Week 6 - Who's Hot?
10. Florida International
Just a month ago, the Golden Panthers were not only a Sun Belt Conference favorite, but they were also considered a landmine for whoever faced them. And why not? The core, including coveted head coach Mario Cristobal, that won eight regular season games was still in Miami. Things clearly haven’t gone as planned for Florida International. Now 1-5, it fell at home to Arkansas State Thursday night for a fourth straight loss. The D has plummeted from nasty to, well, a whole different nasty, allowing 38 points per game.
9. Ole Miss (against the SEC)
So close, which made the outcome so painful. The Rebels had visiting Texas A&M on the ropes, yet were unable to deliver a knockout punch, as Johnny Manziel dropped the game-winning pass in the arms of Ryan Swope with under two minutes left. Ole Miss played their best game of the season, yet still lost for the 16th straight time in conference play. Rookie head coach Hugh Freeze is making progress, with help from RB Jeff Scott and freshman LB Denzel Nkemdiche, but finally getting over the SEC hump will prove to be a laborious and tiring climb.
8. South Florida
Just how bad have the Bulls been over the past year? Since last Sept. 29, flailing head coach Skip Holtz has gone 2-10 against FBS competition. South Florida has dropped four straight since stunning Nevada with a late rally in Week 2, and are in genuine danger of missing the postseason for a second consecutive year. The D, not long ago the trademark in Tampa, got trampled on the ground by Temple’s Montel Harris, Matt Brown and Chris Coyer. Is Jim Leavitt, the father of USF football, available because Holtz has started to circle the drain on the sidelines?
7. The future of Boston College coach Frank Spaziani
Start the search now. Coach Spaz’s career on the Heights is unofficially over. The Eagles fell to 1-4 after squandering a lead and becoming Army’s first victim of 2012. Yup, the same Black Knights team that managed three points in a loss to Stony Brook a week ago. Boston College was trampled at the point of attack by a smaller opponent, yielding five sacks of Chase Rettig and an unimaginable 516 yards rushing. This program deserves better leadership, and should get it as early as this December. <br /> <br />
Welcome to the SEC. Now grab a cot and get comfortable in the conference basement. Mizzou’s 0-3 start in its new digs hit a new low with Saturday night’s home loss to Vanderbilt. Sure, the ‘Dores can be a plucky bunch, but they’re also a group that hadn’t beaten an FBS when the weekend began. The Tigers played this one as if it was a preseason scrimmage … in a monsoon. They were sloppy on offense and special teams, and will now spend the next few weeks without the services of QB James Franklin, who sprained his MCL in the deflating 19-15 loss.
5. TCU QB Casey Pachall
Poor judgment—rarely does it not cause collateral damage. Pachall didn’t play this weekend’s game against Iowa State, yet still had a profound impact on the outcome. One of the nation’s top quarterbacks, who has admittedly had substance abuse problems in the past, was suspended after being arrested on a DUI charge. The fallout was swift and impactful. The Horned Frogs just weren’t the same team without their offensive leader, falling at home with rookie Trevone Boykin at the controls to snap the nation’s longest winning streak at 12 games.
4. LSU on Offense
The Tigers have earned a repeat engagement here because they’ve really been that feeble moving the ball this season. The hope around Baton Rouge was that strapping QB Zach Mettenberger would be a difference-maker and an ideal complement to the power running game, but it hasn’t happened. And it doesn’t look as if it will this fall. The LSU defense played well enough to win in Gainesville on Saturday, but more than a pair of first-half field goals were needed for the victory. Mettenberger, by the way, has been pressured way too much lately, and has thrown just one touchdown pass in three games versus teams from AQ conferences.
The situation on the Plains is bad. Real bad. How bad? The Tigers just took it on the chin from Arkansas, a team that arrived on a four-game losing streak that included losses to Louisiana-Monroe and Rutgers, and demolitions at the hands of Alabama and Texas A&M. Auburn is now 1-4, and staring down the barrel of a rare bowl-less postseason. It’s been over a year since Cam left for the NFL, so any excuses at quarterback are no longer acceptable. The Tigers scored one touchdown against a horrendous Hogs D, turning the ball over five times. Quarterbacks Clint Moseley and Kiehl Frazier have been especially noxious, combining for three touchdowns and 10 picks so far this season.
2. The Virginia Tech Defense
The talk in the preseason was this edition could be among Bud Foster’s best defenses in Blacksburg. It turns out that was just idle and misguided chatter. The Hokies have been a major disappointment, on both sides of the ball actually, losing for the third time in the last four games. In Chapel Hill this past weekend, Tech was gutted for 262 yards rushing by Carolina’s Giovani Bernard in a 48-34 loss. In their last three games with prominent programs, Pitt, Cincinnati and the Heels, the Hokies have yielded an average of more than 500 yards, while failing to mount much of a pass rush.
1. Texas Against the Run
What has happened to the Big 12’s most talented defense? The ‘Horns boast at least a half-dozen players who’ll be selected in the NFL Draft over the next couple of years, yet this team has shown no ability to put up a fight against the run. The nation took notice of the leaks after West Virginia’s Andrew Buie exploded for a career-best 207 yards and two scores, but the seeds of that effort were sown weeks ago. New Mexico rushed for more than 200 yards on Texas. Ole Miss averaged five yards a carry. And Oklahoma State’s Joseph Randle nearly erupted for 200 yards of his own a week ago. Coordinator Manny Diaz has to get this figured out or else the Big 12 crown will be out of reach.
Week 6 - Who's Not? UT Run D, Mizzou & Auburn
Week 6 - Who's Hot?