2012 Who's Hot & Not
Who's Not ... Week 11
Who’s Hot ...
10. Bowling Green
The Falcons have been one of this year’s biggest surprises in the MAC, a much-needed revelation for fourth-year head coach Dave Clawson. Sure, they were supposed to be pretty good in 2012, but few expected them to be this good, winning for the sixth straight time last Wednesday to remain in the East Division hunt. The victim? One-loss Ohio in Athens. Sans any star power outside of DE Chris Jones, the D has been air-tight, yielding an average of just eight points per game during the winning streak.
9. Louisiana Tech RB Kenneth Dixon
Dixon, a true freshman from Strong, Ark., wasn’t even the starter when the year began. That job belonged to Tevin King. However, when King tore his ACL at the end of September, the rookie seized the opportunity and never looked back. As one of the key components of the highest producing offense this side of Autzen Stadium, Dixon now leads the country in scoring with a Montee Ball-like 25 touchdowns. On Saturday night, he reached paydirt five more times, four by ground and one by air.
8. Florida State DE Cornellius Carradine
Yeah, despite what others may have heard, there is another defensive end in Tallahassee other than Bjoern Werner. Carradine has lived in the shadow of his more publicized teammate, yet leads the team with nine sacks, and is tied for the team lead in tackles. In Thursday night’s comeback win over Virginia Tech, Carradine racked up a career-best 11 stops, another statement performance in front of pro scouts. Making the most of Brandon Jenkins’ season-long injury, the former JUCO transfer has been soaring up NFL Draft boards throughout 2012.
The Commodores have never played in consecutive bowl games … until now. Vanderbilt moved to 6-4 in exciting fashion on Saturday night, getting a Jordan Rodgers to Chris Boyd touchdown with 52 seconds left to knock off Ole Miss at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. The ‘Dores have won four games in a row, and are above .500 in SEC play. The downside, of course, is that head coach James Franklin has never been hotter, and is sure to be on numerous AD’s short lists in November and December. How hard is Maryland kicking itself after letting this budding star off its campus two years ago when the Fridge was fired?
The Cardinal has rebounded from its crushing overtime loss to Notre Dame on Oct. 13 by winning four straight games to remain the biggest threat to Oregon’s Pac-12 North Division dominance. Stanford has been employing a familiar formula of strong defense and the power running of captain Stepfan Taylor to gradually inch back into BCS bowl game contention. The team has also benefitted from the rare late-season insertion of a new quarterback, redshirt freshman Kevin Hogan. The Cardinal has a tough road ahead, with games against Oregon and UCLA, but it remains alive for Pasadena.
5. Clemson QB Tajh Boyd
Is everyone taking the junior for granted? Guilty as charged. Maybe we’ve all become so accustomed to prolific numbers from Boyd that we overlook his evolution in the Tigers offense. The nation’s No. 4 quarterback in passing efficiency has thrown 13 touchdown passes over the last three games, as Clemson has raised its scoring average to just below 43 points a game. Against an underrated Maryland D that ranks second in the ACC to Florida State, Boyd was a tight 18-of-26 for 261 yards and three touchdowns.
4. Arizona RB Ka’Deem Carey
Rich Rodriguez has his new Steve Slaton in Tucson, and his name is Ka’Deem Carey. Just a sophomore, he shouldered the load Saturday as QB Matt Scott sat out with a concussion, scoring five touchdowns and breaking the Pac-12 record for rushing yards in a game. Carey’s exploits should not be dismissed because they came against lowly Colorado. He’s been tearing through opposing defenses all season long, piling up 19 touchdowns to go along with more than 1,600 yards from scrimmage. He’s going to be the focal point of the offense in 2013 and 2014 if he remains in school that long.
3. The K-State D
These guys in Manhattan don’t get nearly enough credit, probably because QB Collin Klein rightfully commands so much attention and so many headlines. The Wildcats lead the country in turnover margin because Tom Hayes’ kids are ball-hawks, who tackle well in space and who are extremely well-coached. LB Arthur Brown is the cover boy of the unit, but DE Meshak Williams, CB Nigel Malone, FS Ty Zimmerman and SS Jarard Milo are playing like All-Big 12 performers. Klein & Co. was missing its fastball in Fort Worth on Saturday night, but the D was there to pick up the slack, keeping TCU off the scoreboard for the first 53 minutes.
2. Oregon QB Marcus Mariota
Last week, the praises RB Kenjon Barner were sung. This week, Mariota is the hero of the Ducks offense. A little overlooked, as is often the case for quarterbacks in this system, the redshirt freshman now leads the country in passing efficiency; impressive for a rookie whose best attributes were supposed to be his electrifying speed and athleticism. Over his last four games, Mariota has not thrown a pick, connected on 13 touchdown passes and run for almost 300 yards. Despite getting his bell rung on Saturday night, he still bounced back to toss six scoring strikes, three to WR Josh Huff.
1. Former Big 12 Teams Now Playing in the SEC
Naturally, Texas A&M is the cover boy for the SEC imports, ending Alabama’s unbeaten season and possibly its hopes for a repeat national championship as well. The Aggies, behind the poise of Johnny Manziel and the play of an underrated D, have now swept their recent three-game road trip to Auburn, Starkville and Tuscaloosa. With only Sam Houston State and Missouri left on the schedule, A&M has positioned itself to be in the discussion for an at-large BCS bowl berth.
Overshadowed but not forgotten, Mizzou kept its postseason hopes alive by outlasting Tennessee in Knoxville in a four-overtime thriller, 51-48. The Tigers added to the Vols’ 2012 misery and evened their record to pull within a win of bowl eligibility.
Who's Not ... Week 11