failed to show up in a crucial 45-43 home loss to UCLA. It couldn't make key stops late, eventually bowing meekly to the running of Johnathan Franklin and the passing of Brett Hundley.
5. Texas QB David Ash
A microcosm for what's happening in Austin these days, Ash got benched in favor of Case McCoy, who promptly led the ‘Horns to an excuse-me comeback win over Kansas on Saturday. Just what beleaguered Texas head coach Mack Brown needs, a quarterback controversy to discuss with the media. At the time Ash got yanked, he was 8-of-16 for 63 yards, no touchdowns and two picks. And since peaking with a tight effort against Oklahoma State on Sept. 29, he's thrown just two scoring strikes in four games. Not much is going right for a school that could undergo some changes in the offseason.
It turns out that USC was a fraud after all. All of the talk about the Trojans exploding from the NCAA penalty box and taking back the league in 2012 wound up being unfounded. For the second time this year, Troy lost a Pac-12 game it wasn't supposed to, leaving it further behind league-leading Oregon … still. Tucson was a minefield because Arizona has picked up Rich Rodriguez's system in a hurry, and because USC is a team with a ton individual talent, but not a lot of championship characteristics. While the Trojans will send a slew of kids to the NFL, they won't be sending any of them to Pasadena in January. With Oregon, Arizona State, UCLA and Notre Dame left on the schedule, the program isn't done disappointing this fall.
3. The Big East
The conference had started to gain traction over the past few weeks, thanks to perfect starts from Rutgers, Cincinnati and Louisville, but it was only a matter of time before its true colors bled through. The Big East has been taken down a peg or two by the MAC, of all leagues. A week ago, the Bearcats fell to Toledo in the Glass Bowl, and on Saturday the Scarlet Knights were humbled at home by Kent State. The Golden Flashes were never threatened after the first quarter, impressively beating a ranked opponent for the first time in school history.
2. Oklahoma in a Big Spot
Big game. High stakes. And the Sooners never stood a chance against Notre Dame. For the second time this year, a seemingly deeper and more talented Oklahoma team lost in front of the home crowd in Norman. Bob Stoops recruits well, and is still one of the game's premier head coaches, but he and his staff are gaining a reputation for failing to fulfill preseason expectations, this season being no different. The Sooners began the year as a chief contender for a BCS National Championship. After bowing to the Irish, 30-13, OU is unlikely to win the Big 12, and will need a quick turnaround to get back into BCS at-large contention.
1. Gene Chizik's Tenure at Auburn
While you never want to have a knee-jerk reaction about a coach based on a single season, Auburn's recent tanking is signaling unavoidable change on the Plains. It's one thing to lose football games and even miss the postseason. It's another thing entirely to get embarrassed at Jordan-Hare Stadium by SEC newcomer Texas A&M, 63-21. The Tigers didn't bother to show up in Week 9, which is going to hasten the process as it pertains to the leadership of the program. It looks as if Auburn has quit on the 2012 season, and that's never going to be good for the job security of a staff.
Who's Hot ... Week 9