Cavalcade of Whimsy
Oct. 20 ... Part 2
- Oct. 20 .. Part 1
The C.O.W. airing of the grievances followed by the feats of strength
Tim Tebow has been mediocre, Sam Bradford has an ouchy shoulder, and Colt McCoy has been underwhelming. The 2009 Heisman race was supposed to be an all-timer, but it quickly fizzled. So now who belongs in the hunt for the top individual prize in all of sports? At the midway point of the season, the ten best college football players so far are …
10. DE Jerry Hughes, Sr. TCU
Everyone’s All-American coming into the season, the devastating speed rusher hasn’t disappointed. Not only is he among the nation’s leaders in sacks (7.5) and tackles for loss (9.5), but he has also made 31 tackles and has been ultra-steady despite being the focus of every teams’ blocking scheme. He started out the year with 11 tackles against Virginia and he has been consistent throughout. And now comes his biggest test with the showdown at BYU up next.
9. DE Jammie Kirlew, Sr. Indiana
2008 wasn’t a fluke. The 6-3, 263-pounder was one of the nation’s most disruptive forces last season, and he has been a one-man wrecking crew at times this year. Along with his 12.5 tackles for loss, he has made 37 tackles and 5.5 sacks, with at least one sack in five of the first seven games, and he came up with nine stops and a sack against Illinois last week. He has been a savior for the Indiana defense and he has been one of the main reasons the team is in a hunt for a bowl game.
8. QB Todd Reesing, Sr. Kansas
He is currently college football’s most exciting player. Reesing has combined with Dezmon Briscoe, who leads the nation in receiving yards per game averaging 134.2, and with Kerry Meier, who is second in the nation in catches per game averaging nine per outing, to be third in the nation in passing yards per game. In his last four games he threw for 338 yards and three scores against Duke, 331 yards and three scores with a pick against Southern Miss, 442 yards and four touchdowns with a pick against Iowa State, and 401 yards and two picks with an interception against Colorado. KU lost to the Buffs, but Reesing put the ball in the hands of Briscoe in the end zone, but the ball fell incomplete.
7. RB Darius Marshall, Jr. Marshall
Second in the nation in rushing averaging 136.5 yards per game with 819 yards and nine touchdowns (and that’s after being suspended for the season opener), Marshall has been everything to a Herd attack that has
him, TE Cody Slate, and nothing else. West Virginia was able to focus everyone to stop him, and he still ran for 82 yards on 25 carries last week. Before that, he ran for 100 yards or more in his first four games, including a 109-yarder against Virginia Tech, and he tore off 203 yards and a score against Memphis. He’s a workhorse, he’s a producer, and he’s the MU offense.
6. QB Jimmy Clausen, Jr. Notre Dame
Clausen finally dropped out of the top spot as the nation’s most efficient passer (currently held by Boise State’s Kellen Moore) but his season goes beyond the mere stats.
The stats are impressive, completing 65% of his passes for 1,894 yards and 14 touchdowns with two interceptions, but his real worth in the program’s resurgence has been the way he brought the offense back from the dead. He hurt his toe against Purdue, but came off the bench to throw the game-winning score. He had Michigan beat with a brilliant late drive, but Tate Forcier one-upped him, and last week, he threw two touchdown passes against a USC pass defense that hadn’t allowed a scoring pass all season. The Heisman would’ve been his if he completed one of his final shots into the end zone.
5. WR Freddie Barnes, Sr. Bowling Green
And you thought Michael Crabtree left college football early. Barnes has made 85 catches over the first seven games of the year; that’s 31 more than the No. 2 man on the list, KU’s Kerry Meier. He is fourth in the nation in receiving yards per game, and leads the country in total receiving yards (his 882 is 91 more than the No. 2 man, Hawaii’s Greg Salas), and he leads the nation with eight touchdown catches. Devastating with the ball in his hands, he also has a rushing score and has been a strong punt returner. But the receptions that has him on this list making 22 for 278 yards and three scores against Kent State, 17 against Marshall, ten against Missouri, and 15 against Troy. How important is he? Bowling Green is last in the nation in rushing. It’s Tyler Sheehan-to-Barnes, or else.
4. RB Ryan Mathews, Jr. Fresno State
The talent was always there, but he was always hurt. Mathews started out last year with 163 yards and three touchdowns against Rutgers, but he missed the second half of the regular season. He tore up Nevada for 171 yards and three scores as a freshman, but he was hurt for stretches throughout the 2007 season. This year, he’s healthy, he’s fast, and he’s ripping up everyone with 974 yards and seven touchdowns, highlighted by a breathtaking 234-yard, three score day against Boise State and last week’s 233-yard, one score game against San Jose State. He not only leads the nation averaging 7.44 yards per carry, but he is averaging close to 26 yards per game than the nation’s No. 2 back, Marshall’s Darius Marshall.
3 RB Mark Ingram, Soph. Alabama
If you’re looking for a signature player for the nation’s No. 1 or 2 team, it’s the bruising sophomore who can’t be stopped
by anyone in the SEC. Ingram started out the season with 150 yards against the vaunted Virginia Tech defense, and while he was used sparingly and was a bit beaten up early on, he has turned his game up a few notches with 100-yard or more in each of his last three games, one touchdown run against everyone but Kentucky, scoring twice against the Cats, and with 19 catches for 186 yards and three scores. Considering all the great backs in Alabama history, it’s saying something that he set the school record with 246 yards last week against a good South Carolina D.
