Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, October 12, 2012 at 10:20 AM
Here's the roll call of College Football unbeatens that are in action this Saturday- there's 15 of 'em playing in all- and you've got to wonder aloud just how many will fall on this middle weekend in October:
#1 Alabama, #3 South Carolina, #4 Florida, #5 West Virginia, #6 Kansas State, #7 Notre Dame, #8 Ohio State, #10 Oregon State, #18 Louisville, #19 Miss State, #20 Rutgers, #21 Cincinnati, #23 Louisiana Tech plus unranked teams Ohio and Texas-San Antonio all look to stay perfect this Saturday but better believe they all have huge bulls-eye targets on their backs by now ... don't you think?
Who's the most likely high-profile team to tumble this weekend?
Probably South Carolina who's at 2 ½-point favorite LSU but both unbeaten Big East teams here- that's Louisville and Rutgers- could run into major speed bumps versus Pittsburgh and Syracuse, respectively, and keep in mind Oregon State is without QB Sean Mannion who's expected to be sidelined for the next several weeks.
So, in the College Football version of the "knockout pool" these 15 teams are still standing but will anyone be shocked if the list gets trimmed to 10 (or less) unbeatens come late Saturday night?
Plenty of key College Football Previews will come your way in tomorrow's edition of Jim Sez but today we get you the first installment of our weekly feature: The Heisman Trophy Watch.
Hey, unlike those other high-and-mighty network web sites, we're bringing some "D" to the table as we've got not one but two linebackers on our top five list (if you've been watching all the games this year than you know who they are!) but it's a major runaway thus far and so we begin our Heisman chatter with the leader at the halfway point and that's ...
GENO SMITH, QB, WEST VIRGINIA- This 6-foot-3 senior has been "en fuego" right from the start of this current campaign and the numbers don't lie as Smith's thrown for 1,996 yards with 24 TDs and 0 INTs through the Mountaineers' first five games. Last week Smith bombarded Texas for 268 aerial yards and four scoring strikes in what marked the biggest road win yet by any of the serious Heisman Trophy candidates. If Smith is on target against Texas Tech this weekend in Lubbock, than he just might put up insurmountable numbers for any of the other Heisman hopefuls. Could this "race" be done with before Halloween?
BRAXTON MILLER, QB, OHIO STATE- The engine that makes this Buckeyes bunch run is just a sophomore but even first-year Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer termed his quarterback "outrageous" following last weekend's showing against Nebraska: Miller rushed for 186 yards and threw for another 127 yards in that 63-38 prime-time win against the 'Huskers and for the 2012 season Miller now has 1,060 yards passing and another 763 yards rushing while accounting for 17 TDs (that's 9 passing/8 rushing). If the 6-and-oh 'Eyes run the table this year- and that could happen -- than Miller could stalk Smith right to the Heisman Trophy finish line although he and every other candidate has lots of ground to make up these days.
MANTI TE'O, LB, NOTRE DAME- At least the espn.com "experts poll" has this ND Fighting Irish superstar sixth in its current Heisman Trophy voting (we've noticed that some other sites have not even recognized Te'o among the trophy leaders and that's downright foolish) but we'll give him some bronze (for now) after an incredible start that's put Notre Dame front-and-center in the College Football world once again with that 5-0 start. Note that Te'o- who has played under great off-the-field emotional duress this year- has collected 46 tackles so far plus he's intercepted three passes two including a pair in the tight 13-6 win against Michigan a couple of weeks back. This 6-foot-2, 255-pound athletic Hawaiian native has a never-ending motor- could a perfect season by the Irish equal a Heisman Trophy for Te'o?
COLLIN KLEIN, QB, KANSAS STATE - Talk about your do-it-all quarterbacks! This 6-foot-5 senior K-State star has thrown for 887 yards and rushed for another 405 yards (on 5.5 yards per carry) for the sixth-ranked 'Cats and while his seven rushing and seven passing TDs may not wow you- especially compared with WVU's Smith- the fact is Klein is KSU's top player and one who rarely makes a mistake (see only two picks so far). Road games at Iowa State and at West Virginia these next two weekends will prove to be a major test for Bill Snyder's brainy signal-caller.
MIKE MAUTI, LB, PENN STATE - Granted, you're not gonna find this senior leader on anyone's Heisman Trophy short list ... but that's not our fault!
The chatty Mauti has been the heart-and-soul of this Nittany Lions team that was basically left for dead prior to the start of this 2012 season and instead Penn State owns "signature" wins against Illinois and Northwestern and this 6-foor-2, 233-pound senior has been a devastating tackler plus his two picks against the Illini were critically important plays. Maybe the other Heisman Trophy voters out there don't pay attention to defensive stars- but we do- and Mauti makes our initial Jim Sez Top 5 in the Heisman Trophy Watch.
On Friday Nite, it's ...NAVY (2-3) at CENTRAL MICHIGAN (2-3)- 8 p.m. ET, espn2
The football weekend gets rollin' with this clash in Mount Pleasant and we'll see what's in Navy's tank following last weekend's emotional 28-21 OT win at Air Force: Note that the Middies will bank on QB Trey Miller (110 yards rushing last week) to make the big plays here and how about the fact Central Michigan's allowed 55 and 50 points in its last two outings?
Spread Notes - Navy is 2-3 versus the vig so far this season and the Midshipmen are a shoddy 2-5 ATS (against the spread) in the game after playing a fellow service academy team. Meanwhile, Central Michigan's 1-4 versus the juice this year and did you know the Chippewas have lost eight of their last 10 spread verdicts when playing at home?
NOTE: Get our NCAA Football Saturday Key Previews in tomorrow's edition of Jim Sez as we bring you Texas vs. Oklahoma, West Virginia at Texas Tech, Stanford at Notre Dame and lots more!