Unheralded Game-Changers Who Will Shape the BCS Rankings

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IOctober 10, 2012

Unheralded Game-Changers Who Will Shape the BCS Rankings

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    Sometimes it's the players beneath the surface who push their respective teams past the opposition.

    With so many teams and players in college football's landscape, it's easy to forget about some difference-makers who are critical for their teams, whether it be on offense or defense.

    For some players, they fly below the radar because their teams aren't as widely recognized. For others, it's simply a matter of other big games overshadowing them.

    But you can't be an elite team without a few stars and there are a few diamonds in the rough this season who are making a huge impact on the field.

    Here's a look at 10 unheralded game-changers I see shaping the BCS rankings moving forward.

    Note: All stats via cfbstats.com unless otherwise noted.

10. LaDarius Perkins, RB, Mississippi State

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    LaDarius Perkins has averaged 6.1 yards per carry while notching six touchdowns in his junior campaign this season.

    He's been a rock for a Mississippi State team currently ranked No. 19 in the nation and he rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries against Kentucky last week.

    Sure, the Bulldogs haven't played anyone of great significance so far this season, but there's no denying the improvement Perkins has made.

9. Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State

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    Sophomore defensive end Scott Crichton was ranked No. 44 at his position in the 2010 class by Rivals.com.

    Not bad for a guy who has six sacks (tied for 12th in the nation) and nine tackles for loss in four games this season.

    Last season, Crichton racked up 74 tackles, six sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss.

    He's part of the reason why the Beavers are allowing just 17.0 points per game and ranked No. 10 in the nation so far.

8. Colby Cameron, QB, Louisiana Tech

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    Louisiana Tech is allowing 35.8 points per game (109th in the nation) this season, but a big reason why the Bulldogs are 5-0 and ranked No. 23 in the country is because of senior quarterback Colby Cameron.

    Cameron has completed 68 percent of his passes for 8.1 yards per attempt and 13 touchdowns to zero interceptions this season.

7. Matt Elam, S, Florida

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    Matt Elam was all over the field in Florida's 14-6 upset of then-No. 4 LSU last week, actually outplaying highly touted Tigers safety Eric Reid.

    His impact hasn't shown up as much in his numbers this season (one interception, three tackles for loss), but his importance to Florida cannot be overstated.

    Elam had 11 tackles for loss and broke up seven passes as a sophomore last season.

6. John Simon, DE, Ohio State

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    A lot has been made about sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller this season (and for good reason), but don't forget about the impact senior John Simon has had for Ohio State.

    Simon has notched three sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss in 2012, but he exploded against Nebraska last week, notching five tackles for loss and two sacks in that game alone.

    Last season, Simon racked up seven sacks and 16 tackles for loss.

5. Markus Wheaton, WR, Oregon State

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    Senior receiver Markus Wheaton has been huge for Oregon State this season, posting 498 receiving yards (22nd in the nation) and four touchdowns while averaging 13.8 yards per reception. 

    That includes a nine-catch, 150-yard, one-touchdown performance against UCLA.

    Wheaton caught 73 balls for 986 yards and a touchdown as a junior last season for the Beavers.

4. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

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    First of all, freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel has completed 69 percent of his passes for 8.6 yards per attempt (17th in the nation) while notching 11 passing touchdowns and two interceptions.

    On top of that, Manziel has 495 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground.

    It's no wonder why No. 22 Texas A&M is averaging 44.6 points per game (eighth in the nation) this season.

    It should be a great matchup between Manziel and Louisiana Tech quarterback Colby Cameron this week in Shreveport.

3. Jawan Jamison, RB, Rutgers

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    Sophomore running back Jawan Jamison has not only rushed for 601 yards and two touchdowns this season, he's racked up 114 yards and a touchdown through the air. He ranks 14th in the nation in yards from scrimmage per game (143.0).

    It's been a breakout campaign for Jamison and his impact is evident in Rutgers' 5-0 record.

2. Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State

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    The word is already out to an extent on senior cornerback Johnthan Banks, but I still don't think he gets enough credit for the impact he can make on a game.

    Banks has notched three interceptions this season (tied for ninth in the nation). That's after racking up five interceptions, eight tackles for loss, three sacks and three forced fumbles last season.

    Mississippi State is allowing opposing quarterbacks to average just 5.6 yards per attempt this season and has allowed three passing touchdowns while registering nine interceptions. Banks is the central force behind the imposing secondary.

1. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State

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    Collin Klein is finally beginning to receive some recognition with Kansas State ranked No. 6 in the nation, but I still feel he's unheralded to an extent.

    Klein has not only completed 67 percent of his passes for 9.5 yards per attempt while throwing seven touchdowns to two interceptions, he's rushed for 405 yards and seven touchdowns.

    Kansas State is currently 5-0 and averaging 43.6 points per game (11th in the nation). It's not a mystery why.