PETERSON DESERVES TO BE THE FRONT-RUNNER
Some say that because Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson is a freshman, he should not win this year's Heisman Trophy. However, if the award is truely to be given out to the nation's best college football player, that player at this point in the season is Peterson himself. He has led his team to an unbeaten record so far this season and has rushed for at least 100 yards in each of OU's eight games so far this year.
Peterson has rushed for nearly 1300 yards total in those eight games, a 159 yard per game average. The true freshman is averaging over six yards per carry and has scored eight rushing TDs this season. Perhaps his most impressive performance all season came last weekend on the road at Oklahoma State. That's when the Palestine, Texas native ran for 255 yards and a touchdown while gaining nearly eight yards per carry. Though his teammate, QB Jason White, was last year's Heisman winner, White has said that his vote for the 2004 Trophy will go to Peterson.
And why not? The honor is for the nation's best player, right? If so, Peterson has to be the front-runner heading into the first weekend of November....
I'VE GOT MAIL
Q : "Why do you have Utah ranked so high? It is my opinion that aside from their win over Texas A&M (a team that was just discovering themselves), they have done nothing to prove they are worthy of being ranked with the nation's elite."
A : There are several reasons why Utah is ranked so highly by SCS.com. First of all, they were a preseason selection as the nation's top-ranked non-BCS team. They started out the season ranked high and have yet to show us a reason to move them backwards. Though their schedule is not one of the tougher ones, they have beaten teams like Texas A&M, Arizona (on the road), New Mexico (on the road), and North Carolina, who just last week knocked off the Miami Hurricanes.
The Ute offense is led by QB Alex Smith who has a higher QB Rating (173.9) than any other usual starting QB in the country, including top QBs like Chris Leak (147.6), Matt Leinart (151.0), Jason White (158.9), and Jason Campbell (172.8). Smith has thrown only 2 INTs all year and is fourth in the country in TD passes with 20. His favorite target, WR Steve Savoy, has played in only seven games this year but has the fourth highest number of TD receptions in the country with eight.
The Utes' offense averages more points per game (43.6) than any other team in the nation except Boise State (see more on this below) and racks up almost 500 yards each night out. The Ute defense is top thirty in the land in terms of points allowed, giving up just over 18 a contest. Some people don't like to see Utah in the top five (or even top ten), but when a team is supposed to be good and lives up to that potential, they deserve the high ranking just as much as the next team. It's not over yet, however. Utah still must visit Wyoming (who beat Mississippi earlier this year) and take on in-state rival BYU. The last six games between BYU and Utah have been decided by seven points or less. Neither of those games will be easy, but if the Utes win out, they deserve to be in the BCS.
Q : "Will Adrian Peterson actually get 1st place votes for the Heisman as a true freshman?"
A : As you could tell from above, I think Adrian Peterson has proved himself the nation's best player so far this season, and since the Heisman is supposedly given out to the best college football player in the country, he should be the winner...true freshman or not.
Q : "Is Timmy Chang that good or is it the offense?"
A : If you saw the Hawaii / Boise State game last week, you know the answer is neither. Chang has averaged nearly 20 interceptions per season throughout his career, and the Hawaii team as a whole has gotten progressively worse in recent seasons. Perhaps a loss of talent around Chang has contributed to his and the team's decline, but a great QB, which he is hyped as, would be able to score more than three points against Boise State and be able to beat teams like Florida Atlantic and Rice.
Q : "Will Nebraska make a bowl game this year? They need 1 win @ Iowa State, @ Oklahoma, and vs Colorado?"
A : Last week's win over Missouri helped the Huskers' situation tremendously. You can forget the game in Norman, but either of the other two games are possible wins for NU. In fact, Callahan would be in worse trouble now if he didn't get to a bowl than he would have been had Nebraska not improved from their early season struggles. To not win over either Iowa State or Colorado would be unacceptable.
Q : "Does Utah or Boise State deserve a top ranking?"
A : We've already discussed the Utes' situation, so that's settled. As for the Broncos, I do not feel that BSU is as deserving as Coach Urban Meyer's team yet. The Broncos have won and won impressively in most cases, but their schedule has not been as strong as even Utah's. Add in the fact that the Broncos were not ranked as high in the preseason poll, and it is easy for me to say that Utah is the only hope to bust the BCS this season.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH IN WEEK TEN
(1) It was a close call last week for Oklahoma. The Sooners just barely survived a road game at rival Oklahoma State. OU stays on the road this week and travels to Texas A&M. The Aggies are coming off a humiliating loss at Baylor last Saturday and should be focused and hyped for this week's contest against the nation's number two ranked team. If the Sooners can survive this one, they're one step closer to the Orange Bowl. A loss opens the door for the Auburn Tigers.
(2) Can North Carolina pull the upset for the second straight week? The Tar Heels are sitting at 4-4 overall this season, and all three games left on their schedule could be wins. UNC hosts Virginia Tech this week before visiting Wake Forest and Duke to close out the season. The Tar Heels need to win only two of those games to go bowling and save their coach's job in the process.
(3) The top two teams in Conference USA have tough games this weekend. Louisville will head to Memphis to battle the Tigers on Thursday. Memphis has struggled lately, but with offensive stars like QB Danny Wimprine and RB DeAngelo Williams, UM is certainly capable of knocking off UL. The other CUSA co-leader, Southern Miss, stays home this weekend to take on Cincinnati. The Bearcats are coming off consecutive wins over Memphis and TCU, while USM was taken down handily by Alabama just two weeks ago.
WHAT WE WATCHED LAST WEEK
(1) Well, we said one of the top contenders for the national title could be knocked out of the race last week. Though it wasn't the team we mentioned (Oklahoma), the Miami Hurricanes had their Orange Bowl hopes dashed with a last-second loss at North Carolina. Their loss left USC and Oklahoma ranked first and second, followed by Auburn at third.
(2) The SEC East's two big games last week went as SCS.com expected. Florida continued their slide by losing their second consecutive SEC game, both away from Gainesville. That loss knocks UF out of the East race and leaves Georgia in the hunt. The front-runner, however, is Tennessee. The Vols picked up a big league win at South Carolina last week and hold the tiebreaker over Georgia. With only two SEC games left and those against Kentucky and Vanderbilt, UT should be in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta in early December.
(3) The PAC 10 showdown between Arizona State and Cal in Berkeley turned out to be pretty one-sided. It's obvious that while USC is the top team in the PAC 10, coming in a close second are the California Golden Bears. Coach Jeff Tedford has Cal in great shape to make a BCS bowl (possibly the Rose Bowl?) if the Bears can win out.
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