10 College Football Players and Coaches Sure to Flop in Week 8
With several difficult college football matchups ahead, many coaches and players are set to fall flat on their faces in Week 8.
Some will run into a formidable opponent that just can’t be beat. Others will be done in by their own mistakes and shortcomings.
Regardless, these players and coaches will put in a performance that will have college football fans talking for all the wrong reasons.
Here are 10 of them who are a sure bet to flop this weekend.
Player: J.W. Walsh, Oklahoma State
Week 8 Matchup: vs. TCU (3-3), Oct. 19, 12 p.m. ET
Although the Cowboys are 4-1, quarterback J.W. Walsh’s play has been decent at best.
After a solid first two weeks, the sophomore has struggled over his last three, completing less than 60 percent of his passes in two of those games. That includes tossing two picks on just 42.6 percent passing in a 30-21 loss to West Virginia on Sept. 28.
Just last weekend, Walsh had to rely on a late touchdown to escape with a 33-29 victory over 2-3 Kansas State.
Needless to say, he hasn’t played like a quarterback who is leading an Oklahoma State squad picked to win the Big 12 title during the preseason.
Now, the team goes up against a Horned Frogs defense that has regained its swagger. One that has held the last two quarterbacks it’s faced to under 160 yards through the air.
Most recently, the unit put together a dominating effort against Kansas last weekend, limiting the team to just 198 yards of total offense.
Through six games, TCU ranks No. 38 against the pass and No. 21 against the rush. The unit also has forced 15 turnovers (No. 14) and recorded 22 sacks (No. 4).
Walsh is going to have to get it together if he wants to avoid another letdown.
Coach: Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech
Week 8 Matchup: at West Virginia (3-3), Oct. 19, 12 p.m. ET
Kliff Kingsbury has done a terrific job in his inaugural season at Lubbock, racing off to a 6-0 start. However, he has also benefited from a very favorable schedule.
In fact, the Red Raiders’ six opponents have a combined record of 12-21.
Furthermore, only one of those teams (TCU) came in ranked. But even then, the Horned Frogs were playing without their starting quarterback and have already lost three times.
This weekend, Texas Tech travels to Morgantown to take on the Mountaineers in what is easily the team’s toughest road trip yet.
West Virginia is 3-0 at home. That includes a 30-21 upset of preseason Big 12-favorite Oklahoma State on Sept. 28.
However, the team’s biggest advantage comes in the turnover battle.
Over the last two games, the Mountaineers have forced seven turnovers. On the season, the team ranks No. 14 in the nation with 15.
On the other hand, the Red Raiders are No. 106 in the nation in turnovers lost—10 interceptions thrown and four fumbles lost.
In a hostile environment, and if starting quarterback Baker Mayfield isn’t set to return, this could be a very long day for Kingsbury and Texas Tech.
Player: Taylor Kelly, Arizona State
Week 8 Matchup: vs. No. 20 Washington (4-2), Oct. 19, 6 p.m. ET
Quarterback Taylor Kelly has had a solid start to the season, throwing for 1,965 yards with 16 touchdowns to just six interceptions. Furthermore, he’s accounted for at least three scores in four consecutive games while throwing for over 300 yards in five of the Sun Devils six contests.
Unfortunately for Kelly, the Huskies defense might have something to say about that.
Through six games, the unit ranks No. 17 against the pass (183.0 YPGA) and No. 12 in pass efficiency defense (101.4 QBR). Other than Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, who threw for over 366 yards and three touchdowns against Washington last weekend, the team hasn’t allowed a single quarterback to throw for more than 160 yards and has conceded just two scores through the air.
After playing two straight Top Five opponents, the Huskies are as battle-tested as can be.
Kelly and Arizona State are walking into a massacre waiting to happen.
Coach: Ed Orgeron, USC
Week 8 Matchup: at Notre Dame (4-2), Oct. 19, 7:30 p.m. ET
It’s been no secret that the Trojans football team has finally found someone it’s willing to play for in interim head coach Ed Orgeron. However, it’s quickly become evident that former coach Lane Kiffin isn’t the only thing the players have given up on.
USC has apparently lost interest in playing defense as well.
