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1. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
Last Week: 656 passing yards & 8 TDs in win vs. No. 25 Baylor
Outlook: We can examine dozens of stats from West Virginia’s 70-63 win over Baylor. In fact, I’m sure many media outlets will throughout the week. Allow myself to focus on just one, however. Smith threw more touchdown passes (eight) than incomplete passes (six). Let that digest and get ready for next week, as the Mountaineers face their first test of the season (sorry Baylor) in a primetime clash with Texas.
2. De’Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon
Last Week: 54 total yards & 1 TD in win at Washington State
Outlook: Thomas and the Ducks survived a brief scare on the road Saturday night. Washington State trailed only by only four points entering halftime, but Oregon scored 21 third quarter points to put the game out of reach. The win keeps Oregon in the national title picture, but Thomas isn’t touching the ball enough to keep up with Smith’s production.
3. E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State
Last Week: 242 passing yards & 1 TD in win at South Florida
Outlook: The media’s salivating at the thought of the Seminoles returning to national prominence. Beating Clemson last week represented baby steps, but Florida State’s schedule is manageable, especially with Virginia Tech struggling. If Florida State keeps winning, then the narrative keeps Manuel in the Heisman picture.
4. Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia
Last Week: 278 passing yards, 2 TDs, & 1 INT in win vs. Tennessee
Outlook: A wild 51-44 shootout didn’t help Murray much in the Heisman standings. Turnovers had an impact and the Bulldogs relied on their rushing attack to carry them to victory. Nevertheless, Georgia maintains their top five ranking and a showdown with South Carolina looms.
5. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
Last Week: 120 rushing yards & 2 TDs in win at Kentucky
Outlook: After trailing 17-7 at halftime, South Carolina relied on Lattimore in the second half. He carried the ball 18 times for 108 yards and scored both his touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Next weekends game against Georgia will tell us whether Lattimore and Murray belong as contenders or pretenders.
On the Bubble
Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Colin Klein, QB, Kansas State
Marquise Lee, WR, USC
Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon
Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State