Who's Hot & Who's Not - Oct. 20
Rutgers RB Ray Rice
Rutgers RB Ray Rice
Posted Oct 21, 2007

The hot and not aspects of the college football world this week.

Past Hot and Not: Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4
 Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7

Who’s Hot …

Air Force RB Chad Hall
Is he a wide receiver? Is he a running back? Does it matter? The senior has become the centerpiece of the resurgent Air Force attack, turning into the biggest weapon in the running game over a three game stretch. He ran 18 times for 169 yards and two touchdowns in a win over UNLV, followed it up with a 31 carry, 256-yard, four score day against Colorado State, and this week, in a win over Wyoming, he ran 28 times for 167 yards, and caught two passes for four yards and a score. He leads the Mountain West in all-purpose yards.

Rutgers RB Ray Rice
Rutgers might have cooled off with a two-game losing streak before beating South Florida, but that didn't necessarily include Rice, who has only run for fewer than 94 yards this year, and that was because he only carried it 12 times in a 59-0 win over Norfolk State. Talk about being the workhorse, he has carried the ball 109 times over the last three games for 471 yards and four touchdowns. He has 999 yards and 13 scores, with a receiving touchdown, on the season.

Tulane RB Matt Forte
Tulane might not be all that great, but it's been more than competitive thanks to the running of its senior runner. Forte ran for 303 yards and five scores against SE Louisiana several weeks ago, but has turned it up another notch over the last three games rushing for 202 yards and two scores against Army, 209 yards and a touchdown against UAB, and 342 yards and four touchdowns in a win over SMU. He leads the nation in rushing.

Virginia in close games
A win by one or 101 still counts the same, but Virginia is pushing it. After pulling off a late 18-17 win over Maryland, five of the seven wins have been decided by a touchdown or less, and the last three wins, over Middle Tennessee, UConn and Maryland, have been decided by a grand total of four points. A trip to NC State is up next.

West Virginia's defense
Everyone knows about Pat White, Steve Slaton, and the high-powered West Virginia offense, currently 12th in the nation in yards and second in rushing, but the defense that was so suspect and such a question mark coming into the season, has been a surprising rock. The Mountaineers, not South Florida, Cincinnati or Rutgers, lead the Big East in total defense and rank fourth in the country, They're also allowing just 16.57 points per game, good for tenth in the nation.

Who’s Not …

Central Michigan in non-conference games
It's not a plus for the MAC when its best team is getting obliterated by almost everyone outside the league. So far, CMU is 3-0 in MAC play, beating Toledo, Northern Illinois and Ball State by a combined score of 145 to 79, and beat Army 47-23, but lost to Kansas, Purdue, North Dakota State, and Clemson by a combined score of 211 to 57. That's an average of 52.75 to 14.25

Washington QB Jake Locker's accuracy
There's no question that Locker is one of college football's most exciting young talents. Now he has to figure out how to throw on a consistent basis. He threw four touchdown passes in the loss to Oregon, and has 11 touchdown passes to just nine interceptions so far, but he has completed just 48% of his throws, and in Pac 10 play, he has completed just 52 of 123 passes, or 42%.

Tennessee on the road
Tennessee beat Mississippi State 33-21 two weeks ago in Starkville. That's been it for the production away from Knoxville so far this year, with the Vols losing to Cal, Florida and Alabama by a combined score of 145 to 68, or an average of 48 to 23. Fortunately, the next four games are at home before finishing up on the road at Kentucky.

Minnesota's run defense
In the weekly picking on Minnesota, where things have gone from bad to worse after losing to North Dakota State 27-21, the Gophers aren't just dead last in America in pass defense and total defense, they're also giving up 192 yards per game on the ground. NDSU, a provisional D-I team who's not even eligible for the FCS playoffs despite being unbeaten and considered the nation's best D-IAA squad, ran for 394. In other words, Michigan's Mike Hart, who gets the Gophers next week.

Conference USA pass defenses
Where are the Conference USA secondaries? East Carolina (118th in the nation), UTEP (117th), East Carolina (116th), SMU (111th), Tulsa (106th) and Tulane (102nd) are all having problems slowing down passing games. With several shootouts, the passing games have flourished, but the defensive backs, and defenses overall, have simply been that bad. Of the league's 12 teams, ten are ranked 76th or lower in pass defense.