Over the first four games of the season, the team allowed 14 points or less in each game. In the two contests since, the Trojans have coughed up an average of 46.5 points per game.
That includes giving up 508 yards of offense and 31 points in Orgeron’s debut last Thursday against Arizona. USC had previously given up 612 yards and 62 points in a loss to Arizona State.
It only makes the team vulnerable with a rested Irish squad up next.
Fresh off a 37-34 win over the Sun Devils, Notre Dame has finally started playing with some confidence. Not to mention, the defense actually decided to show up for once in 2013.
If the Wildcats B.J. Denker could throw for 363 yards and four touchdowns—he reached a season-high 208 yards by halftime—why can’t Irish quarterback Tommy Rees (1,494 YDs, 13 TDs, 6 INTs) be just as successful?
Player: Maty Mauk, Missouri
Week 8 Matchup: vs. No. 22 Florida (4-2), Oct. 19, 12:21 p.m. ET
Fresh off an upset over then-No. 7 Georgia last weekend and an 11-spot jump in the latest AP Poll, the Tigers’ spirits should be flying high entering this weekend.
Unfortunately, that just doesn’t appear to be the case.
Sure, playing a stifling Gators defense is tough enough. However, doing so with redshirt freshman Maty Mauk making his debut at quarterback takes the cake.
Needless to say, this one isn’t going to end well.
With starter James Franklin out for three to five weeks, via The Associated Press, head coach Gary Pinkel and Missouri had no choice but to turn to Mauk to keep the undefeated season alive—a quarterback with just six career pass attempts.
OK, he’ll likely have a rowdy crowd behind him. However, they won’t be able to save him from going up against one of the toughest defenses in the nation.
Through six games, Florida ranks No. 4 in scoring defense (13.0 PPGA), No. 3 in total defense (235.3 YPGA), No. 3 against the pass (152.0 YPGA) and No. 2 in pass efficiency defense (85.5 QBR). Furthermore, the unit hasn’t allowed a single quarterback to throw for more than 165 yards through the air.
Expect Pinkel to try and rely heavily on the ground game to take pressure off of Mauk. However, the Gators are pretty good at stopping the run too—No. 4 in the nation (83.3 YPGA).
Sooner or later, Mauk will have to throw.
And it likely won’t end well.
Coach: Paul Rhoads
Week 8 Matchup: at No. 12 Baylor (5-0), Oct. 19, 7 p.m. ET
Head coach Paul Rhoads has made headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Following a controversial 31-30 loss to Texas earlier this month, Rhoads took his frustrations out on the media during his postgame presser. While the message may have been genuine, it wasn’t the best outlet.
Although his Cyclones came out inspired the following week in a 42-35 loss to Texas Tech, a loss is a loss, and the team is still 1-4.
The Bears aren’t ready to make life easier for Rhoads on Saturday.
On the heels of the team’s first scare of the season—a narrow 35-25 escape over Kansas State last weekend—don’t expect lightning to strike twice this weekend. Especially with Baylor returning back to the comforts of Waco.
Through five weeks, the team’s offense has been unstoppable. The Bears rank No. 1 in scoring (63.4 PPG), No. 1 in total offense (713.8 YPG), No. 2 in passing (412.2 YPG) and No. 4 in rushing (302.2 YPG).
Quarterback Bryce Petty (69.9 CMP%, 1,680 YDs, 13 TDs, 1 INT, 231.0 QBR) and running back Lache Seastrunk (65 CAR, 648 YDs, 8 TDs) are a large reason for that.
Rhoads can give as many speeches as he wants, but with a defense that allows over 440 yards per game and has conceded 27 points or more four times this season, it doesn’t look good for Iowa State.
Player: Carlos Hyde, Ohio State
Week 8 Matchup: vs. Iowa (4-2), Oct. 19, 3:30 p.m. ET
After returning from suspension, running back Carlos Hyde has re-established himself as the Buckeyes' best threat on the ground.
Through three games, the senior has rushed for 294 yards and three touchdowns on 48 carries. That includes a sensational 168-yard, three-score performance against Northwestern in Week 6.
