Who's Hot & Not
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... and Who's Hot? (Week
The Tigers believe they can be so much more in football. You can’t tell this season. In the program’s worst season of the decade, Memphis has routinely been manhandled by better competition, dropping each of the last three games to Southern Miss, Memphis, and Tennessee by no less than 19 points. A year removed from appearing in a minor bowl game, the Tigers have just a single win over an FBS opponent.
9. Teams from Washington
The Cougars have lost six straight and might be the worst of the 65 programs from BCS conferences. The Huskies have gone south since stunning USC on Sept. 19, dropping five of the last six, including a 24-23 nail-biter to struggling UCLA on Saturday. Neither program will be making an appearance in the postseason, the sixth straight year that’s occurred.
8. Indiana in Close Games
The Hoosiers have played much better than their 4-6 record this fall, but moral victories do not equal bowl invitations. On Sept. 26, IU held a fourth-quarter lead on Michigan, only to lose 36-33. Three weeks ago, it allowed the final 26 points in a gut-wrenching 29-28 loss to Northwestern. Two weeks, the Hoosiers had unbeaten Iowa on the ropes, but allowed 28 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, falling 42-24. And on Saturday, their own four-quarter rally fell short in Madison, 31-28.
7. The Houston D
Yeah, QB Case Keenum bailed out the Cougars again, but shouldn’t he get a little more help from the other side of the ball? In back-to-back wins over Southern Miss and Tulsa, Houston has allowed 88 points to fall to 116th nationally in total defense and 96th in scoring defense. It’s a good thing Keenum has been on auto-pilot, throwing for more than 1,100 yards and just one pick in those two victories.
6. The Kansas Offense
The defense used to be the main culprit in the program’s four-game slide, but now the offense has gotten in the act as well. Once unstoppable with Todd Reesing behind center and Dezmon Briscoe and Kerry Meier catching his passes, the Jayhawks are now ordinary, averaging less than 15 points over the last three games. The line, in particular has labored badly, failing to create daylight for the backs or much time for Reesing in the pocket.
Geez, talk about a fall from grace. Whatever hope existed in Columbia at 4-0 has evaporated with four ugly losses in the last five games. Rock bottom occurred in Saturday’s 40-32 home loss at the hands of Baylor. No, QB Robert Griffin hasn’t miraculously healed from his season-ending injury. Instead, it was Bear true freshman Nick Florence, who shredded the Tiger secondary for 427 yards and three touchdowns on 32-of-43 passing.
4. Notre Dame’s BCS Bowl Chances
A major January bowl game was the goal this season. Actually, it is every season in South Bend, but it won’t happen after the Irish inexplicably lost to Navy at home for the second time in the last three years. Notre Dame appeared to be running out of gas versus the Middies, digging an early hole and failing to climb out. Now out of the Top 25 and facing road trips at sizzling Pitt and Stanford, the Gator Bowl might be as good as it gets for the Irish.
3. Florida in the Red Zone
The Gators’ problems in the red area will eventually come back to haunt them, right? It’s hard to imagine, but the nation’s top-ranked team is among the nation’s worst at scoring touchdowns deep in enemy territory, succeeding less than half the times it gets inside the 20. Now, Florida improved slightly against Vanderbilt, but still only managed to score 27 points. At South Carolina and against one of the nation’s better red zone defenses ought to be a very interesting challenge for the Gators this week.
2. LSU Line Play
Considering the amount of talent on both sides of the ball, it’s almost incomprehensible how bad the Tigers have been in 2009. On offense, LSU has yielded 26 sacks, ranking it 105th in the country. On defense, the Bengals have just a dozen sacks, which is 96th in the country. Their inability to win the battles in the trenches is one of the key reasons Alabama is headed to the SEC title game in Atlanta next month.
1. Oklahoma Outside Norman
Okay, so the Nebraska defense has been exceptional this season, but can you manage more than a lousy field goal in Lincoln, the team’s lowest output in 11 years? For the season, the Sooners are 1-4 away from Norman, losing twice in Dallas, once in Miami, and Saturday night in Nebraska. In those games, the offense has completely disappeared, and QB Landry Jones has been, at best, erratic, throwing five picks to three different Huskers.
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