Lessons We Learned from College Football Week 8
Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE
Week 8 of the college football season didn't provide us with any truly shocking upsets that really shook up the top of the BCS standings.
However, there were still a lot of interesting developments that took place.
Here's a look at the important lessons we learned from this past weekend's action.
Collin Klein Is the Clear Heisman Front-Runner
Peter G. Aiken-US PRESSWIRE
Kansas State QB Collin Klein had arguably the most impressive individual performance that we've seen so far this season with his tremendous showing against West Virginia on Saturday.
Klein totaled 364 yards of offense and accounted for all seven of his team's touchdowns (three passing, four rushing) in the 55-14 victory over the Mountaineers in Morgantown.
That type of awe-inspiring performance has now helped the star senior signal-caller establish himself as the clear-cut Heisman front-runner as we head into the stretch run of the season.
The past two winners of the award, Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III, were both dynamic dual-threat quarterbacks. It appears that Klein has a great shot to keep that trend going in 2012.
Geno Smith’s Heisman Hopes Are Dwindling
Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE
It wasn't that long ago that we were talking about West Virginia QB Geno Smith as the Heisman front-runner. However, Smith's struggles in the last two games, which have both been blowout losses, have knocked him down the list of candidates.
Against Kansas State on Saturday, Smith broke Trent Dilfer's record of 273 pass attempts without throwing an interception, but just after setting the record, he proceeded to throw two picks.
In the end, he only managed to throw for 143 yards against the Wildcats.
Considering Robert Griffin III had three losses on his resume and still won the Heisman Trophy last year, obviously, all hope is not lost for Smith. However, he's got some serious work to do in the coming weeks if he wants to climb back into the race.
Kansas State Is a True National Title Contender
Scott Sewell-US PRESSWIRE
Last year, Kansas State turned out to be one of the biggest surprise stories of the season, as the Wildcats went from a preseason unranked afterthought to a 10-game-winner. However, even after that statement campaign, the Wildcats didn't enter the 2012 season ranked in the top 20 in either of the major polls.
For the second year in a row, however, Bill Snyder's squad has surpassed expectations.
Kansas State not only looks like the current favorite to win the Big 12 title; the Wildcats also look like they belong in the national championship conversation as well.
With games against Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, TCU, Baylor and Texas still left on the schedule, obviously, there's still a lot of work left to be done. But right now, Kansas State looks like it could potentially make a run to the national championship game this season.
Just like Auburn in 2010, the Wildcats have a dominant dual-threat quarterback who has game-changing ability. Plus, they have enough quality veteran playmakers on both sides of the ball to beat everybody on their remaining schedule.
West Virginia’s Defense Is Actually Worse Than We Thought
After pitiful performances against Baylor, Texas and Texas Tech, we already knew West Virginia's defense was full of holes. However, the unit managed to reach a new low against Kansas State.
The Mountaineers gave up 479 total yards and 55 points to the Wildcats, and they basically didn't even look like they wanted to be out on the field.
The West Virginia defenders can't tackle, they can't cover, and they can't rush the passer. There's simply no heart, no toughness and no passion on the defensive side of the ball right now.
I guess these are the kind of results you should expect when you hire a special teams coach to run your defense.
AJ McCarron Is Just Fine
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Last week, there was a lot of speculation concerning the true health of Alabama QB AJ McCarron's knee, which he injured in a 42-10 win over Missouri in Week 7.
Rumors even started swirling that McCarron had torn cartilage in his knee, a report which the quarterback adamantly refuted.
McCarron certainly didn't seem to be showing any ill-effects on Saturday, as he led the Tide to a huge 44-13 victory over Tennessee.
The junior signal-caller completed 17 of his 22 passes for 306 yards and four touchdowns.
If he keeps up his current pace, and if Alabama keeps destroying opponents, there's a great chance McCarron could earn himself an invitation to the Heisman ceremony in New York City.
Florida Deserves Its No. 2 Ranking
Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
There were a lot of SEC haters who whined after it was revealed that Florida had been placed at the No. 2 spot behind Alabama in the first BCS standings. But the Gators went out and backed up their position by thumping then No. 7 ranked South Carolina 44-11 on Saturday.
The Gators have now beaten three Top 25 teams, including two Top 10 teams, LSU and South Carolina.