However, this will be the most formidable defense both Hyde and Ohio State have faced this season.
Thus far, the Hawkeyes rank No. 12 in scoring defense (16.8 PPGA), No. 9 in total defense (290.0 YPGA) and No. 8 against the rush (88.5 YPGA). Furthermore, Iowa is the only team in the nation still yet to concede a touchdown on the ground.
In fact, not a single opposing running back has even topped 60 yards rushing.
Something tells me that doesn’t look set to change this weekend.
Coach: David Shaw, Stanford
Week 8 Matchup: vs. No. 9 UCLA (5-1), Oct. 19, 3:30 p.m. ET
While David Shaw and his Cardinal may have been the biggest surprise of 2012, the team was easily the most overrated Top Five squad this year.
Stanford proved as much in a 27-21 loss to Utah last weekend, a game in which the team turned the ball over twice and failed to make good in a goal-line opportunity as time was running out.
However, with the Bruins next up, expect things to get a lot worse before it gets better.
Entering this weekend, UCLA ranks No. 7 in scoring (45.8 PPG), No. 5 in total offense (547.0 YPG), No. 17 in passing (323.6 YPG) and No. 21 in rushing (223.4 YPG). Furthermore, the team has found the end zone 28 times this season.
That may pose some difficulty to a Cardinal secondary that ranks No. 94 against the pass.
Although running back Jordon James may miss the contest, via The Los Angeles Times' Chris Foster, the Bruins still have quarterback Brett Hundley (68.1 CMP%, 1,729 TOT YDs, 15 TDs, 4 INTs). His dual-threat ability has given opposing defenses fits.
Coming off a 410-yard, four-touchdown performance in a 37-10 victory over Cal last weekend, expect the sophomore to step up his game.
That can only mean bad news for Stanford.
Player: Alex Collins, Arkansas
Week 8 Matchup: at No. 1 Alabama (6-0), Oct. 19, 7 p.m. ET
Running back Alex Collins got off to a stellar start in 2013. The freshman racked up over 100 yards on the ground in three consecutive games to help lead the Razorbacks to a 3-0 start.
However, he’s only accomplished that feat once in the last four contests.
In fact, after carrying for a career-high 25 times against Southern Mississippi on Sept. 14, Collins’ carries have only gone down each week. Last weekend, in a 52-7 loss to South Carolina, he only handled the ball 10 times.
Not surprisingly, Arkansas is 0-4 in that span.
This Saturday against the Crimson Tide—No. 2 in scoring defense (11.3 PPGA) and No. 7 against the run (87.2 YPGA)—it only looks to get worse.
As scary as it seems, the unit has only gotten better over the last four games. Alabama has given up just 16 points in that stretch while holding each opponent under 100 yards on the ground.
On a Razorback team that is on a major downward spiral, don’t expect Collins to accomplish much at all.
Coach: Gus Malzahn, Auburn
Week 8 Matchup: at No. 7 Texas A&M (5-1), Oct. 19, 3:30 p.m. ET
Nobody expected the Tigers to even be close to the AP Poll during Gus Malzahn’s inaugural season at the helm. Instead, the team is 5-1 and ranked No. 24.
However, that should all come to an end this weekend when Auburn makes just its second road trip of the season.
Johnny Manziel and the Aggies will present Malzahn with the toughest offense his team has faced. The unit enters this weekend as the No. 6-ranked passing attack.
That could be a problem for a Tigers defense that ranks No. 88 against the pass, allowing 250.7 yards per game.
But even if they manage to stop Manziel through the air—who has 1,835 yards, 14 touchdowns and five interceptions while maintaining a 73.2 completion percentage—the sophomore is just as lethal on the ground.
Ask Ole Miss how it feels about that. The Rebels held Manziel without a passing touchdown, but couldn’t contain him on the ground—he had 19 carries for 124 yards and two touchdowns.
Then there’s the fact that Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall is coming off a knee injury that kept him out of last weekend’s game. Not to mention, he hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass in over a month and has only topped 300 yards passing once.
And this is the guy that’s supposed to keep pace with Manziel?
All stats and rankings used in this article are courtesy of NCAA.com.
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