2012 Who's Hot & Not
Who's Hot ... Week 13
Who’s Not ...
10. Louisiana Tech
Ranked just a couple of weeks ago, the team that gave surging Texas A&M all it could handle on Oct. 13 will be taking a two-game losing streak into the postseason. The Bulldogs still house the most statistically potent offense in college football, but even Colby Cameron & Co. cannot compensate for a swinging gate defense that’s allowed at least 48 points in each of the last three games. Tech survived a 62-55 track meet with Texas State on Nov. 10, but not the challenges of Utah State or San Jose State, which produced more than 600 yards of total offense Saturday night.
9. The State of Football in Tampa
The Bucs are hot, but the Bulls are not. And that was evident for the portion of the country that witnessed their Friday night game at Cincinnati. South Florida bowed meekly to the Bearcats, 27-10, a familiar development over the past two seasons. Now 3-8 for the first time in school history, the Bulls are once again on the outside of the bowl picture. Since the start of 2011, they’ve gone a staggeringly inept 2-13 in the Big East, a league with no anchor or clear future. Head coach Skip Holtz will probably be back, with another shot to fix the problems of a program that once had so much promise.
8. Iowa State (when allowing 24 points)
24 Points. In Ames, it’s the magic number for the football team. When opponents have scored fewer than 24 points in 2012, the Cyclones are unbeaten … 6-0. More? Winless. Iowa State gave up 31 points to West Virginia at Jack Trice Stadium Friday afternoon, and predictably lost when Tavon Austin turned an innocent touch-pass into a game-winning, 75-yard explosion up the left sideline late in the final quarter. Under Paul Rhoads, the ‘Clones are now 3-25 when they give up at least two dozen points in a game.
Back on Oct. 13, the Hawkeyes slipped past Michigan State in East Lansing in double-overtime. At 4-2, there was hope that Iowa could grow from a shaky start and make something positive out of the 2012 season. At 4-8, fresh off a frustrating loss to Nebraska, the Hawkeyes had concluded their worst season since 2000, Kirk Ferentz’s second one in Iowa City. Ferentz, who is under contract through 2020, has to take the bulk of the blame for a snake-bitten squad that fell short in five of the seven games decided by no more than six points. It’s going to be a long and frustrating offseason for a school that’s 19-19 over the last three seasons.
6. The Arizona D
The balance of the Pac-12 was sort of fortunate that the Wildcats were such a rag-tag bunch on defense this fall. Had the unit been even close to as effective as the offense, they might have had a 10-win team in Tucson. Instead, Arizona was 7-5, using a bunch of former walk-ons on one of the country’s worst defensive units. The D spoiled another terrific effort from RB Ka’Deem Carey in Friday night’s Duel in the Desert with rival Arizona State. It made Sun Devils RB Marion Grice look like an All-American, yielding 156 yards and three scores to the former JUCO transfer in a 41-34 loss that it led at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
5. Oregon State in the Civil War
The Beavers’ losing streak to in-state rival Oregon has now reached five games, with the last win coming in 2007. All but one during the slide has been a blowout, including Saturday’s in Corvallis. Although Oregon State wasn’t necessarily supposed to win this weekend, what made the final score, 48-24, so frustrating is that this was pegged as its best chance in years to exact a little revenge. The Ducks were hurting, the game was at Reser Stadium and the home team appeared to have the defensive ingredients to make things competitive. Uh-uh. It was business as usual in the Civil War, with Oregon obliterating the Oregon State run D for more than 400 yards on the ground.
4. The Big East
The Big East’s two signature programs, Rutgers and Louisville, will square off on Thursday night in Piscataway with a league crown and a BCS bowl game hanging in the balance. Unfortunately, both schools suffered embarrassing losses on Saturday, guaranteeing that one will be a booby prize for some proud event, likely the Orange Bowl. Over the last four games, the Scarlet Knights have been outclassed by Kent State and sub-.500 Pitt, a 27-6 debacle this past Saturday. The Cardinals, once the conference flag-bearer, have dropped back-to-back games to Syracuse and Connecticut. The Huskies, too, are below .500, and did in Louisville at Papa John’s Stadium.
3. Wisconsin (when the game is tight)
When the Badgers have been able to build a comfortable lead this season, they’re safe. If it’s a ballgame, they’re usually in big trouble. Wisconsin has been involved in three overtime games in the last four weeks … and dropped all of them. In fact, it has now lost five games by no more than seven points, including four by exactly a field goal. With a stop there or a conversion here, this could have been a very different season in Madison. That said, since Penn State and Ohio State are ineligible to win the Big Ten in 2012, Wisky gets a shot at redemption next week against Legends Division winner Nebraska in Indianapolis.
2. The Pac-12 Championship Game
Congratulations, Stanford and UCLA, the winners of the North and South Division, respectively. But Pac-12 officials would have preferred to see its two signature programs, USC and Oregon, squaring off in this game on Friday night. The Cardinal and the Bruins aren’t going to bring a lot of national appeal or robust TV ratings, especially since the pair met just this past weekend in a game dominated by the former in the latter’s home building. Of course, nothing could possibly be worse than last year’s inaugural Pac-12 title tilt, in which an undeserving UCLA entered the back door en route to a 49-31 loss to the Ducks.
1. The ACC
In the same week that the Atlantic Coast Conference lost a member, Maryland, to the Big Ten, it also lost a lot of respect across the country, especially in SEC land.
The ACC had four opportunities to defeat teams from the game’s power conference, including two that many expected it to capture. Okay, so Georgia Tech wasn’t supposed to beat Georgia, and Wake Forest isn’t in the same class as Vanderbilt, but neither school was competitive after the first quarter. Where the ACC really took a hit was with home losses by its two signature programs, Florida State and Clemson, at home to rivals Florida and South Carolina, respectively. If there was any doubt before the weekend that the ACC is the fifth best conference in the FBS, there isn’t today.
Who's Hot ... Week 13