Will Muschamp has done an outstanding job of turning the program around after a rough first season in Gainesville, and the Gators now look like they can compete with any other team in the country.
If Florida can beat rival Georgia down in Jacksonville on Saturday, the Gators will clinch the SEC East division title and earn themselves a trip to Atlanta for a huge showdown with either Alabama or LSU.
Jeff Driskel Is Developing into a Leader
Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
During the offseason, a lot of Florida fans wondered if Jeff Driskel would even win the starting quarterback job, and if he did, what exactly should be expected from him in his first year as a starter.
Driskel arrived in Gainesville last year as the most heralded quarterback prospect of the 2011 recruiting class, but he didn't exactly look all that stellar during spot duty as a freshman.
So far this season, however, he's been as good as anyone could have hoped. Driskel's led the Gators to a 7-0 start and a No. 2 ranking in the current BCS standings.
The athletic sophomore signal-caller hasn't put up huge passing numbers, but he's made great decisions with the ball and he's developed into a true offensive leader over the past few games.
Great Defenses Can Make Johnny Manziel Look Average
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Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel earned the label of "freshman sensation" following his brilliant breakout performance in the first half of the season. However, the LSU defense gave Manziel a big reality check on Saturday.
The Tigers picked off the young dual-threat quarterback three times and limited him to just 27 rushing yards on 17 carries.
Luckily for Manziel, he'll get the opportunity to redeem himself on Saturday against an Auburn defense that has looked absolutely terrible so far this season.
LSU Needs to Play More Disciplined
LSU may have picked up a critical road win at Texas A&M on Saturday. However, if the Tigers didn't commit so many foolish penalties, they would have likely won by a much larger margin than 24-19.
The Tigers committed 13 penalties, which resulted in a loss of 102 yards of field position.
If Les Miles' squad wants to truly contend for an SEC championship this season, that type of sloppy, undisciplined play simply isn't going to cut it.
Kenjon Barner Is Oregon’s Offensive MVP
Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
De'Anthony Thomas has been the most talked-about player on the Oregon offense so far this season. However, the Ducks' true offensive MVP in 2012 has been RB Kenjon Barner.
Barner had to wait three years behind LaMichael James, but now that he's finally gotten his chance to be the starter in the backfield, he's making the most of the opportunity.
The explosive senior back has already rushed for 870 yards and 12 touchdowns and caught 11 passes for 111 yards and another score.
Thomas may be the more exciting and electric playmaker, but it's Barner who's been the real heart and soul of Oregon's high-powered offensive attack.
Florida State and Clemson Are the ACC’s Top Two Teams
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It's a shame that Florida State and Clemson are both in the same division, as that means we won't get to see the ACC's actual two best teams play in the conference championship game in Charlotte on Dec. 1.
The Seminoles and the Tigers are both head and shoulders above everybody else in the league this season.
This past weekend, Florida State went down to Miami and disposed of the Hurricanes 33-20, while Clemson beat up on Virginia Tech 38-17.
The Coastal division is so bad this year, that the only team that's eligible for the postseason and above .500 right now is Duke.
T.J. Yeldon and Amari Cooper Are Special Freshmen
Randy Sartin-US PRESSWIRE
Alabama has gotten some key early contributions from two of the most highly touted prospects of its 2012 recruiting class, RB T.J. Yeldon and WR Amari Cooper.
Yeldon and Cooper have both become instant impact players for the Tide's offense this season.
This past weekend against Tennessee, the two players combined to total 291 yards of offense and account for four of the team's six touchdowns in the 44-13 victory.
Yeldon looks like he's destined to be the team's next great back, following in the footsteps of Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson, while Cooper looks like he has the chance to become a Julio Jones-esque receiving star in Tuscaloosa.
Bill Snyder’s Still Got the Magic Touch
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73-year-old Bill Snyder may be the oldest head coach at the FBS level. However, he's still managing to beat coaches who weren't even born when he started his coaching career all the way back in 1962.
With a win over West Virginia, Snyder's Kansas State team is now 17-3 since the start of the 2011 season.
Snyder already has two appearances in the Fiesta Bowl on his resume, and he's now on track to add a third one this season.
Joseph Randle Is an Elite Back
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Joseph Randle was plagued by some fumbling problems earlier in the season. However, it now seems that Randle has fixed his flaws and begun to thrive in his role as the focal point of the Oklahoma State offense.
