2012 Who's Hot & Not
Who's Hot ... Week 14
Who’s Not ...
10. New Mexico State
After making noticeable progress in 2011 under head coach DeWayne Walker, the Aggies regressed this fall … in a dramatic way. Pegged to possibly flirt with bowl-eligibility as a member of the watered-down WAC, New Mexico State dropped its final 11 games, all but one by double-digits. The program hit a new low on Saturday, getting blitzed by FBS newcomer Texas State, 66-28. The Bobcats scored 52 of the final 59 points, rushing for 446 yards and five touchdowns.
Expectations were predictably low in Lawrence entering the season, but 1-11 is a sign that the Jayhawks are approximately where Kansas State was before Bill Snyder arrived in Manhattan in 1989. Kansas capped Charlie Weis’ first season at the helm with a 59-10 loss at West Virginia, the third time this season it dropped a game by at least 40 points. This is the same school that fell to Rice and got challenged by South Dakota State, an indication of how far it has to travel before being competitive in the Big 12. Weis must’ve really had the urge to become a head coach again to take on this mountainous challenge.
The Huskies were in East Hartford, just a win away from locking down one of the Big East’s automatic bowl berths. Cincinnati had to make the 800-mile trip, with very little to gain, and a coach whose name has been linked to multiple job openings. It didn’t matter in the end. Connecticut showed a little life in the middle of the game, but faded down the stretch of a 34-17 loss. At 5-7, the team that not long ago appeared in the Fiesta Bowl is bowl-less for a second straight year, a troubling development for embattled head coach Paul Pasqualoni.
7. The UCLA O-Line
Six days. Ten sacks allowed. It’s been a rough week for the inexperienced Bruins offensive line. While the front wall did a much better job of springing RB Johnathan Franklin in its second game in six days with Stanford, QB Brett Hundley still felt the pressure from LB Chase Thomas and the rest of the front seven. In UCLA’s defense, it does start three freshmen, LT Torian White, C Jake Brendel and RT Simon Goines, and a sophomore. The sophomore, LG Xavier Su’a-Filo, is the kind of player that a unit can be built around. This group will be much better in 2013, but for now it’s rather green in pass protection.
6. Oklahoma State (outside Stillwater)
At Boone Pickens Stadium, the Cowboys went a rather healthy 6-1. Outside of Stillwater? Just 1-4, including back-to-back losses to Oklahoma in Bedlam two weeks ago and Baylor on Saturday in Waco. Heck, in its lone road win of 2012, Oklahoma State darn near lost to 1-11 Kansas. Mike Gundy’s offense has not been the problem, overcoming a spate of injuries to the young quarterbacks to norm 45 points a game. The D, on the other hand, has been very sketchy on the road, yielding more than 40 points a game in five trips.
5. TCU in Fort Worth
For the Horned Frogs, Amon G. Carter Stadium was Fort Worth(less) for the home team this season. TCU, often so prickly at home over the years, lost for the fourth straight time in its own building on Saturday. Okay, so the last two came at the hands of this year’s best Big 12 members, Kansas State and Oklahoma. However, the two prior to that came versus Iowa State and Texas Tech, a couple of so-so teams that combined to go 13-11. If the Frogs are going to be a bigger factor down the road in their new league, they’ll have to relocate the swagger in Fort Worth.
Needing just one win over the last two games to capture their first Big East championship and a transformational spot in the Orange Bowl, the Scarlet Knights gagged in epic fashion. A week ago, they fell flat in a 27-6 loss to Pitt. Okay, so maybe Rutgers was caught looking ahead to Thursday night’s big showdown with Louisville. It happens. However, the Knights collapsed. After building a 14-3 lead on the Cards, whose hobbled quarterback was moving like an assisted living resident, they managed just three points over the final 39 minutes of a 20-17 loss. Teddy Bridgewater was nothing short of heroic, but nine first downs and three turnovers will haunt Rutgers for a very long time.
The situation in Austin is getting pretty uncomfortable, much the way it did toward the end of Bobby Bowden’s tenure in Tallahassee. You know that there’s talent, and you sure know that there are expectations, but the Longhorns are still performing like a mid-level Big 12 program. And that just isn’t going to cut it in these parts. Texas got blasted by Kansas State on Saturday, just 10 days after losing to TCU at home on Thanksgiving night. It’s now left hoping that it can earn a spot in the Cotton Bowl, small consolation in a season that the program hoped to be BCS bowl-bound.
2. Georgia’s Run Defense
As well as the Bulldogs have played on defense since losing to South Carolina on Oct. 6, there’s no getting past the fact that they’ve now allowed more than 300 yards on the ground in three consecutive games. Okay, so Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech employ the option, but there was no excuse for what happened in the Georgia Dome on Saturday evening. After playing well for the first 35 or so minutes, the Dawgs looked gassed in the face of the Alabama O-line, giving up an unconscionable 350 yards on the ground. Eddie Lacy averaged 9.1 yards a carry. T.J. Yeldon, 6.1. That is no way to win an SEC championship.
1. Nebraska (in league title games)
After getting throttled by Wisconsin in Indianapolis on Saturday night, the Huskers have now lost four league championship games in a row. And haven’t claimed a conference crown in 13 years. The first three came as a member of the Big 12, bowing to Oklahoma in 2006, Texas in 2009 and the Sooners again in 2010. The Big Ten Championship Game, though, represented a new low for Nebraska. Favored to nab a coveted spot opposite Stanford in the Rose Bowl, Big Red laid a big egg in Indianapolis, losing to the 7-5 Badgers, 70-31, in front of a shocked crowd at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Who's Hot ... Week 14