2. DT Ndamukong Suh, Sr. Nebraska
After a breakout 2008 season, when he led the team in tackles, took two interceptions for touchdowns, caught a touchdown pass, and made 7.5 sacks with 19 tackles for loss, the Dominator has shown that he’s the real deal. A near-certain top five pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, and possibly No. 1 overall, he’s quick, agile, and instinctive. Defensive tackles aren’t supposed to move like a linebacker, but Suh already has a pick this year and has broken up seven others. A regular in the backfield, he has come up with three sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss as the ringleader of a great defense. Every game he looks like someone who belongs somewhere making a lot of money for beating up interior linemen.
1. QB Case Keenum, Jr. Houston
That stats are unbelievable. He has thrown for a
nation-leading 2,501 yards, only two other players,
Bowling Green’s Tyler Sheehan and BYU’s Max Hall,
have more than 2,000. He is completing 70% of his passes with a nation-leading 19 touchdowns and just four interceptions, and he’s running, too, with three scores on the ground. But it’s all about wins for a starting quarterback, and although his run defense couldn’t handle UTEP in a big loss (in a game he threw for a season-high 536 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions), he came up with wins at Oklahoma State, Mississippi State, and Texas Tech. He has been consistent throughout the season with 359 yards or more in every game, and over his last 20 games, he has thrown for 300 yards or more 19 times.
Random Acts of Nutty … Provocative musings and tidbits to make every woman want you and every man want to be you (or vice versa) a.k.a. things I didn’t feel like writing bigger blurbs for.
- I’m too lazy to look it up, so I’m just going to assume that no team in college football history had such a massive turnaround against a BCS team from one week to the next as Kansas
State just experienced. After getting blown out by Texas Tech in a 66-14 loss, the Wildcats beat Texas A&M 62-14.
- I fully admit to falling for the banana in the tailpipe when it comes to Nebraska. The Huskers came up with a brilliant four quarter against Missouri, but that’s been in against FBS teams. The offense failed to get into the end zone against Virginia Tech, sputtered against the Tigers, until late, and managed just ten points at home against Texas Tech last week.
- Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett has the arm, so why
wasn't he allowed to try a Hail Mary at the end
instead of a hook-and-lateral that never works? He
needs to get rid of his Kerry Collins at Penn
State-like hitch in his throwing motion.
- It’s that time of year for my annual rant for a goal line cam. There were several instances this weekend when the lack of a camera on the goal line made life harder than it needs to be. There’s no excuse for a network to not place mini-camera over each pylon.
- Could Colorado pull off a phenomenal, mystifying turnaround and win the Big 12 North title? The North stinks, and after the win over Kansas, the Buffs are right in the thick of the chase. Missouri and Nebraska have to come to Boulder, and while there’s a date at Oklahoma State to deal with, the other two road games are against Kansas State and Iowa State. The spark was a quarterback change, and while Tyler Hansen isn’t the passer Cody Hawkins is, he doesn’t make the soul-crushing mistakes.
C.O.W. shameless gimmick item … The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world
1) Overrated: NFL scouting the quarterback showdown at the Red River Rivalry … Underrated: NFL scouting the quarterback showdown last weekend in South Bend
2) Overrated: Boise State at No. 4 in the first BCS rankings … Underrated: Boise State vs. Idaho on November 14
3) Overrated: Stop having boring tuna ... Underrated: Stop having a boring life
4) Overrated: Playing another down for the Oklahoma Sooners ... Underrated: Being the franchise pick of Tennessee, St. Louis, or Cleveland
5) Overrated: Being forced to run the ball in bad weather ... Underrated: New England 59, Tennessee 0
”When the moon is in the Seventh House/And Jupiter aligns with Mars/Then peace will guide the planets/And love will steer the stars …This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius/The age of Aquarius/Aquarius!/Aquarius!” … I went 1-1-1!!! (Balloons coming from the ceiling, bad Gary Glitter music playing, cheerleaders bouncing around pretending to care). I break the 1-2 shame spiral thanks to the Texas tie vs. Oklahoma … Week 8 picks … 1) Georgia Tech -4 over Virginia, 2) Central Michigan -7 at Bowling Green, 3) Texas A&M +21 over Texas Tech
Week 7 Results: 1) Texas -3 over Oklahoma (Texas 16-13 TIE), 2) Arkansas State +2 over ULM (ULM 16-10 LOSS), 3) Notre Dame +10 over USC (USC 34-27 WIN)
… Record So Far: 6-14-1.
My Heisman ballot this week would be (if the college football season ended right now) … 1) Case Keenum, QB Houston, 2) Ndamukong Suh, DT Nebraska, 2) Mark Ingram, RB Alabama
Sorry this column sucked, it wasn’t my fault … The BCS computers liked Boise State more than me even though I won blew out Cal and won at Ohio State and at Notre Dame. Maybe next year I’ll schedule UC Davis and Tulsa to get more respect.
- Oct. 20 .. Part 1