The dynamic junior playmaker had one of the best games of his career against Iowa State on Saturday. rushing for 151 yards and two touchdowns in the 31-10 win.
Randle is currently averaging 147 yards of offense per game, and he's proving that he definitely belongs in the conversation with the sport's other elite star running backs.
Kenny Guiton Has Poise
Greg Bartram-US PRESSWIRE
"Poise" is a word that the ESPN announcing crew used a whole lot during Ohio State's final drive of regulation when backup quarterback Kenny Guiton helped guide the Buckeyes to a touchdown and a game-tying two-point conversion with just three seconds left.
Guiton continued to get the job done in overtime, as he led Ohio State to a 29-22 win over Purdue.
Braxton Miller's status for Saturday's game against Penn State is still unknown at this point, so we may see more of Guiton against the Nittany Lions if Miller's not fully recovered from the injury that sent him to the hospital.
Stepfan Taylor Can Put the Stanford Offense on His Back
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Stanford QB Josh Nunes didn't look particularly sharp against Cal on Saturday, as he completed just 16 of his 31 passes. However, Nunes was bailed out by his running back Stepfan Taylor, who put together a monster performance.
Taylor carried the ball 28 times for 189 yards and a touchdown, as he helped propel the Cardinal to a 21-3 win.
The senior back has become the centerpiece of the offense now that Andrew Luck's gone, and Taylor's responded by showing that he's got what it takes to be a true workhorse.
Stanford’s Run Defense Is Stifling
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Not only did Stanford find great success running the ball on Saturday against Cal; the Cardinal defense balanced things out by completely shutting down the Bears' rushing attack.
The Bears finished the game with a 0.1 yards per carry average on 28 total rushes.
Stanford's defense, which features one of the best linebacker trios in the country comprised of Chase Thomas, Shayne Skov and Trent Murphy, currently ranks fourth in the nation in rushing defense, allowing an average of just 77 yards on the ground per game.
Guess who happens to be playing Oregon on Nov. 17?
The Ducks better beware, because the Cardinal's defensive front-seven is certainly capable of containing their vaunted rushing attack.
Texas Tech Is a Threat in the Big 12
Kevin Jairaj-US PRESSWIRE
Following a huge win over West Virginia in Week 7, Texas Tech went on the road and picked up another important Big 12 victory in a wild 56-53 triple-overtime shootout at TCU.
The Red Raiders are now 6-1 and 3-1 in the Big 12. Given the way QB Seth Doege is throwing the ball this season, it looks like they could make some serious noise in the conference in 2012.
We'll find out just how big of a threat Tommy Tuberville's team really is this Saturday when Texas Tech visits No. 3 Kansas State.
Tyler Bray and Logan Thomas Need to Return to School
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During the offseason, Tennessee's Tyler Bray and Virginia Tech's Logan Thomas were being hailed as the two best eligible underclassmen quarterback prospects for the 2013 NFL draft. However, neither player has come close to living up to expectations this season.
Bray has completed just 59 percent of his passes and thrown nine interceptions. Plus, he hasn't looked sharp against any of the four tough SEC defenses he's faced.
Thomas has looked even worse, completing just 53 percent of his passes and throwing 10 interceptions.
Following their struggles this past Saturday, both junior signal-callers now have four losses on their 2012 resumes. It's clear that both players should return for their senior years, because neither of them is ready to face an NFL-caliber defense yet.
Oklahoma and USC Are Lurking
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE
A lot of people tossed Oklahoma and USC to the side after the teams both experienced early-season losses. However, the Sooners and the Trojans are slowly working their way back up the rankings.
Both teams took care of business against weak opponents on Saturday, as Oklahoma beat Kansas 52-7 while USC beat Colorado 50-6.
The No. 8 Sooners and the No. 9 Trojans obviously need some help if they want to get back into the national title race. But if they both win out and finish with just one-loss, it's not out of the realm of possibilities that one could end up in the BCS championship game if the other top teams falter.
The Texas Defense Is Not Up to Snuff
The Texas defense may have lost LB Jordan Hicks and DE Jackson Jeffcoat to injury. However, the unit still has plenty of talented difference-makers such as DE Alex Okafor, LB Steve Edmond, cornerbacks Carrington Byndom and Quandre Diggs and safety Kenny Vaccaro.
