Who's Hot & Not
- Week 8
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... and Who's Not? (Week
10. The Ohio Defense
No, not the Buckeyes, the Bobcats. Frank Solich’s kids have 26 takeaways, two more than any other team in the country. They’re stripping in their sleep and have gotten picks from nine different players. Even in Saturday’s loss to Kent State, Ohio had two fumble recoveries and an interception. Now, if only the offense could provide a little support.
9. Troy QB Levi Brown
Matt Barkley is no longer the only prolific hurler from Troy. Brown has been on a tear since the end of the Florida game in Week 2, leading the Trojans to five straight wins. In the last four games, he’s thrown seven touchdown passes without an interception, and just got done strafing North Texas for a career-high 469 yards.
8. Duke QB Thaddeus Lewis
Lewis has had the numbers and now the key wins, guiding the Blue Devils to back-to-back ACC victories for the first time since 1994. Over the last four games, three wins, he’s thrown for 11 touchdowns and more than 1,300 yards, while turning the ball over just once. Two more wins in the final five games will land Duke that coveted and long-awaited bowl bid.
7. Iowa State Head Coach Paul Rhoads
A year after winning just two games and losing its head coach to the SEC, Rhoads has his Cyclones at 5-3 and a win away from bowl eligibility. Iowa State has taken the last two games, including Saturday’s shocker in Lincoln for the first time since 1977. The talent isn’t scary, but just like their rivals in Iowa State, the ‘Clones are finding ways to survive in close, low-scoring games.
6. Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick
Now, this is what everyone expected from Kaepernick before the season began. Literally unstoppable during the Pack’s current four-game winning streak, he’s been a terror on the ground and through the air, accounting for 15 touchdowns and leading the WAC in total offense. In Saturday’s 70-45 ambush of previously-sizzling Idaho, he accounted for six touchdowns and rushed for 230 yards.
5. Florida State QB Christian Ponder
On a team that wasn’t 3-4, Ponder almost certainly would be getting more looks for the Heisman and other individual honors. He’s been the only thing keeping the Seminoles from completely circling the drain this fall. Ranked in the top 10 in passing efficiency and total offense, he’s thrown eight touchdowns without a pick over the last two weeks, leading Florida State from the depths of despair on Thursday for a critical comeback win over North Carolina.
Not since 1982, when Dan Marino was an amateur, have the Panthers enjoyed a better start than they have this fall. At 7-1, Pitt is climbing quickly in the rankings, winning the last four over Big East foes to stand atop the conference standings. On Saturday, the Panthers destroyed a once-feisty South Florida team, 41-14, getting balance on offense and another terrific effort out of the defense.
3. Georgia Tech
The weekend could not have gone much better for the Yellow Jackets. Early in the afternoon, they defeated Virginia in Charlottesville for the first time since 1990 to run their winning streak to five games. Later on in the evening, Tech watched Miami fall in a thriller to Clemson, removing the ‘Canes from the top of the Coastal Division. With a clear path to the title game, the Jackets only need to beat Wake Forest and Duke to play for the ACC championship.
2. Kansas State
If you had the Wildcats atop the Big 12 North on Halloween, go ahead and send your resume to the HR department. Yeah, they’ve yet to play the meat of the schedule, but the ‘Cats deserve a ton of credit for even getting to 5-3 after starting the year with a four-point win over Massachusetts and ugly losses to UL-Lafayette and UCLA. In recent wins over Texas A&M and Colorado, Kansas State has allowed just 20 points while scoring 82.
The Horned Frogs didn’t just beat BYU on Saturday in Provo, they sent out a statement to a curious and somewhat skeptical nation. Before the weekend, the Cougars were averaging 38 points. Against Jerry Hughes, Daryl Washington, and the rest of the TCU defense, they managed a single touchdown and 298 total yards. The Frogs have one more statement opportunity, a Nov. 14 visit from Utah, to make a declaration in that bid for a school-first berth in a BCS bowl game.
... and Who's Not? (Week 8)