Who's Not? ... WVU pass D, Texas & More
Week 7 – Who's Hot
10. SMU QB Garrett Gilbert
June Jones plus a former five-star quarterback recruit of Texas seems like a pairing made in fantasy football heaven, right? It hasn't gone that way for the coach or his new pupil, Garrett Gilbert. The transfer has been surprisingly inept on the Hilltop, completing less than half of his passes in an offense tailor-made for the quarterback position. Even after showing a pulse late in Saturday's game with Tulane, he's still thrown just seven touchdown passes and 11 picks on the year. Oh, the Mustangs lost to the winless Green Wave, arguably Jones' worst defeat since coming aboard four years ago.
9. Football in Massachusetts
The Minutemen are 0-6, getting routinely whipped as they transition from the FCS to the Mid-American Conference. To new head coach Charley Molnar's credit, Massachusetts isn't scheduling any FCS opponents, but the result could be a winless season in 2012. Over in Chestnut Hill, Boston College is essentially playing out the string, and preparing to locate a new head coach once Frank Spaziani gets his walking papers. At 1-5, the Eagles have now lost to Army and been thoroughly embarrassed by Florida State in consecutive weeks. Hey, at least Harvard remained unbeaten with Saturday's win over Bucknell.
8. Washington State
Mike Leach's debut in Pullman hasn't quite gone as planned. No, a run in the Pac-12 North was not expected, but the Cougars did figure to be a lot more competitive than in recent years. Instead, they've lost four straight, and are just 1-5 against teams from the FBS. The Air Raid offense is getting worse instead of better, and the coach's mid-week comparison of his seniors to "empty coaches" is bound to cause friction in the locker room. Washington State needs to get to 2013, hopefully with a much better understanding of the new systems on both sides of the ball.
7. Michigan State
A 4-3 record doesn't begin to describe just how disappointing the Spartans have been this season. Three of their wins could have either way against Boise State, Eastern Michigan and Indiana. And Saturday's home loss to Iowa in overtime puts them in a deep hole in the Legends Division of the Big Ten. There was a time that Michigan State was a trendy pick to carry the league banner, but that time has long passed. The Spartans are giving absolutely no support to RB Le'Veon Bell on offense, and the vaunted D has had a surprisingly tough time rushing the passer.
6. Washington QB Keith Price
While it's certainly not all his fault, Price hasn't looked at all like the quarterback who strafed Baylor for seven total touchdowns and 477 yards in last December's Alamo Bowl. Burdened by poor support from his O-line and skill position players, and his own poor decisions, the one-time fringe contender for the Heisman Trophy has only thrown four touchdown passes in five games with FBS opponents. Two of them came in Saturday night's loss to USC, a game in which he also threw two picks, and lost a couple of crucial fumbles.
5. Matt Barkley's Heisman Chances
He's a well-known, well-liked USC quarterback, with games still left versus Oregon and Notre Dame, so it's still not time to shut down Barkley's Heisman campaign completely. However, it's getting close. His Trojans won in Seattle, and he only had to air it out 20 times, but he was also held below 200 yards passing for the third time this season. Since blowing up Syracuse in Week 2, Barkley has thrown six touchdown passes and five picks in four games, a level of mediocrity that has really impacted the production of All-American WR Robert Woods.
4. The Tennessee D
We're not in Tuscaloosa anymore, Sal. Coordinator Sal Sunseri left Nick Saban's staff to revive the Volunteers defense, but so far it isn't working. The D has fallen apart over the last two games, allowing 92 points in losses to Georgia and Mississippi State. Now ranked No. 13 in the SEC, Tennessee's attempt to play with a more aggressive bent has resulted in just five sacks against five FBS opponents. LB A.J. Johnson was tackling everything in Starkville late Saturday night, but it mattered little, as his teammates got picked apart for 450 total yards and five touchdowns.
Rock bottom has been located when an SEC team loses to Ole Miss. Auburn now rests a level or two below rock bottom, which is going to cause serious discomfort for head coach Gene Chizik. Until Saturday's 41-20 rout of the woeful Tigers, the Rebels had lost 16 consecutive conference games dating back to 2010. At 1-5, Auburn is off to its worst since 1998, unable to move the ball effectively, or in the case of this past weekend, make critical stops in the fourth quarter of a close game. For those keeping track of such things, Chizik is only two games above .500 on the Plains without Cam Newton as his quarterback.
2. The Texas Coaching Staff
This was supposed to be the year that the Longhorns turned things around, escaped the ranks of the mediocre that had gripped them over the last two seasons. If the last few weeks are any example, it's just not going to happen. Manny Diaz's defense has been a major disappointment, allowing at least 31 points in each of the last four games, and an unimaginable 63 to Oklahoma on Saturday. Worse yet, Bryan Harsin's offense didn't show up for the first time in 2012, resulting in an epic and unexpected blowout loss to the Sooners. The end game is that Mack Brown is going to start feeling more heat again, the unavoidable byproduct of not producing on the field in a town like Austin.
1. The West Virginia Pass D
The Mountaineers arrived in Lubbock on Saturday ranked 117th nationally in pass efficiency defense. As hard as it is to imagine, they actually plummeted further south after making Texas Tech's Seth Doege look like the second-coming of Kliff Kingsbury (or Graham Harrell or B.J. Symons). West Virginia was treated like an overmatched palooka, yielding six touchdown passes and almost 500 yards through the air. Once unbeaten and thinking of a Big 12 championship—or more—the ‘Eers must head back to the drawing board after enduring a rude awakening on both sides of the ball in Week 7.
Week 7 – Who's Hot
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