That's why it's been so surprising to see the defense get absolutely throttled in recent games against West Virginia, Oklahoma and most recently Baylor.
In their last three games, the Longhorns have given up an average of 53 points and 581 yards per game.
Luckily, RB Joe Bergeron bailed the team out with a huge performance, rushing for five touchdowns in a 56-50 win over the Bears on Saturday.
At this point, replacing massively overrated defensive coordinator Manny Diaz has to be something that Mack Brown seriously considers or else it won't be too much longer before he himself gets replaced in Austin.
Rutgers’ Defense Is for Real
Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE
Texas' defense may be a huge disappointment, but one defense that certainly hasn't disappointed this year is the one at Rutgers.
The Scarlet Knights currently rank third in the nation in scoring defense and 14th in total defense, allowing just 11 points and 299 yards per game.
This past Saturday, the defense held Temple to just 10 points and 191 total yards and forced three key turnovers.
Sure, the Owls may not have a high-powered offense, but you still have to appreciate that kind of defensive dominance.
Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood Are a Dangerous Duo
Matt Cashore-US PRESSWIRE
Notre Dame running backs Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood both played a huge part in helping the Irish take care of business with a hard-fought 17-14 victory over BYU on Saturday.
Riddick and Wood combined to rush for 257 yards on 33 carries.
Both backs are big, physical and athletic playmakers who complement each other very well.
If Notre Dame wants to truly compete for a BCS bowl berth this season, the Irish will need to continue to get big performances out of Riddick and Wood throughout the rest of the season.
...And so Are Montee Ball and James White
Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE
Another running back duo that combined forces and made a big statement on Saturday was Wisconsin's backfield tandem of Montee Ball and James White.
Ball and White combined to rush for 341 yards and five touchdowns in a 38-13 win over Minnesota.
Since the start of the 2011 season, White has had to take a backseat to Ball. However, the junior back definitely didn't take a backseat to him on Saturday, as he outran his backfield counterpart by nine yards on nine fewer carries.
Duke Is Going Bowling
Duke hasn't been to the postseason since it made an appearance in the 1995 Hall of Fame Bowl. However, it looks like the Blue Devils are going to end that drought this season following their sixth win of the year over rival North Carolina on Saturday.
David Cutcliffe's team isn't necessarily guaranteed a bowl invitation if it loses its next four games and ends up at 6-6. Nevertheless, with the way things stand right now, there's a very good chance that Duke will end up going to one of the nine bowl games that the ACC is partnered with.
Oregon State Can Win Ugly
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Oregon State only held the ball for 25 minutes and 32 seconds and only totaled 227 yards of offense. But in the end, the Beavers did what they had to do in order to pick up a 21-7 win at home against Utah.
Mike Riley's team benefited from four Utah turnovers, and they got a solid outing from budding freshman star running back Storm Woods, who scored all three of the team's touchdowns.
With starting quarterback Sean Mannion expected to return from a knee injury soon, the Beavers could definitely give in-state rival Oregon a serious run in the Pac-12 North division this season.
Todd Gurley Has Slowed Down
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Georgia RB Todd Gurley was the most impressive freshman player in the country in September. Gurley enjoyed a remarkable start to his college career, as he rushed for over 100 yards in four out of his first five games and totaled 10 touchdowns during that time.
The breakout star back has slowed down in the Bulldogs' last two games, however, only rushing for a combined 86 yards against South Carolina and Kentucky.
It will be interesting to see what Gurley can do against Florida's 10th-ranked rush defense on Saturday when Georgia battles Florida down in Jacksonville.
Auburn’s Season Has Become a Full-Blown Disaster
John Reed-US PRESSWIRE
Auburn's season has officially spiraled completely out of control. Following a 17-13 loss to Vanderbilt on Saturday, the Tigers are now 1-6, which is the team's worst start since 1952.
Gene Chizik's team has just not been able to get anything going on offense no matter who's been under center. The Tigers currently rank dead last in the SEC in scoring offense and total offense, averaging just 15 points and 277 yards per game.
What makes things even worse is that the defense has been almost just as pitiful, as the unit's given up an average of 411 yards per game.
