Who's Hot (Oct. 4) ...
Stanford RB Toby Gerhart
Stanford RB Toby Gerhart
Posted Oct 4, 2009

Notre Dame, USC's D, Stanford RB Toby Gerhart, and more. Richard Cirminiello spotlights who the hot players, coaches and programs are in the Week Five Who's Hot.

Who's Hot & Not - Week 5

Oct. 3 Games

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

- Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4

By Richard Cirminiello

- ... and Who's Not? (Week 5)

Who’s Hot …

10. Toledo WR Eric Page
Mainly a quarterback in high school, the true freshman never played wide receiver before this season. Uhh, it looks as if he’s found a permanent home. In his first five games, Page has erupted for a Rocket-high 37 catches for 585 yards and five touchdowns, including at least 100 yards in all but one game. He’s proving to be an ideal complement to equally sizzling Stephen Williams, who caught 10 balls for 231 yards and two scores in the 37-30 win over Ball State.

9. Temple RB Bernard Pierce
Check the Owls’ opening day depth chart. Pierce doesn’t even make a cameo on it. A month later, the true freshman is the centerpiece of the Temple offense. He’s rushed for more than 100 yards in each of the last two weekends, helping the Owls to wins over Buffalo and Eastern Michigan, and an unusually fast start in the MAC.

8. The Cincinnati defense
So much for the Bearcat D being the team’s Achilles’ heel this fall. Bob Diaco has quietly done a brilliant job in his first season in the Queen City, molding a unit that lost 10 starters and a few NFL players to graduation into one of the Big East’s best units. Cincinnati is No. 12 nationally in scoring defense and leads the nation in tackles for loss. Over the weekend, it produced a whopping 10 sacks in the rout of Miami (OH), including four from DE Alex Daniels.

7. Alabama RB Mark Ingram
The Tide hasn’t just found a successor to Glen Coffee as the feature back. It appears to have upgraded. Running with tremendous leverage and leg drive, he’s motored for a team-high 487 yards and six touchdowns, capped by 140 yards and two scores in Lexington on Saturday. Coupled with true freshman Trent Richardson and veterans Roy Upchurch and Terry Grant, ‘Bama is set in the backfield heading into the second half of the year.

6. Auburn head coach Gene Chizik
Funny, but where have are all the cries gone that Chizik is unqualified for a head job in the SEC? Shredded from every angle after he was plucked from an unsuccessful tenure at Iowa State, he has the Tigers sitting at 5-0 and about to enter the Top 25. Beating Tennessee in Knoxville accomplished what the first four victories couldn’t—earning Auburn respect as the next best thing to Florida, Alabama, and LSU in the SEC.

5. Wisconsin
Now that Wisconsin has gone on the road to win a game for the first time, it needs to be added to the official list of contenders in the Big Ten. Just how long that lasts will depend on next weekend’s trip to Columbus. The Badgers have learned how to survive the close ones, winning all four with FBS opponents by eight points or less. One of the heroes has been RB John Clay, who’s busted out of the dog house to rush for 326 yards and four touchdowns in the last two wins over Michigan State and Minnesota.

4. Boston College Assistant Coach Mark Herzlich
Not only is Herzlich on his way to beating cancer, but he’s also been one of the inspirational leaders of the Eagle defense from the sidelines. His teammates have won back-to-back ACC games over Wake Forest and Florida State to get to 4-1 and be back on track for bowl eligibility. The Eagles shut down the ‘Noles for most of the game, while getting 179 yards on the ground from Montel Harris and rare support from David Shinskie and the passing game.

3. Stanford RB Toby Gerhart
Gerhart could be playing major league baseball these days. Instead of wielding the lumber, however, he’s decided to deliver it for a Cardinal team that moved to an improbable 3-0 in the Pac-10 after defeating UCLA. The 6-1, 235-pounder has now bulled his way to more than 100 yards rushing in all four Stanford victories, slapping 134 yards and two touchdowns on a very stingy Bruin D.

2. The USC defense
New faces. Same results. Which school could lose a half-dozen players to the NFL and still be ranked No. 5 nationally in total defense and No. 3 in scoring defense? The Trojans apparently can. And they may be cresting now that Taylor Mays is healthy, and Chris Galippo, Michael Morgan, and Shane Horton are stepping up at linebacker. In Saturday’s destruction of Cal, USC held the Bears to 285 total yards and their lowest point total at home in 11 years.

1. Notre Dame in Nail-biters
After having its hearts broken a month ago in Michigan, the Irish has rallied for three stirring victories over Michigan State, Purdue, and Washington, all by seven points or less and all in the waning moments. With a bad toe that’s prevented him from planting properly, QB Jimmy Clausen has been heroic throughout, throwing for 422 yards and two touchdowns in last weekend’s 37-30 overtime thriller. He also got help from a defense that rose up with a couple of goal line stands that made the extra session possible.

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