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Who's Hot - (Sept. 26) ...
South Florida QB B.J. Daniels
South Florida QB B.J. Daniels
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Sep 27, 2009


Richard Cirminiello spotlights who the hot players, coaches and programs are in the Week Four Who's Hot.

Who's Hot & Not - Week 4

Sept. 26 Games
 

Past Hot and Not: 2007 Hot & Not | 2008 Not & Not

- Week 1 (ACC & BYU) | Week 2 | Week 3  

By Richard Cirminiello

- ... and Who's Not? (Week 4)

Who’s Hot …

10a. South Carolina LB Eric Norwood
If you want to see Norwood transform into a monster, simply get him on national TV. Always a disruptive force as a pass rusher, he really turns it up on weeknights. In last Thursday’s upset of then-No. 4 Ole Miss, for instance, the future NFL star led the way with 10 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, and a blocked punt.

10. Stanford
Guess who’s in sole possession of first place in the Pac-10? The Cardinal is off to its best start since 2004, and at 3-1, halfway to that coveted return to the postseason. It pounded Washington, 34-14, which had shocked USC and moved into the Top 25 just a week earlier. Special recognition goes to Toby Gerhart, who became the school’s first back since 1988 to rush for 200 yards in a game.

9. The Ohio State Defense
Yeah, it’s a biggie, but if you remove that Matt Barkley-led touchdown drive in the USC loss, the Buckeyes have been downright impenetrable the last three weeks. They’ve pitched back-to-back shutouts for the first time since 1996 against teams from Toledo and Illinois that aren’t without weapons. Air-tight in both run and pass defense, Ohio State is beginning to peak on this side of the ball at an ideal time of the year.

8. Virginia Tech in Blacksburg
Hey, the Hokies were exposed in Atlanta in the opener, but get them back at Lane Stadium and they’re a totally different team. Over the last three weeks, all home games, they rushed for 444 yards in a rout of Marshall, came back in the final minute to beat Nebraska, and destroyed Miami, 31-7. Tech has one difficult road game remaining, an Oct. 17 trip back to Atlanta to play Georgia Tech.

7. Auburn QB Chris Todd
After getting benched and needing shoulder surgery last year, there were doubts whether the Hutchinson (Kans.) Community College transfer would ever play a significant role at Auburn. That feels like a long time ago. Healthy and in charge of Gus Malzahn’s up-tempo offense, Todd is No. 6 nationally in passing efficiency, throwing nine touchdowns and just one pick over the last two weekends.

6. The ‘Bama D
Is this the best defense in America? The Tide is making a very strong case for that distinction. Alabama is second in the country in total defense, allowing just over 200 yards a game. The same Arkansas attack that shot holes in Georgia a week earlier could only muster a single touchdown in Tuscaloosa. Running the ball? Don’t bother. In four games, ‘Bama has yielded just 189 yards and 1.7 yards a carry.

5. NC State QB Russell Wilson
The sophomore is a magician with the ball in his hands. A week after setting the NCAA record for attempts without an interception, he schooled a very good Pitt defense for four touchdown passes and 413 total yards in a pivotal 38-31 come-from-behind victory. Wilson has now thrown four touchdown passes in each of the last three games, all Wolfpack wins.

4. South Florida
Not only was Saturday’s upset of Florida State the most meaningful win in the Bulls’ brief history, but it came in Tallahassee. Oh, and also a week after QB Matt Grothe, the undisputed team leader, was lost for the year with an injury. There’s no telling what a 4-0 start and beating the ‘Noles could do for a program that’s pining to steal some market share from the state’s three traditional powers.

3. Houston
Beating Oklahoma State two weeks ago might have been a fluke, right? Beating Oklahoma State and Texas Tech in back-to-back games stamps the Cougars as legitimate contenders for a BCS bowl berth. Hey, running the table is never easy, but Houston has earned its elevated position in the rankings after coming back in the final minutes to knock off the Red Raiders, 29-28. What’s more, even the defense is chipping in to an effort usually dominated by QB Case Keenum and the offense.

2. Iowa
First Ohio State. Then Penn State. Now, maybe the Hawkeyes are the team that can carry the Big Ten banner for a while. White out? Pfff. Iowa did the unlikely Saturday night, going into hostile Happy Valley and leaving with a gigantic upset that was built on superior defense and special teams. Doing it the Hawkeye way, with players, like P Ryan Donahue, RB Adam Robinson, DE Adrian Clayborn, LB Pat Angerer, and DT Karl Klug, it’s gotten to 4-0 with a total team effort.

1. Oregon
Given up for dead after the opening day debacle in Boise, the Ducks have rebounded in a most improbable way. Okay, so they were supposed to beat Purdue, and Utah isn’t the same team it was in 2008, but blowing up No. 6 Cal, 42-3? Other than a knee injury to CB Walter Thurmond, it was a perfect afternoon for the home team. The defense held Jahvid Best to a season-low 55 yards and Jeremiah Masoli finally looked like the quarterback that began the season as a Heisman contender.

- ... and Who's Not? (Week 4)