With games against Texas A&M, Georgia and Alabama still left on the schedule, it's hard to expect anything more than a 4-8 record for the Tigers this season.
Bill O’Brien Has Revitalized the Penn State Offense
Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE
Penn State's offense was stuck in neutral during the first two weeks of the season. But the Nittany Lions have really kicked it into overdrive in recent weeks.
Bill O'Brien has helped develop a dangerous passing attack, which is currently averaging 257 yards through the air per game.
The team's consistent offensive success has helped the Nittany Lions win five straight games, including a big road win at Iowa this past weekend, as they've compiled a surprising 5-2 record to start the season.
O'Brien deserves a ton of credit for what he's been able to do with an offense that lost its two best returning players, RB Silas Redd and WR Justin Brown, in the offseason.
Watch out for Arizona
Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
After starting off the season 3-0, Arizona plummeted back down to earth, losing three straight games to superior teams, Oregon, Oregon State and Stanford.
The Wildcats managed to bounce back in a big way this past weekend with a huge 52-17 win over Washington.
Rich Rodriguez's offense currently ranks first in the Pac-12 in passing offense, first in total offense and second in scoring offense.
USC will come to Tucson on Saturday. The Trojans defense better make sure it's properly prepared or the game could turn into a wild offensive shootout.
Jadeveon Clowney and Stephon Tuitt Are Ready for the NFL Right Now
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
There are plenty of outstanding defensive ends in college football this season.
LSU's tandem of Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo, Florida State's duo of Bjoern Werner and Tank Carradine, Texas A&M's Damontre Moore, Texas' Alex Okafor and Oregon's Dion Jordan are a few star edge-rushers who seem destined to become high picks in next year's NFL draft.
You can make the argument, however, that the two most impressive defensive ends of 2012 have been true sophomores, South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney and Notre Dame's Stephon Tuitt.
Clowney and Tuitt continued their dominant campaigns on Saturday, as they both appeared to be simply unblockable.
Against Florida, Clowney totaled a sack, two tackles for loss and four solo tackles, while Tuitt totaled 1.5 sacks, 1.5 tackles for loss and helped the Irish limit BYU to just 66 total rushing yards.
If the two players were allowed to enter the 2013 draft, they both look like they would be top-15 picks. However, because of the NFL's eligibility rule, they'll have to wait.
That certainly isn't a bad thing for college football fans, though, as it means that we'll get to enjoy watching them for one more season in 2013.
Tavon Austin Can Always Be Counted on for a Big Play
Rob Christy-US PRESSWIRE
West Virginia may have turned in an utterly embarrassing performance in a 55-14 loss at home to Kansas State. However, one Mountaineer who certainly didn't embarrass himself was WR Tavon Austin.
Austin proved that even when his team is struggling mightily, he can still provide an explosive spark.
Near the end of the first half, the senior speedster took a Kansas State kickoff 100 yards back for a touchdown, cutting the Wildcats' lead to 28-7. However, the West Virginia defense couldn't hold up its end of the bargain, as Kansas State came right back down the field to score before halftime.
Michigan Is Turning Things Around
Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE
Michigan's two losses to Alabama and Notre Dame are starting to look a lot more understandable now that the Tide and the Irish are each ranked in the Top Five of the BCS standings.
The Wolverines have recovered from a disappointing 2-2 start, and they've since managed to win three straight Big Ten games with the most recent victory coming against hated in-state rival Michigan State on Saturday.
That last-second 12-10 win has now moved Brady Hoke's squad to 3-0 in the conference, and it's set the team up to make a run at a Big Ten Legends division title and a berth in the conference championship game.
Michigan State Is a Big Disappointment
Michigan may be regrouping and readying for a run at a conference championship. But the team the Wolverines just beat, Michigan State, looks like it's headed in the complete opposite direction.
The Spartans have lost three out of their last four games, and they've turned into one of the most disappointing teams of 2012.
With games against Wisconsin, Nebraska and Northwestern coming up, coach Mark Dantonio better whip his team into shape in a hurry or Michigan State might not even make it to a bowl game this year.
Tyler Russell Is Developing into a Dangerous Passer
Spruce Derden-US PRESSWIRE
During the past two seasons, Tyler Russell certainly wasn't known for being an accurate passer. However, now that he's become the full-time starter at Mississippi State, he's managed to become a truly dangerous passer in 2012.
Russell completed 17 of his 21 passes for 191 yards and three touchdowns in a 45-3 win over Middle Tennessee State on Saturday.
Sure, the Blue Raiders don't exactly have a great secondary. Nevertheless, the junior signal-caller is still starting to show that his accuracy has dramatically improved this season.
It will be very interesting to see how Russell fares against the secondaries of Alabama and LSU.
Northwestern Needs to Figure out How to Close Games
For the second time in the last three weeks, Northwestern squandered a 14-10 halftime lead and ended up losing to a Big Ten opponent.
In Week 6, the Wildcats fell apart at Penn State and eventually lost 39-28 after giving up 22 fourth-quarter points.
This past weekend, they gave up 13 fourth-quarter points in a 29-28 loss to Nebraska.
After starting off the season 5-0, Northwestern is now 6-2 and just 2-2 in Big Ten play.
Iowa State Is Not a Top 25 Team
Iowa State made its first ever appearance in the BCS standings last week, but the Top 25 ranking didn't last very long.
The Cyclones failed to step up and prove that they were really worthy of the ranking, as they got manhandled by Oklahoma State 31-10 in Stillwater.
Paul Rhoads' squad is a tough and feisty bunch that has some solid talent on both sides of the ball, but Iowa State simply doesn't belong in the Top 25 this season.
...And Neither Is Cincinnati
Cincinnati is another team that made an exit from the Top 25 after a loss in Week 8.
The Bearcats were upset by Toledo 29-23 on Saturday, which proved that they didn't deserve to be ranked in the first place.
The only notable win on Cincinnati's 2012 resume is an upset victory over Virginia Tech back in Week 4. However, given the Hokies' struggles this season, that win looks a lot less impressive at this point.
The MAC Race Is Going to Be Interesting
The MAC is a conference that doesn't get a whole lot of national publicity. However, this year's race for a league title is definitely shaping up to be one that's going to be worth following.
There are now two one-loss teams in each division.
In the East division, Kent State is 6-1 and 4-0 in conference play and Ohio is 7-0 and 3-0 in conference play. In the West Division, Toledo and Northern Illinois are both 7-1 and 4-0 in conference play.
Toledo vs. Northern Illinois on Nov. 14 and Ohio vs. Kent State on Nov. 23 are two important matchups that will likely decide which teams end up in Detroit for the MAC championship game on Nov. 30.
Arizona State Isn’t Ready to Play with the Big Boys
Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE
Arizona State went into last Thursday night's game against Oregon with a 5-1 record. The Sun Devils wanted to show that they could give the Pac-12's premier program a good fight in front of their "blacked out" home crowd.
Things didn't end up going all that great for Todd Graham's squad, however, as the Ducks came out and built up a quick 43-7 lead before the Sun Devils could even catch their breath.
You have to give credit to Arizona State for the start that it put together. But with an upcoming schedule that includes opponents such as UCLA, Oregon State, USC and Arizona, it doesn't look like the fans in Tempe will be seeing many more wins in 2012.
Steve Spurrier's Reactions Are Remarkably Entertaining
Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
If you watched the Florida-South Carolina game on Saturday, then you got to see a whole lot of Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier.
CBS gleefully showed Spurrier's distraught and agitated antics after every one of his team's miscues, and there were certainly a lot of them.
Spurrier may be 67, but he's still highly invested in his team's successes and failures, and he loves to display his emotions for all to see.
Teddy Bridgewater Is Clutch
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Louisville came close to losing its first game of the season against South Florida on Saturday. But luckily, QB Teddy Bridgewater saved the Cardinals from defeat by tossing a late 11-yard touchdown pass that helped them edge the Bulls 27-25.
After a very encouraging freshman campaign last year, Bridgewater has taken the next step in his development and truly become a reliable offensive leader in 2012.
The talented sophomore signal-caller has completed 73 percent of his passes for 1,600 yards and thrown 11 touchdowns compared to just three interceptions, as he's led Louisville to a 7-0 start.
San Diego State Will Be a Factor in the Mountain West
Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE
Boise State may have come into the season as the consensus favorite to win the Mountain West in 2012. However, the Broncos may have to watch out for San Diego State.
The Aztecs just pulled off a huge win on the road against a Nevada team that came into the weekend at 6-1. Backup quarterback Adam Dingwell stepped in for injured starter Ryan Katz and helped lead the team to a wild 39-38 victory in overtime.
San Diego State may not have QB Ryan Lindley or RB Ronnie Hillman any longer. But the Aztecs do have three of the most talented players in the conference—TE Gavin Escobar, CB Leon McFadden and LB Jake Fely, who have all stepped up in a big way in 2012.
Rocky Long's squad is now 3-1 in conference play, and it has a big matchup with Boise State coming up on Nov. 3.
Kenneth Dixon Deserves More Attention
Peter Casey-US PRESSWIRE
Louisiana Tech has one of the most powerful and potent offensive attacks in college football this season. The Bulldogs currently rank first in the nation in scoring offense and second in total offense, averaging 56 points and 581 yards per game.
The dangerous passing duo of QB Colby Cameron and WR Quinton Patton has received most of the accolades and credit for the unit's success. However, RB Kenneth Dixon has played a critical role as well.
Dixon had the best game of his young career on Saturday in a 70-28 blowout victory over Idaho. The fantastic freshman rushed for 232 yards on just 17 carries and found the end zone on six different occasions.
Following that huge performance, Dixon now currently leads the nation with 16 rushing touchdowns.
Kasey Carrier Deserves Some Props as Well
Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE
New Mexico's Kasey Carrier is another running back from a non-BCS school who deserves a ton of recognition for his Week 8 performance.
Carrier rushed for a whopping 338 yards and three touchdowns in a 28-23 loss to Air Force on Saturday.
After a slow start to the season, the junior back has really come on strong over the last few weeks, and he now ranks fifth in the nation with 968 rushing yards.
Mario Cristobal Should Have Left FIU When He Had the Chance
Robert Mayer-US PRESSWIRE
Back in January, Florida International head coach Mario Cristobal reportedly received an offer to become the next head coach at Rutgers, where he was once an assistant under Greg Schiano.
Cristobal surprisingly turned down the offer, however, and instead decided to stay put at the Sun Belt program he had helped build up.
It's a decision that he now likely regrets.
After a heartbreaking loss to Troy on Saturday, the Golden Panthers are now just 1-7 this season.
Rutgers, on the other hand, is 7-0 and making a run at a Big East championship and a BCS bowl berth under first-year coach Kyle Flood.
It doesn't look like Cristobal will have to worry about turning down any offers from BCS schools this offseason. If the losses keep piling up, he may even have to worry about just keeping his job at FIU.
The Top 10 Heisman Contenders Are...
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1. QB Collin Klein, Kansas State
2. QB Braxton Miller, Ohio State
3. QB Geno Smith, West Virginia
4. QB AJ McCarron, Alabama
5. LB Manti Te’o, Notre Dame
6. RB Kenjon Barner, Oregon
7. WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia
8. QB Matt Barkley, USC
9. QB EJ Manuel, Florida State
10. QB Seth Doege, Texas Tech
The Top 10 2013 NFL Draft Prospects Are...
Pat Lovell-US PRESSWIRE
1. DT Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State
2. OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
3. DE Sam Montgomery, LSU
4. DE Bjoern Werner, Florida State
5. QB Geno Smith, West Virginia
6. DT Star Lotulelei, Utah
7. ILB Manti Te’o, Notre Dame
8. WR Keenan Allen, California
9. OLB Jarvis Jones, Georgia
10. QB Matt Barkley, USC
The Top 10 Hot Seat Coaches Are...
Randy Sartin-US PRESSWIRE
1. Derek Dooley, Tennessee
2. Frank Spaziani, Boston College
3. Joker Phillips, Kentucky
4. Jeff Tedford, California
5. Skip Holtz, South Florida
6. Kevin Wilson, Indiana
7. Jon Embree, Colorado
8. Gene Chizik, Auburn
9. Doug Marrone, Syracuse
10. Rich Ellerson, Army
The Top 10 Teams Are...
Randy Sartin-US PRESSWIRE
1. Alabama Crimson Tide
2. Florida Gators
3. Kansas State Wildcats
4. Oregon Ducks
5. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
6. LSU Tigers
7. USC Trojans
8. Oklahoma Sooners
9. Florida State Seminoles
10. Ohio State Buckeyes